What an Engineer Finds Extraordinary about Climate

climate_engineerGuest essay by Ronald D Voisin

For quite some time we have known that atmospheric CO2 lags Earthly temperature in both directions. This fact has been repeatedly and internationally validated at both ends of the Earth. It is, frankly and simply, a known fact. But here is the rub. Very few ever speak to why this would be so obviously true. Is it not painfully obvious? How big does the picture have to be and how many brilliant colors does it need to be painted with before it becomes widely recognized?

Here are the primary sources of natural CO2 release in decreasing order of quantity of carbon emitted: oceanic release, microbial decay, insect activity, frozen terrestrial release; volcanic release; forest fire and then mammalia exhalations and emissions – summing to a total of ~325-485 petagrams. Then there is our ~2.0% anthropogenic release at ~8-9 petagrams. (Based on terrestrial sources alone, without oceans, anthropogenic release is ~3-4% of the natural flux. Some argue that the oceans are net absorbers and ignore the oceanic release estimate below. However, according to the argument presented herein the oceans are net emitters as indicated below when warmed by ~0.5oC per century).

Voisin_table1Notes: Interglacial estimates come from my notes of IPCC, NASA and NOAA web-sites of 2005 and 2006, when these sites carried detailed analysis of natural CO2 emission sources. Terrestrial estimates of CO2 emission place the anthropogenic contribution at ~3-4%. The annual oceanic release estimate above is modeled (from laboratory experiment by NOAA) and would arise only if and when the oceans begin to follow a 0.5oC per century temperature rise profile (as they most likely have been). Thermal modulations to all non-human emission can be expected to be quite large (up to 2X and more at the extremes of global temp). The only value that can be estimated with high accuracy is the anthropogenic contribution which is far less than both the uncertainty and, most importantly, the variability of many of the natural emission sources.

We don’t know for sure that the oceans are net-absorbers or net-emitters at this time. Just as we don’t know for sure that the oceans are net-cooling or net-warming at this time. However, I have to say that it appears entirely plausible, and in evidence, that the oceans have recently been net-emitters (and largely, almost entirely, accountable for the current spike in atmospheric CO2). The Earth has been warming for ~150 years since the Little Ice Age (actually ~400 years since the coldest depths of the Little Ice Age). Regardless of their enormous thermal mass, the oceans have to respond to this thermal trend at some point (historically they respond vigorously at our current level of <800y least-count detection). And if they are warmed, the oceans will surely dump a component of their vast dissolved CO2 into the atmosphere (as they most likely have been).

——————————————————————————-

Many will rightfully argue with the exact magnitudes of various emission sources in the table. But the ordering of the table is in little doubt. Microbial and insect emissions are by far the #1 and #2 CO2 emitting life forms on Earth (by ~10x each). We humans are a distant 4th – somewhat less than, but on par with, non-human mammalia. And the fact that all these Natural sources would be stimulated by increased Earthly temperature is in little doubt.

Now I ask you: Is it not clear that the Earth has warmed over the last 400 years since the coldest depth of the Little Ice Age? Is it not similarly clear that we should expect atmospheric CO2 to rise given 400 years of this thermal stimulation?

When we examine the seasonal variation in atmospheric CO2 we see an indisputable clockwork signature. Some ask about this variation: What processes start net CO2 production in September and end net production in May? – As this is how the seasonal variation seemingly goes.

But a much better way to ask the same question is: What CO2 sequestering process slows beginning in September and doesn’t recover till May?

And the answer would be photosynthetic sequestering of the majority Earthly vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere.

How can it be made clearer that CO2 is currently rising and varying for natural cause?

Lastly, let me make an obvious prediction predicated on the prediction that the Earth has recently begun to cool and assuming that some appreciable level of cooling (0.1-0.3 degree C) takes place over the next several years.

Atmospheric CO2 is going to spike hard in the coming years. And before it stops spiking it will likely attain an annual contribution level appreciably larger than the then-current anthropogenic emission.

Why? Mauna Loa makes clear that majority CO2 sinks respond significantly to a temperature drop with a short lag-time measured in only months or even weeks. Natural CO2 sources, however, respond much more slowly to the same thermal perturbation (the oceans in particular).

For more detail on these issues (along with an intriguing possibility to “save the planet”, see: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ygv83mwpytn4p65/AN%20ENGINEER%E2%80%99S%20TAKE%20ON%20MAJOR%20CLIMATE%20CHANGE%20F.53.pdf


 

About the Author

Ronald D Voisin is a retired engineer. He spent 27 years in the Semiconductor Lithography Equipment industry mostly in California’s Silicon Valley. Since retiring in 2007, he has made a hobby of studying climate change. Ron received a BSEE degree from the Univ. of Michigan – Ann Arbor in 1978 and has held various management positions at both established semiconductor equipment companies and start-ups he helped initiate. Ron has authored/co-authored 55 patent applications, 24 of which have issued.

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250 thoughts on “What an Engineer Finds Extraordinary about Climate

  1. The human production figure is produced by the IPCC and is a gross figure. if you are talking about the impact you have to use the net figure and it is estimated we remove 50 percent of our annual production primarily with agriculture and forestry.

    Even if we use the 8 – 9 PgC shown in the table notice that is within the range of estimates of five of the natural sources. If we use the net figure it is within the range of estimates of all of them.

    Finally, I am confused by the claim of continued increase of atmospheric CO2. If the predicted cooling occurs then the oceans will cool and their capacity to absorb more CO2 will increase. Since they are the largest sink, it would appear the CO2 levels should decrease.

  2. Oh help, not again…

    Ronald, there are a lot of objections against what you wrote.

    – To begin with, the mass balance:
    Humans emit ~9 PgC/year as CO2. The whole biosphere is a net absorber of ~1 PgC/year as can be calculated from the oxygen balance:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/287/5462/2467.short

    and more recent:

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

    As about 4.5 PgC/year is the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, some 3.5 PgC/year must be absorbed somewhere by nature.
    Most natural sinks are quite slow and/or limited in capacity. One exception: the oceans, but the ocean surface is limited in capacity, due to the Revelle/buffer factor: ~0.5 PgC/year, some 10% of the increase in the atmosphere.
    The rest goes into the deep oceans: ~3 GtC/year. That is calculated from the (still sparse) measurements over all the oceans:

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

    The area weighted pCO2 difference air-ocean surface is 7 μatm, thus pushing more CO2 into the oceans than the oceans release…

    If the oceans are net absorbers of CO2 and the whole biosphere (plants, bacteria, insects, animals) is a net absorber of CO2, what then is the cause of the increase?

    – There is a pure theoretical possibility that the (seasonal) turnover over oceans/biosphere increased over time, thereby dwarfing the human contribution. But there is not the slightest indication that that happened, to the contrary: the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere slightly increased over time, which is an indication of a rather stable turnover for an increasing CO2 content in the atmosphere.

    – The seasonal and opposite short-term response to temperature (4-5 ppmv/°C) is caused by short term responses of vegetation to temperature changes:
    Seasonal:

    mainly as result of the growth and decay of extra-tropical vegetation in the NH.
    Short-term:

    mainly as result of temperature/rain patterns in the tropical forests.

    The longer term trend is NOT caused by vegetation, as the oxygen balance shows. Thus short term variability and long term trends are from separate processes.

    The long term response to temperature changes, from decades to multi-millennia is dominated by the oceans, as vegetation growth (temperature and area) in general responds with more uptake for higher temperatures.
    The average long term CO2 response to temperature is not more than 8 ppmv/°C, the drop of CO2 between the MWP and LIA is only ~6 ppmv for ~0.8°C drop:

    If we may assume a similar increase in temperature since the LIA, then the contribution of temperature to the CO2 increase is not more than 8 ppmv. The rest of the 100+ ppmv increase is from humans…

    See further:

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

  3. Tim Ball says:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:27 am
    ////////////

    The oceans have yet to cool.

    And if they do cool, it will be by fractions of a degree (hundredths, maybe even thousands of a degree, particularly at depth), and then there is the lag.

    May be the reason why we see a lag of about 800 to 1000 years in the ice core data, is that this is predominantly the oceaninic signal ie., the lag in absorbing/releasing CO2 in mass in response to temperature change which temperature change in the oceans is damped given their size and latent heat capacity.

    When people discuss rising CO2 emissions, I often retort, how have insect populations faired these past 50 or so years? These populations will not have stayed static, Our land use has driven away some of their predators, and warmer/milder winters lead to insect population increases etc.

    Many people do realise that insects account for more GHG emissions than does Man. It helps put the issue in perspective.

  4. This delightful article is exactly why I consider WUWT the world’s best website. It is informative, written in such a way that my limited scientific acumen can grasp, and it supplied new information to even this veteran of the climate wars.

    It’s so good that I want to attempt to have it reproduced in my local newspaper. You guys have my E-mail. Tell me what I or the paper have to do to reproduce.

  5. James 1:04
    P is Peta – an SI prefix meaning 10^15
    g is gram
    C is the chemical symbol for carbon
    So, 1PgC is 10^15 gram of carbon or 10^12 long tons in US units.

    M is mega, 10^6 1 million times
    G is Giga, 10^9 1 thousand million times (US billion)
    T is Tera 10^12 1 million million times
    P is Peta 10^15 1 thousand million million
    (Wiki is just fine on this)

    Remember that 12 g of carbon is 40 as carbon dioxide

  6. Excellent. I’ve never been able to understand why most people seem to assume rising CO2 is our fault, without supporting evidence. If rising CO2 really is an EFFECT rather than a cause of rising temperatures, it makes a mockery of the many articles describing “climate sensivity”.

  7. I don’t know if you had noticed, but the alarmists are currently moving away from global warming (probably because it isn’t happening) and are now screaming about ocean acidification.

    Whats the bet as the oceans cool and absorb CO2 they will be making more overtones that man made CO2 is now causing damage to the oceans.

    The alarmist religion won’t accept that it could be wrong, very wrong. So they simply find other things to scream about.

  8. Amazing how one engineer figured out what no one else has! But seems to not know what most atmospheric and biology scientists know. Carbon is a cycle, a balance. Net additions to the atmosphere don’t just “settle in” to the earth as part of that cycle, and thus leave levels where they otherwise were in the atmosphere.

    They rise. We add; they rise. Amazing that for over 800,000 years, basic carbon levels fluctuated around a couple hundred ppm in the atmosphere. And now, concomitant with man’s sudden couple hundred of years or so net additions (to changes in that carbon cycle through sink affect, and direct emittance), they have shot up to levels nowhere close to anywhere that they have been for the past eight hundred thousand years; and that are at least as high, according to scientific consensus, as anytime in the past couple of million. But this happened because after a million or more years, the earth simply, at the exact same microscopic pin prick of time time as mankind’s sudden addition to the atmosphere, added more back through completely natural, and independent channels.

    Is it possible to concoct a worse argument? Almost anything will be posted on this site, no matter how scientifically outlandish and misinformed, won’t it. So long as it “sounds good,” and so long as it advances the belief, and fills the desire to believe, that the so called climate change problem is not a significant one, or one that we in fact are inadvertently creating through outdated processes and assumptions.

  9. Oceans are net absorbers. They would be net emitters due to the warming if we hadn’t put an additional 120ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere since the LIA. But we have, and this change of the conditions is the key. If they weren’t net absorbers they would not be becoming less alkaline.

  10. Amazing how one engineer figured out what no one else has! But seems to not know what most atmospheric and biology scientists know. Carbon is a cycle, a balance. Gross additions and subtractions that are largely balanced out matter far less than non balanced net additions of a smaller fractional amount (as with almost everything in biology, nature, physics). And thus net additions to the atmosphere don’t just “settle in” to the earth as part of that cycle, and thus leave levels where they otherwise were in the atmosphere, but change that balance.

    And thus, they rise. We externally add; they rise. Amazing that for over 800,000 years, basic atmospheric carbon levels fluctuated, around a couple hundred ppm, loosely give or take. And now, concomitant with man’s sudden couple hundred of years or so net additions (to changes in that carbon cycle through sink affect, and direct emittance), they have shot up to levels completely different from anywhere that they have been for the past eight hundred thousand years. And that are at least as high, according to scientific consensus, as anytime in the past couple of million. But yet this happened because after a million or more years, the earth simply, at the exact same microscopic pin prick of time as mankind’s sudden addition to the atmosphere, suddenly added more back through completely natural, and independent channels.

    Is it possible to concoct a worse argument? It appears almost anything will be posted here. So long as it “sounds good,” and so long as it advances the belief, and fills the desire to believe, that the so called climate change problem is not a significant one, or one that we in fact are inadvertently creating through outdated processes and assumptions.

  11. Ronald D Voisin:

    Thankyou for your fine article that I enjoyed and I commend to others.

    You argue that the observed recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is a natural phenomenon. I don’t know if it is natural, anthropogenic (i.e. caused by humans), or some combination of natural and anthropogenic effects.

    I write to correct one of your points, and the correction adds to (n.b. it strengthens) your argument.
    You say

    We don’t know for sure that the oceans are net-absorbers or net-emitters at this time. Just as we don’t know for sure that the oceans are net-cooling or net-warming at this time. However, I have to say that it appears entirely plausible, and in evidence, that the oceans have recently been net-emitters (and largely, almost entirely, accountable for the current spike in atmospheric CO2). The Earth has been warming for ~150 years since the Little Ice Age (actually ~400 years since the coldest depths of the Little Ice Age). Regardless of their enormous thermal mass, the oceans have to respond to this thermal trend at some point (historically they respond vigorously at our current level of <800y least-count detection). And if they are warmed, the oceans will surely dump a component of their vast dissolved CO2 into the atmosphere (as they most likely have been).

    The oceans do not need to have “dumped” any CO2 into the atmosphere for the oceans to have caused the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. And the oceans could be either net-CO2 absorbers or net-CO2 emitters while being responsible for the rise.

    The reason for this is that the oceans in each hemisphere ‘pump’ CO2 into and out of the air as the hemispheric temperature varies with the seasons. This is the seasonal variation in atmospheric CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa.

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

    For each year, the annual rise is the residual of the seasonal variation. And the emission of CO2 to the air is much greater than the residual which forms the annual rise: the anthropogenic emission alone is equivalent to about twice the annual rise.

    So, there can be an annual rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration when total CO2 emission increases and the oceans increase their CO2 sequestration – so are net absorbers – but do not sequester all the increase.

    Of importance is that the dynamics of the seasonal variation clearly indicate that the sinks could sequester all the emitted CO2 of each year but the residual of the seasonal variation indicates that they don’t. At issue is why they don’t. This is explicable as a change in equilibrium between atmospheric CO2 and oceanic CO2 provided by changed temperature (i.e. recovery from the Little Ice Age, LIA). And that agrees with your argument when the oceans could be net-CO2 absorbers and also when the oceans could be net-CO2 emitters.

    Richard

  12. Sorry for apparently double posting. I didn’t realize the first comment had actually appeared. I also updated the comment and added more clarification, and took out anything that was possibly unnecessary or distracting in the conclusion.

    I’ve recently tried to address what the real issue with the poorly named “climate change” problem is, which is the multi million year level change in the collective impact of all long lived greenhouse gases, http://theworldofairaboveus.blogspot.com/2014/07/whats-really-problem-and-how-bad-and.html (along with the confusing role of the one super major but very short lived greenhouse gas. http://theworldofairaboveus.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-confusion-of-water.html ) That doesn’t just go away by then saying this change (putting aside the extreme mis-assessment of the basic biology asserted in the original post above) has bizarrely happened to perfectly coincide in a mere hundred or two hundred year period out of more than a million, with our additions that, whether one loves ‘em or hates ‘em, are pretty geologically radical.

  13. What you reported is blindingly obvious to many on the sceptic side but ignored by the climateer alarmists.
    Recent research has shown that volcanogenic CO2 is isotopically identical to that from fossil fuel use. Another blow to those of a nervous disposition.

  14. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Richard, you continue to surprise me with your logic. If I have understand what you are saying that would give in numbers (all in GtC/year = PgC/year):

    Case one, oceans are net absorbers (assuming zero contribution from the biosphere):
    increase in the atmosphere = human emissions + ocean emissions – ocean sinks
    4.5 GtC/year = 9 GtC/year + 87.8 GtC/year – 92.3 GtC/year
    4.5 GtC/year = 4.5 GtC/year

    Case two, oceans are net emitters:
    4.5 GtC/year = 9 GtC/year + 92.3 GtC/year – 87.8 GtC/year
    4.5 GtC/year = 13.5 GtC/year ???

    Of course, some unknown natural sink could be absorbing both the extra CO2 from humans and oceans, but that is certainly not vegetation, as that is a proven sink for not more than 1 GtC/year.

    But one need to mention that the equilibrium between oceans and atmosphere only shifts with 17 ppmv/°C, not the 100+ ppmv rise we see today. Humans have emitted 200+ ppmv in the same time frame…

  15. John Carter says:
    July 15, 2014 at 1:57 am
    Amazing how one engineer figured out what no one else has!

    No – “one engineer” has not “figured” anything out. Read Ferdinand Engelbeen’s post.

    The oceans are (currently) a net absorber of CO2. The biosphere, as a whole, is a net absorber of CO2. So where does the regular annual increase come from? . Here’s a clue: Atmospheric CO2 concentration increases by ~4.5 pgC each year. Humans emit ~9 pgC each year..

    The temperature increase since ~1850 *might* be responsible for a ~10 ppm increase in CO2. However, the actual increase is more like 120 ppm.

    The “one engineer” appears to have very little understanding of, for example, the 800 year lag. Mind he’s not alone in this. I’m often reading that the current CO2 increase is due to the lag since the MWP. Utterly staggering!

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:48 am

    Oh help, not again…

    That just about says it all, Ferdie,. You have a great deal more patience than me. Still, it could be worse we could get Bart along with his “mathematical model” which only works by continually changing parameters to reflect “changing climate regimes” or some such crap.

  16. One of the first comments I ever posted into was words to the effect of ‘the farmers did it’
    That’s me talking as a farmer (also a trained electronic engineer), on the ground, in the dirt and wondering what is happening to my land and to all my neighbor’s land.
    Of course they are all buoyed up by the UK Met Office where upon a record rainfall event in some tiny village somewhere in the UK is inevitably transformed into record rainfall for the entire country within days of the actual event. Chinese whispering ‘on speed’
    I hadn’t fully thought through it at the time but gradually more and more things dawned on me especially Paul Homewood repeatedly pointing out that rainfall trends are flatlined and as I found myself, English average temps have plummeted over the last decade.

    Microbial decay is the source of the increased CO2.
    The farmers did it starting just after WW2 when munitions factories manufacturing nitrate, overnight, became fertiliser factories. Nitrogen is *the* limiting nutrient for soil bacteria and farmers gave them, and continue to give them, shed loads of the stuff. We all know how the Mauna Loa CO2 graph ‘takes off’ in the mid 40s. Thats why.
    Also, in the spring-time, farmers bust their proverbial guts trying to warm up their land and hence extend their local growing season. Ploughing is the classical way, it massively reduces the albedo at a time when the sun is as high as it ever gets = May and June and when the baby plants get big enough to cover the soil. That is what the thermometers are recording. Put enough ‘locals’ together and you’ve got a regional, put regionals together and before long you’ve covered the entire country. Or, in the case of the farmers. 10% of the entire planet’s surface area. Also, the farmers go out of their way to remove excess moisture as it slows the warming process.
    Plus, as we all probably know in the case of plastic buckets, sacks, bags whatever, sunlight destroys organic molecules. It made them in the first place but when a high energy photon shatters a carbon carbon bond, there is always an oxgen molecule around to mop up the damage and produce yet more CO2. So it is with organic material on/near the surface of bare exposed soil.

    Our host here started with the idea of Urban Heat Islands – I suggest that those islands are floating in a Rural Heat Ocean.
    As for The Pause…. simple – Low Till agriculture is leaving a higher albedo in the springtime.

    Now, all we need is a long term record of soil organic content….
    You may address me now as King Peter of England = something more likely to happen innit.

  17. A helpful article. The biological contributions could be clarified since the categories in the table leave major gaps. The two most numerous multicellular organisms – crustaceans (marine copepods) and nematode worms (largely terrestrial) are missing. One expert on nematodes once said that if everything on earth disappeared except the nematodes, then the landscape of the earth’s surface including plants trees and many animals would still be visible, in ghostly outline. These guys are everywhere.

    Likewise ocean and microbes are separate categories but many of earth’s bacteria/microbes are marine. Craig Venter, one of the co-discoverers of the human genome, once scooped a bucketful of seawayrr from the Sargasso sea and, by dna/rna analysis, discovered tens of thousands of species of marine bacteria new to science. There are a million or more bacteria in each cc of seawater.

  18. John Carter:

    You begin your post at July 15, 2014 at 1:57 am and repeated at July 15, 2014 at 2:29 am July 15, 2014 at 1:57 am saying

    Amazing how one engineer figured out what no one else has! But seems to not know what most atmospheric and biology scientists know. Carbon is a cycle, a balance.

    NO! It is amazing that a troll would make so ignorant a statement.

    Firstly, the carbon cycle is never in “a balance”, and it varies in response to altering equilibrium state; e.g. see the seasonal variation.

    And we “figured out” this stuff long ago
    (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) )
    And Salby reached very similar conclusions to Ronald D Voisin by considering the same information.

    Our considerations showed that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration can be modelled as being a result of either natural or anthropogenic effects.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen makes considerations which lead him to think the rise is induced by the anthropogenic CO2 emission; see his post in this thread at July 15, 2014 at 12:48 am.

    Ronald D Voisin assesses the same – very limited – available data and agrees with Salby’s conclusion that the rise is a natural effect.

    And you fly in from Barsoom to show you know nothing about the subject but want to insult the above essay and its author.

    Richard

  19. Interesting.

    Stepping back yet more ammunition for the thesis that says that until you have eliminated all the alternatives and what ever is left is likely the truth, you have no right to condemn the accused.

  20. Just correcting Alan’s post, there are about 1 million grams in a ton, not 1000. So 1PgC is about 1 Billion (Giga) tons Carbon.
    HTH

  21. Pete in Cumbria says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:10 am

    Microbial decay is the source of the increased CO2.

    I don’t think so: every bit of CO2 released by microbes was captured a few months to a few years before by plants out of the atmosphere. Thus even if the cycle increased thanks to fertilizers and mulching, that doesn’t change the total balance, as the amount of CO2 captured by the increased crop yield increased too…

    But we have an alternative to see what the net result is of the biocycle: the oxygen balance. The net oxygen use caused by fossil fuel burning is known with reasonable accuracy. The reduction of oxygen in the atmosphere can be measured (be it at the edge of analytical possibilities). That shows that the biosphere as a whole is a net producer of O2, thus a net absorber of CO2 at ~1 GtC/year…

  22. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    re your post at July 15, 2014 at 3:04 am.

    Please read my post at July 15, 2014 at 2:47 am again because you have misunderstood it. I do not dispute that the oceans are probably net CO2 absorbers at present.

    Richard

  23. johnmarshall says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:02 am
    What you reported is blindingly obvious to many on the sceptic side but ignored by the climateer alarmists.

    It’s not blindingly obvious to me and I consider myself sceptical of CAGW (not necessarily AGW). Most sceptics accept that the increase in atmospheric CO2 since ~1850 is human-caused. That does not mean they think the result will be catastrophic warming.

  24. Slightly off topic, but interesting. I was looking at historic CO2 levels on Wiki and someone from Australia (Creative Commons Attribution) has added a Graph with text on the right hand side.
    The graph purports to show the relationship between CO2 and Temperature.
    It shows a 4 degree rise of temperature at 400ppm of CO2, which we have just reached with no increase in Temperature and at 550ppm shows a 9 degree increase in temperature which it states “A 550ppm CO2 level correlates to +9° C temperature rise, which was previously enough to trigger self-reinforcing climate change feedback loops leading to the Permian Extinction Event with 95% planetary die-off.”

    WOW we are all going to die when CO2 gets to 550ppm.

    Of course it totally ignores the CO2 Lag of Temperature rise shown on Wiki’s other graphs.
    How can they let that addition stand?

  25. johnmarshall says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:02 am

    Recent research has shown that volcanogenic CO2 is isotopically identical to that from fossil fuel use. Another blow to those of a nervous disposition

    John, that is not true: subduction volcanoes have an isotopical “fingerprint” of around zero per mil δ13C, deep magma emissions are around -4 to -7 per mil and fossil fuel burning around -24 per mil. The atmosphere is currently below -8 per mil and decreasing…

  26. Friends:

    So people are aware of the complexity which some claim to understand in the almost complete absence of quantification, I again post the following summary.

