CO2 condensation in Antarctica at -113F?

UPDATE2: The question has been resolved, please see this new WUWT story on the issue. – Anthony

UPDATE: There is a debate raging in comments about the validity of the statement “That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.”

On one hand we have an argument from several commenters that says that the temperatures, pressures,  and phase diagrams only apply to a pure state of CO2, such as in the manufacture of dry ice.

On the other hand we have a scientist from Argonne National Laboratory, who when asked the question says that:

“Certainly, at least some of the CO2 in the atmosphere at the poles does freeze out (of the air) during the winter.”

So there appears to be a debate. If it turns out the statement is wrong, and some empirical proof can be presented, I’ll retract and/or amend the article. There appears to be a wide interest in this question, so I’m not opposed to find the true answer, even if it means the statement  is entirely wrong.

Feel free to post in comments, but leave the snark and ad hom out of it. I’m more interested in settling the question.

I’ve also changed the title to be more reflective of the question before us now. – Anthony

By Steven Goddard

How cold is it in Antarctica?  According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday.  That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

http://www.adventistforum.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/download/Number/3036/filename/dry%20ice.jpg

The south pole of Mars (seen below) similarly has an eight metre thick layer of dry (CO2) ice on top of the H2O ice.  

http://www.daviddarling.info/images/Marssouthpole.jpg
Mars Southern Ice Cap

The Mars dry ice cap has been shrinking however, due to global warming on that planet.  As explained in National Geographic in 2007.
Mars, too, appears to be enjoying more mild and balmy temperatures.  In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row.  Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.  “The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.
If Dr. Abdussamatov is correct, the Mars ice caps should now be growing, due to the solar minimum.  Does anyone have any information about this?  A cooler earth coincident with a cooler Mars coincident with solar minimum would be difficult to argue with.  Note that the diminishing Mars ice occurred at the same time as diminishing Arctic ice below.
Perhaps the IPCC should have their next polar melting discussion at Vostok in -113F weather?  That would seem more fitting than Bali or Honolulu.
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crosspatch

How cold is it in Antarctica? According to Weather Underground, Vostok, Antarctica is forecast to reach -113F on Friday. That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.

Uhm, no. Vapor pressure and all of that.

Squidly

crosspatch (23:18:31) :
..
Uhm, no. Vapor pressure and all of that.

Sorry Crosspatch, but, uhm yes.
From the link you provided (you should read ALL of it):

Scientists have detected frozen
carbon dioxide at the poles on planets,
so it can happen and can accumulate if
the temperature stays low enough long enough.
Actually, carbon dioxide freezes at -57 C,
which is -70.6 F, a higher temperature than
you thought. Temperatures often reach lower
than this in Antarctica and sometimes in
the Arctic also, so it does not have to be
an ice age for carbon dioxide to freeze at
the poles. Certainly, at least some of the
carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the
poles does freeze out during the winter.
However, there is not enough frozen out
to accumulate to any extent at the present.
During the ice ages, more probably froze
out and accumulated, effectively removing
carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and
contributing to the cooling of the atmosphere.
David R. Cook
Atmospheric Research Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory

Fluffy Clouds (Tim L)

our utility is going to start charging an additional tax of $1.00 for over use of power.
http://www.cherrylandelectric.com/

tallbloke

Must be that Mars Rover vehicle needing a carburettor tuneup. Perhaps Arnie Schwarzenegger should volunteer, since he has experience of working in the depleted Martian atmosphere, according to his film ‘Total Recall’.
Maybe he could get together with Al Gore afterwards to do a sequel disaster movie.
They could call it ‘Total [snip]’.

yeah, i checked this before for temps around the freeze point of CO². It’s a trace gas and doesn’t solidify to any extent at one atmosphere total pressure. There is a possibility that some CO² will get adsorbed by water vapor as the latter turns to snow, giving a slushy/fizzy mixture when it melts. Don’t eat it.

Richard111

Will this effect validity of CO2 data from Vostok ice cores?

