CO2, Temperatures, and Ice Ages

Guest post by Frank Lansner, civil engineer, biotechnology.

(Note from Anthony – English is not Frank’s primary language, I have made some small adjustments for readability, however they may be a few  passages that need clarification. Frank will be happy to clarify in comments)

It is generally accepted that CO2 is lagging temperature in Antarctic graphs. To dig further into this subject therefore might seem a waste of time. But the reality is, that these graphs are still widely used as an argument for the global warming hypothesis. But can the CO2-hypothesis be supported in any way using the data of Antarctic ice cores?

At first glance, the CO2 lagging temperature would mean that it’s the temperature that controls CO2 and not vice versa.

Click for larger image Fig 1. Source:

But this is the climate debate, so massive rescue missions have been launched to save the CO2-hypothesis. So explanation for the unfortunate CO2 data is as follows:

First a solar or orbital change induces some minor warming/cooling and then CO2 raises/drops. After this, it’s the CO2 that drives the temperature up/down. Hansen has argued that: The big differences in temperature between ice ages and warm periods is not possible to explain without a CO2 driver.

Very unlike solar theory and all other theories, when it comes to CO2-theory one has to PROVE that it is wrong. So let’s do some digging. The 4-5 major temperature peaks seen on Fig 1. have common properties: First a big rapid temperature increase, and then an almost just as big, but a less rapid temperature fall. To avoid too much noise in data, I summed up all these major temperature peaks into one graph:


Fig 2. This graph of actual data from all major temperature peaks of the Antarctic vostokdata confirms the pattern we saw in fig 1, and now we have a very clear signal as random noise is reduced.

The well known Temperature-CO2 relation with temperature as a driver of CO2 is easily shown:


Fig 3.

Below is a graph where I aim to illustrate CO2 as the driver of temperature:


Fig 4. Except for the well known fact that temperature changes precede CO2 changes, the supposed CO2-driven raise of temperatures works ok before temperature reaches max peak. No, the real problems for the CO2-rescue hypothesis appears when temperature drops again. During almost the entire temperature fall, CO2 only drops slightly. In fact, CO2 stays in the area of maximum CO2 warming effect. So we have temperatures falling all the way down even though CO2 concentrations in these concentrations where supposed to be a very strong upwards driver of temperature.

I write “the area of maximum CO2 warming effect “…

The whole point with CO2 as the important main temperature driver was, that already at small levels of CO2 rise, this should efficiently force temperatures up, see for example around -6 thousand years before present. Already at 215-230 ppm, the CO2 should cause the warming. If no such CO2 effect already at 215-230 ppm, the CO2 cannot be considered the cause of these temperature rises.

So when CO2 concentration is in the area of 250-280 ppm, this should certainly be considered “the area of maximum CO2 warming effect”.

The problems can also be illustrated by comparing situations of equal CO2 concentrations:


Fig 5.

So, for the exact same levels of CO2, it seems we have very different level and trend of temperatures:


Fig 6.

How come a CO2 level of 253 ppm in the B-situation does not lead to rise in temperatures? Even from very low levels? When 253 ppm in the A situation manages to raise temperatures very fast even from a much higher level?

One thing is for sure:

“Other factors than CO2 easily overrules any forcing from CO2. Only this way can the B-situations with high CO2 lead to falling temperatures.”

This is essential, because, the whole idea of placing CO2 in a central role for driving temperatures was: “We cannot explain the big changes in temperature with anything else than CO2”.

But simple fact is: “No matter what rules temperature, CO2 is easily overruled by other effects, and this CO2-argument falls”. So we are left with graphs showing that CO2 follows temperatures, and no arguments that CO2 even so could be the main driver of temperatures.

– Another thing: When examining the graph fig 1, I have not found a single situation where a significant raise of CO2 is accompanied by significant temperature rise- WHEN NOT PRECEDED BY TEMPERATURE RISE. If the CO2 had any effect, I should certainly also work without a preceding temperature rise?!  (To check out the graph on fig 1. it is very helpful to magnify)

Does this prove that CO2 does not have any temperature effect at all?

