Searching the PaleoClimate Record for Estimated Correlations: Temperature, CO2 and Sea Level

Guest Post by Bill Illis

This post is the first of what will likely be a series on the PaleoClimate.

In this part, we are just going to go through the various estimates for Temperature, CO2 and Sea Levels in the PaleoClimate.  This post is also about making the data available to everyone so that others can use it.  All of the data presented in this post is available for download at the end in easy to use Excel spreadsheets which also incorporates direct links to the actual data sources used.

PaleoClimate Temperature Estimates Over the Past 570 Million Years

There are various sources we can use for estimates of Temperatures in the PaleoClimate.

http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/8615/allpaleotemp.png

We have the ice core dO18 isotope data going back 800,000 years.  James Zachos has a high resolution database of dO18 isotopes going back 67.0 million years.  Jan Veizer has accumulated an isotope database that goes back 526.5 million years.  Dana Royer and Robert Berner applied a ph-correction factor to Veizer’s database and Christopher Scotese has developed Temperature estimates that extend back into the pre-Cambrian.

For the most part, the Temperature estimates are based on dO18 isotopes and these have proven to be reasonably reliable, or more accurately, to be the most reliable temperature estimation method that is available.

The isotope data does require a number of different transformations and smoothing to make it useful as a Temperature proxy.  Nobody is really sure what the proper way to carry this out is.

For one, it must be detrended as the data becomes older.  The dO18 declines over time due to the radioactivity of the Earth.  The above estimates are based on a simple linear detrending formula.  The rationale is that the radioactive conditions would have remained reasonably constant over the last 530 million years.  Others have used a second order polynomial but this does not result in much difference.

It has been noted that the dO18 isotope data should also be corrected for ice volume, sea level, the concentrations of CaCO3 in the oceans and -ph conditions of the oceans.  Royer and Berner applied a ph-correction factor based on Berner’s GeoCarb III CO2 estimates.  Again, this doesn’t make much difference except that Royer and Berner’s numbers are now lower than Veizer’s original database would point to.

Effectively, any transformation carried out has still got to match the record that we know about.  It is still going to have to show a Carboniferous ice age, an Ordovician ice age, a hot Permian Pangea climate, a hot Cretaceous period, an Antarctic glaciation and the recent ice ages.

In other words, no matter what corrections are applied, one should just end up with something very similar to the above chart.

Detailed Temperature Estimates Over the Past 530 Million Years

Veizer’s database contains over 16,600 individual dO18 isotope data points extending back 526.5 million years.  There is sufficient resolution throughout the database that we can be reasonably certain about any specific period.

The above chart has been constructed using Veizer’s data with two different smoothing parameters; a shorter one which preserves more detail and then one that emulates the Phanerozoic Climate Change chart by Robert Rohdes of Global Warming Art.  It is likely that both are reasonably accurate and sometimes less smoothing is preferred to more smoothing so that more information can be extracted.

In this case, there really is more information available from the shorter Gaussian smooth.  Immediately evident is that certain large temperature changes coincide with some of the large Mass Extinction events in the planet’s history.

The really unusual one is the Permian Extinction event in which 96% of marine species and 70% of large land animals died out in a very short period of time about 251.4 million years ago.  Previously this was thought to be due to exceptionally hot conditions or even ocean chemistry changes.

But now one can see that temperatures actually declined by about 5.0C in a very short period of time (something that is that well-known).  This temperature drop exactly coincides with the dating of the Siberian Traps volcanic events at 251 to 250 million years ago which is the largest series of volcanic events known in history.  An area nearly the size of Australia may have been covered by volcanic magma flows hundreds of metres deep (some places have been measured at 4 kms deep).  The volcanoes lasted for about 1 million years and, not surprisingly, temperatures fell.

The other event is the Ordovician extinction event of 443 million years ago in which 50% of the new Cambrian genera of life disappeared.  This was always known to be caused by a cooling climate.  But now, one can see that there is a very significant drop in the smoothed temperature estimates exactly at 443 million years ago.

The Devonian Extinction seems to be caused by a rapid increase in temperatures, as much as 10.0C in just a few million years.

Notice how the Cretaceous Period, 95 million years ago, is 2.0C to 3.0C higher than the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum.  The climate scientists are always talking about how unusual the PETM was but just a few million years earlier, temperatures were quite a bit higher.  Dinosaurs even lived in Alaska at the time, and it was a little farther north in the period than it is now.  The PETM event does not even look unusual enough in the record to spend much time on.

Notice that the timelines surrounding the Carboniferous Ice Age and the Ordovician-Silurian Ice Age are now clearly defined.  These timelines match up very closely with the estimated alignment of the Continents during the periods.   Even the short mid-Jurassic Ice Ages are now evident at a point in time when parts of EuroAsia were transiting the North Pole.

