No Increase of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction in Past 160 Years

I’ve been getting a lot of requests to cover this story, probably 20 or so now with wonderings about “why haven’t you covered this yet?

AIRS image of global carbon dioxide transport

How quickly you all forget. WUWT was the very first to cover this story back on November 10th, 2009.

Everybody else in the media today is playing catch-up. So if you’d like to read the original press release and participate in the already ripe comments left then, see this WUWT story:

Bombshell from Bristol: Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing? – study says “no”

No Rise of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction in Past 160 Years, New Research Finds

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499 thoughts on “No Increase of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction in Past 160 Years

  1. If the same percentage of an increasing amount of CO2 emissions (and CO2 emissions have and are increasing) stays in the atmosphere then atmospheric CO2 concentration will increase – this is what we see.
    Besides, surely every accepts CO2 is increasing.
    Move along, nothing here 🙂

  2. No, Anthony, you were not the first, The IPCC AR4, Chap 7, Exec Summary, said:
    … since routine atmospheric CO2 measurements began in 1958. This ‘airborne fraction’ has shown little variation over this period.
    And in Sec 7.3.2:
    7,3,2:” From 1959 to the present, the airborne fraction has averaged 0.55, with remarkably little variation when block-averaged into five-year bins (Figure 7.4)
    later referring to:
    “The consistency of the airborne fraction …
    In Chap 2:
    Assuming emissions of 7 GtC yr–1 and an airborne fraction remaining at about 60%, Hansen and Sato (2004) predicted that the underlying long-term global atmospheric CO2 growth rate will be about 1.9 ppm yr–1, a value consistent with observations over the 1995 to 2005 decade.
    A lot of “Bombshells” there!
    REPLY: Are you dense? Some days I think so. The story is about the University of Bristol paper, not the IPCC. For example as quoted in Science Daily on 12/31/09 (which is one of the many tips presented here on WUWT).

    “To assess whether the airborne fraction is indeed increasing, Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol”

    And my 11/10/09 story “Bombshell from Bristol: Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing? – study says “no””….quoting the same Wolfgang Knorr.
    So your interpretation of reporting (news articles/press releases -vs- IPPC government reports) is skewed into some alternate inverted thinking where you inject the IPCC when it was never part of the story we are discussing. Go Ahead, argue all you want that WUWT was not the first to report the Bristol story, we’ll love the entertainment. – A

  3. We know that temperature varies with
    1. day and night,
    2. summer and winter,
    3. ice ages and warmer periods.
    Consequently the heat balance for our planet:
    m∙cp∙dT/dt = Qin – Qout,
    cannot be in equilibrium. Here T is temperature, t is time, m∙cp is thermal mass, Qin heat added from the sun and Qout heat dissipated back to space. Temperature is constant when Qin = Qout (equilibrium), increases for Qin > Qout and decreases for Qin < Qout. We know that the input from the sun is constant equal 1366 ± 0.5 W/m² and that the heat dissipated back to space is given by the Stefan-Boltzmann law. Thus,
    m∙cp∙dT/dt = K – σT^4,
    where K is the constant heat added from the sun and the last term is the well-known radiation term back to såpace. Also we know that:
    1. The Swedish army marched across the ice between Sweden and Denmark in 1658.
    2. Anthropogenic CO2 became significant after 1950.
    Questions:
    * What caused the global warming from 1658 to 1950?
    * Why shouldn’t the global warming from 1658 to 1950 continue after 1950?
    Let us assume that we do not know the origin of the little ice age. How long would it take to establish equilibrium again in the heat balance for our planet? 1 day? 1 week? 1 year? 300 years? Remember the thermal mass for the ocean is huge! According to the heat balance the temperature will increase even if the input from the sun (K) is constant as long as the temperature T is below the equilibrium temperature. Trenberth seems to assume that the heat budget for our planet is balanced or almost balanced, what is the empirical basis for his assumption?

  4. I think Wolfgang Knorr re-submitted his paper just recently and that might be why it’s making the rounds again.
    Maybe it’ll actually get some media attention this time around ?
    I know, I know wishful thinking.

  5. Can we reconcile this?
    From another discussion about AGW on another forum:
    Here’s a direct quote from Dr Knorr when an interviewer asked whether his results undercut AGW
    QUOTE
    “That would be a very superficial interpretation of these results. Half the CO2 we emit stays in the atmosphere and that’s enough to cause global warming.”

  6. The simplest explanation is one the paper itself suggests: that “land use emissions are systematically overestimated”. So just more alarmist exaggeration.
    Everybody should note that the paper does not say that CO2 levels are stable, but that the increase is well below (25% to 43% of) the alarmist scenario.

  7. Anthony (10:40:36), yes, of course the IPCC (2007) didn’t report the Knorr paper (2009) saying that the airborne fraction (AF) was not increasing. What they did say, unequivocally, was that the AF was not increasing. It showed “remarkably little variation”. So how is the Knorr paper a “bombshell”?
    REPLY...ah ah ah…whoa there shifty, you can’t change the question without apologizing for your mistake first.