    Mechanisms of the carbon cycle

    The IPCC reports provide simplified descriptions of the carbon cycle. In our paper, Rörsch et al. (2005), we considered the most important processes in the carbon cycle to be:

    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).

    It is that temperature effect which Ronald D Voisin has promoted in his essay above..

    But the effect of temperature on atmospheric CO2 emission would be very different in an Ice Age because all the processes 1 to 7 and processes 8 and 10 would be different. There is no data which indicates seasonal variation in the last Ice Age and, therefore, the relationship of temperature and CO2 cannot be determined for that climate state.

    Richard

  27. Ferdinand Engelbeen cc John Finn

    You quote the Revelle factor, but then dump the missing carbon in the deep ocean despite it never apparently going through the surface.

    You do quote some sparse (low confidence) data for the deep ocean but then you seem highly confident with the result.

    It seems you may be missing something…

  28. Alan Bates says:
    July 15, 2014 at 1:23 am

    Remember that 12 g of carbon is 40 as carbon dioxide
    ________________________________________________________________________
    MW CO2 is 44

  29. Most interesting post, and most interesting comments thus far. Thanks to all, even the obvious propagandistic troll.

    However, many folks seem to be thinking that more CO2 in the atmosphere is possibly a Bad Thing(TM). Why would you think that? The temperatures in this interglacial have been going up and down for thousands of years. Consider the following chart of GISP2 ice core data for the last 10,000 years:

    The Minoan Warming was hotter than the Roman Warming. The Roman Warming was hotter than the Medieval Warming. The Medieval Warming was hotter than the modern temperatures (not sure if we can call it a warming or not). And note the hottest warming was about 8,000 years ago well before the SUV became affordable and well before the winners started writing histories.

    The temps go up and down regardless of mankind. Mankind does not make CO2 but only releases some that mother nature stored for future release. Why would we not welcome a much greener world that comes with more CO2 and warmer temperatures?

    How many species died out in the Minoan Warming anyway? How bad was it 3,000 years ago during that warming? The Tao Te Ching is thought to have been written around 3,000 years ago but it does not mention any hard times due to the warm weather. If the climate being much warmer was such a problem, why did the ancients not leave us horror stories of those times?

    Friends, and enemies also for that matter; the records reflect that mankind has precious little impact on the planetary climate. There does seem to be evidence that a warmer world causes a rise in CO2, but there is no evidence that is not a Good Thing (TM). And finally, if the world was really warming any at all, the government funded and controlled data sets would not have to be “adjusted” to hide the decline now would they?

  30. Man began increasing CO2 when he discovered fire. I think we shouldn’t be suckered into denying that atmospheric CO2 is increasing due to human activity. The argument is about what the increase does to the planet. Personally, I think the increase is good and the earth is breathing a little easier now. So to Mother Earth, I say, you’re welcome.

  31. tomcourt says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:38 am

    You quote the Revelle factor, but then dump the missing carbon in the deep ocean despite it never apparently going through the surface.

    The 7 μatm difference in CO2 pressure between atmosphere and ocean surface is the global average. In the tropical upwelling zone it is 350 μatm more CO2 pressure in the oceans vs. atmosphere and near the poles the opposite: 250 μatm more pressure in the atmosphere vs. the oceans. Thus the ocean surface near the poles is by far undersaturated. See:

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

    The polar waters are sinking in the deep keeping the extra CO2 with them and returning to the surface some 500-1500 years later. Both the deep sinks and sources are less than 5% of the ocean surface, largely bypassing the rest of the surface layer. The largest part of the ocean surface is quite isolated from the deep oceans, but has a fast exchange with the atmosphere.

    The ocean sink/source is partly seasonal, mainly the surface layer and partly continuous, mainly the deep ocean circulation. The latter is estimated at around 40 GtC/year, based on the reduction of the human δ13C “fingerprint” and the reduction of the 14C bomb test spike of the 1950’s. The ocean surface layer simply follows the atmospheric CO2 composition and levels…

  32. RH:

    At July 15, 2014 at 4:03 am you say

    Man began increasing CO2 when he discovered fire. I think we shouldn’t be suckered into denying that atmospheric CO2 is increasing due to human activity. The argument is about what the increase does to the planet. Personally, I think the increase is good and the earth is breathing a little easier now. So to Mother Earth, I say, you’re welcome.

    NO! You are confusing politics with science. And the politics and the science each says you are wrong.

    Human activities emit some CO2. That may be inducing a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration or it may not. An understanding of the carbon cycle is required to determine whether it is or not.

    Simplistic and silly arguments are applied to assert unjustifiable certainty that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is anthropogenic (i.e. results from human activities) or is natural. For example, there has been mention in this thread of the circular so-called ‘mass balance argument’. This ‘argument’ makes the improbable assumption that the carbon cycle was in balance (so unchanging) prior to the anthropogenic emission. The ‘argument’ then says the rise is more than the anthropogenic emission, and claims this must mean the anthropogenic emission caused the rise. But of course, it means nothing of the sort: it only means the ‘argument’ ASSUMED there would have been no change in the absence of the anthropogenic emission.

    Real science is needed to gain a much greater understanding of the carbon cycle.

    And that brings us to the politics.
    The anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis consists of three parts; viz.
    1.
    Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    2.
    The rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is overwhelming the atmospheric system to substantially increase the greenhouse effect (GHE).
    3.
    The increase to the GHE will result in harmful global warming (GW).

    There are reasons to doubt each of those three components, but if any one of them were found to be wrong then the entire AGW hypothesis would have been found to be wrong.

    So, in conclusion, the scientific and the political requirements each says that Point 1 should be questioned.

    Richard

  33. philjourdan says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:18 am

    The ice cores showed a 600-800 year lag between temperatures and CO2. And 800 years ago was the MWP.

    Yes, and that may give an increase of maximum 8 ppmv over the LIA, not the 100+ ppmv increase which we see today…

  34. philjourdan says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:18 am
    The ice cores showed a 600-800 year lag between temperatures and CO2. And 800 years ago was the MWP.

    Bingo! (the CO2 blog version, that is). In my post

    John Finn says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:05 am

    I made the following comment

    The “one engineer” appears to have very little understanding of, for example, the 800 year lag. Mind he’s not alone in this. I’m often reading that the current CO2 increase is due to the lag since the MWP. Utterly staggering!

    just over an hour later the inevitable happens ……

  35. Ferdinand:

    I apologise if this is a duplicate but my previous posting vanished and has still not appeared after nearly two hours.

    re your post at July 15, 2014 at 3:04 am.

    Please read my post at July 15, 2014 at 2:47 am again. It does NOT say the oceans are not a net sink. It says the oceans could be responsible for the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration if they were a net sink and also if they were a net emitter. I explain this but you only see things through your own understanding and this hinders your ability to appreciate other interpretations, and there are many possible different interpretations.

    Richard

  36. It’s certainly an intriguing idea that much or all of the modern CO2 increase was caused by natural warming, either by relatively short term warming of the oceans, increased biological activity or a longer term effect, typically with a lag of 800 years.

    But it seems to me it can be easily tested by measuring CO2 levels during the MWP. If there were no significant CO2 increases during the MWP then the modern CO2 increase was probably not natural, and was indeed man-made. If it was man-made, mankind should take the credit, because the warming has been of enormous benefit to humanity and the increased CO2 has also made the planet greener (though apparently the greenies don’t like the idea of a greener planet).
    Chris

  37. Reblogged this on gottadobetterthanthis and commented:
    For the record, I am moderately convinced we humans and our burning of so much carbon-containing fuel are responsible for a significant part of the increase in CO2 of the last few decades. However, if we try to stop burning, we will be killing and enslaving our fellow humans in the process. We must continue to produce more and cheaper fuel and electricity. Otherwise we are killing people today. Consider well. “Green” thinking pretends it will save people in the future, but it kills people today. We must continue to drill, frack, and burn while we can, today.

  38. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    In my post at July 15, 2014 at 3:35 am I wrote

    It is that temperature effect which Ronald D Voisin has promoted in his essay above..

    But the effect of temperature on atmospheric CO2 emission would be very different in an Ice Age because all the processes 1 to 7 and processes 8 and 10 would be different. There is no data which indicates seasonal variation in the last Ice Age and, therefore, the relationship of temperature and CO2 cannot be determined for that climate state.

    And I boldened it so it would be noticed by people who only skimmed that long post.

    But an hour later at July 15, 2014 at 4:35 am you write

    Yes, and that may give an increase of maximum 8 ppmv over the LIA, not the 100+ ppmv increase which we see today…

    No. As I explained, nobody knows what the difference between the two climate states would provide.

    You build on assumptions, assumptions, and assumptions.
    We need evidence which we don’t have.

    Richard

  39. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:34 am

    if any one of them were found to be wrong then the entire AGW hypothesis would have been found to be wrong.

    That is the fundamental problem with many skeptics: because it is one of the cornerstones of the AGW hypothesis, it must be wrong and that should be proven with all arguments possible, even the most absurd.

    This ‘argument’ makes the improbable assumption that the carbon cycle was in balance (so unchanging) prior to the anthropogenic emission.

    Nobody makes an assumption, the facts speak for themselves: the current natural variability around the trend, caused by vegetation, is +/- 1 ppmv over the past 50+ years:

    Ice cores can detect +/- 1.2 ppmv change over periods longer than their resolution, which is between 10 years and 600 years. Over the past 10,000 years, the whole Holocene, with a resolution of ~20 years, there is no outbreak of CO2 measured of more than a few ppmv. A sustained change of 2 ppmv over 20 years or a one-year peak of 40 ppmv would be detected. Even the worst case resolution would show the current increase of CO2 over the past 800,000 years…

    But even if there were larger variations in the past, that doesn’t change the fact that you can’t have human emissions and oceans emitting more CO2 than they absorb at the same time, except if you have another sink, for which is no proof.

  40. Chris Wright:

    At July 15, 2014 at 4:51 am you say

    But it seems to me it can be easily tested by measuring CO2 levels during the MWP.

    We cannot measure CO2 levels 1000 years ago because we lack a time machine.

    This goes to the crux of the vehemence with which some people champion the ice core data (which shows low CO2 in the MWP) while others champion the stomata data (which shows similar CO2 to now in the MWP). In fact neither of these two proxies provides a direct indication of past atmospheric CO2 concentration although each of them has usefulness.

    Richard

  41. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:35 am

    No. As I explained, nobody knows what the difference between the two climate states would provide.

    Richard, I indeed only skimmed your lecture, as you always repeat the same points, as good as I do… But your first point was already several times refuted, as that has nothing to do with the question of what caused the CO2 increase in the atmosphere:

    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.

    Simply said: the increase of human emissions over time has not the slightest interest for the increase in the atmosphere. Even if it was zero, the increase would still be 100% human if the rest of the atmosphere still remains a net sink, whatever the seasonal or year-by year ups and downs…

    There is no data which indicates seasonal variation in the last Ice Age and, therefore, the relationship of temperature and CO2 cannot be determined for that climate state.

    Again, the seasonal variation is not of the slightest interest for the carbon balance. What is of interest is that the whole earth shows a remarkable constant ratio between temperature and CO2 levels, until a few centuries ago: 8 ppmv/°C. That is the net result of all unknown natural processes, including seasons, year by year variability and the (very) long term changes in oceans and the biosphere during ice ages and interglacials…

  42. Just curious – plants undergo cellular respiration (releasing CO2) continuously, and only absorb CO2 during photosynthesis (presumably more CO2, on daily average, than is released during respiration). Rate of photosynthesis itself must be a complex function of temperature, insolation, and probably a bunch of other factors (light wavelength distribution? humidity? barometric pressure? nutrition?). As a gross example, increased cloud cover would presumably slow down PS and therefore cause higher local CO2 levels over vegetation-covered land. There’s a lot of green out there. Is the net rate of CO2 absorption (really a delta between two very large quantities) due to plants (daily, seasonally, as function of temperature) well understood? I would have thought uncertainties in this kind of factor would swamp man’s contribution…

  43. Dumb layman questions again: why should the ocean warm? If its rate of cooling reduces surely its rate of absorption of CO2 reduces? Doesn’t that imply an increase in atmospheric CO2?

  44. If we’re going to blame man for CO2 emissions we should start with the Egyptians.

    @Alan Bates…

    1PgC is 10^15 gram of carbon or 10^12 Kg of carbon or 10*9 metric tonnes.

  45. Chris Wright says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:51 am

    But it seems to me it can be easily tested by measuring CO2 levels during the MWP.

    Fortunately, we have a time machine which tells us that the CO2 levels during the MWP were a lot lower than today: ice cores:

    Richard doesn’t like ice cores, as they show that he is wrong. Ice cores give the exact average CO2 levels of any time in the 800,000 years past, be it always as a mixture of several years. Much can be learned from:

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

    The above ice core of Law Dome has a resolution of ~10 years and a repeatability of measurements of ~1.2 ppmv (1 sigma). That shows that the LIA had ~6 ppmv less than the MWP with a lag of ~50 years after the ~0.8°C temperature drop. Again some 8 ppmv/°C as over the full 800,000 years past. Thus the maximum warming since the LIA is good for only 8 ppmv CO2 increase, not the 100+ ppmv…

    BTW, stomata data have a much better resolution, but suffer from a local CO2 bias, which may change over the centuries, not reliable for absolute CO2 levels of the past…

  46. Ferdi,

    It goes like this:
    Atmos. Increase = Human + Natural Sources – Natural Sinks
    4.5 = 9 + ~400 – ~404.5
    However, if we were never here, microbes and insects would have more than made up the difference to yield something like:
    >4.5 = >409 – ~404.5

  47. Richard111 says:
    July 15, 2014 at 5:23 am

    Dumb layman questions again: why should the ocean warm? If its rate of cooling reduces surely its rate of absorption of CO2 reduces? Doesn’t that imply an increase in atmospheric CO2?

    If the temperature of the oceans increases worldwide, the emissions around the tropical upwelling places would increase and the uptake near the poles would decrease. That indeed will increase the CO2 levels in the atmosphere. But that increase will counter the releases and increase the uptake again, until there is a new equilibrium reached at about 17 ppmv/°C. Here for a sudden increase of 1°C:

    The remarkable point which seems forgotten here is that the ocean temperatures are not increasing anymore, now for over 17 years, but CO2 levels increased with over 10% over the same time frame…

  48. Ron Voisin says:
    July 15, 2014 at 5:39 am

    However, if we were never here, microbes and insects would have more than made up the difference to yield something like:
    >4.5 = >409 – ~404.5

    Theoretically possible, but I don’t think that would last for long as the microbes and insects run out of fuel… They only can break down what was captured first by vegetation out of the atmosphere. But what we see now is that if insects were involved, that would be a breakdown of about 1/3rd of all land vegetation (200 out of 600 GtC). Moreover: the whole biosphere, including bacteria and insects is a net sink for CO2, not a source, as the oxygen balance shows (the breakdown of vegetation in general needs oxygen. Anaerobic is possible but leads to methane which finally is oxidized to CO2).

  49. Keep in mind that:
    >4.5 = >409 – ~404.5 or A=B-C
    A is always stimulating C; C in turn stimulates B. So as long at A is finite and positive B and C keep growing (at least till a saturation event occurs).

  50. Years ago, Dr. Robert Essenhigh, a professor of Energy Conversion at Ohio State published an analysis making this case that increased atmospheric CO2 is caused by warmer temperatures, not the other way around.

  51. BTW,

    A vegetative sinking saturation event occurs every time the Earth transitions from warming to cooling to yield:
    >>4.5 = ~409 – <<404.5
    Hence the prediction of my essay.

  52. Reading through the above just show us again that we still have some way to go before we arrive at “settled climate science”.

  53. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    July 15, 2014 at 12:48 am

    If the oceans are net absorbers of CO2 and the whole biosphere (plants, bacteria, insects, animals) is a net absorber of CO2, what then is the cause of the increase?

    If the bold portion of that statement is correct, then how can there be an increase?

    Since we can measure the increase, this might suggest that, perhaps, the bold portion of that statement can not be correct.

    Just sayin’.

    Much of what Ronald D Voisin states seems to fall in the common sense category. Alarmists will not like that.

    /grin

  54. Speaking of 800 years lag-time…
    Why is it that the Mauna Loa observations show a yearly oscillation of approx. ±3 ppm if not because the biomass capture-decay mechanism is working quite fast ?

  55. Thanks to richardscourtney for dealing with the objections from those who underestimate the effect on CO2 amounts of warming and cooling of the oceans.

    Ferdinand’s mass balance argument relies on unproven assumptions and he places too much faith in the ability of ice cores to record past variations adequately.

  56. The reduction of Oceanic pH could well be due to the shift in the carbonate bicarbonate reaction as carbonate becomes less soluble for higher oceanic temperature.

    This means the carbonate activity increases, creating higher bicarbonate activity, in turn causing more dissociation of carbonic acid. That leads to reduced CO2 solubility.

  57. Reading the arguments put forth by those supporting the IPCC view of the carbon cycle is quite entertaining, especially when nice, neat simple “balance” equations are shown. The trouble is, all these measurements have large uncertainties on the gross fluxes, assumptions about what is active in order to estimate net flux and some are just based on climate models. Some numbers are adjusted in order to get the numbers to balance. The caption for the IPCC carbon cycle figure 6.1 inlcudes the following (quite small print, my bold):

    The change of gross terrestrial fluxes (red arrows of Gross
    photosynthesis and Total respiration and fires) has been estimated from CMIP5 model results (Section 6.4). The change in air–sea exchange fluxes (red arrows of ocean atmosphere gas exchange) have been estimated from the difference in atmospheric partial pressure of CO2 since 1750 (Sarmiento and Gruber, 2006). Individual gross fluxes and their changes since the beginning of the Industrial Era have typical uncertainties of more than 20%, while their differences (Net land flux and Net ocean flux in the figure) are determined from
    independent measurements with a much higher accuracy (see Section 6.3). Therefore, to achieve an overall balance, the values of the more uncertain gross fluxes have been adjusted
    so that their difference matches the Net land flux and Net ocean flux estimates.
    Fluxes from volcanic eruptions, rock weathering (silicates and carbonates weathering reactions
    resulting into a small uptake of atmospheric CO2), export of carbon from soils to rivers, burial of carbon in freshwater lakes and reservoirs and transport of carbon by rivers to the
    ocean are all assumed to be pre-industrial fluxes, that is, unchanged during 1750–2011.

    The numbers are huge, there are multiple fluxes but apparently we know the actual net fluxes for all of them to a startling level of precision. For example, net anthropogenic land flux is apparently known to be -2.6 +/- 1.2 and the net natural flux is -1.7 (but no uncertainty is given) but the actual fluxes are estimated as Gross Photosynthesis -123 and Total Respiration and Fire as +118.7. There are no error bars attached to nay of them in AR5, but they state the uncertainties are +/-20%. The number a re a nonsense and could be hiding large sources and sinks in the fluxes. without stating the uncertainties, those balance arguments are just nonsense.

  58. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    At July 15, 2014 at 5:15 am you say to me

    Again, the seasonal variation is not of the slightest interest for the carbon balance.

    Ferdinand, yet again you metaphorically put your fingers in your ears and shout, “I’m not listening! I’m not listening!”
    But repetition does not change blatant nonsense into sense.
    The annual rise of each year is the residual of the seasonal variation: if there were no residual of the seasonal variation each year then there would be no rise at all.

    And that is why you iterate the circular – and daft – ‘mass balance argument’.

    I again provide this link to the Mauna Loa data.

    The graphs in the link show the seasonal variation has a saw-tooth form. This form shows no reduction to rate of reduction as the sinks for CO2 fill. The atmospheric CO2 falls at near constant rate until the season changes and the net sequestration switches to net emission. That is observed reality and it is not possible according to your model of the atmospheric CO2 rise. Your model says the sinks are filling so they fail to sequester about half of the anthropogenic emission. But the saw-tooth form of the seasonal variation clearly shows the sinks do NOT fill. As I have already said in this thread, the issue to be resolved is why the sinks do not sequester all the CO2 of the seasonal variation each year when the dynamics of the seasonal variation indicate they can.

    And your only – but often repeated – response to these observations is to claim “the seasonal variation is not of the slightest interest for the carbon balance”. That response is equivalent to asserting that nobody should examine the curtain and they should listen to the Mighty Oz.

    And I take severe exception to your two falsehoods when you write at July 15, 2014 at 5:35 am saying

    Richard doesn’t like ice cores, as they show that he is wrong. Ice cores give the exact average CO2 levels of any time in the 800,000 years past, be it always as a mixture of several years.

    I DO “like ice cores”. At July 15, 2014 at 5:02 am I wrote

    This goes to the crux of the vehemence with which some people champion the ice core data (which shows low CO2 in the MWP) while others champion the stomata data (which shows similar CO2 to now in the MWP). In fact neither of these two proxies provides a direct indication of past atmospheric CO2 concentration although each of them has usefulness.

    I stand by the ice cores providing useful proxy data and I point out that you are an extreme example of a champion of the ice cores which you pretend act like are sample bottles.

    Richard

  59. Earl Rodd says:
    July 15, 2014 at 6:07 am

    “Years ago, Dr. Robert Essenhigh, a professor of Energy Conversion at Ohio State published an analysis making this case that increased atmospheric CO2 is caused by warmer temperatures, not the other way around”.

    A discussion of this is found over at the CO2 Science website:

    http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N31/EDIT.php

  60. Ferdinand Engelbeen,

    Back to confidence, in light of the high variance -250 uAtm to 350 uAtm to come up with a net figure of 7uAtm ( signs may not agree, and u=mu). Is there sufficient measurement accuracy and spacial and temporal resolution to state 7 uAtm with confidence? Are all measurements using a direct uAtm, or are pH or some other factor being used as proxies?

  61. Was there a rise in atmopheric CO2 during the Medieval Warming Period? … during the Holocene Optimum? … during the Eemian interglacial when global temperatures were at least 3 C above our current levels and for many thousands of years at that level during that interglacial? The ice core data will confirm or negate your theory, Mr. Voisin.

  62. John Peter says:

    Reading through the above just show us again that we still have some way to go before we arrive at “settled climate science”.

    No, it just shows the ridiculous extent to which people will deny overwhelming scientific evidence in favor of what they want to believe.

    REPLY: Or, your comment illustrates your stubborn insistence that climate science is infallible in the face of overwhelming failure of model projections to bear fruit – Anthony

  63. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    I admit to being exasperated by your repeated pretences in this thread that we have not previously debated issues.

    At July 15, 2014 at 5:48 am you write

    The remarkable point which seems forgotten here is that the ocean temperatures are not increasing anymore, now for over 17 years, but CO2 levels increased with over 10% over the same time frame…

    No, the remarkable point is that you ignore the fact that alterations to atmospheric CO2 concentration result from equilibrium states of the carbon cycle which are never achieved.

    Some processes of the carbon cycle are very rapid with rate constants of minutes, hours and days. The seasonal variation occurs because these rapid processes respond to adjust towards the equilibrium state(s) which vary with the time of year.

    Other processes of the carbon cycle are very rapid with rate constants of years, decades and centuries. The observed continuing rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration occurs because these slow processes are responding to adjust towards the equilibrium state(s) which were established by global temperature rises in the last century.

    At issue is whether the anthropogenic emission is a dominant, or a significant, or a trivial input to the alterations to equilibria of the carbon cycle. This is a rephrasing of my point (repeatedly stated above) saying the issue to be resolved is why the sinks do not sequester all the CO2 of the seasonal variation each year when the dynamics of the seasonal variation indicate they can.

    Richard

  64. JimS:

    At July 15, 2014 at 7:16 am you say

    Was there a rise in atmopheric CO2 during the Medieval Warming Period? … during the Holocene Optimum? … during the Eemian interglacial when global temperatures were at least 3 C above our current levels and for many thousands of years at that level during that interglacial? The ice core data will confirm or negate your theory, Mr. Voisin.

    No. The ice core data lack adequate temporal resolution to do as you suggest. In theory the stomata data could but it is too sparse.

    Richard

  65. JohnWho says:
    July 15, 2014 at 6:28 am

    If the bold portion of that statement is correct, then how can there be an increase?

    That is Le Châtelier’s principle: any disturbance of an equilibrium will be reacted on to restate the equilibrium. In the case of an extra CO2 input by humans the equilibrium reacts by increasing the sinks and decreasing the sources. That makes that halve of the human input (as quantity) per year is removed by oceans and vegetation. That is a matter of atmospheric CO2 pressure vs. CO2 pressure in the ocean surfaces and CO2 pressure in plant alveoli vs. the speed of removal by photosynthesis.