No. For some reason the temperature falls are not as fast as the temperature rises. So although CO2 certainly does not dominate temperature trends then: Could it be that the higher CO2 concentrations actually is lowering the pace of the temperature falls?

This is of course rather hypothetical as many factors have not been considered.


Fig 7.

Well, if CO2 should be reason to such “temperature-fall-slowing-effect”, how big could this effect be? The temperatures falls 1 K / 1000 years slower than they rise.

However, this CO2 explanation of slow falling temperature seems is not supported by the differences in cooling periods, see fig 8.

When CO2 does not cause these big temperature changes, then what is then the reason for the  big temperature changes seen in Vostok data? Or: “What is the mechanism behind ice ages???”

This is a question many alarmists asks, and if you can’t answer, then CO2 is the main temperature driver. End of discussion. There are obviously many factors not yet known, so I will just illustrate one hypothetical solution to the mechanism of ice ages among many:

First of all: When a few decades of low sunspot number is accompanied by Dalton minimum and 50 years of missing sunspots is accompanied by the Maunder minimum, what can for example thousands of years of missing sunspots accomplish? We don’t know.

What we saw in the Maunder minimum is NOT all that missing solar activity can achieve, even though some might think so. In a few decades of solar cooling, only the upper layers of the oceans will be affected. But if the cooling goes on for thousands of years, then the whole oceans will become colder and colder. It takes around 1000-1500 years to “mix” and cool the oceans. So for each 1000-1500 years the cooling will take place from a generally colder ocean. Therefore, what we saw in a few decades of maunder minimum is in no way representing the possible extend of ten thousands of years of solar low activity.

It seems that a longer warming period of the earth would result in a slower cooling period afterward due to accumulated heat in ocean and more:


Fig 8.

Again, this fits very well with Vostok data: Longer periods of warmth seems to be accompanied by longer time needed for cooling of earth. The differences in cooling periods does not support that it is CO2 that slows cooling phases. The dive after 230.000 ybp peak shows, that cooling CAN be rapid, and the overall picture is that the cooling rates are governed by the accumulated heat in oceans and more.

Note: In this writing I have used Vostok data as valid data. I believe that Vostok data can be used for qualitative studies of CO2 rising and falling. However, the levels and variability of CO2 in the Vostok data I find to be faulty as explained here:

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Richard M

Very nice work, Frank. Isn’t it amazing what can be extracted from data when one doesn’t go into an analysis with preconceived ideas. One wonders why climate scientists haven’t attempted this kind of analysis.
Oh wait, they probably did based on computer models and it showed temps following Co2. 😉

Bill Yarber

I’m having difficulty understanding the relationship of CO2 and temp in Fig 2. You start out saying that CO2 lags temp but it seems to me that Fig 2 shows just the reverse – CO2 leading temp. What am I missing?
Otherwise, I completely agree with your analysis.

Bill Yarber

Sorry, it was Fig 4 that confused me. After another review I now understand what you were showing.

P Folkens

The Vostok cores and subsequent papers coming from that important work provide a much needed interpretation of the long term climate. They are so much more valuable and relevant than the various Hansen, Mann, and other IPCC models that are based on a relatively small data set. They provide a picture back in climate time that the AGWers would rather not have come to the attention of the general public and their politicians.
Frank Lansner’s post provides a concise interpretation of the Vostok data and valuable weapon in the fight against climate ignorance. It’s the type of thing AGWers would rather ignore than confront. This time around, I’d like to see the AGW supporters address the substance of the posted message rather than pick at the messenger.


This seems a pretty significant piece of analysis with major potential consequences: It is simple and very elegant. Surely someone has taken a similar approach to Frank’s before now? I would be interested in references to similar pieces of analysis using the same data.
Any additional bio information on the author – Frank Lansner?