  8. Are you dense? Some days I think so.
    Anthony, what is the airborne fraction? Answer the fraction (%) of the CO2 emitted that stays in the atmosphere. So, if the amount being emitted increases so does atmospheric Co2 – surely?
    So, Nick Stokes is right, nothing really new – interested readers might want to check this out.
    REPLY: The issue is he said I was not the first to report the story, and the story I reported, and what is being reported on now (see the Science Daily link) is from the University of Bristol paper by Knorr. You are so busy trying to obfuscate with “move along…” that you miss the flaw in Stokes argument just like he has. Welcome to density. -A

  9. Perhaps Archibald is correct: Earth presently is in a C02 deprived state, and 385 ppm is a paltry figure that represents a scarcity, not an overabundance of, the stuff of life.

  10. I thought some mountain in Hawaii was measuring CO2 concentrations, and has shown a steady 2 or 3 ppm per year increase since measurements started in the 1950s.
    You mean this Bristol study says it aint so?
    Someone expalin this? I’m lost.

  11. What have we really learned?
    If a prestigious journal posts an article online, where it can be easily changed or withdrawn if feedback shows that peer-review has failed to catch errors, it is hardly noticed. When it is published on paper, setting it in stone, then it becomes noticeable and noteworthy.
    Oh, and it may not be so much that people have forgotten the earlier article, as post-Climategate the site has gained brand new readers and new regular readers (like me) who have not studied the archives thus didn’t know of it.

  12. Anthony,
    OK, I apologise for thinking that your story was about there being no increase in the airborne fraction of CO2. But given that the IPCC was clearly saying that there was no increase over the period of observations (since 1959) and Knorr has, I guess, extended that back to 1860, how is this a “bombshell”?
    REPLY: You must have a new years hangover, you still missed it. -A

  13. The issue is he said I was not the first to report the story, and the story I reported, and what is being reported on now (see the Science Daily link) is from the University of Bristol paper by Knorr. You are so busy trying to obfuscate with “move along…” that you miss the flaw in Stokes argument just like he has. Welcome to density. -A
    Oh, no I don’t dispute you reported this first (well, first to the blogsphere, clearly Science Daily beat you 😉 ) but I do agree with N.S. that it’s nothing really new because it is nothing really new.
    And, thanks, but my ‘move along’ comment refers to the point that if CO2 emissions increase (and they are) then if the fraction of those emissions remaining in the atmosphere stays the same the atmospheric concentration will rise.

  14. Invariant (10:44:02) :
    1. The Swedish army marched across the ice between Sweden and Denmark in 1658.
    2. Anthropogenic CO2 became significant after 1950.
    Questions:
    * What caused the global warming from 1658 to 1950?
    * Why shouldn’t the global warming from 1658 to 1950 continue after 1950?
    The frost fairs on the thames,
    Great Frost of 1683–84, the worst frost recorded in England,[1][2][3] the Thames was completely frozen for two months, the ice 11 inches (28 cm) thick at London. Solid ice was reported extending for miles off the coasts of the southern North Sea (England, France and the Low Countries)
    The frost fair of 1814 began on February 1, and lasted four days. An elephant was led across the river below Blackfriars Bridge. A printer named Davis published a book, Frostiana; or a History of the River Thames in a Frozen State. This was to be the last frost fair. (The climate was growing milder).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_frost_fairs

  15. “I thought some mountain in Hawaii was measuring CO2 concentrations, and has shown a steady 2 or 3 ppm per year increase since measurements started in the 1950s.
    You mean this Bristol study says it aint so?
    Someone expalin this? I’m lost.!”
    It does, and no it doesn’t.
    It’s about how much (% – the airborne fraction) of the increase emissions stays in the atmosphere? Answer the same percentage, BUT if the amount being emitted increases then the same percentage is more in absolute terms so the atmospheric conc increases. Eg if we, say, emitted 1Gt then 45% of that = .45gt. If we emitted 2 Gt 45% =.9Gt.

  16. Let’s establish some things which this paper does prove:
    A) There is no evidence we are anywhere near a “tipping point” where the natural sinks will no longer be able to contain our miniscule additional yearly contribution of CO2 to the overall flow
    B) These results demolish the hypothesis that the dominant time constant for anthropogenic CO2 persistency in the atmosphere is on the order of hundreds or thousands of years
    Do any of the alarmists out there have any substantial objections to these points?

  17. JonesII (11:17:46) :
    So what?…we just don´t care after “Climate-Gate”!
    We do.
    We need and will use every sound scientific argument to stop the warmist’s and their sick policies like the C&T and as CO2 is at the core of their argument it would be plain stupid not to use it.
    There are legal scores to settle with EPA and the UN IPCC.
    We have to deal with the precautionary principle.
    Just think of it. We will need any sound argument and the “Bombshell from Bristol” is exactly what we need to defeat them.

  18. “Nick Stokes (11:31:18) :
    Anthony,
    OK, I apologise for thinking that your story was about there being no increase in the airborne fraction of CO2.”
    So you do want a flamewar or what?

  19. The article says
    “In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.”
    So contrary to Nick Stokes and Peter Hearnden, the article unequivocally states that the airborne fraction is not increasing as a function of increasing CO2 emissions. Mind you, I do not understand how this squares with the statement earlier in the article that 45% of CO2 remaining airborne, but then again, there is no discussion of how long this percentage remains in the air.