Steven Goddard

jorge,
I think your beer would be frozen solid at -113F.
I wonder when legislation will be passed requiring reduced carbon or no carbon beer?

Pat

It is interesting the US EPA (Going to/Have done?) listing CO2 as a pollutant/toxin given the fact it is in food (Beer). Mind you, there are other toxins in food, legally, which are poisons which we should clean up.

Please Goddard can we have no more of this scientific illiteracy, look at the phase diagram of CO2!
That is four degrees below the freezing point of CO2 and would cause dry (CO2) ice to freeze directly out of the air.
This would only occur in an atmosphere entirely composed of CO2, i.e. a volume fraction of 1.0 not 385ppm. At a vapor pressure of ~1000ppm the sublimation point is approximately -135ºC
http://www.chemicalogic.com/download/co2_phase_diagram.pdf

VG

looks like we got another book which will really hurt AGW from a climate scientist
Professor Paltridge shows that the case for action against climate change is not nearly so certain as is presented to politicians and the public. He leads us through the massive uncertainties which are inherently part of the ‘climate modelling process’; he examines the even greater uncertainties associated with economic forecasts of climatic doom; and he discusses in detail the conscious and sub-conscious forces operating to ensure that scepticism within the scientific community is kept from the public eye.
It seems that governments are indeed becoming captive to a scientific and technological elite – an elite which is achieving its ends by manipulating fear of climate change into the world’s greatest example of a religion for the politically correct.
About the author
Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge is an atmospheric physicist and was a Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research before taking up positions in Tasmania as Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies and CEO of the Antarctic Cooperative Research Centre. He retired in 2002 and continues to live in Hobart. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania and a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University.

dave vs hal

In the National Geographic link mentioned by the article was the following statement:
“without the greenhouse effect there would be very little, if any, life on Earth, since our planet would pretty much be a big ball of ice,” said Evan, of the University of Wisconsin.
Is this really true? Surely our oceans do a better job as a heat sink than the atmosphere, and they teem with life.

Philip Mulholland

-113F is -80.5C by my reckoning. The 1 metre air sensor at Dome A has been testing -70C this week in mixed air (no vertical gradient) with bounces up to a balmy -65C (9th June @ 1m) when the wind stops. For the meteorologically interested, notice that the temperature gradient in still air, between the 1m & 2m sensors, can be as much as 10C per metre. Now that’s what I call a temperture inversion 🙂
The ice surface of Antarctica at this elevation (4084m or 13,400 feet) is the thermal radiator of planet Earth, heat is haemorrhaging to space, as it does every austral winter.

Andrew P

Dome A has been around -70’C for the last two days:
http://www.aad.gov.au/weather/aws/dome-a/index.html
I’ve asked this before, but can anyone explain why the Subsurface 10m temperature is always slightly lower than the temperature at -3m? Sensor wires or graph labels mixed up?

Arthur Dent

OT for this thread but Thredbo AWS in Australia just broke the all time Australian record for the lowest maximum temperature (-7.0C). This AWS has been operational for > 40 years and this record eclipses the previous lowest Maximum temperature of -6.9C and it beats the previous June record of -5.6C which was recorded on June 28 / 1968 – a record snow year.
What is remarkable about this new record is that we are still a full calendar month away from the coldest (mid point) of winter.

rbateman

Steven Goddard (00:08:31) :
Oh, how absolutely Green of them… Have an ice cold frosty Flat Coors.
The Carbon Police will be raiding illegal pubs looking for anyone selling carbonated drinks.
“what are you in for?”
Running carbonated beer.
“stay away from him, boys, he’s crazy”.
No champagne. No sodas. No beer. No seltzer water.
The New Prohibition.
The Carbonance Movement.