Detailed Temperature Estimates Over the Past 67 million Years

Zachos has developed another database of 14,800 individual estimates of dO18 isotopes that covers the past 67 million years with a resolution of less than 100,000 years in most cases.

The time period when Antarctica glaciated over (for the fourth time that is known about) is clearly evident.  Temperatures reached as high as 6.0C during the PETM and the periods when Antarctica reglaciated and when Greenland’s glaciers started building occurred at 14 million years ago.

About 2.5 million years, the most recent cycle of ice ages began.  In part II of the series, we may take a closer look at the ice ages in more detail.

PaleoCO2 Estimates

There are quite a few different estimates for CO2 in the PaleoClimate.  We have the ice cores, we have Mark Pagani 2005 with high resolution estimates between 5.4 million years to 44.5 million years ago and we have Berner’s GeoCarb III estimates which go back to 570 million years ago.

There are others (and they have been included in the CO2 spreadsheet) but they are not as well-accepted as these.  The other estimates come mainly from Stomata size (the cells that plants to use to absorb CO2), Paleosols (ancient soil deposits) and Phytoplankton among others.

Using the estimates that are most accepted and given the resolution is higher with the ice cores than with Pagani and then Pagani’s resolution is higher than Berner’s, they have been incorporated back-to-back-to-back as one series as follows.

As most of you are aware, CO2 goes as high as 7,069 ppm 520 million years ago and as low as 180 ppm during the height of the ice ages.

On the same timeline as the PaleoTemperatures Over 67 Million Years chart above, CO2 looks like this over the past 70 million years.

Paleo Sea Level Estimates

Sea level has also been included in the databases since it is not well-known that these high resolution estimates exist.  In addition, sea level can certainly have an impact on the climate as well be an indicator for the climate.

There are many different sea level estimates and the most recent one covering the whole period, produced by the world-leading expert on sea level, Bilal Haq, is the most accepted version (Haq, Schutter, 2008).

Sea Level has varied by a large amount throughout history.  Sea levels were as much as 265 metres higher than today 100 million years ago and have been as low as 120 metres lower than today during the Last Glacial Maximum.

Sea level seems to vary through three different mechanisms.

  • Sea level falls when glaciers build up on land. Obvious enough.
  • Sea level falls when continental land masses are concentrated together.  Collisions and mountain building tend to squeeze the Earth’s landmasses together and there is less continental shelf area that can affect the average depth of the overall oceans.  Related to the last reason, the ocean basins tend to be more mature and deeper in these situations. and,
  • Sea level rises when new young ocean basins are opening. New ocean basins generally form at only 2,500 metres depth while mature ocean basins tend to deepen and reach a depth of about 6,000 metres after 100 million years.  That means the overall average depth of the ocean is lower when new oceans are forming.  This is particularly the case during the Cretaceous when the Atlantic Ocean was just opening up.

Sea levels rose so high during the Cretaceous as the Atlantic was just opening, that the ocean flooded North America from Texas to Inuvik, to Hudson Bay.  Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the central parts of Eurasia were also flooded by shallow oceans.

During the Carboniferous and the Jurassic, the land masses were collected together into the Supercontinent of Pangea.  Sea levels fell in the earlier part as glaciers covered large parts of Gondwana, but then they stayed low as the glaciers melted and the continents moved together to form Pangea.

There are periods when there are rapid changes in sea level and these have been used by researchers to date the periods of glaciations.  It appears Scotese has used earlier versions of the sea level data to date the glaciations used in his temperature reconstruction.

Conclusion

Putting all the best estimates together, here is a view of the Temperatures, CO2 and Sea Level throughout the past 526 to 570 million years.

In subsequent posts, we may look at the Milankovitch Cycles and the recent ice ages, Continental Drift through time and how that may have affected the climate and then the empirical evidence surrounding the CO2 doubling sensitivity in the PaleoClimate.

The main purpose of this post was to just make the data available to everyone.  Others are free to use to use this data in any manner they see fit.

The data is available in three different easy-to-use Excel spreadsheets and can be downloaded at this link.  The Paleo Temp Database is a very large file and may be a slow download.

[Paleo Temp CO2 Sea Level Data]

PaleoClimate Temperature, CO2 and Sea Level Estimates

Guest Post by Bill Illis

This post is the first of what will likely be a series on the PaleoClimate.

In this part, we are just going to go through the various estimates for Temperature, CO2 and Sea Levels in the PaleoClimate.  This post is also about making the data available to everyone so that others can use it.  All of the data presented in this post is available for download at the end in easy to use Excel spreadsheets which also incorporates direct links to the actual data sources used.