  20. Talking about Gaia….
    / Joke_on
    Do you know why a Carnivore allways will have a highere IQ than a herbivore ?
    Answer: It doesnt take much IQ to sneak up on a straw.
    /Joke_off

  21. Peter Hearnden (11:31:20) :
    No tipping point.
    The Bristol paper is a bombshell because the AGW bandwagon has been claiming irreversible runaway CO2 warming has been reached. The Earth is still absorbing the same fraction of C02 content as it did before the Industrial Revolution. C02 isn’t driving anything currently, but the people who have been driving the C02 overheating bandwagon have been pulled over.
    Let’s see, this same claim was made in the 30’s.
    So, this is a 2nd offence.
    Suspended liscence is in order.

  22. Gah! I should proofread better! Also, as has been noted in many other posts on WUWT, the problem with the AGWers is they always fail to consider what sinks there may be for CO2 in any given system. Now they want to treat the oceans as a closed system without sinks of its own, and hence in danger of acidification by excess CO2. I find it quite ironic that this new worry about CO2 ignores the fact that carbon is a principle component of calcium carbonate, which, as stated in Wikipedia (sorry, but it’s a handy shortcut here), “is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rock in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and is usually the principal cause of hard water. It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement or as an antacid…” No discussion of ocean volume or buffering is usually included in alarmist media articles. However, I would not be surprised if the “crying wolf” effect leads the general public to shrug off the new alarm.

  23. A bit off topic, but I have a lot of respect for Burt Rutan, and apparently he has a whole page on his website dedicated to “Climate Change” here. In particular, I found his most recent paper on the subject quite interesting. His intro here (.pdf). He is expecting to have completed a full report sometime Q1 of 2010. I think it will be interesting to read his take on this subject once he completes his entire report.

  24. Does this not mean that the biosphere is soaking up a lot of the extra manmade CO2 since the industrial revolution? Or does it mean that natural CO2 has also been increasing along with manmade industrialisation CO2? I’m confused. :o(

    Nick Stokes (10:40:36) :
    Is there a difference between “1958” and ”
    1850
    “? If the IPCC quotes 1958 they were first to publish 1958 and not 1850!!! Sorry in advance Nick if I’m “dense” but I got a hangover. :o(

  25. rbateman:
    The Earth is still absorbing the same fraction of C02 content as it did before the Industrial Revolution.
    And if emissions increase (as they have and clearly (post the inaction at Copenhagen) will) then atmospheric CO2 conc increases.
    Re CO2 stabilisation times (Bart)- I don’t know better than Dr Archer and others. If anyone here does perhaps they can add a post?

  26. I searched for Bristol and found the older article. Maybe the Tips page’s instructions should emphasize use of Search before submitting a Tip.
    I don’t know if that is already on the Tips page because it’s too much trouble to make the Tips link visible in Google Chrome. Those spacers you have in the menu are just too wide.

  27. Let me see if I get this straight. The paper claims that the proportion of man-made CO2 retained in the atmosphere is more or less constant. In other words, if we generate a million tons of CO2 in a given period, about half a million (.55) tons are retained. This means that half a million tons are absorbed by the oceans, lakes, rocks, trees, etc. What is the physical mechanism behind this strange process, pray tell?
    I mean, how does the earth know that it must retain only half of the man-made CO2? How about the naturally emitted CO2? How does nature tell the difference between the two types of CO2? I sense some unseen magic in the woodwork.

  28. Peter Hearnden (11:31:20) :

    Oh, no I don’t dispute you reported this first (well, first to the blogsphere, clearly Science Daily beat you 😉 )…

    From the abstract of the paper:
    “Received 18 August 2009; accepted 23 September 2009; published 7 November 2009.”
    Anthony Watt’s’ first posting was on November 10, mentioning the University of Bristol press release dated November 9.
    ScienceDaily piece dated December 31 2009.
    Do you have a working carbon monoxide detector at your residence? Any strange unexplained headaches lately? Have you been tested for possible low blood sugar levels?

  29. Peter Hearnden (11:31:20) :
    “Oh, no I don’t dispute you reported this first (well, first to the blogsphere, clearly Science Daily beat you”
    Really? Anthony posted the first article on the 10th of November.
    “Date : November 10, 2009”
    first post was also dated the 10th.
    The first Science Daily article:
    “ScienceDaily (Nov. 11, 2009)”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091110141842.htm
    The misrepresentation and subsequent arguing a strawman position are enough for me to doubt anything you say. You may want to at least support this latest claim that ScienceDaily “clearly beat” Anthony.

  30. Squidly (12:13:52) : A bit off topic, but I have a lot of respect for Burt Rutan, and apparently he has a whole page on his website dedicated to “Climate Change” here.
    Sure. I agree with Burt Rutan.
    My conclusion is that, if the analysis (yes, the analysis by climate scientists) had been required to pass a typical engineering preliminary design review, the crisis theory would have never been passed on to the non-technical audience.
    http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm

  31. The main point is the worrying concept/possibility that….
    “….some studies have suggested that the ability of oceans and plants to absorb carbon dioxide recently may have begun to decline and that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is therefore beginning to increase.”
    In other words have the oceans and other eco-systems “maxed” out in their ability to absorb CO2 (be it anthropogenic or otherwise) but the main theme/thesis of Knorr’s paper and WUWT original post in Nov is that they have not…this is great news
    I don’t care about whether or not it is anthropogenic or otherwise….