Bob Buchanan

This is a great analysis!
One question … how was Graph 2 created? It is at the heart of the presentation, so I would like to understand it.

Steve Keohane

Thank you Frank for your clear representation here, and that of 12/17. It is too bad the climate ‘scientists’ cannot do the same to illustrate their argument pro CO2. Hand-waving, desperate theories and climate models fail in light of data.
Congradulations, Anthony on your fine blog.

Jim Thomas

Very interesting piece – thank you. Fig. 5 was especially illuminating for me.

Mike Davis

I appreciate your view and the support you are providing.

Phil's Dad

Frank Lansner says; “So when CO2 concentration is in the area of 250-280 ppm, this should certainly be considered “the area of maximum CO2 warming effect”.”
Does this imply that the logarithmic “sensitivity” curve has reached the near horizontal at these levels?

P Folkens

Bernie (09:04:30) : “Surely someone has taken a similar approach to Frank’s before now? I would be interested in references to similar pieces . . .”
Yes, Bernie. Quite a bit of work has been done. The understanding that CO2 lags temperature has been around since soon after the first Vostok papers entered the literature. A search of Nature, Geophysical Letters, and elsewhere will reveal similar conclusions. If you have trouble with your search, I can provide a number of papers for your review.
That Frank’s take has been posted here underscores the immense value of Anthony’s blog. It’s kind of like a Hawaiian volcano where the hot magma of science oozes to the surface for all to see and admire. Occasionally, we get a pyroclastic event like we’ve seen this week.

George Tobin

Is it possible to generate an estimated CO2 forcing factor from the “temperature-fall-slowing-effect” alone?
Some time back I read an alarmist analysis of Vostok that said the changes in slope of the temperature curve as the temperature reached peak levels proves the effect of CO2–i.e., if you picked just the right corresponding spots on the curves you could pretend that a forcing factor of 3+W/m2 was in effect throughout. The fact of the emergence of the temperature peak while CO2 was reduced and temperature’s subsequent decline in the face of increased CO2 would suggest to the less devoted that CO2 was a passenger rather than the driver. But for those willing to overlook hard enough, there is AGW confirmation everywhwere.
Lately, I was under the impression that the high church alarmists were backing away from trying to spin the Vostok data, instead arguing that the current levels of CO2 are (a) so much higher and (b) accumulated so much faster that the Vostok patterns are somehow no longer relevant. The new thinking is that current conditions are unique, therefore it is OK to cherry-pick historical comparisons and project novel climate outcomes. Then again, just about any interpretation is ultimately “consistent with” AGW so I should probably not fret about whether such things are au currant and orthodox.

Rhys Jaggar

Based on this very interesting paper, I guess the question of interest to our moderator and others is this:
Although this data appears to show that carbon dioxide doesn’t DRIVE temperature RISES, is there any reason to suppose that, having elevated carbon dioxide levels via human activity, will there be any effect on any subsequent COOLING in the next century or so?
The data you present would imply NOT for <300ppm of carbon dioxide.
Is there any reason to suppose that, say, 500ppm+ might have a different effect?
Questions of interest, not criticism of your very interesting paper……..

gary gulrud

“I believe that Vostok data can be used for qualitative studies of CO2 rising and falling.”
I concur, it reliably shows changes in the direction of change, nothing else.


_This_ is good science – no name calling, no baseless assumptions – just taking the data and analyzing it. Nice work. I wish all science could be like this.


P Folkens:
Thanks. I will see what I can find on Vostok data analysis that is as straightforward as Frank’s.

Luis Dias

Many things in this post are merely asserted and unproven. Others, simply ignored. Allegedly, CO2 lags temperature by 800 years, but in Fig.2 we see temperature peaking exactly the same time that CO2 peaks. This is also problematic:
The differences in cooling periods does not support that it is CO2 that slows cooling phases. The dive after 230.000 ybp peak shows, that cooling CAN be rapid
No one argues that it can’t. The argument is that it slows the curve in the back end. And in every curve drawn in fig 8, the back end curve is in fact slower than the climbing period.
Notwithstanding, I generally agree with the fact that the Vostok graph is a very weak evidence for AGW. But I also don’t see it as evidence against it.

