Research claim: dropping CO2 caused formation of Antarctic ice cap

Meanwhile today while CO2 is increasing, the Antarctic ice cap is also increasing.

Bill Illis writes about it:

Ice sheets formed in Antarctica about 35 million years ago when CO2 was about 1,200 ppm. Ice sheets also formed in Antarctica about 350 to 290 million years ago when CO2 was about 350 ppm. Ice sheets also formed in Antarctica about 450 to 430 million years ago when CO2 was about 4,500 ppm. The more common denominator is when continental drift places Antarctica at the south pole.

Animation from Exploratorium.edu - click for source

Below, Antarctica today.

Source: University of Illinois
Antarctic Icecap as of 9/13 Source: University of Illinois Polar Research Group

New data illuminates Antarctic ice cap formation

From a Bristol University Press release issued 13 September 2009

A paper published in Nature

New carbon dioxide data confirm that formation of the Antarctic ice-cap some 33.5 million years ago was due to declining carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

A team of scientists from Bristol, Cardiff and Texas A&M universities braved the lions and hyenas of a small East African village to extract microfossils from rocks which have revealed the level of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere at the time of the formation of the ice-cap.

Geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect. The study’s findings, published in Nature online, confirm that atmospheric CO2 started to decline about 34 million years ago, during the period known to geologists as the Eocene – Oligocene climate transition, and that the ice sheet began to form about 33.5 million years ago when CO2 in the atmosphere reached a tipping point of around 760 parts per million (by volume).

The new findings will add to the debate around rising CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere as the world’s attention turns to the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen which opens later this year.

Dr Gavin Foster from the University of Bristol and a co-author on the paper said: “By using a rather unique set of samples from Tanzania and a new analytical technique that I developed, we have, for the first time, been able to reconstruct the concentration of CO2 across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary – the time period about 33.5 million years ago when ice sheets first started to grow on Eastern Antarctica. “

Professor Paul Pearson from Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, who led the mission to the remote East Africa village of Stakishari said: “About 34 million years ago the Earth experienced a mysterious cooling trend. Glaciers and small ice sheets developed in Antarctica, sea levels fell and temperate forests began to displace tropical-type vegetation in many areas.

“The period culminated in the rapid development of a continental-scale ice sheet on Antarctica, which has been there ever since. We therefore set out to establish whether there was a substantial decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as the Antarctic ice sheet began to grow.”

Co-author Dr Bridget Wade from Texas A&M University Department of Geology and Geophysics added: “This was the biggest climate switch since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

“Our study is the first to provide a direct link between the establishment of an ice sheet on Antarctica and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and therefore confirms the relationship between carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and global climate.”

The team mapped large expanses of bush and wilderness and pieced together the underlying local rock formations using occasional outcrops of rocks and stream beds. Eventually they discovered sediments of the right age near a traditional African village called Stakishari. By assembling a drilling rig and extracting hundreds of meters of samples from under the ground they were able to obtain exactly the piece of Earth’s history they had been searching for.

Further information:

The paper:Atmospheric carbon dioxide through the Eocene–Oligocene climate transition. Paul N. Pearson, Gavin L. Foster & Bridget S. Wade. Nature online, Sunday 13th September.

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Nogw
September 14, 2009 1:48 pm

What if because antarctica it is located at the south pole. Wouldn’t it be a simpler explanation?

Adam from Kansas
September 14, 2009 1:49 pm

While I don’t believe (I’m Christian) in the geologic timescale of billions of years this does put a rather big dent in the idea that the world has never been warmer and CO2 levels are the highest they’ve ever been. Let the factories continue to output CO2 then, by the time we reach 760 PPM we will actually have green technology worthy of replacing coal and oil.
Seriously though, does that mean that man is to blame for the MWP and the Romans and early Chinese culture contributed enough CO2 to the Earth’s atmosphere to create the Roman Warm Period. Still based on an idea that CO2 is a more potent greenhouse gas at the current level then it actually is really.

Bill Illis
September 14, 2009 1:55 pm

Ice sheets formed in Antarctica about 35 million years ago when CO2 was about 1,200 ppm.
Ice sheets also formed in Antarctica about 350 to 290 million years ago when CO2 was about 350 ppm.
Ice sheets also formed in Antarctica about 450 to 430 million years ago when CO2 was about 4,500 ppm.
The more common denominator is when continental drif t places Antarctica at the south pole.

Peter Plail
September 14, 2009 1:55 pm

I had to double check my calendar – no, it’s definitely not April 1st.

michel
September 14, 2009 1:55 pm

If true, and one will need a bit of convincing about the accuracy of the techniques to that distance in time, then this is the first proven case in which CO2 declines plausibly caused temperature declines. So very interesting, and an argument in favor of the concept that reducing CO2ppm will actually have the desired effect.

P Wilson
September 14, 2009 1:55 pm

Interesting. 760ppm of c02 led to a freeze over tipping point. Not a global warming scenario exactly, given such a high level of potent heat trpping gas

J. H. Folsom
September 14, 2009 1:57 pm

Very careful wording here, very unfortunate that it will be used to fuel climate change legislation.
In particular interest, this line
“Our study is the first to provide a direct link between the establishment of an ice sheet on Antarctica and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and therefore confirms the relationship between carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and global climate.”
The only relationship that this study actually establishes is that the Antarctic sheet formed when Co2 dipped to roughly double current levels.
Now assuming that’s causal, which the tone of the Nature article leans toward ( as for the research paper, I couldn’t comment ), it actually disproves the need for any climate change legislation to prevent the ice caps dissapearing, as we’d have to roughly double output to get the greenhouse effect to above Antarctic forming, and it certainly disproves the need to cut emissions to accomplish the same thing.
Though, that’s falling into a trap, as you are then agreeing with the premise that Co2 is causal.

William
September 14, 2009 1:59 pm

Looks like we’re only half way there to getting CO2 levels back to their normal pre-Eocene levels. With the icecaps melted think of the vast expanses of land available for cultivation and settlement on Greenland and Antartica as well as the improvement in climate for northern Canada, Europe and Siberia.
Can anyone estimate with whether the addition of these lands will offset those that get flooded due to the sea level rise?
I’m not sure wiping out Wall Street and Washington DC would necessarily be a bad thing. We could make the capital of the USA Topeka, KS. It would make it easier for everyone in the USA to attend protest marches there and the politicians would save on Jet fuel getting to work.
Thanks
William

John G
September 14, 2009 2:00 pm

So CO2 declined and caused temperature decline and ice caps 35 million years ago, but in recent millions of years CO2 declines and advances follow temperature changes. When did the flip-flop happen?

RickA
September 14, 2009 2:03 pm

It will be interesting to study this paper to see which came first – the chicken or the egg.
In other words – did the drop in temperature cause the CO2 to drop or did the drop in CO2 cause the temperature to drop.

Wondering Aloud
September 14, 2009 2:05 pm

What about the non correlation with previous ice ages? Why is the Greenland ice cap 160K years old? A CO2 drop 34mya caused an ice age starting 2mya? Maybe declining temperature caused CO2 to drop? Wouldn’t that better fit the data?
Sorry knee jerk questions. It must be right it gives an answer that we wanted.

Peter Plail
September 14, 2009 2:08 pm

Can any geologists out there confirm that “geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect”.
It is comforting, however, to know that there is an upper tipping point for CO2 at 760ppm, after which global warming will be replaced by global cooling!

George E. Smith
September 14, 2009 2:09 pm

So the wolf was right, and it was that blessed lamb drinking in the water down stream that muddied up his water.
Well CO2 goes down, Ice goes up, presumably temperature goes up, surface is warm and muggy, clouds are high and ethereal, I see a patetrn !
CO2 causes warming; high clouds cause warming and mugginess; not a snowball’s chance in hell, that it happens the other way round, even if the cause doesn’t happen till after the effect.
George
PS Yes climate “Science” is better referred to as “Climatology”; rhymes with “Astrology”.

Charlie
September 14, 2009 2:09 pm

John G, your post is related to my question.
How good of resolution and accuracy do they have in the CO2 dates? How good of resolution and accuracy do they have in the dates of ice formation in Antarctica?
Do we really know that the CO2 drop caused the cooling rather than the other way around?

Ray
September 14, 2009 2:10 pm

Hmmm, are they trying the reverse engineering argument?

TerryBixler
September 14, 2009 2:12 pm

The tipping point was lack of sunspots but the researchers were unable to find proxy fossils to match the criteria so instead went for CO2.

Nogw
September 14, 2009 2:17 pm

Science is settled on a deep pit’s floor and WUWT pendulum oscillating above it is menacing “new age” science.

Mike A UK
September 14, 2009 2:19 pm

This is completely off topic, so I apologise in advance. I am a 110% sceptic on the AGW and climate change stuff. I broadly understand the science and the nonsense that’s being put out and the truth that’s being suppressed. So for me, something has to be wrong with it all. But, a non-scientist asked ‘So who benefits from the lies?’ My answer seems so multi-headed; – green religion, scientists ensuring grants, politicians tuning into public opinion to get re-elected, capitalists devising trading schemes etc etc. And is not very convincing to the non-scientist. Has anyone put together a coherent history/framework of how this came about and just who benefits and to what end and extent? I’d appreciate a link or other pointer. Thanks.
Mike A UK

Dave Andrews
September 14, 2009 2:20 pm

Well, on a first pass, we could say, if this paper is correct, that we are around halfway towards a situation where there might be serious danger of Antarctic melt if, all other things being equal, the level of CO2 is the most important factor. This would seem to imply that there are maybe 3 centuries to go before things become critical.
Perhaps we don’t need knee-jerk responses now and can take a more measured view?

D. Matteson
September 14, 2009 2:22 pm

“By using a rather unique set of samples from Tanzania and a new analytical technique that I developed, we have, for the first time, been able to reconstruct the concentration of CO2 …..”
Do the words “unique set of samples” and “new analytical technique” seem familiar?

Nogw
September 14, 2009 2:23 pm

It was the “progressive” decrease which made everything down.

Peter Plail
September 14, 2009 2:31 pm

As Anthony commented in the opening paragraph, if the antarctic ice-cap is growing, does this mean that we can expect sea levels to drop globally?

Dr A Burns
September 14, 2009 2:33 pm

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html
…suggests that CO2 levels fell from 2400 ppm 180 M yrs ago to today … but temperatures started falling 33 M yrs ago.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:All_palaeotemps.png
… shows falling temperatures for 540 M yrs … with lots of fluctuations. 60 to 30 M yrs ago shows the greatest fall.
Both temperature plots show very poor correlation with CO2 concentrations.
Despite these, the key issue is that MAN’S fossil fuel burning is supposed to be causing “alarming” warming. Fossil fuel burning increased dramatically after 1945 but the rate of temperature rise declined, instead of increasing as claimed by alarmists.
http://www.q-skills.com/tmpvff2.jpg
I am amazed why this graph is not published more widely. I am still waiting for an alarmist to point out exactly when the recent “alarming” warming is supposed to have happened.

tim maguire
September 14, 2009 2:34 pm

This study “confirms” that formation of the ice cap was caused by declining CO2?
Really? Confirms?
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc?
Where have I heard that before?

Phillip Bratby
September 14, 2009 2:34 pm

Somebody should tell that hero Dr Gavin Foster, who braved the lions and hyenas of a small East African village (tho’ what lions and hyenas are doing in the village is anybody’d guess), that there is no such thing as “rather unique”. The set of samples are either unique or they are not unique.

Barry L.
September 14, 2009 2:40 pm

Correlation is not causation…… [snip]:
“Our study is the first to provide a direct link between the establishment of an ice sheet on Antarctica and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and therefore confirms the relationship between carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and global climate.”
[Followed by statement of disapproval, but snipped. ~ Evan]

P Walker
September 14, 2009 2:40 pm

Mike A UK (14:19:54) : You might want to start with Red Hot Lies , by Chris Horner . It deals with the US , but it’s a beginning . Also , reading this blog will prove useful – this subject gets discussed from time to time and folks from the UK have plenty to say about it .

deadwood
September 14, 2009 2:42 pm

I can only assume that Nature now is in editorial denial over plate tectonics.
This article is absolute BS and should never have gotten past the gatekeeper. That it did says more about the standards of Nature that I wish to put in print.

Pompous Git
September 14, 2009 2:45 pm

Mike A UK. “Has anyone put together a coherent history/framework of how this came about and just who benefits and to what end and extent?”
Try this: Global Warming:How It All Began by Richard Courtney
http://www.john-daly.com/history.htm
The late John Daly’s website contains quite a lot of interesting material.

hunter
September 14, 2009 2:46 pm

The first reponse sort of sums it very well:
If the Antarctic land mass was migrating to the nether southern regions, and losing so much heat, would that not be at least a strong part of why the ice sheets formed?
The truly negative impact of CO2 seems to be its ability to lower reasoning skills in its believers.
These fossils, I am sure, do not show if the ancient land mass moved a great floating ice cap system, does it?

Nogw
September 14, 2009 2:48 pm

The accolites keep on producing petty theories hoping the Prophet will choose theirs for his next powerpoint.

John F. Hultquist
September 14, 2009 3:00 pm

Mike A UK (14:19:54) : You asked for:
coherent history/framework of how this came about
Try this: http://icecap.us/images/uploads/EDBLICKRANT.pdf

Det
September 14, 2009 3:13 pm

Could there be a reversed effect in the past where oxygen concentration increased and CO2 decreased, mainly through increasing vegetation and then causing the ice ages?
There seems to be evidence, that the mix of gases was once like that.
However, we don’t know anything about the energy output of the early sun and it can very well been the reason for the ice ages.
Nor do we know, if not the wobble of the earth axis was causing the climate change.
(moving land mass, building of ice caps,…)
Therefore everything is speculation, unless we have all the facts!

TitiXXXX
September 14, 2009 3:16 pm

“unique set of samples” … “a new analytical technique that I developed” … “we have, for the first time, been able to reconstruct” ….
déjà vu, isn’t it?
“The new findings will add to the debate around rising CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere”
there is a debate? science not settled?

Pompous Git
September 14, 2009 3:16 pm

Peter Plail (14:08:41) :
“Can any geologists out there confirm that “geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect”.
From the Wikipedia:
“The causes of ice ages remain controversial for both the large-scale ice age periods and the smaller ebb and flow of glacial–interglacial periods within an ice age. The consensus is that several factors are important: atmospheric composition (the concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane); changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun known as Milankovitch cycles (and possibly the Sun’s orbit around the galaxy); the motion of tectonic plates resulting in changes in the relative location and amount of continental and oceanic crust on the Earth’s surface, which affect wind and ocean currents; variations in solar output; the orbital dynamics of the Earth-Moon system; and the impact of relatively large meteorites, and volcanism including eruptions of supervolcanoes.
Some of these factors influence each other. For example, changes in Earth’s atmospheric composition (especially the concentrations of greenhouse gases) may alter the climate, while climate change itself can change the atmospheric composition (for example by changing the rate at which weathering removes CO2).
Maureen Raymo, William Ruddiman and others propose that the Tibetan and Colorado Plateaus are immense CO2 “scrubbers” with a capacity to remove enough CO2 from the global atmosphere to be a significant causal factor of the 40 million year Cenozoic Cooling trend. They further claim that approximately half of their uplift (and CO2 “scrubbing” capacity) occurred in the past 10 million years.”
The current Icehouse is believed to have commenced following the formation of the Panama Peninsula, isolating the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The Strait Magellan was also closed prior to this period. The formation of the circumpolar current in the Southern Ocean probably also played a role.

gofer
September 14, 2009 3:20 pm

I keep reading how complicated climate science is, but it seems quite simple, based on their own statements…greenhouse gases, especially CO2 is reponsible for every climate event, change, effect, disaster, etc. How complicated is that? /sar

Roddy Baird
September 14, 2009 3:33 pm

“The accolites keep on producing petty theories hoping the Prophet will choose theirs for his next powerpoint”
Oh dear, time to wipe the coffee off my monitor screen again. Too funny! I assume that should be “pretty” but “petty” also works.

Ron de Haan
September 14, 2009 3:34 pm

All they are promoting is the infantile notion that low CO2 levels represent “cold” and high “CO2” levels represent heat. It’s childish AGW propaganda.
Unbelievable that this garbage is written by grown up scientists…!

Urederra
September 14, 2009 3:34 pm

And what about the faint sun paradox?

D. Matteson (14:22:11) :
“By using a rather unique set of samples from Tanzania and a new analytical technique that I developed, we have, for the first time, been able to reconstruct the concentration of CO2 …..”
Do the words “unique set of samples” and “new analytical technique” seem familiar?

Vaguely.
One thing is an analytical technique, and other a new statistical technique, or analysis.
Anyway, It would be interesting to see the paper where this new technique has been described and validated. I would be more suspicious if the paper where the technique is described for first time is this one.

September 14, 2009 3:39 pm

“Our study is the first to provide a direct link between the establishment of an ice sheet on Antarctica and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and therefore confirms the relationship between carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and global climate.”
Repeat after me. Association is not causation. Relation is not causation.

Ron de Haan
September 14, 2009 3:41 pm

Talking about childish propaganda:
Though stalled, C&T still alive and well.
Keep calling those Senators, because they represent the last stop before Copenhagen.
If we fail to stop the C&T bill in the US there will be a Copenhagen Treaty.
If the US Senate rejects the climate bill, the Copenhagen outlook to close a Climate Treaty will be dire.
http://www.cleanskies.com/articles/gop-beware-though-now-stalled-cap-and-trade-alive-and-well

Richard M
September 14, 2009 3:42 pm

“By assembling a drilling rig and extracting hundreds of meters of samples from under the ground they were able to obtain exactly the piece of Earth’s history they had been searching for.”
I imagine Mann said essentially the same thing when he ran into BCPs.

September 14, 2009 3:44 pm

Det,
One thing to keep in mind is the ratio of the very minor trace gas CO2 to the major atmospheric component O2. CO2 is about 387 parts per million, while O2 is about 209,500 parts per million.

Louis Hissink
September 14, 2009 3:48 pm

As a professional exploration geologist, I can safely state that we have no idea what causes ice ages. They seem to be associated with mass species extinctions but this paper seems to good too be true, and it took a new analytic technique to verify the AGW thesis as well – this smacks of producing data to support the brief.
Try this in the mining business – paraphrasing it “we have shown deposit ABC to now be economic as the result of a new analytical technique”. Same old moose pasture but dressed up differently.
And who is going to get funding to replicate their work – and could take years to do, so it’s another timely announcement, too timely me thinks.

September 14, 2009 3:50 pm

Robert Coté (15:39:52),
There is no verifiable “direct link”, either. There is, however, a direct link between articles like this and financial grants.

September 14, 2009 3:54 pm

Smokey (15:50:27) :
There is no verifiable “direct link”, either. There is, however, a direct link between articles like this and financial grants.

Inflammation equals financialization? Good one.

Dermot O'Logical
September 14, 2009 3:56 pm

Does the paper publish the R-squared coefficient, giving the level of correlation between CO2 and ice area?
If I remember right, the hockey-stick paper authors refused to publish their R-squared, and it was subsequently found to be near zero.

Suzanne
September 14, 2009 4:12 pm

Haven’t any of the authors or reviewers of this deluded paper looked at the relationship between CO2 and temperature in the Antarctic ice cores? As temperatures decrease, the CO2 stays high for centuries before dropping, a delay of about 2,000 years. There is no way that technique used in the rocks has anywhere near a 2,000 year resolution. One just can’t date old rocks to such a precise level. Based on the Pleistocene sequence of events the most likely scenario is that as it got colder, CO2 was absorbed by the cooling oceans.

Jerry Haney
September 14, 2009 4:14 pm

If less CO2 caused an increase in the ice of Anarctica, why has the ice increased in the Anarctic during an increase in CO2 the past number of years?

Berry R
September 14, 2009 4:15 pm

The consensus pre-global warming hysteria was that the reason Antarctica got colder was primarily its growing isolation for other continents, which allowed ocean currents to circulate around it rather than up toward the tropics. Antarctica was initially connected to both Australia and South America, which meant that the currents were forced up around the equator. Australia broke away first. I don’t recall the exact timing, but it was after the die-off of the dinosaurs. Antarctica apparently got somewhat colder after Australia broke away, but the glaciers didn’t really start heading for continental scale until the connection to South America was broken around 20-25 million years ago. At that point the ocean currents could flow around Antarctica without heading to the tropics and collecting heat before coming back down.
Antarctica actually had a collection of land mammals for quite some time. Based on very limited fossils they were basically cold country versions of the old island South America mammals. Antarctic fossils have been found of Marsupials, the group that includes armadillos and sloths, and some now-extinct South American hoofed animals. They also apparently included very large flightless carnivorous birds.
I get the feeling that the Global Warming types are stomping in sciences they don’t understand enough that eventually there is going to be a backlash. Let’s see: stomp around in Paleontology. Yep, the chronology of Antarctic glaciers gets redone to fit the theory. Yep, the history of the Medieval period has to be revised to get rid of the warm period and the little ice age. Yep, economic predictions have to be reinvented so we can tell you how much CO2 the world will be emitting a hundred years from now. Yep, statistics has to be reinvented so that dirty, high uncertainty data can fuel a degree of certainty high enough to justify tossing away hundreds of billions if not trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure.
If you look at the reactions of the fields these guys are tromping around in closely you’ll see quiet indirect, I don’t want to get attacked by a bunch of global warming nutballs, expressions of what is basically contempt from a lot of them, mixed with attempts to cut off a slice of the global warming grant pie for the fields involved.

John F. Hultquist
September 14, 2009 4:16 pm

Smokey (15:44:54) : “. . . to the major atmospheric component O2.”
I got a bit lost on the exchange between you and Det, so just to keep the facts straight for the current atmosphere:
Dry air contains roughly (by volume) 78.08% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.038% carbon dioxide, and trace amounts of other gases.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earth's_atmosphere

Nogw
September 14, 2009 4:19 pm

Why did they make their research in Africa, they should have gone to antarctica!
Next time send them to the geographical south pole to dig for fossiles!

Ron de Haan
September 14, 2009 4:20 pm
Britannic no-see-um
September 14, 2009 4:24 pm

I am intrigued as to what is so special about the microfaunal samples across the Eoc-Oligo boundary in this particular well compared to those recovered from the many thousands of microfaunally sampled wells worldwide penetrating the same, let alone outcrop exposures. .

Gordon Ford
September 14, 2009 4:26 pm

“Dr Gavin Foster from the University of Bristol and a co-author on the paper said: “By using a rather unique set of samples from Tanzania and a new analytical technique that I developed, we have, for the first time, been able to reconstruct the concentration of CO2 across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary – the time period about 33.5 million years ago when ice sheets first started to grow on Eastern Antarctica. “”
Before they make any claims they should verify the results by sampling rocks from the same time period from other places in the world. To be certain that this was not a “one off” occurance they (and others) need to sample and obtain similar results from similar rocks from other periods of icecap formation and to determine that the answer is “not in the method” they need to prove that similar rocks from non icecap forming times do not give similar results.
As an exploration geologist I’ve run across too many cases where instrumental analysis returned positive and repeatable values (for gold.) Unfortunately reliable assay techniques (fire assay techniques that have been perfected over 3000 years) failed to verify the presence of the reported amount of gold. Unfortunately the promoters were often convinced there was actually gold in the rocks that didn’t report to a fire assay and subsequently raised millions from unsophisticated investors.
Most saw the light when I advised that one gets paid for their gold only on the basis of a fire assay.
Dr Fosters “unique set of samples” and “new analytical technique” raise too many red flags. While he may be convinced he needs to have others verify his results on similar but not “unique” samples from elsewhere in the world.