  32. Bart says:

    B) These results demolish the hypothesis that the dominant time constant for anthropogenic CO2 persistency in the atmosphere is on the order of hundreds or thousands of years

    Really? Can you explain that logic? I don’t see how they have anything to say one way or the other on that subject. (Note: I don’t know what you mean by “the dominant time constant” but the actual claim has been that the persistency is not determined by a single time constant because it is highly non-exponential (see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/how-long-will-global-warming-last/ ), with ~1/4 of the perturbation still remaining after hundreds of years.
    vigilentfish says:

    Also, as has been noted in many other posts on WUWT, the problem with the AGWers is they always fail to consider what sinks there may be for CO2 in any given system. Now they want to treat the oceans as a closed system without sinks of its own, and hence in danger of acidification by excess CO2. I find it quite ironic that this new worry about CO2 ignores the fact that carbon is a principle component of calcium carbonate, which, as stated in Wikipedia (sorry, but it’s a handy shortcut here), “is a chemical compound with the chemical formula CaCO3. It is a common substance found in rock in all parts of the world, and is the main component of shells of marine organisms, snails, pearls, and eggshells. Calcium carbonate is the active ingredient in agricultural lime, and is usually the principal cause of hard water. It is commonly used medicinally as a calcium supplement or as an antacid…”

    It doesn’t ignore that at all. What you ignore is that there is a timescale associated with how long it takes the CaCO3 in the rocks to make it into the ocean to neutralize things, and unfortunately, this timescale is on the order of a thousand years or more. You can read about this, for example, in David Archer’s book “The Long Thaw”.

  33. Nick Stokes can’t understand why I used the word “bombshell” (though I think it’s just his way of conversation steering), from the Univ of Bristol press release in my original story:
    The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket.
    That paragraph, and the fact that “Bombshell from Bristol” makes for a good headline, far better than “nothing to see here, move along, covered before by the IPCC, from Bristol”.
    😉

  34. My field of expertise (that provides me employment) is test and measurement. I have always been suspicious of the reports of CO2 levels and have many questions. For one thing, how are ice core based data correlated with other data? For another, how are the data from Mauna Loa validated (calibration, correlation, controls, uncertainty), and what is there relationship to reality? It seems that a lot of importance is placed in what this one observatory ( under questionable management) is supposedly telling us. The AIRS product sure does not help in increasing confidence in the reported CO2 trends. Any study that assumes an even distribution of atmospheric CO2 can be tossed out the window.
    I would be interested in finding a primer on the science of CO2 measurement that answers some of my questions. I have considered writing to Dr. Roy Spencer, asking him to write one (but I am sure he does not to be pestered by dweebs like me).

  35. Nick Stokes (11:13:04) :
    “So how is the Knorr paper a “bombshell”?”
    The article tells you:
    “In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.”
    And, as you know very well, recent studies have all tended to ‘worse than we thought’ hype. the Knorr paper refutes those studies on this subject.
    And the world didn’t even need Steve McIntyre’s help with this slapdown!

  36. Does this mean what I think it does? There was a site (that was linked to from this blog a few months ago, but it would take me a while to find the link) that was claiming that the percentage of one isotope of carbon compared to another was proof that all of the additional CO2 that was being emitted was from man. If I understand this correctly, this paper directly challenges that assertion.

  37. The use of the term “airborne fraction” of anthropogenic CO2 muddles Knorr’s conclusions….he should have stated “that fraction of all CO2 remains constant”
    Re: Mapou (12:21:51) :
    “I mean, how does the earth know that it must retain only half of the man-made CO2? How about the naturally emitted CO2? How does nature tell the difference between the two types of CO2? I sense some unseen magic in the woodwork.”…
    it doesn’t…and about half of the natural CO2 is also absorbed…..

  38. Nick Stokes can’t understand why I used the word “bombshell” (though I think it’s just his way of conversation steering), from the Univ of Bristol press release in my original story
    Anthony, so do you think the Knorr paper in the final word on this issue?

  39. Peter Hearnden (12:19:37) :
    And if the atmospheric concentration increases, so what? It’s not driving the warming of the planet, and the planet is certainly more than capable of handling the sequestration of 10 times the current amount.
    Good luck getting the C02 away from the Calcium Carbonate rocks and back into the bio carbon cycle.
    ‘The Sednan race spotted Earth 25,000 years ago, a potentially habitable Ice World, needing only to have the Interglacials arrested. By the time the advance scouts got here, they found the Hominids had achieved Industrialization and Advanced Knowledge. They immediately set to work on a 30 year plan to drive them toward destroying their bio carbon cycle.’

