Mauna Loa CO2 record posts smallest yearly gain in its history – maybe

UPDATE: I received a reply tonight from Pieter Tans, who is the manager for the MLO data, it is another error in presenting the data, similar to what happened with GISS in October, a monthly data value was carried over. In this case, November to December.  – Anthony

From: “Pieter Tans” <Pieter.Tans@xxxxx.xxx>
Sent: Sunday, January 11, 2009 7:24 PM
To: “Anthony Watts ” <awatts@xxxxx.xxx>
Subject: Re: Questions on currently posted 2008 MLO data

> Anthony,
>
> The posted December figure is an error. It will probably be fixed
> tomorrow.  The error does not appear on my computer.  Our web site is
> run by a separate server dedicated to communicate outside the firewall.
> At this moment I don’t know why it repeated the November value for December.
>
> Sorry about this mishap.
>
> Pieter Tans


The year end CO2 data for the Mauna Loa Observatory is out, and it shows that the trend of Co2 increase has slowed. This year saw the lowest increase in the annual mean growth rate ever in the Mauna Loa Co2 Record:  0.24 parts per million.

Whether this is real, a data error, or something else remains to be seen.  As we’ve learned previously, the Mauna Loa record is not infallible and can be adjusted post facto. To MLO’s credit, they have been responsive to queries from myself and others, and have pledged to make improvements to the process. They now have a change log, but there is no mention of the December 2008 data in it.

Here is the graph recently posted by MLO. Notice the two dips in 2008.

The blue line represents the mean value, while the red line is the monthly values. Note that the red line shows seasonal variance related to earth’s own processes that emit and absorb CO2. In the case of the 2008 value of 0.24 ppm/yr it comes on the heels of 2007’s strong year of 2.14 ppm/yr which by itself isn’t that remarkable, being only the seventh highest year in the record.

What is interesting though is the correlation of lower CO2 to a cooler 2008, suggesting that natural mechanisms, particularly the oceans, played a role in the the lower Co2 value for 2008.  There are also other likely drivers of this change. For the layman reader, this is essentially the “soda pop effect”. As anyone knows, warm soda pop tends to ‘fizz’ vigorously, while cold soda pop is more tame. This is because colder water can absorb more Co2 than warmer water, and warmer water releases it more easily, especially when agitated. Lesson here, and citing from experience; don’t leave a 12 pack of Coke in your car on a hot summer day. ;-)

Here is a graph of Carbon Dioxide solubility in water versus temperature:

Here is the entire annual mean growth rate MLO data set:

year  ppm/yr
1959   0.95
1960   0.51
1961   0.95
1962   0.69
1963   0.73
1964   0.29
1965   0.98
1966   1.23
1967   0.75
1968   1.02
1969   1.34
1970   1.02
1971   0.82
1972   1.76
1973   1.18
1974   0.78
1975   1.10
1976   0.91
1977   2.09
1978   1.31
1979   1.68
1980   1.80
1981   1.43
1982   0.72
1983   2.16
1984   1.37
1985   1.24
1986   1.51
1987   2.33
1988   2.09
1989   1.27
1990   1.31
1991   1.02
1992   0.43
1993   1.35
1994   1.90
1995   1.98
1996   1.19
1997   1.96
1998   2.93
1999   0.94
2000   1.74
2001   1.59
2002   2.56
2003   2.25
2004   1.62
2005   2.53
2006   1.72
2007   2.14
2008   0.24

Here a copy of the CO2 values of the last three months:

Month Mean Interpolated Trend(seasonally corrected)
2008  10 382.98 382.98 386.34
2008  11 384.11 384.11 386.19
2008  12 384.11 384.11 385.03

Source data from MLO is here

Note the identical months of November and December. It could be a GISS October2008 kind of carryover error, it could also be real. The global values for December 2008 are not yet out. Mauna Loa is only one of many CO2 reporting stations.

If the data is real, there is a dead stop in the monthly numbers, which results, when seasonally corrected, in a considerable decrease, not seen in previous Decembers through the entire record.

As MLO points out:

“The last year of data are still preliminary, pending recalibrations of reference gases and other quality control checks.”

As I previously mentioned, some reasons could be cooling of oceans.  In particular the Pacific where we’ve had a La Nina event. See this guest post from Dr. Roy Spencer on how the oceans could be driving the observed Co2 changes. The other possibility is the global economic crisis. This has led to lowered consumption of fossil fuels, particularly gasoline, which saw a significant drop in miles driven this past year due to high prices and other economic uncertainties.

Most probably it is a combination of events or possibly an error.  Stay tuned.

h/t to Werner Weber and many other people who notified me

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222 thoughts on “Mauna Loa CO2 record posts smallest yearly gain in its history – maybe

  1. The oldest records used chemical means to measure CO2 percentage. I wonder has anyone done chemical measurement concurrent with the Mauna Loa series? There might be a calibration difference.

  2. I am sure this is from a decline in Google searches in 2008. As Fox News reported, Google searches increase CO2 emissions. I wonder if we can get some data to compare. Perhaps people are now using Yahoo more often?

  3. Climate 101 question from a layman: Does the annual drop in CO2 on this chart result from the winter cycle in the Southern Hemisphere (which has a far greater percentage of ocean surface than the NH)?

    If so, this in itself shows the importance of the oceans in CO2 production.

  4. it would be interesting to overlay el nino years on top of the co2 data. i suspect that many of the biggest increases would turn out to have come in el nino years.

  5. morganovich (11:59:22) :

    it would be interesting to overlay el nino years on top of the co2 data. i suspect that many of the biggest increases would turn out to have come in el nino years.

    They do. Decreases in temp respond the same way. As this chart shows, CO2 growth changes pretty much instantly with temperature. No lag either as you can see (chart is time coherent). The 1998 El Nino shows up pretty dramatically with the CO2 growth rate, I’m sure others show up as well.

    http://home.comcast.net/~naturalclimate/CO2_growth_vs_Temp.pdf

  6. It’s obviously an error. In that it is totally obvious it is and I can’t believe you made a post about this.

    REPLY: Errors in data presented for public consumption deserve vetting don’t you think? Or should we just ignore them? – Anthony

  7. I suspect the figure will be adjusted / corrected in the near future. As it is I would love to write about it and work with it but will abstain until the final number is established. In the meantime I have added the data to my graph just to see how the visual looks.

  8. How long before Algore claims “victory” in the battle against rising CO2 (which resulted in the latest decade of cooling which justifys more taxation and regulation).

    The temperature has dropped and he needs an explanation……

    Of course! We’ll simply post decreasing CO2 levels!

    See, it’s working! We can manage the temperature of the Earth!

    Can we expect anything less from the man that invented the Internet?

  9. I think this curve will not be corrected in order to show a continuous good correlation with temperatures

  10. If it turns out to be correct, the climate alarmists will no doubt try to pin it on the economic downturn. As usual, they’d be wrong, since our contribution of C02 is only a measely 3%. They would also be likely to say the decrease in C02 is what is causing the current cooling, which they’d be wrong about as well, of course, but these days, they seem willing to grasp at any straw, no matter how flimsy in a futile effort to keep the AGW myth alive.

  11. oostpoortschool,

    I opened your graph and laughed outloud…….frightened the dog at my feet.

    Yes, that’s very dramatic. I believe that you’re correct and we’ll see an “adjustment”.

  12. If it does turn out to be real, another possibility is that whatever caused the (unexplained) leveling off in the atmospheric CH4 ten years ago is now affect the CO2 concentration, the delay being due to the longer lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  13. Based on previous reports regarding Pieter Tans, chances are better than 99:1 that the numbers are correct as reported. He seems fairly straight-forward, and I’m sure any correction will be in the direction of greater accuracy, rather than PC spin.

  14. “Errors in data presented for public consumption deserve vetting don’t you think? Or should we just ignore them?”

    Ignore them, they’ll be corrected within a week or two max anyway.

    What are you using the data for that requires any urgency? If that website didn’t exist who would be the worse for it?

    Perfection for the sake of perfection is actually a waste of time.

    REPLY: Ah, OK the ol’ “close enough for government work” thinking makes it OK then if data is released for public consumption, and then fixed. Why not simply do it right the first time? I can think of lots of venues when this sort of sloppiness in posting data that others use would get people fired, cause product recalls, cause accidents, or get people killed. So why should climate science get a free pass for sloppiness? – Anthony

  15. RE: Bruce Cobb (12:54:10) :

    Your comments regarding an explanation from the Al Gore disciples is accurate. They would refer to the economic downturn, reduction in travel, etc. However, although it exists, the amount reduction is not consistent with the CO2 data. If that were the sole reason for variation then back in the 1980s (and before then) there would not have been any increase in atmospheric CO2 levels.

    If I am not mistaken David Archibald flat-lined CO2 levels in one or more of his cooling predictions. I have leaned toward a reduction in increase if not indeed an decrease in atmospheric CO2 levels should the climate cools as much as I have submitted that it will.

    At some point in the future man will be pleading for more CO2 in order to have, once again, robust and healthy crops. Man needs to prepare for adaptation to climate change regardless of the direction it takes. It is foolish to ignore the cooling potential which is not only real, but more likely than catastrophic warming.

  16. What are the odds that they would be identical in a month when there are normally very large incerases in concentration? Why, if you already knew this, would you go forward with the sensationalist Gore-like [snip] headline?

    Cripes.

  17. I thought there was an 800 year or so lag between global temperature fluctuations and atmospheric CO2 concentrations as revealed in the Vostoc ice cores? It seems like an adjustment in atmospheric CO2 trends would take more time. Is that relatively quick correlation just because of the scale of the measurements? In other words small variations or changes of CO2 can correspond to quickly to temperatures changes (no global warming since 1998 and cooling since 2002) but larger CO2 changes take more time as the oceans warm, decelerate warming, or possibly in this case cool. I understand this is because of the capacity of water to store heat and the size and depth of the oceans. I don’t remember seeing what oceanic temperatures are doing and how this may relate.

    • Gripegut, I believe that while the CO2 uptake response by cooler oceans is extremely rapid, the response of the oceans to a cooler climate regime is likely much much slower, say on the order of 800 years? So when the Earth’s energy balance shifts, it could take 800 years to cool the oceans.

  18. Lesson here, and citing from experience; don’t leave a 12 pack of Coke in your car on a hot summer day. ;-)

    Years ago, a friend of mine had a wine shop at Jantzen Beach. At least once every summer he had to deal with a customer who had purchased a bottle of champagne and left it in his car…

  19. Gripegut (13:29:54) :

    CO2 is fast to respond (the rate of change is fast due to temperature changes). The time acting on the rate of change varies quite a bit depending on the duration and amplitude of the temperature change. There is 8 or 9 ppm variation seasonally, and great variation on short time scales, depending on the duration of the temperature cycle. Our ability to measure it in the past is very limited due to a lot of factors, but you can think of it as very highly (long duration) filtered data from ice cores. We can only detect gross changes, and in those gross changes, there is a great lag. All of the small changes are filtered out by diffusion and other processes in the ice cores. This also means that the actual changes had probably much higher peaks and valleys that we can’t see, as any original data that was filtered would.

  20. There is one thing i find a but .. emm .. strange about Mauna Loa Observatory.
    Why would anyone with half of brain put such observatory on volcanic island ?!

  21. “The other possibility is the global economic crisis. This has led to lowered consumption of fossil fuels, particularly gasoline, which saw a significant drop in miles driven this past year due to high prices and other economic uncertainties.”

    Sorry, but this is nonsense. Firstly, the amount of miles driven doesn’t appear to have been reduced during the economic crunch – there is no evidence to support this at all. Secondly, the addition of CO2 from vehicles is actually small. No one has ever carried out a collection of data on road transport (I know, because I’ve tried to get it for some time, and nothing RELIABLE exists). The estimates for addition of CO2 from road transport varies from just 6% to 17%. But it should be remembered that that is for ALL road transport. Hence, even if you removed a fraction of that (for the purpose of a economic downturn) the effect on CO2 would be pretty much zero.

    REPLY: I was going by a report from the American Automobile Association in late 2008, citing reduced miles. I’ll see if I can find it again. But your point about contributions is well taken. – Anthony

  22. Response of atmospheric CO2 due to ocean temperature change is a complex phenomenon. On one hand there is a direct an intermediate action due to the interaction of the ocean surface and the atmosphere, which is instantaneous without any time lag. The other effect, which is probably responsible to the approximately 800 years of time lag observed in ice cores is due to the thermohaline circulation. Salty cold water at the Arctic sinks and returns to the surface about 800 years later by upwelling around the West Coast of South America in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Since the water prior to sinking is very cold, it contains a fair amount of CO2 characteristic of the ocean temperature prevailing at the time of sinking. The upwelling takes place in tropical ocean waters, which hold much less CO2 and a significant portion of it is released.

  23. It is obvious that since CO2 rises every spring and summer, we must therefore conclude that CO2 causes the seasons.

    My first post, perhaps not to wise of me to start out with a poor joke… ;)

    Anthony, great site.

  24. Frank Lansner on 17th December here suggested that CO2 levels might rise more slowly then crash much faster; this idea really intrigues me, not least because it leaves more room to incorporate Beck’s fluctuating data when one has properly allowed for the worse-than-UHI biases of wind-blown industry and vegetation effects, to which the CO2 level seems vulnerable, and for which volcanic Mauna Loa is still perhaps better than anything continental.

    I have to admit, I felt there had to be a drop in CO2 levels soon – but wait, let’s see if the figures stand up to rigorous checking! Somebody earlier here said they were going to do the chemical CO2 measurement at Mauna Loa and I’d really like to see how well the figures correspond; otherwise I have the impression we still have the problem of the sudden changeover of methods, just as with the Hockey Stick.

  25. Jim Watson (11:58:40) :

    Climate 101 question from a layman: Does the annual drop in CO2 on this chart result from the winter cycle in the Southern Hemisphere (which has a far greater percentage of ocean surface than the NH)?

    The drop is usually considered to be due to NH summer plant growth, but of course winter oceans are taking place in the SH at the same time. Due to delays in SH air reaching NH, NH changes are expected to reach Mauna Loa more quickly than SH changes. I think the seasonal drop is probably due to NH plant growth.

  26. About a year ago, Australia signed the Kyoto protocol – now we have this result of lower CO2.

    The world is saved – all praise the wisdom of the Australian Federal Government.

    (Whoops…).

  27. Anthony … perhaps the computer crashed again.

    Dr Ferdinand Engelbeen … please …… very funny ….hmmm… the {a ln (C/Co)}

    Jeez …… many brahmas….. relax… (Jezz in brazil)

    Reply: Already recovering from second hangover ~ charles the moderator aka jezz in brazil

  28. On prior versions of the recent Monthly Mean CO2 at Mauna Loa I’ve looked at the monthly mean data and the seasonally averaged data were both current. On this one the monthly mean data point (red line) lags a month. I suspect what happened was the seasonally averaged point was calculated and posted without the monthly mean being updated.

  29. “Errors in data … should we just ignore them? – Ignore them, they’ll be corrected within a week or two max anyway.”

    Fine. And if they aren’t corrected because they’re real, how long should we wait before displaying this undoubted news on the premier weather investigation blog (as measured by Weblog Awards)?

  30. 1992 was the next lowest amount of annual increase in the last fifty odd years.
    However, I note that the amount of variance from 2007 is 1.90 PPM. The variance from 1998 to 1999 was a shift of 1.99 PPM. 98 to 99 we had a drop in global temperatures.

    What mechanism would couple the cooling to CO2 level increase so quickly? Phytoplankton population due to La Nina conditions present from mid to late 1998 into 1999 and again in recent times?