Gary Hladik
September 14, 2009 4:27 pm

IIRC, Antarctic ice cores already document a correlation (with time lag) between temperature proxies and carbon dioxide. This work apparently extends the correlation to a time with no antarctic ice cap. So this would seem to be more of an expansion of current knowledge than a breakthrough.

AnonyMoose
September 14, 2009 4:28 pm

It is obvious from the data that modern CO2 is much more robust than CO2 was at two times in the past. The quantity of the CO2 is much less important than its robustness.

Graeme Rodaughan
September 14, 2009 4:29 pm

The new findings will add to the debate around rising CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere as the world’s attention turns to the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen which opens later this year.
[1] The “debate” referred too, is only over how much CO2 emissions needs to be cut back…
[2] The primary reason for the paper is explicitly described above – the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen.
As Bill points out earlier – CO2 is all over the place while Antartica has ice.
However, whenever Antartica is over the south pole (by itself) it’s ice bound.

Tom P
September 14, 2009 4:44 pm

Smokey,
“CO2 is about 387 parts per million…” and was about 280 ppm 150 years ago. As with so many things, the issue is about the variation, not the absolute number.
Glad to see you back. You owe me a response my take up of the wager you proposed on “Forecasting the Earth’s-temperature” September 12 at 01:58:31.
How about it?

September 14, 2009 4:46 pm

Someone once told me, that Occam’s razor was very good for these kinds of circumstances. I take continental drift for 1000.

Jimmy Haigh
September 14, 2009 4:47 pm

Peter Plail (14:08:41) :
“Can any geologists out there confirm that “geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect”.”
Well, it’s the first time that this geologist has heard of this.

September 14, 2009 4:57 pm

William (13:59:06) :
Looks like we’re only half way there to getting CO2 levels back to their normal pre-Eocene levels. With the icecaps melted think of the vast expanses of land available for cultivation and settlement on Greenland and Antartica as well as the improvement in climate for northern Canada, Europe and Siberia.
Can anyone estimate with whether the addition of these lands will offset those that get flooded due to the sea level rise?

I did a very simpleminded calculation some months ago. Just from the thickness of the ice, area of the continents, and area of ocean, one gets 70 metres if I didn’t make a slip-up. It is safe to say that is an absoloute upper limit. I didn’t take into account the extra water needed to flood the land areas inundated (which would be significant and not available for sea level rise), nor more difficult effects like land area rebound or sinking of ocean floor etc. But it gives an ‘outer envelope’ estimate of the worst that could possibly happen. And of course, you get a continent and a huge island in return.

grandpa boris
September 14, 2009 5:11 pm

William, let’s ignore for the moment the unlikely outcome of the “global melt”. If the ice shields of Greenland and Antarctica melt, what will be exposed is not usable land, but the base rock scoured clean. It will take tens of thousands of years for that rock to become fertile soil. The facetious argument about all that extra land compensating for the loss of the current sea-level landmass is amusing. But it doesn’t offer a practical equivalency of what is gained against what is lost.

rbateman
September 14, 2009 5:11 pm

RickA (14:03:15) :
Go look at Mars polar caps.
It is there that you will find the answer.
Under the C02 snow of Mars Northern Polar Cap is predominately water ice (H20).
When Earth gets cold enough, we will have CO2 snow in Antarctica.
The people going to Copenhagen will never be satisifed with less than the latest gross exaggerations to prop up thier claim of saving the Planet. They have no such ambition other than to rule the world.
Some things do not change.

George PS
September 14, 2009 5:13 pm

Bill Illis (13:55:07) :
“The more common denominator is when continental drift places Antarctica at the South Pole.”
Agreed. Indeed, we are lucky that there is no continental mass underneath the Arctic; if we did, mankind would still be barbecuing mammoth meat in caves somewhere in the frozen Sahara.
The growth of Antarctica ice is unsettling, particularly the extent of the ice shelf during the southern hemisphere winter, as it might be possible that, if the trend continues, it could create an atmospheric pressure imbalance between the northern and southern hemispheres that in turn prompts the cold arctic jet streams to glide down further south than the past norm during the northern summer, thereby causing lower temperature to dominate the crop growing season in Canada and the northern US—the world’s most productive agricultural regions. It could spell a major disaster for the world’s food supply situation in the near future if it could happen.

ron from Texas
September 14, 2009 5:32 pm

Let me squeeze in a little scientific method here, as gauche as that may be. Decreasing CO2 didn’t cause ice caps to form. It is a coincidence. Why? Because CO2 does not drive temp. Ice caps form not because of absence of CO2. They form because of cooler temperatures. Tectonics aside, whatever caused the temps to drop, CO2 dropped afterward, as it always does. And then the caps formed, more realistically, as causality from whatever caused the Earth to cool. CO2 does not drive cooling or heating. Never has, never will. We get momentary spikes in CO2 that coincide with cooling. They’re called volcanic eruptions. One decent blow-up puts as much CO2 in the air as all of man’s contribution to date. What happens? The earth cools, the “nuclear winter” effect, from aerosols in the atmosphere and CO2 is powerless to stop it. Anyone remember building volcano experiments in the 8th grade?

Bill Illis
September 14, 2009 5:41 pm

Between 40 million to 35 million years ago, Antarctic separated from South America (creating the Drake Passage) and separated from Australia, which allowed Antarctica to become isolated by atmospheric winds and ocean currents in an extreme polar climate.
Antarctica probably already had significant glaciers as early as 80 million years ago. The initial continental-scale glaciation of 35 million years ago (CO2 1,200 ppm) melted back starting about 27 million years ago (CO2 450 ppm) and the reglaciated about 14 million years ago (CO2 211 ppm).
http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/2464/tempvsco267m.png
There is a higher resolution animation of Antarctic continental drift here from 200 million years ago to today. (In a power point slide animation – the download might be very slow).
http://www.ig.utexas.edu/research/projects/plates/movies/akog.ppt
Here is Antarctica about 300 million years ago (CO2 350 ppm) (in the centre of the white glacier patch at the bottom).
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/04/LateCarboniferousGlobal.jpg
At some point during the Ordovician ice age, 440 million years ago (CO2 4,700 ppm), Gondwana (a super-continent composed of South America, Africa, India, Antarctic and Australia) made a rapid transit across the South Pole and then backed up North again during which Antarctica would have been glaciated at some point (Africa had most of the glaciers).
http://www.palaeos.com/Paleozoic/Ordovician/Maps/MidOrd.jpg

groweg
September 14, 2009 5:55 pm

There have been good questions raised about the methodology of this paper here. Having seen many such challenges raised against papers from the pro-AGW side, I no longer take their research seriously. Its like when they say “this summer will be among the hottest on record,” “the polar bears will be extinct in 50 years,” “all the polar ice will be gone in 20 years,” I now just assume anything they say is not objective science but “fudged” in some way to support their agenda. Given their track record, it is imprudent to believe that any “science” produced by them is objective, truthful, or worth reading or spending any time thinking about.

jorgekafkazar
September 14, 2009 5:56 pm

“By assembling a drilling rig and extracting hundreds of meters of samples from under the ground [instead of from above it? bloody clever!] they were able to obtain exactly the piece of [fiction] they had been searching for.”
Peter Plail (13:55:16) : “I had to double check my calendar – no, it’s definitely not April 1st.”
Every day is April 1st with these people.

stumpy
September 14, 2009 5:57 pm

Hows does declining co2 levels recorded in a bore in Africa prove the antartic ice mass formed due to falling co2 levels?!? Did I miss something???
There is no mention here of what global temperatures were doing whatsoever and no proof of causation!
If the earth was cooling (for whatever reason), then co2 levels would also be falling, as the colder sea would absorb it from the atmosphere, and with cooling comes ice. Sounds like they are putting the cart before the horse and ignoring inconvenient little things like global temperature, millankovitch cycles, continental drift etc…
It should never have been published with the assumptions about antarctic ice, what has happened to the peer review process???? Do we no longer need to provide evidence so long as a paper mentions ice melting or claims its “worse than we thought”!

J.Hansford
September 14, 2009 6:01 pm

[“A team of scientists from Bristol, Cardiff and Texas A&M universities braved the lions and hyenas of a small East African village to extract microfossils from rocks which have revealed the level of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere at the time of the formation of the ice-cap.”]
….. So, if I rustle up a dead mouse skeleton from about 1600AD… I should be able to tell exactly what the atmospheric CO2 content was during the years that it lived?…….. How is that done exactly…. By looking at the patterns they make when you chuck ’em on the ground… Or do you put them in a rattle and shake them after smoking something strange?
So anyway, why are we measuring CO2 on Mauna Loa for? We just need dead mice…. Don’t we?
Sigh… Temperature proxies… I think we have now attained Science by proxy….. Or is that “Claytons” Science. The Science you do when you aren’t doing Science…. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claytons
(the claytons link is for non Aussies that don’t get the joke)

Jeff Green
September 14, 2009 6:03 pm

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090420121335.htm
1: The Earth’s orbit around the sun is not completely circular, but slightly elliptical. The orbit is ‘elastic’ and contracts and expands in a cycle of 100.000 years. And the closer we are to the Sun, the more solar radiation and the more heat we receive.
2: The Earth’s axis has a tilt in relation to the Sun and that is why we have summer and winter. But the tilt is not constant, it swings between 22 degrees and 24 degrees, and the greater the tilt, the greater the difference between summer and winter. This cycle takes 40.000 years.
3: The Earth rotates around on its axis like a top – this gives day and night. But due to the tilt of the Earth and the elliptical orbit the direction changes with a cycle of 20.000 years. This results in varation in to whether the Earth is nearest the Sun during the summer or during the winter.
Above is the understanding of climate forcings today. These forcings are some of the forcings working on the climate through millions of years.
http://global-warming.accuweather.com/2009/09/has_the_solar_minimum_countera.html
Right now its the artic that is the first serious symptom showing up. As goes the artic so goes the rest of the world to follow later for more serious symptoms.
The four drivers………
1. Volcanic aerosols- cooling influence
2. El Nino- warming influence
3. Greenhouse gases- warming influence
4. Solar cycle- variable influence.
The first 3 describe #4 above. These all apply to today and the atmosphere of the past.

Mark
September 14, 2009 6:12 pm

Is it possible that the global temps cooled first, ice formed, and then CO2 levels dropped? I already had to learn that ice core data shows CO2 lags temperature by about 800 years. We could have a similar CO2 lag here…

Ed Fix
September 14, 2009 6:12 pm

Of course, it’s only coincidence that all this happened just after Antarctica separated from Australia and South America in the final stages of the breakup of Gondwana. The ice cap started forming just after Antarctica moved south of the Antarctic Circle, but it was the drop in CO2 that caused the ice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gondwana#Cenozoic
Looks like somebody had better clean up the Wikipedia article.

September 14, 2009 6:26 pm

Correlation does not equal causation. The authors apparently missed beginners logic.

Philip_B
September 14, 2009 6:29 pm

we have, for the first time, been able to reconstruct the concentration of CO2 across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary – the time period about 33.5 million years ago when ice sheets first started to grow on Eastern Antarctica. “
Professor Paul Pearson from Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, who led the mission to the remote East Africa village of Stakishari said: “About 34 million years ago the Earth experienced a mysterious cooling trend. Glaciers and small ice sheets developed in Antarctica, sea levels fell and temperate forests began to displace tropical-type vegetation in many areas.
“The period culminated in the rapid development of a continental-scale ice sheet on Antarctica, which has been there ever since. We therefore set out to establish whether there was a substantial decline in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as the Antarctic ice sheet began to grow.”

Like much in the Earth’s climate, what is cause? and what is effect?, is not clear.
We know atmospheric CO2 levels decline as the climate cools due to greater soluability in water. Whether declining CO2 was a contributing cause of the formation of the Antarctic icecap is unclear. More likely, declining CO2 levels acted as a weak positive feedback as the climate cooled.
The most important feedback would have been the ice accumulation itself. Once the icesheet started to form, the Earth’s climate would have rapidly cooled.
In fact, it’s something of a mystery how we avoid runaway cooling and ending up with a snowball Earth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_earth

savethesharks
September 14, 2009 6:44 pm

Bill Illis,
Curious to know if you think the large meteorite that hit earth about 35 million years ago (that created the now buried mile-deep and 50 mile across Chesapeake Bay Impact Crater…
…was one of the causes of the cooling that suddenly began at about the same time?
Thanks.
Chris
Norfolk, VA, USA

September 14, 2009 6:46 pm

Well, at least there is an admission here that Earth’s climate does change, even dramatically sometimes, without mankind’s doings – oops, I meant to say personkind’s doings. Or are they going to go drill another hole somewhere in Africa and thereby discover that there was a huge preindustrial population ‘way back then, and all the people froze during a severe tropical winter? Maybe they all stopped breathing, and then Antarctica froze over? Or are they confusing cause and effect once again?

Jeff Green
September 14, 2009 6:48 pm

I find it intesting that the group is so focused on Antartica. Is this the last bastion of deniability. Deniability is a loosing cause in the artic now. Satellite pictures can now show that there is definite shrinkage of north polar ice.
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8239
Even antartica is following AGW theory. Above is Nasa’s map of temperature change since about 1980. Its just cold in Antartica and really not melt seriously for awhile. The northern artic is a different case. 6 feet of sea level rise swamps some of the most agriculturally productive land in the world. Plus just now being studied is acidification of the world’s oceans.
After awhile denial will no where to turn when antartica also goes.

Dave Wendt
September 14, 2009 6:50 pm

grandpa boris (17:11:04) :
William, let’s ignore for the moment the unlikely outcome of the “global melt”. If the ice shields of Greenland and Antarctica melt, what will be exposed is not usable land, but the base rock scoured clean. It will take tens of thousands of years for that rock to become fertile soil
If we could collect, compost, and stockpile all the bovine excrement being put out by the climate alarmist propagandists, when the ice disappears from Greenland and Antarctica, we ought to to have sufficient quantities of nice organic topsoil to cover both places to a depth that matches preColonial Iowa.

Jeremy
September 14, 2009 7:01 pm

Wow – talk about revisionist? A whole new version of history according a specific religious dogma of CO2 and global warming. The theory of Continental Drift is now superseded by religious CO2 dogma.
You have to wonder what will be next? Perhaps after all it wasn’t fruit that Adam ate from the Garden of Eden…perhaps he opened a can of Coca Cola and was the first to poison the planet with CO2!!!!!!!!!!

MattN
September 14, 2009 7:40 pm

As a process engineer, let me state that any comparison to any period when Antarctica was not located at the south pole is 100% irrelevant.

MikeE
September 14, 2009 7:41 pm

Jeff Green
i dunno much about the artic, is it following a similar trend too the arctic? And six foot sea level rises have flooded the best land already!!! i did not know that! Living on an island nation in the pacific we often miss out on all the sea level news here! Its probably a conspiracy by big oil keeping us in the dark.
Yes this climate change stuff is a worry, i mean the earth has had a totally stable climate forever, then man comes along and starts measuring it, and we realise we are heading for thermogeddon(or during the 50s/60s trend the icealypse was nearly upon us. I propose we stop measuring stuff 🙂

rickM
September 14, 2009 7:42 pm

The problem I have with research of this type is in the summary or conclusion. Where is the link , the casaulity, between “declining” CO2 and the formation of the Antarctic?
Have our researchers really gotten to the point where they won’t conclusively state a position that isn’t linked to CAGW, or isn’t a predetermined outcome?

Tim McHenry
September 14, 2009 7:42 pm

Too many assumptions to mention. Who knows what went on in the past? Unique, unverifiable events of history are just the gossip of the “science” world.
Re: Adam from Kansas (13:49:54)
I, too, am a Christian but I would like for you to convince me (and I am completely open to be convinced) that a short time frame for all historical events are necessary based on Genesis 1. Go to http://www.mtgileadchurch.net and email me if you want to correspond.

September 14, 2009 7:45 pm

Adam from Kansas says:

While I don’t believe (I’m Christian) in the geologic timescale of billions of years this does put a rather big dent in the idea that the world has never been warmer and CO2 levels are the highest they’ve ever been.

And, whose idea is this exactly? It is certainly not the idea of scientists who know very well that CO2 levels have been higher and the earth’s temperature warmer in the past. However, CO2 levels are at the highest they’ve been in at least 750,000 years (as ice core data show) and likely the highest in millions of years which means, among other things, that homo sapiens were not around to experience those previous higher CO2 levels. (And, by the way, just for the record, being a Christian does not preclude accepting the modern science of geology and even biology…In fact, the Catholic Church accepts it.)
J.H. Folsom says:

Now assuming that’s causal, which the tone of the Nature article leans toward ( as for the research paper, I couldn’t comment ), it actually disproves the need for any climate change legislation to prevent the ice caps dissapearing, as we’d have to roughly double output to get the greenhouse effect to above Antarctic forming, and it certainly disproves the need to cut emissions to accomplish the same thing.

It does nothing of the sort. We certainly have more than enough coal to raise CO2 levels to 760ppm and beyond. Furthermore, what we are apparently talking about is the CO2 level when ice sheets first formed. If ice sheets across all of Antarctica were to completely melt then sea level rise would be something like 70 m, which needless to say, is a much larger sea level rise than anybody has been contemplating (because noone has been expecting the East Antarctic ice sheet to melt) and would be much more than a slight problem!
In fact, it seems rather frightening that 760ppm is the level at which this occurs…and one can only hope that there is hysteresis in the system (which is quite possible because of ice-albedo effects) so that it is not completely reversible and it will take a higher level than 760 ppm of CO2 to melt the entire Antarctic ice sheet. Otherwise, frankly, we are pretty much screwed!

Gordon Ford
September 14, 2009 7:46 pm

Peter Plail (14:08:41) :
Can any geologists out there confirm that “geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect”.
No, but I have a few blank periods in my memory like back in the 60’s drinking overproof rum with a coke chaser in the Palace Grand in Dawson City YT. I do remember that the coke cost more than the rum.

Mike G
September 14, 2009 7:54 pm

Berry R
Best post I’ve ever seen on here …

September 14, 2009 7:54 pm

@ Smokey (15:44:54) :
By volume (rounded), the gas concentration of air includes 78% nitrogen (N2) and 21% oxygen (O2) with the remaining made up of gases including argon (1%), water vapor (0-1%), carbon dioxide (.04%), and other trace gases. The greenhouse effect from natural greenhouse gas concentrations prior to the Industrial Revolution has kept the Earth’s surface about 33 degrees C warmer than with an atmosphere with no greenhouse gases. Although greenhouse gas concentrations appear to be small, their effect is certainly not.
There is a common misconception that the concentration levels of carbon dioxide are so small that they could not possibly be causing global warming. As mentioned previously, the natural greenhouse effect (from gas concentrations before the Industrial Revolution) has kept the Earth’s surface about 33 degrees C warmer than with an atmosphere with no greenhouse gases. Pre-Industrial Revolution CO2 levels ranged between 190 ppm and 300 ppm. Today they are rapidly approaching 400 ppm. Because levels of carbon dioxide are well above natural levels, it should not be hard to see how these increases could cause temperatures to rise at least a few degrees C in the future. The 0.7 degree C warming since 1880 has already caused many problems, especially to ecosystems. A 2 degree warming would be quite catastrophic in many ways.
And yes, I know about the CO2 saturation effect.
@ ron from Texas (17:32:26) :
You stated: They’re called volcanic eruptions. One decent blow-up puts as much CO2 in the air as all of man’s contribution to date.
False. Not even close to being true yet this is the type of nonsense that Ian Plimer spouts.
See:
http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/co2-and-the-volcanoes/
http://www.grist.org/article/volcanoes-emit-more-co2-than-humans/

John Andrews
September 14, 2009 8:02 pm

The earth and sun were not in the same relative positions in our galaxy way back then. Does this have any effect on the cloudiness and temperature?

Bill Illis
September 14, 2009 8:02 pm

Joel Shore,
Antarctica glaciated over when CO2 was 211 ppm, 1,400 ppm, 350 ppm and when it is was 4,700 ppm. Which level are you going to be frightened about?
It is more frightening to think that climate scientists do not know these basic geologic history facts yet people are still listening to them.

AnonyMoose
September 14, 2009 8:10 pm

“If the ice shields of Greenland and Antarctica melt, what will be exposed is not usable land, but the base rock scoured clean.”
And due to the rock of Greenland being lower in the center than the edges, there will be a very large lake. I don’t remember the current topography of Antarctica.

rbateman
September 14, 2009 8:15 pm

Aha, I have the perfect thoery:
IGM.
Irregardless Global Modeling.
Irregardless of how many computers are used for Global Modeling, Anthropogens cannot Guarantee a Warm planet.
When you think about it, we are really getting shortchanged. 50 years, that’s it.
The Romans and Medieval Europe got hundreds, ancient civilizations got 1,000s of warm years.
All we got is a 50-year Tee Shirt.

September 14, 2009 8:19 pm

Jeff Green (18:48:28),
The alarmist contingent always concentrates on the North polar ice cover, while studiously ignoring the South Pole, which has been consistently cooling. Globally, averaging the Arctic and the Antarctic shows global cooling:
click1
click2
click3
click4
click5
Global warming over all is non-existent. Data confirms that the planet is cooling. Deal with it.

rbateman
September 14, 2009 8:23 pm

AnonyMoose (20:10:23) :
Sound like a great inland sea, a Super Lake Tahoe.
I don’t recall ever seeing the topography of Antarctica.
Who the heck wants to run seismic surveys in 70 below or worse.

MartinGAtkins
September 14, 2009 9:41 pm

Scott Mandia (19:54:42) :

The 0.7 degree C warming since 1880 has already caused many problems, especially to ecosystems.

Already caused many problems? Like what?

A 2 degree warming would be quite catastrophic in many ways.

And beneficial in equally indeterminable ways.

And yes, I know about the CO2 saturation effect.

Yet choose to ignore it.

Antonio San
September 14, 2009 9:42 pm

Another cart before the horse garbage from Nature the AGW biased journal…

Berry R
September 14, 2009 10:17 pm

I did a little more digging on the date the Drake passage opened and when widespread, as opposed to mountain glaciers started in Antarctica. If there is consensus on the dates of either of those things it must be fairly recent. The slide-show/animation that someone linked to earlier shows the passage developing exactly at 33 million years ago. If true, that makes linking the glaciers to falling CO2 even more problematic than the date I had read earlier (26 million years ago).
There was also apparently a cluster of asteroid or cometary impacts at about this time, and apparently some geologists link the climate changes around the Eocene/Oligocene boundary (which is geologist-talk for this time period) at least partly to those impacts.

Berry R
September 14, 2009 10:18 pm

Oops forgot the link to that last bit of info:
http://specialpapers.gsapubs.org/content/452/97.abstract

E. J. Mohr
September 14, 2009 10:20 pm

Peter Plail (14:08:41) :
Can any geologists out there confirm that “geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect”.
I can’t speak for all geologists but I can say that most geologists are skeptics. So much so that Real Climate has a thread devoted to geologists:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/08/are-geologists-different/
But I digress. It seems the simplest answer is that [CO2] follows its solubility equation, and so as Antarctica cooled, CO2 would be sequestered and the concentration would fall. No mystery here.
This study reminds me of the recent discoveries of ancient trees in glacial moraines. The news media has been reporting this as evidence of dangerous and unprecedented warming. My geologist and forestry colleagues instead ask: why was it so warm so long ago that forests grew where today there is only alpine tundra?
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6VBC-4V2PSYN-1&_user=10&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1011873521&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=c8cdbd7496416e73e46941bd4b3425b6
http://web.unbc.ca/~menounos/www/2008GL033172.pdf
If you follow the links you will see that thousands of years ago there were forests where today there is alpine tundra and/or alpine glaciers. The question for me is not why is so warm today, but rather why was it so warm so long ago that there were forests where today trees cannot grow? As for Antarctica, we know it cooled, but CO2 was not likely the cause. In fact there may have been a warm spell recently where CO2 would have been the same as today:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_v129/ai_4164401/
As to the causes of the warmings and coolings I can say I favour a solar cause, but Leif has convincing arguments that this may not be the case. Perhaps the Earth has major climate oscillations that we have not even begun to understand, or maybe the sun has some tricks up its sleeve that we have not yet seen. I won’t speculate, but I can say the science is never settled.