  40. This is all based on the carbon cycle which is nothing but a theory, because although they might be able to make a fair estimate of man-made CO2 emissions, it is almost impossible IMHO, to estimate accurately Ocean and land-based fluxes. The IPCC even says so, here is a very important IPCC picture.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-7-3.html
    note: the caption – “Gross fluxes generally have uncertainties of more than ±20%”.
    To accept the 43% figure you have to accept all the other models, like the carbon cycle, as absolute truth and ignore the 20% error factor they admit to. (Gross fluxes generally have uncertainties of more than ±20%). That error factor is much more than man’s CO2 contribution.
    What about the warming oceans? I think we can all accept that global temperature have warmed somewhat since 1850 and warmer oceans will release more CO2. This warmer article,Carbon Dioxide in the Oceans, states: “In general, tropical waters release CO2 to the atmosphere, whereas high-latitude oceans take up CO2 from the atmosphere.” How is all of that measured?, There are millions of miles of ocean each releasing or taking up a different amount of CO2 depending on temperature gradients.
    The natural world creates about 212 Gt of Carbon, yet man only creates about 7-8 Gt, or 3-4% of natural. Yet the IPCC admits to error bars of 20% in their Carbon/CO2 estimates. Call me a skeptic, but you know what I think, I think they start with the man-made 7-8 Gt and then work “backwards”, making all the other number fit.
    This is Prentice, which is a long paper showing you how they came up with all the different estimates, that might be off 20%. To show you how hard all this is, look at a recent paper measuringforest inventory changes in Pennsylvania, (slow loader), Go to page 19 (22) You will see that Stand-Size of Pa forests increased by 33% btn 1994 and 2005. That means there is a tremendous change in CO2 taken in and decaying vegetation, very complex processes to measure. Do you think the IPCC or anyone can possibly measure all these various fluxes in the innumerable complex ecosystems, and add to that the oceans. The oceans which because of warming have to be emitting more CO2, they are estimated to hold 50x more CO2 than the atmosphere, just 1% more of CO2 release because of slightly warmers ocean temperatures, completely overwhelms any man-made CO2 affect! Completely!
    Call me a skeptic, although this paper might make the AGW a little less worse than thought, it is still all a big whopping guess! We just don’t know.

  41. Squidly (12:13:52) says:

    A bit off topic, but I have a lot of respect for Burt Rutan, and apparently he has a whole page on his website dedicated to “Climate Change” here. In particular, I found his most recent paper on the subject quite interesting. His intro here (.pdf). He is expecting to have completed a full report sometime Q1 of 2010. I think it will be interesting to read his take on this subject once he completes his entire report.

    Hmmm, Rutan says:

    Also, the oceans take 30 to 100 years to react to atmospheric temperature changes and the alarmists seem to want action “right now.”

    I would have thought that, given the greater heat capacity of the oceans compared with the atmosphere, and that the oceans receive energy every day from the sun, that it was unlikely for the oceans would react substantially to atmospheric temperature changes.

  42. Well its probably the good old Henry’s Law. Even though some laws are quite old, it doesnt mean they are not working anymore.
    Oceans slooooowly heating up from last ice age. CO2 degassing from the oceans. Its complex business.
    But of course all that is settled. According to Al Gore.
    Facts from 1997;
    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef4.htm
    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef5.htm
    I bet that white stuff you see raining down on you when diving on Titanic and similar places is that CaCO3 stuff..?
    Anyone?

  43. I suspect that in the near future, CO2 will phase out as a primary driver of AGW and be replaced by methane.

  44. Mapou (12:21:51) :
    Let me see if I get this straight. The paper claims that the proportion of man-made CO2 retained in the atmosphere is more or less constant. In other words, if we generate a million tons of CO2 in a given period, about half a million (.55) tons are retained. This means that half a million tons are absorbed by the oceans, lakes, rocks, trees, etc. What is the physical mechanism behind this strange process, pray tell?
    I mean, how does the earth know that it must retain only half of the man-made CO2? How about the naturally emitted CO2? How does nature tell the difference between the two types of CO2? I sense some unseen magic in the woodwork.

    I was waiting for someone to ask this. I think that the oceans etc absorb an amount equivalent to ~55% of the amount emitted by fossil fuel burning.

  45. Nick Stokes (10:40:36) : edit

    No, Anthony, you were not the first, The IPCC AR4, Chap 7, Exec Summary, said:
    “… since routine atmospheric CO2 measurements began in 1958. This ‘airborne fraction’ has shown little variation over this period.”
    And in Sec 7.3.2:
    7,3,2:” From 1959 to the present, the airborne fraction has averaged 0.55, with remarkably little variation when block-averaged into five-year bins (Figure 7.4)”
    later referring to:
    “The consistency of the airborne fraction …”
    In Chap 2:
    “Assuming emissions of 7 GtC yr–1 and an airborne fraction remaining at about 60%, Hansen and Sato (2004) predicted that the underlying long-term global atmospheric CO2 growth rate will be about 1.9 ppm yr–1, a value consistent with observations over the 1995 to 2005 decade.”
    A lot of “Bombshells” there!