PaleoClimate Temperature Estimates Over the Past 570 Million Years

There are various sources we can use for estimates of Temperatures in the PaleoClimate.

We have the ice core dO18 isotope data going back 800,000 years.  James Zachos has a high resolution database of dO18 isotopes going back 67.0 million years.  Jan Veizer has accumulated an isotope database that goes back 526.5 million years.  Dana Royer and Robert Berner applied a ph-correction factor to Veizer’s database and Christopher Scotese has developed Temperature estimates that extend back into the pre-Cambrian.

For the most part, the Temperature estimates are based on dO18 isotopes and these have proven to be reasonably reliable, or more accurately, to be the most reliable temperature estimation method that is available.

The isotope data does require a number of different transformations and smoothing to make it useful as a Temperature proxy.  Nobody is really sure what the proper way to carry this out is.

For one, it must be detrended as the data becomes older.  The dO18 declines over time due to the radioactivity of the Earth.  The above estimates are based on a simple linear detrending formula.  The rationale is that the radioactive conditions would have remained reasonably constant over the last 530 million years.  Others have used a second order polynomial but this does not result in much difference.

It has been noted that the dO18 isotope data should also be corrected for ice volume, sea level, the concentrations of CaCO3 in the oceans and -ph conditions of the oceans.  Royer and Berner applied a ph-correction factor based on Berner’s GeoCarb III CO2 estimates.  Again, this doesn’t make much difference except that Royer and Berner’s numbers are now lower than Veizer’s original database would point to.

Effectively, any transformation carried out has still got to match the record that we know about.  It is still going to have to show a Carboniferous ice age, an Ordovician ice age, a hot Permian Pangea climate, a hot Cretaceous period, an Antarctic glaciation and the recent ice ages.

In other words, no matter what corrections are applied, one should just end up with something very similar to the above chart.

Detailed Temperature Estimates Over the Past 530 Million Years

Veizer’s database contains over 16,600 individual dO18 isotope data points extending back 526.5 million years.  There is sufficient resolution throughout the database that we can be reasonably certain about any specific period.

The above chart has been constructed using Veizer’s data with two different smoothing parameters; a shorter one which preserves more detail and then one that emulates the Phanerozoic Climate Change chart by Robert Rohdes of Global Warming Art.  It is likely that both are reasonably accurate and sometimes less smoothing is preferred to more smoothing so that more information can be extracted.

In this case, there really is more information available from the shorter Gaussian smooth.  Immediately evident is that certain large temperature changes coincide with some of the large Mass Extinction events in the planet’s history.

The really unusual one is the Permian Extinction event in which 96% of marine species and 70% of large land animals died out in a very short period of time about 251.4 million years ago.  Previously this was thought to be due to exceptionally hot conditions or even ocean chemistry changes.

But now one can see that temperatures actually declined by about 5.0C in a very short period of time (something that is that well-known).  This temperature drop exactly coincides with the dating of the Siberian Traps volcanic events at 251 to 250 million years ago which is the largest series of volcanic events known in history.  An area nearly the size of Australia may have been covered by volcanic magma flows hundreds of metres deep (some places have been measured at 4 kms deep).  The volcanoes lasted for about 1 million years and, not surprisingly, temperatures fell.

The other event is the Ordovician extinction event of 443 million years ago in which 50% of the new Cambrian genera of life disappeared.  This was always known to be caused by a cooling climate.  But now, one can see that there is a very significant drop in the smoothed temperature estimates exactly at 443 million years ago.

The Devonian Extinction seems to be caused by a rapid increase in temperatures, as much as 10.0C in just a few million years.

Notice how the Cretaceous Period, 95 million years ago, is 2.0C to 3.0C higher than the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum.  The climate scientists are always talking about how unusual the PETM was but just a few million years earlier, temperatures were quite a bit higher.  Dinosaurs even lived in Alaska at the time, and it was a little farther north in the period than it is now.  The PETM event does not even look unusual enough in the record to spend much time on.

Notice that the timelines surrounding the Carboniferous Ice Age and the Ordovician-Silurian Ice Age are now clearly defined.  These timelines match up very closely with the estimated alignment of the Continents during the periods.   Even the short mid-Jurassic Ice Ages are now evident at a point in time when parts of EuroAsia were transiting the North Pole.

Detailed Temperature Estimates Over the Past 67 million Years

Zachos has developed another database of 14,800 individual estimates of dO18 isotopes that covers the past 67 million years with a resolution of less than 100,000 years in most cases.

The time period when Antarctica glaciated over (for the fourth time that is known about) is clearly evident.  Temperatures reached as high as 6.0C during the PETM and the periods when Antarctica reglaciated and when Greenland’s glaciers started building occurred at 14 million years ago.