Roger Knights
September 14, 2009 10:22 pm

“Has anyone put together a coherent history/framework of how this came about and just who benefits and to what end and extent? I’d appreciate a link or other pointer. Thanks.”
Mike A UK

There are six factors that I’ve posted about here, which I’ll repeat below: Ted Turner’s grant to the UN, the payments to the undeveloped countries, the template of ozone-depleting CFGs, faddism, a modernist bias, and “knowledge cartels.”
I think there are several other factors, most importantly that official Science has finally risen to a high enough social position that it has “gotten above itself” and succumbed to pride, putting too much belief in the supposedly self-correcting nature of its procedures (the scientific method and peer review) and the integrity and objectivity of its personnel, and ignoring the social and political aspect that goes into the formation of scientific consensuses.
1. The UN’s IPCC was set up to please Ted Turner, a warmist who donated a billion $ to the UN for general purposes, and who requested it. It was then staffed by fanatical warmists. The UN’s agenda is to repay their alarmist benefactor, and possibly to induce further donations.
2. Since warmism involves payments from the West to the undeveloped countries, a majority at the UN favors the warmists’ position. This likely has an influence on the “watermelon” activists in Greenpeace, etc.
3. The discovery that Freon was responsible for the widening ozone holes at the poles may have created a “template” for Hansen and other warmists. I remember following news reports about this hypothesis at the time. My recollection is that the subtlety and indirectness of the process, via various knock-on effects, was a mind-boggler and aroused skepticism at first. It took several years for opinion leaders to come around. I suspect Hansen feels the resistance he’s encountered is just a replay of the ozone-hole resistance.
4. Extracts from:
Flavor of the Month: Why Smart People Fall for Fads (2006)
By Joel Best (U. of California Press)
p. 4: In our society, most serious institutions—medicine, science, business, education, criminal justice, and so on—experience what we can call institutional fads.
p. 16: Consider three cases from the 1980s: [the author cites the widespread diagnosis of multiple personality disorder, quality circles, and cold fusion.]
p. 18: While the innovation is spreading, it is easy to believe, to dismiss the skeptics. … Their proponents often are respected figures in their professions, and their claims receive serious, deferential attention in the media.
p. 36: Often there are overtones of urgency—we must act now, we can’t afford to wait, because things will soon get worse and we’ll fall further behind. This is what many institutional fads offer—the promise of a sudden, wonder-working, paradigm-shifting, revolutionary, quantum-leap breakthrough.
pp. 82-83: Fads … can be fun. When people are aware that an innovation is spreading, they often feel excited. There is a widespread sense that being part of a big, important change has something thrilling, even joyful about it.
pp. 84-85: It is easy to find excitement in doing something different, if only because change breaks the boredom of routine. … There is pride in being a pioneer, one of the early adopters—the first kid on your block.
………
This enthusiasm may cause a rush toward wholesale adoption. …
……….
People also find comfort in being part of the in crowd, in joining with other adopters. To the degree that you admire the trend-setters, you will be pleased to join them. … You’re now an insider, a status that is part of the appeal of stylishness. The feeling that you have made the right choice is not just personal (“it’s the right choice for me”) but also social (“Others will see that I’ve made the right choice”).
Pp 88-89: Adopters often also feel a sense of superiority because they have opportunities to exercise power. Once an organization’s leaders have adopted some innovation, they may require their subordinates to get with the program—to attend training workshops, adopt the new lingo, and so on.
…………
[Summing up,] institutional fads spread because individuals within organizations experience boredom, hope, pride, status seeking, status anxiety, and other feelings, and then decide to adopt the novelty that promises to improve things and make them feel better. As a result, members bring their organizations onto the bandwagon …. Organizations experience two sorts of bandwagon pressures, both of which have their parallels among individuals: first, the knowledge that other organizations have adopted a novelty pulls us to think we ought to do the same; second, worries that our competitors may be taking advantage of the innovation to get the jump on us pushes us to act.
pp. 90-92: In addition, they [people] may calculate that adoption [of a novelty] offers advantages to them personally. Consider the plight of Professor Alice, this chapter’s imaginary figure; she has just received her Ph.D. … [but] she will not receive tenure and promotion to associate professor unless she publishes some articles in scholarly journals.
…………..
Scholarly journals won’t publish anything that doesn’t say something new … . But there are already bookcases full of studies of Shakespeare and Jane Austen. What’s left for Professor Alice to write about?
…………
Professor Alice has seen an article in a newsmagazine about physicists studying something called “chaos theory.” The name sounds promising. Professor Alice hasn’t taken physics since high school, but she already has ideas for a title—something along the lines of “Kingdoms in Chaos: The Physics of Royal Courts in Shakespeare’s Tragedies.” Professor Alice’s tenure is virtually assured.
Individuals often find advantages in hooking their wagons to some rising enthusiasm. … Becoming associated with a trendy novelty suggests to others that you are with it, on top of things, in the know, progressive, forward-looking—and all of those other chichés that assign approval to pioneers of novelty. Often, there are intimations of generational rivalries: those advocating changes are young lions, willing to stand up against the old guard. Institutional fads offer a rationale for turning the reins over to a new generation that is not mired in the past, one that welcomes the future.
pp. 94-95: Professor Alice … illustrate[s] the importance of careerism—making choices that will advance one’s career—in the spread of such fads.
…………
Whenever an organization adopts an innovation,, there is the possibility that parts of the organization will change. Maybe new jobs, such as director of appraisal planning, will appear. … The organization will be—at least to some degree—in flux, which will almost certainly create opportunities. … And, of course, if a novelty comes endorsed by your supervisors … actively resisting the change may put your career at risk. It can be much easier to go along with the changes.
p. 113: We can think of diffusion—the enduring spread of some novelty—as taking two forms. One form involves the choices of many individuals …. The other form of diffusion involves the establishment of institutional arrangements that make it harder to drop the innovation.
p. 127: People … are much less inclined to publicize their decision to abandon a fad. There are too many embarrassing interpretations. Did they make an unwise choice? Didn’t they know what they were doing? Were they sufficiently prudent, or did they rush into something they didn’t understand?
p. 19: These fads aren’t free. Just as “fashion victims” waste their money on unattractive clothing styles, there are fad victims. … Alternative uses for these resources fall by the wayside. … Alienation and cynicism can result.

5. A modernist bias: a desire by opinion leaders to seem modern and accepting of sophisticated arguments, instead of trusting in the untutored, non-expert, common sense view that climate is always changing. A desire to be on the side of the modern science of ecology and concern for the earth.
6. Knowledge cartels:
Science in the 21st Century: Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels
By HENRY H. BAUER
Professor Emeritus of Chemistry & Science Studies
Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
Journal of Scientific Exploration, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 643–660, 2004
http://henryhbauer.homestead.com/21stCenturyScience.pdf
………….
Supposedly authoritative information about the most salient science-related matters has become dangerously misleading because of the power of bureaucracies that co-opt or control science.
Science as an Institution
Dysfunction and obsolescence begin to set in, unobtrusively but insidiously, from the very moment that an institution achieves pre-eminence. The leading illustration of this Parkinson’s Law (Parkinson, 1958) was the (British) Royal Navy. Having come to rule the seas, the Navy slowly succumbed to bureaucratic bloat. The ratio of administrators to operators rose inexorably, and the Navy’s purpose, defense of the realm, became subordinate to the bureaucracy’s aim of serving itself. The changes came so gradually that it was decades before their effect became obvious.
Science attained hegemony in Western culture toward the end of the 19th century (Barzun, 2000: 606–607; Knight, 1986). This very success immediately sowed seeds of dysfunction: it spawned scientism, the delusive belief that science and only science could find proper answers to any and all questions that human beings might ponder. Other dysfunctions arrived later: funding through bureaucracies, commercialization, conflicts of interest. But the changes came so gradually that it was the latter stages of the 20th century before it became undeniable that things had gone seriously amiss.
It remains to be appreciated that 21st-century science is a different kind of thing than the ‘‘modern science’’ of the 17th through 20th centuries; there has been a ‘‘radical, irreversible, structural’’ ‘‘world-wide transformation in the way that science is organized and performed’’ (Ziman, 1994). Around 1950, Derek Price (1963/1986) discovered that modern science had grown exponentially, and he predicted that the character of science would change during the latter part of the 20th century as further such growth became impossible. One aspect of that change is that the scientific ethos no longer corresponds to the traditional ‘‘Mertonian’’ norms of disinterested skepticism and public sharing; it has become subordinate to corporate values. Mertonian norms made science reliable; the new ones described by Ziman (1994) do not.
Symptoms
One symptom of change, identifiable perhaps only in hindsight, was science’s failure, from about the middle of the 20th century on, to satisfy public curiosity about mysterious phenomena that arouse wide interest: psychic phenomena, UFOs, Loch Ness Monsters, Bigfoot. By contrast, a century earlier, prominent scientists had not hesitated to look into such mysteries as mediumship, which had aroused great public interest.
My claim here is not that UFOs or mediumship are phenomena whose substance belongs in the corpus of science; I am merely suggesting that when the public wants to know ‘‘What’s going on when people report UFOs?’’, the public deserves an informed response. It used to be taken for granted that the purpose of science was to seek the truth about all aspects of the natural world. That traditional purpose had been served by the Mertonian norms: Science disinterestedly and with appropriate skepticism coupled with originality seeks universally valid knowledge as a public good.
These norms imply that science is done by independent, self-motivated individuals. However, from about the middle of the 20th century and in certain situations, some mainstream organizations of science were behaving not as voluntary associations of independent individuals but as bureaucracies. Popular dissatisfaction with some of the consequences stimulated ‘‘New Age’’ movements. ….
A more widely noticed symptom was the marked increase in fraud and cheating by scientists. In 1981, the U. S. Congress held hearings prompted by public disclosure of scientific misconduct at 4 prominent research institutions. Then, science journalists Broad and Wade (1982) published their sweeping indictment, Betrayers of the Truth: Fraud and Deceit in the Halls of Science. It has become almost routine to read in the NIH Guide of researchers who admitted to fraud and were then barred from certain activities for some specified number of years. In 1989, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) established an Office of Scientific Integrity. So prevalent was dishonesty that the new academic specialty of ‘‘research ethics’’ came into being. Professional scientific organizations drafted or revised codes of ethics. Various groups, including government agencies, attempted to make prescriptive for researchers what had traditionally been taken for granted, namely, something like the Mertonian norms.
This epidemic of cheating in the latter part of the 20th century meant, clearly enough, that an increasing number of scientists were seeking to serve their personal interests instead of the public good of universal knowledge.
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Throughout the history of modern science, the chief safeguard of reliability was communal critiquing (Ziman, 2000). Science begins as hunches. Those that work out become pieces of frontier science. If competent peers think it worthy of attention, an item gets published in the primary research literature. If other researchers find it useful and accurate, eventually the knowledge gets into review articles and monographs and finally into textbooks. The history of science demonstrates that, sooner or later, most frontier science turns out to need modifying or to have been misleading or even entirely wrong. Science employs a knowledge filter that slowly separates the wheat from the chaff (Bauer, 1992: chapter 3; see Figure 1).
This filter works in proportion to the honesty and disinterestedness of peer reviewers and researchers. In the early days of modern science, before knowledge became highly specialized and compartmentalized, knowledge-seekers could effectively critique one another’s claims across the board. Later and for a time, there were enough people working independently on a given topic that competent, disinterested critiques could often be obtained. Since about the middle of the 20th century, however, the costs of research and the need for teams of cooperating specialists have made it increasingly difficult to find reviewers who are both directly knowledgeable and also disinterested; truly informed people are effectively either colleagues or competitors. Correspondingly, reports from the big science bureaucracies do not have the benefit of independent review before being issued.
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Causes
Price (1963/1986) saw the exploding costs of research after WWII as a likely mechanism for bringing to an end the era of exponentially growing science. The mentioned symptoms may indeed be traced to the escalating costs of research and the continuing expansion of the number of would-be researchers without a proportionate increase in available funds. The stakes became very high. Researchers had to compete more and more vigorously, which tended to mean more unscrupulously. The temptation became greater to accept and solicit funds and patrons while ignoring tangible or moral attached strings.
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Unrealistic expectations coupled with misunderstanding of how science works led to the unstated presumption that good science could be expanded and accelerated by recruiting more scientists. Instead, of course, the massive infusion of government funds since WWII had inevitably deleterious consequences. More researchers translate into less excellence and more mediocrity. Journeymen peer-reviewers tend to stifle rather than encourage creativity and genuine innovation. Centralized funding and centralized decision-making make science more bureaucratic and less an activity of independent, self-motivated truth-seekers. Science attracts careerists instead of curiosity-driven idealists. Universities and individuals are encouraged to view scientific research as a cash cow to bring in money as ‘‘indirect costs’’ for all sorts of purposes, instead of seeking needed funds for doing good science. The measure of scientific achievement becomes the amount of ‘‘research support’’ brought in, not the production of useful knowledge.
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Knowledge Monopolies and Research Cartels
Skepticism toward research claims is absolutely necessary to safeguard reliability. In corporate settings, where results are expected to meet corporate goals, criticism may be brushed off as disloyalty, and skepticism is thereby suppressed. As Ziman (1994) pointed out, the Mertonian norms of ‘‘academic’’ science have been replaced by norms suited to a proprietary, patent- and profit-seeking environment in which researchers feel answerable not to a universally valid standard of trustworthy knowledge but to local managers. A similar effect, the suppression of skepticism, results from the funding of science and the dissemination of results by or through non-profit bureaucracies such as the NIH or agencies of the United Nations.
While the changes in the circumstances of scientific activity were quite gradual for 2 or 3 centuries, they have now cumulated into a change in kind. Corporate science, Big Science, is a different kind of thing than academic science, and society needs to deal with it differently. Large institutional bureaucracies now dominate the public face of science. Long-standing patrons—private foundations like Rockefeller and Ford, charitable organizations like the American Heart Association and the American Cancer Society—have been joined and dwarfed by government bureaucracies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the NIH, and the National Science Foundation, which, in turn, are being overshadowed by international bodies like the World Bank and various agencies of the United Nations—the World Health Organization, the Food and Agricultural Organization, UNAIDS, and more. Statements, press releases, and formal reports from these bodies often purport to convey scientific information, but in reality these releases are best viewed as propaganda designed to serve the corporate interests of the bureaucracies that issue them.
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The upshot is that policy makers and the public generally do not realize that there is doubt about, indeed evidence against, some theories almost universally viewed as true, about issues of enormous public import: global warming; healthy diet, heart-disease risk-factors, and appropriate medication; HIV/AIDS; gene therapy; stem cells; and more.
‘‘Everyone knows’’ that promiscuous burning of fossil fuels is warming up global climates. Everyone does not know that competent experts dispute this and that official predictions are based on tentative data fed into computer models whose validity could be known only many decades hence (Crichton, 2003).
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What ‘‘everyone knows’’ about the science related to major public issues, then, often fails to reflect the actual state of scientific knowledge. In effect, there exist knowledge monopolies composed of international and national bureaucracies. Since those same organizations play a large role in the funding of research as well as in the promulgation of findings, these monopolies are at the same time research cartels. Minority views are not published in widely read periodicals, and unorthodox work is not supported by the main funding organizations. Instead of disinterested peer review, mainstream insiders insist on their point of view in order to perpetuate their prestige and privileged positions. That is the case even on so academic a matter as the Big-Bang theory of the universe’s origin.
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It is not that knowledge monopolies are able to exercise absolute censorship. Contrary views are expressed, but one must know where to look for them; so one must already have some reason to make the effort. That constitutes a vicious circle. Moreover, the contrarian view will often seem a priori unreliable or politically partisan, as already noted. Altogether, people exposed chiefly to mainstream media will likely never suspect—will have no reason to suspect—that there could exist a credible case different from the officially accepted one.
The conventional wisdom about these matters is continually reinforced by publicly broadcast snippets that underscore the official dogma. What other reason might there be to publicize, for example, the guesstimate that global warming will cause an increase in asthma attacks (Daily Telegraph, 2004)? This is just another ‘‘fact’’ to convince us that we must curb the use of coal, gas, and oil.
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Reform?
The ills of contemporary science—commercialization, fraud, untrustworthy public information—are plausibly symptoms of the crisis, foreseen by Derek Price (1963/1986), as the era of exponentially growing modern science comes to an end. Science in the 21st century will be a different animal from the so-called ‘‘modern science’’ of the 17th to 20th centuries. The question is not whether to reform the science we knew, but whether society can arrange the corporate, commercialized science of the future so that it can continue to expand the range of trustworthy knowledge. Ziman (1994: 276) points out that any research organization requires ‘‘generous measures’’ of
_ room for personal initiative and creativity;
_ time for ideas to grow to maturity;
_ openness to debate and criticism;
_ hospitality toward novelty;
_ respect for specialized expertise.
These describe a free intellectual market in which independent thinkers interact, and there may be a viable analogy with economic life. Economic free markets are supposed to be efficient and socially useful because the mutually competitive ventures of independent entrepreneurs are self-corrected by an ‘‘invisible hand’’ that regulates supply to demand; competition needs to be protected against monopolies that exploit rather than serve society. So, too, the scientific free market in which peer review acts as an invisible hand (Harnad, 2000) needs to be protected from knowledge monopolies and research cartels. Anti-trust actions are called for.
Where public funds are concerned, legislation might help. When government agencies support research or development ventures, they might be required to allocate, say, 10% of the total to competent people of past achievement who hold contrarian views.
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It should also be legislated that scientific advisory panels and grant-reviewing arrangements include representatives of views that differ from the mainstream.
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Where legislation is being considered about public policy that involves scientific issues, a Science Court might be established to arbitrate between mainstream and variant views, something discussed in the 1960s but never acted upon.
Ombudsman offices might be established by journals, consortia of journals, private foundations, and government agencies to investigate charges of misleading claims, unwarranted publication, unsound interpretation, and the like. The existence of such offices could also provide assistance and protection for whistle-blowers.
Sorely needed is vigorously investigative science journalism, so that propaganda from the knowledge bureaucracies is not automatically passed on. To make this possible, the media need to know about and have access to the whole spectrum of scientific opinion on the given issue. The suggestions made above would all provide a measure of help along that line. A constant dilemma for reporters is that they need access to sources, and if they publish material that casts doubt on the official view, they risk losing access to official sources.

KimW
September 14, 2009 10:32 pm

Quote “Can any geologists out there confirm that “geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect”.
There sure has been no such speculation, and I did my first geology degree in the 60’s. The article is sheer idiocy, not even a first year geology student would write that – not if he hoped to get a passing grade. Asfor the drilling in this “special place” – already noted above that there are many outcrops of the boundary exposed all over the world – why drill?.
Quote. “Who the heck wants to run seismic surveys in 70 below or worse.”
Plenty, and I mean plenty of geologists who would scramble over each other for the Antarctic Studies programmes run each Summer. I personally supervised one explosives training course run specifically to qualify a technician for a 1973 seismic survey in Antarctica. Full disclosure – I did not make the cut to get to Antarctica.

Neil Jones
September 14, 2009 10:43 pm

Just a wild shot from an under-educated psychologist, but could the formation of the ice sheet be the cause of the reduction in atmospheric CO2 and not the other way round?

John Edmondson
September 14, 2009 11:39 pm

This is hard to prove. At 750ppm , you need a big change in CO2 level to move the temp much:
http://brneurosci.org/co2.html
The graph is pretty flat at 750 ppm CO2.

Cassandra King
September 14, 2009 11:42 pm

The stages of a scientific theory/consensus has a defined and well known life cycle, looking back at previous deeply held scientific certainties gives a clear map of the different stages of the life cycle.
Birth is dificult for any new theory, it has to fight against the old set view, many dont make it past birth, those that do have to fight and muscle aside the old tottering consensus and the struggle is long and hard, but for those that succeed the fight to become the next consensus means widespread recognition which brings a solidification which then is pushed aside to make way for yet another fresh consensus.
The end stage of any entrenched consensus is the ever more complicated and convoluted explanations for the contradictions that appear like stress cracks in stone, the liberal application of plaster hides the cracks for a short time but the underlying faults grow untill the construction collapses.
Our AGW/MMCC/AAM theory is now at the stage of the liberal application of plaster to hide the cracks, yet aready the signs of collapse are apparent.
There is nothing new under the sun is there? The petty mistakes we make, the petty prejudices we hold, the false views we cling to and the means which we cling to our comfort zones, its all happened before many times, the tragedy is we seem unable to learn and so we repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

tty
September 14, 2009 11:59 pm

grandpa boris (17:11:04) :
“what will be exposed is not usable land, but the base rock scoured clean. It will take tens of thousands of years for that rock to become fertile soil. ”
I recommend you to visit e. g. the Canadian prairies, the Upper Midwest, New England, Ireland, Northern England, Northern Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Northern Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania
Do those areas look like “base rock scoured clean”? They were all covered by ice 10-15,000 years ago. For your information vegetation colonize de-glaciated areas extremely quickly.
The deglaciated soils are very rich in minerals and much of the Worlds premier farmland is in such areas (the rest are mostly on loess soils, which are windblown glacial dust). It would be impossible to feed 6 billion people in a World that had not recently been through a glacial period.

September 15, 2009 12:00 am

This ‘Nature’ article is just so much rubbish.
What a propaganda rag ‘Nature’ has become.
I’m cancelling my subscription forthwith.