    There have been many, many claims that the sequestration rate is either decreasing or is going to decrease. A quick look at Google finds thousands of articles from 2007-2008 alone making the claim, with titles like:

    Forests losing the ability to absorb man-made carbon dioxide
    Southern Ocean already losing ability to absorb CO2
    Heat Hinders Ground’s Ability to Absorb CO2
    North American flora can’t absorb continent’s greenhouse gas
    Antarctic Ocean Losing Ability to Absorb Carbon Dioxide
    Atmospheric CO2 Levels Rising Much Faster than Predicted [from decreasing sequestration]
    Earth may be losing ability to absorb CO2

    I could quote hundreds more, but I’m sure you see the point.
    You point out that the UN IPCC notes that the airborne fraction has been steady over the last fifty years. You either don’t know or don’t mention that the IPCC also notes that the models show “… the mean tendency towards an increasing airborne fraction through the 21st century, which is common to all models.” (IPCC FAR Figure 7.13) The IPCC also notes that “All C4MIP models project an increase in the airborne fraction of total anthropogenic CO2 emissions through the 21st century,” and “Climate change alone will tend to suppress both land and ocean carbon uptake, increasing the fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions that remain airborne and producing a positive feedback to climate change.” (Ibid p. 538)
    Now, since all the screaming is about the “climate change” that occurred in the latter half of the 20th century, and the IPCC says that climate change alone will increase the airborne fraction and also that the fraction hasn’t increased, I don’t know how they reconcile those two facts. Seems very contradictory to me, but since the IPCC is a corrupt UN idiocracy I suppose it should not be surprising …
    In any case, since each and every one of the models say that the airborne fraction increases with increasing levels of CO2, a scientific observationally based study saying that those model results are hogwash is certainly worth highlighting.

  46. Joel Shore
    “What you ignore is that there is a timescale associated with how long it takes the CaCO3 in the rocks to make it into the ocean to neutralize things, and unfortunately, this timescale is on the order of a thousand years or more.”
    Um, what YOU ignore is the other end of the process that sucks carbon out of the ocean, sequesters it on the sea floor in shells that later is thrust up as sedimentary rock that eventually makes it back to the ocean.

  47. P Gosselin (11:23:42) :
    I thought some mountain in Hawaii was measuring CO2 concentrations, and has shown a steady 2 or 3 ppm per year increase since measurements started in the 1950s.
    You mean this Bristol study says it aint so?
    Someone expalin this? I’m lost.

    Okay, well understand first of all where the source of information comes from, ice cores. But basically what is being talked about is the ratio of absorbed vs unabsorbed CO2 as a percentage, Not that we are not dumping more into the atmosphere but that which we do dump is being absorbed at the same rate. The reason this is significant is because one of the many hypothesis about CO2 is that we better reduce it now before the we emit more then the world can absorb. But the ratio of absorption has not changed… So basically if we emitted 2 billion tonnes of CO2 in 1850 approx 55% of that was absorbed by the world at large. Currently we are emitting 35 Billion Tonnes and it is still being absorbed at the same rate ( 55% basically ) So while CO2 is still going up and is going up at a higher rate the world absorbed more CO2 then it even did in 1850…
    Please anyone who notes I am off base with this chime in, just my understanding of it.

  48. Re: Willis Eschenbach (13:04:11) :
    Very well put…..
    I guess this result (earth still effectively absorbing all forms of CO2) shouldn’t really be all that suprising, since it has been doing this for some time now…..but I have to admit it sure feels good to have a peer reviewed (Journal published article) confirming it……

  49. Richard Sharpe (12:55:04) :
    Squidly (12:13:52) says:
    I would have thought that, given the greater heat capacity of the oceans compared with the atmosphere, and that the oceans receive energy every day from the sun, that it was unlikely for the oceans would react substantially to atmospheric temperature changes.

    Sure it’s the other way around – the thermal mass of the ocean is 700 times larger than the thermal mass of the atmosphere…
    However, an ocean thermal time constant in the range between 30 and 100 years seems reasonable!

  50. Everybody else in the media today is playing catch-up.
    Another reason for WUWT to advertise on Yahoo front page—-so people can find a new and better news source!!!

  51. DesertYote (12:44:52) :
    “I have always been suspicious of the reports of CO2 levels and have many questions. For one thing, how are ice core based data correlated with other data?”
    Well, the REAL HUGE HUMONGOUS BOMBSHELL in the last few weeks was the report out of NASA on the AIRS satellite data re CO2. Contrary to ‘consensus’ belief, CO2 is NOT well mixed in the atmosphere. In fact it is rather lumpy. (Odd, isn’t ‘Lumpy’ the name of Lucia’s climate model? Rather prescient methinks.)
    So one can say that the ice core data on CO2 correllates only with itself.
    What are the implications for the climate models? Perhaps an expert like Joel Shore can illuminate us. Ya think?
    There was a piece out of NASA months ago hinting at this, but they were still analyzing the data.
    I question the timing of the report, however. Just like the Whitehouse dumps stories on a Friday night that it doesn’t want known, the NASA report on Lumpy came out during the initial heat of ClimateGate!

  52. Peter Hearnden (12:52:08) :

    Anthony, so do you think the Knorr paper in the final word on this issue?