  31. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is a steady state; it is dynamic. CO2 is continually entering the atmosphere and continually being sequestrated from the atmosphere. The overall rise is due the human inputs. The sawtooth pattern is the difference between the biotic sequestration fluxes during the year. The fact that the rate at which the steady state falls in the late spring/summer is more than 20 times the rise due to human fossil fuel inputs demonstrates just how dynamic the system is. The half-life of Co2 in the atmosphere, before it disappears into a terrestrial sink, is about a decade. This is the same as that observed in the 14CO2 that was generated in the atmospheric H-Bomb tests in the 50s and early 60’s.
    Assuming that human activity has had very little effect on the overall terrestrial sequestration influx, human burning of fossil fuels contribute about 35% of the total terrestrial to atmospheric efflux.
    In a steady state, influx = efflux, and a monthly average reading of CO2 seems to be about right.

    I would really like someone to do a 360 strip map of the globe using a chlorophyll filter so that we could match photosynthesis with the day of the year. It would then be relatively trivial to workout if ocean cooling/warming or carbon fixing was mechanism causing the sawtooth. My guess is that it is biotic, rather than due to changes in the CO2 solubility of the earths water masses.

  32. In the monthly value data, is the “hitch” on the left side of each tooth due to the SH plant growth usage making a dent in the SH ocean outgas increase?

    that the annual drop is more influenced by the NH plant growth than SH cool water CO2 “ingassing” but those 2 are working together to make the biggest annual spike.

    The sawtooth nature of these curves is primarily influenced by plants and oceans each doing their thing in each hemisphere. Plants have an instantaneous influence as they suck up CO2. The bottom of each tooth aligns with the northern hemisphere late summer because NH land area is greater than SH. The other is a water temp driven effect where seasonal warming (or cooling) of the sea surface outgasses dissolved CO2 (or dissolves excess CO2 from the air). This effect starts immediately but my understanding is that it does not happen “fully” in each season. At the end of winter the cold water will still want to dissolve more CO2 from the air, but it will now start to warm and head toward a CO2 outgassing condition.

    It may take 5 years for the air vs water CO2 concentration imbalance to fully equalize not as instantaneous as plants sucking up CO2 for their immediat growth needs. H has more land than the SH so the NH drop is greater than the SH occurrence 6 months later. I

    I’m a pseudo-layman too

  33. The annual mean CO2 levels at Mauna Loa are corrected for the seasonal cycle using a 7-year moving average.

    Anytime you use a moving average, the trends at the very end of the data set can be a little funky- best not to read too much into them.

  34. If the world is truely in recession as the media keeps telling us, that could affect the amount of energy used and hence the amount of CO2 released.

  35. There is more to it than just ocean, by the way. Decay of organic matter on land also adds CO2 and when it is colder, this decay process is retarded and virtually stopped during periods of freezing. When cold temperatures dip farther South, things like leaf litter decay slower releasing less CO2. Same for bogs and swamps.

  36. The attribution of multiple phenological causes to the Mona Loa wiggle gets confusing. Freeman Dyson’s explication of the wiggle seems elegantly simple. As a layman, I need simplicity.

    He points out that the Mauna Loa station, with its typical 7 ppm variation between fall and spring, is only one of several CO2 monitoring stations. The sampling station at the South Pole also shows a wiggle, but it only varies by about two ppm – and its direction is opposite to that of the Mauna Loa station (and other Northern stations) according to the season. In other words, it shows a decline of CO2 beginning in the northern fall, and an increase beginning in the northern spring.

    Dyson’s interpretation of this is in his “The Question of Global Warming”.

    http://www.nybooks.com/articles/21494

    The only plausible explanation of the annual wiggle and its variation with latitude is that it is due to the seasonal growth and decay of annual vegetation, especially deciduous forests, in temperate latitudes north and south. The asymmetry of the wiggle between north and south is caused by the fact that the Northern Hemisphere has most of the land area and most of the deciduous forests. The wiggle is giving us a direct measurement of the quantity of carbon that is absorbed from the atmosphere each summer north and south by growing vegetation, and returned each winter to the atmosphere by dying and decaying vegetation.

    Dyson points out that this turnover of CO2 is fast. About 8% annually is taken up by the vegetation in its growth processes and released again in the decay process. This rapid transfer of matter from ground to atmosphere is important, if true, because warmers like the notion of multi-decadal, generation-altering tipping points as a scare tactic, and will base their formulas for cap-and-trade on as long a period as possible. (I have yet to see an explication of an 800-year lag time between temp/CO2 that’s any more believable than the warmer’s claims of the opposite.)

    That growth of northern hemisphere vegetation would be slowed to a few years of reduced warmth, TSI (however slight), or cloud formation doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Though it may not account for the broader curve, it seems to work for the seasonal change.

  37. I’m betting error, fixed soon (note that the December data point is not on the graph but an annual value is).

    And soon to follow, an apology and explanation from Dr. Tans that should be accepted with equal grace. He does know we’re watching….

  38. Steve Berry:

    “Firstly, the amount of miles driven doesn’t appear to have been reduced during the economic crunch – there is no evidence to support this at all.”

    With respect, actually there is data from EIA to support a rather small decrease in mileage driven in the U.S. in 2008, compared to 2007. The reduction was small, approximately 3 or 4 percent.

    The recent statement for January 7th from EIA is:

    “Over the last four weeks, motor gasoline demand has averaged 9.0 million barrels per day, down by 2.2 percent from the same period last year.

    Distillate fuel demand has averaged 4.2 million barrels per day over the last four weeks, up by 0.3 percent from the same period last year.

    Jet fuel demand is 9.0 percent lower over the last four weeks compared to the same four-week period last year.”

    But the overall point is correct, such a modest reduction in vehicle miles driven is not likely the cause of MLO numbers declining.

    I am no expert, but if man-made CO2 is 3 percent of total CO2 annual production, and the U.S. is only 25 percent of world petroleum consumption, and on top of that the U.S. petroleum consumption drops a mere 3 percent, the effect is negligible. ( 0.03 x 0.25 x 0.03 = 0.000225, or 0.0225 percent).

    EIA petroleum numbers come out each Wednesday morning here:

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/weekly_petroleum_status_report/current/txt/wpsr.txt

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  39. I think I’ll bet for a correction soon.
    Another circumstantial evidence/cue is the December number(s) for global CO2 a bit further down on the page (trend in opposite direction). Both could be wrong, BTW. We’ll wait and see.

    Cassanders
    In Cod we trust

  40. Another layman here who is deeply interested but who admits that a lot of this debate is beyond his immediate comprehension.
    Perhaps a comparative study between the Mauna Loa site and the Australian Cape Grim site run by our CSIRO would turn up some interesting comparisons between the CO2 contribution or CO2 sink originating in the Southern Ocean.
    To my totally untrained eye it seems that there was a considerable rise in CO2 levels measured by Cape Grim during the 1998 El Nino event.
    Cape Grim is on the north west corner of the island state of Tasmania at lat. 40 degrees 41 minutes south and therefore well down in the Southern Ocean.
    There are no land masses upwind of this station until the South American continent which is well over 10,000 kms to the west as even South Africa is well north of the roaring forties latitude that Cape Grim is located on.
    The Cape Grim station has been operational since 1976 and it has been collecting flask CO2 samples for analysis since that time.

  41. Dear Anthony,

    I want to use a few lines to spekulate, what an actual measured drop in the atmospheric CO2-concentration would mean . .
    Well, as the “lifetime” of a CO2-molecule is about 5 years and we still burn coal, a real drop in CO2 could only mean, that the anthropogenic carbon-hypothesis is wrong and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is driven by the sea temperature (going down since a few years . .). I ask this question for some time now:
    How can we know that the rise is purely/mainly anthropogenic?
    The rise of the C12/C13-ratio and the rise of near surface sea water CO2-concentration are not valid answers, since they would also rise if the domination cause of the athmospheric increase would be a deep sea warming.

    All the best regards,
    LoN

  42. The comments that this month’s data should get closely reexamined because they are unexpected have neglected to mention that reexamination done for that reason will skew the results. If adjustments are made only when the results are unexpected, errors in expected results will tend to be overlooked. Errors should be corrected, but does the methodology have predefined means to handle positive and negative errors?

  43. Each spring, when the Northern Hemisphere’s vegetation awakens from the dormancy of winter and begins to grow again, it removes enough carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to reduce the air’s CO2 content by several parts per million. Then, in the fall, when much of this vegetation dies and decays, it releases huge quantities of carbon dioxide back to the atmosphere, raising the air’s CO2 content by a small amount. Together, these two phenomena produce a seasonal oscillation that is superimposed upon the yearly incremental rise in the air’s mean CO2 concentration; and the greater the yearly growth of the planet’s vegetation, the greater are the yearly down- and up-swings in the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. Consequently, the amplitude of the atmosphere’s seasonal CO2 oscillation serves as a good relative measure of the planet’s total vegetative productivity in any given year.

    While the size of this seasonal oscillation has increased over the last 30 years or so – a signature of increased CO2 fertilisation of plants, what we see in the last couple of years isn’t an increase in this seasonal oscillation. It appears to be a lessening of the winter increase.

    It’s not obvious why less CO2 would be emitted in winter. I don’t buy the decreased CO2 emissions due to the economic crisis argument. No global metrics are showing a decrease in energy consumption and if anything we have seen a shift toward cheaper and more ‘carbon intensive’ coal.

    The only explanation I can come up with is more absorption by cooler oceans, but the effect is suprisingly large.

  44. I had a quick look at the Mauna Loa Observatory change log linked in the original post. I don’t have the knowledge to make an assessment of its content, but the simple act of publicly documenting changes to the record dramatically enhances the credibility of that record. I’m sure that documenting changes to a “single source” collection record is much, much simpler than documenting changes to the various surface temperature records, but that of course doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be done. Credibility is a hard thing to create and an easy thing to lose, but not attempting to create it in the first place is a straightforward recipe for utter failure.

    Surely the keepers of the various published surface temperature records can understand this?

    OA

  45. New Study Doesn’t Support Climate Models (But You’ll Never Hear About It)
    January 11th, 2009
    by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/new-study-doesn%e2%80%99t-support-climate-models-but-you%e2%80%99ll-never-hear-about-it/

    Dr. Spencer says:
    “For instance, a paper I recently submitted to Geophysical Research Letters was very rapidly rejected based upon only one reviewer who was asked to review that paper. (I have never heard of a paper’s fate being left up to a single reviewer, unless no other reviewers could be found, which clearly was not the case in my situation). That reviewer was quite hostile to our satellite-based results, which implied the climate models were wrong in their cloud feedbacks.”
    ————————————————————-
    Senator Boxer was apparently too busy with the magnifient debt-creation stimulus package the Congress is working on, to burden my great grandchildren with insurmoutable debt, when they attain the age to be productive and are taxed to provide for the maintainance of the giant cesspool of waste called the Beltway. Otherwise, the Senator would have been happy to review a scientific work, I am sure.

  46. CO2 levels are decreasing as we get closer to Obama taking office. It’s simple, it’s the Obama effect.

  47. Mr. Sowell, not to pick at straws or anything…

    ” …With respect, actually there is data from EIA to support a rather small decrease in mileage driven in the U.S. in 2008, compared to 2007. The reduction was small, approximately 3 or 4 percent”

    As a frequent visitor to WUWT and CA, I am more than a little bit leery of statistical claims without documentation. A 3-4% result could be arguably within the margin of error for the poll.

  48. Ed Scott says:

    Dr. Spencer says:
    “For instance, a paper I recently submitted to Geophysical Research Letters was very rapidly rejected based upon only one reviewer who was asked to review that paper. (I have never heard of a paper’s fate being left up to a single reviewer, unless no other reviewers could be found, which clearly was not the case in my situation). That reviewer was quite hostile to our satellite-based results, which implied the climate models were wrong in their cloud feedbacks.”

    To a first approximation, all scientists believe that they have been screwed in some way by the editorial process when their paper gets rejected. See, for example, here for the complaints of a scientist with conventional views on AGW who submitted a comment on a paper that argued for a low climate sensitivity. One should generally take these complaints with a grain of salt.

    Senator Boxer was apparently too busy with the magnifient debt-creation stimulus package the Congress is working on, to burden my great grandchildren with insurmoutable debt, when they attain the age to be productive and are taxed to provide for the maintainance of the giant cesspool of waste called the Beltway.

    Well, most economists believe that the time to tighten the federal government belt is not when the economy is in what may be the worst freefall since the Great Depression and the federal government is the only entity that can take up some of the slack. Of course, the fact that we spent the last 8 years building up additional debt after having erased the deficit during the Clinton years is clearly a lost opportunity.

  49. The last time we got all excited like this the explanation was that Mauna Loa had gone through a couple of weeks at the end of the month (IIRC) when they weren’t able to get good readings. As a result they waited until they had a couple of weeks data the next month, and then they went back and infilled, thus bringing the number Up, considerably.

    It seems likely we’ll see something similar this time. However, couldn’t we just give the good Dr. a call, and see if this is the track we’re on?

    REPLY: I sent an email earlier today, no reply yet. – Anthony

  50. DaveM –
    EIA’s data isn’t from polls. They take data from sales and other tax data as collected by the federal government.

    A quick rundown on statistical “error” of the tyoe you are talking about is sampling error (as opposed to some of the othe types of statistical errors discussed here). A ~3% error would be for a population of ~1000. Each factor of 10 decreases that error (i.e., a 10000 sample size would have a 2% error). Now – that applies to “uniform” populations (say, red and black balls drawn from a jar). In non-uniform pops, the 3% error that is often bandied about is a load of hooie. Much more work is required to come up with errors when your random sample comes from the human jar…

  51. I should mention that the 1000/3% is for bery large base populations of red/black balls (as an approximation for the human jar). For smaller base pops, sampling theory also applies, and gives different results. However, my basic premise is that EIA is not sampling, and although there is errors associated with that sort of data collection, they will be different than those found with sampling theory.

  52. Joel –
    Having reviewed papers, I have to agree with Dr. Spencer. Asking for only one reviewer is not common. For an AGU based publication, I would also be shocked.

    Gov’t spending to get us out of a recession is a Keynsian approach. And I believe even Keynes wanted it to be limited. When you get too much spending (and the pre-requisite printing of money) by gov’t, you get inflation, and perhaps hyperinflation (see Weimer Germany and the wheel barrow of money).

    Other economic theorists (ie, Chicago School) would recommend slashing corporate taxes to stimulate growth, but then again, what would that do? Its not like businesses efforts have ever led to any economic growth. Gov’t is always the grower of economies! Just ask the Soviets!

    Good slapdown of the last eight years of overspending. Like you, I have complete confidence that the current congress and Pres. Obama will be completely restrained…

  53. The link to “The year end CO2 data for the Mauna Loa Observatory” that Anthony supplied at the top of this post, also has a chart for the Global Monthly Mean CO2 levels with a table that shows the Global Average Annual Mean Growth Rate for 2008 to be 1.82. (Scroll down for the chart and table). Since this Global number is way more than the Mauna Loa .24, the Mauna Loa number is probably an error. But even if its not an error, the Mauna Loa number is not very significant since the global number doesn’t support the basic premise of the post.

  54. shows the Global Average Annual Mean Growth Rate for 2008 to be 1.82

    Again, the global number does not include the December value. That is up to November only.

  55. Anthony,

    That plot and the conclusion that you draw in terms of the year-over-year rise in CO2 doesn’t pass the smell test in my view. For one thing, you get a very different result if you use November 2007 to November 2008 instead of Dec 2007 to Dec 2008 to compute the year-on-year rise. For another, it makes no sense that they report the mean value but not the monthly value.

    I’ll bet you dollars-to-donuts that the person updating the data set at NOAA accidentally put the value that belongs in the Dec. 2008 monthly column into the “mean” column instead. That would explain the lack of a monthly value, it would be at about the place one would explect the Dec. 2008 monthly value to be, and it would explain the extreme glitch in the “mean value”.

    So, you heard it from me first…Tomorrow, we will be seeing a correction to that data.