September 15, 2009 12:30 am

Scott Mandia said
@ Smokey (15:44:54) :
” The greenhouse effect from natural greenhouse gas concentrations prior to the Industrial Revolution has kept the Earth’s surface about 33 degrees C warmer… Pre-Industrial Revolution CO2 levels ranged between 190 ppm and 300 ppm. Today they are rapidly approaching 400 ppm. Because levels of carbon dioxide are well above natural levels, it should not be hard to see how these increases could cause temperatures to rise at least a few degrees C in the future. The 0.7 degree C warming since 1880 has already caused many problems, especially to ecosystems. A 2 degree warming would be quite catastrophic in many ways…”
Scott, I much enjoy your contributions here as I do Joel Shore’s.
There has been much debate about this co2 level on other threads over the last few days, so my apologies to anyone who has read my similar comments elsewhere.
Firstly, the .7C warming since 1880 is reliant on James Hansens calculations which commence from a period immediately following the end of the LIA. This gives us the unsurprising news that temperatures have risen since the end of the LIA. You will have read Hansens paper and know the paucity of data points and the unreliabilty of many of them back to 1880, as observed by G S Callendar when he was looking at the same information prior to his thesis on co2 back in 1938.
Lets not even get into a debate on the value of a Global temperature in the first place 🙂
Of course, if the data line could be extrapolated back to the Roman optimum the current temperatures could be seen in their proper context as being nothing out of the ordinary.
However, my main point is to challenge the assumption that the ice cores are right and the pre 1957 co2 measurements are wrong.
Charles Keeling was a complete amateur at climate science when he formulated his readings in 1957, yet we blithely overturn and ignore the some 130 years of increasingly accurate co2 measurements prior to that date, many made by famous scientists, starting with Saussure in 1830.
Keeling had been greatly influenced by G S Callendar and his theory, and as a novice acepted at the time that the start point of 280ppm was correct. However, in later life he acknowedged that the old readings were more accurate than he had at first believed. (incidentally GS Callendar backpedalled on his beliefs late in life)
The following link from WUWT is worth reading for its own sake ( the comment from ‘Tony Edwards’; is particularly good) it links to a talk by Keeling in 1993, reproduced in small part here (the full link is at the bottom of Mr Edwards post). There is also reference elsewhere in the blog to a Victorian book in which CO2 measurements were recorded. (also below) They knew about the means to take measurements and specifically referred to such things as avoiding gas flames or lack of mixing.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/07/25/beck-on-co2-oceans-are-the-dominant-co2-store/
From Charles Keeling;
“In 1804, Theodore de Saussure showed that water was also an essential chemical in photosynthesis, combining with carbon to make actual living matter. He also demonstrated more clearly than Ingen-Housz that the carbon involved in plant growth came from the air. Curious about the carbon dioxide in the air, he made the first detailed measurements of its concentration there, measuring it near Geneva, Switzerland, under different wind conditions, different hours of the day and different months of the year. The mean value that he found was roughly 0.04% by volume,which I will put in modern units as 400 parts per million by volume (ppmv). This value was much less than von Humboldt had found, but still in considerable error.
De Saussure’s Memories, published in 1830, nevertheless ushered in a period of increasingly precise measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide culminating in some nearly correct measurements in the 1880s by a Belgian named Jules Reiset.”
Saussure used accurate equipment, correct methodology, was aware of the need for mixing and the effects of time, height and location, so why does Keeling illogically conclude that the measurements he took were inaccurate?
The answer is probably that by 1993 Keeling had invested a lot of time and effort at the Scripps institute and it is very difficult to recant a lifetimes belief. His autoibiography is interesting as the influences in his early life can be seen and his increasing respect for the pioneers in co2 measurement can also be followed.
You will be fully aware of Becks work in highlighting pre 1957 measurements.
tonyb

Sandy
September 15, 2009 12:50 am

” It would be impossible to feed 6 billion people in a World that had not recently been through a glacial period.”
At current levels of CO2.
If we are coming out of a glacial period the ocean will release CO2 back up to normal 1000 – 2000 ppm and the biosphere will rejoice. Feeding billions won’t be a problem with more CO2 in the air.

Imran
September 15, 2009 1:04 am

What if the ice sheets formed due to the fact that the earth began to cool – maybe due the to the fact that Antarctica drifted over the pole ??
And the CO2 dropped becasue the earth got colder. Exactly as might be preidcted by Al Gores famous graph.
The perversion of causation and correlation s sickening …..

Tom P
September 15, 2009 1:07 am

Smokey,
You now claim:
“Global warming over all is non-existent. Data confirms that the planet is cooling. Deal with it.”
But a few days ago you stated:
“Keep in mind that skeptics aren’t saying there is no global warming; that’s only how the alarmist crowd tries to frame the argument.”
At that time you also laid down the challenge:
“I’d be willing to bet that within the next ten years we will never reach the UN/IPCC’s AR-4 projections. But Tom won’t take that bet, because he can’t stack the deck.”
I’ve taken the bet (see above), and you have been studiously ignoring it.
What your arguments lack in consistency, they make up for in vehemence.

September 15, 2009 1:07 am

So there you have it folks. CO2 causes both thermageddon and freezergeddon. And for our next trick we are going to disappear an entire polar bear population up the IPCC’s (fill in the blank).

N Ash
September 15, 2009 1:16 am

In addition to the meteor that created the Chesapeake Bay around 35 million years ago, there was also both another meteor and a notable amount of volcanism around 30 million years ago in Europe and Yemen / Africa, respectively
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090107085320.htm
All of this, in addition to Antarctica separating from Gondwana around the same time (and thus being isolated from the rest of the globe by circumpolar ocean currents), suggests several possible reasons for cooling during the period of 30 to 35 million years ago. Cooling, as I recall, has been known to encourage the oceans to soak up more CO2 – which is possibly the reason for the 800 year lag between temperatures falling and then CO2 falling.
So, what they have really confirmed is that CO2 fell around the same time as the temperatures fell – something we would already suspect if not expect due to the falling temperatures of the time. That such occurred around the same time period (geologically speaking) does not support causation. And in fact there are so many potential causes with greater likelihood of causation (volcanism, a couple meteor impacts, breakup of a supercontinent, etc) that one can only wonder how they made the mistake of presuming a fall in CO2 is a cause rather than an associated effect.

Tom P
September 15, 2009 1:34 am

TonyB
“Firstly, the .7C warming since 1880 is reliant on James Hansens calculations which commence from a period immediately following the end of the LIA.”
No it isn’t. There are plenty of datasets to look at here. For example both the instrument record and the glacier-derived temperature profile:
http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1994/glaciervsinstrumental.png
“[W]e blithely overturn and ignore the some 130 years of increasingly accurate co2 measurements prior to that date.”
Though accurate, these records are extremely local measurements with little mixing. For instance “From the Haymarket Theatre, dress circle at 11.30 pm.” At the time there were never intended to be globally representative.
But rather than ignore these measurements, I’d say they establish a floor for the global measurements, and are indeed consistent with both ice-core and later infrared determinations:
http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2/bayreuth/bayreuth1e.htm

September 15, 2009 2:03 am

Geologists have long speculated that the formation of the Antarctic ice-cap was caused by a gradually diminishing natural greenhouse effect.
I always thought the reason was slow down in Sun activity – ins´t CO2 just accompanying temperature variations, as its solubility changes with temperature in the oceans? These scientists must have nightmares about the “greenhouse effect”.

Ian B
September 15, 2009 2:57 am

Well, this geologist (somewhat younger, BSc in 1993, PhD in 1999) was never told that CO2 was an important driver in the development of the Antarctic ice sheet. Indeed, the only work I ever did that related CO2 to possible climate impacts related to the mid-Cretaceous and the development of plateau basalts from super-plumes, and even that was speculative.
The Antarctic got cold primarily because it became isolated by the circum-polar current. This was coincident with several interesting plate tectonic events, most especially the growth of the Himalayan range as India collided with Asia. This had two interesting effects – 1) Direct take up of CO2 as the newly exposed granitic rocks weathered and 2) Increased nutrient content of the adjacent oceans, leading to increased biological productivity and hecne CO2 draw-down

September 15, 2009 3:13 am

@ MartinGAtkins (21:41:11) :
Already caused many problems? Like what?
Extinctions, coral reef destruction, ocean acidification detriments, migration problems, bark beetle tree destruction, etc. etc. etc.
Ask any biologist or other scientists that observes nature and you will see why a rapidly changing climate is not beneficial (in total) to ecosystems.
See: http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg2_report_impacts_adaptation_and_vulnerability.htm
Yet choose to ignore it
I do? Where? I understand the argument quite well but it is being used to imply that the increases in CO2 already and those that are in the pipeline will have minimal effects. To state that means one is ignoring the concept. And is there really a saturation point anyway? No.
See: http://geodoc.uchicago.edu/models.html
Then mess around with Modtran.
Here are some links that might help to explain the concept:
http://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=231437
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/06/a-saturated-gassy-argument/
@ TonyB (00:30:53) :
I will definitely look into this because enquiring minds want to know. Wow, I need to take a sabbatical to keep up with the posts and comments here. 🙂

September 15, 2009 3:53 am

Scott Mandia (19:54:42) :
As mentioned previously, the natural greenhouse effect (from gas concentrations before the Industrial Revolution) has kept the Earth’s surface about 33 degrees C warmer than with an atmosphere with no greenhouse gases.

33K number is wrong and the whole GHE concept is probably wrong as well.
33K is calculated as a difference between Earth without ATMOSPHERE (including “GH” gases) and present temperature. But the calculation of hypothetical -18C temperature is done with Earth albedo 0.3 – which is made mostly by clouds – which should NOT be present on Earth without GHG/atmosphere. So with cloud-free Earth with albedo of 0.1 albedo the difference is some -15K.
Second, nobody explained how much of those +13K (or +33K) is made by atmosphere itself, which works as a truly heating blanket, keeping the absorbed heat from the daytime during the night. As Wood experiment documented 100 years ago, all reflected (or backradiated) IR has no significant effect on the system temperature, and in his experiment, 100% of IR had been back-radiated by glass, not only chip here and there of not occupied wavelength, as occurs in real atmosphere.
http://neighbors.denverpost.com/blog.php/2009/02/04/greenhouse-theory-disproved-a-century-ago/

Vincent
September 15, 2009 4:34 am

CO2 levels began falling in the Cretaceous, and apart from an upward blip during the Paleocene-eocene, continued to fall until the Pleistocene.
During this time, the continent of Antartica drifted towards the South pole. At sometime around 33 mya, it severed it’s connecton from South America, and about this time glaciation began to occur.
It was also at this time, please note, that according to this paper, CO2 levels dropped below 760ppm. Now, rather than looking to the severing of the Antarctic continent as being the most likely cause of this cooling, we are asked to believe that the cause lies in the CO2 level. We are told that there must have been a tipping point so that below 760 ppm glaciation occurs, and above 760 ppm it does not.
If there is any evidence that CO2 has this effect it is contradicted in other geological records. Why, in the late Ordovician, despite CO2 levels of 5000 ppm, the world entered an ice age. Does it not appear more probable that CO2 is simply doing what gases do – it is following Henry’s solubility law. Or is that not the conclusion the warmist wish to draw?

Vincent
September 15, 2009 4:55 am

Scott Mandia,
“There is a common misconception that the concentration levels of carbon dioxide are so small that they could not possibly be causing global warming.”
This is a straw man argument: no serious skeptic is making this claim. On the contrary, most of the warming due to CO2 occurs at even lower concentrations -the first 20 ppm causes 1.5C warming, and thereafter the sensitivity drops off rapidly.
“Because levels of carbon dioxide are well above natural levels, it should not be hard to see how these increases could cause temperatures to rise at least a few degrees C in the future.”
What is the natural level of CO2? Is it the 200 ppm averaged during the Pleistocene? What about 280 ppm in the Holocene? Oh wait, a new research paper has shown that neolithic humans raised CO2 levels, so we can’t use that.
Never mind, lets ignore this tiny sliver of time we have come to know as the quarternary period. As we travel back in time the “natural level” (I do love that term, it sounds so healthy) rises to 2,000 ppm approx, during the Mesozoic era.
There is no reason to assume temperature will rise a few degrees as a result of our current CO2 levels. Radiation physics give a temperature sensitivity Tk to CO2x2 as approximately 1C. All the rest is made up from unproven assumptions about water vapour feedbacks – and that is not evidence.

Vincent
September 15, 2009 4:59 am

Joel Shore:
“If ice sheets across all of Antarctica were to completely melt then sea level rise would be something like 70 m, ”
Even Al Gore didn’t go that far. Great to hear the hysteria is alive and well.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 5:42 am

To Scott Mandia
I guess we’re all thankful that at least someone on here is representing the AGW perspective. However, the properties of c02 are logarithmic regarding heat absorption. It is true that it is a heat intercepting gas. The problem arises that it is a very weak one and not enough of one to change the climate.
To put the logarithmic equation into layman’s terms. If there were 150ppm in the atmosphere it will absorb, in its spectroscopic wavelength band, a certain amount of heat, after which point its saturation window closes. Then it can’t absorb or intercept any more heat. In other words, 300, 600, and 800ppm will absorb the same amount of heat as 150ppm, and effectively this means that it cannot force a temperature change. There are one or two analogies. The first is that a painter using pale green paint to decorate his wall will not be able to use thrice the amount of the same colour in order to achieve a dark green.
To put it to an even closer analogy, a factor 10 sunblock doesn’t increase its effectiveness according to how much you put on, as a small amount of factor 60 will yield a greater effectiveness than any amount of factor 10. If c02 were sunblock, it would be at around factor 3.
Also, another of the properties of c02 works in the opposite direction as a logarithmic gas. Biomass, plants oceans, absorb it exponentially

Gary Pearse
September 15, 2009 5:51 am

Can you imagine traipsing all over Tanzania, mapping the geology, drilling holes… and NOT finding what you want when you’ve blown such a chunk of university research budget? It is egregious that they use the word “confirmed” on this issue. I believe in an earlier post I forecast that there would be a flurry of research papers before the warm-in in Copenhagen to bolster AGW and to deal with skeptic science.

realitycheck
September 15, 2009 6:33 am

As a geoscientist, I strongly agree with Bill Illis here.
I will also put another spanner in the works.
I will speculate that CO2 levels dropped AFTER global temperatures began tumbling at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary.
In this Nature study they found a correlation, but did not identify which is the cause and which is the effect (a common mistake made by Climate Scientists – Correlation Does Not Imply Causality). It was their biased preconvictions that extrapolated a correlation into the conclusion that CO2 was the cause. There is no way they can determine that from the type of data they studied.

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 6:33 am

To Smokey,
My experience is that ideology ferrits out what you want to see. You have shopped very well for your proof that AGW is false.
Try some more things on for a more total picture.
2000’s will have .2 degree centigrade increase over the 1990’s
1990’s has .15 degree centigrade increase over the 1980’s
We have an acceleration of warming taking place on earth’s average temp.
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6502
There is an enormous amount of warming totally surrounding antartica. In your cherry picked life you should just pay attention to the blue area. A warming ocean surrounding the whole place suggests to me that AGW theory is proving itself true. That warming ocean will melt quite a bit of ice.
As James Hansen has correctly predicted back in 1988 the artic would be the first to start melting. The models of today are much better now.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 6:36 am

There was a sting cordon which read “No Lions or Hyenas beyond this point”

Stacey
September 15, 2009 6:38 am

Come on Guys and Gals you don’t get it, our Gav and his friends are very clever. He will explian to you no doubt in the future. I am not capable of the extremely clever and obtuse use of English that our Gav uses but I will summarise his thoughts as told to me:-
“We knew this all the time and it is consistent, that as CO2 levels in the atmosphere rise the Arctic warms up and also the Antarctic temperature reduces and this background variability is quite consistent with the albino effect taking place.
It is much worse than we thought because there is now a distinct possibilty in fact almost certainty that the Sothern Hemisphere is likely to freeze over to 7 degrees of latitude below the equator, the northern hemisphere will be a desert. The reduction in land mass will create an ice barrier that will result a rise in sea level much worse than can be expected of approximately 40 metres in 200 years time.
“There is not a lot of joy in this for the reader but on the bright side the polar bears can be transported to the Southern Hmisphere.”

masonmart
September 15, 2009 6:41 am

Joel, if the graphs that I have seen are correct then we have seen CO2 levels not of 760ppm max but 7000 ppm without runaway warming (please explain that). We may (or may not) have seen a very small amount of warming in the last 150 years as CO2 moves toward double it’s initial value (what we have seen though is a very large mass of hot air from the AGW industry). The 5degrees temperature rise and these 70m sea rises based on doubling CO2 are merely “believer” propaganda. There isn’t a shred of evidence anywhere that any adverse effects will happen based on 1 or even 2 degrees temperature rise. You aren’t doing a very good job of selling AGW.

September 15, 2009 6:54 am

Tom P,
My apologies for my sloppy writing. Sometimes I simply write ‘global warming’ when I mean AGW. Thanx for pointing it out. The confusion was my fault.
Anyway, how’s that alarming gambling addiction coming along? Find any new enablers?

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 7:09 am

P Wilson (05:42:26) :
To Scott Mandia
I guess we’re all thankful that at least someone on here is representing the AGW perspective. However, the properties of c02 are logarithmic regarding heat absorption. It is true that it is a heat intercepting gas. The problem arises that it is a very weak one and not enough of one to change the climate.
To put the logarithmic equation into layman’s terms. If there were 150ppm in the atmosphere it will absorb, in its spectroscopic wavelength band, a certain amount of heat, after which point its saturation window closes. Then it can’t absorb or intercept any more heat
I’ve been waiting to answer a statement like yours for awhile. Unfortuanately there is plenty of room left for temperature change due to co2 increases. Realclimate does a good job of explaining in layman terms in this article to understand saturation of co2 in the atmosphere.
(a) You’d still get an increase in greenhouse warming even if the atmosphere were saturated, because it’s the absorption in the thin upper atmosphere (which is unsaturated) that counts
(b) It’s not even true that the atmosphere is actually saturated with respect to absorption by CO2,
(c) Water vapor doesn’t overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there’s little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2, and
(d) These issues were satisfactorily addressed by physicists 50 years ago, and the necessary physics is included in all climate models.

September 15, 2009 7:13 am

Jeff Green (06:33:59):
“We have an acceleration of warming taking place on earth’s average temp.”
Tell us, Jeff Green [and without going off on another tangent], exactly what is the Earth’s “average” temperature?
Heck, you don’t even need to be exact. Just show us your own personal estimate of the Earth’s average temperature.
That will give us a starting point for your AGW debate.

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 7:15 am

Vincent (04:59:32) :
Joel Shore:
“If ice sheets across all of Antarctica were to completely melt then sea level rise would be something like 70 m, ”
Even Al Gore didn’t go that far. Great to hear the hysteria is alive and well.
You can find the numbers from wikipedia and calculate them yourself. I have already done that. Its a very simple eercise.

Tom P
September 15, 2009 7:21 am

Smokey,
So what you meant to say was:
“Keep in mind that skeptics aren’t saying there is no [anthropogenic] global warming; that’s only how the alarmist crowd tries to frame the argument.”
“Data confirms that the planet is cooling.”
I’m afraid this still makes little sense. What exactly is your position?
“Anyway, how’s that alarming gambling addiction coming along?”
It is you who proffered the bet! Can we assume you are now backing down on your own offer of a wager that within the next ten years we will never reach the UN/IPCC’s AR-4 projections?
Smokey, how did you get your name?

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 7:22 am

Wondering Aloud (14:05:36) :
One of the mechanisms is that cool oceans are net absorbers of c02 whilst warm oceans are net emitters. so yes, once tempratures drop, so does c02. However: It proves that there is warming, high c02, then cooling, with high c02, later falling in line with temperature. That 2500ppm of c02 cannot sustain the temperature, effectively meaning that warming and cooling are independent of c02. A highly marginal ghg it may be but not one to provide a forcing or even that much of a feedback.

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 7:26 am

P Wilson (05:42:26) :
To Scott Mandia
I guess we’re all thankful that at least someone on here is representing the AGW perspective. However, the properties of c02 are logarithmic regarding heat absorption. It is true that it is a heat intercepting gas. The problem arises that it is a very weak one and not enough of one to change the climate.
To put the logarithmic equation into layman’s terms. If there were 150ppm in the atmosphere it will absorb, in its spectroscopic wavelength band, a certain amount of heat, after which point its saturation window closes. Then it can’t absorb or intercept any more heat
I’ve been waiting to answer a statement like yours for awhile. Unfortuanately there is plenty of room left for temperature change due to co2 increases. Realclimate does a good job of explaining in layman terms in this article to understand saturation of co2 in the atmosphere.
(a) You’d still get an increase in greenhouse warming even if the atmosphere were saturated, because it’s the absorption in the thin upper atmosphere (which is unsaturated) that counts
(b) It’s not even true that the atmosphere is actually saturated with respect to absorption by CO2,
(c) Water vapor doesn’t overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there’s little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, and at the low pressures there water vapor absorption is like a leaky sieve, which would let a lot more radiation through were it not for CO2, and
(d) These issues were satisfactorily addressed by physicists 50 years ago, and the necessary physics is included in all climate models.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 7:28 am

Thanks for the reply Jeff.
In the upper level of the atmosphere the temperature is around -40C. The way we understand climate to work is that the greenhouse effect at this region has to be at least as warm at the surface to keep it heated enough at that temperature. -40C canot sustain warm temperatures at ground level. To say otherwise is tantamount to saying that cracking eggs on ice will cook them.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 7:32 am

Jeff: one of the reasons that saturation isn’t at an optimum is that there is hardly any longwave re-radiation for it to capture. Try using a thermal imaging camera one night to see how little heat there is re-radiated from the earth, in comparison to thermal images of animals, like us human beings.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 7:36 am

on you point c) Stratespheric water vapour does keep in some heat as it has some three times the bandwidth of heat absorption as c02. During warming phases, theres more of this stratospheric water vapour than low lying water vapour

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 7:42 am

Sandy (00:50:48) :
[” It would be impossible to feed 6 billion people in a World that had not recently been through a glacial period.”
At current levels of CO2.
If we are coming out of a glacial period the ocean will release CO2 back up to normal 1000 – 2000 ppm and the biosphere will rejoice. Feeding billions won’t be a problem with more CO2 in the air.]
You are assuming that co2 is an insignificant forcing agent in earth’s average temperature. At 1000 to 2000 parts per million, the best agricultural land in the world will be under water. Vietnam exprts rice to southeast asia from about 3 foot of sea level. Egypt from the nile delta gets 60% of its food from about 3 foot above sea level.
By the time we get to 1000 ppm co2 we are in deep doo doo.

September 15, 2009 7:44 am

Tom P,
Yes, the data confirms the planet has been cooling:
click1
click2
click3
And re: the betting, I was responding to your original wager with ctm by doing a little razzing in response to your repeatedly telling everyone they had no ‘trousers’ if they wouldn’t fade your punts. I wasn’t being very serious. Really, betting on the weather is a fool’s errand. Isn’t it? What matters is what’s actually been happening — not what someone hopes/bets will happen.
[I got my screen name after trying several other names, which were already taken. ‘Smokey’ is the name of my wife’s big gray tomcat, with notched ears from all the fights he’s been in. He’s an easygoing, laid back pussycat with people. But other cats had better watch out!]