About 2.5 million years, the most recent cycle of ice ages began.  In part II of the series, we may take a closer look at the ice ages in more detail.

PaleoCO2 Estimates

There are quite a few different estimates for CO2 in the PaleoClimate.  We have the ice cores, we have Mark Pagani 2005 with high resolution estimates between 5.4 million years to 44.5 million years ago and we have Berner’s GeoCarb III estimates which go back to 570 million years ago.

There are others (and they have been included in the CO2 spreadsheet) but they are not as well-accepted as these.  The other estimates come mainly from Stomata size (the cells that plants to use to absorb CO2), Paleosols (ancient soil deposits) and Phytoplankton among others.

Using the estimates that are most accepted and given the resolution is higher with the ice cores than with Pagani and then Pagani’s resolution is higher than Berner’s, they have been incorporated back-to-back-to-back as one series as follows.

As most of you are aware, CO2 goes as high as 7,069 ppm 520 million years ago and as low as 180 ppm during the height of the ice ages.

On the same timeline as the PaleoTemperatures Over 67 Million Years chart above, CO2 looks like this over the past 70 million years.

Paleo Sea Level Estimates

Sea level has also been included in the databases since it is not well-known that these high resolution estimates exist.  In addition, sea level can certainly have an impact on the climate as well be an indicator for the climate.

There are many different sea level estimates and the most recent one covering the whole period, produced by the world-leading expert on sea level, Bilal Haq, is the most accepted version (Haq, Schutter, 2008).

Sea Level has varied by a large amount throughout history.  Sea levels were as much as 265 metres higher than today 100 million years ago and have been as low as 120 metres lower than today during the Last Glacial Maximum.

Sea level seems to vary through three different mechanisms.

· Sea level falls when glaciers build up on land. Obvious enough.

· Sea level falls when continental land masses are concentrated together.  Collisions and mountain building tend to squeeze the Earth’s landmasses together and there is less continental shelf area that can affect the average depth of the overall oceans.  Related to the last reason, the ocean basins tend to be more mature and deeper in these situations. and,

· Sea level rises when new young ocean basins are opening. New ocean basins generally form at only 2,500 metres depth while mature ocean basins tend to deepen and reach a depth of about 6,000 metres after 100 million years.  That means the overall average depth of the ocean is lower when new oceans are forming.  This is particularly the case during the Cretaceous when the Atlantic Ocean was just opening up.

Sea levels rose so high during the Cretaceous as the Atlantic was just opening, that the ocean flooded North America from Texas to Inuvik, to Hudson Bay.  Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and the central parts of Eurasia were also flooded by shallow oceans.

During the Carboniferous and the Jurassic, the land masses were collected together into the Supercontinent of Pangea.  Sea levels fell in the earlier part as glaciers covered large parts of Gondwana, but then they stayed low as the glaciers melted and the continents moved together to form Pangea.

There are periods when there are rapid changes in sea level and these have been used by researchers to date the periods of glaciations.  It appears Scotese has used earlier versions of the sea level data to date the glaciations used in his temperature reconstruction.

Conclusion

Putting all the best estimates together, here is a view of the Temperatures, CO2 and Sea Level throughout the past 526 to 570 million years.

In subsequent posts, we may look at the Milankovitch Cycles and the recent ice ages, Continental Drift through time and how that may have affected the climate and then the empirical evidence surrounding the CO2 doubling sensitivity in the PaleoClimate.

The main purpose of this post was to just make the data available to everyone.  Others are free to use to use this data in any manner they see fit.

The data is available in three different easy-to-use Excel spreadsheets and can be downloaded at this link.  The Paleo Temp Database is a very large file and may be a slow download.

[Paleo Temp CO2 Sea Level Data]

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Gerry

I hope this is somehow brought to the attention of the IPCC alarmists preparing to meet in Copenhagen, even though the CO2 data, in particular, doesn’t seem to agree with their “consensus.”

Great work, Bill!

Shaviv and Veizer specifically criticized Royer’s pH “correction”:
http://www.phys.huji.ac.il/~shaviv/ClimateDebate/RoyerReply.pdf
“The analysis of Royer et al. (2004) assumes an unrealistically high pH correction. First, it neglects the ice-volume effect, which changes the relation between 18O and T . Second, this large pH correction implies high
temperatures for seawater even during times of extensive glaciations. Moreover, the analysis of Royer et al. (2004) consists of bootstrapping, by introducing a correction to T that is an implicit function of RCO2. It is then not surprising that a correlation between T and RCO2 is obtained. This would be the case irrespective of the RCO2 model utilized.”

red432

maybe this is conventional in the field, but to my eyes it looks like the time axis runs in reverse (greater x axis values represent negative years from now). This confuses my weak intellect :(. I’d prefer clearer labelling to make this easier to interpret correctly. Most other charts I see here have the present on the right edge.