    Both reactions are not fast enough to remove all extra CO2 in the atmosphere at once.

  66. Print a “pro-AGW” piece and only the skeptics jump on its faults. Print a skeptical piece and EVERYONE, skeptics included, attack its faults. Seems to me that indicates many skeptics are looking for “scientific truth” for its own sake while most others in the fray are simply promoting an agenda.

  67. Ocean temperature increase or decrease depends on what you are measuring. Solar IR is what heats the oceans down to about 700 m, more if the water is crystal. Judith Curry provides a great summary related to ocean heat content (OHC) and especially whether or not heat is hiding anywhere. Well worth a read. And will give anyone with a lick of sense pause before saying one thing or another about ocean temperatures increasing or decreasing. Or playing hide and seek.

    http://judithcurry.com/2014/01/21/ocean-heat-content-uncertainties/

  68. Ron Voisin says:
    July 15, 2014 at 6:20 am

    Keep in mind that:
    >4.5 = >409 – ~404.5 or A=B-C
    A is always stimulating C; C in turn stimulates B. So as long at A is finite and positive B and C keep growing (at least till a saturation event occurs).

    I think you underestimate the difference in processes and time frames…

    A indeed is stimulating C, but the current 210 GtC (100 ppmv) above setpoint of the total earth’s CO2 process gives only ~1 GtC/year extra uptake by the biosphere and ~3,5 GtC/year by the oceans. Thus it is not the 4.5 GtC extra which caused the increase of C, it is the total increase.
    Further, B can’t be larger than C over longer term if bacteria and insects are the cause, they live from C.
    B also can’t be much larger than C for prolonged times if the oceans are the cause, as for each 1 K temperature increase the equilibrium between oceans and atmosphere increases with 17 ppmv. Thus when reaching the 17 ppmv extra, B is in equilibrium with C.
    Last but not least: the current increase in the atmosphere is ~4.5 GtC/year with human emissions at about 9 ppmv/year. The increase over a deglaciation needs 5,000 years or a difference between B and C of 0.042 GtC/year…

  69. Michel says:
    July 15, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Speaking of 800 years lag-time…
    Why is it that the Mauna Loa observations show a yearly oscillation of approx. ±3 ppm if not because the biomass capture-decay mechanism is working quite fast ?

    Different processes at work: the seasonal and year by year variations are dominated by vegetation. The long term variations are dominated by the (deep) oceans…

  70. John Carter,

    Regarding your

    http://theworldofairaboveus.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-confusion-of-water.html

    How much confusion is there when water vapor has declined simultaneously with the pause.

    http://www.climate4you.com/GreenhouseGasses.htm

    Do not the climate models all fail because they depend upon increased atmospheric water vapor?
    There is no dispute that atmospheric water vapor has declined.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=water+vapor+declines&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=XEXFU8mbH4jooASNtYHgDA&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=809

    IMHO as a layperson water vapor appears to be the smoking gun.
    Yet rarely is it discussed proportionate to it’s most significant status.

  71. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:34 am

    NO! You are confusing politics with science. And the politics and the science each says you are wrong.
    Human activities emit some CO2. That may be inducing a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration or it may not.

    Firstly, I could most definitely be wrong; it happens all the time. But I can assure you I am not confusing politics with science.
    I suppose that I could be wrong about human activity causing an increase in total atmospheric CO2. But if you are asserting that adding something doesn’t increase the total, then it is incumbent on you to prove that.

    richardscourtney also says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:34 am

    And that brings us to the politics.
    The anthropogenic global warming (AGW) hypothesis consists of three parts; viz.
    1.
    Anthropogenic CO2 emissions are causing the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration.
    2.
    The rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration is overwhelming the atmospheric system to substantially increase the greenhouse effect (GHE).
    3.
    The increase to the GHE will result in harmful global warming (GW).

    There are reasons to doubt each of those three components, but if any one of them were found to be wrong then the entire AGW hypothesis would have been found to be wrong.

    My opinion here is that you are simply wrong about point one. I think that is the one truth upon which the entire AGW deception has been built. Facts are facts and we should accept them regardless of our individual politics.

  72. Mark Stoval (@MarkStoval) says:
    “How many species died out in the Minoan Warming anyway? How bad was it 3,000 years ago during that warming? The Tao Te Ching is thought to have been written around 3,000 years ago but it does not mention any hard times due to the warm weather. If the climate being much warmer was such a problem, why did the ancients not leave us horror stories of those times?”

    Because it was a very cold period for the temperate zone, and was when the Minoan culture went into decline, along with many other cultures at the time.

    Chinese tree ring proxies also show a cold dry period then. It was though the warmest period in through the Holocene in the Greenland proxy.

  73. tomcourt says:
    July 15, 2014 at 7:14 am

    Back to confidence, in light of the high variance -250 uAtm to 350 uAtm to come up with a net figure of 7uAtm ( signs may not agree, and u=mu). Is there sufficient measurement accuracy and spacial and temporal resolution to state 7 uAtm with confidence? Are all measurements using a direct uAtm, or are pH or some other factor being used as proxies?

    The measurements are direct from equilibrating seawater with a small amount of air by spraying or bubbling. CO2 levels then are measured in the air and the pressure calculated for the real water intake temperature. Most (of the meanwhile 2 million) measurements were from sea ship surveys, others from fixed stations and buoys.
    Agreed, still sparse, but the few fixed stations (and the surveys over time over the same areas) all show the same increase of DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) over time, thus the average flux is from the atmosphere into the oceans, not reverse.

    The methods used can be found at:
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/introduction.shtml and following pages.
    The longer series at Bermuda and Hawaii are here:

    http://www.biogeosciences.net/9/2509/2012/bg-9-2509-2012.pdf

    http://www.pnas.org/content/106/30/12235.full.pdf

  74. From an engineering perspective you could have stopped simply by saying that since the earth’s climate has been for stable and habitable for millions of years through multiple massive disturbances that it must have some incredibly powerful negative feedbacks.

    I’ve actually started using AGW as a gauge of engineering ability. Whenever I hear an engineer spouting the dogma (especially the consensus numbers) I instantly know they are a trained monkey and not a true engineer.

  75. This brings to mind one of the problems I have had with “the greenhouse effect” from the beginning. The fact that CO2 lags temperature has been stated many times – this post being yet another. IF CO2 acted, in some way, as a “climate control,” which is what the true believers of the AGW religion are saying, it would appear to my way of thinking, at least, that CO2 acts as a brake on warming. Granted that there may not be causation shown here, but there might be as well. If CO2 rises after temperature and gets to a high enough level as to brake the rise. then it would not be inconceivable that it would continue to rise while the temperature levels and starts to fall. Once the temperature is falling at a fast enough rate, the oceans again start to absorb the excess CO2 and the CO2 starts dropping, again towards that level where it stops depressing the temperature and again allowing the temperature to start a slow rise again.

    Why is it assumed that CO2 only captures heat from the Earth and re-emits it back toward the Earth? Yes, it can, but why wouldn’t it also be capturing heat inbound to the Earth and re-emitting it back towards space as well? I know there are all sorts of “theories” as to what exactly is happening in climate, and many of them are somewhat supported by data to a degree. Don’t have any degrees, but you don’t have to have degrees to think, just to add weight to your thoughts. Still, sometimes a fool can see the truth an educated man overlooks, and sometimes he’s just a fool. Sometimes, though, th educated man turns out to be the fool.

  76. ThinkingScientist says:
    July 15, 2014 at 7:05 am

    You are right that no individual fluxes are known to better than +/- 20%. The points is that we don’t need to know them at all. We know with reasonable accuracy how much humans emit per year. We know with high accuracy how much CO2 increases in the atmosphere. This simply shows that the increase in the atmosphere is less than what humans emitted for every year in the past 50+ years.

    One can invent a lot of reasons that humans are not to blame for the increase in the atmosphere, but then you only fool yourself and undermine other, much more important arguments of skepticism against emerging catastrophes from CO2 in the eyes of people who want to know the arguments of both camps…

  77. Tom O says:
    July 15, 2014 at 8:34 am
    … Why is it assumed that CO2 only captures heat from the Earth and re-emits it back toward the Earth? Yes, it can, but why wouldn’t it also be capturing heat inbound to the Earth and re-emitting it back towards space as well? …
    —-
    This and all your other basic questions are answered in the “mainstream” literature, you just have to go and look for it. To answer that specific question, CO2 is transparent to the short wavelengths of radiation that come from the Sun but somewhat opaque to some of the longer wavelengths emitted by the Earth.
    Seek and ye shall find – but at least try some “mainstream” sources. WUWT is at best a “non-standard” resource.

  78. @Ferdinand – Well said.

    Many “skeptics” are guilty of the kind of thinking from this old lawyer joke, “Your Honor, I will show first, that my client never borrowed the Ming vase from the plaintiff; second, that he returned the vase in perfect condition; and third, that the crack was already present when he borrowed it.”

    Really, you don’t have to argue that the CO2 increase is not anthropogenic if you are also going to argue that CO2 does not cause warming and thirdly that warming is not a bad thing.

  79. RH:

    At July 15, 2014 at 8:25 am you reply to my having said

    Human activities emit some CO2. That may be inducing a rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration or it may not.

    by saying

    I suppose that I could be wrong about human activity causing an increase in total atmospheric CO2. But if you are asserting that adding something doesn’t increase the total, then it is incumbent on you to prove that.

    Well, I saw a small boy urinating in the ocean. I am certain this has no discernible effect on sea level, but if you are asserting that adding something doesn’t increase the total, then it is incumbent on you to prove that.

    Actually, we are both wrong in those demands.
    Any addition is a contribution but it may or may not discernibly affect the observed value of the total which is greatly varying for a variety of reasons.

    You are content with your political stance governing your view that there is no need to determine the cause of the atmospheric CO2 rise since the Little Ice Age. I will continue to adhere to what the science does and as yet does not indicate.

    Richard

  80. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 7:38 am

    No. The ice core data lack adequate temporal resolution to do as you suggest. In theory the stomata data could but it is too sparse.

    Richard, this is pure nonsense from your side: the worst resolution is from the Vostok ice core, about 600 years over the past 420,000 years. Despite that, it clearly shows the increase of CO2 over the previous deglaciation, as that lasted over 5,000 years and even the lag of CO2 after temperature of 800 +/- 600 years can be deduced from that ice core:

    With an Eemian interglacial, lasting near 15,000 years, there is not the slightest doubt that the resolution is more than adequate to see what the CO2 levels were: 290 ppmv at maximum temperature, which was 3°C higher than today, but 110 ppmv CO2 less…

    The better resolution (~20 year) Law Dome ice core shows the difference between the MWP and LIA: 6 ppmv for ~0.8°C. A resolution by far adequate to show the difference over periods of 200 years and more.

    • Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
      July 15, 2014 at 5:35 am
      Ice cores give the exact average CO2 levels

      Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
      July 15, 2014 at 9:05 am
      the worst resolution is from the Vostok ice core, about 600 years over the past 420,000 years

      So hows that “exact” work again? it is exact when you miss the point, but a 600 year average when you are called to task?

  81. JohnB:

    I see that at July 15, 2014 at 8:56 am you also proclaim that politics should displace science.

    You say

    Really, you don’t have to argue that the CO2 increase is not anthropogenic if you are also going to argue that CO2 does not cause warming and thirdly that warming is not a bad thing.

    Nobody has to argue that the CO2 increase is not anthropogenic or is not natural. The only reason for doing that is to advocate a position. And I note that you begin your post with what you say is an “old lawyer joke”. Lawyers advocate and scientists don’t.

    The carbon cycle is almost completely not understood and, therefore, the science does not exist which can resolve the question of whether the CO2 rise has a natural cause, or an anthropogenic cause, or some combination of anthropogenic causes.

    Richard

  82. Ferdi,

    It takes some great hubris to know these numbers with the accuracy and precision you claim.
    Look at the seasonal variation for heaven’s sake. We have only been examining the Greening of Earth for a only few short years yet we see a remarkable uptick. And if you Green the planet, you will surely stimulate huge increases in microbial, insect, frozen terrestrial, forest fire and mammalia emissions. A certainly stimulates C. C certainly stimulates B. Finite and positive A drives B and C up (and quickly). C will rapidly saturate at a temperature transition.

    I stand by the prediction that predicated on the prediction that the Earth has recently begun to cool and assuming that some appreciable level of cooling (0.1-0.3 degree C) takes place over the next several years, atmospheric CO2 is going to spike hard in the coming years. And before it stops spiking it will likely attain an annual contribution level appreciably larger than the then-current anthropogenic emission.

    Lastly, the ice-core CO2 proxy clearly underestimates the magnitude of spiking events.

  83. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Thank you for your informative post.

    There are many industrial processes that use ‘scrubbers’ where water soluble gas is passed through generated mists of water that absorb the soluble gas out of the air.

    The world has a natural variant of this called clouds. It is possible that the surface area of cloud droplets exceeds that of the surface area of the oceans. Many of the cloud droplets will fall as rain – scrubbing the atmosphere of CO2 and taking that CO2 to the surface. So your item 3 – cold ocean surfaces, should include atmospheric precipitable water. It is likely that Henry’s law has an effect on the rain as it does on the oceans so the amount of CO2 scrubbed out by warm rain will be less than cold rain. However, this continual scrubbing of the atmosphere means that the CO2 taken to the surface as weak carbonic acid must either immediately be released back as CO2 from warm surfaces, be absorbed on cooler land, added to a solution in the oceans or taken up and used by the biosphere.
    What tropospheric CO2 will NOT do is float around in the troposphere for centuries. It will always be a case of a balance between emission and absorption but all the tropospheric CO2 will be absorbed and taken to the surface far more regularly than appears to be the assumption in the posts above.

  84. Ronald: Focusing only on natural and anthropogenic emission of CO2 is crazy. Uptake is critical. Did the businesses you started and take into account only expenses (“emission of money”), or did they decide whether they were profitable by considering expenses and revenue (“uptake of money”). This essay is as idiotic as running a business by looking only at expenses.

    If you look at the amount of CO2 in ice cores from the Holocene (last 15,000 years), you will see gradual rise from about 260 ppm to 280 ppm. This is a change of about 1 ppm per millennium. So we know that the emission and uptake of CO2 on the planet were in equilibrium during this period of stable climate. It doesn’t make any difference whether total annual emissions are 200 PgC or 2000 PgC per year; natural emission equalled natural uptake when CO2 was about 270 ppm. It is irrelevant whether microbes, insects or volcanos emitted more CO2. The LIA, the WMP and other periods of climate change did not have a significant effect on this equilibrium. So far, the current warm period not significantly different from past warm periods that didn’t change atmospheric CO2 levels appreciably.

    For 15,000 years, the “CO2 business” has been remarkably stable: revenue = expenses (including dividends). This stability allows us to ignore the problem that our accountants (scientists) are unsure how much revenue was coming from what sources (microbes or insects, for example) and equally unsure about expenses. Whatever revenue and expenses were, they were in balance. Even though I don’t track all of my income and expenses, my stable bank account tells me they are roughly in balance. I may spend a bit more at Christmas and decomposing plant material may emit more CO2 during winter, but this didn’t effect the balance over 15,000 years.

    Today, man is emitting a little less than 10 PgC per year (mostly from burning fossil fuels); enough to raise CO2 levels by 4 ppm per year. We observe only a 2 ppm per year increase, so we know that nature is now taking up about 5 PgC more than it emits. If we stopped burning all fossil fuels, atmospheric CO2 would start falling at 2 ppm per year. So we know precisely what has happened. As man has burned fossil fuels, atmospheric levels of CO2 have gradually risen, slightly tipping the previous balance towards more uptake than emission. CO2 has risen to 400 ppm rather than 500 ppm.

    You are completely correct when suggesting that small changes in natural emissions and uptake COULD have a big effect on atmospheric CO2. This did happen during changes between glacials and interglacial and in the more distant past. However, ice core records PROVE that natural variability was INSIGNIFICANT for the past 15,000 years (except for last century when man has burned a significant amount of fossil fuel). When – if ever – temperature rises well outside the range experienced during the Holocene, changes in natural emission and uptake of CO2 could become larger than the changes man has produced. If we slash and burn every tropical rain forest, the situation could change. But these theoretical possibilities haven’t occurred yet.

    The only reliable information connecting CO2 to climate change comes from laboratory measurements of the infrared absorption spectrum of CO2 and some other physics.

  85. Stephen Wilde says:
    July 15, 2014 at 6:43 am

    Thanks to richardscourtney for dealing with the objections from those who underestimate the effect on CO2 amounts of warming and cooling of the oceans.

    The CO2 amounts from warming oceans are exactly known: 17 ppmv/°C increase. That is all. With the opposite reaction of vegetation, that is 8 ppmv/°C. The temperature increase since the LIA is maximum 1°C…

  86. Ferdinand:

    At July 15, 2014 at 9:05 am you accuse me of “nonsense” then post nonsense.

    You admit the Vostock ice core data has a resolution of ~600 years. That means it is at best an average value over 600 years. Well, take the average atmospheric CO2 value of the last 600 years and – according to you – it would be much lower than the present ~400 ppmv. And that ignores the ice core data indicating values that are at least 15% too low as is indicated by the stomata data.

    You then switch to the Law Dome ice core data and say

    The better resolution (~20 year) Law Dome ice core shows the difference between the MWP and LIA: 6 ppmv for ~0.8°C. A resolution by far adequate to show the difference over periods of 200 years and more.

    Assuming the 20 year resolution is true (I doubt it because fern sealing would be longer but I will ignore that) then you have 20-year smoothing which would also reduce recent values if it were applied to them. The ice core data give low values, and you are assuming the ice core data can be used as measurements and not proxies.

    The stomata data also should not be used as measurements (although they are nearer to calibrated measurements than the ice core data) but they show much higher CO2 values and much higher CO2 variability than the ice core data. Indeed, the stomata data suggest there is nothing unusual about the present atmospheric CO2 variation in the Holocene but – as I said – the stomata data are too sparse for that suggestion to be a clear indication.

    Richard

  87. Ron Voisin says:
    July 15, 2014 at 9:07 am

    atmospheric CO2 is going to spike hard in the coming years. And before it stops spiking it will likely attain an annual contribution level appreciably larger than the then-current anthropogenic emission.

    Are you really sure that CO2 will go strongly up if the temperature drops? I remain quite skeptic, to say the least.

    I do agree that ice cores can’t capture small short spikes like we see over the seasons or between years as these are not more than +/- a few ppmv and level out within the resolution of the ice cores. But that is quite different from a 100+ spike over 160 years, which would be visible even in the worst resolution ice cores…

  88. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 8:58 am

    “You are content with your political stance governing your view that there is no need to determine the cause of the atmospheric CO2 rise since the Little Ice Age. I will continue to adhere to what the science does and as yet does not indicate.”

    I don’t recall saying that that there is no need to determine the cause of the atmospheric CO2 rise since the Little Ice Age. I don’t even recall thinking it. But to deny that people are the most likely cause of the recent increase in CO2 is simply not reasonable. Your political view that you must refute every statement ever made by a global warmist is clouding your judgment.

  89. Frank:

    I see that your post at July 15, 2014 at 9:10 am makes the claim – also championed by Ferdinand – that ice cores act like sample bottles.
    You say

    If you look at the amount of CO2 in ice cores from the Holocene (last 15,000 years), you will see gradual rise from about 260 ppm to 280 ppm. This is a change of about 1 ppm per millennium. So we know that the emission and uptake of CO2 on the planet were in equilibrium during this period of stable climate. It doesn’t make any difference whether total annual emissions are 200 PgC or 2000 PgC per year; natural emission equalled natural uptake when CO2 was about 270 ppm. It is irrelevant whether microbes, insects or volcanos emitted more CO2. The LIA, the WMP and other periods of climate change did not have a significant effect on this equilibrium. So far, the current warm period not significantly different from past warm periods that didn’t change atmospheric CO2 levels appreciably.

    Sorry, but that is assumption based on assumption.

    Ice cores “capture” CO2 because falling snow solidifies to form the solid ice. The solidification takes decades. During those decades the ice exists as ‘fern’ with open porosity.

    The fern takes several years to solidify to form solid ice which ‘traps’ the air containing CO2. The IPCC suggests the solidification takes 83 years and David Middleton suggests 30-40 years in an article on WUWT

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/07/a-brief-history-of-atmospheric-carbon-dioxide-record-breaking/

    The air and its CO2 will be ‘smeared’ throughout the fern prior to the fern becoming solid ice. This ‘smearing’ is induced by diffusion and physical mixing of the air entrained in the fern. Atmospheric pressure varies with the weather, and the pressure variations will act to expand and contract the entrained air to physically mix air entrained in the fern.

    The effect of the ‘smearing’ smooths the observed time series of atmospheric CO2 obtained from the ice core. The smearing is similar to conduct of a running mean on CO2 measurement data from ice which solidified in each single year.

    The smoothing is severe.
    If the IPCC is right that solidification takes 83 years then the Mauna Loa data cannot be compared to the Vostock ice core data: the measurements of atmospheric CO2 at Mauna Loa have only been conducted for the 55 years since 1958. And if Middleton’s minimum closure time estimate of 30 years is correct then fluctuations similar to the rise in the Mauna Loa data would be more than halved in the ice core data.

    Also, temperature is not the only reason for a change to the equilibrium of CO2 concentration between ocean and air. Beck’s data suggests that short-term (i.e. less than 40 years) ‘spikes’ in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have happened in the recent past (e.g. 410 ppmv around 1940) and the fluctuations are not always directly related to temperature: see

    http://www.bing.com/search?q=Beck+CO2&forSHMHP&mkt=en-gb&qs=n&sk=&pc=MATB&x=115&y=19

    Such short-term variations would not be discernible in the smoothed ice core data. And there are possible explanations for them.

    Richard

  90. RH:

    OK. I have read your post at July 15, 2014 at 9:37 am.
    I now ‘get your measure’.

    You don’t remember your own words and you make unfounded accusations of bias. Indeed, the accusation is silly because my view is NOT opposition to an anthropogenic cause( such as that of Salby, or Bart or &etc.) but is adherence to the science. My view is published in peer revciewed literature and demonstrates that an anthropogenic or a natural cause cannot be rejected.

    Troll elsewhere. I am not biting.

    Richard

  91. M Simon:

    At July 15, 2014 at 9:50 am you write

    I’m going to ask again: What caused the Little Ice Age?

    Many people want to know but nobody does.

    My preferred explanation is variation in ocean currents moving energy between tropics and the poles. A small reduction in tropical temperature(s) would alter the radiation balance with resulting increase to global temperature.

    Richard Lindzen has a similar view that movements of ocean heat could be the cause of all observed warming from the LIA.

    Richard

  92. M Simon says:
    July 15, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I’m going to ask again: What caused the Little Ice Age?
    ———————————————–
    What caused the little ice age? A little ice.

    But seriously we have to remember we gave that name to a time period of cooler weather and while we may see it as significant, the earth certainly does not. The bigger question is what is the extent of natural variation over a given time period. A century of cold to the earth is no more significant than an hour of cold weather to a butterfly. What causes an hour of cold weather. Well several things. In other words humans should expect the earth temperature to naturally vary from a little ice age to a medieval warm period over the course of a few centuries. That is the norm. And back to your original question. The answer is really nothing, just the earth being normal.

  93. JohnB says: Really, you don’t have to argue that the CO2 increase is not anthropogenic if you are also going to argue that CO2 does not cause warming and thirdly that warming is not a bad thing.

    The crazy thing John, is that all are true. That’s how upside down this political mess is.

    The increase isn’t anthropogenic (i.e. 98% natural).
    The increase isn’t going to cause significant warming (observe the pause).
    A little warming is likely to be beneficial (the IPCC admits that +2C is beneficial).

    Which one would you focus on?
    Better yet, which would you ignore? And for what reason?

  94. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Thank you! But that is the biggest hole in the AGW argument. Without an explanation of the cooling how is it possible to know that the opposite cause didn’t cause the warming?

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

    My take is that it is the obvious one (given the correlation with other cooling periods) – The Sun.

    Analysis: Solar activity & ocean cycles are the 2 primary drivers of climate, not CO2

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/analysis-solar-activity-ocean-cycles.html

  95. And note: Just because TSI is insufficient, the Sun is not ruled out. We as yet do not know ALL the effects of solar variability. Of which TSI is just one component.