    REPLY: I’ve never figured out how to collect or pay on a dollars to donuts bet. It’s always confusing, who sends what? ;-)

    You may very well be right and if so, it will be the second time in the last 4 months that such an error has caused data for the public release to be incorrect. – Anthony

  56. Joel Shore (19:05:27) :

    “To a first approximation, all scientists believe that they have been screwed in some way by the editorial process when their paper gets rejected. See, for example, here for the complaints of a scientist with conventional views on AGW who submitted a comment on a paper that argued for a low climate sensitivity. One should generally take these complaints with a grain of salt.”

    Could you give us your opinion on this paper?

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090109115047.htm

  57. Here is a graph on miles driven:

    http://captaincapitalism.blogspot.com/2008/05/miles-driven-per-year-by-americans.html

    Doesn’t look like there is enough of a drop to make much difference. Idling factories from the the Olympics and the economic downturn would be another tiny effect.

    I would think the colder weather slowing and inhibiting growth would have a larger effect in NOT taking CO2 out of the atmosphere!!! Not to mention the extra heating being done to keep warm!!

    A side note, the wind farms in England and other areas have had large drops in output during the worst of the cold snaps last year and recently.

    IF the drop is real, I would bet on the oceans which may have been slightly cooling since before 2003!!!!

  58. Two questions:

    1) I’ve read that CO2 has about a 12 year “life span” in the atmosphere before it is either absorbed by the ocean or biomass.

    2) Do “warmer” ocean surface currents absorb more or less CO2 than “cooler” ones?

    Web search got this “gem” and many more just like it http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18723606/

    Being in the crawling stage of my climate realist development model – little joke there – two more questions:

    1) If question number 1 indicates a life cycle for CO2, how much CO2(natrual and man-made) is actually retained in the atmosphere, year by year? It isn’t a constant factor I suppose, and I have run into far too many people who think it is a total accumulation, that once CO2 is “borne” it never goes away – I kid you not. (Many beleive it just floats around us – not taking into account biomass or anything else that actually uses CO2).

    2) Hows does the flip in the PDO affect CO2 absorption?

    And the last part: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/ This kind of closed without any kind of resolution, but I think it may still be germaine to this subject – or I am barking up the wrong tree in the wrong forest?

  59. Over at Real Climate, they’re having a fit, saying that everyone at WUWT thinks that CO2 emissions have nothing to do with rising CO2 concentrations (see the comments under the best science blog competition article). Clearly, we understand that CO2 emissions increase CO2 concentrations, but that interannual temperature changes influence the year-to-year differences in growth rates. I think they get confused because of the skepticism many of us display (myself included) about the “which came first – CO2 changes or temperature changes” before the industrial revolution (uhhh… temperature came first and the solar influence must be stronger than the CO2 influence given that the trend keep going up and down rather than being continuous positive feedback, unless it’s some sort of biofeedback or something, but then this would show that warming is good… I digress). Anyway, they are claiming we’re all idiots and that no skeptic has ever published anything useful, so we should probably bombard them with some sanity. Maybe they’re just jealous that they’re being trounced.

    REPLY: Well, at least they are reading. Issac Asimov once joined Mensa, and had this to say about it: “Furthermore, I became uncomfortably aware that Mensans, however high their paper IQ might be, were likely to be as irrational as anybody else.” He further described some members as “intellectually combative” and eventually resigned from the Mensa Society. We all have our irrational moments, our failures, and our blown theories, the trick is to not get too worked up about it and to maintain civility and good cheer. Understanding is seldom achieved through anger. – Anthony

  60. Philip_B (17:51:34) :

    “… what we see in the last couple of years isn’t an increase in this seasonal oscillation. It appears to be a lessening of the winter increase.
    ….
    The only explanation I can come up with is more absorption by cooler oceans, but the effect is suprisingly large.”

    Assuming that is a plausible explanation, couldn’t more absorption than expected occur if recently upwelled, old, deep water, that, when it was last at the surface, say, 800(?) years ago, was exposed to a lower CO2 atmosphere and/or a higher temperature atmosphere, thus its CO2 concentration is lower and it would be able to dissolve relatively more CO2, then other water at the same temp but with higher CO2?

  61. “2) Hows does the flip in the PDO affect CO2 absorption?”

    As the PDO’s two states both have warm and cool spots, the gross gas/temp effect would depend upon whether there is a difference in the average temperature of the two states. The local conditions would also affect what happens, such as if a warm or cold spot happens to be in an area where the atmosphere has high or low CO2 and whether there are other differences (such as there tending to be more or fewer waves). So someone would have to study all the variables; as AGW proponents seem to avoid the PDO I would be surprised if there has been sufficient study of such details of the PDO.

  62. Roger Sowell (16:12:21) :

    Steve Berry:

    “Firstly, the amount of miles driven doesn’t appear to have been reduced during the economic crunch – there is no evidence to support this at all.”

    With respect, actually there is data from EIA to support a rather small decrease in mileage driven in the U.S. in 2008, compared to 2007. The reduction was small, approximately 3 or 4 percent.

    Sorry, that was me. Haven’t been driving my F250 as much since I started working from home. ;)

  63. While reading this post I had some interesting thoughts. CO2 has very little to do with Earth climate, but it does have a lot to do with plants and their health. When one considers the increasing demands that human and other animal populations are placing on the planet for food and oxygen, it seems that high concentrations of CO2 are exactly what is needed for the plant kingdom to thrive and produce the food and compounds required. More CO2 seem to be appropriate. Limiting, or even reducing CO2 levels in a world that needs faster growing, and larger populations of plants to sustain animal and machine respiration seems, well…stupid.

  64. DaveM, Brendan,

    Re the EIA data on U.S. petroleum consumption.

    EIA does a bit of sampling in compiling their numbers. Essentially, each Monday they query all the largest companies by volume until they obtain data on 90 percent of the expected volume for that week. The final 10 percent represents a lot of smaller operators and appears to be estimated.

    The methodology is laid out, for those interested, on their site as Appendix A, Weekly Petroleum Status Report Explanatory Notes. It includes some statistical language.

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/weekly_petroleum_status_report/wpsr.html

    In any event, my earlier calculation was perhaps a bit too high. Petroleum use in the transportation sector is approximately 19 percent of total world-wide energy use, but in the U.S. transportation comprises approximately 29 percent of all energy use. So, depending on one’s view of the global reduction in transportation due to the economic slowdown, my numbers given above should be reduced by a factor of at least 3, possibly as much as 5. On the other hand, if global numbers were available, the result above would not include the 25 percent factor. I believe it is a bit early, being only January, for good numbers to be had for world-wide energy use for 2008.

    It does not appear that a reduction in driving made much difference, if any, in CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

    p.s. Fascinating discussion, the above comments. Can anyone point me to an article on the mechanism for CO2 absorption/desorption in the oceans? As a chemical engineer, I am interested in how the CO2 is absorbed, given the very low concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and the extremely low degree of mixing at the air/water interface. There are waves crashing on the shores, certainly, where some mixing will occur. Also, the global surface area of cold water is very much smaller than that of warm ocean water. Just curious, trying to keep up!

  65. I think its pretty simple. The Pacific is experiencing a cool down. Dissolved C02 capacity is an inverse function of temperature. Now go sample some sea water and prove it. Right.

    There is a huge risk in the decline of physical observations in Science. Its much more fun to play computer games, I mean models, than pile up data in the lab. Which brings me to MLO. Some posters can be far too quick in ascribing wrongful motives to scientists they believe are in the AGW camp. MLO is in my opinion an invaluable resource, with long term longitudinal records, run by a staff that takes data integrity as seriously as anyone would want. Dr. Tan answers his mail and doesn’t strike me as a member of any agenda driven conspiracy.

  66. RH: Plant physiologists have known that you are correct that this is good for plants for decades. I think it is unlikely that it is completely inconsequential for earth climate (though I think it’s all overblown by wild overestimation of the parameters that determine radiative forcing). In any case, I thought you would appreciate this EXCELLENT review on the positive influence of rising carbon dioxide concentrations on photosynthesis rates, water-use efficiency and nitrogen-use efficiency.

    http://si-pddr.si.edu/dspace/bitstream/10088/48/1/More+Efficient+Plants.pdf

  67. everyone at WUWT thinks that CO2 emissions have nothing to do with rising CO2 concentrations

    *sigh*

    Sure, human emissions have *some* impact but I wouldn’t say emissions are the majority impact of rising CO2 numbers. But there is the bigger question: Does it really matter. So far it appears that the climate sensitivity to CO2 or more accurate, the feedback associated with increased CO2 emissions have been grossly overstated. In other words, increased CO2 might not really amount to much of a problem. If increased water vapor is a net negative feedback, as a growing body of evidence seems to suggest, then doubling CO2 may not have the consequences that the models suggest.

    Want to mitigate global warming? Have your neighbors go along with you and paint your roofs white. Turn your neighborhood into a suburban cool island. Increase the albedo above what it was when it was natural landscape. Reflect that visible light back into space before it can be turned into IR and trapped by CO2. THAT seems to me to be a more effective method of “fighting global warming” than spending billions to hamstring the economy.

    And I am only half kidding.

    If we go into a period of considerably cooling ocean temperatures, we could see a significant reduction in rate of CO2 accumulation. Now a lot of that CO2 would get burped back out when sea temperatures rise, but a lot wouldn’t because it would have been absorbed by biological and reactive processes and taken out of the cycle for a long time.

    But in any case, I would not be surprised if the tenor of the conversation on the part of the warmists becomes more shrill and desperate if their projected temperature increases continue to fail to materialize. They have a lot invested both professionally and personally in those models and have placed their names on the line. If it comes to pass that it was all wrong, it is going to have repercussions beyond their own personal lives. For one thing it will probably make the public much slower in the future to believe a *real* problem when it arises.

    Sure, atmospheric CO2 is rising and humans contribute to that rise. Is it a problem? I am not convinced. We have bigger problems with things like irresponsible land use issues to tackle that *do* make a difference. Just the problems with surface recording data is enough to mask most of the “global warming” that has occurred to date. Sea temperatures are not rising either and that is where Earth stores most of her heat.

  68. Crosspatch:
    I agree with you on some points. I tend to agree that rising CO2 concentrations might have as much positive impact as negative impact, even if it induces some warming, which I believe is overstated (as you will see implied by my latest post). However, I highly doubt that the CO2 rise is *mainly* due to the ‘cold beer on a hot day bubbling’ process. I am willing to listed to reason if you can explain to me why you feel that several gigatons of carbon emissions wouldn’t increase CO2 concentrations by a ppm or two each year. The budget is well-established and there are thousands of scientists trying to figure out where the ‘missing sink’ is (ie., according to our best budgets, the CO2 concentration should be rising even faster than it is on the basis of our emissions). I’m listening (and not sighing – how irritating – I digress).
    As for painting rooves white: whatever. Yes, it would be locally cooler if you were to do this, but cities make up a tiny fraction of land surface area. We might see a reduction or even a reversal of the UHI bias that is plaguing the global climate record, with most stations located close to populated areas. However, you might also end up with locally decreasing convective precipitation (which would be a good or bad thing depending where you live) and an ugly city… white rooves… ugh! Where I live, cold is more of a problem than heat anyway. I say keep ’em black!

  69. Where I live, cold is more of a problem than heat anyway. I say keep ‘em black!

    Yeah, been through that before. That black roof is costing you money. It makes a much better radiator at night and night is much longer than day in winter when you think you “need” the black roof. And the elastomeric coatings designed for this use include insulating ceramic spheres that act as an additional layer of insulation. The result is that your house stays warming in winter and cooler in summer with the white roof and you consume less energy for climate control.

    If night is 15 hours and day is 9 hours, your black roof is acting as a very efficient radiator of heat from your house to the air at night.

    “I am willing to listed to reason if you can explain to me why you feel that several gigatons of carbon emissions wouldn’t increase CO2 concentrations by a ppm or two each year.”

    Because the latest numbers I read was that all human activity creates about 3% of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere. The other 97% are from natural processes such as decay of organic matter.

    But again, even if we are increasing the CO2 load by a couple of parts per million, there is no evidence that it is harmful in any way. There is no evidence that CO2 is the cause of current warming. Temperatures are not tracking CO2.

    Also, the planet was at a record low CO2 atmospheric CO2 content before we started adding it back. Practically all plants and animals evolved with much higher CO2 levels than exist today. It is quite possible that we could be assisting more of a *recovery* of atmospheric CO2 levels back to something much more beneficial for the biosphere than we are *polluting* anything.

    I am still waiting for anyone to show that even a single degree of temperature change is due to changes in atmospheric CO2. All we have to date are computer models and the observations aren’t matching the models.

  70. lulo, thanks for mentioning the *missing sink* for CO2.

    As I slowly make my way through the material on WUWT, it occurs to me that there may be other mechanisms for CO2 removal from the atmosphere, not including oceans and trees. I do not know much yet about this, so if I am slow please have patience.

    My thought is that there are a number of CO2 removal operations ongoing, world-wide, that are man-made. I do not know if the CO2 cycle scientists have accounted for them in their analyses and models. Specifically, cooling towers remove CO2 from ambient air, also the steam/water cycle in industrial boilers removes CO2 from ambient air. Yet another mechanism is condensing water vapor that is formed from hydrocarbon combustion. Still another is simply rain as it falls through the atmosphere.

    For example, boiler feedwater makeup water is treated to remove scale-forming ions. The cold, purified makeup water then is heated to almost boiling, such that entrained gases including oxygen, and nitrogen bubble out. Boiler blowdown water contains TDS (total dissolved solids), at least some of which is calcium carbonate. Finally, low-pressure steam is vented to the atmosphere either intentionally or through steam leaks. The escaped steam eventually condenses into water, falls through the atmosphere and absorbs some CO2.

    Similarly, water vapor from cooling towers eventually condenses into water, and it too absorbs CO2 as it falls to earth. The blowdown stream from cooling towers also contains calcium carbonate as TDS. Makeup water to cooling towers is almost certainly not saturated with CO2.

    Cooling tower water can get fairly cool especially in winter, where the absorption of CO2 from inflowing air is greater. The contact area for air/water mixing is very high in a cooling tower, such that CO2 absorption is enhanced.

    There are a great many cooling towers in service around the world, how many I do not know but I estimate in the 100,000 range. Cooling towers are used on most power plants, large chilling plants, chemical plants, refineries, and many manufacturing facilities. Steam systems are also wide-spread, being used in power plants where steam turns a turbine, and chemical plants, refineries, etc.

    I once calculated, very roughly, that approximately 7 cubic miles of new water has been condensed from combustion of hydrocarbons, taking into account burning of petroleum, natural gas, and coal since 1900. Others may have a better estimate. However, realizing that all 7 cubic miles of that water condensed and fell to earth as rain, it absorbed at least some CO2 as it fell. This mechanism would not be cyclical, rather a one-time occurrence. I fully understand just how small 7 cubic miles is in relation to the entire ocean.

    Just a thought, on the missing sink for CO2. Any feedback is welcome.

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  71. When one considers the increasing demands that human and other animal populations are placing on the planet for food and oxygen, it seems that high concentrations of CO2 are exactly what is needed for the plant kingdom to thrive and produce the food and compounds required.

    Probably so. CO2 levels were about 5 to 7 times higher than they are today when most of today’s plants evolved. Today’s plants are much more productive with higher levels of CO2 which is why greenhouse operators often enrich the air inside greenhouses with CO2 (up to 1000ppm is very common).

    You can go back in the geological record to when CO2 levels were at 7000 ppm and global temperatures were about 5 degrees above current levels. How much of that increase was due to CO2 and how much to having no land at the poles to anchor ice is a big question. If we had no land near the poles, there probably wouldn’t be any year-round ice there even with today’s CO2 levels. There should be fossil forests buried in the mud out on the continental shelf from when sea levels were 100 meters lower in the last glaciation. I sometimes wonder why nobody has looked for old, swamped trees there for study.