    I’d love to see any climate paper that you consider to be the “last word”, though AGWers try to shut down debate so much they’d like some to be the “last word”.
    REPLY: Well said. It reminds me to remind everyone of Lord Kelvin’s missive: “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.” Some facets of Climate Science seem to be imitating Lord Kelvin these days with their focus on CO2 being “the final word” on warming. – A

  53. thecomputerguy says:

    There was a site (that was linked to from this blog a few months ago, but it would take me a while to find the link) that was claiming that the percentage of one isotope of carbon compared to another was proof that all of the additional CO2 that was being emitted was from man. If I understand this correctly, this paper directly challenges that assertion.

    You don’t. It doesn’t. In fact, the fact that the amount remaining in the atmosphere is such a fixed fraction of what we emit provides even more evidence that the CO2 rise is indeed due to our emissions.

  54. Willis Eschenbach (13:04:11) :
    Nice IPCC goofy list, don’t mind if I do.
    Forests losing the ability to absorb man-made carbon dioxide – That’s a land-use issue, not a C02 type issue. A tree could care less which type of C02 it eats.
    Southern Ocean already losing ability to absorb CO2 – until they discovered all the sea life under the ice.
    Heat Hinders Ground’s Ability to Absorb CO2 – I thought sunlight was a prescribed component of photosynthesis. It’s the plant that eats the C02, not the dirt. Frozen plants don’t eat anything.
    North American flora can’t absorb continent’s greenhouse gas – I didn’t catch the news that reported all plant life died in N. America.
    Antarctic Ocean Losing Ability to Absorb Carbon Dioxide – bio, bio, bio. Crustaceans make shells. Shells sink. Limestone forms.
    Atmospheric CO2 Levels Rising Much Faster than Predicted [from decreasing sequestration] – If the ratio hasn’t changed, the only thing that is faster than predicted is the IPCC giveth and the IPCC taketh away.
    Earth may be losing ability to absorb CO2 – That might be true if it eats all the rest of the C02. You can’t absorb something that is doing a Geological timeframe vanishing act. Put in a science perspective, the law of diminishing returns is at work here. Geology has gobbled bio-C02 insatiably.

  55. Compartmental models are notoriously difficult to characterise especially when transport between compartments are through diffusion, or at least obey linear dffrenetial equations. I went through a phase early in my career of trying to understand where certain chemicals were partitioned in the body from forcing with infusions and observing the washout.The equations describing the concentrations in the various parts of system are horribly ill-conditioned and that was with an observable, controllable system. In the words of a distinguished mathematician, it was like dividing a snowball by a moonbeam and expressing the results to 6 significant figures. I’m highly suspicious of any calculations that require measurements of fluxes to be better that 5% error to gain a realistic answer.

  56. “Syl (13:24:33) :
    […]
    Well, the REAL HUGE HUMONGOUS BOMBSHELL in the last few weeks was the report out of NASA on the AIRS satellite data re CO2. Contrary to ‘consensus’ belief, CO2 is NOT well mixed in the atmosphere. In fact it is rather lumpy.”
    Oh, you shouldn’t overplay this. It was a very colorful map but the concentration differences ranged from 382 to 395 ppm or something… Not that lumpy after all. Please go back to the map and find the legend.

  57. Syl says:

    Um, what YOU ignore is the other end of the process that sucks carbon out of the ocean, sequesters it on the sea floor in shells that later is thrust up as sedimentary rock that eventually makes it back to the ocean.

    None of these things are being ignored. What matters is the rates at which these processes occur. Read the literature…Then comment.

  58. Joel Shore (12:41:20) :
    “Really? Can you explain that logic?”
    Even under the ridiculous assumption that the entire increase in CO2 levels we have witnessed in the last 50 years is anthropogenic CO2, more than half of it is not in the atmosphere after an average of less than 25 years (less than because the release of CO2 is more heavily weighted toward recent decades). This fact completely demolishes analyses such as this.
    ” I don’t know what you mean by “the dominant time constant”
    A dominant time constant would be one which determines the majority of the dynamics. A time constant which accounts for over half of the dissipation of a substance in a given time interval could reasonably be considered “dominant”.
    …but the actual claim has been that the persistency is not determined by a single time constant…
    Irrelevant. There is no evidence that lingering persistence on the order of hundreds or thousands of years exists, and even less that it exists and is significant. You are dealing in speculative science.
    “…because it is highly non-exponential (see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/how-long-will-global-warming-last/ ), with ~1/4 of the perturbation still remaining after hundreds of years.”
    More models with predetermined conclusions. Open your eyes. The Bristol paper evaluates real, empirical data.
    To all: This really is a potential giant slayer. There are two struts which are absolutely essential in holding up the edifice of CAGW. If either weakens significantly or fails altogether, the entire house of cards collapses.
    One is the hypothesis of significant and unopposed positive water vapor feedback, without which CO2 alone will not heat the planet catastrophically. Lindzen and Choi and Spencer, et al., have been chipping away at this strut effectively over the last year.
    The other strut is the attribution of the entire increase in CO2 concentration observed over the last 1/2 century to anthropogenic sources. Necessary to this attribution is the assumption of an extremely long persistence of anthropogenic CO2 (but not natural CO2, even though there is no significant difference – but that’s a subject for another time which I have been over extensively elsewhere in the WUWT forums) in the atmosphere. Obviously, if the available sinks removed the CO2 as fast as it were being added, there would be no increase in concentration. As the time constant increases, the level of maximum accumulation increases, up to the entire integrated rate of release. A dominant time constant on the order of 5-10 years, such as has been estimated by several studies, and which is reasonably supported by the Bristol paper, would confirm that the claims of CAGW are without merit.