  96. The amount of outright guesswork with which this argument is being conducted is astonishing. For instance, what is the volcanic out put of CO2? You see a figure offered, but has it any ground in reality? We have very little data on volcanic emission of CO2, and as far as I am aware, all from terrestrial sources. We have very little – next to no – data on volcanic eruptions on the sea floor. We have only a very weakly supported guess at the number of active volcanoes on the sea floor, especially those located off the rift zones. Recently, I have seen estimates that range from over a million to as many 3 million active undersea volcanoes based upon extrapolation from samples in the Pacific. A 2013 post on WUwT pointed out that the estimates of volcanic CO2 output had increased six fold in 20 years from 100 million to 600 million tons:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/11/16/another-known-unknown-volcanic-outgassing-of-co2/

    That estimate is still lower than the output attributed to human activity, but it points up the truth, which is that as our understanding of the situation on the sea floor increases, the full scale of our real lack of knowledge appears to increase as well.

    Another profound misunderstanding lies in the idea of the carbon “cycle”. The cycle as such exists only at short time spans and is illusory. Worse, it assumes an equilibrium state for which there exists no geological evidence. While talking “trends” is a problem, the best available geological data indicates that over the Phanerozoic, atmospheric carbon has trended strongly downward. It bottomed out in the Carboniferous and Permian, very close to modern levels. A recovery is visible in the Mesozoic reaching about half the Paleozoic levels, but by 175 million years ago the decline had reasserted itself. The massive weight of geological evidence is that without events such as the volcanism accompanying the formation of the Siberian traps, and perhaps massive releases from clathrates, geological and biological sequestration of carbon outweighs production. One extinction scenario that I have not seen advanced for the Permian event is that living systems pushed carbon availability so low that primary production very nearly ceased. The Geocarb III error envelope captures the primary production failure range during the Permian. It is worth considering that at present we are only a bit more than 200 ppm above the same failure at present.

  97. I would like to share my experience in examining IPCC, NASA and NOAA web sites as best as I can recall them.

    In or around 2005, IPCC came out with their analysis of CO2 fluxes and concluded that anthropogenic emission was 8% of the natural flux.

    Next NASA rung in citing the IPCC work and concluded that they agreed with the IPCC ordering of the players but that based on NASA’s magnitudes, anthropogenic emission was not more than 2% of the natural flux.

    Then NOAA cited both works; agreed that NASA’s analysis was more likely correct as regards the terrestrial emission evaluated by both IPCC and NASA; but then went on to caution that oceanic flux was huge, overriding and not currently estimable in the net. NOAA explained that by their laboratory analysis, +/-0.5C in mean oceanic temperature would drive as much as 220PgC out of or into the oceans and promised a follow-up study on the oceanic net.

    The next thing I observed was they all folded their tents on the issue with DOE continuing to cite small portions of NASA and NOAA’s previous work.

    STRANGE!!

  98. Ferdinand,
    “Oh help, not again…”
    Indeed. Sorry, I don’t have time to participate in yet another silly discussion about atmospheric CO2 increasing from natural processes. Ferdinand, you prove again you are a stronger man than I. Good luck.

  99. Ronald D Voisin says:
    July 15, 2014

    When we examine the seasonal variation in atmospheric CO2 we see an indisputable clockwork signature. Some ask about this variation: What processes start net CO2 production in September and end net production in May? – As this is how the seasonal variation seemingly goes.
    —————

    And a good place to “see” that clockwork signature is via this modified Keeling Curve graph with included equinox lines, to wit: http://i1019.photobucket.com/albums/af315/SamC_40/keelingcurve.gif

    And please note that said “clockwork signature” has been steady and consistent, each and every year, for the past 48 years from 1958 to 2006 … and continues to be steady and consistent on the newer graphs through to June 2014 ….. making it 56 years in succession.
    ==============

    Ronald D Voisin says: “But a much better way to ask the same question is: What CO2 sequestering process slows beginning in September and doesn’t recover till May?
    —————–

    That is not necessarily a “better way” to ask that question simply because it is likely to bias one’s thinking ….. and therefore prompting them to respond with a false or wrong answer to said question.

    Which, in my learned opinion, is exactly why your answer to your own question is false and/or wrong, whichever, ….. to wit:
    =================

    Ronald D Voisin says: “And the answer would be photosynthetic sequestering of the majority Earthly vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere.
    —————-

    First of all, the proponents of CAGW have been mimicking that very same “photosynthetic sequestering” claim for nigh onto 10+ years now ….. and in my learned opinion it is not based in/on reality or actual factual science. There are several problems with it that NEGATES it being a “truism”.

    First of all, given the highly variable week-to-week, month-to-month and year-to-year weather and temperature ….. there really never has been anything “steady and consistent” associated with the photosynthetic sequestering by the growing biomass in the Northern Hemisphere,

    And secondly, said photosynthetic sequestering of CO2 begins in February in the southern latitudes of the NH and progresses northward thru late June to early July. And by mid to late August the majority of all photosynthetic sequestering of CO2 by the once active growing biomass has substantially decreased if not terminated due to the decrease in daylight hours, lack of moisture and/or the decreasing near-surface temperatures. Once the non-woody biomass produces it seeds, and/or recharges its root system with “sugars”, it will terminate its growth activities and “die off”.

    And thirdly, the majority of all rotting and/or decaying of dead biomass in the NH pretty much “tracks” the photosynthetic sequestering of CO2 by the live biomass from February to mid to late August. Thus, the live biomass is absorbing atmospheric CO2 and the rotting biomass is emitting CO2 into the atmosphere, ….. yet the atmospheric CO2 ppm steadily decreases from mid May through to the end of September, every year, year after year, as defined by its indisputable clockwork signature.
    ===================

    Ronald D Voisin says: “How can it be made clearer that CO2 is currently rising and varying for natural cause?
    —————-

    Well now, IMHO, …it can not be made any clearer, …. except for the fact that it IS NOT the photosynthetic sequestering of CO2 by the live biomass, nor the emissions of CO2 by the rotting and decaying of dead biomass …. that is responsible for the “steady and consistent” rising and falling indisputable clockwork signature of atmospheric CO2 ppm quantities.

    I have yet to see anyone point out a true “signature” in the Mauna Loa CO2 record that defines a specific year or multi-year “drought event” or whatever that severely curtailed biomass growth in the NH.

    Until proven otherwise via actual, factual scientific evidence I will continue to attribute said “indisputable clockwork signature” as being the product of, to wit:

    Ronald D Voisin stated: “Notes: The annual oceanic (CO2) release estimate above is modeled (from laboratory experiment by NOAA) and would arise only if and when the oceans begin to follow a 0.5oC per century temperature rise profile (as they most likely have been).

  100. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Richard, again you are telling nonsense.

    The Vostok ice core shows an average over 600 years. For the recent 600 years, that would show an increase of about 15 ppmv above the previous measurements. That is NOT “too low” as you insist, as the 400 ppmv is not over the total 600 years.
    The ice core gives the exact average (within the accuracy of the measurements) over the 600 years. If the stomata data show a different average over the same time frame, then the stomata data are wrong, which was the case on several occasions.

    As such a 15 ppmv spike is not seen anywhere in the 420,000 years (800,000 years for Dome C) compared to the equilibrium 8 ppmv/°C ratio between CO2 and temperature, it is clear that the current increase is an anomaly and not a natural spike.

    then you have 20-year smoothing which would also reduce recent values if it were applied to them

    That is even proven wrong: there is an overlap of ~20 years between South Pole data and the Law Dome ice cores data: the averaged ice core data are within a few ppmv of the direct measurements:

    although they are nearer to calibrated measurements than the ice core data

    What? compare the above ice core graph and direct measurements to the calibration graph of stomata:

  101. Ferdinand,
    If you truly believe that we have a better than 2% accuracy in our understanding and measurement of the natural carbon cycle then I have a piece of land I’d like to sell you.

    As a chemical engineer I have experience in mass and energy balances. On even a relatively simple pilot plant with known reactions, known masses in and out and where energy inputs and outputs are measured and where the degree of instrumentation and it’s accuracy is typically much higher than would be expected on a full scale facility, then claiming an accuracy in excess of 1-2% would be a credibility stretch.

    This for me is the crux of the AGW proposition, we are trying to measure a signal that is swamped by noise, and uncertainty, of both the known, and more importantly the unknown, variables of the natural processes.

  102. clue from a layman = sunlight is the FULL spectrum of light, those claiming the INCOMING doesnt have the long wave forms are WRONG.

    also the concept that co2 REVERSES the movement of the IR waves from the earth is rather strange? the clear natural movement is AWAY from the earth, so when released by the co2 molecule the IR wave would continue its natural movement towards space, there is NOTHING in co2 the give it the power to REVERSE the natural movement of the IR waves.

  103. Dear Samuel C Cogar,
    It’s not easy to imagine that the mean ocean temperature could vary much seasonally. And droughts tend to average out over the globe (or even the NH). Nonetheless, there probably is a component of the variation coming from the oceans.

  104. philjourdan says:
    July 15, 2014 at 11:00 am

    So hows that “exact” work again? it is exact when you miss the point, but a 600 year average when you are called to task?

    What you measure in ice cores is a weighted average over several years: more from recent years (as the pores remain open during decades) than from older years. How many years depends of the snow accumulation rate. For high accumulation rates as at Law Dome (1.2 m ice equivalent per year) that takes 40 years to completely seal the bubbles, but the average included air is mainly from the last 10 years. Still an exact measurement of a mix of 10 years of air. NOT a proxy, like stomata data which need calibration with direct measurements.

    For each ice core different accumulation rates apply, which makes that several ice cores overlap each other in resolution and maximum period back in time:
    For the past 300 years:

    For the past 1,000 years:

    For the past 10,000 years:

    For the past 150 kyears:

    And finally for the longest record: Dome C over 800 kyears:

    I still wonder why some skeptics insist that the last 150 years are entirely or partly or even probably natural (even if the increase completely parallels human emissions), while it is obvious from the ice core data that this is a complete anomaly from 800,000 years of data.

    • @Ferdinand Engelbeen – And I wonder why you think that none of it is, when the ice cores clearly show that some of it probably is.

      You have a tainted sample which you refuse to acknowledge, so your extrapolations are also tainted. And therefore not very ‘exact’ – which you have now admitted.

      I merely pointed out the source of some of the taint. You ASSUMED then it was responsible for all of it.

  105. I’m beginning to get that “deliberate mistake” feeling again – something obvious is just not getting mentioned. Trouble is, this time I not only don’t know what it is, I don’t know which side is hiding it…

  106. “When we examine the seasonal variation in atmospheric CO2 we see an indisputable clockwork signature. Some ask about this variation: What processes start net CO2 production in September and end net production in May? – As this is how the seasonal variation seemingly goes.”

    It’s not that simple.

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=996

    Here we see what appears to be a very close match between ice area and atm CO2. Since the surface temperature if and ice/water mix is very constant, it is the area of exposed water that determines the amount of CO2 absorbed by the cold artic waters. When much of the water surface is cut off in the winter, there is the countering effect of the unfrozen but cold north Atlantic waters that show maximum absorption when coolest. This opposes the slower ice area changes in winter leaving a rather flat top to the CO2 variations.

    There is no discernable lag in the summed suggesting it is equilbrating rapidly.

    Don’t make the mistake of thing MLO is whole storey.

  107. Can someone confirm or refute my take?
    I asked earlier July 15, 2014 at 8:19 am
    about what I believe has long been the smoking gun fatal flaw in AGW.
    Water vapor failing to increase as the IPCC and climate models require for AGW to be valid.

    http://www.climate4you.com/GreenhouseGasses.htm

    Do not the climate models all fail because they depend upon increased atmospheric water vapor?
    There is no dispute that atmospheric water vapor has declined.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=water+vapor+declines&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=XEXFU8mbH4jooASNtYHgDA&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=809

    Doesn’t the IPCC theory depend upon fossil fuel CO2 emission increases triggering water vapor increases to cause the actual man made warming?
    Without the increased water vapor they cannot claim their theory works.

    I understand some alarmist scientists point to surface humidity increases with the implication that is the same thing as the atmospheric water vapor increase.
    It is not.
    In truth atmospheric water vapor has declined while the additional surface humidity has also never been shown to be caused by increased CO2.
    Because increased atmospheric CO2 does not cause increased surface humidity.
    Without the additional atmospheric water vapor there is no CO2 warming.
    As CO2 is added to the atmosphere the upper troposphere dries. The record shows that has happened.
    If the absolute humidity of the upper troposphere, (where the greenhouse effect warms the surface) has DECLINED.

    Why isn’t this a more predominant part of the skeptic’s case?

  108. Ferdi: “I still wonder why some skeptics insist that the last 150 years are entirely or partly or even probably natural (even if the increase completely parallels human emissions)”

    Perhaps because it doesn’t. Your graph shows over 1/2of the rise happening before 1950 ( as well I can tell from your graph). That is not the proportion of anthro CO2 emissions.

  109. Re July 15 2014 at 1:23 am
    Both commenters are correct:
    Mark July 15, 2014 at 3:19 am 1 (metric) tonne (close to a long ton) is 1000 kg or 1,000,000 g
    Bob Greene July 15, 2014 at 3:39 am M Wt of carbon dioxide is 12+16+16 = 44

    My apologies. If a Moderator wishes to I would be very happy for changes to be made to the original post. It will save confusion and cover my blushes!

  110. Steve Oregon:

    Your question about water vapour is a major part of the sceptic case: it is the ‘hot spot’ issue. But this thread is about CO2.

    Richard

  111. We’re on track with questioning the sources ofCO2. The Maunaloa record bothers me: dual hemisphere but one peak/trough (plus minor bump, okay).

    Th NAmerican growing season doesn’t match well enough in my opinion;I suspect regional Pacific degassing/absorption is more significant terrestrial plants, including agricultural stuffs, stop growing in August but mature into late September. Decomposition is limited by cold; even wine stops fermenting at 5 to 10 C. And where is the Amazonian/Congo signal? For the “lungs” ofthe planet, where is the rhythm of breathing?

    The moreyou look, the less the CAGW narrative holds together.

  112. “The only value that can be estimated with high accuracy is the anthropogenic contribution”

    Really? is it known how much CO2 the billions of engines and other devices output in atmosphere and what happen to it afterwards with high accuracy, how? is there a rate meter in all of them? Or it is done with assumptions of assumptions that many times in science is not unexpected to lead to double values or half values of the real one?

  113. Mike Singleton says:
    July 15, 2014 at 11:12 am

    If you truly believe that we have a better than 2% accuracy in our understanding and measurement of the natural carbon cycle then I have a piece of land I’d like to sell you.

    As a (retired) chemical engineer myself I would never say or even imply a 2% accuracy in the understanding of any individual flux in the carbon cycle. There are some rough ideas about the seasonal and year by year fluxes based on O2 and δ13C changes over seasons to a few years variations. The main cycles are about 90 GtC in and out of the oceans (50 GtC seasonal, 40 GtC continuous) and about 60 GtC in and out of the biosphere. The two seasonal fluxes are in countercurrent, which makes that globally the change is only 5 ppmv (10 GtC) from peak to valley for a global change of 1°C. The seasonal variation is dominated by (the NH) vegetation.

    The complete cycle largely cancels out at the end, but there is a remaining increase and a year by year variability. The year by year variability again is dominated by (tropical) vegetation at 4-5 ppmv/°C (8-10 GtC/°C), opposite to the seasonal variation.

    But both cycles are NOT the cause of the increase in the atmosphere, as vegetation is a long-term sink for CO2, not a source.

    Then we have human emissions. Based on sales (taxes) and burning efficiency we have a pretty good idea how much fossil fuel CO2 is emitted by humans within +1/-0.5 GtC/year or +10%/-5% of the emissions (more underestimated than overestimated…). Land clearing only adds to that, but I never include it as that is more speculation than real.
    And we have the measurements at Mauna Loa and a lot of other places all over the world: accurate to better than 0.2 ppmv or better than 0.05% of full scale…

    Thus without any knowledge of any individual carbon flux, we know the end result: nature was a continuous sink for CO2 over the past 55 years:

    No matter if any individual flux increased or decreased, ceased or doubled… No matter if the natural cycle was 10 or 100 or 1000 GtC in and out each year…

    What is remarkable is that the natural variation is quite small: +/- 1 ppmv (2 GtC) around the trend. Maybe because the main players oceans and vegetation react in countercurrent to temperature, or the reactions are too small or too slow…

  114. Greg Goodman says:
    July 15, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Perhaps because it doesn’t. Your graph shows over 1/2of the rise happening before 1950 ( as well I can tell from your graph). That is not the proportion of anthro CO2 emissions.

    The ice cores end in 1980 at about 335 ppmv. We are currently at 400 ppmv…

    Here the combined ice core – firn – Mauna Loa CO2 graph compared with the emissions:

    I forgot to include an offset at 1900 for both, but I think the “parallel” is quite good. If you plot that against each other:

  115. I have always thought that the recent CO2 rise is anthropogenic. However I am curious why the CO2 increase is so smooth with a constant gradient. IF there is a large component from human input, I would expect to see variations in industrial CO2 output reflected in the CO2 curve. Some kind of signature. But there is none. This for me raises a question mark over whether the recent CO2 rise really is anthro.

    I would actually be disappointed if it is not anthro. We need to be able to increase CO2 to keep it safely above the dangerous lower limit of about 200 ppm, below which plant growth is compromised.

    The huge danger of CO2 starvation cannot be overestimated. It has the potential to cause extinction of life on earth.

  116. AlexS says:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    Alex, there is a quite good estimate possible: taxes on fuel sales. Best case accurate, worst case underestimated by under the counter sales…

  117. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    At July 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm you write

    What is remarkable is that the natural variation is quite small: +/- 1 ppmv (2 GtC) around the trend. Maybe because the main players oceans and vegetation react in countercurrent to temperature, or the reactions are too small or too slow…

    What is remarkable is that anybody would make such a bogus claim!

    This is the Mauna Loa data and it shows the variation within each year is more than 5 ppmv. Are you really trying to claim that the seasonal variation is not natural?

    I draw your attention to my post above at July 15, 2014 at 3:35 am where I wrote

    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.

    That statement derives from the magnitude of the seasonal variation.

    Richard

  118. phlogiston says:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:37 pm

    I would expect to see variations in industrial CO2 output reflected in the CO2 curve. Some kind of signature.

    The human CO2 output doesn’t change with more than 0.2 ppmv from year to year, including the increase over time and temporarily economic crises. As about halve the change remains in the atmosphere, the variability caused by human emissions is below the detection limit of CO2 at Mauna Loa or other stations…

  119. richardscourtney says: July 15, 2014 at 12:06 pm
    Steve Oregon:Your question about water vapour is a major part of the sceptic case: it is the ‘hot spot’ issue. But this thread is about CO2.

    Thanks richard. I understand that.
    However, with CO2 increasing and atmospheric water vapor declining there can be no AGW warming simply due to the fact that water vapor is far more significant greenhouse gas.

    Increasing a trace gas while reducing the dominate gas must cause cooling.
    Should it not?

  120. There is another source of oxygen: photodissociation of water vapor into hydrogen and oxygen at high altitude by solar ultraviolet radiation. The hydrogen preferentially migrates to higher altitudes and eventually is lost to space (like helium). Oxygen remains (more massive, thus slower molecule).

    The production of oxygen by photosynthesis is a persuasive mechanism only if you do not look at the life cycle of a plant. As it grows, it consumes carbon dioxide and water and minerals to produce tissue and oxygen. When it dies, its tissue decomposition (oxidation) consumes oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water and minerals. It all has to balance. I don’t see how there can be a net excess of anything at the end. (Don’t forget the little closed cycle plant displays, in goldfish-bowl-like containers. If there was a net production of oxygen, the display would eventually crack open because of the pressure. In fact, they do not change. There is no net generation of oxygen.)

    What about coal? Yep, that’s a difference: when plant matter can be sequestered from the environment that would normally oxidize it, it stays as plant matter (maybe with the water squeezed out). Then there will have been a net production of oxygen, but we get castigated when we try to restore the natural balance by burning the coal! It just ain’t fair.

    Another possibility might be “plant” life that consumes sulfur from suboceanic volcanic vents and gives off oxygen. (A nasty job, but somebody has to do it.)

  121. Steve Oregon:

    Thankyou for your clarification in your post at July 15, 2014 at 12:46 pm.

    As to your question, I can only answer that I don’t know.
    My answer is not an evasion. It is that I have not assessed the matter so I honestly have no idea.

    But, as you say, it seems to make intuitive sense that, “Increasing a trace gas while reducing the dominate gas must cause cooling.”

    Richard

  122. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Richard, I was talking about the remaining natural variability after a full seasonal cycle. The 150 GtC in and out doesn’t add or subtract any CO2 of the atmosphere, as long as the ins and outs are equal. The emissions are not 2% of the natural variability, they are 200% of the natural variability.

    It is like saying that your savings to a local bank are 2% of the total turnover, while your savings are 200% of the annual profit of the bank. I would recommend to look for another bank…

  123. Tom O says:
    July 15, 2014 at 8:34 am
    Why is it assumed that CO2 only captures heat from the Earth and re-emits it back toward the Earth? Yes, it can, but why wouldn’t it also be capturing heat inbound to the Earth and re-emitting it back towards space as well?

    It’s not an assumption it’s an observation.
    The wavelengths which CO2 absorb only constitute a very small fraction of the incoming sunlight but are a major constituent of the outgoing IR. The CO2 molecule is excited for a time which is longer than the collision time, the rotation time and the vibration time, so the direction in which a photon is emitted is essentially random compared with its initial direction, therefore 50% up, 50% down.

  124. Duster says:
    July 15, 2014 at 10:27 am

    “Another profound misunderstanding lies in the idea of the carbon “cycle”. The cycle as such exists only at short time spans and is illusory. Worse, it assumes an equilibrium state for which there exists no geological evidence.”
    __________________
    Life’s fate looks a lot like limestone.

  125. Phil sorry but NOT 50% up and 50% down, there is NO directional push given it is just released again without being pushed in ANY direction……..and the OUTgoing IR wave has only a small portion of it impacted by co2 around 13% the rest of the IR waves goes right on by the co2 or 87% of the outgoing ir waves are NOT impacted by co2 at all.

  126. philjourdan says:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Phil, I don’t understand what you mean.
    – ice cores can be used for direct measurements of CO2 content, as well as for a lot of other gases.
    – ice cores gas bubbles are averages of several years: ranging from 10 years over the past 150 years to 20 years over the past 10,000 years to 560 years over the past 800,000 years.

    With a resolution of 10 years and a repeatability of 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma) we can reproduce the past 150 years which show a strong increase of CO2 completely in parallel with human emissions. The increase is sufficiently huge to show up even in the worst resolution ice core over the past 800,000 years. But there is no such previous increase observed.

    So what is the problem?

  127. Doug Proctor says:
    We’re on track with questioning the sources ofCO2. The Maunaloa record bothers me: dual hemisphere but one peak/trough (plus minor bump, okay).

    The triangular appearance of MLO annual variation can be fitted pretty well with two cycles:

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

    Annual variation in CO2 at MLO appears to be a combination of a 12 month and 6 month cycle plus a long term rise.

    The 12mo seems to be primarily NH/Arctic driven

    http://climategrog.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=996

    the 6mo tropical: sun passes over tropics twice per year.

    Artic variation is about 16 ppmv pk-pk compared to 6 ppmv at MLO.

    Unless some idiot wants to claim this is “arctic amplification” of CO2 , the much larger amplitude would suggest that is the causal end of operation.

  128. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    July 15, 2014 at 7:47 am

    JohnWho says:
    July 15, 2014 at 6:28 am

    If the bold portion of that statement is correct, then how can there be an increase?

    That is Le Châtelier’s principle: any disturbance of an equilibrium will be reacted on to restate the equilibrium. In the case of an extra CO2 input by humans the equilibrium reacts by increasing the sinks and decreasing the sources. That makes that halve of the human input (as quantity) per year is removed by oceans and vegetation. That is a matter of atmospheric CO2 pressure vs. CO2 pressure in the ocean surfaces and CO2 pressure in plant alveoli vs. the speed of removal by photosynthesis.

    Both reactions are not fast enough to remove all extra CO2 in the atmosphere at once.

    Well, but why then is the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 since 1950 (considered about the time human emissions began making a difference) about the same as it was in the prior 100 years?

    What happened in late 1949 that changed and made the increase only anthropogenic?