HereticFringe

The inconvenient truth is that none of these facts about past climate matter… we all must submit to the will of our masters and pay more taxes and give up our freedoms. That is the ultimate objective of the warmists.

gtrip

Used to be that we worried about getting food. Of all people, my 16 year old son pointed out to me that abundance creates stupidity. Too much good leads to too much bad. And realist’s are subjected to praying for cold and the demise of society so that they can be proven right.

Patrick Davis

OT, but 11% of bugger all is still bugger all IMO. Also more examples of “assumption and modelling”…
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/sins-of-emissions-just-hot-air-says-think-tank-20091016-h150.html

Ed

Thanks for posting the data in excel! That’s a great habit and appreciated.
Is there any geomagnetic data over these time spans available by chance?

ak

Sea level seems like a highly problematic measure to make, especially given the nature of tectonics, over time periods of even millions of years. In that time, lithified ocean deposits can be lifted 1,000’s of feet into the air. What is the defined by this study to be level 0?
Will this study take into account the different flora/fauna present during these periods? Life adapted to the conditions present on earth at the time. Any comparison of Cambrian life (and it’s CO2 and temp) with the present would be highly misleading.

red432 (20:09:02) : “maybe this is conventional in the field…”
There are certain conventions, which apparently do not pertain to blogs, yet. Ordinates and abscissas should be unambiguously labeled: units, parameter, numeric range, and any other necessary information should appear on the appropriate axis or in the legend.
The x-axes here all represent millions of years BP (before present). Some of the graphs say millions of years BP; other say just millions of years; and one says nothing at all. Zero years BP is often on the right, but can also be put on the left as a little prank to see if you’re paying attention.
The y-axes here are either meters, ppm* CO², or temperature anomaly, but (as is too often the case) the zero temperature anomaly is undefined in some of the graphs. Where this key datum is lacking, I guess you should assume the T anomaly is relative to the average global temperature at the founding of Rome, April 21, 753 BCE/BC, in degrees Caesar (°C). jk
Graphs should be dated and should show the source of the data or of the graph itself. Prior versions of new original graphs should be given recognition (e.g., “after Schnickelfritz.”)
* this is usually parts per million by weight if you’re looking at liquid solutions or parts per million by volume if you’re looking at gases, but there are industry-specific exceptions. If not stated, hey, just assume it’s ppmv. That will be close enough for jazz, astrophysics, dendrophrenology, and paleoclimatology.

gtrip

It’s like throwing scraps to the dogs……

GGM

I think measuring sea level that far back is a pointless excercise. Techtonic Plate movment means that all sorts of assumptions have to be made to correct for it.
I`d like to see that last combined graph with just CO2 and Temperature.
Great work (which will of course go un-noticed by the warmists)

gtrip

Bill Illis…..credibility going down here….just wait until Joe gets hold of this…if he even bothers….

Can someone explain how sea level over large time spans is estimated? Sea level relative to what? To land is what matters, but the land is in motion. Plate tectonics push land up and down, so do ice caps that go away and return. Mountains rise and get eroded. One can one measure sea level without a static reference point?

R Taylor

It would be interesting to compare phase in the d18O and d13C data in Cenozoic sediments. Zachos, et al. show the data for the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum in figure 5 of Science vol. 292, pp. 686-693. Lag of d13C behind d18O is evident if you give comparable scale to the anomalies. Even at the ocean bottom, temperature seems to control gaseous carbon. Science declined to publish this observation.
Of course, Mudelsee in Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 20, pp. 583-589 observed that the best fit between temperature and carbon in the Vostok core indicates a 1300 year lag for carbon. When the warmists deny the significance of this, they are effectively saying that the CO2 level in 2000 AD influenced the temperature in 700 AD.
Of all those who would impose unscientific beliefs on their fellow humans, warmists are really perhaps the most harmful as they have been able to distort profoundly the economic status of the western world, and the worst may be yet to come.

nvw

Bill,
Nice post – I think you should add some additional details on the delta O18 paleothermometry – nowhere do you note that the ice core data comes from oxygen isotope ratios in the ice for the first 800,000 year record, whereas the older Phanerozoic record comes from the oxygen isotope ratios preserved in the shells of marine microfossils like forams. Where much of the recent debate over tree-rings temperature proxies focuses on whether trees really are thermometers, the physical basis for using isotopes for paleothermometry is well established and has strong theoretical and experimental support.
I think you were were wise to allocate your time and effort to bring this dataset to the public’s attention because it really is one of the most important constraints on the range of temperature and CO2 variability through geologic time – people should know these graphs and understand how they are produced and what the data means.

cogito

Very useful to give an overview and a broader picture. Puts things into perspective. Thanks, Bill.
There are certainly some questions and doubts which would probably need a closer look at the original publications.