Dario
September 15, 2009 7:45 am

Nice to see so many geologists here!
I’ve got my BSc in 1991, and maybe here in Italy we are not so up-to-date in geology, but I can confirm it, I’ve never heard of a decreasing CO2 as a cause for ice ages!
Best regards

September 15, 2009 7:46 am

TomP and Scott
Tom P (01:34:52) : said
TonyB
“Firstly, the .7C warming since 1880 is reliant on James Hansens calculations which commence from a period immediately following the end of the LIA.”
No it isn’t. There are plenty of datasets to look at here. For example both the instrument record and the glacier-derived temperature profile:
+++
Tom, Hadley relies on 20 plus stations to 1850 for their records which Hansen -to his credit- (how often is that phrase used here!!) thought was far too few, so based his on the 1880 records, which are still very sparse and constantly changing in numbers and location. Are you suggesting proxy glacier records are a substitute for actual temperature records, albeit only of their specific place and not an accurate global record however they may be portrayed.
The co2 measurements cited were carried out by Angus Smith and are originally given in his book ‘Air and Rain’ published in 1872. The above locations are in London apart from Ben Nevis (mountain in Scotland, tallest mountain in UK) and the values recorded in mines. Out of that data, the closest to a background level would be the Ben Nevis value. Beck’s historical instrumental CO2 curve seems to include the Ben Nevis data point. Rather than what the RealClimate bloggers and ‘Eli Rabbett’ would have you believe, these old CO2 measurers did fully understand that CO2 values varied with location.
Scott
Both you and Joel are very welcome here as far as I’m concerned and I’m pleased to hear you don’t have a closed mind 🙂
This extract from the Book ‘The Callendar effect’
“Callendar’s 1938 paper did not include a citation of Arrhenius’s 1896 paper, although there are many parallels between the two. Callendar analysed just one set of data on atmospheric CO2 content taken at Kew, near London, between 1898 and 1900. These data were taken near a source of CO2 and were analytically very uncertain. From this analysis, he concluded that at around 1900 the free atmosphere over the North Atlantic region contained 274 ± 5 parts per million (p.p.m.) of CO2. Then, after arguing that only a small fraction of the CO2 from combustion of fossil fuels would dissolve in the ocean, he calculated from an estimated global production rate of CO2 the amount that he thought would be there in 1936 (290 p.p.m.), 2000 (314–317), 2100 (346–358) and 2200 (373–396).
With a simple model of the absorption of infrared radiation, he worked out the amount of global warming to be expected from his predicted CO2 levels, concluding that temperature would then have been increasing at a rate of about 0.03 °C per decade. Callendar’s 1938 attribution of early twentieth-century warming to CO2 increase might have been believable if global cooling had not ensued in the 1960s and 1970s.”
Callendar was an amateur meteorologist and steam engineer. After reading Callendars papers-and corresponding with him-Keeling used his research as the basis for his own estimates of co2.
From Callendars biography;
“In 1944 climatologist Gordon Manley noted Callendar’s valuable contributions to the study of climatic change. A decade later, Gilbert Plass and Charles Keeling consulted with Callendar as they began their research programs. Just before the beginning of the International Geophysical Year in 1957, Hans Seuss and Roger Revelle referred to the “Callendar effect” — defined as climatic change brought about by anthropogenic increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide, primarily through the processes of combustion.”
Callendar examined 19th and 20th century CO2 measurements, and rejected those he considered inaccurate for a variety of reasons, (he was a man who wanted to prove his theory) the ones he selected leading him to conclude that the pre-industrial CO2 level was about 290 ppm (G. S. Callendar, “The Composition of the Atmosphere through the Ages,” The Meteorological Magazine,vol. 74, No. 878, March 1939, pp. 33-39.). temperatures, and had written a paper to that effect in 1938, at a time when Europe had just experienced five warm years.
This lower 280/290 figure is important as it is the one that Charles Keeling accepted.
Among the criteria that Callendar used to reject measurements were any that deviated by 10% or more from the average of the region, and any taken for special purposes such as such as “biological, soil air, atmospheric pollution”. The first criteria is said to be a rather circular argument, while the second seems to ignore the accuracy of the results. Whatever the validity of these exclusions, it turned out that the mean of 19th century samples he chose to include was 292 ppm. The mean of the samples he had available to include was 335-350 ppm.
That Keeling later came to believe in the accuracy of the old measurements has already been cited here.
Bearing in mind the size of the natural co2 flux I find it surprising that the annual change shows only a tiny unnatural linerar increase when it would be expected to vary greatly up and down, as measurements apparently did prior to 1957.
tonyb

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 7:47 am

Smokey (07:13:30) :
Jeff Green (06:33:59):
[“We have an acceleration of warming taking place on earth’s average temp.”
Tell us, Jeff Green [and without going off on another tangent], exactly what is the Earth’s “average” temperature?
Heck, you don’t even need to be exact. Just show us your own personal estimate of the Earth’s average temperature.
That will give us a starting point for your AGW debate.”]
I’ll go with the averages established by 800,000 years of ice core records. That is the natural rythym of the earth’s climate.

Sandy
September 15, 2009 7:47 am

“Water vapor doesn’t overwhelm the effects of CO2 because there’s little water vapor in the high, cold regions from which infrared escapes, ”
And even less CO2 remember the molecular weight is nearly 2.5 times that of water. And while the physics may be ‘understood’ it seems the climate itself doesn’t agree and flatly refuses to do what the models say.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 7:49 am

addendum: The upper levels (i presume you mean the stratosphere) don’t influence the troposhere. C02 has done all of its work before entering the stratosphere, so it doesn’t re-add heat to the troposphere

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 8:00 am

Final reply to the above, by Jeff: 4th power lapse of infrared radiative forcing is what counts for AGW theory. The 1st power of course, is the solar energy reaching the earth which c02 is invisible to. The 2ns is re-radiation to the tropopause (1-3% of the original energy budget) The 4th power is the re-radiation back to the earth from the tropopause downwards and upwards – absorbed radiation is re-emitted bi directionally – so we can assume that 50% of withheld radiation goes back into space – In other words, thermal re-emission beyond the tropopause – whilst the other 50% does in fact go back to the earth. From 1-4 there is a huge energy loss. No additional energy is re-introduced during this process, so it can be assumed that the coefficient of solar energy is the dominant factor. The IPCC assumes that the ratio isn’t 1:1 even but entirely downwards, which is the first fundamental mistake. So when warming projections looked exagerrated, they assumed that it was a cooling effect from aerosols. What they are also ignoring is the strong water vapour feedback – it also witholds heat at 15Mc’s and many other wavelengths – far more than c02, and given that from the tropopause to the earth is where water vapour resides, it effectively means that there is less radiation for c02 to absorb. Efectively, the water vapour feedback neutralises the c02 feedback, and climatically they are both feedbacks and not forcings, and are dependent on atmospheric temperatures. This is the case for all c02, and not just the 3% anthropogenic

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 8:01 am

Masonmart wrote:
There isn’t a shred of evidence anywhere that any adverse effects will happen based on 1 or even 2 degrees temperature rise.
http://www.globalwarmingart.com/images/e/e2/65_Myr_Climate_Change_Rev.png
Hi Mason,
If you open this chart you will notice up in the upper left hand corner in the square a little spike called PETM Paleocenc Eocenc Thermal Maxim.
Mass extinctions for starters. We are sccelerating in co2 faster than that time period and by that graph its only 2 deg centigrade over 30000 years. We will reach the 2 deg centigrade in less than 200 years. Many forms of life will become extinct on this account.

Dave
September 15, 2009 8:01 am

“New carbon dioxide data confirm that formation of the Antarctic ice-cap some 33.5 million years ago was due to declining carbon dioxide in the atmosphere”
Again the presumption of “Cause and Effect”

September 15, 2009 8:06 am

Jeff Green (07:47:00):
A number, Jeff. We need a number! What is the Earth’s average temperature? Within one decimal place will do.
TonyB, excellent post, as always. I’ve been interested in Beck’s reconstructions since they came out, since they are based on at least 13 Nobel laureates [and many others] who took CO2 measurements without any thought of possible grant money. They were volunteers who were well aware of their reputations. There’s no way would they would fudge their numbers, when they knew their peers were analyzing their work. That was true peer review, unlike today’s corrupted climate peer review set-up.

September 15, 2009 8:12 am

“By using a rather unique set of samples from Tanzania and a new analytical technique that I developed,….
Why does that statement cause me to be much more skeptical than usual?
I don’t have time to read the paper. Do the authors speculate why CO2 was dropping?

Ken
September 15, 2009 8:14 am

I can’t believe any of my fellow geologists would dare make such an outlandish claim. This is simple correlation, not causation. It has already been established that CO2 FOLLOWS temperature changes by 800 years on average. Once you look back millions of years, the 800 year delay is lost in within the timescale. This does not show that CO2 is the cause, it merely indicates that CO2 follows climate changes millions of years ago, just like it does today. There is nothing new here.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 8:15 am

very final response to Jeff:
here is a section from chater 2 IPCC
“the absolute growth rate of CO2 in the atmosphere increased
substantially: the first 50 ppm increase above the pre-industrial
value was reached in the 1970s after more than 200 years,
whereas the second 50 ppm was achieved in about 30 years. In
the 10 years from 1995 to 2005 atmospheric CO2 increased by
about 19 ppm; the highest average growth rate recorded for any
decade since direct atmospheric CO2 measurements began in
the 1950s.”
So we have the IPCC stating that increases of c02 in the 20th century are anthropogenic, then, directly from NASA’s information pages we have:
, “carbon dioxide exchange is largely controlled by sea surface temperatures, circulating currents, and by the biological processes of photosynthesis and respiration. carbon dioxide can dissolve easily into the ocean and the amount of carbon dioxide that the ocean can hold depends on ocean temperature and the amount of carbon dioxide already present. Cold ocean temperatures favor the uptake of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere whereas warm temperatures cause the ocean surface to release carbon dioxide.”
In other words, as the oceans have been warming during the 20thC, a 0.1C increase in temperature is enough to release 200GT of c02 ( a verified fact) in a year, which is 26 times that of man.
Now even a non scientist can see the contradiction between the two propositions
Incidentally, temperature didn’t follow c02 levels throughout the 20th century, or in this century. Disproving AGW (or climate change as it is now called, due to the fact that warming cannot be vouchsafed for) is really rather straightforward. C02 has been an intensively studied gas in the laboratory. In the field of photometric energy absorption and disippation its simply too weak to be a forcing or a heat retainer ( which is why the temerature plummets as soon as the sun goes down).

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 8:27 am

P Wilson (07:32:26) :
[Jeff: one of the reasons that saturation isn’t at an optimum is that there is hardly any longwave re-radiation for it to capture. Try using a thermal imaging camera one night to see how little heat there is re-radiated from the earth, in comparison to thermal images of animals, like us human beings.]
Actually P Wilson I’m surprised that you have made that statement. Your background seems pretty strong and yet you put out these statements way outside the accepted understanding of our radiative profile for earth. I am suspicious of your intellectual honesty. You know way too much to be putting out that kind of ignorance. Another words I don’t believe you are ignorant.
The sunlight coming in is about 49% infrared and the rest in other bands. As the energy hits earth it all has to leave the earth in the infrared band. This is where co2 becomes a differnt animal. Less resistance coming in and more resistance on leaving the earth’s atmosphere. This is what is causing the energy imbalance in radiative accounting. Earth has about .6 deg centigrade left in balance to catch up in the pipeline of present co2 in the atmosphere.
http://pvcdrom.pveducation.org/index.html
1.2. The Greenhouse Effect
Carbon dioxide absorbs strongly in the 13-19 mm wavelength band and water vapour, another atmospheric gas, absorbs strongly in the 4-7 mm wavelength band. Most outgoing radiation (70%) escapes in the “window” between 7-13 mm.
Human activities are increasingly releasing “anthropogenic gases” into the atmosphere, which absorb in the 7-13 mm wavelength range, particularly carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, nitrous oxides and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). These gases prevent the normal escape of energy and potentially will lead to an increase in terrestrial temperature. Present evidence suggests “effective” CO2 levels will double by 2030, causing global warming of 1~4°C.

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 8:44 am

P Wilson wrote:
[Incidentally, temperature didn’t follow c02 levels throughout the 20th century, or in this century. Disproving AGW (or climate change as it is now called, due to the fact that warming cannot be vouchsafed for) is really rather straightforward. C02 has been an intensively studied gas in the laboratory. In the field of photometric energy absorption and disippation its simply too weak to be a forcing or a heat retainer ( which is why the temerature plummets as soon as the sun goes down).]
You are a very sharp person but saying all the ignorant science. [snip. No ad hominems, please ~ Evan]
The ocean is acidifying now, which means that it is absobing co2. That is very clear.
If the ocean and land did not reabsorb the dug up co2 from the earth we would be in the 500 ppm range now from all fossil fuels of the past history back to the early 1800’s.
The reson for increasing co2 concentrations in the atmosphere is that we are exceeding the earth’s capacity to reabsorb co2.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 8:49 am

Jeff: What you mewan is: about hald the sun’s solar radiation enters the earth’s atmosphere – which is IR radiation. The other half is refflected at the protective outer levels of the atmosphere. This other half passes through the atmosphere and hits earth. /When converted into heat most of it disippates and re-emitted longwave heat is some 1% of the original heat budget. Solar radiation, being the optimum temperature possible, there is not way that any ghg can increase beyond that optimum. If you heat a stove at 60C, then put a layer of c02 above that stove, it will not heat it further to 62C.
Again, its proven that water vapour absorbs over a much wider spectrum ou longwave radiation than c02, which is why its the number 1 ghg. A small change in water vapour produces a far greater effect than a substantial change in c02. You can see this on a daily basis

September 15, 2009 9:16 am

Bill Illis says:

Antarctica glaciated over when CO2 was 211 ppm, 1,400 ppm, 350 ppm and when it is was 4,700 ppm. Which level are you going to be frightened about?

And, you know these values how? A major point of the Nature paper was to provide a good estimate of CO2 at one particular time because otherwise such estimates are very difficult to come by when you go back further than the 750,000 years of ice core data.
Furthermore, what were the locations of the continents and mountain ranges and such at that time. You seem very concerned about the quite modest differences that existed between 35 My ago and now but rather unconcerned about the much larger differences that existed when you go back further in time.
P Wilson: You have written lots of posts arguing various issues concerning the radiative effect of CO2. This is settled science, probably for close to half a century. Even skeptical scientists like Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer accept that the radiative forcing due to doubling of CO2 levels is ~4 W/m^2.
By the way, all this argument about whether CO2 is saturated or not makes little sense. It is known that over the concentration ranges we are dealing with, the radiative forcing due to CO2 is approximately logarithmic in the concentration. A logarithm does not ever saturate. What it means is simply that the natural way to discuss the effect of CO2 concentration is in terms of fractional change since a given fractional change produces the same radiative forcintg (so, e.g., a doubling from 280ppm to 560ppm has the same effect as a doubling from 140ppm to 280ppm), whereas if the dependence were linear then the natural way to discuss it would be in terms of a given absolute change (e.g., an increase from 280ppm to 560ppm would have the same effect as an increase from 0ppm to 280ppm).
Juraj V. says:

33K number is wrong and the whole GHE concept is probably wrong as well.
33K is calculated as a difference between Earth without ATMOSPHERE (including “GH” gases) and present temperature. But the calculation of hypothetical -18C temperature is done with Earth albedo 0.3 – which is made mostly by clouds – which should NOT be present on Earth without GHG/atmosphere. So with cloud-free Earth with albedo of 0.1 albedo the difference is some -15K.

What you are saying is the net difference between a planet with no atmosphere and our current planet is ~15 K. (I’ll take your word on this number…I have worked it out before and that sounds approximately right.) However, the way that breaks down is that the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere provide 33 K of warming due to the greenhouse effect and than 18 K of cooling from the increase in albedo. So, I think it is correct to say that the amount of greenhouse effect is 33 K; it is just that the condensed water vapor in the form of clouds contributes not only to the greenhouse effect but also to an increase in albedo that causes a cooling effect.
masonmart says:

Joel, if the graphs that I have seen are correct then we have seen CO2 levels not of 760ppm max but 7000 ppm without runaway warming (please explain that).

And, (almost) noone is predicting runaway warming now either. They are just predicting a significant amount of warming. And, there are times in the past when the earth was indeed much warmer. Furthermore, when you go back hundreds of millions of years or more, you have to take into account such factors as the gradual brightening of the sun and the different locations of continents and mountain ranges.
TonyB: I am glad you and Tom P have now posted a link to Beck’s graph because one of the most amusing things about it is that his curve drawn through the data is so arbitary: http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2/bayreuth/bayreuth1e.htm He essentially choose to believe some points and ignore others. And, as Tom P points out, the measurements shown are all at or above the curve from the ice core measurements (and, in fact, there is a pretty strong clustering down pretty close to the ice core values). This is entirely consistent with the idea that some measurements were taken on suitably clean air that they yielded a good estimate and others were taken on air that contained higher CO2 due to localized sources.

September 15, 2009 9:20 am

This paper has to be an early (or late) April Fool’s joke!

New carbon dioxide data confirm that formation of the Antarctic ice-cap some 33.5 million years ago was due to declining carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
A team of scientists from Bristol, Cardiff and Texas A&M universities braved the lions and hyenas of a small East African village to extract microfossils from rocks which have revealed the level of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere at the time of the formation of the ice-cap.
[…]
The new findings will add to the debate around rising CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere as the world’s attention turns to the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen which opens later this year.
Dr Gavin Foster from the University of Bristol and a co-author on the paper said: “By using a rather unique set of samples from Tanzania and a new analytical technique that I developed, we have, for the first time, been able to reconstruct the concentration of CO2 across the Eocene-Oligocene boundary – the time period about 33.5 million years ago when ice sheets first started to grow on Eastern Antarctica. “
[…]
By assembling a drilling rig and extracting hundreds of meters of samples from under the ground they were able to obtain exactly the piece of Earth’s history they had been searching for.
Please contact Cherry Lewis for further information.

This raises cherry-picking to new levels… They even direct people to “Cherry” Lewis for further information… 😉
The exactly correct microfossils, in the exactly correct assemblage, in the exactly correct location, analyzed in the exactly correct manner, using the exactly correct new and proprietary analytical means… Re-writes the historical geology of the Eocene-Oligocene boundary… Riiight.
This reads like the script to a bad science fiction movie.
Let’s look at the cast members…
The lead author is an “Advanced Research Fellow” at the University of Bristol with no departmental responsibilities and a keen interest in “using novel isotopic techniques to gain insights into… the mechanisms responsible for the CO2 changes that accompanied the waxing and waning of the ice-sheets throughout the Pleistocene.”

Dr Gavin Foster
Research Interests
My research is primarily concerned with using novel isotopic techniques to gain insights into how and why the Earth’s climate has changed over geological time. Much of my research efforts are currently focused on using boron isotopes in the calcareous shells of foraminifera to reconstruct the state of the oceanic carbonate system in the recent geological past. In particular I am interested in the mechanisms responsible for the CO2 changes that accompanied the waxing and waning of the ice-sheets throughout the Pleistocene.
My other research interests deal with oceanic records of radiogenic isotopes that reflect the changing patterns of continental weathering intensity.

Professor Paul Pearson, Cardiff University is a micropaleontologist who “is interested in extracting climatic information from deep sea cores and sediments. He specializes in evolutionary and geochemical studies of planktonic foraminifera, and what they tell us about the long history of climate change on Earth. He has helped develop new proxies for determining past seawater pH and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, and hence the history of the greenhouse effect.” And he “loves country walking”… Which probably came in handy in Tanzania.
And last, but not least, another micropaleontologist, Dr Bridget Wade from Texas A&M University… “She uses microfossils and their chemistry to determine patterns of evolution and extinction, ancient marine temperatures, productivity levels, global ice volume and sea level fluctuations.”
While she’s not doing all of that, she teaches freshman geology and a grad course in Applied Micropaleontology.
These three micropaleontologists have miraculously found the Paleogene equivalent of the Rosetta Stone near a quaint Tanzanian village and using a secret decoder ring, known only to Dr. Gavin Foster, they have found what no scientist has ever found before: Proof that CO2 has always driven climate change since the dawn of the Phanerozoic Eon.
Miraculously, they did all of this just in time for the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen!

September 15, 2009 9:22 am

P Wilson says:

When converted into heat most of it disippates and re-emitted longwave heat is some 1% of the original heat budget.

I don’t understand how this statement is even close to consistent with the fact that the radiative emission from the Earth has to be at least nearly in balance with the amount of energy it receives from the Sun. (It is understood to be slightly out of balance now because the Earth has not yet warned enough to be in equilibrium given the current levels of greenhouse gases, but the difference is only a fraction of a percent.)

WilliMc
September 15, 2009 9:25 am

Scott Mandia (19:54:42)
Smokey (15:44:54) :
The comment asserts:
“The greenhouse effect from natural greenhouse gas concentrations prior to the Industrial Revolution had kept the Earth’s surface about 33 degrees C warmer than with an atmosphere with no green house gases.”
We can test his hypotheses, that the atmosphere had kept the surface warmer then if it had no atmosphere. One assumes he is proposing an average temperature between night and day.
We can test the assertion by examining temperatures from the Moon, which one source gives 107 degrees C during the day, and 153 degrees C at night.
We can see the surface temperature of the Moon would boil water, but when the Sun ceases to provide light, the temperature drops 260 degrees. Its average temperature is -46 degrees C.
Thus, if the earth’s surface is about 33 degrees warmer because of its atmosphere then an atmosphere with not greenhouse gases is falsified. It keeps it 79 degrees warmer.
The earth must producing an enormous amount of heat, which is not accounted for in AGW theory, with the atmosphere smoothing the day & night temperatures.
Just a thought.
http://www.universetoday.com/guide-to-space/the-moon/temperature-of-the-moon/
WilliMc

Vincent
September 15, 2009 9:29 am

Jeff Green,
Glad that you (implicitly) agreed with my figure of temperature sensitivity to CO2x2 of approx 1C. BTW, Wikipedia is not a scientifc authority on anything (except maybe well estabished textbook theory, of which AGW certainly is not).
These so called feedbacks are not understood at all. How do we gauge the stablility of permafrost? Is the feedback due to water vapour positive or negative? Water vapour is an IR absorber, but when it forms clouds it has a negative feedback. This is not a trivial matter because water/cloud feedback is reckoned by IPCC to be the most significant feedback by far. And yet, they also state there is a low level of scientific understanding regarding cloud dynamics. Hardly well understood, is it?
“Carbon dioxide absorbs strongly in the 13-19 mm wavelength band and water vapour, another atmospheric gas, absorbs strongly in the 4-7 mm wavelength band. ”
“These gases prevent the normal escape of energy and potentially will lead to an increase in terrestrial temperature. Present evidence suggests “effective” CO2 levels will double by 2030, causing global warming of 1~4°C.”
Present evidence? You mean the output from climate models. Computer output does not constitute evidence.
Pardon, since when has IR been measured in millimetres? Your facts, are, well, not exactly factual. CO2 absorbs at 4.3 and 15 microns, and water vapour absorbs at not only 4 – 7 microns but also everything above 15 microns. If you take the curve of radiation emissivity from the earth and integrate for all wavelengths you find that the area of absorbtion for CO2 only amounts to a couple of percent, and the 15 micron band competes with water vapour.
It is a well documented fact that the first 20 ppm of CO2 has a temperature sensitivity of 1.5C, but the next 20 ppm has a temperature sensitivity of only 0.3C and when you go from 380 to 400 you only add another 0.02C.

Tom P
September 15, 2009 9:33 am

Smokey,
So you offer a bet, expecting me not to take it with the words:
“…it typifies the corruption at the heart of the climate alarmists’ failed conjecture. They have made it personal. And they run and hide from any honest, neutral public debate for the same reason.”
and yet when I take up your bet you respond several days later that you weren’t being serious!
Unlike you I won’t throw around any insulting generalisations. I’m sure readers will draw their own conclusions as to your own integrity, though.

Tom P
September 15, 2009 9:44 am

Tony B
“Are you suggesting proxy glacier records are a substitute for actual temperature records, albeit only of their specific place and not an accurate global record however they may be portrayed.”
There are not any globally representative temperature records that go back 400 years as far as I know, so the derived glacier temperature history is not substituting for anything. It is however consistent with the known global temperature variation for the last 150 years.
Apart from its shape, what is your objection to the glacier temperature record as derived by Oerlemans?

Tom P
September 15, 2009 10:02 am

Smokey,
“What is the Earth’s average temperature? Within one decimal place will do.”
Roy Spencer has an answer for you:
http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps
Daily global average temperature at 14,000 ft /4.4 km/600 mb on September 13 2009 was 253.7 K, 0.5 K warmer than this time last year.