    I would (just thinking out loud) think that we could plot the atmospheric CO2 rate of increase from 1850 to 1950 (again, because that is the “magic” year) and project it through this year. Any observed increase from that projection of natural increase might then be attributed to human emissions, although not necessarily. But to attribute all to humans post 1950 when it was all natural prior just doesn’t pass the “sniff” test nor does it obviate Occam’s Razor.

    Just wonderin’…

    • @JohnWho

      I would (just thinking out loud) think that we could plot the atmospheric CO2 rate of increase from 1850 to 1950 (again, because that is the “magic” year) and project it through this year.

      BINGO! Thank you for the clarity of you question.

  129. Ferdi says: The ice cores end in 1980 at about 335 ppmv. We are currently at 400 ppmv…

    Here the combined ice core – firn – Mauna Loa CO2 graph compared with the emissions:

    =====

    Well since you never provide data sources and your spreadsheet “charts” are so unclear we are always left guessing. Thanks for the clarification.

    I’m not sure what “temperature” refers to but if you integrate SST (accumlate outgassing) it starts to look rather like accumulated emissions and atm CO2 as well.

  130. Bill Taylor says:
    July 15, 2014 at 1:08 pm
    Phil sorry but NOT 50% up and 50% down, there is NO directional push given it is just released again without being pushed in ANY direction……..and the OUTgoing IR wave has only a small portion of it impacted by co2 around 13% the rest of the IR waves goes right on by the co2 or 87% of the outgoing ir waves are NOT impacted by co2 at all.

    Sorry you need to learn some physical chemistry. The absorbed energy excites the rotational and vibrational motion of the molecule, the axis of that motion changes by the time a photon is emitted resulting in a randomization wrt the original direction.
    Less than 1% of the incident solar radiation is greater than 4microns so CO2 doesn’t have the capability to absorb significant incoming compared to the outgoing IR.

  131. JohnWho says:
    July 15, 2014 at 1:36 pm

    I haven’t plotted the 1850-1900 data, as the increase of CO2 in that period is quite small: about 10 ppmv over 50 years or 0.2 ppmv/year. But I have the (estimated) human emissions 1900-1960 compared to ice core CO2 increase (Law Dome):

    That shows that about 58% of human emissions (as quantity) remains in the atmosphere.
    Then I have the 1960-current comparison of emissions and direct measurements in the atmosphere of Mauna Loa and the South Pole:

    Again a straightforward ratio of 53-56% between increase in the atmosphere and human emissions.

    Thus in my opinion, both the pre-1950 and post-1950 CO2 increases are from human emissions…

    The climate model(ler)s are of the opinion that the influence of human CO2 on the temperature increase is only measurable after 1950, that means that according to them the temperature increase 1910-1945 is mostly natural and 1975-2000 is mostly CO2 induced, but that is a quite different discussion…

    • @Ferdinand Engelbeen

      Thus in my opinion, both the pre-1950 and post-1950 CO2 increases are from human emissions…

      2 things. First, your opinion is not shared by many alarmists as JohnWho correctly points out, no one is faulting pre 1950 Anthropogenic CO2 for anything.
      Second, the contention that rising CO2 results in runaway GHG is disproven by your opinion. There was a continuous rise from 1900 to 1950, which you believe was man made, yet temperatures rose and fell. That is not a correlation. So what magic flipped a switch and caused anthropogenic CO2 to start affecting temperatures after some houdini date?

  132. Phil you in no way addressed my valid point there is NO directional push, there is nothing to send that new ir wave towards the earth…..the colder body is UP not down.

  133. Bill Taylor says:
    July 15, 2014 at 2:04 pm
    Phil you in no way addressed my valid point there is NO directional push, there is nothing to send that new ir wave towards the earth…..the colder body is UP not down.

    Not a valid point, the presence of a colder body has nothing to do with it! The molecule has no way of knowing what the temperature field is around it, it is in an excited state and decays to the lower state by emitting a photon. It matters not a whit to the molecule whether the photon hits a rock in the Sahara at 130ºC or the sun at 5,500ºC, once it’s emitted it’s on it’s own.

  134. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Your post at July 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm says in total

    richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    Richard, I was talking about the remaining natural variability after a full seasonal cycle. The 150 GtC in and out doesn’t add or subtract any CO2 of the atmosphere, as long as the ins and outs are equal. The emissions are not 2% of the natural variability, they are 200% of the natural variability.

    It is like saying that your savings to a local bank are 2% of the total turnover, while your savings are 200% of the annual profit of the bank. I would recommend to look for another bank…

    NO, Ferdinand. NO.

    Your actual words at July 15, 2014 at 12:23 pm were

    What is remarkable is that the natural variation is quite small: +/- 1 ppmv (2 GtC) around the trend. Maybe because the main players oceans and vegetation react in countercurrent to temperature, or the reactions are too small or too slow…

    I pointed out that the seasonal variation is much more than that and asked if you were claiming the seasonal variation is not natural.

    Your reply says you were “talking about the remaining natural variability after a full seasonal cycle”. The only way that can be valid is if you are claiming the seasonal variation is not natural.

    I draw attention to the entirety of my above post at July 15, 2014 at 7:07 am which is here and I remind that in it I said to you

    And your only – but often repeated – response to these observations is to claim “the seasonal variation is not of the slightest interest for the carbon balance”. That response is equivalent to asserting that nobody should examine the curtain and they should listen to the Mighty Oz.

    QED

    Richard

  135. Ferdinand Engelbeen loses the argument, because his conclusions are based on the fact that the +100 ppm increase of CO2 within the 150-year period has been never reflected by the ice core data going back more than 15 thousand years (and, therefore, such an increase could allegedly be only anthropogenic), while it is has been shown that the ice formation process itself results in the extensive, multi-decadal averaging (“smearing”) of the CO2 content in the ice core air.

    Available unreliable ice core data cannot exclude a possibility of natural sharp changes in the atmospheric CO2 concentration within a 150-year period. Therefore, it is possible that the most recent atmospheric CO2 increase, the only such increase actually measured by man in real time, coincided with the increase in human use of fossil fuels the only such increase actually measured by man in real time but not necessarily an increase that has been mostly caused by the human activity.

    In other words, Ferdinand Engelbeen interprets a random artifact of observation as a basis for very far-fetched conclusions regarding the possibilities of short-scale variations in atmospheric CO2.

  136. Voisin is not alone in being amazed at the biological portion of the global biogeochemical carbon cycle. Not surprising that a billion years of biology has changed the Earth’s atmosphere from 100 percent primordial/abiotic to 99 percent biological. Even atmospheric N2 is entirely of biological origin. http://www.ess.uci.edu/~reeburgh/fig3.html

    The one percent that is abiotic is Argon, due to radioactive decay of Potassium-40

    http://www.accuracyingenesis.com/atmargon.html

    I suggest to those interested in understanding the “Anthropogenic” contribution to the global biogeochemical carbon cycle to look at some “scholarly” reviews of that subject

    http://tinyurl.com/pbl6tnn

    There are as many approaches to looking at the issue, such as stable isotope ratios

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-trouble-with-c12-c13-ratios/

    Or Segalstad, http://www.co2web.info/

    The bottom line is that CO2 never “accumulates” in the atmosphere, from any source.
    Fossil fuel burning (and other anthropogenic effects) have increased the global biogeochemical cycle by about 4 percent. Since the atmosphere is a “short term sample” of the entire planetary carbon cycle, then the amount of atmospheric CO2 due to anthropogenic factors is also 4 percent.
    Four percent of the current 400 ppm is 16ppm. Others have shown similar values, up to around 25ppm.
    The remaining 75 to 84 ppm CO2 increase is due to other changes. Such as natural sink reduction or natural source increases, such as biological eutrophication. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eutrophication
    Ie. about 3/4 to 5/6 of the “industrial era” change in atmospheric CO2 is due to non-anthropogenic causes.

    There is now, and has always been, overwhelming scientific evidence that humans are not causing any negative impact on the global biogeochemical carbon cycle. One possible exception is the benefit of increased CO2 available for plant photosynthesis, with increased crop production and drought resistance.

  137. To both Ferdinand Engelbeen and richardscourtney I can only say thank you both. I learn more following your mental ping pong matches than most any other thing I can think of.

    Cheers

  138. Ron Voisin says:
    July 15, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    Dr. Murry Salby makes the rigorous quantitative argument.

    Sorry, but Dr. Salby is completely wrong on several points. The most important:

    – He assumes that the short term variability of the CO2 increase and the longer term increase are from the same process, which is proven wrong. As a result of that wrong assumption he assumes that all CO2 is of natural origin.
    – He assumes that there is a huge migration of CO2 in ice cores, to prove that ice core levels after 100,000 years are a factor 10 too low, but CO2 migration in the cold inland ice cores is simply immeasurable low, even after 800 kyear of time.

  139. Phil then why does the ir wave leave the earth in the first place? if this isnt about thermodynamics then what on earth is it about please? why doesnt the ir wave just sit still?

  140. richardscourtney says:
    July 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm

    I pointed out that the seasonal variation is much more than that and asked if you were claiming the seasonal variation is not natural.

    Richard, you were taking the last paragraph of my original talking out of context. The previous paragraph was:

    Thus without any knowledge of any individual carbon flux, we know the end result: nature was a continuous sink for CO2 over the past 55 years:
    No matter if any individual flux increased or decreased, ceased or doubled… No matter if the natural cycle was 10 or 100 or 1000 GtC in and out each year…

    So my answer still is the same: the seasonal variation is 100% natural, but has not the slightest interest for the increase in the atmosphere. The only part which matters is the end result: the difference between the ins and outs over a full seasonal cycle.
    The seasonal cycle gives the turnover, the difference gives the gain or loss over a full cycle.
    Human emissions are 2% of the turnover, but 200% of the gain. Which figure is the most important for the increase in the atmosphere?

  141. Back in 1989 my first editorial letter about AGW pointed out the difference between a beer from the ice chest and one from the car trunk. The hot beer spews everywhere. Why? Because CO2 is less soluble in warm liquid than in cold. Occam’s razor – the simplest answer that explains the problem.

  142. Alexander Feht says:
    July 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Ferdinand Engelbeen loses the argument, because his conclusions are based on the fact that the +100 ppm increase of CO2 within the 150-year period has been never reflected by the ice core data going back more than 15 thousand years

    A little too fast jumping to conclusions? Ice cores are not the only argument. And no 100+ ppmv increase in ice cores which is not temperature related can be seen in 800,000 years of ice cores, while that is measurable (and up to some 2 million years in less reliable proxies).

    Available unreliable ice core data cannot exclude a possibility of natural sharp changes in the atmospheric CO2 concentration within a 150-year period.

    Any proof of the “unreliability” of ice cores?
    Depends of the ice core resolution and what kind of changes. A cyclic change with a period less than the resolution will go undetected. A non-cyclic event sustained over the whole resolution period of more than 2 ppmv will be detected and a one-year peak of twice the resolution period as ppmv will be detected.
    The current increase of 100+ ppmv over 160 years would be detected in all available ice cores over the past 800,000 years if such an event happened in the past.

    In other words, Ferdinand Engelbeen interprets a random artifact of observation as a basis for very far-fetched conclusions regarding the possibilities of short-scale variations in atmospheric CO2.

    Please, read my full arguments why humans are responsible for the recent increase in the atmosphere at:

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

  143. nickreality65 says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    Because CO2 is less soluble in warm liquid than in cold. Occam’s razor – the simplest answer that explains the problem.

    The solubility of CO2 in seawater decreases with temperature. That gives more CO2 in the atmosphere, which pushes more CO2 back into the oceans. The equilibrium between ocean and atmosphere increases with 17 ppmv/°C. That is the maximum increase since the LIA.
    The increase in the atmosphere is 100+ ppmv, thus the push is from the atmosphere back into the oceans, not reverse. Humans delivered 200+ ppmv in the same period.
    Where is Occam if you need him?

  144. Ferdi,

    – He assumes that the short term variability of the CO2 increase and the longer term increase are from the same process, which is proven wrong. No he does not make this assumption.

    He assumes that there is a huge migration of CO2 in ice cores, to prove that ice core levels after 100,000 years are a factor 10 too low. No he doesn’t. He suggests that they are low by ~2x which is likely true.

  145. richardscourtney said July 15, 2014 at 9:44 am: “I see that your post at July 15, 2014 at 9:10 am makes the claim – also championed by Ferdinand – that ice cores act like sample bottles.”

    Frank replies: The situation is very simple. We are burning enough fossil fuel to raise CO2 levels at a rate of 4 ppm per year. Measured levels of CO2 are rising at 2 ppm per year. The remaining CO2 is being taken up by “sinks” because the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere gradually increased by 35% after remaining stable for 15,000 years. If we reduce emission by 50%, CO2 levels will stabilize (as long as natural sinks don’t saturate and keep taking up the CO2 we emit). If we stop burning fossil fuels, CO2 will start falling at 2 ppm per year. (Of course, suddenly cutting emissions by 50% or 100% is grossly impractical.)

    The situation is simple ONLY because there is good evidence from ice cores that variability in natural CO2 uptake and emission has been negligible for 15,000 years when the climate was similar to the 20th century. This evidence for stability doesn’t depend on whether it takes 50 or 250 years for fern to solidify into a “sample bottle”. This evidence for stability doesn’t depend on whether any fudging occurred as scientists interfaced the atmosphere record of CO2 (that started in the 1960s) with the ice core record. Since thousands of ice samples from dozens of sites have been analyzed, there is no chance that changing experiment errors created an illusion of stability during the Holocene, but instability during the preceding ice age (100,000 years).

  146. Before the past 100 years, the sum of carbon in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere has been fairly constant. Global temperature change transferred carbon from the hydrosphere to the atmosphere, or vice versa. Atmospheric CO2 content was a positive feedback nechanism to prior temperature change.

    During the past 100 years, there has been a large transfer of carbon from the lithosphere to the sum of the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. Human contribution to the atmosphere is fairly well known, and how much the atmosphere gained is well known. It is known that humen contributions exceed what the atmosphere gained, which means nature as a whole has been removing CO2 from the atmosphere in the past several decades.

  147. Bill Taylor says:
    July 15, 2014 at 2:46 pm
    Phil then why does the ir wave leave the earth in the first place? if this isnt about thermodynamics then what on earth is it about please? why doesnt the ir wave just sit still?

    Of course it’s about thermodynamics, just not your strange idea about what constitutes thermoD.

    The molecule absorbs a photon that raises its rotational/vibrational energy level to another higher level. The molecule will lose that energy either by collisional deactivation or by radiation. If by radiation it will emit the new photon in a random direction (wrt the exciting photon’s direction), it knows nothing about the temperature of the matter that the photon will eventually encounter, that is of no consequence to the isolated molecule.

  148. Phil, progress is made…..now what sends that photon back to the earth when it is obvious there is a steady flow of similar photons LEAVING the earth?

  149. The chart shows estimated annual emissions of CO2, but not annual sinks of CO2 or the annual atmospheric gain. Also, some of the non-anthropogenic figures sound high to me. For one thing, oceans have been a net sink the past few decades. The figure of 130-220 PgC annually for ocean output sounds high to me also, because: The mass of the whole atmosphere is about 5.3 million gigatonnes, or Pg. Check this number by multiplying atmospheric pressure by Earth’s area. Multiply that by pre-industrial CO2 level of 280 PPMV, and by 12/29 (ratio of mass of a carbon atom to mass of a typical air molecule). So, when the Insustrial Revolution began, the atmosphere only had about 615 PgC. 130-220 PgC annually would get atmospheric CO2 content from zero to its pre-industrial level in ~ 2.8 to 4.8 years. A .5 degree C rise over a century would cause the oceans to emit over that century 21-35 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere had at the beginning of the industrial revolution.

    I invite people to factcheck this, and see what numbers appear plausible, and find where any errors are.

  150. Bill Taylor says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm
    Phil, progress is made…..

    Glad to hear you’re learning something.
    now what sends that photon back to the earth when it is obvious there is a steady flow of similar photons LEAVING the earth?

    Chance, the molecule doesn’t know anything about the flow of photons from the earth or from anywhere else unless one of exactly the right energy collides with it in which case it will be promoted to the appropriate higher energy level.

  151. I’m a bit disappointed with WUWT lately. I see too many stories published where the author is getting it totally wrong. Which would not be a bad thing itself as long as, once it was made evident by people commenting on the article that the conclusions do not hold water, some editting was provided in the article to, at least, warn about it being controversial. But I am not seeing it. I hope at some point common sense returns.

  152. Phil i have been patient and courteous with you please do NOT talk down to me……..the burden remains on YOU to back the claim that 50% of the IR is returned to the earth……….YOU have not given any possible explanation so far….nor have you addressed why the IR wave leaves the earth in the first place?

    again your condescension is noted and not appreciated.

  153. Bill Taylor says:
    July 15, 2014 at 5:47 pm
    Phil i have been patient and courteous with you please do NOT talk down to me……..the burden remains on YOU to back the claim that 50% of the IR is returned to the earth……….YOU have not given any possible explanation so far….nor have you addressed why the IR wave leaves the earth in the first place?

    again your condescension is noted and not appreciated.

    I’ve explained both, apparently you’re not up to understanding the basic physics of gases which I have explained to you. You appear to have a strange idea about what causes a molecule to emit a photon. The IR photons leave the earth’s surface as result of blackbody radiation which requires quantization of the energy states of the surface (see Planck’s Law).

  154. Bill Taylor says:
    July 15, 2014 at 6:04 pm
    Phil does an apple need to know about and understand gravity before it can fall from a tree?

    The apple is acted on by gravity so yes it does ‘know’ which way is down. There is no such force controlling the direction in which a photon will be emitted from a gas molecule. The excited state will exist for a certain amount of time (governed by Poisson statistics) during which time the molecule will translate, rotate and vibrate so that the orientation of the molecule at the time of emission is unrelated to the orientation at the time of excitation so the emission will be randomly distributed. This is even true when the excited state is extremely short-lived such as in Rayleigh or Raman scattering.

  155. Frank:

    I write to ask for clarification because I have tried to make sense of your post at July 15, 2014 at 3:50 pm but failed.

    Are you saying that the gas trapped in ice cores is not a mixture of the atmospheric gas concentrations that existed while the fern was solidifying to form the ice? And if you are saying that then please explain how it is possible.

    Richard

  156. bw:

    Your post at July 15, 2014 at 2:33 pm says in total

    BTW, the evidence supports Courtney over Englebeen. Feht and others show that clearly.

    I write to caution against jumping to conclusions about whom the evidence most supports.

    There are three possible conclusions to be drawn from the available data, and they are represented here by Voisin (who thinks the CO2 rise is natural), me (who thinks the CO2 rise may be natural or anthropogenic) and Engelbeen (who thinks the CO2 rise is anthropogenic).

    Obviously, there is evidence for both a natural or an anthropogenic cause of the rise.

    It is a matter of judgement as to how a person weighs the evidence to reach a conclusion. The easiest position to justify is the ‘middle ground’ (which I am defending) because it can be seen as valuing information from both ‘sides’. Hence, the ‘middle ground’ can seem to be most supported by the evidence which may be a false appearance because some evidence is ‘more equal than others’.

    In my opinion, at this stage (when information is inadequate) we need to argue the different cases so others can evaluate our arguments.

    Richard

  157. Nylo:

    Your post at July 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm says in total

    I’m a bit disappointed with WUWT lately. I see too many stories published where the author is getting it totally wrong. Which would not be a bad thing itself as long as, once it was made evident by people commenting on the article that the conclusions do not hold water, some editting was provided in the article to, at least, warn about it being controversial. But I am not seeing it. I hope at some point common sense returns.

    I’m a bit disappointed with Nylo lately. I see too many posts published where he/she/they is getting it totally wrong. Which would not be a bad thing itself as long as, once it was made evident by people commenting on his/her/their posts that his/her/their comments do not hold water, some editting was provided in the article to, at least, warn about possible posts from Nyloi being controversial. But I am not seeing it. I hope at some point common sense returns.

    Richard

  158. Donald L. Klipstein:

    The first paragraph of your post at July 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm asserts.

    Before the past 100 years, the sum of carbon in the atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere has been fairly constant. Global temperature change transferred carbon from the hydrosphere to the atmosphere, or vice versa. Atmospheric CO2 content was a positive feedback nechanism to prior temperature change.

    That assertion is the foundation of the entire argument for the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 being accumulation of anthropogenic input of CO2 to the atmosphere.

    The assertion is supported by ice core data and is refuted by stomata data.
    That is why the ice core data is championed by advocates of an anthropogenic cause while the stomata data is championed by advocates of a natural cause.

    I am convinced that nobody knows if the cause is predominantly anthropogenic or natural, but some people think they know.

    Richard

  159. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Contrary to the assertion in your post at July 15, 2014 at 2:50 pm, I have NOT taken anything you wrote “out of context”.

    In the case in question, you asserted that natural variability of CO2 emission is much less than the seasonal variation which – of course – is plain wrong.

    You keep asserting the seasonal variation does not exist or should be ignored. And I keep pointing out that your assertion is an excuse for your inability to answer much information which falsifies your assertions and is provided by the seasonal variation.

    This goes to the crux of my very first post in this thread which is at July 15, 2014 at 2:47 am which is here. That post explains how small variation to the seasonal variation could provide the effect that Ronald D Voisin proposes when the oceans are either a net sink or a net source of atmospheric CO2.

    Richard

  160. Ron Voisin says:
    July 15, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    At about 11 minutes in the film, Salby interpretes the covariability between temperature variations and CO2 variations. While there is a huge covariability between the two, where it goes wrong is that he starts to integrate that over time, assuming a continuous CO2 flow for a sustained temperature difference against an arbitrary baseline.
    If you integrate the short term variability, you assume that the long term increase and the short term variability have the same cause, which is proven wrong.

    Salby really assumed a 10-fold reduction of measured CO2 in ice cores at 100,000 years back in time (after some 25 minutes in the film). The factor 2 is at 10,000 years. But even if it was a factor 2 after 100 kyears it still is impossible:
    If there is diffusion, that levels off the peaks and distributes that over the lower values. That means that during the long glacial periods, the “real” values were lower than 180 ppmv, effectively killing all plant life on land…
    Moreover, migration doesn’t stop after 100,000 years, it goes on until there are no differences left. In the case of ice cores there is a nice correlation between CO2 levels and temperature over the full 8 cycles of each 100,000 years. No reduction in ratio over each cycle back in time. If Salby was right, even with a factor 2, that would mean that the “real” values for each interglacial were 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256 times higher to match the measured peaks, fully synchronized with temperature (with a variable lag)…
    Sorry, but that simply is impossible…

  161. richardscourtney says:
    July 16, 2014 at 1:19 am

    In the case in question, you asserted that natural variability of CO2 emission is much less than the seasonal variation which – of course – is plain wrong.

    Richard, all what I have said is that the seasonal variation is not of the slightest interest for the increase in the atmosphere, no matter if that was 10, 100 or 1000 GtC in and out. All what matters is the difference between the ins and outs after a full cycle… And that is negative over the full 55 years of direct measurements. And its variability is not more than +/- 2 GtC/year, while human emissions are +9 GtC/year. Thus human emissions are over 200% of the residual natural variability.

    Comparing human emissions with total fluxes has not the slightest interest for the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Comparing them with the gain or loss after a full natural cycle is what matters.

  162. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Ferdinand, thankyou for your clear post at July 16, 2014 at 1:51 am. I provide this link o it so people can find it with ease.

    Your post summarises your views.

    You say the seasonal cycle should be ignored because – you say – the system is stable over a full year except for the human emission.
    I say the human emission is much smaller than the seasonal variation and, therefore, the system is never in equilibrium whatever the human emission.

    You say, the long-term rise in atmospheric CO2 is a result of the anthropogenic emission because the seasonal variation is irrelevant.
    I say any variation in the seasonal behaviour will cause a long-term change to the atmospheric CO2 concentration because the annual rise is the residual of the seasonal variation of each year.

    The complexity of the carbon cycle and the little available information preclude resolution of these differences.

    However, the crux of our difference is that
    you see a system that has been in an equilibrium that has been disturbed by the flux of human emission
    but
    I see a system that is never in equilibrium and is constantly moving towards a varying equilibrium state which it never achieves, and the human emission may be a trivially small additional flux which provides an undetermined effect which may be too small to be discerned.

    Richard

  163. richardscourtney says:
    July 16, 2014 at 2:38 am
    Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    I see a system that is never in equilibrium and is constantly moving towards a varying equilibrium state which it never achieves, and the human emission may be a trivially small additional flux which provides an undetermined effect which may be too small to be discerned.

    So the remarkably close correlation between human emissions and the net annual increase over the past 50 odd years doesn’t sway you at all.