I have posted here before about Ernst Beck. Frank has had his disagreement with him but seems to think he has some valid points (see the link at the very end of Franks post.
Personally I think the ice core co2 levels are contradictory. If they show a constant 280ppm what has been the driver for the numerous periods of warmth and cold the earth has experienced- many captured on instrumental records?
I originally joined this forum by posting a number of graphs showing the measurements of becks data against the actual temperatures from Hadley CET back to 1660. This appeared to show that co2 could only have something to do with temperature changes if there were similar levels of co2 to today in our recent past, which Becks data appears to show. … hadley.jpg
The graph is repeated above-the blue line is man made co2 since 1750. The green dots are Becks data. THe red line hadley CET to 1660-unadjusted or smoothed. Most of the action related to co2 -according to the readings-seems to occur between 270 and 350ppm.
Some people believe that 90% of co2 has a life of around 50 years and the remaining 10% stays around for much longer. Other people estimate around 5 years to several hundred (the IPCC) with Susan Solomons apparently believing it is there for 10,000 years. This ‘decomposition’ is not shown on the graph as it would be impossible tro represent it accurately on this scale.
As I say, Frank Lansner has had his disagreements with Ernst Beck in the past but essentially there appear to be a large number of contradictions if we accept co2 at a constant 280ppm. Either the ice cores are wrong, Mauna Loa readings are wrong or co2 is not the major driver it is believed to be.

Simon Evans
If you have migrated to this thread I apologise for not replying to your post on this subject on another thread which I have only just seen-the threads are moving so fast it is sometimes difficult to keep track of comments.

MY post 09 40 43
Lets try that link again to Becks data
The first goes to an excel spread sheet the second to a jpeg of the same information.

Jim Steele

Excellent. It is exactly this analysis that made me a skeptic when I was teaching Global Warming to my students.
The alarmist have always dismissed the lag period (and RealClimate deleted posts when it is brought up) by accepting the initial warming is due to such things as solar but then they suggest the remaining rise in temperature is due to feedback by increased CO2 that keeps temperatures rising.
As you point out that logic only makes sense when the temperatures are rising. When the temperatures are falling however the exact same amount of CO2 can not stop the plunge towards a new glacial period. The warming due to CO2 is either overwhelmed by other forces or the effects of CO2 are negligible. Either way clearly something more powerful than CO2 is driving climate change.

Thank you Frank and Anthony, this is very timely as I have just been looking for graphics that show the time lag. There are a good view papers that estimate it at 600-800 years – but the graph of original data doesn’t show it very clearly, except for one of the peaks, obviously because of the long timeline of hundreds of thousands of years. Mr Gore was able to use this graph in his film without drawing attention to the fine gap and its implications!
I guess Leif will have something to say about the possibility of much longer spotless sun periods – but these should show up in the be-10 profiles and I am not sure they do. Perhaps others could look at this too.
We in the UK already had a harbinger of colder times – a lovely Snowy Owl from Iceland or Greenland in Cornwall for a long stay, but we have also just received a visit from an Ivory Gull in the Hebrides. And another Arctic high pressure system is developing! If someone tells me how, I will send a photo of the owl!


Not much to say about this “study”. Nobody ever said that CO2 was the only climatologic driver.
Moreover: can you find a situation in the past where CO2 went up to 350 ppm and see what happens? This would be relevant…

Gray P

Great work.

Ellie in Belfast

Frank, great work and excellent use of graphics to illustrate your point. I can’t wait to try this on a few waivering friends.