P Walker
September 15, 2009 10:18 am

TonyB – About the same time I was wading through the labyrinthine paper on ice core proxies that you provided through a working link (thanks) , I googled Ernst Beck and stumbled upon a reference to Callendar . Someone was mystified that he had rejected CO2 measurements taken during the 1940s , some of which exceeded 400 ppm . Your comment above has helped to clarify why . Unfortunately , I lacked the inclination to delve deeper at the time . Once again , thanks .

tty
September 15, 2009 10:40 am

Jeff Green (07:42:35) :
Have you never reflected that it is a rather strange coincidence that the Nile Delta, the Mekong delta, the Ganges delta etc etc are all almost exactly at the current sea level? After all sea level is changing all the time.
Well, it so happens that river deltas automatically form just above sea level, and adjust to follow it.
Incidentally the Nile Delta is going to disappear in a few centuries, completely independently of sea level and CO2 level, but that is due to the high dam at Assuan trapping nearly all the sediment that is required to maintain it.

tty
September 15, 2009 10:44 am

Jeff Green (08:44:54) :
“As the energy hits earth it all has to leave the earth in the infrared band. ”
So you think the Earth’s surface is completely black in the visible band? I think I have rather strong empirical evidence against this. I can distinctly see the Earths surface, despite being blind in the infrared.

September 15, 2009 11:12 am

Jeff Green (08:27:26) :
Present evidence suggests “effective” CO2 levels will double by 2030, causing global warming of 1~4°C.

Present evidence says bollocks. In Arctic, where due to dry air the increased “GH efect” should manifest magnificently, we have got temperatures again reaching those in 40ties: http://www.climate4you.com/images/MAAT%2070-90N%20HadCRUT3%20Since1900.gif
Btw, wheres the tropospheric hotspot, bunnyfvck?

September 15, 2009 11:26 am

Jeff Green: “We are sccelerating in co2 faster than that time period and by that graph its only 2 deg centigrade over 30000 years. We will reach the 2 deg centigrade in less than 200 years. Many forms of life will become extinct on this account.”
—-
According to a new report, “Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States,” issued at a June White House briefing:
“The 190-page report, a product of the interagency US Global Change Research Program…states that ‘global warming is unequivocal and primarily human-induced.’ Among other key findings of the report…is that climate change will have numerous impacts on water resources, ecosystems, agriculture, coastal areas, human health, and other sectors.
These impacts include rising temperatures and sea level, increases in heavy downpours, changing growing seasons, more frequent and intense extreme weather including floods and droughts, and the continued rapid decline in Arctic sea ice. The report notes that ‘global average temperature has risen by about 1.5 deg. F since 1900. By 2100, it is projected to rise another 2-11.5 deg. F.” ~EOS June 30 ’09
So in the White House, they are talking about 11.5 degreesF now being the upper end of the range, and basing policy on it.

September 15, 2009 11:36 am

tty says:

So you think the Earth’s surface is completely black in the visible band? I think I have rather strong empirical evidence against this. I can distinctly see the Earths surface, despite being blind in the infrared.

What Jeff Green presumably meant is that all of the solar energy that is not reflected off of the Earth surface (or atmosphere) has to leave in the infrared.
WilliMc says:

We can test the assertion by examining temperatures from the Moon, which one source gives 107 degrees C during the day, and 153 degrees C at night.
We can see the surface temperature of the Moon would boil water, but when the Sun ceases to provide light, the temperature drops 260 degrees. Its average temperature is -46 degrees C.
Thus, if the earth’s surface is about 33 degrees warmer because of its atmosphere then an atmosphere with not greenhouse gases is falsified. It keeps it 79 degrees warmer.

It is probably not enough to just take the average temperature as halfway between the maximum and minimum. The distribution on the surface may be such that this is not the average. Furthermore, the moon will give you a different answer for a few reasons:
(1) Its albedo is different.
(2) The calculation that Scott Mandia did actually gives an UPPER bound on the average temperature of an object in the absence of an IR-absorbing atmosphere (and with a neglible source of internal heat). In the limit that the object has a uniform temperature, this is the value it would be but for an object at a non-uniform temperature, the temperature can be lower than this. (The reason why it is only an upper bound has to do with the fact that the radiative energy of an object is proportional to T^4, so it is the average of this quantity and not the average of T itself that must be balanced.)
The internal heat produced by the earth, by the way, is negligible in comparison to the amount that we receive from the sun and it can safely be ignored.

Solomon Green
September 15, 2009 11:43 am

Dr Gavin Foster from the University of Bristol and a co-author on the paper said: “By using a rather unique set of samples from Tanzania and a new analytical technique that I developed…” Someone should tell Gavin Foster that something is either unique or it is not. “Rather unique” does not exist.

Solomon Green
September 15, 2009 12:07 pm

I meant to inquire why go to Tanzania to examine rocks that are only 33.5 million years old? The rocks at the bottom of the Maktesh Ramon (500 meters deep) are 200 million old. And, I believe, the wall of the North West face of the crater exposes a ontinuous history of rock starting well over 50 million years ago and ending with the present day. Since the crater is natural, is not volcanic (although the 50 square mile crater does contain an extinct volcano) and it was not formed as a result of a meteor strike, there were, and probably still are, a wealth of fossils from all ages to be found. Does Dr. Gavin Foster need a special type of fossil for his CO2 proxies? And if so, why?

Editor
September 15, 2009 12:22 pm

It is probably not enough to just take the average temperature as halfway between the maximum and minimum.
Hmm. If you say so. But that is how they do it here on earth, you know.

September 15, 2009 12:47 pm

Joel said
“TonyB: I am glad you and Tom P have now posted a link to Beck’s graph because one of the most amusing things about it is that his curve drawn through the data is so arbitary: http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2/bayreuth/bayreuth1e.htm He essentially choose to believe some points and ignore others
***
This sounds as if it is the first time you have actually looked at this graph, despite my-and others- referencing it at various times previously.
Your comment is a bit like me pointing to one chart in the AR4 and making some definitive comment about the rest of the 700 page content.
The previous link led to a five page presentation (click on the right hand number.) It is a bit rich complaining about cherry picking when that is exactly what Keeling and Callendar did. See my earlier comment when Keeling referred to a 400pmm reference by Saussure, agreed that his readings were good, then dismissed it.
This link leads to the main menu on Beck’s site.
http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2/bayreuth/menuee.htm
Do I think ALL the meassurents are accurate or reliable? NO. Nor does Beck. Do I think a fair proportion meet modern day standards of scrutiny? Yes.
Do I think they show over the period of record a higher and lower limit than the 280 pre industrial or 290 for the year 1900? Yes.
Why does it vary? You have been duelling with Richard Courtney on another thread and have partly covered this. The natural flux of co2 is huge and greatly exceeds that inputted by ourselves. This variable flux should show up in the record as a series of peaks and troughs. It doesn’t. Instead it shows a slow and steady small annual increase.
Becks figures are more logical and representative of co2 movement. They deserve proper official scrutiny and not be dismissed out of hand because they do not fit neatly into the AGW hypothesis that was based on the selection of historic figures that supported Callendars hypothesis.
Variable co2 levels explain previous warm and cold periods. However, if they occurred without co2 as a primary driver there is no reason the present warm period can’t do likewise.
TomP
We can agree to disagree about the merits of a global temperature in the first place, let alone one selected and sustained from such small numbers of historic stations that then changed so much in number and location.
P Walker
Thanks for your comment. It is indeed a labyrinthe that winds through a whole forest of cherry trees. 🙂
tonyb

September 15, 2009 12:51 pm

Jeff Green and Joel Shore:
Thanks for saving me much typing today! And you both presented my position far better than I could have. 🙂

September 15, 2009 12:53 pm

Joel
Sorry, my post 12 47 15 was already a long one, so there was no time left to get into the concepts of buffering or equilibrium 🙂
tonyb

Pamela Gray
September 15, 2009 1:09 pm

Scroll down to page 344. The circumpolar current, which if allowed to circumvent, keeps Antarctica separate from warmer currents. But this current was not always engaged. It was blocked (more than once?) by uplift, subduction, and sea level changes. The research really should be looking at this area and taking core samples. But that research is far more expensive than drilling in a dry village. It is a stretch to connect CO2 in a hot, dry village with what happens to ice in Antarctica. This is the same type of argument one sees with “Gee the minutely changing Sun way up there is probably causing these changes, not the highly variable oceans next door to us.”
http://books.google.com/books?id=fRJtB2MNdJMC&pg=PA344&lpg=PA344&dq=CO2+in+antarctica&source=bl&ots=dkgRZtgJKp&sig=M61bkeU6TZDSjCbSkTjUuu9JgTY&hl=en&ei=QfGvSuuLOY2cMf-BqfIN&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#v=onepage&q=CO2%20in%20antarctica&f=false

Tom P
September 15, 2009 1:25 pm

TonyB,
“We can agree to disagree about the merits of a global temperature in the first place, let alone one selected and sustained from such small numbers of historic stations that then changed so much in number and location.”
You’re not off the hook so easily – this is a question of science, not personal preference! Firstly, contrary to the repeated ramblings of E. M. Smith, who really needs to study Nyquist’s theorem a little more, there is a clear definition of what we mean by a global average and accepted ways of measuring it, within a certain error margin. I don’t know of a single climate scientist, Roy Spencer, John Christy or James Hansen included, who would argue otherwise.
The variation in global temperature averages derived from the microwave measurements of satellites of the troposphere and the averages calulated from direct measurements from ground stations agree to within a fraction of a degree. This gives us good confidence that such measurements can be reliably made.
These averages pick up such global phenomena as cooling from volcanic eruptions and El Niño events, so certainly have merit in measuring a range of processes. Despite all of this you appear to think that what such global temperatures cannot be relied upon to measure a warming signal.
Why, given their undoubted success in helping us understand the thermal behaviour of the world in other ways, do you think that globally averaged temperatures have this particular blind spot?

Vincent
September 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Jeff Green,
“If ice sheets across all of Antarctica were to completely melt then sea level rise would be something like 70 m, . . .You can find the numbers from wikipedia and calculate them yourself. I have already done that. Its a very simple eercise.”
It’s not your calculations I take issue with Jeff, it’s the assertion that the Antarctic is going to melt. Even IPCC models only indicate sea level rise of maximum 80cm by 2100. But then I guess they’ll have to be updated for AR5.

Roger Knights
September 15, 2009 1:30 pm

Tom P:
There is an excellent long discussion of global temperatures that accepts the figures you are using, but derives a non-AGW conclusion. It also includes little-known long-term temperature record proxies from Asia (e.g., the date of ice break-ups on certain lakes). See Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu’s paper, “Two Natural Components of Recent Climate Change,” here (as a 50-Mb PDF):
http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/little_ice_age.php
=========
When I get up the energy, I want to write a long proposal on a satisfactory solution to the betting problem. I’ve got bits and pieces done already, but it may take me a week or two. Please click on the “Notify me” check-box below the comment box here, so you’ll get it when I post it here (in the “Research Claim: dropping co2 …” thread.) I may also post it in the Tips thread.

Tom P
September 15, 2009 2:14 pm

Roger Knights,
“There is an excellent long discussion of global temperatures that accepts the figures you are using, but derives a non-AGW conclusion.”
Here’s a quicker download of the most relevant plot:
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/03/akasofu_ipcc.jpg
Akasofu is right that the data shows two important components, one cyclic and one increasing. But he has to ignore any data in this plot before 1880 in order not to contradict the linear trend which he attributes to recovery from the Little Ice Age. That is because before 1880 the temperature is seen to start flattening:
http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1994/glaciervsinstrumental.png
Rather than recovery from the LIA, there is another explanation with a much better correlated variation:
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/lawdome.gif
“When I get up the energy, I want to write a long proposal on a satisfactory solution to the betting problem.”
The problem as far as I can see is that although many posters state with great certainty their beliefs as to how the climate will change, they are curiously reluctant to then wager that they are indeed correct.
But I’ll look out for your proposal.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 2:47 pm

Joel Shore (09:22:39)
yes this is so. The earth is not a mechanical equation in the climatologist’s handbook that conforms to the laws of input and output. Most heat is absorbed by landmass and oceans, and clouds, where the 2nd law of thermodynamics then enters the equationThe amount of solar energy received at the earth isn’t constant, and relies on many factors. The 2nd law can be demonstrated by a poker in ahot fire. Take it out and the poker is hot, and excited the atoms in the air around it, heating them. After a while the poker cools to the ambient temperature of the air, and “equilibrium” is restored

September 15, 2009 2:53 pm

evanmJones says:

Hmm. If you say so. But that is how they do it here on earth, you know.

No they don’t. If they did, we’d just need to measure the temperature at two places: the coldest and the warmest. (I am talking about spatial averages not daily temporal averages.)
TonyB says:

Why does it vary? You have been duelling with Richard Courtney on another thread and have partly covered this. The natural flux of co2 is huge and greatly exceeds that inputted by ourselves. This variable flux should show up in the record as a series of peaks and troughs. It doesn’t. Instead it shows a slow and steady small annual increase.

And yet, we know for a fact that since the 1950s when Keeling’s measurements began, the CO2 increase (besides a seasonal cycle that varies with location) is indeed slow and steady, indicating that the natural fluxes do maintain a good balance. Why do you believe that things were so different when Keeling wasn’t looking? Or do you doubt the modern CO2 measurements?
Vincent says:

It’s not your calculations I take issue with Jeff, it’s the assertion that the Antarctic is going to melt. Even IPCC models only indicate sea level rise of maximum 80cm by 2100. But then I guess they’ll have to be updated for AR5.

You are running around in circles, Vincent. My original post that triggered this whole line of discussion was responding to someone who was saying essentially, “Why should we care if CO2 levels of 760ppm cause the Antarctic to melt? We won’t ever get that high anyway.” In response, I pointed out that in fact we could get that high given our coal reserves and, furthermore, that melting of the whole Antarctic is a much more extreme scenario than anyone including Al Gore has ever talked about and would result in about 70m of sea level rise, so lower CO2 levels where only part of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets melts is already a big problem. I noted that if 760ppm of CO2 really causes the whole Antarctic ice cap to melt then in fact the climate sensitivity must be much larger than anyone has imagined. (At the same time, I noted that one reason why 760ppm might not cause the whole Antarctic ice sheet to melt even if dropping below it was sufficient to initiate the ice sheet is that the ice-albedo effect likely introduces hysteresis into the system.)
But just for the record, the IPCC didn’t quite say that the maximum possible sea level rise by 2100 is 80cm. Their estimates of sea level rise basically started with the assumption that there is no dynamic mechanism that leads to increasingly rapid breakup of the ice sheets because they felt the science on that was not advanced enough to make an estimate of how much sea level rise might occur in such a case.
Scott Mandia says:

Thanks for saving me much typing today! And you both presented my position far better than I could have. 🙂

No problem. There are so few of us to represent this point of view that I figure that we have to help each other out! And, I think you are too modest in your assessment of your presentations … I very much enjoy your posts here.

September 15, 2009 2:58 pm

P Wilson (14:47:29): I lost you. Are you actually proposing that the earth is so far out of equilibrium that the amount of energy it radiates to space differs by a significant fractional amount (say, several percent or more) from the amount that it receives from the sun?!? That would certainly be big news! I’m not so worried about the Second Law of Thermodynamics as I am about the First!

Indiana Bones
September 15, 2009 3:01 pm

I am continually at a loss as to why people here and elsewhere insist on using “wikipedia” as a source for hard facts. How does a hearsay, ad hoc, opinion based encyclopedia qualify as a source of empirical data?
Or am I alone in this concern?

September 15, 2009 3:05 pm

TomP said
“You’re not off the hook so easily – this is a question of science, not personal preference! Firstly, contrary to the repeated ramblings of E. M. Smith, who really needs to study Nyquist’s theorem a little more, there is a clear definition of what we mean by a global average and accepted ways of measuring it, within a certain error margin.”
I am sure a warming or cooling signal of some sort can be picked up, but that it is accurate enough to parse to fractions of a degree back to 1850 is doubtful, especially when all the major datrasets disagree with each others figures;
So, what is a global temperature, how was it created and what is its value?? (as Albert Einstein said “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called
research)
Link 1 Wikipedia’s explanation of global temperature with a colour globe showing location of weather stations world wide.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:GHCN_Temperature_Stations.png
Link 2 Even better explanation with graphs
http://www.appinsys.com/GlobalWarming/GW_Part2_GlobalTempMeasure.htm
Link 3 This piece is taken from link 2 and is a blink chart illustrating station change
http://climate.geog.udel.edu/~climate/html_pages/air_ts2.html
(go to first item- ‘stations locations’ and click) You will get a media player animation illustrating the ever changing location and number of weather stations from 1950. Look for the startling changes since 1990.
Link 4, Over the years four major temperature data sets have evolved, this link shows how each are compiled
http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2008/04/common-climate-misconceptions-global-temperature-records/
This next link is from Phil Jones at Cru East Anglia on uncertainties in their data sets back to 1850.
http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2005JD006548.shtml
Link 5 James Hansen was foremost in developing a co2 hypotheses which he combined with his work on calculating global temperatures. He believed this definitively supported his view of a proven link between rising (man made) co2 and rising temperatures over the past 130 years or more. Due to this and various other papers (also cited here) he has become a pivotal figure and is responsible for the temperature data set called Giss. This paper is from Hansen in 2009 which shows how Giss is compiled
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/
So I have set out the background of what each data set measures, where the weather stations are located and how they change in location and number from year to year.
Link 6 The link below is Hansen’s original 1987 paper which is still much used by the climate industry as proof of temperature change since 1880.
http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/1987/1987_Hansen_Lebedeff.pdf
It was a good piece of detective work from a highly competent and motivated scientist and the following year he used this document as the basis for his talk to Congress on catastrophic warming linked to rising man made co2 emissions- allegedly after ensuring the air conditioning was turned off to ensure his message had a greater impact.
If you look at figure 4 of this paper (after first reading how many times the word ‘estimates’ is used (to excuse the interpolation of data to compensate for the lack of numerical or spatial coverage) you will see that it shows the tiny numbers of stations in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres from which the data was initially derived.
In 1850 in the whole of the NH there were 60 weather stations and in the SH there were 10. Hansen chose to use data from 1880 believing the 1850 compilations were too sparse (although they are still frequently cited)
By about 1900 we theoretically had 50% coverage in the NH (if you accept very large gridded squares of 1200km as ample coverage with which to record inconsistent data) and it took until 1940 for the same coverage in the SH.
The Sea surface temperatures (SST) also cited here has been hotly contested due to the nature of the ships data being used-you might have followed the long debate on Climate Audit about Buckets and water intakes. (As an aside, quite by chance I met someone who served on a ship and took these water temperatures, and the word haphazard is far too kind a word to use)
Following James Hansen’s 1987 paper many people have attempted to deconstruct his global temperatures, describing either the concept of a single global temperature as flawed, or querying the quality of the data- particularly the further back in history the data refers to.
(G S Callendar wrote his influential co2 thesis in 1938 and even then used only a total of 200 stations worldwide, many of which he was not impressed with-the numbers he believed could be relied on for the period in question here -pre 1900- numbered in the few dozens.)
Link 7 This from IPCC reviewer Vincent Gray querying the meaning of global temperatures
http://nzclimatescience.net/index.php?Itemid=32&id=26&option=com_content&task=view
Link 8 this rebuttal from Vincent Gray of the nature of Hansen’s data in general
http://www.fcpp.org/pdf/The_Cause_of_Global_Warming_Policy_Series_7.pdf
Link 9 this rebuttal from Ross McKitrick of Hansen’s data
http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/jgr07/M&M.JGRDec07.pdf
Link 10 this refers to the fuss about McKitrick’s paper which was hotly refuted by various people as it queried the very core of AGW data.
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Talk:Ross_McKitrick
Link 11 this technical interrogation of the calculations from Climate Audit
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2015
So we have several sets of parallel discussions whereby the meaning or worth of a single global temperature is queried in the first place, and the reliability of the information gathered is contested. This revolves mainly around changes in weather station locations, numbers, methodology and general consistency, and therefore the overall reliability of the information derived.
At this stage we can now factor in two additional elements. The Urban Heat Island (UHI) effects have been largely minimised by the IPCC. The background is that many previously rural stations have been engulfed by urban development and many were (and still are) on airfields that have developed enormously, all of which impact on the temperatures being recorded. The warmer temperatures often experienced in urban situations are in contrast to those that may have been recorded when the same weather stations were more rural-which were often cooler in nature.
Link 12 The official view that UHI has no real impact on global temperatures is clarified here;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_heat_island
“Peterson (2003) indicates that the effects of the urban heat island may have been overstated, finding that “Contrary to generally accepted wisdom, no statistically significant impact of urbanization could be found in annual temperatures.” This was done by using satellite-based night-light detection of urban areas, and more thorough homogenisation of the time series (with corrections, for example, for the tendency of surrounding rural stations to be slightly higher, and thus cooler, than urban areas). As the paper says, if its conclusion is accepted, then it is necessary to “unravel the mystery of how a global temperature time series created partly from urban in situ stations could show no contamination from urban warming.” The main conclusion is that micro- and local-scale impacts dominate the meso-scale impact of the urban heat island: many sections of towns may be warmer than rural sites, but meteorological observations are likely to be made in park “cool islands.”
A study by David Parker published in Nature in November 2004 and in Journal of Climate in 2006 attempts to test the urban heat island theory, by comparing temperature readings taken on calm nights with those taken on windy nights. If the urban heat island theory is correct then instruments should have recorded a bigger temperature rise for calm nights than for windy ones, because wind blows excess heat away from cities and away from the measuring instruments. There was no difference between the calm and windy nights, and the author says: we show that, globally, temperatures over land have risen as much on windy nights as on calm nights, indicating that the observed overall warming is not a consequence of urban development.[14][15]
Link 13 The IPCC Physical Basis report http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html makes the following statements:
• “Urban heat islands result partly from the physical properties of the urban landscape and partly from the release of heat into the environment by the use of energy for human activities such as heating buildings and powering appliances and vehicles (‘human energy production’). The global total heat flux from this is estimated as 0.03 W m–2 (Nakicenovic, 1998). If this energy release were concentrated in cities, which are estimated to cover 0.046% of the Earth’s surface (Loveland et al., 2000) the mean local heat flux in a city would be 65 W m–2. Daytime values in central Tokyo typically exceed 400 W m–2 with a maximum of 1,590 W m–2 in winter (Ichinose et al., 1999). Although human energy production is a small influence at the global scale, it may be very important for climate changes in cities” [emphasis added]
• “Over the conterminous USA, after adjustment for time-of-observation bias and other changes, rural station trends were almost indistinguishable from series including urban sites” [emphasis added]
The data don’t support these IPCC statements as shown below using examples from around the world.
“Since most of the long-term temperature stations are in cities, this is more significant than implied by the IPCC, because that’s where the data is recorded. While reading this document comparing the effects of urbanization on temperature trends, keep in mind the IPCC’s position that ): “Urbanisation impacts on global and hemispheric temperature trends have been found to be small. Furthermore, once the landscape around a station becomes urbanized, long-term trends for that station are consistent with nearby rural stations” (AR4, Chapter 3, 2007).
The Surface Stations web site http://www.surfacestations.org/ is accumulating physical site data for the temperature measurement stations (including photographs) and identifying problem stations -there are a significant number of stations with improper site characteristics.” (Also see link 15 for results on this project)
Link 14 A new study illustrates that our personal observations that it is often hotter in urban than rural areas -particularly at night- appears more correct than the previous scientific studies mentioned above that were claimed to disprove this apparent observed UHI effect.
The amount of adjustment to take into account this UHI factor is often limited (to all practical purposes) and the apparent impact on temperatures will consequently be larger than had previously been factored in if this new study is accepted.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6256520.ece
Link 15 In addition to the uhi effect there is a problem with general siting of a significant number of the stations in the US used to collect temperature data. (Which may amplify the UHI effects or be a separate issue to the effect noted) That is the prime focus of Anthony Watts’s site surfacestations.org. Below is a copy of Anthony Watts report, just out, on the poor quality of a significant number of US surface stations.
http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/surfacestationsreport_spring09.pdf
Our own observations in other countries will illustrate poor examples of temperature recording.
Link 16 When looking at Hansen’s Reconstructed global temperatures to 1880 described in link 6, it is also useful to read his paper here;
http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html
When he confirms the global temperatures have an inaccuracy factor of 2 Degrees F. This appears to be a margin of error that is twice that being cited for proof of warming (0.6C since mid 19th Century.)
It is worth considering all this string of papers together:
*Combine the dubious concept of a single global temperature (Hansen and IPCC) potentially poor data from a tiny number of inconsistent stations since 1880 (Hansen) with;
*the report on the temperature increase caused by UHI (Sunday Times) and * the unreliability of US weather stations (Anthony Watts)
*the margin of error in global temperatures (Hansen) and it is difficult to understand how such credence can be placed on the temperature data in general, and long term global ones in particular, especially when parsed to fractions of a degree in order to link it to a hotly contested co2 hypothesis.
The end result is that we have very heated discussions (and political action) centred around environmental ideologies based on what appears to be contentious data-temperatures and co2- that are linked and cited with absolute certainty as definitive proof of man made warming.
As for verifying EM Smiths ‘repeated ramblings’ I suggest you take a visit over to his excellent ‘chiefio’ site and read some of his comments on GISS when you are feeling in a more objective frame of mind.
tonyb