    Let’s say that humans stopped all burning of fossil fuels tomorrow. You, presumably, would not necessarily expect to see a reduction (or pause) in the annual increase of atmospheric CO2?

  164. richardscourtney says:
    July 16, 2014 at 2:38 am

    You say the seasonal cycle should be ignored because – you say – the system is stable over a full year except for the human emission.

    Richard, I never said or implied that the seasonal cycle is stable. I only said that the seasonal cycle doesn’t matter, only the end result matters. And that indeed shows that the seasonal cycle is (for a natural process) surprisingly stable: the year by year variability is only halve the human emissions, despite quite large temperature changes over El Niño’s and Pinatubo’s.

    You say, the long-term rise in atmospheric CO2 is a result of the anthropogenic emission because the seasonal variation is irrelevant.

    No, I said that the rise is due to the anthropogenic emissions, because the result of the seasonal variation is a net sink for every year of the past 55 years, thus “the residual of the seasonal variation of each year” didn’t add any CO2 to the atmosphere.

    The complexity of the carbon cycle and the little available information preclude resolution of these differences.

    The complexity of the carbon cycle is irrelevant because we know the end result of that complexity after a full seasonal cycle: more sink than source. That is all we need to know.

  165. John Finn:

    At July 16, 2014 at 3:12 am you say and ask me

    So the remarkably close correlation between human emissions and the net annual increase over the past 50 odd years doesn’t sway you at all.

    Let’s say that humans stopped all burning of fossil fuels tomorrow. You, presumably, would not necessarily expect to see a reduction (or pause) in the annual increase of atmospheric CO2?

    The “remarkably close correlation between human emissions and the net annual increase over the past 50 odd years” is because both have risen. And nobody denies that both have risen. At issue is whether the rises are coincidental, either is caused by the other, or both are caused by something else.

    And you cherry pick “the past 50 odd years”.
    I refer you to the post by Greg Goodman July 15, 2014 at 11:58 am which says in total

    Ferdi:

    I still wonder why some skeptics insist that the last 150 years are entirely or partly or even probably natural (even if the increase completely parallels human emissions)

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_001kyr.jpg

    Perhaps because it doesn’t. Your graph shows over 1/2 of the rise happening before 1950 ( as well I can tell from your graph). That is not the proportion of anthro CO2 emissions.

    And I do not expect that humans will stop burning fossil fuels tomorrow. The only things I predict would result from that are mass starvation, suffering and war with total collapse of industrial civilisation. I do not know – indeed, nobody knows – what the changes to atmospheric CO2 would then be and nobody would care.

    Richard

  166. Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    You conclude your post at July 16, 2014 at 3:28 am saying

    The complexity of the carbon cycle is irrelevant because we know the end result of that complexity after a full seasonal cycle: more sink than source. That is all we need to know.

    I say that I am saddened when I see people refusing to consider information (e.g. the dynamics of the seasonal cycle) because the information disproves what they want to be true.

    Richard

  167. Some history on this subject:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/08/11/murry-salby-responds-to-critics/#comment-1391736

    Thank you Bart for your kind comments regarding Oil Sands Expert .com

    I was 37 when I co-initiated the move to new Tax terms for the Canadian Oilsands, and 41 when I initiated the move to new Royalty terms, so my average age was 39. These two initiative, along with SAGD in-situ recovery technology, were the key factors that revitalized the moribund Canadian oilsands industry and the Canadian economy, now the strongest in the G8. So I guess it is true that we do our best work before the age of 40.

    To my knowledge, I also initiated in early January 2008 the still-heretical notion that dCO2/dt changed ~contemporaneously with temperature and therefore CO2 lagged temperature by about 9 months, and thus CO2 could not primarily drive temperature.

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

    I later learned from Richard Courtney that others (Kuo et al 1990, Keeling et al 1995) had noted the lag but apparently not the dCO2/dt relationship with T. Roy Spencer was kind enough to acknowledge my contribution at

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/

    I am fairly sure this concept was new because of the very hostile reaction it received from BOTH sides of the CAGW debate. All the warmists and most skeptics completely rejected it.

    First I was just plain wrong – the dCO2/dt vs T relationship was merely a “spurious correlation”.

    Then I was grudgingly admitted to be correct, but the resulting ~9 month CO2-after-T lag was dismissed as a “feedback effect”. This remains the counter-argument of the global warming alarmists, apparently the best they’ve got – a faith-based “Cargo Cult” rationalization, imo.

    Now we are embroiled in the “mass balance argument” as ably debated by Ferdinand and Richard, and I frankly think this is quite worthwhile. To me, this is the cutting edge of climate science, and it is interesting.

    I also infer that some parties, notably Jan Veizer at the University of Ottawa, had gotten almost this far some time ago.

    Intellectually, I think the alleged global warming crisis is dead in the water, although politically it sails on, a ghost ship with the Euros and Obama at the helm. Not to forget our own Dalton McGuinty in Ontario – now a “have-not province” collecting transfer payments , our national welfare scheme for failed economies.

    The global warming alarmists have squandered more than a trillion dollars of scarce global resources on foolish “alternative energy” schemes that we condemned in writing in 2002. We said then that “the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels” and this is now proven to be true. The economies of the European countries and their fellow-travellers have been hobbled by green energy nonsense, and millions are suffering and thousands are dying each winter from excessively high energy costs.

    I am concerned, I hope incorrectly, about imminent global cooling, which we also predicted in a Calgary Herald article in 2002. I really hope to be wrong about this prediction, because global cooling could cause great suffering. Our society has been so obsessed with the non-existent global warming crisis that we are woefully unprepared for any severe global cooling, like the Maunder or Dalton Minimums circa 1700 and 1800.

    Solar activity has crashed in SC24, and although our friend Leif says not to worry, I continue to do so.

    Best regards to all, Allan

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

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/21/antarctica-warming-an-evolution-of-viewpoint/#comment-77000

    davidc (00:16:17) :

    Time is limited so I can only provide some more general answers to your questions:

    My paper was posted Jan.31/08 with a spreadsheet at

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

    The paper is located at

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf

    The relevant spreadsheet is

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRaeFig5b.xls

    There are many correlations calculated in the spreadsheet.

    In my Figure 1 and 2, global dCO2/dt closely coincides with global Lower Tropospheric Temperature LT and Surface Temperature ST. I believe that the temperature and CO2 datasets are collected completely independently, and yet there is this clear correlation.

    After publishing this paper, I also demonstrated the same correlation with different datasets – using Mauna Loa CO2 and Hadcrut3 ST going back to 1958. More recently I examined the close correlation of LT measurements taken by satellite and those taken by radiosonde.

    Further, I found earlier papers by Kuo (1990) and Keeling (1995) that discussed the delay of CO2 after temperature, although neither appeared to notice the even closer correlation of dCO2/dt with temperature. This correlation is noted in my Figures 3 and 4.

    See also Roy Spencer’s (U of Alabama, Huntsville) take on this subject at

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/

    and

    http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/2008/01/28/spencer-pt2-more-co2-peculiarities-the-c13c12-isotope-ratio/

    This subject has generated much discussion among serious scientists, and this discussion continues. Almost no one doubts the dCO2/dt versus LT (and ST) correlation. Some go so far as to say that humankind is not even the primary cause of the current increase in atmospheric CO2 – that it is natural. Others rely on a “material balance argument” to refute this claim – I think these would be in the majority. I am an agnostic on this question, to date.

    The warmist side also has also noted this ~9 month delay, but try to explain it as a “feedback effect” – this argument seems more consistent with AGW religious dogma than with science (“ASSUMING AGW is true, then it MUST be feedback”). :-)

    It is interesting to note, however, that the natural seasonal variation in atmospheric CO2 ranges up to ~16ppm in the far North, whereas the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 is only ~2ppm. This reality tends to weaken the “material balance argument”. This seasonal ‘sawtooth” of CO2 is primarily driven by the Northern Hemisphere landmass, which is much greater in area than that of the Southern Hemisphere. CO2 falls during the NH summer due primarily to land-based photosynthesis, and rises in the late fall, winter and early spring as biomass degrades.

    There is also likely to be significant CO2 solution and exsolution from the oceans.

    See the excellent animation at http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4

    It is also interesting to note that the detailed signals we derive from the data show that CO2 lags temperature at all time scales, from the 9 month delay for ~ENSO cycles to the 600 year delay inferred in the ice core data for much longer cycles.

    Regards, Allan

  168. Ferdinand,
    You cannot have it both ways.

    If you integrate the short term variability, you assume that the long term increase and the short term variability have the same cause, which is proven wrong.

    He’s evaluating the “net” just as you keep insisting as so important.

    Further, your evaluation of diffusion is difficult to understand. You seem to challenge it’s existence when it of course exists. Then you assume it is uniform with depth and time, which it is not.

    We know that most natural CO2 emission is modulated by temperature. We have good reason to believe these modulations to be significant (maybe 2x or more in many cases). Such modulations to natural flux would overwhelm seasonal variation entirely consistent with historical CO2 by chemical analysis. Yet you willfully dismiss all chemical analysis and go on to pretend that ice-core analysis is near flawless.
    Quoting myself:
    Further, the ice-core analysis makes clear the relative timing of events. And while it is certain that atmospheric CO2 lags temperature in both directions, so as to more readily be an effect and not a cause of temperature change, the one fact that is most uncertain from ice-core analysis is the exact magnitude of the CO2 spike that accompanies each and every interglacial (and also accompanies warming periods within a given interglacial).

    Why? Because, for one, these spikes are, by definition, the highest temporal frequency events – which, of course, bestow on them the greatest sampling uncertainty. But this uncertainty is of magnitude and not of relative timing. The CO2 peaks, as represented from the ice-cores, are the established values obtainable within a finite (and limited) temporal sampling resolution. If higher sampling resolution could be arbitrarily applied, it could only reveal yet higher peaks (i.e. yet higher frequency events). These are facts of statistical sampling. See Figure A, on p12 below (we are fortunate to get 500 years least-count time resolution on any parameter when we go back more than just a few 1000’s of years).

    Additionally, this uncertainty of magnitude is further muddied by an incomplete understanding of diffusion processes taking place distributed within an enormous pressure gradient (along with many other poorly understood processes). The uncertainty of this CO2 diffusion between ice layers can only act in such a way so as to underestimate the peaks of the highest frequency components as these peaks are also exactly, and by definition, where the diffusion gradient too is the very greatest. (There is no method to recover this lost information as it is no longer present within the samples.)

    Therefore an exceptionally important aspect regarding the ice-core analysis, and one that is seemingly wholly under-appreciated, is the fact that this uncertainty of magnitude is substantially (entirely) all in one direction. And that direction is up. The highest peaks (ones that might have durations of only several hundred years) would not be temporally resolved at the very same time that unquantifiable diffusion processes would attenuate them preferentially the greatest (and with most likely significant attenuation as the higher and sharper the peak the more and harder our post-dated analysis will knock it down). Both issues, temporal resolution and diffusion-attenuation diminishment, act simultaneously on the CO2 peaks. Therefore in the end, we do know with certainty that CO2 lags temperature. But for all we know, atmospheric CO2 has spiked to over 1000 ppm (not so unlikely), for a relatively short period of time (quite possibly up to 500 years or even more), during each and every prior interglacial (and to only a marginally lesser extent in prior warming periods of the current interglacial).

    Let me state this again, differently, and with as much clarity as is possible. All of the ice-core data, each and every piece, without regard to where the analysis might fall within the spatial extent of the physical ice core sample, supports the relative timing of temperature vs. CO2. And CO2 lags temperature without doubt. However, when it comes to the highest frequency components (the CO2 peaks) we can say with certainty that they are under-represented in the analysis. The true reality of the peaks of CO2 is that they are higher than we have determined, but by an amount higher that we cannot determine. And I would dare to add that prior peaks were very likely >>600 ppm. (I have never found a detailed metrological error analysis of the ice-core data, but the temporal resolution and diffusion-attenuation diminishment points made herein would necessarily become salient elements of any such analysis.)

  169. richardscourtney says:
    July 16, 2014 at 4:26 am

    I don’t have any shares in any factory, maybe you have. But I don’t think many shareholders are interested in the deepest details of bookkeeping of what happened in the subject of their shares. At most they look at the gross earnings and costs. What interests them at the first place is what the net gain or (heaven forbids!) loss is for that quarter of the year.

    I am interested in all aspects of the CO2 cycle. But while I know that not all details of that cycle are known, the gross fluxes are known. The only interest for the cause of the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere is the gain or los at the end of the full cycle and that is a net loss over the past 55 years. The dynamics of the seasonal cycle only show small variations (about 2 % of total fluxes) from year to year, up and down, thus give no clue for the cause of the increase in the atmosphere, while human emissions are twice that variability and 100% contribution.

  170. Ferdinand,

    Since 1850 our anthropogenic emission has grown from maybe 1PgC to ~8-9PgC today. Would you care to speculate what might be reasonably presumed regarding microbial and insect emission over that same time frame?

    I’ll give you my speculation:
    Current estimates place microbial and insect emission at ~160PgC today. I would guess that compared to 1850 this rate of emission has grown by at least 1.25X and likely 1.5-2X. So somewhere between 4X and 10X our growth in emissions (just my guess).

    How about frozen terrestrial release, forest fire and mammalia growth in emissions? Have these changed at all since 1850? I realize I’m asking about informed guesswork at best but the direction should be clear and plausible guesses do have value. These emissions have all gone up and by a lot compared to our emission today.

    But then there is that wild card: the vast flux into and out of the oceans. Lets just speculate about the net of this vast flux. Since 1850 have the oceans cooled or warmed? If they are a net sink today, are they sinking as fast as they did in 1850? If they are a source today, were they sourcing the same in 1850? Could it possibly be that they were a sink in 1850 but a source today?

    Now the chemical analysis of CO2 that you dismiss indicates that my speculations may be correct. However, the God-sent ice-core analysis you rely upon says my speculations are totally off-base; that these natural sources are all in quiescent stasis; the only perturbation to the system has been the anthropogenic emission.

    I don’t think I’m totally off base!

  171. Dear Nylo,
    Should I update my essay to explain that there is no dynamic nature to this Earth – save the utter destructiveness of human emission? Everything would stand still if we would just quit perturbing it.

  172. philjourdan says:
    July 16, 2014 at 5:13 am
    @Ferdinand Engelbeen

    Thus in my opinion, both the pre-1950 and post-1950 CO2 increases are from human emissions…

    2 things. First, your opinion is not shared by many alarmists as JohnWho correctly points out, no one is faulting pre 1950 Anthropogenic CO2 for anything.

    JohnWho is confusing the increase in CO2 concentrations with the climatic effect.. The increase in atmospheric CO2 since ~1850 is almost entirely due to the increase in fossil fuel burning. The “warmists” claim is that the effect of the CO2 increase on the climate is observable since ~1950.

    This also answers the rest of your post. “Warmists” rightfully claim that CO2 forcing up to ~1950
    would be insufficient to ‘overcome’ natural variability.

    Look, – there are a number of possible arguments against CAGW but the reason for the increase in CO2 isn’t one of them. There are several experienced and highly qualified scientists who are sceptical of Catastrophic AGW but few, if any, doubt that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is mainly due to humans. Try asking them. Jack Barrett has been challenging the extreme AGW position for about 20 years. Ask him why he thinks CO2 concentrations have risen since 1850.

    Frankly, articles like this are becoming an embarrassment.

    • @John Finn – I suggest you read the whole exchange. As I NEVER contended that man was not contributing to rising CO2. My initial point and subsequent follow ups was based around the contention that ALL of the increase is Man Made. There is no evidence for such a conclusion.

      Nor do I contend that CO2 is not in some way (the degree seems to be the core of the debate) responsible for some warming. But when you assume that a sample is due to one factor – and it is not – then your results will be tainted as well.

  173. Ron Voisin says:
    July 16, 2014 at 4:49 am

    He’s evaluating the “net” just as you keep insisting as so important.

    Ron, you may only integrate dCO2/dt if that is caused by one variable. In this case the variability of dCO2/dt is caused by the variability of T (or more accurate, dT/dt with a pi/2 lag), but the slope of dCO2/dt is probably NOT caused by T, as that is from a different process. By integrating Salby lumps the small change caused by temperature (8 ppmv/°C) together with the huge change caused by another process which is quite sure the human contribution.

    If you look at the derivatives of temperature and CO2, that makes it clear:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/derivative/mean:12/plot/hadsst2sh/from:1959/mean:12/derivative/scale:3.5

    There is no slope in dT/dt, which is because T increases about linear over the past 50 years, with ups and downs and “pauses”.
    dCO2/dt has a slope, as good as human emissions have, because both increase slightly quadratic over time. Unfortunately, the WFT database has no emissions, so we can’t directly plot them. But I know that the rate of change of the emissions slope is about double the dCO2/dt slope:

    Thus Salby attributes all CO2 increase to temperature, while some 95% is highly probable from human emissions.
    Anyway, even if that was not from humans, you can’t integrate dCO2/dt and attribute that to only T if different processes are involved, which is the case here: the dCO2/dt variability is from the influence of T variability on vegetation, while the entire slope is not from vegetation.

    Further, your evaluation of diffusion is difficult to understand. You seem to challenge it’s existence when it of course exists.

    There is no measurable migration of CO2 in the cold (-40°C) inland ice cores of Antarctica. If there was any migration, the difference of CO2 levels between glacial and interglacial periods would fade over time, which is not observed.
    There is some theoretical migration of CO2 in relative “warm” (-22°C) coastal ice cores, based on increased CO2 near remelt layers:

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

    All what happens is that the resolution broadened from about 20 to 22 years at 2.7 kyear back and to 40 years at 70 kyear back in time.

    Yet you willfully dismiss all chemical analysis and go on to pretend that ice-core analysis is near flawless.

    Yes I do. I had years of discussions with the late Ernst Beck about his compilation of historical measurements. Not so much problems with the analyses itself (with a few exceptions), but many of these measurements were done in CO2 “hot spots”: the middle of towns, forests, mountain valleys, growing crops,… Beck lumped them all together in his compilation: the good, the bad and the ugly.
    Main example: his compilation shows a 80 ppmv peak around 1942. That is equivalent to burning 1/3rd of all global land vegetation down in a few years and regrow it in a few years again. Such a peak is not seen in high resolution ice cores or any proxy, including stomata data… See further:

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

    Why? Because, for one, these spikes are, by definition, the highest temporal frequency events

    Agreed that short living small spikes can’t be detected in the oldest ice cores. But we have a lot of overlapping gradually older ice cores with broadening resolution: from 10 years over the past 150 years to 20 years over the past millennia to 40 years over the past 150 kyear to 560 years over the past 800 kyear.
    The current increase of 100+ ppmv over 160 years would be detected in all ice cores, even the worst resolution ones if it did occur in the past 800 kyear. Thus this is certainly an anomaly over the past 800 kyear.
    Are other, smaller spikes relevant? In fact not, as the discussion is if the current spike is within natural variability, which is certainly not the case for the past 800 kyear. But even spikes less than a quarter of the current one would be detected in all ice cores.

    Additionally, this uncertainty of magnitude is further muddied by an incomplete understanding of diffusion processes taking place distributed within an enormous pressure gradient

    What is the pressure gradient between 2,000 and 2,001 meter ice depth?
    Again there is no measurable diffusion of CO2 in the coldest ice cores, none.

    But for all we know, atmospheric CO2 has spiked to over 1000 ppm

    You largely underestimate the ice core measurements. A 2-year spike of 1000 ppmv distributed over a 600 years resolution still gives a detectable increase of 2 ppmv in the ice core. If sustained over 500 years, that would be detected as a 900 ppmv peak in one sample and increases in samples before and after the peak.

    when it comes to the highest frequency components (the CO2 peaks) we can say with certainty that they are under-represented in the analysis.

    Yes and no: there are no extreme natural peaks in the past 55 years of direct measurements. The observed peak over the past 150 years is quite certainly not natural (and doesn’t follow longer term temperature). There is no peak of more than 10 ppmv sustained over a period of 20 years in the past 10,000 years. Or 10 ppmv sustained over 40 years over the past 150 kyear or 10 ppmv sustained over 560 years over the past 800 kyear…
    Or you can increase that to 100 ppmv and reduce the period to 1/10th of the resolution period…

    Ferdinand

  174. Henry’s law implies that a 1C change in temperature would change CO2’s solubility by about 3% which would imply a far greater increase in atmospheric CO2 than suggested by the ice-cores. In fact it would easily double the atmospheric CO2 level.

  175. Dear Mr. Finn,

    I too find these arguments embarrassing. It is utterly inconceivable that natural CO2 emission variability is not overwhelming as compared to human emission. It is utterly inconceivable that CO2 is the dominate temperature control knob for the Earth. And it is utterly inconceivable that we concern ourselves with a thermal runaway myth when the next major climate issue we confront is clearly going to be a cooling Earth that may well be poised for major glaciation!!

  176. Dear Ferdinand,

    Wave your arms as you like. The ice-core data are corrupted strongly in the earliest years and more slowly thereafter. What takes place is simply not understood (like localized liquid water at -40C along with a myriad other inexplicable issues). They have shown a capacity to modestly reveal enormous variation. The only aspect that they reveal definitively is relative timing of CO2 vs temperature.

    The basis for your dismissal of chemical analysis is highly questionable. Sure, the chemical analysis has its issues. But the idea that you toss it because linear extrapolations have difficulty is faulty insofar as we’re dealing with a coupled, nonlinear chaotic system.

  177. CHIPSTERO7 says:
    July 16, 2014 at 7:06 am
    Henry’s law implies that a 1C change in temperature would change CO2′s solubility by about 3% which would imply a far greater increase in atmospheric CO2 than suggested by the ice-cores. In fact it would easily double the atmospheric CO2 level.

    It certainly does not!
    Current CO2 concentration in the ocean is ~1.65 millimolal, the temperature dependence of the Henry’s Law coefficient gives a change of ~13 micromolal/ºC. That’s a far cry from 3% and doubling the atmospheric value.

  178. Ron Voisin says:
    July 16, 2014 at 5:32 am

    These emissions have all gone up and by a lot compared to our emission today

    Probably yes: higher temperatures since 1850 increase microbial growth and vegetation decay and the thaw of permafrost certainly has added to that. But you don’t mention the increased sinks: more vegetation growth thanks to warmer temperatures and unfrozen grounds. Thus the question is which of the two did grow fastest since 1850.
    Difficult to tell, but there are some indications: increased uptake gives an increase in δ13C while increased decay will give the opposite.

    If we look at the δ13C drop caused by the burning of fossil fuels, the ice cores and recent measurements show that this is only 1/3rd of what is expected. That is because the deep oceans give a huge exchange with the atmosphere which “dilutes” the human fingerprint. That exchange is about 40 GtC/year as best fit in recent years:

    But there is a discrepancy in the years 1860-1970. If we may assume (see later) that the deep ocean exchanges are relative constant, then the discrepancy is caused by vegetation. Because the discrepancy is negative, more decay than sink. Roughly 0.5-1 GtC/year extra release compared to the increased sinks.
    Since 1990 we have oxygen measurements which show that biological sinks now are increasingly dominant and have surpassed the biological decay…

    About the oceans: the ocean surface has a very limited capacity for changes of CO2 in the atmosphere. The main changes – if there are changes – are with the deep ocean exchanges. The deep ocean exchanges are between the cold sink places (mainly NE Atlantic) and the hot upwelling places (tropical Pacific). That is partly wind driven and partly density/temperature driven, but CO2 fluxes are only pCO2 difference and wind driven. The question is if that changed over the past 1.5 century.

    There are indications of a changed Gulf stream pattern during the LIA, but let’s assume a constant water exchange with the deep oceans. Theoretically, the CO2 exchange should not change much by a temperature change: if the temperature increase with 1 K, the pressure difference at poles and equator changes with 17 μatm, thus increasing the inflow and reducing the outflow of CO2 and thus increasing CO2 levels, until the extra 17 ppmv is reached in the atmosphere and the previous fluxes are restored. Here a theoretical plot:

    Ferdinand

  179. Ron Voisin says:
    July 16, 2014 at 7:09 am
    Dear Mr. Finn,

    I too find these arguments embarrassing. It is utterly inconceivable that natural CO2 emission variability is not overwhelming as compared to human emission.

    And yet despite your personal incredulity and embarrassment in the history of the MLO monitoring of CO2 in not a single year has the ‘natural CO2 emission variability’ caused an annual reduction in the CO2 level.

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

    So the ‘natural CO2 emission variability’ has always been less than the human emission.