Rejean Gagnon

Re: Luis Dias comment 09:39:26:
The fact that CO2 peaks at the same time as temperature is entirely consistent with temperature being a driver. There is no consistency there, give it some thought.
As far as “Many things in this post are merely asserted and unproven. Others, simply ignored.” – of the only two points you bring up, only the second has any merit…
I think this is a valid and elegantly simple argument against CO2 as a driver – at least on the upswing. I do agree that higher concentration could have greater effect (although with logarithmic importance seemingly proven elsewhere), and that we have no indication from this work that CO2 does not slow the cooling process.

Frank Perdicaro

This is a lovely bit of analysis that takes advantage of some mathematical
properties and some human properties.
First human trick: Switch to an absolute temperature scale
Second human trick: Years are a human construction. If there is a signal
independent of human activity, setting the peak points of the signal as
zero points is valid idea. (No humans were around in the past to change
CO2 concentrations, so this is valid). This is basically the same trick as
describing a circle as having pi radians instead of 360 degrees.
The notion of 360 degrees is an arbitrary human assignment.
The mathematics here end up being a lovely non-Cartesian,
non-Euclidean sinusoidal geometry. You can take advantage of commutativity and associativity of the data, and the graph falls right out
of the data. The asymmetry of the data when plotted on a sinusoidal
geometry is EXACTLY consistent with elliptical orbits. If you apply
Kepler’s laws and Occam’s Razor, variations in CO2 here on earth
are associated with the sun’s orbit in the galaxy.
Oh, and it looks like we all better move to warmer parts of the earth.

eric anderson

Related to R Jaggar’s question…
Much depends on the curve at which CO2 level generates greenhouse effect. “Pushing on a spring” is a good analogy for rising CO2 because as you compress the spring more and more, it requires greater force to move the spring an equivalent distance — and at some point the spring is fully compressed and more force will not move it. We say there is a “logarithmic” response of CO2 and greenhouse effect. At some point, more CO2 will have little further effect because the it has reached a saturation point.
How much argument is there on this saturation level? We certainly hear little to nothing about it in the MSMM (mainstream moron media). I want to know more. How were current models of this saturation effect derived? Are they mathematical, or is there some way to actually measure the slope of the “dose-response” curve?
On what basis does the author of this piece conclude that maximum warming effect of CO2 occurs @ 250-280ppm? Is it a guess based on his graph? If maximum warming effect is in this range, the entire argument of AGW as it relates to CO2 is moot if we are long past the maximum warming effect.


I don’t see how Fig.2 necessarily shows temperature leading CO2. The arbitrary scales on the Y axes could be changed to show CO2 leading temperature, i.e. I could pick a left hand Y-axis scale to just move the red line up. The derivative of the data would be a more useful thing to graph.


If anyone gets the opportunity to read some of the fascinating science on this subject, it’s worth exploring the relationship between ice core temperature proxies and CO2 levels in more detail.
For example, while it seems quite well established that the CO2 rise in the Vostock core lags the temperature rise by 800 (+/- quite a bit) years, the evidence indicates that the CO2 rise leads the warming in the tropics and certainly in Greenland (Greenland cores have quite high temporal resolution but don’t go back as far as Antarctic ones):
Caillon, N et al. (2003) Timing of atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic temperature changes across termination III. Science 299, 1728-1731
L. Stott et al. (2007) Southern Hemisphere and Deep-Sea Warming Led Deglacial Atmospheric CO2 Rise and Tropical Warming. Science 318, 435 – 438.

Of course the ice age cycles are driven by the slow, slow, slow variations in the orbital properties of the Earth (Milankovitch cycles). Deglaciation is likely driven by enhanced Spring insolation in the deep Southern hemisphere which results in very slow warming, and as the Southern Ocean ice melts and the oceans start to warm, CO2 is released (thus the lag represented in the Vostock cores). The enhanced CO2 effectively enhances and transmits the deep Southern warming to the Northern latitudes. Thus the temperature rise in Greenland cores follows the Milankovitch-induced rise in CO2 that lags warming in the Antarctic cores…

Robert Wood

For those who argue that these Vostock data do not apply to today’s environment as the current 380 ppm is much greater:
The relationship between the theoretical “warming” due to CO2 is logarithmic wrt concetration; so, no, the effect should be MORE marked at lower concetrations.