UK Sceptic

O/T Seems likely that sceptics will be painted as neo-Nazis from now on.
http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2009/06/bbc-mindset.html
The BNP, for those who have never heard of them, are a somewhat left of Stalin political party who are believed to be extreme right wingers (?) because of their views on race. The UK MSM are too stupid or lazy to read the BNP manifesto which is most definately collectivist. So the BNP stance on Global Warming (AGW is a scam) could very well result in all sceptics being tarred with the same brush. It’s the way the BBC operate.
The reason why the BNP are making inroads into UK politics is because, racism and manifesto aside, they are the only ones putting forward a sensible argument on a number of fronts. They have stormed and won the common sense platform so disgracefully abandoned by the Conservatives (who voted for and embraced the carbon credits (cap and trade) fraud and who completely failed to act in the capacity of HM Opposition to curb New Labour and EU excesses.
When a bunch of far left racists are perceived to be the voice of reason by a small but considerable chunk of the electorate then we know we’re in trouble.
So now, not only am I a denialist who should be imprisoned/exterminated/locked up in a psycho ward, I’m probably a Nazi too.
Oh bugger! 😀

>>>There is a possibility that some CO² will get adsorbed
>>>by water vapor as the latter turns to snow, giving a
>>>slushy/fizzy mixture when it melts
Just as it does in a G&T, with heavy vapours flowing over the glass to boot.
But if CO2 did freeze in Antarctica during the winter, would it not sublimate later in the year, causing voids in the snow/ice?

The BBC starts to doubt AGW:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/climatechange/2009/06/the_unpredictable_weather.html
No really it’s true.
Nothing like hedging your bets or indulging in pre-emptive cya.

dearieme

“But if CO2 did freeze in Antarctica during the winter”: it doesn’t, it can’t; don’t you understand, the temperature at which pure CO2 gas at one atmosphere pressure would solidify is far, far higher than the temperature at which some CO2 frost would form from air where the CO2 constitutes just a few hundred ppm! The stuff squiddly quotes is just rubbish.

H.R.

@jorgekafkazar (23:34:14) :
“yeah, i checked this before for temps around the freeze point of CO². It’s a trace gas and doesn’t solidify to any extent at one atmosphere total pressure. There is a possibility that some CO² will get adsorbed by water vapor as the latter turns to snow, giving a slushy/fizzy mixture when it melts. Don’t eat it.”
You can buy some of that CO2 slushy/fizzy mixture in cherry or rootbeer flavor down at the Stop ‘n Rob. Try one. They’re delicious.

Mike

Re Squidly (23:25:51) :
According to data in my books CO2 sumlimes at -78.5°C at 1atmosphere pressure. The liquid phase is only possible at a minimum pressure of 5 atmospheres, where the solid melts at -56.7°C.
Given that the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 0.0004 atmospheres, at -80°C (~-113°F) freezing it out of the atmosphere would not be possible – or am I missing something?
Mike

Mike McMillan

The leaflets by the dry ice chest at the local supermarket say that the temperature of the dry ice is -109 °F. I would assume that is the sublimation point at 1 atm pressure.
I’d go for CO2 frost at the south pole whenever the temp dropped below -109°F. It would be indistinguishable from snow.

Jack Hughes

@Paul H Clark
The BBC blog is a double act.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/climatechange/2009/06/the_unpredictable_weather.html
Richard Cable has wandered off the reservation and has questioned the computer models, the UN ‘300,000 dead’ claims and even the ludicrous Catlin Climate Cadets.
Meanwhile, Shanta Barley goes on a jolly to the Hay Festival and seems to be writing for a school newsletter.

Katherine

rbateman (01:32:08) :

No champagne. No sodas. No beer. No seltzer water.
The New Prohibition.
The Carbonance Movement.

No leavened bread. Yeast feeds on the sugars in flour and converts them into CO2, alcohol and water.

dearieme

“I’d go for CO2 frost at the south pole whenever the temp dropped below -109°F. ” No, Mike, no. Only if the atmosphere were 100% CO2. Look, the condensation point of water vapour is 100C. That is to say, if you have pure water vapour (= steam) at one atmosphere pressure in a container and you reduce the temperature from something higher down to 100C, it begins to condense. Now consider an impractically hot day. If you reduce the air temperature to 100C, does that mean that the water vapour in the air begins to condense? Of course not, because the atmosphere isn’t pure water vapour. The dew point, at which water begins to condense, is far, far below the condensation temperature for (pure) water vapour. And similarly for CO2.