  72. I have seen it estimated that the increase in CO2 has enabled crops to produce 10% to 12% greater yield with no increase in water. I have also seen studies that indicate that the beneficial effects of increasing CO2 are linear up to amounts far higher then we currently experience.

    If the benefits increase in a linear trend, and the LW warming effect decreases logrythmically, then the known benefits should rapidly out weigh the potential, unknown and theoretical harm.

  73. “Over at Real Climate, they’re having a fit, saying that everyone at WUWT thinks that CO2 emissions have nothing to do with rising CO2 concentrations”

    My opinion: increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations throughout 20th century were mainly caused by humans (although other factors also have their impact), people saying we only emit 3% annually (http://www.junkscience.com/Greenhouse says 3.4%) must remember that the other CO2 ’emissions’ are in general no net additions to atmospheric concentrations, but just natural cycles, so the human part of the added CO2 is lots bigger than 3%. The relevant question is (as crosspatch says): should we worry? No of course, because CO2 is a nice plant fertilizer and the effect on climate seems to be quite minor, no greenhouse warming hot spot to be seen, negative feedback observed by Aqua satellite, etc. I would guess that maybe human-emitted CO2 has caused some 0.2 °C of warming, but then again, this is not in any way a reason for panic.

  74. A layman’s view of CO2 global warming
    A few years back, I had a discussion with a young pro AGW construction worker during lunch break. It boiled down this.
    Ppm, parts per million
    What if each part was a ¼ inch square and set side by side? One million would equal 20,833 ft. Water vapor would equal 833 ft or one part about every 25 ft. If we round off CO2 to 400 ppm, that would equal just 8.33 ft or one part about every 2510 ft.
    Even on a molecular level, wouldn’t that still be a huge distance?
    If CO2 is a “heat trapping blanket” it sure has some big holes in.

    Next we went to the third floor elevator shaft with a thermometer (barrowed from the hav/ac guy) and took a reading. It bounced around 87.3 F. Then I went down to the first floor elevator shaft with a Bic lighter (CO2 particle on steroids) in hand. I lit the lighter for 30 seconds, waited 30 seconds before relighting the lighter. We repeated this action for about five minutes. The thermometer still bounced 87.3 F.
    If we couldn’t measure “heat” from a Bic lighter at about 25 ft up, how can anyone measure “heat” that radiates down from the upper troposphere to the surface?

  75. Increasing CO2 in the air and in the water is a stimulus to its own removal, and since we don’t know how those feedbacks work in detail, we cannot predict the response of the carbon cycle, except, perhaps, to suggest that removal and sequestration of any anthropogenic carbon will happen faster than has been widely believed.
    ======================================

  76. Ah, I just spied your update. May we presume that the real December figure is more in line with the expected?
    =============================

  77. If he has the real December value on his computer, why didn’t he just tell you what it is?
    =================================

  78. old construction worker (02:49:50) :

    What if each part was a ¼ inch square and set side by side? One million would equal 20,833 ft. Water vapor would equal 833 ft or one part about every 25 ft. If we round off CO2 to 400 ppm, that would equal just 8.33 ft or one part about every 2510 ft.

    Even on a molecular level, wouldn’t that still be a huge distance?

    If CO2 is a “heat trapping blanket” it sure has some big holes in.

    Convert that CO2 into mylar (or construction grade Tyvek), aluminize it
    if you want, and wrap the Earth in it. That would trap or reflect a lot
    more than a small part of the IR spectrum!

    CO2 is a trace gas, but it’s effective enough so that it blocks nearly all
    it can now – the first 100 ppm was much more important than the last 100 ppm.

  79. Roger E Sowell says:

    I once calculated, very roughly, that approximately 7 cubic miles of new water has been condensed from combustion of hydrocarbons, taking into account burning of petroleum, natural gas, and coal since 1900. Others may have a better estimate. However, realizing that all 7 cubic miles of that water condensed and fell to earth as rain, it absorbed at least some CO2 as it fell. This mechanism would not be cyclical, rather a one-time occurrence. I fully understand just how small 7 cubic miles is in relation to the entire ocean.

    And plants take that water and CO2 and use the abundant energy from sunlight and turn it in to O2 and food for it self. It is recycled.

  80. @David A, Is CO2 alone enough to make plants grow faster? No nutrient depletion in the soils? Read on, whilst the oceans acidify and saturate.

  81. I’ve been musing about the carbon cycle. Using school level physics I calculate that the CO2 in the atmosphere contains enough carbon to cover my back garden(and the rest of planet earth) with 1mm of soot. You can correct me if I’m wrong. Meanwhile… The grass grows about 1m a year. Which makes me think that the life of carbon in the atmosphere is a wee bit shorter than the consensus suggests.

  82. How these blogs work: Any post not meeting the mantra is held until more have accumulated after. Then, release them to drown them as were they already ignored by subsequent posters.

    Here’s the GLOBAL chart for CO2 which the blogger could have seen same time as posting about the MLO graph.

    from

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

    Does not look like anything changed. It’s up and that already with months with significant drop out fossil fuel burning in the western world.

  83. Sekerob (05:32:14) :
    Read on, whilst the oceans acidify and saturate.

    Is this the next environmental catastrophe that’s about to befall mankind as “global warming” falls by the wayside?

    Please let me know as I’ll begin wringing my hands well beforehand.

  84. Sekerob (06:04:35) :

    “Here’s the GLOBAL chart for CO2 which the blogger could have seen same time as posting about the MLO graph.

    from

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

    Does not look like anything changed. It’s up and that already with months with significant drop out fossil fuel burning in the western world.”

    So, you’re saying it appears there are other reasons for CO2 increases. What is your theory for that increase?

  85. Anthony, when will AIMS be able to report CO2 on a current global basis? Or am I missing something?

    REPLY: Good question, they seem to have gone quiet. I’ll check. – Anthony

  86. “The budget is well-established”

    The budget assumes that carbon is balanced, subtracts all the estimated values, and what is left over is assumed to be the amount of carbon which lands on the ocean floor. Nice establishment, if you assume that the cycle is balanced and that you know all of the factors.

  87. Crosstab, Anonymoose: Don’t get me wrong. I *agree* that increasing temperatures should increase CO2 concentrations. We can see that over the past 650,000 years, where temperature precedes rises in CO2. I *also* agree, as I mentioned in the post above, that solar effects on temperature are more important than any CO2 feedback. Finally, I *also* agree that there are more positive than negative effects of CO2, including positive effects on photosynthesis, water-use efficiency and nitrogen-use efficiency. I also think the issue has been inadvertently politicized and holds the potential to be the biggest PR disaster for science in the history of the world.
    With regard to the CO2 growth issue, however, it is not hard to find good, honest estimates of how much CO2 is emitted by human beings (and by every natural terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems for surface types that happen to be sources), and it is also not hard to find good, honest estimates of how much CO2 is taken up by terrestial and oceanic ecosystems (for those regions that happen to be sinks). These estimates do take into account the oceanic temperature, and you can even account for the impact of increased temperature on soil and growth respiration. The budget doesn’t balance out, meaning that there is some, as yet unknown, missing carbon sink.
    Anonymoose, let us pretend, for the moment, that you were correct, that scientists had assumed that the budget is completely balanced, and that they had neglected the impact of rising postglacial temperatures on oceanic CO2 release. Well, this would mean that we would expect CO2 concentrations to be rising even faster than they are. Under your assumption (which, from my understanding of the issue, is not correct), the missing sink would be even larger! Again, not that it matters, because all three of us appear to believe that the net impact of CO2 on the global environment is a positive one. What we are doing today is taking a world that had become CO2-impoverished, because of millions of years of photosynthetic carbon-hydrogen bonds lost to carbon deposits, and now retrieving that carbon from the depths of the earth and temporarily replenishing some of the lost carbon (concentrations used to be in the thousands of ppm).
    We agree here, but our emissions *do* increase the atmospheric CO2 concentrations relative to those from warming alone. Emissions are, as you state, be 3% or so of the budget… yes, and, as a result, it increases the CO2 concentration in the air by much, much less than 1% each year. That this is exacerbated if it is warmer than in recent years, and reduced if it is colder than in recent years, I do not argue.

  88. “Over at Real Climate, they’re having a fit, saying that everyone at WUWT thinks that CO2 emissions have nothing to do with rising CO2 concentrations”

    Ah, the fantasies of hostile AGW fanatics!

    It must be nice to be so absolutely certain that you know everything, that you have accounted for everything, that your theory or hypothesis or whatever is the only way things can be… must be really quite soothing, even if your belief indicates that we are destroying the world.

  89. Crosstab: You are right about the effect of white rooves on my energy costs. I just don’t care. I was referring to weather-related effects.

  90. @Richard M,

    A good understander only needs half the words. If that is what you read what I wrote, you even understand less than David A and Brute v.v. the effects of the 12CO2 (fossil fuel sourced) on biology. Land and Sea.

  91. “and it is also not hard to find good, honest estimates of how much CO2 is taken up by terrestrial and oceanic ecosystems”

    That is where I think you are going to find the most problem. Particularly anything having to do with oceanic CO2. The oceans are 70% of the planet and are practically completely unexplored. Much of the ocean lies more than a mile deep and what happens down there is, for the most part, a complete mystery to us. Every time we look there we discover new things. The number of geothermal vents, CO2 emissions, biological communities, etc. are practically unknown. We know more about the surface of Mars and the Moon than we do the floor of the Pacific.

  92. Just wondering if Pieter Tans has an internet connection? Couldn’t he check what he is sending out to the world? This is more than sloppy it is incompetent.

  93. Sekerob (08:46:36) :

    “@Richard M,

    A good understander only needs half the words. If that is what you read what I wrote, you even understand less than David A and Brute v.v. the effects of the 12CO2 (fossil fuel sourced) on biology. Land and Sea.”

    I don’t claim to know a lot about these effects. I simply asked where the CO2 came from if, as you stated, the emissions have been decreasing while the increase in CO2 has been constant. I think that’s a pretty simple question. If that’s not what you were stating then please rephrase it.

    I can see that English is not your 1st language so it may very well be that I am misinterpreting what you said. If that is the case I apologize.

  94. “As I slowly make my way through the material on WUWT, it occurs to me that there may be other mechanisms for CO2 removal from the atmosphere, not including oceans and trees. I do not know much yet about this, so if I am slow please have patience.”

    One very important mechanism that takes CO2 out for a very long time is erosion. When rock is exposed to air, it is subjected to bathing in rain. CO2 in the air dissolves in rain and forms a weak carbonic acid. This acid reacts with the rocks forming carbonates. These carbonates stay out of the atmosphere for a very long time. In fact, many have put forth the notion that the rising of the Himalayas has resulted in scrubbing a considerable amount of CO2 from the atmosphere and is one of the reasons for the dramatic drop in CO2 to record low levels in recent geological history. In fact, it has been put forth that if this scrubbing were to continue at the rate it has been, we would begin to see mass extinctions of plants as they came under stress from lack of CO2.

    Things such as rock “flour” from glacial grinding of rock absorb a huge amount of CO2 as it reacts with rain, too. As glaciers recede, more rock is exposed and so more CO2 is reacted out of the atmosphere.

  95. Anyway, all the “Maybe” speculation was in vain. Anthony Watts [I normally allow criticism of or host through but this was over the top ~ charles the moderator] Here’s the revised record:

    2008 12 2008.958 385.54 385.54 386.28 30

    That sets the 2008 average to 385,57 which against the 2007 373,71 makes it 1.86 ppmv up, same as 2007. So much for a cooling effect.

    And be careful, some people intently mix much higher “mass” values with “volume” values to make it appear as if recent history had occurrences of 400 and more.

  96. A scribal error. These happen all the time. A wrinkle in the parchment, a blot of ink from a poorly trimmed quill, a monk still sleepy from Lauds, working away by candlelight…

  97. Bryant: It’s not fair to blame Pieter Tans for this mistake. I have met him before (at an NCAR advanced study program conference in 1996 when I was beginning my M.Sc.), and he is a class act. Haven’t you ever made a technical or numerical blunder, or had a little computer glitch. Besides, in his e-mail, it is revealed that he isn’t even the one who released the bad number. There really is no conspiracy with Mauna Loa measurements. They’re just simple measurements that match observations around the world to within a ppm or two consistently. The values are correct, and he does a good job analyzing them (not just CO2, either) – it’s just that the wrong value went online for a few hours. Anthony was correct to post this because of the importance and interest had it been true, and it is probably because of him that it was corrected so quickly. No one has done anything wrong here, so why the griping?

  98. Michael D Smith and jeez,

    Thanks for the help.

    Anthony,

    Your site is my new favorite and your contributors give the most clear and intelligent coverage/discussion of the current climate debate.

    Educational and Entertaining! Who could ask for more?

  99. I forgot to also thank Tom for the explanation of the 800 year lag between temperature and atmospheric CO2 concentrations shown in the Vostok ice cores.

    Thanks!

  100. Interesting that energy consumption and mileage driven dropped very little in 2008 vs. 2007.

    This is anecdotal, but when the price of gas in Calif. went over $4.00 and news of the near-collapse of the financial system came along, the drop in traffic along my usual route to the hardware store was more than noticeable, even drastic from previous months. Not a monster pickup truck in sight anywhere, and the kids with their hotrods and lowriders seemed to have disappeared. I would have sworn the traffic was 50% less than what I was used to.

    With the amount of unemployed people going up tremendously and manufacturers shutting down plants worldwide, one would think that energy consumption, miles driven, and anthropogenic CO2 emissions would be all be dropping like a rock.

  101. “With the amount of unemployed people going up tremendously and manufacturers shutting down plants worldwide, one would think that energy consumption, miles driven, and anthropogenic CO2 emissions would be all be dropping like a rock.”

    Sure, but does it matter? Has *anyone* shown any real relationship between CO2 and “global warming”? By “real” I mean any relationship aside from in a computer program they wrote? I am unaware of any temperature change at all due to man made CO2 emissions. If someone can provide any data that shows CO2 has caused any recent temperature change, it would be greatly appreciated.

    So far all the mechanisms by which the models show that it *should* be changing temperatures have not been seen in observed data.

  102. CO2 increse ended as I predicted in the spring 2008. If global temperature anomaly for 2008 would be 0C the CO2 increase rate would become 1.2+-0.4ppm. Now the temp anomaly was slightly higher, ~0.09.

    So the CO2 still is tightly connected to temperature and not to anthropogene emissions as shown on the graph I have made, see below. 2008 not added yet.

  103. Forgetting for a moment changes in US demand, the fastest growing CO2 emissions are from China and India. Those emissions growths are going to continue to swamp any reduction in US emissions.

    A little over 6.5 million additional passenger cars were sold in China last year. Automobile ownership was up over 30% in 2007. In absolute numbers of cars, China is in the top 10 of world markets and accounted for about half of all world car advertising.

    Americans might be putting off buying new cars but they aren’t giving their cars up. If anything, not buying newer more efficient cars is resulting in higher consumption of fuel than we would have if the older cars were taken off the road and replaced with newer models.

    And I am not noticing any great decrease in automobile traffic around here. California’s recent increases in unemployment seem to be driven more by California’s jacking up of the state minimum wage throwing lower wage earners out of work. Every time California raises the minimum wage, unemployment rises.

  104. Often I wonder what the significance is of taking a current value and seeking out as far back as possible a matching value to say look, the sea ice is now the same as 1979″, forgoing that weather is weather influenced by ENSO, PDO,Vulcanic eruptions, stratospheric ozone depletion, ABCs and whatnot. Moreover, these far back “lows” are often one-off anomalies, whereas the current decades are nothing but anomalous.