Luis Dias

The derivative of the data would be a more useful thing to graph.

Robert Rust

RE: Luis Dias (09:39:26) :
Notwithstanding, I generally agree with the fact that the Vostok graph is a very weak evidence for AGW. But I also don’t see it as evidence against it.
I’m trying to recall… This temp/CO2 graph was pretty much the only evidence Al Gore used to argue his AGW point in his movie “An Inconvenient Truth”. I don’t recall any other evidence in his video that helped start this whole thing into motion. I suppose that computer models are the only other sources of evidence available.


Great, great work. The Vostock ice core graph tells us 2 things very clearly. 1. The normal case is the climate is and allway will be changeing. 2. Over the last 500’000 years there where only 10’000 years (2%) what Al Gore says the climate should be!
Regards from the cold snowy Swiss mountains. Freddie

Jeff Alberts

Question, and maybe this was mentioned and I missed it.
Is the CO2 rise at the very end from the ice cores as well, or is it from current observational data?

John Edmondson

Great post.
Timing of Ice ages is driven by the Milankovitch cycles. These cycles are related to the Earth’s orbit and axial tilt. Cycles range from 20,000 to 100,000 years. i.e. nothing to do with CO2.


In any case, the earth will cool down and go through a glaciation period and looking at the graphs it is nothing to get nervous about. As the graphs clearly show, it will take many thousands of years to get there. To think that humanity won’t have better technologies to deal with this is simply stupid and lacks vision. Surely even in a few hundreds of years we will have technology in place to regulate (cool or warm up) the earth’s climate. The sun will not just go away!!! We could even have technology then to melt the advancing glaciers (Microwave walls or something!). For certain, humanity will have better food production systems. In any case, as the last graph shows, heating up the ocean will slow down the rate and give more time. But certainly, it will take a long time. So, it might not be a bad idea to keep the oceans warm…

George E. Smith

The people who have the raw data from these ice cores, say the correlation coefficient is highest when the temperature data is delayed 800 years; and this is the origin of the statement that the temperature leads the CO2 by 800 years.
But this isn’t the whole story. If you look carefully at the graphs above you will see two things that are omitted from this simple picture.
1/ The rising edges are close together than the falling edges. So a separate correlation of rising data and falling data (major excursions) would show that the rising edges correlate better at less than 800 years delar, while the falling edges correlate better at more than 800 years delay.
2/ On the rising edges, the CO2 edge is about the same steepness as the temperature edge; but on the falling edges, the CO2 fall timing is much slower than the temperature fall timing.
Note that the amplitude of the CO2 changes (in this data) is about 150 ppm, which is of the same order as the present rising CO2 data from Mauna Loa; but the temperature changes are about 8 deg C, which is considreably more temperature change than occurred during the Mediaeval warm period; which just happens to be 800 years before the present Mauna Loa CO2 rise.
But we should not lose sight of the fact that the reconstructed history of the temperature during the MWP is a global mean.
There is NOTHING at all global about these Vostok Ice Cores. The entombed temperature record is a record of temperatures at the coldest known place on earth, which can get doen to -90 C, and where temperature excursions of tens of degrees C are common.
At Vostok Temperatures, the atmosphere has to be essentially devoid of water vapor or water in any form, and quite often it can be devoid of CO2 as well, with CO2 ice on the ground.
So one lesson we should learn from all of this, is that Vostok Station is not at all representative of global climate, and we shouldn’t be using these data to imply any global behavior.
Another consequence of the extreme low temperatures at Vostok, and the consequent virtual absence of water in the atmosphere, is that CO2 (and ozone) are the only GHGs of any consequence in that atmosphere, in which case, the effect of CO2 is exaggerated compared to global typical atmospheres where much of the IR spectrum that CO2 can absorb, is already absorbed by water vapor.
No matter how they try to argue it, any possible kind of (physical) amplification has to be delayed by the propagation delay of the amplification process. No physical causal relationship, can have a negative propagation delay; the output of the process, always has to follow the input to that process, otherwise we would have what Analog engineers describe as the “guesser circuit”
So the notion that a CO2 triggered temperature excursion (either up or down), can then sudeenly switch and have the CO2 take over as driver, is sheer nonsense.
And if such processes were possible; in the global sense, who needs the CO2, because water vapor by itself is perfectly capable of starting a temperature excursion, without any coaxing from CO2.
The argument that feedback either from ocean outgassing of CO2 or evaporation of water enhances CO2 induced warming; is tantamount to grabbing hold of the branch of a tree, while you and the tree are falling down a cliff.
In my view, the incontrovertible delay of the Vostok CO2 response to the local temperature changes, is a fatal blow to the claim of CO2 caused global climate change.
And no; I do not claim that CO2 does not intercept earth surface thermal radiation, and warm the surface and the atmosphere (at all). The Physics is very real; but if you don’t properly allow for the evaporative response to surface warming, and the negative feedback due to clouds, then you cannot claim to be modeling this planet on which we live.