  180. Ron Voisin says:
    July 16, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Ron,

    You may question ice cores with good arguments, but your

    The ice-core data are corrupted strongly in the earliest years and more slowly thereafter.

    is not based on the most recent knowledge of ice cores. So what is your source of “information”?

    But the idea that you toss it because linear extrapolations have difficulty

    No I toss a lot of historical data for the same reason that I toss temperature measurements on a hot asphalt parking lot. Historical measurements over the oceans or coastal with wind from the seaside show CO2 levels around the ice cores for the same period of time.
    The 1942 “peak” is largely from two long series: Poonah India and Giessen Germany. Poonah was an agricultural research station measuring CO2 below, in between and above growing crops. Should be entirely discarded. Giessen shows historical a 1-sigma variation of 68 ppmv, the modern station there some 20 ppmv and Mauna Loa some 4 ppmv (all raw data), including the seasonal changes. Says enough about the reliability of the methods and the environment.
    Here the monthly variability of the modern station, not far from the historical station of Giessen, in still a semi-rural environment:

    If I have to choose between ice core data and the historical data from chemical methods, I prefer the ice core data, despite their lower resolution…

  181. I’m off to other things. Thanx for the exchange. I’ll leave it to those anal enough to follow this thread to decide for themselves if the Earth is dynamic and properly characterized as a coupled, non-linear, chaotic system, or rather an otherwise ideal static ball if only not hugely corrupted by anthropogenic endeavor.

  182. richardscourtney wrote July 16, 2014 at 12:07 am

    “Are you saying that the gas trapped in ice cores is not a mixture of the atmospheric gas concentrations that existed while the fern was solidifying to form the ice? And if you are saying that then please explain how it is possible.”

    I agree that the gas trapped in fern equilibrates with the atmosphere and nearby layers of fern for more than a decade, perhaps a century or more. This makes it impossible to reliably accurately combine the Mauna Loa record of CO2 with the ice core record.

    This equilibration problem doesn’t impact my conclusion that NATURAL uptake and emission of CO2 has been remarkably stable for 15,000 years and therefore is unlikely to have changed in the 20th century (unlike higher atmospheric concentrations drove more uptake.) Yes, if equilibration goes on for more than a century, the ice cord record won’t show decadal spikes and drops caused by natural variation. However, the early data showing than atmospheric CO2 changed dramatically before Keeling came from sites aren’t in rapid equilibrium with the bulk atmosphere. Mauna Loa and other sites (including the Antarctic) were chosen to represent the bulk atmosphere and global CO2, the early data does not. (On a still day, my lawn depletes CO2 from between the blades of grass and photosynthesis slows.)

    No matter what is happening with natural uptake and emission right now, man is still emitting enough CO2 every year to raise levels by 4 ppm/yr and overall levels are going up by 2 ppm/yr. Ron Voisin can’t see this forest through the trees.

  183. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 15, 2014 at 11:40 am

    NOT a proxy, like stomata data which need calibration with direct measurements.
    ————-

    For an excellent description/explanation of stomata data calibrations and measurements read more @ The CO2 Record in Plant Fossils

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html

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

    I still wonder why some skeptics insist that the last 150 years are entirely or partly or even probably natural (even if the (CO2) increase completely parallels human emissions), …
    ——————

    IMHO, the only reason that human emissions of CO2 per se “parallels” the yearly natural increase in atmospheric CO2 is because the “warminists” employed “reverse” mathematics to calculate the human emissions.

    The “warminists” were forced to come up with sufficient “per year” human emissions to closely parallel the 56 continuous years of a 1 to 2 ppm average yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 as defined by the Mauna Loa measurements and/or denoted on the Keeling Curve graph. And then the “warminists” interpolated that “1 ppm increase” back to 1880 to get a “starting” ppm #.

    And “1 ppm” of atmospheric CO2 is equal to about 5 billion tons of CO2, … and each “1 ppm” increase in CO2 causes an increase in average surface temperatures ….. and the “warminists” were doing fine with their human emitted “greenhouse” gas warming claims until “the pause” when CO2 kept increasing but the temperature didn’t …… and that’s when the ocean “ate the heat” that shudda increased those average temperatures.

  184. Would you mind showing your working out Phil? Using the van’t Hoff equation on Wikipedia’s Henry’s law page I calculated that a temperature-change from 25C to 26C decreased CO2(aq) by 0.001mol/L from 0.034mol/L to 0.033mol/L which is a 3% decrease in the concentration as far as I can see. Unfortunately I’m typing this from a console so it’s taking too long to write stuff out. I’d be happy to post my working out tommorow if you’re interested.

  185. When I say “working out” I mean showing with Henry’s law how you came to your conlusion as opposed to referencing an online calculator. Cheers.

  186. Bill Taylor says:
    July 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Phil, progress is made…..now what sends that photon back to the earth when it is obvious there is a steady flow of similar photons LEAVING the earth?
    ————–

    Bill T, put a quarter in a “pinball” machine ….. and “shoot” all five (5) of those steel ball bearings out of the “slot” at the same time.

    Then lean back and “watch” as those photons of energy (steel balls) randomly get absorbed and re-emitted by the CO2 molecules (lighted bumpers, flippers, kickers on the table top) … and eventually escape into the “dark” of outer space (the return slot) at the front end of the “pinball” machine.

    Now you repeat the above a couple times and then you will have an idea of how the IR radiation (photons) transfers through earth’s atmosphere from it’s initial emission from the surface to it’s escape back into outer space. Once emitted from the surface it never slows up, ….. it is never trapped, …… it is never stored, …. it’s always on the move.

    If a CO2 molecule (or any molecule) is absorbing more IR energy than it is emitting then the molecule will increase in temperature (get hotter). If it is emitting more than it is absorbing …. then it will decrease in temperature (cool down).

    The only known entity in the universe that is thought to be capable of “trapping” thermal (IR) energy is the proverbial “Black Holes” at the center of galaxies.

  187. Samuel isnt that what i have been saying? that co2 doesnt trap any heat at all, that the IR waves leaving the earth do make it into space…….the pinball analogy works well, indeed that natural movement of the steel balls is down that board eventually into the hole…..the natural movement of the ir wave it towards space and bouncing around a bit on the way does NOT alter that reality…..

    again using your analogy, when those steel balls STOP going into the hole at the bottom but instead just bounce around forever THEN i will agree that co2 is trapping heat.

  188. CHIPSTERO7 says:
    July 16, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Careful… you are probably looking at fresh water, not seawater. Makes a lot of difference because of equilibrium reactions and buffering. Free CO2 is only 1% of total DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) in seawater but Henry’s Law only applies to free CO2, not the rest of DIC.

    Total C content of ocean surface waters in close contact with the atmosphere is ~1000 GtC. 3% of that is only 30 GtC. In the current atmosphere that would give ~15 ppmv extra.
    The deep oceans are quite isolated from the atmosphere and its temperature doesn’t change much over millennia…

  189. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/30/co2-temperatures-and-ice-ages/#comment-79426

    (Plant) Food for Thought (apologies – written too late at night)

    Background:

    http://www.planetnatural.com/site/xdpy/kb/implementing-co2.html

    1. “As CO2 is a critical component of growth, plants in environments with inadequate CO2 levels – below 200 ppm – will cease to grow or produce.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_in_the_Earth's_atmosphere

    2. “The longest ice core record comes from East Antarctica, where ice has been sampled to an age of 800 kyr BP (Before Present). During this time, the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has varied by volume between 180 – 210 ppm during ice ages, increasing to 280 – 300 ppm during warmer interglacials…
    … On longer timescales, various proxy measurements have been used to attempt to determine atmospheric carbon dioxide levels millions of years in the past. These include boron and carbon isotope ratios in certain types of marine sediments, and the number of stomata observed on fossil plant leaves. While these measurements give much less precise estimates of carbon dioxide concentration than ice cores, there is evidence for very high CO2 volume concentrations between 200 and 150 myr BP of over 3,000 ppm and between 600 and 400 myr BP of over 6,000 ppm.”

    Questions and meanderings:

    According to para.1 above:

    During Ice ages, does almost all plant life die out as a result of some combination of lower temperatures and CO2 levels that fell below 200ppm (para. 2 above)? If not, why not?

    Does this (possible) loss of plant life have anything to do with rebounding of atmospheric CO2 levels as the world exits the Ice Age (in combination with other factors such as ocean exsolution)? Could this contribute to the observed asymmetry?

    When all life on Earth comes to an end, will it be because CO2 permanently falls below 200ppm as it is permanently sequestered in carbonate rocks, hydrocarbons, coals, etc.?

    Since life on Earth is likely to end due to a lack of CO2, should we be paying energy companies to burn fossil fuels to increase atmospheric CO2, instead of fining them due to the false belief that they cause global warming?

    Could T.S. Eliot have been thinking about CO2 starvation when he wrote:
    “This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.”

    Regards, Allan :-)

    P.S.
    A possible explanation is that ice core CO2 is directionally correct but low in absolute terms due to CO2 diffusion.
    Leaf stomata data shows much higher CO2 values – up to 60ppm higher for peaks and 30-40 ppm on average.
    See Fig. 2 at http://www.pnas.org/content/99/19/12011.full.pdf

  190. CHIPSTERO7 says:
    July 16, 2014 at 9:31 am
    Would you mind showing your working out Phil? Using the van’t Hoff equation on Wikipedia’s Henry’s law page I calculated that a temperature-change from 25C to 26C decreased CO2(aq) by 0.001mol/L from 0.034mol/L to 0.033mol/L which is a 3% decrease in the concentration as far as I can see. Unfortunately I’m typing this from a console so it’s taking too long to write stuff out. I’d be happy to post my working out tommorow if you’re interested.

    I did the calculation for total CO2 taking into account the equilibrium between CO2(aq), HCO3- and CO3–. That probably explains the difference.

  191. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 16, 2014 at 9:05 am

    For an excellent description/explanation of stomata data calibrations and measurements read more

    That looks more a propaganda site for stomata data than informative… Look at the first graph: stomata data give the real CO2 levels and ice core data are too low? I think it is reverse: even huge migration doesn’t change the average CO2 level over the period of resolution in ice cores. The ice core levels show the exact average level over that period. If there is a discrepancy, then the stomata average is wrong.

    BTW, have a look at the “general agreement” of oak leave stomata data with the direct measurements and ice core CO2:

    How do they detect CO2 levels above 350 ppmv?

    What is better in stomata data is that they follow local/regional changes much faster/better than ice cores. That can be seen in the drop of CO2 during the Younger Dryas, which is more pronounced in the NH than in Antarctic ice cores. But still the absolute level of CO2 in that period is questionable.

    The “warminists” were forced to come up with sufficient “per year” human emissions to closely parallel the 56 continuous years of a 1 to 2 ppm average yearly increase in atmospheric CO2

    Come on Samuel, the early estimates of human fuel use were collected by people from the statistics department of finances, because of tax on sales, not even by some environment or “climate change” department. One can doubt the pre-Mauna Loa figures, but the more recent figures are quite reliable.

    And if humans are not responsible for the CO2 increase, why do CH4, N2O an other extra human releases show up in the same time period with a similar HS shape? All natural, but only increasing in the past 1.5 century?

    The CH4 level during the previous interglacial (with higher temperatures) was around 700 ppbv, today over 1900 ppbv

  192. It is interesting that not since the Permian have we had a period of such low CO2 levels. I know the error bars on the geologic time scale CO2 graphs are huge. The last 2 million years have been very low for CO2. What happened at the end of the Permian to give rise to the CO2 then?

  193. Allan MacRae says:
    July 16, 2014 at 10:17 am

    During Ice ages, does almost all plant life die out as a result of some combination of lower temperatures and CO2 levels that fell below 200ppm (para. 2 above)? If not, why not?

    If temperatures are too low, plants will certainly die, but that is mainly around the poles to mid-latitudes, not around the equator where the temperature drop is less.
    Fortunately for land plants, they live on land… CO2 levels over land are higher (some 40 ppmv at semi-rural places) than background, at least during several hours in the morning, thus survival/growth still is possible.

    A possible explanation is that ice core CO2 is directionally correct but low in absolute terms due to CO2 diffusion.
    Leaf stomata data shows much higher CO2 values – up to 60ppm higher for peaks and 30-40 ppm on average.

    If CO2 values in ice cores are low for 90,000 years during an ice age, that can’t be from migration: where should all that CO2 migrate?
    Leaf stomata have as problem that they show biased local CO2 of the place – over land – where they grow. One can calibrate the local bias against direct measurements and ice core data over the previous century, but nobody knows how the local bias changed over the centuries as result of climate change, land use changes in the main wind direction, main wind direction changes,…

  194. Bill Taylor: I don’t entirely understand your confusion, but the atmosphere has no practical thickness when considered as part of the Earth, interacting with space as a thermal radiator. The presence of any “greenhouse gas” acts mainly to intercept outbound IR (from the Earth’s surface) and function as a beam-splitter, to send half of it back and half of it forward (since there is a hemisphere of random angle that intersects the Earth surface, and another hemisphere that points ultimately to space). This fact is completely uncontroversial in radiative heat transfer physics. (Controlling the back radiation is part of what makes a thermos bottle work.)

    Oh, yes. A greenhouse gas molecule can get the energy to radiate from molecular collisions, as well as from IR absorption. So, the temperature of the molecule really doesn’t figure in this scheme. Collisional gains and losses are equal. Therefore, even though a given molecule may sacrifice its absorbed IR energy in a molecular collision, the effect over many molecules is zero (collisional gains), and the bulk effect is for the absorbed IR energy to be re-radiated in random directions. Thus, the beam-splitter analogy.

  195. As far as the global climate, CO2 does not matter all that much. The primary greenhouse gas in our atmosphere is H2O which provides ample negative feedbacks to changes in greenhouse gases so as to mitigate any effect they might have on climate. Negative feedback systems are inherently stable and the Earth’s climate has been sufficiently stable to changes in greenhouse gases over the past 500 million years for life to evolve. We are here. It has been conjectured that increased CO2 has caused an increase in global temperatures and was instrumental in ending the last ice age. If any greenhouse gas was involved the Lion’s share of participation must have been by water vapor which reacts much more quickly to changes in global temperatures. In terms of the oceans, surface warming will result in a marked increase in the evaporation rate, but as far as increasing CO2 it is a matter of the ocean volume warming up. Just warming the ocean’s surface does not do all that much to increase CO2 in the atmosphere.

  196. Michael J Dunn, ty for the post, you do understand that much less than half of the directions from say 10 miles above the surface lead back to the surface?everything going sideways wont get back to the surface, anything going slightly down but still some sideways also will miss the surface.

    my “confusion” lies in reality, IF co2 was trapping heat and sending it back to the earth and there was NO response from any other factor in the entire system the earth would have been a cinder long ago.

    the FACT that there is NOT a daily “tiny” increase in total heat in the system shows the claims co2 is driving the climate are simply LUNACY.

    the FACT that no insulating effect ADDS any total heat to a system is another reason i doubt co2 released by humans has overruled the universe and is driving our climate.

    the FACT that in deserts where there is just as much co2 around it gets VERY cold at night even in summer…….shows me how WEAK the co2 impact actually is.

    folks seem to enjoy mocking my intellect, which to me is very strange since in simple layman’s terms i demonstrate a very clear understanding of the basic science at play.

    the earths climate system with constant input of heat from the sun and with constant outgo of IR from the earth will always seek to find a balance between those realities, but the system is so complex with constantly changing factors that react to each others changes there is NO way that balance can ever be found, at best you will have up and down swings within a small range, but never a period of stability.

    that is backed by the earths climate record btw.

  197. Bill Taylor says:
    July 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Over hundred years ago, the fact that CO2 absorbs parts of the IR spectrum was already established. That was proven then and still is used to detect the level of CO2 in the atmosphere in a lot of places on earth.

    Some part of what is absorbed is sent again in all directions, including the next layers in the atmosphere and the previous layers. At last some of it returns back to earth and some reaches space to never return. It doesn’t matter if that is 50:50 or 40:60 or 60:40. What matters is that a part returns, which makes that the earth cools less fast at night than without CO2 and that the earth in general warms a little for the same energy input from the sun.
    The amount can be calculated: 0.9°C for a CO2 doubling, based on line by line absorption measurements at different pressures and CO2/methane/methane levels in laboratories.

    If that has much effect in real life, that is a different question: indeed not much as dry regions show in the difference between night and day. Water vapor is a much stronger greenhouse gas, that is sure. But that doesn’t mean that the effect of CO2 is zero…

  198. The dry deserts chill deeply at night. The damp jungles don’t. End of story. CO2 re-radiation is ineffectual, or “negligible” as Shach(?) put it, at atmospheric pressures and temperatures.

  199. Bill Taylor says:
    July 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm
    Michael J Dunn, ty for the post, you do understand that much less than half of the directions from say 10 miles above the surface lead back to the surface?everything going sideways wont get back to the surface, anything going slightly down but still some sideways also will miss the surface.

    Add trig to the subjects you don’t understand, the earth’s radius is ~3960 miles so from 10 miles up the angle to the horizon is about 86º, that is not ‘much less than half of the directions’!

  200. @Ferdinand Engelbeen

    “Careful… you are probably looking at fresh water, not seawater. Makes a lot of difference because of equilibrium reactions and buffering”.

    The solubility-temperature equation I used to calculate the change in CO2(aq) doesn’t specify that it is applicable only to clear-liquid. I assumed it was a reasonable approximation for CO2 in all liquid.

    “Free CO2 is only 1% of total DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) in seawater but Henry’s Law only applies to free CO2, not the rest of DIC”.

    Keep in mind that all DIC (including CaCO3) exist in chemical equilibrium. Therefore if you decrease CO2(aq) by 3% you automatically force a corresponding decrease in all DIC in accordance with Le Chatelier’s Principle.

    “The deep oceans are quite isolated from the atmosphere and its temperature doesn’t change much over millennia”.

    I wouldn’t know if the deep-oceans have not warmed much over thousands of years because I have seen no paleo-climate reconstructions of the deep-ocean temperature. Even if there are though they relate to times for which no direct empirical measures of anything are possible. There is so much intrinsic uncertainty in paleo-climate reconstructions. I would probably be convinced that the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 was anthropogenic if I thought that the ice-core measurements accurately represented past CO2 levels, but I am not so sure they do. By my understanding they suffer from ‘fractionation processes’ such as gravitational compression, the formation of clathrates, and micro-cracks caused by decompression, all of which can potentially contaminate the original composition of the gases within the ice. That is not to say that they are no good for explaining the occurrence of ice-ages and interglacials, of course. My criticism of them is just that they should not be thought of as ‘absolute measurements’. There’s also the fact that different extraction methods (dry and wet-vacuum) show different concentrations with wet measurements showing CO2 over 1000ppmv. The explanation given for this is that the ice-bubbles contains liquid at temperatures as low as -70C and because the solubility of CO2 is 70 times greater than N2O and 30 times greater than O2 the water trapped inside bubbles preferentially absorbs CO2 over the other gases. This leads to underestimate values. Jaworowski has a figure in his paper ‘Ice Core Data Show No Carbon Dioxide Increase’ comparing wet-measurements to dry-measurements and there’s a significant difference. So the idea of CO2 rising to unprecedented levels in the last 650,000 years is not a known fact in my opinion. It is at best an uncertain conjecture that one may, or may not think is justified depending on one’s chosen criteria of credibility. Similarly the idea of reconstructing CO2 with Stomata is problematic, as there are too many local disturbances and the background level is lost in the noise.

  201. willhaas says:
    July 16, 2014 at 2:40 pm
    As far as the global climate, CO2 does not matter all that much. The primary greenhouse gas in our atmosphere is H2O which provides ample negative feedbacks to changes in greenhouse gases so as to mitigate any effect they might have on climate.

    Not true, CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas as far as the global climate is concerned. Water is not a gas in our atmosphere, remove the CO2 and the H2O concentration decreases thereby further reducing the GHE, i.e. a positive feedback.

    • Phill says

      “Not true, CO2 is the most important greenhouse gas as far as the global climate is concerned. Water is not a gas in our atmosphere, remove the CO2 and the H2O concentration decreases thereby further reducing the GHE, i.e. a positive feedback”

      On this planet, H2O appears as a solid, a liquid, and a gas. H2O gas is often referred to as water vapor and it is a gas. Without water vapor there would be no clouds or precipitation or transport of water to dry land. The atmosphere averages about 2% H2O and .04% CO2. The fact that H2O is responsible for, by far, the majority of the greenhouse effect is not in dispute.

      In theory, adding CO2 to the atmosphere increases the atmosphere’radiantnt thermal insulation properties because of CO2’s LWIR absorption bands. Thinsulationon effect retards the flow of LWIR absorption band energy from the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere to the upper atmosphere where earth radiates to space in LWIR absorption bands. Good absorbers are also good radiators so more CO2 makes Earth a more efficient radiator.

      The retarding of LWIR absorption band energy causes higher temperatures at the eartsurfaceface and lower atmosphere which enables more H2O to enter the atmosphere. H2O also has LWIR absorption bands so more H2O causes a further increase in the radiant thermal insulation properties of the atmosphere. So in this regard H2O provides a positive feedback to an increase in CO2. This positive feedback is very important in making the effect of adding CO2 to the atmosphere to appear significant. The problem is is this mechanism is not all what happens.

      Besides being the major greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, H2O is also a major coolant, moving heat energy from the earth’s surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. More heat energy id moved by this mechanism then by convection and LWIR absorption band radiation combined. So more H2O entering the atmosphere means that more heat energy is moved. This mechanism represents a negative feedback.

      Accorgreenhousereenhoue effect theory, from space, in LWIR absorption bands, the Earth looks like a 0 degree F black body radiating at an average equivalent altitude of 17K feet. The 17 K feet is based on the lapse rate which has very little to do with CO2. There is no black body at 17K feet radiating to space. Because of the atmospheremissivitymisivity, the actual raoccurs occours at lower altitudes and at higher temperatures. We are talking about typical altitudes where clouds form

      More H2O causes more clouds to form. Clouds reflect incoming solar radiation. Clouds decrradiantR radiaent energy flow from lower altitudes but they also radiate to space more efficiently then atmosphereatnosphere they replace. More clouds provide another negative feedback.

      Aatmosphereer atmoshere warmsatmospherer atmospjere where Earth radiates to space in LWIR absorption bands, cools. The cooling causes less H2O to appear which counteracts the effects of adding more CO2. This mechanismnegativeher nagative feedback.

      The negative feedbacks combine so instead of amplifying the effect of added CO2, they mitigate the possible effects on climate. The feedbacks are bases on temperature effects so they act to mitigate and not completely negate the effects of adding greenhouse gases. Negative feedbacinherentlyare inharently stable as has been the Earth’s climate for more than 500 million years, enough so to allow life to evolve. We are here.

  202. CHIPSTERO7 says:
    July 17, 2014 at 6:03 am
    @Ferdinand Engelbeen

    “Careful… you are probably looking at fresh water, not seawater. Makes a lot of difference because of equilibrium reactions and buffering”.

    The solubility-temperature equation I used to calculate the change in CO2(aq) doesn’t specify that it is applicable only to clear-liquid. I assumed it was a reasonable approximation for CO2 in all liquid.

    The buffering effect of the dissolved salts in sea water makes huge difference, in freshwater the current level of CO2 gives a pH of about 5.5 and the predominant form is CO2(aq), in sea water the pH is about 8.0 and the predominant form is HCO3-.

  203. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

    That looks more a propaganda site for stomata data than informative… Look at the first graph: stomata data give the real CO2 levels and ice core data are too low? I think it is reverse: even huge migration doesn’t change the average CO2 level over the period of resolution in ice cores. The ice core levels show the exact average level over that period. If there is a discrepancy, then the stomata average is wrong.
    ————–

    Ferdinand, take off your “rose colored” glasses …. and look again. The stomata data is the most accurate pre-1950’s proxy data for atmospheric CO2 there is available.

    Ferdinand, just what is it about the following that you refuse to believe and/or DON’T UNDERSTAND? To wit:

    A Scandinavian group accordingly set up a network of 15 (CO2) measuring stations in their countries. Their only finding, however, was a high noise level. Their measurements apparently fluctuated from day to day as different air masses passed through, with differences between stations as high as a factor of two.

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

    Keeling did much better than that with his new instruments. With painstaking series of measurements in the pristine air of Antarctica and high atop the Mauna Loa volcano in Hawaii, he nailed down precisely a stable baseline level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    Source reference: http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm
    ===============

    Ferdinand, do you not understand that if it is SNOWING in Antarctica then the air is not pristine ….. and that a “different air mass is passing through” ….. and the “noise level” is extremely high …… and thus the CO2 ppm count can vary by a factor of two from what it is on a clear, low humidity, high pressure day?