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 3:31 pm

Joel: The earth is never in Equilibrium, which is why we have a changing climate and weather. The amount of sun reacing the earth is quite tiny, and even when it does, it becomes converted to one form or another. Its not like heat is a fixed isolated factor that can’t change. The earth received very little solar energy, but that what happens to it in the atmosphere is the salient characteristic. Solar waves carry very little heat. It is what happens to them when they hit the earth’s atmospheric matter that produces energy. Even then, it matters what angle solar waves hit the earth, how much is diffused, how much is impeded or blocked by clouds and ozone, and how much bounces back.
If we were to believe that heat was a constant isolated factor then the poker experiment would reveal different results. The poker would remain hot and the air around it would heat slightly, bu according the the climatologists theory of heat input, nothing would get cool from the radiation of the poker, and the poker would remain eternally hot. Now we all know that this heat disippates in even a closed system until thermal equilibrium is restored. It doesn’t radiate to other parts of the system waiting to strike at the nearest cool spot.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 3:43 pm

In fact, Joel, i’m saying that re-radiated heat is quite a tiny fraction. Some 1-3% of the original incoming. Even if c02 had the magical properties that it is reputed to have by those who haven’t studied its properties, this still isn’t enough to generate “global warming”.
as for the 1st law of thermodynamics – the earth is trying hard to conserve heat right now

September 15, 2009 4:30 pm

Joel
The amount of the natural co2 flux depends on a variety of factors in any one year, including volcanos and especially temperature, and so will vary substantially year to year -Richard Courtney says it centres around 200Gt I had thought it to be around 165GT.
I don’t think you will disagree that mans emission is around 3-5% of the natural total (give or take)
To maintain the average quoted, natural emissions may be 90% of its average in any one year, and in another year 110% (give or take)
You say co2 increases are ‘indeed slow and steady, indicating that the natural fluxes do maintain a good balance.’
So, even in a ‘110%’ year i.e. greater than ‘average’ all the ‘extra’ natural co2 is absorbed seamlessly without a hiccup on the graph, even though the ‘extra’ 10% is far greater than mans emissions, which you say aren’t absorbed but instead slowly increase the overall concentrations. That doesn’t appear very logical.
Surely it is more logical that these (considerable) natural variations (with mans tiny emissions on top) would show up as peaks and troughs?
As to why they’re not, I would be speculating if I gave an answer to that. It just seems reasonable to me that the pre 1957 figures are re-examined because they weren’t calculated by idiots, but by serious people who matter of factly took such measurements for a variety of purposes.
tonyb

Tom P
September 15, 2009 4:50 pm

TonyB,
“I am sure a warming or cooling signal of some sort can be picked up, but that it is accurate enough to parse to fractions of a degree back to 1850 is doubtful, especially when all the major datrasets disagree with each others figures.”
You fell at the first hurdle.
Here are the major datasets plotted together:
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/plot/gistemp/plot/uah/plot/rss
That one plot undermines all of your other points concerning the existence, reliability and trend of global average temperatures.

September 15, 2009 5:18 pm

P Wilson says:

Solar waves carry very little heat. It is what happens to them when they hit the earth’s atmospheric matter that produces energy.

Because who needs the First Law of Thermodynamics anyway?

In fact, Joel, i’m saying that re-radiated heat is quite a tiny fraction. Some 1-3% of the original incoming.

I’ve seen lots of unusual claims made on this website, but this one might take the cake.

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 6:03 pm

Thanks for the reasoned reply Joel. There is nothing unusual about it. Earth isn’t a statistical flow chart like a bookeepers account log. In fact there’s quite a lot of physics about energy conversion

September 15, 2009 6:29 pm

P Wilson: Are you aware that there are people (including Roy Spencer) measuring the earth’s radiation budget by satellite ( http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/ceres_aqua.html ). I am sure that they will be fascinated by your theory that the heat radiated by the earth back out into space is only 1-3% of the incoming solar energy!

P Wilson
September 15, 2009 7:03 pm

When a part of the ocean evaporates, it sends a lot of heat and water vapour into the atmosphere, which is still a tiny fraction of original solar energy. Note, this is longwave radiation, or else the 4th power energy transfer.
For a long time, NASA have had the 41% re-radiated energy model. It simply doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. In physics, things only give off as much heat as their temperature, so solid matter doesn’t give off any radiation. Even oceans which have a maximum of 80F, but a much lower average don’t give off much radiation. “Normal temperature” matter (like you patio or green fields) doesn’t give off any radiation.
Its true that a lot of energy is reflected from the earth back into space, and that the atmosphere is the conduit of course.. However, the longwave rwe-radiation doesn’t actually penetrate biomass or oceans, as its energy is too low.
note: carbon dioxide cannot absorb radiation coming from teh sun. It can only absorb radiation coming from earth.
Even thermal imaging camreas don’t detect any significant re-radiation from biomass (from helicopters or aeroplanes), so to say that the earth re-radiates a lot of energy is quite simply an untruth, based on mathematics than evidence. This is done in the same way that Galileo disproved Aristotle’s assertion that an object weighing 10 times as much as another will reach the ground 10 times more quickly from the same height.
Logically sound, bu empirically untrue.

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 7:16 pm

Vincent wrote:
[It’s not your calculations I take issue with Jeff, it’s the assertion that the Antarctic is going to melt. Even IPCC models only indicate sea level rise of maximum 80cm by 2100. But then I guess they’ll have to be updated for AR5.]
I haven’t asserted that all of the anartic will melt. But then are you asserting that the temperature will not rise in the antartic futher increasing the melt rate.
The greatest increase in temperature on earth is at the artic now, increasing the melt rate there. Business as usual burning of fossil fuels takes us to about 6 degrees centigrade average increase by 2100. IPCC was quite conservative in their models for consensus reasons. 800 to 1000 ppm puts us in the disastrous zone for our climate.

September 15, 2009 7:25 pm

rbateman (20:23:14) :
AnonyMoose (20:10:23) :
“I don’t recall ever seeing the topography of Antarctica.”
I’ve had these saved for a while, just because they’re interesting:
click1
click2
click3

Jeff Green
September 15, 2009 7:42 pm

Solomon Green (12:07:42) : wrote:
I meant to inquire why go to Tanzania to examine rocks that are only 33.5 million years old? The rocks at the bottom of the Maktesh Ramon (500 meters deep) are 200 million old. And, I believe, the wall of the North West face of the crater exposes a ontinuous history of rock starting well over 50 million years ago and ending with the present day. Since the crater is natural, is not volcanic (although the 50 square mile crater does contain an extinct volcano) and it was not formed as a result of a meteor strike, there were, and probably still are, a wealth of fossils from all ages to be found. Does Dr. Gavin Foster need a special type of fossil for his CO2 proxies? And if so, why?
I got the impression that this area had about the best sample to reach in Africa. This can be compared to other samples gaithered in the future to make comparisons and see if similar results come about or something different. That is part of the process of science in seeking what’s true.

September 15, 2009 8:11 pm

Tom P:
“There are not any globally representative temperature records that go back 400 years as far as I know…”
Michael Mann is not going to be happy with you, that’s for sure.
But your refusal to accept that there is a log response to CO2 might redeem you in the bristlecone guy’s eyes: click.

Tom P
September 15, 2009 11:14 pm

Smokey,
“There are not any globally representative temperature records that go back 400 years as far as I know…”
Records, as in recorded temperature logs from enough sites around the world to construct a global average. The oldest individual record only goes back to the middle of the 17th century, as far as I’m aware, and no global average can be calculated for before the 19th century.
As for derived temperature series, of course these exist. Oerlemans’ glacier-derived temperature series going back to 1600 that I’ve linked to above is just one example. Please keep up.
“Your refusal to accept that there is a log response to CO2…”
Of course there a log response – that’s why all climate scientists measure climate sensitivity in terms of the temperature increase from a CO2 concentration doubling. Could you cite an example where Mann states otherwise?
The plot you link to is in serious error. It claims that the first 20 ppm of CO2 only contributes 1.5 degrees of warming. Strip all the CO2 out of our atmosphere and we would be very much colder.
Nevertheless, this plot demonstrates the important point that between 280 ppm and 380 ppm the 20 ppm increments are only slowly losing their warming contribution . The logarithmic response implies that the warming contribution drops by about 25% over this range. There is therefore not much saturation in the warming seen from CO2 increases over the last 150 years.
Can I take it that you accept there is a log response to CO2, and hence these increases have been warming the Earth?

masonmart
September 15, 2009 11:15 pm

Jeff Green
Business as usual burning of fossil fuels takes us to about 6 degrees centigrade average increase by 2100. IPCC was quite conservative in their models for consensus reasons. 800 to 1000 ppm puts us in the disastrous zone for our climate.
Jeff, I’m ever searching for truth in this sea of lies and propaganda. If you could just show me where you get these diamonds of scientific wisdom from it would settle my mind. Please don’t tell me it’s those model predictions again?

KimWq
September 15, 2009 11:21 pm

One theme that I note with AGW is the obsession with the Antarctica melt. As the average temperature of Antarctica is in the range of minus 40 dgrees, any melt and consequent rise in sea level would be the least of our problems. If the temperature in Antarctica rises over 40 degrees, then what is the rise in the rest of the world ?

September 16, 2009 12:12 am

TomP
If you say:
“That one plot undermines all of your other points concerning the existence, reliability and trend of global average temperatures.”
it is clear you have not read all the various references which illustrate the unreliabilty of a global record and that any warming or cooling signal relies on manipulation, lack of data, incorrect data and a flawed premise and can not be relied on to parse global temperatures to fractions of a degree. We are also looking at the blink of an eye in the Worlds history and the figures should be seen against the broader context of warmer and colder periods, such as the LIA, MWP, Roman optimums etc.
In showing the grapoh you are assuming;
a) the figures are right
b) they mean anything anyway
I clearly said ‘I am sure a warming or cooling signal of some sort can be picked up, but that it is accurate enough to parse to fractions of a degree back to 1850 is doubtful…’ In other words it isn’t reliable, and citing one graph that uses the very data and principles that I am complaining about doesn’t negate in the slightest the basic principles which I have taken the trouble to gather together from numerous sources.
Come on TomP you can do much better than that. Read the references in their proper context, otherwise it would appear you haven’t even reached the race course let alone the first hurdle… 🙂
tonyb

Sandy
September 16, 2009 12:13 am

“Can I take it that you accept there is a log response to CO2, and hence these increases have been warming the Earth?”
As the Earth warms the ocean releases CO2 into the air.
If man had never used fossil fuel technologies then the amount of CO2 in the air at this global temperature would be precisely the same since the oceans would set it that way.

Tom P
September 16, 2009 1:02 am

TonyB,
“In showing the grapoh you are assuming;
a) the figures are right
b) they mean anything anyway”
In showing four separately derived plots of global mean temperatures, from both surface and satellite measurements, I am assuming nothing.
It is the agreement between the plots, both in general and in particular (for instance see how the 1998 El Niño can be quite clearly been seen in each plot) that shows the figures are meaningful and reliable.
For further confirmation, compare one of these four, HadCRUT, to Oerlemans’ independently derived glacier temperature series, to which you apparently have no objection:
http://img9.imageshack.us/img9/1994/glaciervsinstrumental.png
Are you really claiming that urban heat islands from recent cities built on glaciers is responsible for the temperature rise?

September 16, 2009 1:36 am

Sandy
Interesting post, which relates to the point I was making in my 16 30 20
The oceans over ride everything. The amount of co2 in the air is very dependent on the warmth of the oceans. The annual flux -without mans impact-is therefore considerable and should show up in peaks and troughs as was recorded pre 1957, not a nice smooth barely increasing line.
tonyb
. transfer

Vincent
September 16, 2009 3:05 am

Jeff Green,
“I haven’t asserted that all of the antartic will melt. But then are you asserting that the temperature will not rise in the antartic futher increasing the melt rate.”
Further increasing the melt rate? Are you seriously suggesting that antarctica is melting? Apart from the tiny western peninsular that sticks out into the circumpolar currents, antarctica is actual gaining ice, not melting.
There is no prospect at all of antartica melting while it remains a) covered in ice with an albedo of 0.9 and b) cut off from the circumpolar currents.
I did a quick back of the envelope calculation. If the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth at the equator at midday is approx 1000 wm^-2 and if the south pole at summer is at approx 70 degrees to the ecliptic, then the insolation falling will be 1000*cos70 = 340 wm^-2 approx. Now, if we look at the effect albedo has, compared to before glaciation took place:
Before glaciation say albedo = 0.4. Then retained flux = (1 -0.4)*340 = 205
After glaciation with albedo = 0.9, retained flux = (1 – 0.9) * 340 = 34 wm^-2.
This is a huge difference, 170 wm^-2. How do we achieve that by CO2 forcing alone? Well, according to IPCC, forcing for doubling CO2 = 5.35ln2 = 3.7 wm^-2. Now, how many doublings do you need to get to 170 wm^-2 ?
The answer is given by 170 = 5.35 ln x, where x is the number of doublings. Solving for x we get x = e^32, which is a huge number. In other words there is no amount of CO2 than can acheive the same forcing with ice present as occurred before there was ice.

Vincent
September 16, 2009 3:11 am

Jeff Green,
“Business as usual burning of fossil fuels takes us to about 6 degrees centigrade average increase by 2100. IPCC was quite conservative in their models for consensus reasons. 800 to 1000 ppm puts us in the disastrous zone for our climate.”
We’re arguing in circles. If you continue to use computer models as evidence that catastrophic warming will occur in the future then all I can say is that you are choosing to believe in what once people called prophecies. Unless you are prepared to open your mind, there is little I or anyone can say.

MartinGAtkins
September 16, 2009 4:10 am

Scott Mandia (03:13:49) :
@ MartinGAtkins (21:41:11) :
Already caused many problems? Like what?

Extinctions,

What extinctions do you directly attribute to AGW?

coral reef destruction,

There hasn’t been any “coral reef destruction”. There was some bleaching after the 98 El Nino but they have now fully recovered. It’s natural, but as the catastrophists had never seen it before they spun it into their usual nonsense. Notice there were no joyful reports of it’s recovery.

ocean acidification detriments

Again, there are no credible reports of any damage to coral reefs or any other marine life.
See here for the deceitful practices of new age marine researchers.
http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6189

migration problems,

Another undefined problem.

bark beetle tree destruction, etc. etc. etc.

Of course if you don’t know why an infestation is accuring you can always blame good old global warming.
Attacks are largely to trees under stress from injury, poor site conditions, fire damage, overcrowding, root disease or old age. However, as beetle populations increase, MPB attacks may involve most large trees in the outbreak area.
Due to pressure by environmentalists many forest are no longer being managed efficiently. This leads to a build up of forest trash that shelters the larvae through the winter.
The pests can be controlled by withdrawal of all funding from universities that host pseudo science courses such as Forest Ecogeography, Fish Physiology, Conservation Biology, Geology of Our Environment and so on. Infact anything with Eco in it’s name. Next social security payments should be withheld from any person who appears in public dressed as a cute animal of any kind, a red Indian, a skeleton with or without a gas mask, a tie dyed t-shirt, juggling, walking on stilts or wearing a beret with a red star on it.

September 16, 2009 6:11 am

TomP said
“Are you really claiming that urban heat islands from recent cities built on glaciers is responsible for the temperature rise?”
Of course I’m not suggesting anything of the sort, but I am sure a computer model could easily make such a connection 🙂
I am asking you to examine the temperature record history in a more dispassionate manner, whilst querying the meaning of a global temperature whilst putting the current warmish period into a broader historical perspective. Our climate did not begin in 1850 nor indeed with satellites in 1979.
So let us ask ourselves a few questions-
* Has the temperature at a tiny number of specific measuring points increased since 1850? Possibly.
* Do we know the amount of any change of a notional global temperature with scientific accuracy to fractions of a degree? Certainly not.
*Is sufficient notice paid of distortions such as UHI, poor siting, changes of sites, numbers, equipment etc? No
* Is the current warm era unprecedented in human history? Certainly not.
* Should we change the world system because of short term and potentially inaccurate information based on incomplete temperature records, ignore past climatic trends and link everything to a tiny rise in human generated emissions overshadowed by natural emissions and water vapour? No
*Do we know anything like as much as we think we do about climate. No.
*Is that any excuse to be wateful and reckless in our use of resources? No.
*Is there a practical alternative to burning fossil fuels in order to maintain our own standard of living whilst using carbon as the means of dragging the third world out of poverty, sickness and hunger? Unfortunately not yet.
As regards your separate comments about glaciers, these are a proxy-they do not give us precise figures. For those interested, this is a draft of the report TomP refers to, I do not have access to the paid version.
http://home.badc.rl.ac.uk/mjuckes/mitrie_files/docs/mitrie_glaciers.pdf
The following link comments on the above data;
http://www.co2science.org/articles/V8/N11/EDIT.php
This is an extract from 1868 concerning a British expedition to Greenland, a land which was then an almost unknown quantity but whose coast Scoresby junior had found to be clear of ice in 1820, had subsequently iced up again, then found by Captain Graah in 1828 to be clear again. Apparently conditions had changed once more;
“We lived for the greater portion of a whole summer at Jakohshavn, a little Danish post, 69° 13′ n., close to which is the great Jakohshavn ice-fjord, which annually pours an immense quantity of icebergs into Disco Bay. In early times this inlet was quite open for boats ; and Nunatak (a word meaning a ” land surrounded by ice “) was once an Eskimo settlement. There is (or was in 1867 ) an old man (Manyus) living at Jakohshavn whose grandfather was born there. The Tessi-usak, an inlet of Jakohshavn ice-fjord, could then be entered by boats. Now-a-days Jakohshavn ice-fjord is so choked up by bergs that it is impossible to go up in boats, and such a thing is never thought of. The Tessiusak must be reached by a laborious journey
over land ; and Nunatak is now only an island surrounded by the in-land ice, at a distance — a place where no man lives, or has, in the memory of any one now living, reached.
Both along its shore and that of the main fjord are numerous remains of dwellings long unin-habitable, owing to it being now impossible to gain access to them by sea. The inland ice is now encroaching on the land. At one time it seems to have covered many portions of the country now bare. In a few places glaciers have disappeared.”
This link deals with glaciers in Roman Times.
http://archiv.ethlife.ethz.ch/e/articles/sciencelife/gruenealpen.html
The relative lack of glaciers enabled the Romans to traverse high level routes to quell rebellions in various parts of their empire.
So the glacier report may be broadly true-after all it covers the period we know as the LIA. However there were undoubtedly periods of warming in this period, and prior to that throughout our history. Glaciers retreat and advance accordingly.
You are taking a very short term view and relying on concepts (global temperatures) and an accuracy (global records to 1850) that are not as clear cut as you want to believe. Within my previous post I cited the changing number of weather stations and two reports from those who dispute the notion of a global temperature. No doubt you have read these and have already asked E M Smith for access to his work on GISS. Would you refute his findings?
Tonyb.

Tom P
September 16, 2009 7:32 am

TonyB,
Does not the agreement to a fraction of a degree between the temperature plots, from the ground and independently determined from satellite, show that the figures are meaningful and reliable?
http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/plot/gistemp/plot/uah
If not, please give an alternative explanation as to why the plots and the glacially derived record agree to such precision, but despite this all duplicate the same errors.
Choice of ground stations (satellite coverage is near global), UHI (satellites measure the troposphere), and instrumental error (are microwave sensors and thermometers all conspiring against us?) don’t seem to be valid explanations, though.

Antonio San
September 16, 2009 8:08 am

Co-author Dr Bridget Wade from Texas A&M University Department of Geology and Geophysics added: “This was the biggest climate switch since the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
“Our study is the first to provide a direct link between the establishment of an ice sheet on Antarctica and atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and therefore confirms the relationship between carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and global climate.”
NO, not at all: a teleconnection is NOT a causal relationship and from the abstract, there is nothing suggesting causality.

September 16, 2009 8:32 am

Sandy says:

As the Earth warms the ocean releases CO2 into the air.
If man had never used fossil fuel technologies then the amount of CO2 in the air at this global temperature would be precisely the same since the oceans would set it that way.

So, if your view was correct, then the oceans should be getting more basic as CO2 is liberated from them. And yet, they are actually getting more acidic, demonstrating that they are absorbing more CO2. That the oceans and biosphere are absorbing CO2 also is a consequence of the observation that the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are rising at about half the rate that they would be if all of the CO2 from burning fossil fuels remained in the atmosphere. (And, by the way, where do you think the CO2 that we produce is going if it is CO2 from the oceans that is causing the rise?)
Some other questions for you: Why is it that CO2 levels are higher than they have been over the last 750,000 years…Is it just a coincidence?
Also, if we look at the ice age – interglacial cycles, it appears that each degree C of global temperature rise is associated with the release of at most ~20ppm of CO2…and it appears that there is a significant lag time before this happens. So, how can less than 1 C of warming has produced more than 100ppm of CO2 rise and has done so very rapidly?

September 16, 2009 8:34 am

P Wilson: I have no idea what you are talking about anymore. I suggest that you take your ideas up with someone like Roy Spencer who is actually measuring the amount of radiation being emitted by the Earth. Maybe he will have the patience to disabuse you of your confusions. I frankly don’t.

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 9:11 am

Again Joel, thnks for the reasoned reply. Lets not get confused by radiation emitted from the earth, which is negligible and radiation reflected from the earth, which isn’t so negligible. Two different things. Maybe that is the confusion you’re referring to.
Looking through some of your other posts, which I had the chance to today, you say that it is possible to double c02 anthropogenically. At 3%, it means that 97 c02 is natural from perspiration and decay. Given that a warming of oceans by .1C alone puts 200gt of c02 into that atmosphere, which is 26 times that of humans, it is difficult to justify that we could even begin to compete with this. Efectively to double c02 would require us to increase our output by several thousands of percent, which is, I’m sure you will agree, is a physical impossibility even over a long term period.
Oceans have a ph of 8.1 which is alkaline. Oceans have been absorbing huge amounts of c02 for billions of years. During the dinosaur period, five times as much as today. They rapidly stabilize due to equilibrium with calcium carbonate, and living cells control their own internal ph.
so I put it to you: On the one hand, we’re putting so much c02 into the air that its accumulating at an unprecedented rate. On the other, oceans are taking up c02 so well that its acidifying the oceans. These are contradictory positions, and neither are verified.
It seems to me that the acid in the oceans is invoked as an alternative when the c02 global warming scare blows up in activists faces.
Here’s a balanced view of oceanic biology
http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/acid.htm

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 9:13 am

addendum. scienific analysis, not view

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 9:25 am

In otherwords, for sake of simplification, at a ph of 8.1, there is no measured acidification of the oceans

Peter Plail
September 16, 2009 10:42 am

Indiana Bones (15:01:59) :
“I am continually at a loss as to why people here and elsewhere insist on using “wikipedia” as a source for hard facts. How does a hearsay, ad hoc, opinion based encyclopedia qualify as a source of empirical data?
Or am I alone in this concern?”
You are not alone. With their article making the facile statement that “if” all the ice melted the sea would rise by whatever their figure was, at a time when the Antarctic ice (volume, extent) is actually rising rather gives their position away.
More importantly, if the build-up of ice on Antarctica is increasing, what horrors can we expect from the consequent decline in sea levels. Just think of all that extra fuel being burned as people travel further and further to get to their seaside holidays!