    The 2008 value is 1.86 ppmv matching 2007. 2004 was 1.74 ppmv so, not “look, 1993” which according to my simple spreadsheet had a mean increase of 0.68 ppmv

    The short series: Second last column isthe annual mean and the last is year on year mean increase

    1990 12 1990.958 354.21 354.21 355.15 30.00 354.16 1.26
    1991 12 1991.958 354.98 354.98 355.91 31.00 355.48 1.32
    1992 12 1992.958 355.39 355.39 356.27 31.00 356.27 0.79
    1993 12 1993.958 356.7 356.70 357.59 31.00 356.95 0.68
    1994 12 1994.958 358.74 358.74 359.65 31.00 358.64 1.68
    1995 12 1995.958 360.42 360.42 361.29 30.00 360.63 1.99
    1996 12 1996.958 361.96 361.96 362.78 31.00 362.37 1.74
    1997 12 1997.958 364.12 364.12 364.89 31.00 363.47 1.11
    1998 12 1998.958 366.87 366.87 367.61 27.00 366.50 3.03
    1999 12 1999.958 367.86 367.86 368.59 29.00 368.15 1.65
    2000 12 2000.958 369.62 369.62 370.33 30.00 369.40 1.26
    2001 12 2001.958 371.11 371.11 371.83 31.00 371.07 1.67
    2002 12 2002.958 373.71 373.71 374.45 30.00 373.17 2.10
    2003 12 2003.958 375.97 375.97 376.71 30.00 375.78 2.61
    2004 12 2004.958 377.51 377.51 378.23 31.00 377.52 1.74
    2005 12 2005.958 380.07 380.07 380.78 30.00 379.76 2.24
    2006 12 2006.958 381.85 381.85 382.55 31.00 381.85 2.09
    2007 12 2007.958 383.90 383.90 384.60 29.00 383.71 1.86
    2008 12 2008.958 385.54 385.54 386.28 30.00 385.57 1.86

    But, possibly we’re talking a different data set, than that coming from the ESRL

  105. RJ Hendrickson — re U.S. fuel consumption.

    You are correct, it did drop noticeably in September according to EIA reports. But for the entire year, the decrease was around 3 percent less than 2007.

    I also noticed the much decreased traffic, and lower speeds for about two or three weeks. Then prices came down rather quickly.

    What is intriguing to me is the Detroit Auto Show currently underway. Lots of hybrids and electric vehicles there. Should have a measureable downward impact on U.S. fuel consumption for the next few years. Assuming anyone can get a loan to buy a car! But any reduction in the U.S. will likely be more than offset by increased auto sales in other countries.

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  106. Lulo and others,

    Pieter Tans is the boss, and therefore the errors made by his staff are his responsibility. The fact that, like some other understaffed groups, they put out data without doing any kind of “data rationality” checks IS HIS FAULT.

    This is the type of thing that a programmer could write a warning error for in 5 minutes or less.

    If this was data that was not being used to educate the public on issues that are making major transformations to society I might agree that it is not that big a deal. This data is and it IS a big deal. Repeatedly issuing data that happens to have problems shows little professionalism and undermines our reason to trust the WHOLE record!! Repeatedly issuing corrections to data only in one direction makes the appearance even more dismal.

  107. Sekerob, papers like those will be much more interesting when they include data more recently than, say, 2002 or 2003. It will be papers that include data from after 2005 that are going to upset the apple cart.

  108. Joel Shore
    “Well, most economists believe that the time to tighten the federal government belt is not when the economy is in what may be the worst freefall since the Great Depression and the federal government is the only entity that can take up some of the slack. Of course, the fact that we spent the last 8 years building up additional debt after having erased the deficit during the Clinton years is clearly a lost opportunity.”

    ————————————————————-

    Your expression, “most economists,” is analogous to the expression, “most scientists.”

    Anyone who has read the Constitution understands that all spending legislation originates in the House of Representatives, is modified in the Senate, gets its final form in a conference between the two legislative bodies, and is then forwarded to the president for signing into law.

    It has been apparent that the Congress absolves itself from all responsibility of the catastrophic effects that their ill-conceived legislation creates. Diversion and blame are two attributes of an irresponsible Congress.

    “Only the federal government can take up the slack.”

    The federal government does not create wealth, it is a net tax and debit on the productivity of its entrepreneurial citizens. Its “productivity,” if it can be called that, is in printing fiat money that creates further debt on the citizenry. In essence, the “bail-out” stimulus package is nothing more than a “theft” of the future productivity and wealth through the subtle taxation by inflating the money supply and a redistribution of that wealth. The government creates nothing but debt.

    Recalling the original “emergency” stimulus package of US$700 billion, it was defeated in the House of Representatives. The Senate “stimulus” legislation of US$850 billion was passed, the additional US$150 billion was for “earmarks,” characteristic of a “caring” and “responsible” Congress.

    Of the “emergency” bailout funds, only US$350 billion has been allocated. The only emergency was the bailing out of the financial cabal in and around the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The discussion is now about how to “spend” the remaining US$350 billion.

    The incoming administration wants to create jobs. The federal government does not create anything but debt.

  109. Re: “Ah, OK the ol’ “close enough for government work” thinking makes it OK then if data is released for public consumption, and then fixed. Why not simply do it right the first time? I can think of lots of venues when this sort of sloppiness in posting data that others use would get people fired, cause product recalls, cause accidents, or get people killed. So why should climate science get a free pass for sloppiness? – Anthony”

    Because this isn’t a venue where it can “cause product recalls, cause accidents, or get people killed”. Who uses the freshly released monthly data other than blogs for no purpose whatsoever than hobby number watching? How can an error in release cause people to be killed? It’s simply not as important as you seem to think it is. The records yes, the recently released data on a website no.

    REPLY:
    Hobby number watching? Go tell that to Gore, or to Hansen. Rubbish, trillions of dollars of world economic policy hinge on these numbers, and you don’t think it is important that it be done right? Sorry but your argument just doesn’t wash. There is no excuse for sloppiness, especially here. – Anthony

  110. One of the readers here posted the link to a graph I presented here over at Tomino’s site. It was in response to a thread mentioning an acceleration in the rate of atmospheric CO2 increase. After seeing Tomino’s response to it I decided to have a look at the ‘rate of increase’. I have produced several graphs and created a thread : Trends in Yearly CO2 Increase

    I fail to see a trend from recent years showing increases are accelerating in rate.
    They were once…. but not now.

  111. Leif Svalgaard (13:52:10) :

    Thanks, same charts, same author, the original paper where my link refers to a 2008 presentation on that said. No upset of apple carts that I can discern.

    So unless missing something in a big way, Crosspatch, you were saying?

  112. Who was it said that if you can’t do arithmatic you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Observe the dot by dot red curve above; which is an approximation to the real data, since it is only a one per month “measurment”; no doubt the result of some actual daily real data after being processed through some AlGorythm.

    One can also see that the data consists of a somewhat sore tooth cycle superposed on a more or less straight line ramp.
    The saw tooth signal has a p-p amplitude of about 7 ppm, and looks for all the world like an RC integration of a rectangular wave, with a 2:1 on off duty cycle.

    Note that it takes a mere 4 months for the ML CO2 to drop by 7 ppm. If you had the pole to pole three dimensional plot which NOAA has hidden from prying eyes, you would see that at the south pole, the annual cycle is reveres, and no more than 1 ppm p-p amplitude, while at the north pole the cyclic amplitude has built up to what a CO2 expert aquaintance for Scripps Inst. in La Jolla CA tells me is actually an 18 ppm p-p amplitude; and it is actually maximum amplitude at the north pole. So tell me again about how the ocean water takes up all that CO2, given that it is under perpetual ice at the north pole.

    But the key thing is that whatever it is that is capable of removing CO2 from the atmosphere at the north pole, it can remove 18 ppm in just four months. and if the excess ovber the stable value was 100 ppm, it only takes 5.5 times 4 months or 22 months to remove at a straight line rate. But assuming the decay is actually an exponential integration of a square pulse, then it takes five time constants to remove 99%, so that would be 110 months, or about nine years.

    So remind me again how the CO2 remains in the atmosphere for 200 years, once it escapes our tail pipes; when 99% of it is capable of being removed by natural processes in just nine years.

    I wish somebody had a month to label each of those 12 dots per cycle, so I could phase the saw tooth, with the fruit growing cycle down in the California central valley.

    It seems to me, that in the spring time, bare trees and fields return to lush greenery in a week or two, and then that enhanced bio-mass gets to work removing CO2, for four months; and then for late summer and fall, the green turns to brown and dead “greenery” and CO2 take up stops.

    It would appear to me from the missing three-D graph, that the southern ocean take up of CO2 is pretty much constant 12 months out of the year with almost no cyclic change at all, but the increased and still increasing bio-mass in the northern hemisphere accounts for most of the cyclic variation throughout the year.

  113. I’ve seen passing references but no clear indication of something I’ve been trying to understand. One of the critical assumptions and an underpinning of the GCM’s is a long lifetime for emitted CO2 in the atmosphere, i.e., decades up to a century. Does anyone know or have a link to the official IPCC assumption for this?

    I’ve seen other abstracts that refer to a lifetime around the range of a decade which makes a BIG difference on the outcomes of the models. Where does this debate stand? Any links to good studies on this subject would be appreciated.

  114. Arn: Thats part of the problem, knowing CO2 and its half life in the atmosphere.

    The IPCC assumes long half-life’s, with 50-200 years given.

    Some sources show half-life’s of less than a decade.

    Therein lies the problem. If there is a problem with CO2 induced warming, and if the longer estimate is correct, we need to start cutting back now, for our grandchildren to see any results.

    If the shorter period is correct, and we need to make cuts, we can start cuts in a decade or two, and still see results in our lifetime.

  115. half life

    you can not have a half life unless you know the mass fluxes from ocean and land to atmosphere and then back again. and you know where it started from. i dont know what t one half is

    you can try, by plotting ln[co2] vs year assuming a net unidirectional flux

    you get co2= exp([.004176*year]-2.436) where .004176 is the rate constant in calendar years eg 1967. you cant get a real half life from this data, but if you want to its .693 / .004176

  116. George E. Smith (15:00:06) :

    at the north pole the cyclic amplitude has built up to what a CO2 expert aquaintance for Scripps Inst. in La Jolla CA tells me is actually an 18 ppm p-p amplitude

    ….whatever it is that is capable of removing CO2 from the atmosphere at the north pole, it can remove 18 ppm in just four months. ”

    Have a warm damp mass of air filled with 390 ppm CO2 and cool it . The pressure drops and water in liquid form condenses. It absorbs CO2. Absorbing CO2 lower the freezing point of water cools and absorbs more CO2. The water turns to snow and lands in the ocean. Co2 is scrubbed from the air.

    Looking at the Hawaii data, I get a t 1/2 for atmospheric CO2 of 9-11 years and a human input of about 35% the natural rate of efflux.

    You must understand that what ever the rate of geological release of CO2 is, it must also be matched by the mineralization rate. Every now and again a huge volcano erupts and will cause a spike in the atmosphere, the plant has a mechanism to clear it. Of it didn’t we would have much more regular extinctions of sensitive species, like large carnivores and frogs.

  117. Arn: The atmospheric lifespan of CO2 is very complicated, because it can very from seconds to thousands of years. It could be respired by vegetation or soil and taken up by surrounding vegetation almost immediately, or it could end up in the atmosphere for centuries or even millenia. I don’t know offhand of a reference where the frequency distribution of CO2 lifespan has been graphed, and if I saw one, I would treat it with a grain of salt. I think the important thing is that, on average, the lifespan would be very long compared to (say) CH4 or most sulphur-containing aerosols.

  118. for those interested, rate of change of MLO yearly averages (yearly delta MLO ppm) compared to mans emissions is only an r squared of 0.37 with a correlation constant of .61.

    can some one tell me how co2 concentration was ever related to mans emissions?

  119. Ed Scott (13:09:16) :

    Outstanding.

    Thank you for pointing this out……it needed to be said (maybe not here, but it still needed to be said) err ahh, written.

    I’m terribly sick of uneducated people hanging the economic lows (and highs) on the President (any President). Congress is responsible for spending legislation. Congress is responsible for spending this country into a hole.

  120. Anthony Watts says:

    I’ve never figured out how to collect or pay on a dollars to donuts bet. It’s always confusing, who sends what? ;-)

    Yeah, I’ve never quite understood that either, but just to be on the safe side, maybe you should send me both dollars and donuts! ;)

    You may very well be right and if so, it will be the second time in the last 4 months that such an error has caused data for the public release to be incorrect. – Anthony

    From your corrected graph (and my vague memory of what the original one looked like), it indeed looks like the error was what I suggested…Or at least something close to it.

    As for these mistakes in publicly-released data, I guess there is a dynamic tension between getting the data out quickly to the public and checking it carefully before releasing it. And, things move so fast now in the internet age that even though it looks like there was only about 12 hours of time (as best as I can estimate…you may know better) between when you posted this up and you received an e-mail from Tans acknowledging there was an error, thousands of people got to know about it! I have to admit that I am happy that as a scientist I have worked in fields where people aren’t clamoring to see my data!

  121. “you can not have a half life unless you know the mass fluxes from ocean and land to atmosphere and then back again. and you know where it started from”

    Indeed. At10,000′ the daily fluctuation at Mauna Loa seems to be about 12ppm or so. At 24,000′ the AIRS fluctuation is 6ppm. Half the atmosphere is beneath.

    If the fluence at sea level were 20×2, into and out of the atmosphere, then we could be talking 80 Gtons daily.

  122. Thanks to Les Johnson, Peer & Lulo relative to CO2 atmospheric lifetime:

    I think you answered my question that there is no answer, only assumptions. Sounds like a dangerous game since we’re betting billions on the answer using algorithms that depend highly on the this empirically unknown factor.

    Am I wrong anyone?

  123. If rain-scrubbing is a sink and sequester of CO2, then this is a sink that may not be in models. But if AIMS were up and running, one might be able to see CO2 leaching out of the atmosphere where rain is abundant. I am thinking of the 5th grade science textbook model of ocean breezes building up to clouds which pile up next to mountains and rain down on the ocean-side slope, taking CO2 with it. If it creates a mild acid-based carbonate solution, no wonder dripping water off a gutter can drill a hole into concrete below.

    hmmmm

    If the premise holds, it would be a bugger to put rain into models. But not to worry. If the world does warm, rain will become more abundant thus reducing CO2…wait a minute…this sounds like a self-adjusting system. Run-a-way global warming cannot tolerate such things.

  124. Joel Shore (18:04:33) :

    Sorry.

    I applaud Tans on his candor and integrity; however, the original anomaly was so dramatic that even I saw it immediately.

    “Close enough for government work” seems to permeate the government work ethic more often than not and I dare say that numerous other bureaucrats could and should have double checked such a glaring decrease prior to publication.

    Regrettably, there is absolutely no incentive to get it right the first time when it comes to government work……a true pity.

    These types of “mistakes” seem to be occurring with more and more frequency and I fear it’s because people are watching the end product more closely…….double checking the facts and figures.

    Repeated “mistakes” such as this cast a shadow of doubt, (skepticism), on future (and past) publicized information and pollute the data pool.

    I double and triple check my work before I release it. If I continually released flawed data I’d soon be unemployed…….won’t happen with a government employee.

  125. Atmospheric nuclear bomb testing produced a spike in the amount of carbon 14 in the atmosphere. This spike was monitored and the half-life of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was estimated to be 12.9 years.

    http://nzic.org.nz/CiNZ/articles/Currie_70_1.pdf

    Tom V. Segalstad, head of the Geological Museum at the University of Oslo and formerly an expert reviewer with the same IPCC said, “This time period has been established by measurements based on natural carbon-14 and also from readings of carbon-14 from nuclear weapons testing, it has been established by radon-222 measurements, it has been established by measurements of the solubility of atmospheric gases in the oceans, it has been established by comparing the isotope mass balance, it has been established through other mechanisms, too, and over many decades, and by many scientists in many disciplines”

    The source of doubt for this seems to come from the MWP deniers.