    And Ferdinand, apparently you also don’t understand, nor have a clue, how much of that snowpack that formed those ice core layers, …. and “trapped” that CO2 when doing so, …… was deposited there by the force of the winds that were surely blowing on those clear, high pressure days ….. when the atmospheric CO2 ppm was at its highest. Never heard of “blowing n’ drifting snow”, …. huh? Or the winds also packing that drifting snow down, including its newly trapped “air bubbles”, so tight you can walk on top of it.

    Thus the calculated CO2 ppm “averages” derived from ice cores are FUBAR ……. and the outlier “high” ppm counts are surely more accurate to actual.

    I will now await your response to the above. And iffen you do, I sure hope it’s more than you just telling me that I ….. “don’t understand what’s going on”.

  204. Michael J. Dunn says:
    July 16, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Oh, yes. A greenhouse gas molecule can get the energy to radiate from molecular collisions, as well as from IR absorption. So, the temperature of the molecule really doesn’t figure in this scheme. Collisional gains and losses are equal. Therefore, even though a given molecule may sacrifice its absorbed IR energy in a molecular collision, the effect over many molecules is zero (collisional gains), and the bulk effect is for the absorbed IR energy to be re-radiated in random directions. Thus, the beam-splitter analogy.

    No quite, there is a subtle difference, while a vibrationally excited molecule can lose energy in a collision a single collision is unlikely to excite the same vibrational excited state as the energy is more likely to be transferred into a translational mode. Therefore the effect is net to deactivate the vibrational state.

  205. CHIPSTERO7 says:
    July 17, 2014 at 6:03 am

    Keep in mind that all DIC (including CaCO3) exist in chemical equilibrium. Therefore if you decrease CO2(aq) by 3% you automatically force a corresponding decrease in all DIC in accordance with Le Chatelier’s Principle.

    Here are the calculations, if you want: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjerrum_plot.
    At pH 8, free CO2 is less than 1% of DIC. If you change the free CO2 with 3%, that may change the rest of DIC with 0.03%, hardly measurable. But the outgassing may continue until a new equilibrium is established. That is reached at 17 ppmv for 1 K temperature increase:

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/res/pi/CO2/carbondioxide/text/LMG06_8_data_report.doc

    where they use back calculation from the measured pCO2 at the instrument to the real intake temperature:
    The (pCO2)sw at the in situ temperature, T in situ, was computed using a constant value of 0.0423 % per oC for the effect of temperature (Takahashi et al., 1993):
    (pCO2)sw @ Tin situ = (pCO2)sw @ Teq x EXP[0.0423 x (Tin-situ – Teq)].

    Not far from my 0.03% estimate…

    I wouldn’t know if the deep-oceans have not warmed much over thousands of years

    The necessary energy simply would prevent that. If you see how much energy it costs to heat up or cool the upper few hundred meters of the oceans, the deep oceans may change over glacials and interglacials, but hardly over the past 160 years which are of interest…

    My criticism of them is just that they should not be thought of as ‘absolute measurements’.

    They are absolute measurements from a mixture of several years to several centuries. Forget what the late Jaworowski said about ice cores: his knowledge ended in 1992 and many of his objections were already refuted in 1996 by Etheridge e.a. with his work on three Law Dome ice cores.
    See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html
    Take e.g. the “increased” CO2 levels from wet measurements: these are from the Greenland ice cores. All ice cores include some seasalt, including carbonates. Inland Antarctic cores far less than coastal cores and these far less than Greenland cores. Normally that is not a problem at measurement time, but it is a problem in Greenland ice cores which include frequent acidic dust deposits from the nearby Icelandic volcanoes. Reason why these aren’t used for CO2 levels and that the wet method was abandoned for CO2.

    The main current method is the cold crushing method under vacuum over a cold trap to remove water vapor. That effectively removes water and destroys clathrates. If one want to measure isotopic compositions, the sublimation technique is used where all ice is sublimated and cryogenically separated for all constituents. Both methods give the same CO2 levels, but sublimation gives 99% recovery of all CO2 with less possibility of isotopic shifts.
    See further:

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

    pages 5 and 6.

  206. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

    Come on Samuel, the early estimates of human fuel use were collected by people from the statistics department of finances, because of tax on sales, not even by some environment or “climate change” department. One can doubt the pre-Mauna Loa figures, but the more recent figures are quite reliable.
    ——————

    GIMME A BREAK, ….. Ferdinand, … those statistical department “beancounters” in the US can’t even keep track of taxes on income, let alone “taxes on sales” of much anything. Especially taxes on fuel sales because “fuel” is a high-demand product and it can be sold on the “black market” pretty much quicker than anything else.

    Fuel is sold on the Stock Markets every day, ….. and then re-sold, and re-sold n’ re-sold n’ re-sold ….. and taxes are only collected on a portion of those sales. The military don’t pay fuel taxes, farmers don’t pay fuel taxes, local, county, state and federal government entities don’t pay fuel taxes, “black market” purchasers don’t pay fuel taxes when they buy it or after they burn it or sell it. And no taxes are paid on stolen fuel

    And that is only in the US. Thus only the Flying Spaghetti Monster knows for sure how foreign governments, foreign business entities and/or foreign populations are accounting for their fuel consumption or even if they are.

    And Ferdinand, ….you can’t convert a “dollar” of sales taxes on fuel …. to the number of gallons of fuel sold, …… therefore you can’t convert the number of gallons of fuel burned ……. to the number of tons of CO2 emitted from burning fuel.

    But like the Bible believing Creationists, … youse can believe anything you want to.

  207. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 17, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Samuel, the Swedish measurements were abandoned for the same reasons that temperature measurements in the middle of towns should be abandoned: unreliable.

    Keeling measured diurnal CO2 and δ13C at Big Sur State Park in California:

    and showed that the huge diurnal variation was from vegetation. He did measurements in the deserts and had far less variation. That made him think to measure far from direct influences like vegetation. For which the South Pole is the most ideal place you can think of.
    Mauna Loa was second, because most of the time it is in the trade winds with only sporadic contamination from the volcanic vents (detected by wind direction and variability) and vegetation from the valleys (detected by upwind conditions).

    Rain or snow have hardly any influence on CO2 levels: 1 mm rain contains just enough CO2 to increase the first meter’s air CO2 level above ground with 1 ppmv. Snow only contains the CO2 level of the surroundings in its air within the crystals.

    ust look at the difference in CO2 levels over land from Giessen, Germany over a few summer days with those of Barrow, Mauna Loa and the South Pole, all uncorrected, unfiltered raw data, including snow and rain, wind and volcanic vents or mechanical problems (quite frequent at the South Pole):

    You may be sure that the Swedish forests data had the same problems as Giessen (as do the stomata data, even filtered over a growing season).

  208. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 17, 2014 at 11:41 am

    I am pretty sure that fuel sales are somewhat underestimated due to under the counter sales, but that only adds to the human emissions: these may be underestimated, surely not overestimated. That only strengthens the case for a human contribution to the atmospheric increase of CO2.

    I don’t know how the US works, but the government here knows pretty well how much gasoline, diesel and (liquefied) gas is sold out of the refineries. And how much is sold by local retailers. If they find discrepancies they get the last liter out of the tanks to find the difference…

    The only possibility for huge fraud which happened a few times is an export carousel, which involves export on paper which gives them a tax exemption, but in reality they sell it inland…

  209. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 16, 2014 at 10:52 am

    And if humans are not responsible for the CO2 increase, why do CH4, N2O an other extra human releases show up in the same time period with a similar HS shape? All natural, but only increasing in the past 1.5 century?

    The CH4 level during the previous interglacial (with higher temperatures) was around 700 ppbv, today over 1900 ppbv
    ————–

    Ferdinand, the 1st natural gas well in the U.S was dug by William Hart in 1821 and the 1st ever oil well was drilled by Edwin Drake in 1859. And where there is oil there is usually natural gas (CH4), … lots of it.

    And there have been tens n’ tens of thousands of “holes” punched into the ground looking for “more of the same” ever since those initial events. And damn near every one of those “holes” were responsible for releasing a LARGE quantity of CH4 into the atmosphere …. and bunches n’ bunches of those “holes” were responsible for releasing a HUMONGOUS quantity of CH4 into the atmosphere. Every now n’ then …. one of those “million dollar” drilling rigs melts to the ground …. when one of those “new” NG wells catches on fire.

    So, maybe that’s why the “CH4 releases show up in the same time period” …. and why today’s CH4 ppbv is over 1,900, ….. because they are still punching “holes” in the ground like they are going out of style.

    Ferdinand, bout 18 years ago I was on a “new” well location here in WV, just observing, when they connected that “new” well-head up to the “feeder line”. Now that well-head had over 6,000 psi pressure on it …. and that pressure HAD TO BE released before they could make the “connection”. Now when they “released” it, it spewed our CH4 into the air, with an ear deafening roar at 100 yards away, for like 20 minutes or more, which I am sure was enough natural gas to supply the City of Atlanta, GA, all that it needed for a year. And that was just 1 of the 10,000+ gas wells that have been drilled in WV during the past 100 or so years.

    And there is NOT, …. and NEVER was, ….. any sales taxes paid on that CH4 released into the air ……. or any of the “free-to-surface-owner” natural gas that was burned as fuel or whatever during the past 100+ years.

    Ferdinand, take a look-see at this NG (CH4) Pipeline map of just the primary distribution network. It doesn’t show the “feeder” pipelines from the well-heads or the “feeder” lines to the homes and businesses. http://www.eia.gov/pub/oil_gas/natural_gas/analysis_publications/ngpipeline/images/compressorMap.gif

    And I guarantee you that there are plenty of “leaky” pipes and connections in that total network. To wit, read this recent News article:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/16/do-you-live-near-a-natural-gas-leak-google-street-view-cars-are-finding-out/

    Reality is sometimes stranger than fiction.

  210. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 17, 2014 at 12:29 pm

    Samuel, I agree with all your comments. Even the very secure natural gas network in The Netherlands estimates a net 2% loss of pre-sales via leaks and pressure safety valves + some 9% of energy is/was burned offshore via gas torches in the North Sea wells, because they only shipped/pumped the oil and couldn’t use the gas from the wells. But that only adds to the human contribution above what is known from sales.

  211. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 17, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    1 mm rain contains just enough CO2 to increase the first meter’s air CO2 level above ground with 1 ppmv.
    ———————–

    Ferdinand, and here I wasa thunking that “acid rain” was caused by a decrease in the CO2 in the air.

    Does that mean that “acid rain” also causes a decrease of CO2 in the surface water of lakes and oceans?

    “WOW”, that thar carbonic acid sure do have some strange physical properties.

  212. Samuel, I think that there was some misunderstanding here. I said:

    because of tax on sales, that is not “based on tax on sales”. They want to know at the refineries how much they have in their [tanks] as diesel and how much as heating oil, which is exactly the same in composition, because of the difference in taxes. Heating oil then is colored and some easy to detect tracer (furfural?) added to the heating oil. If they find that in your car, that gives you a lot of trouble…
    So they are interested in sales off refinery or gas wells or coal imports, because of the taxes they hope to earn…

  213. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 17, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Samuel, CO2 is absorbed where rain is formed: the near freezing air hundreds to thousands meters above our heads.
    When the drops fall, the air (and CO2) pressure increases, but the temperature increases also, thus probably not much change in the amount of dissolved CO2 in the rain drops.
    If the drops fall on earth and they flow away, again not much happens with the CO2 in the surrounding atmosphere, but if the drops evaporate, CO2 is set free and that is thus maximum 1 ppmv extra in the first meter of (stagnant!) air for 1 mm of rain.
    Simply said: negligible.

    Even less for snow: the fine ice structure itself doesn’t contain any air or CO2. The air in between the fine structure has the same composition of the surrounding air, which hardly differs between ground level and 10 km height. Impact on local CO2 levels at the South Pole: zero.

  214. willhaas says:

    As far as the global climate, CO2 does not matter all that much. The primary greenhouse gas in our atmosphere is H2O which provides ample negative feedbacks to changes in greenhouse gases so as to mitigate any effect they might have on climate. Negative feedback systems are inherently stable and the Earth’s climate has been sufficiently stable to changes in greenhouse gases over the past 500 million years for life to evolve… H2O gas is often referred to as water vapor and it is a gas.

    You are right, water vapor is a gas. Phil. is trying to pull a fast one; he will probably say that water droplets, as in fog, is not a gas. Because as his comment stands, he’s wrong. It isn’t the first time Phil. has been wrong, and it won’t be the last time.

    You say:

    The fact that H2O is responsible for, by far, the majority of the greenhouse effect is not in dispute.

    Correctomundo.

  215. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    They want to know at the refineries how much they have in their [tanks] as diesel and how much as heating oil, which is exactly the same in composition, because of the difference in taxes.
    ——————–
    Yes, Ferdinand, I know all of that. For like 16 years pre-1982 I burned heating oil in my furnace, gasoline in my cars & truck and diesel fuel in my farm tractors, …. worked a full time job and raised beef cattle for a “tax deduction” via my “farmer status” …. and all of that fuel was delivered right to my “door” by a local distributor.
    So, …. what was your above “point” …. and what does it have to do with this discussion?

    I don’t know how the US works, but the government here knows pretty well how much gasoline, diesel and (liquefied) gas is sold out of the refineries. And how much is sold by local retailers.
    ———————-

    Ferdinand, I don’t know if you live in the Netherlands or the British Isles but the State of Texas is bigger than both of them put together ….. and the wholesale and retail prices ….. and the sales taxes, …. on fuel sales here in the US vary drastically from county to county, and state to state, …. and there is no way in ell they can keep an exact accounting of it all.

    Ferdinand, you seen the map of the NG pipelines in the US.

    Now take a look-see at the map of crude oil and refined products (gasoline, diesel fuel, etc.) pipelines in the US. And then that fuel is delivered by tanker-trucks to local distributors and retailers.
    http://www.intellectualtakeout.org/library/chart-graph/us-refineries-crude-oil-and-refined-products-pipelines … for your info, that map is 4 time-zones wide.

    And your “beancounters” are going to keep “track” of all of it, … HUH?

    Me beginning to think that you are “reciting” far too many things..

  216. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 17, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    but if the drops evaporate, CO2 is set free and that is thus maximum 1 ppmv extra in the first meter of (stagnant!) air for 1 mm of rain.
    ——————

    Now Ferdinand, you only stated one (1) dimension for your “evaporating rain”.

    That dog won’t hunt.

  217. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 18, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Now Ferdinand, you only stated one (1) dimension for your “evaporating rain”.

    That one dimension makes a volume, as with rain, that doesn’t usually fall on only 1 m2. But rest assured: if 1 mm rain falls on 1 m2 surface and totally evaporates, it may increase the first m3 (which is a 1x1x1 m cube) of air above it with 1 ppmv CO2 at maximum. If there is the slightest wind, it will mix with the next m3 above it and further lower the “disturbance”…

    What I wanted to point out with fuel sales is that what is known as fossil fuel burning is a minimum, thus any illegal sales to avoid taxes only will add to the total amount… The same for methane and other extra or solely human-made gases.

    Thus the hockeysticks seen in ice cores of CO2, CH4, N2O, CFC’s… are real ones and caused by humans.

  218. willhaas says:
    July 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    The atmosphere averages about 2% H2O and .04% CO2.

    So in this regard H2O provides a positive feedback to an increase in CO2.

    So more H2O entering the atmosphere means that more heat energy is moved. This mechanism represents a negative feedback.

    More H2O causes more clouds to form. More clouds provide another negative feedback.

    The negative feedbacks combine so instead of amplifying the effect of added CO2, they mitigate the possible effects on climate
    ——————

    Now the above is all “fine n’ dandy”, …. but my question is, … just who was playing GOD when they decided that H2O vapor (humidity) would always be the feedbacker of thermal energy to the CO2 …… and that the CO2 would always be the forcer of thermal energy to the thermometers measuring near-surface temperatures.

    In other words, why is the H2O vapor the “forcing” backfeeder of the heat energy ….. and the CO2 is the “backfeeding” forcer of the near-surface temperatures?

    Is that not akin to a wee little “dog” ….. wagging …. a great BIG “tail”?

    It sure is, … but that fact is not obvious when their atmospheric quantities are expressed as a percent, to wit: BIG “tail” 2% H2O vapor ….and …. little “dog” 0.04% CO2

    But convert both of them to parts (molecules) per million or ppm and the whole picture of Who’s Who in the game of “forcing” backfeeders and “backfeeding” forcers abruptly changes, to wit:

    Thus, 2% H2O vapor & .04% CO2 ….. equals …. 20,000 ppm H2O vapor & 400 ppm CO2

    So, just how in hell is it possible for 20,000 molecules of H2O vapor to be “backfeeding” thermal “heat” energy to 400 molecules of CO2?

    And, as it states above, if more H2O vapor enters the atmosphere increasing it to 4%, then you have 40,000 molecules of H2O vapor that is “backfeeding” thermal “heat” energy to 400 molecules of CO2?

    WOWEEE, ….. 40,000 to 400. Now talk about a BIG “tail” being “wagged” by a little “dog”.

    HA, you could add another 1,000 molecules (ppm) of CO2 and you still wouldn’t be able to measure any change in the “wagging” of that BIG “tail”. (meaning: it wouldn’t affect the near-surface temperatures one (1) iota.

    And besides that, 400 molecules of H2O vapor has the potential of causing more than twice (2X) the “warming” of the atmosphere than 400 molecules of CO2.

    If I understand Specific Heat Capacity correctly, ….. then if both molecules are at the same temperature, ….. then there is more than twice as much thermal energy in the H2O molecule as there is in the CO2 molecule.

    Thus, given my above said, ….. now show me the err in my thinking.

    • The feedbacks relate to temperature. The theory is that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere causes temperatures at the surface and lower atmosphere to rise and the temperatures in the upper atmosphere to decrease. Adding CO2 does not add energy but it changes the radiant, thermal insulation qualities of the atmosphere, slightly. H2O reacts to the change in temperature with a net cooling effect when you consider all that happens. The cooling mitigates the warming that added CO2 might cause. So instead of amplifying the effect of CO2, H2O retards the effect of CO2 on global warming.

  219. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 18, 2014 at 10:40 am

    But rest assured: if 1 mm rain falls on 1 m2 surface and totally evaporates, it may increase the first m3 (which is a 1x1x1 m cube) of air above it with 1 ppmv CO2 at maximum.
    ——————-

    OK, and what if ……. 10 mm of surface water evaporated from 10 square kilometers of a lake surface every day for 180 days, how would that affect to CO2 ppm in the air?

    Or the entire southern equatorial area to mid latitude of the ocean in the Southern Hemisphere?

  220. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 18, 2014 at 11:30 am

    OK, and what if ……. 10 mm of surface water evaporated from 10 square kilometers of a lake surface every day for 180 days, how would that affect to CO2 ppm in the air?

    Hardly, as the evaporation of water and the outgassing of CO2 in this case are independent of each other, compared to the total evaporation of all rainwater from a surface.
    The CO2 pressure in the water depends of its concentration and temperature. The CO2 flux in or out depends on the CO2 (partial) pressure difference between atmosphere and water (and wind speed). pCO2 of the atmosphere is what it is nowadays: around 400 ppmv, while the equilibrium pressure of water changes with ~17 ppmv/°C.
    Thus if lakes anywhere heat up, they release CO2 from their surface and when they cool down, they absorb CO2, near independent of water evaporation (which of course is also wind speed and temperature dependent).

  221. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 19, 2014 at 1:40 am

    Hardly, as the evaporation of water and the outgassing of CO2 in this case are independent of each other, compared to the total evaporation of all rainwater from a surface.

    The CO2 pressure in the water depends of its concentration and temperature. The CO2 flux in or out depends on the CO2 (partial) pressure difference between atmosphere and water (and wind speed).
    ———————-

    Ferdinand, are you actually telling me that the applying of Henry’s Law is completely different and unrelated to/for:

    1. a drop of rain water located in the near-surface atmosphere;
    2. a drop of rain water residing on a flat rock on the terrestrial surface;
    3. a drop of rain water residing in/on the surface of a lake;

  222. Samuel C Cogar says:
    July 19, 2014 at 9:51 am

    In case 1. and 2. CO2 can’t hide in the remaining water, thus when a relative large part of the water evaporates, the CO2 concentration increases and thus the pCO2 and more CO2 is released.

    In case 3. The increase of CO2 concentration will be distributed over the rest of the lake with any minute circulation/wind in/over the lake. If stagnant, there will be more CO2 release with evaporation as diffusion of CO2 in water is very slow. If the temperature of the surface increases (not necessary: with wind and lots of evaporation, T can even go down), more CO2 will be outgassing in ratio to the temperature increase, not in ratio to evaporation.

  223. willhaas says:
    July 18, 2014 at 11:54 am

    The theory is that adding more CO2 to the atmosphere causes temperatures at the surface and lower atmosphere to rise and the temperatures in the upper atmosphere to decrease. Adding CO2 does not add energy but it changes the radiant, thermal insulation qualities of the atmosphere,
    ———————-

    willhaas, both CO2 and H2O vapor (humidity) are classified as “greenhouse” gases with the same, almost identical physical properties of absorbing and emitting IR energy.

    Thus, any increases in near-surface air temperatures that can be attributed to or blamed on the atmospheric CO2 ….. can also be attributed to or blamed on the atmospheric H2O vapor (humidity).

    Therefore, if adding or increasing the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere changes the radiant, thermal insulation qualities of the atmosphere ……… then so does the adding or increasing of the quantity of H2O vapor (humidity) in the atmosphere changes the radiant, thermal insulation qualities of the atmosphere ….. but said changes are greater than those caused by the CO2. [eg: an increase of 100 ppm in CO2 …. would be equal to ….. an increase of <50 ppm of H2O vapor (humidity)]
    ==============

    H2O reacts to the change in temperature with a net cooling effect when you consider all that happens. The cooling mitigates the warming that added CO2 might cause. So instead of amplifying the effect of CO2, H2O retards the effect of CO2 on global warming.
    —————–

    willhaas, technically, …. in your above comment you are NOT referring to H2O vapor (humidity) which is a gas, …… but on the contrary, you are referring to H2O droplets, which are a liquid, …. and which occurs in the near-surface atmosphere in the form of clouds, fogs, mists and rain.

    Now the H2O droplets comprising the aforesaid …. clouds, fogs and mists ….. function like a “bi-directional buffer” to the IR radiation transferring through the near-surface atmosphere …. as well as being a transporter and emitter of IR radiation within the atmosphere …. and thus can cause either a “net cooling effect” or a ”net warming effect” … depending on the “source” of and/or the direction of flow of the IR radiation.

    And ps, said clouds, fogs & mists also act as a “reflector” for incoming solar radiation, whereas the H2O vapor (humidity) does not.

    Thus said, one can not mix, …. match … associate …. or combine … the “effects” of H2O vapor (humidity) ….. with the “effects” of H2O droplets (clouds, fogs & mists).

    • Besides being a greenhouse gas, H2O is a major coolant in the earth’s atmosphere moving heat energy from the surface to where clouds form via the heat of vaporization. More heat energy is moved by this mechanism then by both convection and LWIR absorption band radiation combined. More H2O entering the atmosphere means that more heat energy gets moved. Typical cloud levels are where earth radiates to space in LWIR absorption bands. Clouds are a much more efficient radiators then the clear air they replace. Clouds form as a result of the condensation of water vapor. More water vapor creates more clouds.

  224. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    July 19, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Sam says, …. FE, cease with the obfuscations and answer my question.

    I didn’t ask for an explanation of or examples of Henry’s Law.

    Unless you can prove otherwise, I will continue to assume that, depending on the temperature of the two mediums, the CO2 vapor pressure on a H20 droplet in the near-surface air should be the same as the CO2 vapor pressure on the surface water of a lake.

  225. Thank you Ferdinand for your comments on July 16, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Two questions remain from my previous post:

    Since life on Earth is likely to end due to a lack of CO2, should we be paying energy companies to burn fossil fuels to increase atmospheric CO2, instead of fining them due to the false belief that they cause dangerous global warming?

    Could T.S. Eliot have been thinking about CO2 starvation when he wrote:
    “This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper.”

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

    A supplementary question:

    Should the last human on Earth ignite all the exposed coal seams to extend carbon-based life on Earth for a few more millennia, and then… … shut off all the lights?

    Regards, Allan :-)

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