Tenuc
September 16, 2009 11:33 am

The basic conclusion of this report is clearly false. The CO2 connection cannot be assumed just because of the correlation and no clear evidence of causality is shown.
There is good evidence that changes to levels of CO2 follow changes in temperature, rather than cause them. This means that, at best, CO2 can only have a very weak influence on climate. This is evidenced by the last decade of slightly declining temperatures while CO2 continued to grow.

September 16, 2009 12:07 pm

Tom P
I have given you twenty or so links and quoted studies that illustrate that todays circumstances are nothing unusual. I have already agreed that we may possibly be warming since 1850 as part of a natural cycle (which is often repeated). Indeed, as we emerge from the LIA it would be surprising (and alarming) if we were not warming, but we do not have precise enough information to apportion the precise amount of warming from 1850, especially as a global figure.
There were far too few stations to achieve this as a proper spatial spread and as Callendar observed when writing his 1938 thesis, many of the old stations had faulty instruments or were not consistently properly read. Add in the problems of station movement, instruments, Uhi etc and the local-let alone the global-record is far from perfect.
Forgive me, but if you are using the same stations -however flawed their data may be-you will end up with similar answers. That does not prove they are of value as a scientifcally accurate measure of the last 150 years.
Both the papers cited explain in great detail why the GT is an interesting concept but which in reality has little practical mreaning. It is difficuilt to add anything further to that.
I would stress we need to see things in a much broader historic context than purely playing with figures from 1850 or 1979 that are then being used to draw vitally important conclusions in assigning an unproven catastrophic cause and effect linkage to a minor trace gas that is overwhelmed by its natural counterpart and water vapour.
Have you read any of the studies I linked to? I even included a Hansen one-how many here do that 🙂
best regards
tonyb

Tom P
September 16, 2009 1:37 pm

TonyB,
You are again studiously ignoring the corroborating evidence from global satellite data in your repetitive deliberations, and such data has none of the issues you list such as station location, movement, and UHI.
Until you address the agreement of the actual data I have presented, from land stations, satellites and glaciers, rather than repeat your tired litany of why all the data must be wrong, if not meaningless, you are willfully embracing ignorance rather than the knowledge that is clearly available.

George E. Smith
September 16, 2009 1:41 pm

“”” Joel Shore (18:29:27) :
P Wilson: Are you aware that there are people (including Roy Spencer) measuring the earth’s radiation budget by satellite ( http://www.nasa.gov/centers/langley/news/factsheets/ceres_aqua.html ). I am sure that they will be fascinated by your theory that the heat radiated by the earth back out into space is only 1-3% of the incoming solar energy! “”
Say Joel; Good luck there; maybe Art Bell can help you with this project !
George

September 16, 2009 1:42 pm

P Wilson says:

Again Joel, thnks for the reasoned reply. Lets not get confused by radiation emitted from the earth, which is negligible and radiation reflected from the earth, which isn’t so negligible. Two different things. Maybe that is the confusion you’re referring to.

No, that is not the confusion. To say that radiation emitted by the earth is negligible is just plain wrong. Here is diagram showing the various energy transfers in the climate system: http://climateknowledge.org/figures/WuGblog_figures/RBRWuG0086_Trenberth_Radiative_Balance_BAMS_2008.GIF ; I imagine not all of these numbers have been measured extremely precisely but they have been measured at least approximately. If the earth were as out of radiative balance as you are imagining, the consequences would be huge in terms of the heating that would occur. (If I get the time, maybe I could make some order-of-magnitude estimates.)

Looking through some of your other posts, which I had the chance to today, you say that it is possible to double c02 anthropogenically. At 3%, it means that 97 c02 is natural from perspiration and decay. Given that a warming of oceans by .1C alone puts 200gt of c02 into that atmosphere, which is 26 times that of humans, it is difficult to justify that we could even begin to compete with this. Efectively to double c02 would require us to increase our output by several thousands of percent, which is, I’m sure you will agree, is a physical impossibility even over a long term period.

(1) That 3% number is really quite deceiving. There are large exchange processes constantly occurring between the atmosphere and the oceans and atmosphere and biosphere but they are just exchanging essentially the same carbon back and forth. What we are doing is taking a store of carbon that has long been locked away from the atmosphere and rapidly liberating it into the atmosphere.
(2) I have no idea where your estimate of how much CO2 the oceans would release if warmed by 0.1 C comes from.
(3) CO2 is currently increasing in the atmosphere by ~2ppm / yr (and would be about double that if all of our emissions remained there). Hence, at that rate, a doubling from the pre-industrial baseline of 280ppm to 560ppm (and being at about 385ppm now) will occur in by around the end of the century. In reality, however, the rate of growth of CO2 levels in the atmosphere has been increasing with time as our emissions have increased, so it will likely happen sooner.

On the one hand, we’re putting so much c02 into the air that its accumulating at an unprecedented rate. On the other, oceans are taking up c02 so well that its acidifying the oceans. These are contradictory positions, and neither are verified.

They are not contradictory and they can be verified. About half of what we put into the air remains there and the other half ends up in either the biosphere or the oceans (with the ocean fraction being larger, as I recall).

September 16, 2009 1:49 pm

P Wilson: One more thing that I really should have mentioned since you brought it up before, you say, “Things only give off as much heat as their temperature, so solid matter doesn’t give off any radiation.” I recommend that you do the calculation. Put the average surface temperature of the earth into the Stefan-Boltzmann Eqn and calculate how much blackbody radiation it should emit and compare that to the amount of radiation we receive from the sun. What you will find is that the earth’s surface is actually emitting considerably MORE radiation than it is receiving. The solution to this conundrum is, of course, that because of the greenhouse gases not all of the radiation it emits escapes from the atmosphere, so some ends up coming back to the Earth. Another way of looking at it is that at the altitude where the radiation first does have a good chance of escaping, the average temperature is about 33 K colder than it is at the Earth’s surface.

September 16, 2009 2:12 pm

Tom P said:
“Until you address the agreement of the actual data I have presented, from land stations, satellites and glaciers, rather than repeat your tired litany of why all the data must be wrong, if not meaningless, you are willfully embracing ignorance rather than the knowledge that is clearly available.”
If data is wrong, inaccurate, misleading, limited or pointless, it is hardly a tired litany to point that out. If a global temperature is a false concept then it’s a false concept whether it comes from a satellite or twenty stations.
Presumably you believe in the infallibility and accuracy of global satellitte sea level data as well, despite its inherent inaccuracies and problems?
I have cited numerous links which you have self evidently not read, otherwise you would have a much better idea of where I am coming from. Twenty links covering a vast range of information is hardly being repetitive, is it? Again I would ask you to think in a broader historic context than citing figures from 1979 that you appear to be increasingly fixated on.
Our exchange of information seems one sided, with you sniping at the information I provide whilst wilfully ignoring the points I make.
I posed and answered 10 questions in my 6 11 06, so perhaps you will tell ME what your answers are. Then I can see where you are coming from.
tonyb

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 2:40 pm

Joel Shore (13:49:34) :
at normal temperatures, the equation doesn’t work and overestimates by ten times so I quote:
“Here’s the problem with the Stephan-Boltzmann constant: Satellite measurements indicate that the sun’s energy approaching the earth is 1366 watts per square meter. The amount reflected away is said to be 26%. The amount absorbed into the atmosphere is said to be 16%. (See NASA chart). That’s 1366 minus 26% minus 16% = 792 W/m2. That’s how much radiation would fall on a black asphalt surface at the equator at noon. The Stephan-Boltzmann constant indicates that in a dark basement, a concrete wall at 59°F (the global average temperature) would emit 390 W/m2. That’s 49% as much radiation emitted from a dark, cold basement as falls on a black surface at the equator. It isn’t happening. shows 459 watts per square meter being given off at room temperature of 27°C. That’s almost five 100 watt bulbs from half of a table top. Night vision equipment shows it isn’t happening.”
so the equation doesn’t represent nature in this case. If it did, the water would never freeze as radiation would interfere with the freezing process.
Further
“Outdoors, the differences are even more extreme, because there are no opposite walls. Shade on a hot day shows that there is a lot of difference between areas radiated by the sun and those that are not. The sun’s energy will typically be two or three times the amount as the black body radiation on the earth’s surface as indicated by the Stephan-Boltzmann constant. This means that there should be a very significant differential due to black body radiation apart from the sun’s energy. If so, a thermometer in the shade would not give an accurate measurement of air temperature. But the thermometer is considered to be equilibrated with the air temerature. Almost a complete absence of black body radiation would be required to get such an equilibration with air temperature in the shade.
In other words, if normal temperature matter were really giving off a significant amount of infrared radiation, as the Stephan-Boltzmann constant indicates, a thermometer in the shade would not show a reliable temperature, because radiation would be altering its temperature.”
So the equation works for incandescent material, such as the sun, but not for normal temperature matter.

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 3:12 pm

I don’t see how the figure of 3% is deceiving. According to the US department of energy, 770GT’s of c02 was natural, whilst humans added 23GT’s during the 90’s, and the ratio’s haven’t changed today.
its important to remember that most heat leaves the earth through conduction, convection, and not through Longwave radiation, so the Boltman constant cannot be applied to this as it gives absurd results. Even at warm summer temperatures, of 30C, there is very little radiation picked up by night vision eqiupment. If it did, bnearly everything would show white light.
Its also vital to remember that c02 circulates beetween oceans and air and biomass, and that oceans contains 38,000GT of carbon dioxide, so are a huge source and a huge sink, depending on SST’s. Perhaps this explains why c02 is recorded in even the recent past as being more considerable than today, such as from the period 1810, which are valid measurements across the northern hemisphere and even India – at odds with ice core measurements of course, although ice core measurements show trends and not exact records of average global c02

September 16, 2009 3:15 pm

Joel said in reply to P Wilson
” I have no idea where your estimate of how much CO2 the oceans would release if warmed by 0.1 C comes from.”
This from Green World trust
“If you measure Endersbee’s SST slope, it shows 150ppm (300 Gt) apparent actual CO2 rise per degC SST rise (at 15ºC). But Climate Audit forum told me that the time span is too short for the figures to be trustworthy. Still, if true, they are significant, and it’s worth keeping an eye open.”
On another thread Ricard Courtney said to you that mans emissions represented some .02% of all the carbon in the system.
Most of this resides in the ocean which relates to the point I made in 16 30 20
tonyb

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 3:21 pm

Well, Joel. Its fine to see at last an admission that anthropogenic c02 doesn’t just stay in the air. If its equal between oceans and air, then its so-called effect is even more paltry than claimed, as it halves c02 between 2 regions. Given that atmospheric c02 today is not exceptional, and that its been colder and warmer in the past, and given that oceans have been absorbing vast amounts of c02 over millions of year, i’d hope you think it fair to say that there isn’t any impending crisis

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 3:24 pm

One more thing.. Given that ice core data shows that there is a lag between temperature and c02 increase of 800-2000 years, might there not be avalid argument to say that today’s increase in c02 is a direct result of the holocene optimum, or else the MWP, which curiously coincides with this lag period?

Tom P
September 16, 2009 3:28 pm

TonyB,
“…global temperature is a false concept…”
and so now your curious beliefs have led you to the point at which you can no longer answer the simple question: “Which is warmer, Earth or Mars?”

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 3:39 pm

Tom P (15:28:26) : to TonyB,
Mars is much colder, despite its atmosphere being almost entirely, ahem, the heat trapping gas carbon dioxide

September 16, 2009 3:58 pm

TomP
Sorry, this is becoming ever more surreal. Not only do you seem unwilling to answer a perfectly reasonable question posed above, but now we have somehow got to Mars. Do you have a second job writing riddles for Christmas crackers? 🙂
P Wilson has given you the answer.
Perhaps we could link this back into the basic hypothesis of man causing AGW and you can tell me how much co2 there is in the ‘system’ (see post to Joel above) and what percentage relates to man (without a tour of the solar system)
tonyb

Tom P
September 16, 2009 4:23 pm

P Wilson
Indeed Mars does have a mild greenhouse effect, but the greater distance from the sun rather trumps that effect.
But full marks for being able to deal with a tricky comparison of what TonyB believes are false concepts. You might like to explain to him how you were able to achieve this startling feat of philosophical gymnastics.

MikeE
September 16, 2009 4:29 pm

Tom P (15:28:26) :
Most of earths green house effect is from water vapor…. it depends whos figures you use for co2, but its responsible for between 2.3k and 6.93k of the 33k green house effect.

September 16, 2009 4:34 pm

TomP
One last try. If you google ‘is the concept of a global temperature meaningless’ you will get 880,000 hits (not all of which will agree of course), There are however numerous studies out there thaso I have selected another one that gives some clear examples
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315101129.htm
I am away for next day or two so please excuse any temporary lack of reply
tonyb

September 16, 2009 4:35 pm

TomP
If you google ‘is the concept of a global temperature meaningless’ you will get 880,000 hits (not all of which will agree of course), There are however numerous studies out there thaso I have selected another one that gives some clear examples
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/03/070315101129.htm
I am away for next day or two so please excuse any temporary lack of reply
tonyb

September 16, 2009 4:37 pm

Tomp
sorry for post duplication but the last one ‘escaped’
tonyb

MikeE
September 16, 2009 4:54 pm

I should add, the lower figure is actually about double o some estimations, i was feeling generous and thought id give 10% o green house effect to other gases, instead o the 5% as of prof singer.

Tom P
September 16, 2009 5:11 pm

TonyB,
Please repeat your “perfectly reasonable question posed above”. I’m having trouble locating it.
I’ll do my best to answer the question, but I do ask in return you explain how P Wilson was able to solve my “riddle” as to whether the Earth or Mars is warmer given that you believe “global temperature is a false concept”.
If you are insistent that global temperature is indeed a false concept, there seems little point in discussing with you global warming or any other change in global temperature. It would be like arguing with a creationist over the rate of species creation.

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 5:18 pm

Tom P (16:23:59)
what wories me as a human being than a scientist, or a scientific thinker, is that the greenhouse effect on earth can’t be relied on to provide warmth, so we could move into a cool – severly cool period at any time. Its in the balance. The difference between cooling before is that now we have over 6 billion to feed. this population increase has been facilitated by recent warming, which looked at in data perspective has been average to beneath average for a multi-decadal warming period. I fear the catastrophe, at least climatically, is going to be in the opposite direction from what the climate activists propose

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 5:26 pm

Tom. Tony B maintains that the concept of a global average is something of a misnomer, especially in view of some of the eccentric proxies before the temperature record. as An example, Loele gives some justification as to why tree ring records might be inaccurate – above a certain temperature, tree rings are smaller due to water evaporation associated with higher temps. Anyway, here is the paper
:http://www.ncasi.org/publications/Detail.aspx?id=3025
Apart from that, the real effects of climate are always local than global, so record lows in the US, and record highs in Australia count more than a blandly averaged global uniform. When local areas are put in percpective, causes can be ascertained. Speaking of which, record temperatures haven’t been broken anywhere around the world for the last 40 years

P Wilson
September 16, 2009 5:39 pm

oops.. Record high temperatures haven’t been broken. – Edit

September 16, 2009 5:56 pm

P Wilson: If you don’t believe that the Stefan-Boltzmann Eqn applies to normal matter at room temperature, there’s really nothing to talk about. I can’t argue with someone who is basically telling me that they don’t accept basic physics concepts. Are you aware that when you see an infrared satellite picture, what you are seeing is essentially whatever it first hits, which will either be land surface or clouds tops? And, that they are using the Stefan-Boltzmann Eqn to determine the temperature (which then shows something about the clouds since higher cloud tops will be at a lower temperature)?
And, think about it: If the earth were really emitting significantly less energy than it absorbed, then it would heat up and as its temperature went up its emission would increase until the point when it was emitting the same amount of energy as it absorbs.

its important to remember that most heat leaves the earth through conduction, convection, and not through Longwave radiation,

There is no conduction or conduction to speak of in space, so while these processes can transport heat away from the earth’s surface up into the atmosphere, it is only radiation that can ultimately cause it to leave the earth / atmosphere system.

One more thing.. Given that ice core data shows that there is a lag between temperature and c02 increase of 800-2000 years, might there not be avalid argument to say that today’s increase in c02 is a direct result of the holocene optimum, or else the MWP, which curiously coincides with this lag period?

The previous interglacial was warmer and CO2 levels were only a little bit higher than pre-industrial levels. Besides which, the ice core data is also what shows that at most one should expect about 20 ppm of increase for each 1 C of temperature rise.

Well, Joel. Its fine to see at last an admission that anthropogenic c02 doesn’t just stay in the air.

When has that not been admitted? That is what ocean acidification is about: the ocean is absorbing some of what we have emitted. Unfortunately, because the buffering process saturates, it can’t absorb all of it.

If its equal between oceans and air, then its so-called effect is even more paltry than claimed, as it halves c02 between 2 regions.

That is already being accounted for as I explained when I talked about the rate of rise of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Given that atmospheric c02 today is not exceptional, and that its been colder and warmer in the past, and given that oceans have been absorbing vast amounts of c02 over millions of year, i’d hope you think it fair to say that there isn’t any impending crisis

The level of CO2 is higher than it has been during the time that homo sapiens have been around. Yes, it has been much higher millions of years ago and yes, the climate has been warmer or cooler…and the sea levels have been hundreds of feet lower or higher. However, we are adjusted to the climate and sea levels as they are now, as are the various flora and fauna. As for the oceans absorbing CO2, because of the complicated buffering processes that occur, I believe what ends up being important is the rate of CO2 increase…which is extremely fast compared to other times over the last 750,000 years for which we have ice core data…and there is reason to believe it might be without any precedent in the past.

I don’t see how the figure of 3% is deceiving. According to the US department of energy, 770GT’s of c02 was natural, whilst humans added 23GT’s during the 90’s, and the ratio’s haven’t changed today.

Think of the analogy of a fountain that just recirculates the water that goes out the drain and sprays it back out again. The water level in this fountain (ignoring evaporation) will be constant. Now imagine that someone comes with a hose and starts adding water to the fountain and the water level starts to rise. Even if they are adding water at a rate slow compared to the rate at which the fountain spits out water, it is they who will be responsible for the rise in the water level.

MikeE
September 16, 2009 6:25 pm

The previous interglacial was warmer and CO2 levels were only a little bit higher than pre-industrial levels. Besides which, the ice core data is also what shows that at most one should expect about 20 ppm of increase for each 1 C of temperature rise.
I have one weee contention with this logic, this interglacial is also the longest period clear of glaciation in the vostoc record(at least 400ky, as i understand there are issues with the data prior this period due to corruption from volcanism?), why? but that lil why aside, it would not be totally unreasonable to speculate that we have had enough time for greater deep sea mixing/warming gas exchange than previous interglacials, so as much as it is certainly speculation, i dont think its beyond the realms of possibility that natural, long term factors could be manifesting themselves. And i certainly think it would be premature too assume that this interglacials atmosphere should behave exactly the same as past ones considering the differences.

MikeE
September 16, 2009 6:30 pm

MikeE (18:25:30) this was in response to Joel Shore (17:56:10) :
and i will add that it is possible that this is the longest period clear of glaciation in 2.5million years from what ive read on the subject.

September 16, 2009 7:00 pm

@ Joel Shore (17:56:10) :
I believe what ends up being important is the rate of CO2 increase…which is extremely fast compared to other times over the last 750,000 years for which we have ice core data…and there is reason to believe it might be without any precedent in the past.
As Joel stated, the RATE is the key:
CO2 concentrations are known accurately for the past 650,000 years. During that time, they varied between 180 ppm and 300 ppm. As of March 2009 CO2 is 385 ppm which took about 100 years to increase. For comparison, it took over 5,000 years for an 80 ppm rise after the last glacial period.
Joel, what is your profession, may I ask? If you prefer you can email me. The link is on my Website.

September 16, 2009 7:33 pm

MikeE says:

Most of earths green house effect is from water vapor…. it depends whos figures you use for co2, but its responsible for between 2.3k and 6.93k of the 33k green house effect.

The numbers given here http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/01/calculating-the-greenhouse-effect/ are that CO2 contributes between 9% and 26% of the greenhouse effect, which are a little higher but not too far off what you say. Note that the two different estimates come from two different gedanken experiments: the 9% figure is how much the temperature would drop if you removed all the CO2 while leaving the other greenhouse gas concentrations unchanged. The 26% figure is the amount of the 33K greenhouse effect you’d get if you started with an atmosphere devoid of greenhouse gases and then added CO2 in. [This is slightly confused by the fact that the 33 K for the greenhouse effect is with the current albedo…and a climate state without clouds would have a lower albedo, but that aspect is ignored for this thought experiment.]
The most important thing to note, however, is that the assumptions of these experiments is that you change CO2 levels while keeping everything else constant. In the real world, that is not what happens…If you decrease CO2 levels and the temperature drops, the amount of water vapor will drop too and hence there will be more cooling. Likewise, if you increase CO2 levels and the temperature rise, the amount of water vapor will rise too and hence there will be more warming.
Of course, there will also be potential changes in cloud cover, which are pretty subtle to predict and, furthermore, the net radiative effect of clouds depends on their nature: An increase in high clouds tends to cause the trapping of more IR radiation than it does the blocking of solar radiation and hence tends to cause warming whereas an increase in low clouds tends to cause the blocking of more solar radiation than trapping of IR radiation and hence tends to cause cooling. How clouds respond is the largest source of uncertainty in predicting future climate change in response to changes in greenhouse gas levels.

MikeE
September 16, 2009 7:37 pm

Scott Mandia (19:00:29) :
you are assuming nature is linear with that reasoning?(a few sayings about assumption immediately come to mind) CO2 is what limits life on the planet(yah gotta laugh at the people going on about over loading the biosphere, and in the same breath preaching about the evils of co2.,.. or is that cry)
There is a period in the distant past comparable to today, that would be the end of the carboniferous period, again during an extended ice age, its also the only other period with comparable atmospheric co2 levels. And after that ice house period ended atmospheric co2 levels again elevated themselves too the “normal” hot house levels. We can speculate about mechanisms, but i think that is all we can really do at this stage. (inadequate resolution for the data)
I personally believe we have elevated co2 levels through the burning of fossil fuels… i dont however consider co2 a primary climate driver, im sure it will lead to “some” warming. But that it will be catastrophic is not a given. Or that the ideal climate for the earth is as it is today(or tuesday gone, or 200 years ago for that matter). It is going to change whatever we do. The belief in a static climate is idiotic, and a belief in maintaining the glacial/interglacial cycles of the past 2.5million years would be genocidal. We are adaptable, but i dont think we could grow much on a mile thick ice sheet. (although it would do wonders for real estate values down here in the SH)