TonyS

Are there clouds on Mars?

Glenn

Mike (02:35:19) :
Re Squidly (23:25:51) :
“According to data in my books CO2 sumlimes at -78.5°C at 1atmosphere pressure. The liquid phase is only possible at a minimum pressure of 5 atmospheres, where the solid melts at -56.7°C.
Given that the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 0.0004 atmospheres, at -80°C (~-113°F) freezing it out of the atmosphere would not be possible – or am I missing something?”
Not sure, but no one has shown Steven to be wrong. At first blush it would appear that everything in the atmosphere is under a certain pressure under certain conditions, including CO2, regardless of it’s concentration. Your figure if correct would be the atmospheric pressure of a pure CO2 atmosphere, which of course it is not.

Philip Johns

The global warming issue has done much to set back climate science. In particular, the notion that climate is one-dimensional — which is to say, that it is totally described by some fictitious global mean temperature and some single gross forcing a la increased CO2 — is grotesque in its oversimplification. I must reluctantly add that this error is perpetuated by those attempting to ‘explain’ climate with solar variability. Unlike greenhouse forcing, solar forcing is so vague that one can’t reject it. However, acting as though this is the alternative to greenhouse forcing is asking for trouble.
Dr Richard Lindzen, Heartland Conference, March.
http://www.heartland.org/full/24841/Climate_Alarm_What_We_Are_Up_Against_and_What_to_Do.html
MIT has one of the world’s preeminent climatologists Dr. Richard Lindzen
in their Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

Steve Goddard, May.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/25/global-warming-of-7c-could-kill-billions-this-century/
Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun. ”The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars,” he said.
as quoted by Steve Goddard. June.
As for Abdussamatov’s claim that solar fluctuations are causing Earth’s current global warming, Charles Long, a climate physicist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in Washington, says the idea is nonsense.
“That’s nuts,” Long said in a telephone interview. “It doesn’t make physical sense that that’s the case.”

http://www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html
Is Lindzen correct? Is Abdussamatov in error and ‘asking for trouble’? Is his theory ‘nuts’? I think we should be told.

Glenn

TonyS (03:11:13) :
“Are there clouds on Mars?”
http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/MPF/science/clouds.html

RoyFOMR

“BBC beginning to blow cold on global warming?”
Here’s another article from Auntie along similar lines (from March)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/7929174.stm

Skeptic Tank

Steven Goddard (00:08:31) :
jorge,
I think your beer would be frozen solid at -113F.
I wonder when legislation will be passed requiring reduced carbon or no carbon beer?

Beer is a basic human, if not civil, statutory and constitutional right. If it’s not protected, explicitly, it should be.

dearieme

Glen, when you find air at 100C dropping dew, then you can believe that rubbish about CO2 condensing at the South Pole. That is science so bad that it’s worthy of the Global Warmmongers.

Flanagan

Two short remarks:
– the opposite of sublimation is deposition, not freezing (which is associated with melting)
– deposition will only take place (as was mentioned) if the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere becomes higher than the solid-gas vapor pressure of CO2 at the temperature of interest. I really doubt it is the case, given the low pCO2 we have here.

gary gulrud

Please Goddard can we have no more of this scientific illiteracy, look at the phase diagram of CO2!
Thank you Phil. for being awake through high school chemistry. Henry’s Law was covered then as well, why the attitude?

Rhys Jaggar

If you want to hold the conference in Vostok next week, I’d advise all male attendees to visit a sperm bank before going……..you never know what might happen to you down there…….

gary gulrud

On the Martian surface atmospheric pressure is about 0.01 Atm where CO2 makes up about 95%.