What’s the”d” for (in “dO18”)? Thanks.

Benjamin P.

red432 (20:09:02) :
Download the data, on the graph in excel you can right click the x-axis, click format axis, select the scale tab and check the box at the bottom that says values in reverse order.

Benjamin P.

Although Red432, If you do that, all the labels added won’t be much good. But the data is there.
Ron House (23:39:11)
The d is for delta…read “delta-O-18”
Ben

John Wright

nvw (22:40:49
“I think you were were wise to allocate your time and effort to bring this dataset to the public’s attention because it really is one of the most important constraints on the range of temperature and CO2 variability through geologic time – people should know these graphs and understand how they are produced and what the data means.”
I agree. This looks to me like a very important post. Too big for a rapid comment.

Bill, I’ve just quickly scanned this article and I commend you for making the data available. There are details missing however and some errors. For example the notion of a correction to d18O to account for the radioactivity of the earth is wrong. Similarly the pH correction to d18O is controversial. At equilibrium the d18O composition of a marine mollusc/foraminifera (which most of these data are based on) would be independent of pH.
These issues are complicated but if Anthony and you are in agreement then I’m more than happy to write a 101 primer to stable isotopes and palaeotemperature measurements for WUWT and readers.
Paul Dennis
Head of Stable Isotope and Noble Gas Laboratories
School of Environmental Sciences
UEA
UK
http://sites.google.com/site/silenvuea/people/pfd
Reply: I’ve emailed Anthony about this ~ charles the moderator

Benjamin P.

nvw (22:40:49)
“I think you were were wise to allocate your time and effort to bring this dataset to the public’s attention because it really is one of the most important constraints on the range of temperature and CO2 variability through geologic time – people should know these graphs and understand how they are produced and what the data means.”
It’s also important people try to keep their mind in a geologic time state when looking at this data. For some of the graphs presented, there is enough time between data points were 20 ice ages could come and go.
Climate operates on decadal scales and we are looking at scales in the millions of years.
Just to give you a sense, there are 100,000 decades in 1 million years. So for that 540 million years of data, lets think of that as 54 million decades (54,000,000 decades).
Hard to imagine geologic time, and this is only 1/9th of the history of the earth.

Benjamin P.

Ed (21:17:33) :
Is there any geomagnetic data over these time spans available by chance?
http://dragon.ngu.no/Palmag/paleomag.htm

supercritical

Any chance of adding a history of sea-level atmospheric pressure as well?
Are there proxies for air density? ….. e.g. wing area/weight of flying creatures?

tallbloke

Bill, many many thanks for your presentation, and for making the data available. Please tell us where you picked up bit about the adjustment for radioactivity.
Likewise Paul Dennis, please tell us why you think this is wrong. And yes please, I’d really like to see a contribution from you on a full post of your own.

Alexander Harvey

Bill
Regarding the Zachos dO18 anomalies, is the increase in variability with decreasing age or temperature, a real effect, or the result of increased resolution, or some other cause?
Alex

Thanks for overview. The geological history of earth is very varying, always good to have idea when quarreling about last 20 years trends 😉

Back2Bat

“And realist’s are subjected to praying for cold and the demise of society so that they can be proven right.” gtrip
Not me! I would love a nice, sane society. Your son seems to be right about the link between abundance and stupidity. No wonder we were kicked out of the Garden.
Yes, I do hope it gets cold. The ninnies in charge are dangerous. If they wreck the economy via carbon restrictions we could end up with another world war.
I’m not hoping for a new ice age, just a solid refutation and humbling of our “leaders”.

Maximu5

Could you make the last graph clickable too ? And I would love a version of the last graph without sea levels. Will you be doing some correlation analysis on these in later articles ?

Dear Mr Illis:
For many years now, I’ve been on a non-profit personal effort to divulgate science among Spanish talking people, as can be corroborated by a simple search in Google.
May I translate your article into Spanish and publish it in my blog, “El Atril del Orador”, with due recognition and links, of course?

GGM (22:01:24) :
I think measuring sea level that far back is a pointless excercise. Techtonic Plate movment means that all sorts of assumptions have to be made to correct for it.
I`d like to see that last combined graph with just CO2 and Temperature.
Great work (which will of course go un-noticed by the warmists)

Relative changes in paleo-sea level throughout much of the Phanerozoic are not too difficult to reconstruct using Sequence Stratigraphy. Sedimentary rocks are the result of paleogeography and paleoclimatology.