  126. Think of another way CO2 is taken out for a long time: fire. A forest absorbs CO2 and is then burned. But combustion is not complete and a lot of charcoal is left. This charcoal (carbon that came from CO2 taken out of the air) is very stable and can possibly stay right there in the soil for millions of years. If rains come and a landslide covers that charcoal, it can stay sequestered from the atmosphere.

    A century of putting out forest fires, particularly in “old growth” forests actually adds to atmospheric CO2. Why “particularly old growth”? Because a fully mature forest does not remove CO2 from the air. Once a group of trees is, as a unit, no longer adding overall biomass as trees die and decay, it releases as much CO2 through decay as it takes in through growth. A fire would convert much of that dead material to a more stable form of carbon (charcoal again) and clear out areas that would allow young new trees to begin absorbing CO2.

    Another major contributor to CO2 increase in the atmosphere is paper recycling. For every tree that is “saved” by recycling paper, one is not planted. You end up with fewer trees planted and areas that were “farmed” for pulp trees are sold off and put to other uses. If you send your phone book to the landfill, sure it will fill the landfill faster but it will sequester a couple of pounds of carbon that must be replaced by planting a tree to be harvested for replacement paper.

    Actually you would do better to simply burn the paper and bury the ash. If you have a pound of carbon that is taken out of the atmosphere by a tree and converted to paper and then burn it, you might be left with a couple of ounces of high carbon ash. Bury this ash and you have put back into the air less CO2 than it took to make the paper. Also, a new tree must be planted for replacement paper. Old growth trees are not cut for paper. Paper trees are farmed. Paper companies are the worlds largest planter of trees. If we all recycled all of our paper, paper companies would make that one last cut and then sell the land. You aren’t saving a single tree by recycling paper, you are preventing trees from being planted and reducing an atmospheric CO2 sink. Burning the paper and burying the ash would reduce CO2 more than recycling.

  127. Sorry Michael? I know you are being facetious but I must be slow tonight because I don’t quite get what you mean. I was brainstorming on CO2 being rained out of the atmosphere, as was suggested earlier. Do you have information to the contrary? Please share.

  128. Crosspatch, what an interesting post. I used to do noise surveys in log and lumber mills. Most have closed. Forests are no longer being harvested. Fire wood cutters can no longer clean up the forest floor. Growing space is severely hampered and trees that do manage to take hold are small and spindly, unable to withstand heavy snows. They just bend over, snap off, and add to the fuel on the floor. Big pines are topping out and no longer growing. My own plot of trees at the ranch are way past due for harvesting, and several pines have topped out, but I can’t find a mill that will buy the logs. It makes perfect sense that growing forests would use lots and lots of CO2. Wonder if anyone has done a comparison study on the rate of decrease in tree harvest along side increase in CO2.

  129. Les Johnson (16:19:00) :

    One thing that struck me, is the chart from 1998 on. It looks like a dampening cycle, with shorter frequencies and reducing amplitudes.

    I should perhaps do some further smoothing in order to reflected the anomalies better. As noted on the site I think something changed in or right after 1988 and again in 1998. Those changes were not identical but they do exist. I liken the graphs to a waveform representation of a signal. If the waveform pattern changes on the scope…. something changed. It could be an intermittent but if it does not return to normal it is more than a bit of noise, etc.

    The question in this case with nature is how long does it take to return to ‘normal’ ? Why the second event? My present feeling is that 1988 and 1998 were essentially non-anomalies. The channel was being changed (as you note ‘frequency’).

    As always I believe that climate should be studied from a long-term perspective. However, in doing so it is essential to be cognizant of short term changes, learn what caused them, and learn what they mean to the larger picture.

  130. Pamela Gray,

    I think Michael is agreeing with you, that perhaps this mechanism is deliberately NOT in the climate models. It would tend to stabilize the system, as you pointed out.

    I am still working on what I suspect is many tons per day of CO2 scrubbed out of the atmosphere via man-made cooling towers and spray ponds. My gut feel is that it is small, compared to the CO2 released via hydrocarbon combustion, but it is bugging me so I will have a look.

    The trouble we have as engineers to achieve a gas absorbed into a liquid has me wondering about the ocean uptake of CO2. Lots of surface area, to be sure, but not much driving force via gas concentration or by pressure. Also, almost zero mixing.

    As was said…. Hmmmm…..

    I am beginning to suspect that the better mechanism is as mentioned earlier, with rain drops falling through a mile or two of sky and then into the ocean. A zillion or two or three raindrops per day ought to do it. The rain is fairly cold, too, which increases the gas’ solubility.

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  131. I wonder what misting sprinkler systems do in CO2 pumped greenhouses. It would be a fairly easy experiment. Simply determine what amount of pumped-in CO2 is necessary to demonstrate continued rise, stable levels, and falling levels, in the presence of rain.

  132. George E. Smith (15:00:06) :

    Note that it takes a mere 4 months for the ML CO2 to drop by 7 ppm. If you had the pole to pole three dimensional plot which NOAA has hidden from prying eyes, you would see that at the south pole, the annual cycle is reveres, and no more than 1 ppm p-p amplitude, while at the north pole the cyclic amplitude has built up to what a CO2 expert aquaintance for Scripps Inst. in La Jolla CA tells me is actually an 18 ppm p-p amplitude;

    They’re not doing a very good job of hiding the data, it’s freely available on the web!

    and it is actually maximum amplitude at the north pole. So tell me again about how the ocean water takes up all that CO2, given that it is under perpetual ice at the north pole.

    If you look at a typical year’s CO2 data from Port Barrow in the Arctic (below):

    Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    2004 383 383 382 384 383 381 372 367 369 373 379 382

    You’ll notice that the [CO2] is ~constant through June whereupon it drops sharply by about 17ppm over the next couple of months. Guess what happens during that time? The sea ice breaks up exposing the atmosphere to that cold water that’s been separated from the atmosphere for ~6 months, no surprise that the CO2 is rapidly absorbed. In October the ice grows back allowing the CO2 to be replaced.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/barrsio.co2

    At the South Pole there is no such change just a steady growth but of course there is no opening pool of cold water down there.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/ftp/trends/co2/csiro/spo_mm.dat

  133. But leave the plants outside while you do the experiment. Plants lurv their CO2 in greenhouses and can chew right through it in minutes. Also, did you know that pumped-in CO2 is not well mixed unless given a stir?

  134. Roger Sowell (21:00:36) :

    I am beginning to suspect that the better mechanism is as mentioned earlier, with rain drops falling through a mile or two of sky and then into the ocean. A zillion or two or three raindrops per day ought to do it. The rain is fairly cold, too, which increases the gas’ solubility.

    Of course one of the routes by which CO2 can enter the ocean is rain which has a pH of 5.6 due to dissolved CO2. However, once in the ocean it will still equilibrate with the atmosphere (CO2 is less soluble in sea water than fresh water).

  135. There has been an UPDATE IN THE DATA. New value is 1.58, not 0.24. Still lower than the average of the last 20 years, I think.

    Best regards.

  136. I am most curious about the AIMS data regarding global atmospheric CO2. If the concentration goes down as measured via satellite while the Mauna Loa surface station continues to show a climb, me thinks the modelers have missed a sink or two. And that maybe these sinks start up and slow down in cyclic ways. While the Mauna Loa is a stairstep to heaven, might there be a stairstep (or several) going down? The Earth being as old and full of life as it is, I am thinking that we don’t really know all the ways that CO2 and other greenhouse gases are removed from the atmosphere, and no one seems to really give it much thought. We only seem to be seriously measuring how much is going in to it.

    One more thing. It seems to me that it is taking much longer to get that AIMS satellite to send us CO2 data than it took for the temp satellites to bring us temp data. If the data they are collecting is not what they expected and they are taking extra time to make sure it is right, then tell us that, with regular updates. I for one will be quite the frothin redhead if I find out they are only going to let the Ivory Tower folks look at the CO2 satellite data.

  137. Keep thinking Nylo, but better is to check the annual historic data, which is available in 2 forms, annual and months, and global v mlo only.

    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/

    Global annual:

    1980 1.68 0.07
    1981 1.08 0.07
    1982 0.99 0.07
    1983 1.83 0.07
    1984 1.31 0.07
    1985 1.63 0.07
    1986 1.02 0.07
    1987 2.69 0.07
    1988 2.21 0.07
    1989 1.38 0.07
    1990 1.24 0.07
    1991 0.82 0.07
    1992 0.64 0.07
    1993 1.15 0.07
    1994 1.68 0.07
    1995 1.98 0.07
    1996 1.08 0.07
    1997 1.97 0.07
    1998 2.92 0.07
    1999 1.36 0.07
    2000 1.23 0.07
    2001 1.85 0.07
    2002 2.38 0.07
    2003 2.21 0.07
    2004 1.64 0.07
    2005 2.44 0.07
    2006 1.76 0.07 <
    2007 2.17 0.07
    2008 1.82 0.07

    MLo Annual:

    1989 1.27 0.11
    1990 1.31 0.11
    1991 1.02 0.11
    1992 0.43 0.11
    1993 1.35 0.11
    1994 1.90 0.11
    1995 1.98 0.11
    1996 1.19 0.11
    1997 1.96 0.11
    1998 2.93 0.11
    1999 0.94 0.11 <
    2000 1.74 0.11
    2001 1.59 0.11
    2002 2.56 0.11
    2003 2.25 0.11
    2004 1.59 0.11
    2005 2.53 0.11
    2006 1.72 0.11
    2007 2.14 0.11
    2008 1.58 0.11

    My 86 year old neighbour regularly comments ” Believing one does in church”. That 0.01 for MLO is really significant to do the ol “look how far we can go back” to argue things are changing. They’re not and it’s thus but a hair not equalling 2004, but still more than 1999, just half the thought.

    The significance to the planet is the global, I know, and 2006 was less than 2008, a post La Nina year with positive SOI! The CO2 rate increase curve is concave. You might want to read some other climate blogs for some new analysis on the perceptions.

    gary gulrud: wild dreams you’re having with the 80 GT daily exchange. How on context does this then not swallow up the 9.4 GT than humans are spitting into the atmosphere, isotope 12 marked CO2, so we do know the increase is Anthropogenic.

  138. Sekerob, is anything wrong with the post I submitted previously, as to recommend me to continue thinking?

    The data shows a very strong correlation between yearly average temperature and CO2 increase, yet despite La Niña we are still quite hot compared to the 90’s, and emitting more and more CO2, however it has increased in similar rates as it did during some of the years by then. I see that, with yearly temperatures like those of the 90’s, we would be suffering LESS CO2 increase than in the 90’s. I see that as soon as the temperature starts to drop more, your concave curve is going to turn convex (i.e. the line of the increases, the derivate, will begin to have a negative slope), and will do that despite the increases in emissions to come. You can already see it happening here (graphs plotted with the data you just posted):

    Best regards.

  139. Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt averaged ~1ppm/year from 1958 to ~1978, then ~1.5 ppm/year from ~1978 to ~2001, then >2ppm/year from ~2001 to ~2006, and since then has dropped below 2ppm/year (consistent with strong global cooling since January 2007).

    However humanmade CO2 emissions have continued to increase over the past few years, as they have every year over the past century or more. Why then is atmospheric dCO2/dt not also increasing?

    Mauna Loa (and global) dCO2/dt correlates well with the Lower Troposphere temperature anomaly, but as I noted in my January 2008 paper*, CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months.

    The impact of global temperature on atmospheric CO2 concentrations is apparent.

    The impact of atmospheric CO2 concentration on global temperature is much more difficult to demonstrate, probably because it is insignificant.

    Regards, Allan

    _________________________

    Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt has “gone negative” a few times in the past (calculating dCO2/dt from monthly data, by taking CO2MonthX (year n+1) minus CO2MonthX (year n) to minimize the seasonal CO2 “sawtooth”.)
    These 12-month periods are (Year-Month ending):

    1959-8
    1963-9
    1964-5
    1965-1
    1965-5
    1965-6
    1971-4
    1974-6
    1974-8
    1974-9

    Has this not happened recently because of increased humanmade CO2 emissions, or because the world has, until recently, been getting warmer?

    I noted in a paper published one year ago that dCO2/dt changes contemporaneously with “average” global temperature, and CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months.

    * For those who are interested, my paper and spreadsheet are at:

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

    CO2 data from Mauna Loa:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.txt

  140. “With the amount of unemployed people going up tremendously and manufacturers shutting down plants worldwide, one would think that energy consumption, miles driven, and anthropogenic CO2 emissions would be all be dropping like a rock.”

    I think it taken as a percentage of the whole?…it would be insignificant. Number of plants shut down vs. number still running and new plants coming online?…don’t know the number, but I’m sure it’s much smaller than the MSM would lead us to believe. Likewise with unemployed people…remember, it averages %6. And for many of those, they may be driving as much or more as they were when they were employed. Not all, but some. So again…overall impact is likely negligible.

    “What is intriguing to me is the Detroit Auto Show currently underway. Lots of hybrids and electric vehicles there. Should have a measureable downward impact on U.S. fuel consumption for the next few years. ”

    What is the percentage of man-made C02 released by U.S. automobiles?…again…I’m betting it’s a very small percentage.

    JimB

  141. Pamela Gray (22:48:28) :

    Hi Pamela

    It is AIRS data you must be talking about: They have published but it is for around 10000 meters, I think. They cannot go below 5000. http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/

    Have a look at the animations

    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/

    The new satellite will go up in February, will be able to read from the ground up, but depends on sunlight so no nightly CO2, except by modelling daytime data. It is called OCO
    oco.jpl.nasa.gov the pr links or the right are more informative.

  142. Pamela:
    “If it creates a mild acid-based carbonate solution, no wonder dripping water off a gutter can drill a hole into concrete below.

    hmmmm”

    How do we know how much, if any, of the hole is caused by the acidic solution, and how much is caused by the force of a drop of water slamming into it from a height of 8-10′?

    ;*)

    JimB

  143. At the suggestion of Les Johnson I made some changes to the annual rate of CO2 addition graphs at My Climate Buzz: Trends in Yearly CO2 Increase

    Hopefully they will now present a clearer or more accurate picture. I also added a couple comparing the trends in different ways. I did attempt to discuss (defend) the graphs and concept at Tomino’s site. It seems that if you have a differing opinion then an ad-hominem outburst is soon to be delivered. That reminds me of a doctor who had no patience for nor wanted to hear his nurse’s opinion. He went ahead and amputated the wrong leg from his patient despite her objections.

  144. “Because a fully mature forest does not remove CO2 from the air.”

    Another issue with Mauna Loa, Pamela’s ‘stairstep to heaven’. Keeling and minions believe it biogenic owing to terrestrial plants whose center of mass would lie around Tropic of Cancer.

    But the peak of sequestering by the data is October. It cannot follow July/August.

    Now consider the SO as the 800 pound gorilla. Remember 7% more insolation.

  145. George E.Smith:

    It would appear to me from the missing three-D graph, that the southern ocean take up of CO2 is pretty much constant 12 months out of the year with almost no cyclic change at all, but the increased and still increasing bio-mass in the northern hemisphere accounts for most of the cyclic variation throughout the year.

    Look at the links I gave to Pamela, above, to see how the planet breathes out CO2 in spring , a CO2 that is not homogeneous at all.

    If you go to Lucy’s links you will find a running discussion about CO2 measurements and the cherry picking that has been going on,
    http://www.greenworldtrust.org.uk/Forum/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=22

    It seems that the Keeling legacy is to choose the most stable time of day and region to measure CO2, that is why the locations are remote and on mountains.
    I have been challenging this, because it seems to me that it is as if we would decide to measure temperatures where they are stable and away from heat sources, like the sun. i.e. at night and in remote places !!