Philip Mulholland

Andrew P (00:51:06)
Andrew,
Your question “why the Subsurface 10m temperature is always slightly lower than the temperature at -3m? ”
There is no mistake here, what you’re seeing is the seasonal effect of thermal lag.
I have a screenshots of the temperature profile for the eight days of 9th Dec til 17 Dec 2008 (nearly mid-summer) which shows a temperature of -60C at 3m and a “warmer” temperature of -59C at 10 metres.
A screenshot for 9th -16th May 2008 (early winter) has the 3m sensor at -56C, the 1m & 10m both at -58C and the near surface 0.1m down at -63C with air temperatures touching -75C.
The warmth of summer takes 6 months to reach 10 metres into the ice in a top down heating process, likewise the cold of winter withdraws heat from the ice in a similar top down manner.
See http://www.aad.gov.au/default.asp?casid=20368 for details of this process.

Sandy

“Glen, when you find air at 100C dropping dew,”
What’s the stuff you see coming off a boiling kettle ?

GaryB

” Does anyone have any information about this? ”
I have asked this question before in previous threads. There must be information tracking the temperatures of other nearby planets. Surely the correlation of these planetary temperatures with that of the earth (warming spells followed by cooling spells), although tempered by many factors on each of the planets (clouds, %land mass, atmospheric makeup, etc) would suggest that the big glowing thing in the sky (i.e., our sun) is primarily responsible for the ups and downs of temperatures on the earth and other nearby planets. To me, this is crucial information, but I have yet to find it anywhere.

Sandy

So if you precisely weighed a block of CO2 and put it outside at this temp:
a) It still sublimates and loses weight
b) Too cold to lose but partial pressure to low for condensifreezing (?) so no weight difference
c) Condensifreezing occurs so block gains weight
Kitchen science for you!
If you’re in Antarctica of course.

Nathan

Boy, the arctic ice extent is dropping fast the last few weeks… Wonder why?

Pat

“Sandy (05:03:05) :
“Glen, when you find air at 100C dropping dew,”
What’s the stuff you see coming off a boiling kettle ?”
Steam. The stuff you *can’t* see, is vapour.

Arthur Glass

Maybe the great Ray Bradbury will, as he approaches the age of 90, add a chapter to __The Martian Chronicles__around the theme of playing hockey on the ice caps of the fourth rock from the Sun.
I’m sorry; I’m just being puckish.

wws

“Beer is a basic human, if not civil, statutory and constitutional right. If it’s not protected, explicitly, it should be.”
Oh, the horror if the world is exposed to the abomination that is Oklahoma Near Beer.

hunter

If any freezes out, it will likely be trace amounts.
It would be interesting to test in a lab condition with sensitive instruments.

Jimmy Savile

Is that a photo of Mars’ southern ice cap or a photo of the surface of an indoor swimming pool with the lights turned off and a hole in the roof?

Aron

I was thinking about dry ice last week and thought if carbon taxes or carbon trading took effect, how damaging would it be to dry ice manufacturers and ice cream makers (they use dry ice)? Or would they be seen as part of the solution?

dearieme

“What’s the stuff you see coming off a boiling kettle ?”
Aaaargh, it’s the mist of water droplets you get when pure steam is injected into air that’s much cooler than 100C.

Steven Goddard

We have a number of posters here boldly proving that according to their misinterpretation of how phase diagrams work, polar ice caps can’t exist on earth. Look at the phase diagram for water.
http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/phase.html
Water vapor partial pressure near the poles is close to zero during the winter. Using the brilliant interpretation of Phil et al, the freezing point of water in Antarctica and the Arctic would be close to -70C, and there could be no ice.
The reason why water freezes at 273C is because of the atmospheric pressure of 1KPa, not because of the partial pressure of water – which is much lower, and varies hugely from the poles to the tropics.
The freezing point of water (and CO2) is fixed by the atmospheric pressure – not the partial pressure. Likewise, the boiling point of water is fixed by the atmospheric pressure and is independent of the humidity or partial pressure of water in the air.
Does Phil also believe that water boils at room temperature on earth, due to the low partial pressure of water?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Water_vapor_pressure_graph.jpg
As usual, Phil got distracted and missed the point of the article – which is wondering whether the Martian ice caps have stopped shrinking.

Frank Skog

I wonder when legislation will be passed requiring reduced carbon or no carbon beer?

Carbon free beer is called “water.”