Rick Filkins

Hi: very interesting. Could anyone look at this data and make an argument that CO2 is still driving temperature? In other words, what would a global warming alarmist argue after looking at these graphs?

Jim Steele’s post notes that in the Vostok data, when CO2 levels are high, temperature plunges still occur, which suggests strongly that CO2 isn’t an important driver of warming (it can’t keep the planet warm when other factors are at work).
We see the same process over tens of millions of years in the excellent graph, entitled “Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time,” at It is based on R.A. Berner’s CO2 estimates and C.R. Scotese’s estimates of temperature.
In this graph, over the past 120 million years or so, temperatures remain high while CO2 steadily plunges. Clearly, both in the Vostok cores of the past 500,000 years and over much longer periods of time, the relationship of CO2 and temperature is tenuous. Why the AGWers are incapable of seeing this is a mystery.

Frank, excellent work, very readable and understandable. Thank you!
I find it very interesting that the CO2 rises around 5500 to 7500 years after temperature peak. Is there any explanation for this?
Slightly OT, but still in the arena of GW, California snowpack’s second measurement results are in, and we have only 61 percent of “normal,” with little expectation of more snow this late in the season. This is being blamed on AGW, of course. The consequences are severe, as agriculture will receive far less water than normal, perhaps 15 percent of the usual amount. The state allocates water to users in California. Farmers will cease many operations, and the adverse economic impact to the state will be quite large.
A secondary impact, not often mentioned, is that formerly-irrigated land will become dry and dusty, creating large dust clouds as the wind whips across the land. Whether this have a measureable impact on global temperatures is way beyond my small skills.
A further impact is that it is a bit difficult to grow crops for bio-fuels when there is no water for irrigation. It appears California will be importing up to 10 percent of its gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel to meet the state-mandated bio-fuel percentage.
This is not what the state needs, a reduction in tax revenue from a significant part of the economy, at a time when the state’s budget deficit is $14 billion, and growing at a rate of nearly $1 billion per month. In addition, having to purchase the bio-fuel component from other states.
I look for a reversal of the 1930’s dust-bowl induced migration, with out-of-work California farmers moving east back to Oklahoma or other wetter states! Perhaps the new book written on this event will be called The Wrath of Grapes. 😉
Roger E. Sowell
Marina del Rey, California (75 degrees, sunny, and cloudless)

George E. Smith

“” Luis Dias (10:48:48) :
The derivative of the data would be a more useful thing to graph.
Agree. “”
Differentiation always increases the noise to signal ratio. If climate is the integral of weather, then the derivative of climate is simply weather, and we already know that weather does not represent climate.