    I think this is because they have assumed a priori that CO2 is well and easily mixed in the atmosphere, which the AIRS data show that it is not.

  146. Christian Bultmann:

    Thanks for the link, it affirms and corrects my thinking. On the latter, the cold trap error seems to be similar in size to the H2SO4 dessication method used in French volumetric methods bridging the ice core data to WWII era.

  147. Gary Palmgren (19:43:09)

    Thanks for that interesting PDF link, which shows pretty conclusively that the persistence of atmospheric CO2 is only about 12.9 years. Another nail in the AGW coffin.

  148. Gary Palmgren (19:43:09)

    Thanks for that interesting PDF link, which shows pretty conclusively that the persistence of atmospheric CO2 is only about 12.9 years. Another nail in the AGW coffin.

    You misunderstand what that 12.9 figure represents, it is the lifetime of an individual molecule in the atmosphere not the lifetime of a perturbation in the CO2 concentration. The measurement effectively involved seeding the atmospheric CO2 and observing the exchange with the ocean. Even in equilibrium between the atmosphere and ocean seeded CO2 will enter the ocean and be replaced by a CO2 molecule from the ocean, the concentration of CO2 in both ocean and atmosphere remains the same, but the concentration of seed in the atmosphere will go down and in the ocean will increase. The removal of the excess CO2 should the emission of CO2 fall below the capacity of the biosphere/upper ocean then the [CO2] would drop slowly to a new equilibrium over ~century (depending on the annual deficit).

  149. “The removal of the excess CO2 should the emission of CO2 fall below the capacity of the biosphere/upper ocean then the [CO2] would drop slowly to a new equilibrium”

    A fantasy you have no means to demonstrate. Spencer, here at WUWT, had a post demonstrating that the variance in 13C/12C of the MLO seasonal cycle and long-term trends (on which the seasonal rides) were identical under F test.

    Now the trend is the sum of all fluences interfacing with the atmosphere where the seasonal is some undetermined subset with recurrent effect.

    Now if the rise in the trend is due to the anthropogenic flux the variances would differ markedly as the contributions of the various fluences vary by orders of magnitude, e.g., the biogenic flux is roughly 2 orders greater than the anthropogenic. There is no conceivable way they would march in lockstep both seasonally and over time.

  150. Is it really possible that there is no CO2 contamination of these samples from the Volcanoes?

    There are many folks here much more knowledgeable than I am. Is there an explanation for the layman that describes how one can be certain of having no contamination from local sources? Not only the volcano that the monitoring station sits on, but also the longest continually erupting volcano on earth about 15 miles away. Not to mention the development of the Big Island since these measurements began.

    How is a lack of contamination determined? How can one know?

  151. Gary Palmgren: Seriously, if the lifetime of all molecules combined were only 12.9 years, don’t you think it would have started to equilibrate to our CO2 emissions and ocean warming by now. The effective lifetime is on the order of centuries (and I’m a skeptic!).

  152. “Seriously, if the lifetime of all molecules combined were only 12.9 years, don’t you think it would have started to equilibrate to our CO2 emissions and ocean warming by now.”

    No idea where the force of this argument lies.

    The production of 14C is high in the stratosphere at high latitudes. A peak in production precedes the peak in life forms by roughly 60 years (de Jager, Usoskin 2004). Considering the poorly mixed nature of CO2 this upper limit seems consistent with an average residence time of 13 years to me.

  153. Gary: Yes, I completely agree with you, but the average residence time doesn’t matter as much as you think (it is important, but not as limiting as many here are implying). We are adding molecules with a *mean* residence of 12.9 years. Some have a residence time of 5 seconds and some of them have a residence time of 10000 years (this is why CO2 is so complicated). If we emit fossil fuels, all of these molecules (5s, 13y or 10000y) are molecules that would not otherwise have been there in the first place, and effect is felt for a lot longer than the 12.9 years. Why? Firstly, some of the molecules are around, by low probability chance, for hundreds of years or more. Secondly, these molecules will compete with naturally produced CO2 for uptake). I am a total climate change skeptic for a wide variety of reasons, and I don’t think CO2 is a problem at all, but I *do* think it is reasonable to propose that a long-term concentration increase results from emissions from human activities and the oceans.

  154. lulo and Phil.

    Beck (papers at Icecap) reported early direct measurement of CO2 by chemical means the value by 1820 rising to 450ppm which I take to follow Tambora in 1815 and other smaller but large eruptions in 1812 & 1814. Tambora ejected 100 Km^3, 20% of which was H2O and CO2 to support the ultraplinian column extending into the Mesosphere.

    The level took between one and two decades to return to ~300ppm, or the average for the period.

    So by two empirical tests, one unrepeatable on command, your notion fails.

  155. “” DocMartyn (16:52:04) :

    Have a warm damp mass of air filled with 390 ppm CO2 and cool it . The pressure drops and water in liquid form condenses. It absorbs CO2. Absorbing CO2 lower the freezing point of water cools and absorbs more CO2. The water turns to snow and lands in the ocean. Co2 is scrubbed from the air. “”

    Thanks Docmartin. I didn’t mean to create an impression that I had no idea what removal processes are in play. I just said whatever processes they were, they can sure remove a lot of CO2 fast.

    The water scrubbing of course can easily occur at other places than the arctic. True the colder the water, the more CO2 it can contain, but rain, sleet and snow can all form well out of the arctic,a nd remove a lot of CO2.

    So why don’t we see a massive removal in the southern oceans. If the process you describe requires open water to take place, why wouldn’t it happen continuously in the southern ocean instead of cyclically as at the North Pole.

    I must say I found it interesting to learn that the north pole becomes ice free every year; I would have thought that there would be more or less permanent ice there for a large part of the arctic ocean.

    As for the wide availability of the NOAA 3-D curve; I have numerous hard copies on dead tree that I luckily made when it was on their site; but I can enter the exact same URL including the exact letter cases, and it does not bring up the curve.

    Maybe somebody else can popit up from: http://www.mlo.noaa.gov/Projects/GASES/co2glob.htm
    Which is where my copy comes from

    I’ve seen those papers which show CO2 decay curves with long time constant tails some of them thousands or millions of years assignable to rock weathering and the like. Not impressed. No I didn’t say those processes don’t occur, I had never thought about such things but I believe it if a geologist says that rocks ougas CO2 due to weathering.

    Still not impressed. We are told, that the long term steady state atmospheric abundance of CO2 was about 280 ppm; which is about the lowest that CO2 has ever been in the last billion years or so; so even at 385 ppm, we are enjoying some of the lowest CO2 levels this planet has ever had.

    I’ve not seen one shred of evidence, that establishes that any of those long time constant tails, even the ones with 200 year “residence times” kicks in at CO2 levels as high as even 280 ppm.

    So I have seen no evidence that all of the excess over 280 ppm, wouldn’t disappear in something of the order of the time frame I alluded to. I wasn’t aware of the 12.9 year computation based on nuke test aftermath, but given that actual measured result, I consider my simple stick on a sandy beach estimate of 9 years to be not too shabby. Given that everything in climate science modelling has a mandatory 3:1 fudge factor in predicted outcome. that puts my 9 year number fair and square in the middle of a 5-15 year fudge window, so 12.9 years is close enough for me.

    I’m astonished by Gary Gulrud’s input that in 1820 the abundance was 450 ppm.

    Michael Mann seems to insist that the earth temperature was constant for several thousand years prior to his hockey stick foot, and therefore CO2 should have been constant too, since supposedly one causes the other and the order hardly matters much if both are constant.

    Are we saying that the 280 ppm long term stable value is a myth?

  156. “Phil. (08:49:01) :

    You misunderstand what that 12.9 figure represents, it is the lifetime of an individual molecule in the atmosphere not the lifetime of a perturbation in the CO2 concentration. The measurement effectively involved seeding the atmospheric CO2 and observing the exchange with the ocean. Even in equilibrium between the atmosphere and ocean seeded CO2 will enter the ocean and be replaced by a CO2 molecule from the ocean, the concentration of CO2 in both ocean and atmosphere remains the same, but the concentration of seed in the atmosphere will go down and in the ocean will increase.”

    You seem to be missing the point. CO2 is no in ‘equilibrium’ it is in steady state. These are two different things. We know we are dealing with a steady state from the ‘sawtooth’ nature of the yearly CO2 cycle. We know from calculation, from 14CO2 measurements that the half-life is about a decade. If the CO2 in Earth were an equilibrium, life would be destroyed in short order. All mineralization of CO2, as oil, coal, carbonates would have removed all the atmospheric CO2, rather than almost all the CO2. Or, following a large volcanic period we would face 200-1000 years of 100,000 ppm CO2. Levels this high, so we are informed, would raise temperature to two zillion degrees and kill off all the animals.
    The atmosphere is BIOTIC, if you want to classical physical chemistry analysis on it you will fail. Treat it as biological and its easy. Just do steady state analysis.

  157. I now have high speed internet so the AIMS animated graphs work for me. I had no idea they had data all the way to July 2008. The animation looks a lot like ocean SST animations. Which we know have decadal oscillations. From a scientific view, many of the variables related to atmospheric CO2 have oscillations that are quite long. CO2 itself has seasonal and diurnal oscillations. It would be reasonable to ask if CO2 has a longer oscillation as well. But there is not enough years of data on a truly global scale (with all the sources AND sinks accounted for) for us to see if there are such long term natural (like 20 to 50 years) oscillations. It seems scientifically juvenile to jump to conclusions so early in the data collections process.

    Using the Mauna Loa site to trumpet impending doom just doesn’t pass the scientific smell test. It would be just as foolish for me to state that Wallowa County is a good place to measure snow levels and then say it is representative of the entire planet. We now know that snow levels vary a great deal across the globe, and has short term and long term local and regional oscillations. I know this is a laughable example but logically, is it any different that the case with CO2?

    Good science that leads to lasting, repeatable, testable and robust theoretical understanding of phenomena takes time. It seems that today’s scientists want to rush the process to what, be first in line for the big credits? Hope not. Take a lesson from playwrights. Your efforts have to pass the smell test at the local theater before they can hit the big city lights. If you don’t go through this process, your theory could end up on the one hit wonder late night talk show circuit.

  158. doc martyn

    yes exactly as I think. the 12 years for c14 co2 is time for ultimate removal rate, not a co2 half residency time.

    We have no idea how much co2 is put into the atmosphere on a yearly basis, nor how much is removed.

    but there are some natural experiments which are quite helpful. 4 times in the past 40 years, we have MLO data , and thus rates and we have carbon emission rate data. In these 4 periods, emission rate decreased. Each time MLO ppm increased but its rate increased, decreased or stayed the same. Each event happened at different MLO ppm. And different emissions rates being constant or decreasing.

    In comparisons to various timeperiods, one would expect that as emissions rates doubled, for the time periods in which their rate of increase was steady and unchanging, that MLO would increase as the net of mans rate and the biosphere off rate. If mans rate were higher than a previous time periods emissions rate, and if the biosphere rate was the same, then MLO should increase more rapidly during these later time periods.

    but it doesnt happen. the change in MLO during times of steady carbon rates is independent of the carbon rate and the MLO c02. This means that MLO is not dependent on the emissions rate

  159. Steve Berry (14:28:01) :
    “The other possibility is the global economic crisis. This has led to lowered consumption of fossil fuels, […]”

    Sorry, but this is nonsense. Firstly, the amount of miles driven doesn’t appear to have been reduced during the economic crunch – there is no evidence to support this at all. Secondly, the addition of CO2 from vehicles is actually small. […]
    REPLY: I was going by a report from the American Automobile Association in late 2008, citing reduced miles. I’ll see if I can find it again. But your point about contributions is well taken. – Anthony

    You can actually short cut all of this and just go straight to global oil production figures. These are widely available. Bloomberg (and others) report oil inventory changes for the U.S. every Wednesday (about 10am PST) from Fed data. At that moment millions of dollars are won/lost/bet by traders. Oil production and inventory are a couple of the most widely followed data in the trading world.

    Last I looked, OPEC had voted a couple of million bbl/day reduction from the 88 (or so) being produced world wide, but were having trouble meeting their goal. As a first approximation, total oil can be down between 1/88th and 1/44th from peak to now. Not exactly big. Oil consumption is very inelastic. That is why the price rises to $148/bbl when demand is high then drops to $38/bbl with a minor drop in demand. It’s not manipulation, it’s a very inelastic supply & demand curves.

    From: http://www.eia.doe.gov/steo

    Consumption. World oil consumption continues to be revised downward in response to the global economic downturn. Global consumption is estimated to have been largely unchanged in 2008 and is projected to fall by 800,000 barrels per day (bbl/d) in 2009.

    A better place to go fishing for an impact would be the coal used in steel production and to power factories. This is directly tied to the economic cycle and the quantities are very large.

    Aluminum (energy intensive) demand has fallen off a cliff (so AA stock is way down), and steel for autos, well, can you say 44% off? (X on the bottom, though maybe life soon?) The coal stocks (BTU, PCX, ACI, MEE, YZC, and even TCK a mixed metal /coal company) are all in the same place. Whacked down hard, looking like they will be working their way up over the next couple of years.

    From the same report above: http://www.eia.doe.gov/steo

    Coal

    Consumption. The projected decline in electricity consumption, combined with projected increases from other generation sources (nuclear, petroleum, and wind) will lead to a 0.7-percent decline in electric-power-sector coal consumption, which accounts for more than 90 percent of total coal consumption. An expected increase in electricity consumption in 2010 of 1.5 percent will lead to a 1.9-percent increase in electric-power-sector coal consumption. Consumption growth in the coke plant sector is estimated to have been flat in 2008 but is expected to fall by 8.2 percent in 2009 and by 5 percent in 2010 due to the economic slowdown. Retail and other industrial sector coal consumption is expected to decline by 9.0 percent in 2009 but increase by 0.7 percent in 2010 as economic conditions improve.

    Realize that due to contract issues, if I shut down my coking plant 6 months ago, I may well have had to take delivery on 6 months of coal and pile it on my lot (still ‘consumed’ as far as production figures are concerned) and that is why, IMHO, they show 2008 will be ‘flat’ but in 2009 ‘consumption’ will drop by 8.2%. Even if a recovery begins, I’ll be using that pile I was forced to store before I buy more. Expect the “consumption” figure changes to lag the actual burning of the coal changes by about 3 months to 1 year depending on where you are in the business cycle.

  160. Chris V. (15:37:35) :
    The annual mean CO2 levels at Mauna Loa are corrected for the seasonal cycle using a 7-year moving average.

    Anytime you use a moving average, the trends at the very end of the data set can be a little funky- best not to read too much in

    IIRC, the moving average lags the data by 1/2 the average period. So a 7 year MA has a 3.5 year lag. That is why stock traders have a love / hate relationship with simple moving averages (SMA) and often use the Exponential Moving Average (EMA).

    The SMA reliably tells you what you want to know (change of trend), just a little too late to do anything useful with it… The EMA tries to patch over this by weighting the latest data more (so the effective lag is less) but at the expense of losing some of the smoothing you were after in the first place. This tell you what you want to know sooner, but with less accuracy. TANSTAAFL.

    The best I’ve seen to resolve this is the MACD – Moving Average Convergence Divergence. You take two fast moving averages and watch for the change of their relative slopes (crossovers are most important). Gives good relatively accurate indications of changed trend with minimal lag. Not ideal, but pretty good. I would expect something like this to work with weather / climate data too, but doubt if you really need that kind of enhanced speed for anything. Climatology is kind of a patient science ;-)

    There are a host of other indicators that are all generally trying to solve this same problem: faster response than ‘the other guy’ but retaining the accuracy of the long term SMA. If anyone wants to know more about these, I’m willing to share. Some of them may be useful in weather / climate analysis. (Though I can’t think of a case where the emphasis on ‘good enough’ accuracy with enhanced speed would be needed.)