Bill Illis

Thanks to the comments so far,
In regards to Royer and Berner’s ph correction factor and that fact that it is just bootstrapping CO2 onto the temperature estimates, Veizer and Shaviv in their response noted that there might be a rationale for applying a correction for ph. They also noted there was no rationale for just using GeoCarb III as the basis for that correction.
In the post, I noted there might rationale to incorporate other correction factors including ice volume, sea level and a number of others. Nobody really knows how to do that.
And then, at the end of the day, whatever correction factors are applied, they cannot be so large as to make much difference. The temperature estimates still need to provide a resonable match to the periods we are reasonably certain about. In other words, no matter what corrections are applied, you are right back where you started with the same chart.
I included Royer and Berner because it is “A” PaleoClimate Temperature reconstruction and that is what this post is about.
I don’t think it is that far off, maybe the Cretaceous period only, and then it incorporates a very long smoothing parametre which just smooths out much of the information available.

Bill Illis

Regarding the dO18% long-term trend, the isotope ratio declines the farther back one goes in time. In Veizer’s database, the ratio starts at 3.38% (compared to the mean) and then declines to as much as -10.0% by 526.5 million years ago. This is thought to be due to just normal radiogenic processes or radioactivity. The data is usually just detrended with a linear or a polynomial function. It is rather straightforward to do.

Bill,
Have you looked at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) in any detail?
Quite often it will be asserted that the PETM is model for the imminent ocean acidification climate disaster du jour. One tiny problem, no one can find any evidence of globally elevated atmospheric CO2 levels.
Royer et al. (2001),
Paleobotanical Evidence for Near Present-Day Levels of Atmospheric CO2 During Part of the Tertiary is an interesting read.
There is a fair bit of evidence that oceanic CO2 levels were elevated and there was a sharp, but brief, shoaling of the lysocline (oceanic acidification) during the PETM. The most likely answer lysocline shoaling is the release of sea floor methane hydrates due to extensive volcanism as the Northeast Atlantic began to open – Story et al. (2007).

The Spam filter may have grabbed my last post due to a couple of Science Mag. links.
[Rescued & posted. ~ dbs, mod.]

Bill Illis

Dave Middleton (05:04:41) :
Have you looked at the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) in any detail?
Quite often it will be asserted that the PETM is model for the imminent ocean acidification climate disaster du jour.

In the post, I noted there is nothing particularly special about the PETM in comparison to the overall record. It just provides a convienent target for global warming exageration. There was a different continental alignment at the time and, in subsequent posts, we may cover how that has affected the climate including the PETM.
The paleobotanical evidence (including CO2 estimates) vary by large amounts and is not consistent from period to period. I’ve put all of Royer’s data into the spreadsheets. It is another piece of evidence that should be taken into account but it is not clear that the paleobotanical evidence can be relied on.

Bill,
I see where you are coming from now with your comment about detrending the d18O trend over phanerozoic.
18O is a stable isotope of oxygen and its concentration is not affected by radioactive processes. The trend in Veizer’s data base is more than likely caused by diagenetic processes that alter the initial isotopic composition of the calcifying marine biota that are recording the isotopic composition. Typical marine d18O signatures are slightly positive (say +1 to +3 per mille with respect to mean ocean water). Diagenetic processes, especially those associated with freshwater fluxes through sediments will shift the isotope composition of the shells towards more negative values (typically down towards -10 to -12 per mille). Similarly any heating due to burial in sedimentary basins will lead to changes in the oxygen isotope composition. The older the sediment then the more chance that it is likely to have been reset.
The changes are not due to radioactvity.
This is a case where the metadata is critically important. For example microscopy, xrd, cathodoluminesence etc. might reveal evidence of recrystallisation etc. which may indicate that the oxygen isotope signal has been reset.
Not with standing theese caveats the Veizer data base is very important.

Jeff L

Thanks for compiling that data for all !

This post is also about making the data available to everyone so that others can use it. All of the data presented in this post is available for download at the end in easy to use Excel spreadsheets which also incorporates direct links to the actual data sources used.
But you don’t understand! You can’t let the data out and let ‘average’ people ‘play’ with it. They’ll make all sorts of assumptions, corrupt the data by removing our ‘corrections’ and all sorts of nasty things.
Shame on you! Obviously you do not have a scientific background and this is not published in a ‘peer-reviewed’ publication (that we deem acceptable, of course) so it’s invalid anyway.
‘Phew, we can ignore it then! Copenhagen here we come….’

I put a “satire off” at the end of that but it got swallowed

SunSword

Folks — something jumps out at me from looking at these graphics that I was not previously aware of.
Look at the 3rd temperature graphic — the one for the last 67 million years.
Now look at the 3rd CO2 graphic — the one for the last 70 million years.
See how CO2 levels did not stabilize to roughly their current levels (300 – 400 ppm) until Antarctica swung into position at the South pole (40 mya) and glaciated over (40 -30 mya). There is a LOT of water that is “out of play” now that it is all parked on Antarctica.
I have no explanation but I suggest that it is no coincidence that the past 30 million years of stable CO2 levels coincided with the past 30 million years of Antarctica parked at the South pole and covered with deep ice.