I think this is a neat and objective bit of analysis and suggests that, at least in the past, CO2 does not influence atmospheric temperature, simply that a warming world temporarily pumps up atmospheric CO2 (presumably by a lagged liberation of CO2 from the Oceans and Soils).
It also shows a lack of evidence for positive feedbacks in the atmosphere (otherwise I think it would show temperatures increasing beyond the peak for some time while CO2 began to naturally dissipate – presumably back into the Oceans and Soils)

George E. Smith

“” Frank Perdicaro (10:12:49) :
The mathematics here end up being a lovely non-Cartesian,
non-Euclidean sinusoidal geometry. You can take advantage of commutativity and associativity of the data, and the graph falls right out
of the data. The asymmetry of the data when plotted on a sinusoidal
geometry is EXACTLY consistent with elliptical orbits. If you apply
Kepler’s laws and Occam’s Razor, variations in CO2 here on earth
are associated with the sun’s orbit in the galaxy. “”
Frank, have you considered calling up George Noori to speak to him about this on his “Coast-to-Coast AM” late night radio talk show ? You’d be a smash hit with his audience.


Have any of you looked into the analytical methods to measure CO2 in ice cores? I’ve have a little and as a practicing analytical chemist (with considerable experience in gas measurements, including CO2) I can say that something does not look right.
First, before the “new and improved” procedures were developed (early 80’s) CO2 measurements routinely showed levels from 300 to 700 ppm or higher. The new procedures dropped those results by a factor of more than 2. I’ve read a few of the early papers (Delmas, et. el.) and I have to say, having been a judge at several science fairs, that high schoolers demonstrate a more rigorous use of scientific methods.
In any case, my experience tells me that the precision claimed is unrealistically good and the CO2 measurements are likely biased low. I hope to look into this further.

george h.

That CO2 is a relatively weak player is evident from any reasonable examination of the geologic record. In Miocene times the climate was about 10°F warmer than it is today and CO2 concentration was significantly less, counter to goracle / Mannian assumptions. Miocene warmth must have resulted from mechanisms other than any excess CO2 in the atmosphere. During the Pleistocene, the evidence indicates CO2 increased and was accompanied by global cooling. In no time scale, decadal, century, milenial or larger is there any evidence that CO2 has played a significant role . It’s only in GCM-Nintendo land that CO2 drives climate. Frank’s analysis is a welcome contribution.

Neil Crafter

“Flanagan (09:55:04) :
Not much to say about this “study”. Nobody ever said that CO2 was the only climatologic driver.”
Well then, why bother saying anything?
Excellent post Frank, very clear and concise.

Steve M.

Luis: “Allegedly, CO2 lags temperature by 800 years, but in Fig.2 we see temperature peaking exactly the same time that CO2 peaks. This is also problematic:”
Not really problematic. First, this is a study of trends…not peaks. Even so, looking at Fig. 5, (where he’s trying to show CO2 leading temperature) the temperature drops before CO2. Now, do this: Print one of the graphs, and grab a pencil. (this isn’t very scientific, but it will make the point) Use the pencil and smooth out the peaks, and you’ll see that CO2 peaks after the temperature.

Frank, great to see you posting here. I saw your post on ICECAP and liked it so much I copied and reported from it to add to my Skeptics’ Climate Science Primer and my page on Arctic/Antarctic issues. I wanted to check that you were ok with my work! I changed your red to green, to help convey the message that CO2 = happy plants!
This is an old issue that keeps on coming up. But the problem is the twist: “Yes, we already know that CO2 follows temperature initially in the ice records. But the thing is, it then ADDS an amplifying factor”. Now I’ve found that this is no more than bluster and assertion by RealClimate mainly. It’s GOOD YES GOOD to have these beautiful graphs to counter even those assertions.
Why is the cooling period slower??? I’ve had thoughts about this. The cosmos (black holes etc) often operates by (1) explosive bang (2) period of settling-down. We heat saucepans fast and they cool slowly. It’s just natural, well, it feels like that. But WHAT OH WHAT are the specific factors that slow the cooling? CO2 is about like a fat lady going out into a blizzard wearing a nightie. You need far more robust mechanisms for a delay that takes thousands of years.