    A google of: DMI, RSI, Momentum stock indicator, ROC (Rate Of Change), Ultimate Oscillator, and Slow Stochastic will turn up more than you would ever want to look at… “High, Low, and Close” price could be changed to “High, Low, and time of observation” temperature.

    Of these, RSI might be the most interesting. In my experience, it indicates an impending change of trend before it happens. My major error in using it has been acting too soon. I now use it to get a ‘heads up’ and watch MACD closer. It might not translate to weather as well, since it is based on the notion that ‘too fast a change is going to run out of people/ money to keep it going’ and I’m not so sure that ‘run out of energy to keep it going’ is as true. It could probably be tuned for things like ocean oscillations where there is a cyclical nature and an inflection point.

    The things people go through trying to predict chaotic systems with many interacting drivers over varying intervals of time… I said there were a lot of parallels between stock trading and weather…

    Anyone wanting to play with indicators and see what they look like can go to any of the public charting sites (like this one: http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/advchart/frames/frames.asp?symb=spy&time=&freq= ) and go to the indicators drop down and just try things. You can probably figure out really quickly if anything looks usable for a weather data series.

  161. peer (19:18:40) :
    doc martyn

    yes exactly as I think. the 12 years for c14 co2 is time for ultimate removal rate, not a co2 half residency time.

    Hardly, the C14 was declining at the same time as overall CO2 was going up!

    We have no idea how much co2 is put into the atmosphere on a yearly basis, nor how much is removed.

    But we do know that about 2 Gtonnes nett is added every year.

  162. DocMartyn (18:31:40) :
    “Phil. (08:49:01) :
    You seem to be missing the point. CO2 is no in ‘equilibrium’ it is in steady state.

    No you are missing the point, read what was written!

  163. Philip_B (17:51:34) :
    It’s not obvious why less CO2 would be emitted in winter. I don’t buy the decreased CO2 emissions due to the economic crisis argument. No global metrics are showing a decrease in energy consumption and if anything we have seen a shift toward cheaper and more ‘carbon intensive’ coal.

    Perhaps the answer lies with agricultural practices? As a kid, we used to watch them burn off the rice stubble and burn all the pruned limbs from orchards. Now that is no longer done (no more wall to wall smoke filled days ;-) The tendency to multiple crops in a year and early / late crops has also pushed the ‘season’ longer in some places. There is now irrigation over large parts of Texas, et. al. so they grow more, longer. I have no idea if there is enough of this to matter in total, but the trend is clear. Less CO2 in winter.

    Oh, and we have more insulation now, so less winter heating fuel used per home. Maybe part of it is the insulation is next to godliness movement? Total fuel use has continued to rise, but a smaller percentage is going into the winters?

    And as a final point: Lights run much longer in winter than summer. To the extent that folks have converted to efficient lighting, the winter CO2 would be impacted more than the summer.

    I’m sure there are other things like this, I just don’t want to waste space on a canonical list.

  164. gary gulrud (16:41:57) :
    lulo and Phil.

    Beck (papers at Icecap) reported early direct measurement of CO2 by chemical means the value by 1820 rising to 450ppm which I take to follow Tambora in 1815 and other smaller but large eruptions in 1812 & 1814. Tambora ejected 100 Km^3, 20% of which was H2O and CO2 to support the ultraplinian column extending into the Mesosphere.

    The level took between one and two decades to return to ~300ppm, or the average for the period.

    So by two empirical tests, one unrepeatable on command, your notion fails.

    No evidence to suggest that Beck’s results were applicable for the whole atmosphere, far from it! What I described is a straight forward ODE.

  165. Brendan (19:32:46) :
    Gov’t spending to get us out of a recession is a Keynsian approach. And I believe even Keynes wanted it to be limited. When you get too much spending (and the pre-requisite printing of money) by gov’t, you get inflation, and perhaps hyperinflation (see Weimer Germany and the wheel barrow of money).

    What Keynes said was that when private demand dropped to hazardous levels (during financial collapse / financial panics / depressions / recessions / economic downturn / next euphemism to be added to the list ) the government needed to spend to prevent an economic collapse even if it means large deficits. Then everyone likes to put a period. But he didn’t. He went on to say that during times of excess spending by the private sector the government needed to withdraw money from the system and run a budget surplus to prevent inflation. (Not just a reduced deficit, a real honest to gosh surplus.)

    Under Clinton (and Daddy Bush before him) we forgot step 2 (though we got close!) and so had too little in the ‘kitty’ when this panic hit. So we get very large deficits or the economy dies.

    The only question that remains is what happens in 6 months to a year when (if?) the economy picks up. At that time the Fed needs to start moving to a fiscally neutral position (followed by a fiscally surplus position when things get good!) to prevent inflation. I don’t expect them to (whoever is in office) since everyone has forgotten the second half of Keynes. Republicans and Democrats have both learned to buy votes with your money and inflate away the debt.

    I expect the eventual answer will be inflation (though not a hyper inflation, folks catch on to them too quickly these days. See Argentina monetary history and the history of the Real in Brazil). More the slow 3% / yr. type that nobody notices and let compound interest law solve the ‘debt’ and the ‘home value below mortgage’ problem. But watch who runs the Fed to find out.

    In any of these cases, the impact on CO2 and weather will be minimal. Most folks stop buying prime rib and new supercars, but they still eat hamburger and drive to work (or job hunt) and turn the lights and TV on in a warm home. Demand for energy is far less elastic than most other goods and services in the economy. Example? The USAF is the largest consumer of fuel in the government. What are the odds we will not be flying aircraft in the present geopolitically unstable times? Will times become more stable & peaceful during an economic downturn?

    The more things change, the more they stay the same… See:

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Influence_of_Wealth_in_Imperial_Rome/The_Business_Panic_of_33_A.D.

  166. Roger E. Sowell
    There are waves crashing on the shores, certainly, where some mixing will occur. Also, the global surface area of cold water is very much smaller than that of warm ocean water.

    And don’t forget the precipitation forming in the air at cold temps then dropping through the air column into the ocean. I’d expect cloud / precipitation scrubbing to be much more important than things like ‘ocean skin effect’, yet you don’t hear much about it.

  167. Here are again the links for live CO2 data:

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/

    Have a look at the animations, they are eye opening as for as mixing goes and how the north and south hemispheres behave.

    http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/

    A new satellite will go up in February, will be able to read from the ground up, but depends on sunlight so no nightly CO2, except by modelling daytime data. It is called OCO

    http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov

    For me, these global AIRS shots even from 10000 meters, show that the well mixed hypthesis is shaky and that Beck’s compilation of chemical readings deserves a much closer scrutiny. Here are some plots in his presentations:

    http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2_supp.htm

    IMHO I believe that the concentrations of CO2 as a variable are treated with an airbrush and not considered as a variable on par with the other climate variables that need global integration. To rely on the hypothesis of “well mixed” and assume that all sources and sinks can be estimated is an error in methodology.

  168. Just a thought, on the missing sink for CO2. Any feedback is welcome.
    Roger E. Sowell

    We also cook a large quantity of CO2 out of limestone to make lime, that the warmers clearly must count (it’s too obvious to miss) but I wonder if they account for all the CO2 that is then absorbed by that lime as all the mortar, cement, etc. made from it sets up and ages… Cement blocks take a long time for the CO2 to reach the middle, but cement structures don’t last forever.

    And I wonder how many tons of industrial lye turn slowly into bicarbonate of soda upon disposal.

    And just how much carbonate is absorbed by all those folks spraying ammonia on windows to clean them? On fields of crops? (I’ve driven past fields with direct ammonia application underway… it is strong straight ammonia.) ANY CO2 near there will be looking to be Ammonium Carbonate real fast! And it doesn’t all have to come from the air. Simply binding carbonate that would have moved out of the soil into the air is sufficient to shift the balance / budget.

    These are examples of what I think is common in the warmers science. Asymmetrical accounting. They are diligent at counting things supporting their thesis, but less so at finding the others… and downright dismissive of the smaller ones (one web site claimed that the cement absorption could be ignored since it took a long time to get deep inside large blocks; ignoring that those large blocks don’t last forever, geologically speaking, and a lot of cement goes into ‘cinder blocks’, not bridge foundations… It also ignores that a 1cm shell on the outside is more volume than the center 1 cm slice.)

    At any rate, there is a large quantity of industrial and agricultural alkaline material used and I’m sure it takes CO2 out of the air. I just don’t know how much.

    Side bar: Home made lye soap slowly absorbs CO2. That is part of the advantage of letting it ‘age’. The residual lye converts to something a bit more skin friendly ;-) But I doubt if lye soap making is what’s doing it…

    Hmmm… but soap lye historically was made from wood ashes… I wonder if they account for the CO2 absorbed by the ashes left from burned forests? From coal ash?

  169. George E. Smith (18:19:58) :

    Are we saying that the 280 ppm long term stable value is a myth?

    A myth, no. They are stable measurements for that particular locations picked because it is suppose to have stable measurements. It is an inherent hypothesis in the CO2 team that CO2 measurements have a meaning only where they are stable. So they choose not only locations but also time of day, to avoid contamination from CO2 sources. Ice core measurements, if they are not contaminated and homogenized as many have claimed, are still measurements of very cold places very far away from sources, and the well mixed argument does not hold:

    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/

    This whole logic evades me. Every molecule of CO2 should be measured and integrated to get a snap shot of world CO2. We will hae to wait for OCO for this and even then it will only be measurements at 1:20pm over the world !!

  170. Pamela Gray (19:00:23) :
    I am thinking of the 5th grade science textbook model of ocean breezes building up to clouds which pile up next to mountains and rain down on the ocean-side slope, taking CO2 with it. If it creates a mild acid-based carbonate solution, no wonder dripping water off a gutter can drill a hole into concrete below.

    Now think about how much of this rain falls on soils and percolates through rock into the ground water? Any bets that there has been little thought given to rain entrained CO2 into aquifers? It doesn’t take a mountain…

    FWIW, I’ve seen an article some time back that explored the tons of CO2 scrubbed by the Himalayas. They found a lot of carbonate in the streams running of the mountain and explored… Found precipitation scrubbing of CO2 that then landed on stone and reacted. There’s a lot of stone in the world…

  171. If we emit fossil fuels, all of these molecules (5s, 13y or 10000y) are molecules that would not otherwise have been there in the first place, and effect is felt for a lot longer than the 12.9 years. Why? Firstly, some of the molecules are around, by low probability chance, for hundreds of years or more. And the difference between man and a volcanic eruption is?

  172. Phil

    radioactive co2 measurements DO NOT measure c02 transit times from the atmosphere to the biosphere. A single co2 could go into a leaf, and get exchanged out of that leaf at night, or it could go into the ocean and come out of the ocean. The radioactive measurements do measure the final loss of a co2 molecule into a trapped non exchangeable state, perhaps limestone or soil carbon.
    The c14 rate also only measures the trapping rate under conditions from 1960 to about 1975. Do you know how much the co2 resorbtion rate changes as a function of the [co2]? is it linear or is it geometric? I dont think anyone know these things or has useful estimates.

    Finally I would like you to look at the IPCC co2 record and the ORNL carbon emissions record. Ask yourself how much co2 and how much carbon causes a 60 ppm change (one half). divide up the curve and look at it. Its important. This is very important data.

  173. “No evidence to suggest that Beck’s results were applicable for the whole atmosphere, far from it! What I described is a straight forward ODE.”

    Then make an effort to rebut. I submit your ODE needs derivation from a Navier-Stokes equation. The oceanic flux doesn’t merely scrub your net daily, it is so large it scrubs the biogenic flux daily!!!!

    That is what the 13C:12C fraction variance confirms.

    Argue from first principles, ‘authority’ doesn’t count for diddly.

  174. “For me, these global AIRS shots even from 10000 meters, show that the well mixed hypthesis is shaky and that Beck’s compilation of chemical readings deserves a much closer scrutiny.”

    And your opinion, let alone reasonings, as a physicist is valued, indeed.

  175. E.M. Smith

    Thank you for the tip on concrete absorbing CO2. That one is new to me, and will be very useful in my work.

    It would also be interesting to know how much CO2 is absorbed by high-pH wastewater streams before being acid neutralized, or pH adjusted as is sometimes stated.

    Roger E. Sowell
    Marina del Rey, California

  176. OK, how about this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jan/12/sea-co2-climate-japan-environment

    Working with Pavel Tishchenko of the Russian Pacific Oceanological Institute in Vladivostok, Lee and his colleague Geun-Ha Park used a cruise on the Professor Gagarinskiy, a Russian research vessel, last May to take seawater samples from 24 sites across the Sea of Japan.

    They compared the dissolved CO2 in the seawater with similar samples collected in 1992 and 1999. The results showed the amount of CO2 absorbed during 1999 to 2007 was half the level recorded from 1992 to 1999.

    Crucially, the study revealed that ocean mixing, a process required to deposit carbon in deep water, where it is more likely to stay, appears to have significantly weakened.

    Announcing their results in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the scientists say: “The striking feature is that nearly all anthropogenic CO2 taken up in the recent period was confined to waters less than 300 metres in depth. The rapid and substantial reduction … is surprising and is attributed to considerable weakening of overturning circulation.”

    can anyone get hold of a draft? I want to see whether the previous samples were also in May.
    May, from AIRS data is in the time region of breath out of CO2 in the atmosphere.

  177. anna v

    if the co2 is lower in concentration in the top layers, it simply could be taken up into the deep ocean by convection. Or these top layers could be the source of co2 into the atmosphere. I dont see how a single measurement tells you anything about how much is moving or what direction it is moving in

  178. George E. Smith (18:19:58) :
    They are stable measurements for that particular locations picked because it is suppose to have stable measurements. It is an inherent hypothesis in the CO2 team that CO2 measurements have a meaning only where they are stable. So they choose not only locations but also time of day, to avoid contamination from CO2 sources.

    Eyas (10:10:56) :

    Is it really possible that there is no CO2 contamination of these samples from the Volcanoes?

    There are many folks here much more knowledgeable than I am. Is there an explanation for the layman that describes how one can be certain of having no contamination from local sources? Not only the volcano that the monitoring station sits on, but also the longest continually erupting volcano on earth about 15 miles away. Not to mention the development of the Big Island since these measurements began.

    How is a lack of contamination determined? How can one know?

  179. Eyas (10:52:31) : Your comment is awaiting moderation

    George E. Smith (18:19:58) :
    They are stable measurements for that particular locations picked because it is suppose to have stable measurements. It is an inherent hypothesis in the CO2 team that CO2 measurements have a meaning only where they are stable. So they choose not only locations but also time of day, to avoid contamination from CO2 sources.

    Eyas (10:10:56) :

    Is it really possible that there is no CO2 contamination of these samples from the Volcanoes?

    There are many folks here much more knowledgeable than I am. Is there an explanation for the layman that describes how one can be certain of having no contamination from local sources? Not only the volcano that the monitoring station sits on, but also the longest continually erupting volcano on earth about 15 miles away. Not to mention the development of the Big Island since these measurements began.

    How is a lack of contamination determined? How can one know?

  180. Eyas (10:53:15) :


    George E. Smith (18:19:58) :

    Sorry, that was not George E.Smith , I was quoting him and my end of italics did not work :(.

    I (Anna V:) had said:
    They are stable measurements for that particular locations picked because it is suppose to have stable measurements. It is an inherent hypothesis in the CO2 team that CO2 measurements have a meaning only where they are stable. So they choose not only locations but also time of day, to avoid contamination from CO2 sources.

    If you keep on reading this blog, you will learn that the whole game is corrections. They estimate and correct if there is extra CO2 from a more active volcano. Simple.
    That is why a growing number of us, many scientists of different persuasions, are questioning the basic numbers used for all this AGW scare.

    This topic will not get much traffic from now on, since it is on page two.

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