Ed Long

Bill,
I attempted to download the temperature data and a message appeared that the site “download89.mediafire.com” could not be found. I’ll try again later.
But a question: The temperature anomaly value for the ‘present’ in your plot is something like ‘-3.5’. How do I compare that to temperature anomaly data for which the anomaly is something like ‘0’, such as shown in the article at
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/10/15/global-sst-trend-down-near-zero-trend-since-2002-also-down/
Can I safely simply transpose your data by the difference of the anomalies in order to understand your temperature data in terms of that reported, such as the above satellite data or that reported by NOAA, NIST, or otherwise? (And yes, I do understand that location or whether it is global or not is a consideration.)
Thanks,

Bill Illis

SunSword (07:13:49) :
Folks — something jumps out at me from looking at these graphics that I was not previously aware of.
Look at the 3rd temperature graphic — the one for the last 67 million years.
Now look at the 3rd CO2 graphic — the one for the last 70 million years.
See how CO2 levels did not stabilize to roughly their current levels (300 – 400 ppm) until Antarctica swung into position at the South pole (40 mya) and glaciated over (40 -30 mya).

Sunstroke, there is very little correlation between CO2 and temperature over this period. None really, unless one wants to invoke the proposition that CO2 lags temperature changes on all timescales. I think there is some correlation over the whole record and we may get to that in subsequent posts.
But we have to start somewhere first and that has to be just putting the data together (potentially correcting it if there is an error).
And it is very hard to find this data. Hansen has it and in his last publication he said we need to keep CO2 below 450 ppm or all the ice will melt and temperatures will skyrocket. Now we can say, hold on there, that is not what the numbers from these sources say.

Bill Illis

Ed Long (07:18:36) :
Bill, I attempted to download the temperature data and a message appeared that the site “download89.mediafire.com” could not be found. I’ll try again later.
But a question: The temperature anomaly value for the ‘present’ in your plot is something like ‘-3.5′. How do I compare that to temperature anomaly data for which the anomaly is something like ‘0′,

The download site is still working when I go to it. Anyone else having problems?
The medium smoothed temperature line is at -3.5C at the beginning of the chart which signals that the recent period has been a cold ice age period – it is smoothed over roughly 3 million years. As the smoothing is damped down and as the resolution of the data goes higher, as in the Antarctic ice core and Zachos data, the current temperature estimates are set to +0.6C signaling the recent warming.
One really needs have some smoothing of the data at different time resolutions to be useful. There is still uncertainty as well as one goes back in time so there should be some smoothing/averaging of the specific estimates at each time period.

gtrip

SunSword (07:13:49) :
Folks — something jumps out at me from looking at these graphics that I was not previously aware of.
Look at the 3rd temperature graphic — the one for the last 67 million years.
Now look at the 3rd CO2 graphic — the one for the last 70 million years.
That is a joke, right?
The human body functions at approximately 98 degrees F. That heat radiates from the body as proved by infrared video (and by snuggling). The quadrupling of humans over the past one hundred years times the square miles of the earths surface equals a total heat increase of 0.7C for the planet.
Over that same period of time, the wealth of some nations has made it possible for more people to vacation at beaches. The cc’s of each person submerged into said oceans are equal to the sea level rise witnessed this past century. Add to that increasing population of whales and you realize that sea levels are actually falling.
So what else can we study/change?

gtrip

MUST READ:
http://www.quadrant.org.au/magazine/issue/2009/10/climate-modelling-nonsense
It is linked at Climate Depot. It is unbelievably succinct.
This John Reid guy should be getting a Nobel prize.

Benjamin P.

Dave Middleton (04:14:46) says,
“Relative changes in paleo-sea level throughout much of the Phanerozoic are not too difficult to reconstruct using Sequence Stratigraphy. Sedimentary rocks are the result of paleogeography and paleoclimatology.”
More so than paleoclimatology would be rates of sea floor spreading. The faster mid-ocean ridges are making new sea floor, the higher the sea levels.

Gee, would someone please explain to me why the dO18 amount does anything besides correlate with the number of costal thunderstorms in tropic regions?
And how this can be extrapolated to TEMPERATURE?
Maybe atmospheric ENERGY. But certainly NOT temperature.
This is the “King’s New Clothes” of this work. And I’m a little boy.

gtrip

As if what happened millions of years ago really matters???? This blog seems to losing it’s purpose. We don’t and will never live in a world that existed millions of years ago. Wake up and drink some coffee already.