  59. I’d love to see any climate paper that you consider to be the “last word”, though AGWers try to shut down debate so much they’d like some to be the “last word”.
    That would be why views like mine are in such a minority here then….

  60. Dr Knorr himself explains the ramifications of his paper here:
    http://jonesthenews.wordpress.com/2009/11/10/bristol-research-does-not-support-climate-change-denial/
    “You can always misinterpret the results but I think that experience shows that kind of misinformation dies out quickly.”
    [snip- Tom P… that was uncalled for, it is being discussed widely in other venues, and I don’t appreciate your remarks, if you don’t like what we do here start your own blog, otherwise … – A ]

  61. so we take temperature readings from thousands of sites to get a global average temp but for CO2 we use ONE site in Hawaii ?
    Seems like there are lots of sources of CO2 in Hawaii that could skew any measurements …
    the assumption the the atmosphere is perfectly mixed on a global scale is utter ignorance …

  62. rabidfox (13:01:11) :
    “I suspect that in the near future, CO2 will phase out as a primary driver of AGW and be replaced by methane.”
    That will be so that the green anti technologists can hobble the natural gas industry. “It’s too dangerous to use as there will be leaks and they will cause global warming – we’re all gonna fry!”

  63. Now let’s see: Humans allegedly cause a 1% increase in atmospheric CO2 per year and roughly half of it goes away in that time. So if we stopped all human CO2 emissions tomorrow how long would it take for the 1% added over the last year to go away? The way I figure it the time constant of this is something like 9 months.
    Anybody got a better estimate?

  64. Mapou (12:21:51) :
    Let me see if I get this straight. The paper claims that the proportion of man-made CO2 retained in the atmosphere is more or less constant. In other words, if we generate a million tons of CO2 in a given period, about half a million (.55) tons are retained. This means that half a million tons are absorbed by the oceans, lakes, rocks, trees, etc. What is the physical mechanism behind this strange process, pray tell?
    I mean, how does the earth know that it must retain only half of the man-made CO2? How about the naturally emitted CO2? How does nature tell the difference between the two types of CO2? I sense some unseen magic in the woodwork

    Well it’s all (relative) simple physics. In short: the CO2 levels in the atmosphere at a given temperature are in equilibrum with CO2 in the oceans and in the water of the alveoles of leaves. If there is more CO2 in the water (like in warm eqatorial oceans) some CO2 is going from the oceans to the atmosphere and reverse (near the pooles). If the average temperature doesn’t change, there will be a (dynamic) equilibrium for that temperatrue. If more CO2 is entering the atmosphere, the level goes up and the pressure difference between CO2 in the atmosphere and in water goes up, thus more CO2 is entering the cool waters near the poles and less is escaping near the equator. That is of course simpler than reality, but if you double the addition to the atmosphere, the simple rule says that the uptake rate will double too, all the rest being equal (for the interested reader: the global carbon cycle acts as a simple first order equilibrium process). Something similar is happening in vegetation, but that is far more complex and involves other limitations (sunlight, nutrutiens, water,…).
    Of course, the earth’s carbon cycle hardly distiguishes between “man-made” and natural CO2 (it does for a tiny fractionation of isotopes), but as the emissions are one-way additions and the sum of all natural processes is negative (less CO2 increase is measured than there are emissions), there is zero net extra CO2 induced by nature. They are talking about (man made) quantities, not type.

  65. Syl says:

    Well, the REAL HUGE HUMONGOUS BOMBSHELL in the last few weeks was the report out of NASA on the AIRS satellite data re CO2. Contrary to ‘consensus’ belief, CO2 is NOT well mixed in the atmosphere. In fact it is rather lumpy. (Odd, isn’t ‘Lumpy’ the name of Lucia’s climate model? Rather prescient methinks.)
    So one can say that the ice core data on CO2 correllates only with itself.

    No…The variations aren’t that large and one would expect them to have probably been much smaller when the rate at which CO2 increased or decreased was much smaller (which is true of the rates of change of CO2 in the glacial – interglacial cycles as compared to now).

    What are the implications for the climate models? Perhaps an expert like Joel Shore can illuminate us. Ya think?

    Not much, I would think. The differences are still pretty small compared to the total change in CO2 levels since the pre-industrial. Maybe if we had climate sensitivity determined to, say, better than +/-10% then it would matter. But, since we don’t, our current uncertainties in other areas pretty much swamp any uncertainty due to these fairly small geographic variations in CO2 levels.

  66. Syl (13:05:50) :
    Joel Shore
    “What you ignore is that there is a timescale associated with how long it takes the CaCO3 in the rocks to make it into the ocean to neutralize things, and unfortunately, this timescale is on the order of a thousand years or more.”
    Um, what YOU ignore is the other end of the process that sucks carbon out of the ocean, sequesters it on the sea floor in shells that later is thrust up as sedimentary rock that eventually makes it back to the ocean.
    Thanks for catching my meaning, Syl…you’ve taken away any necessity for me to respond to Joel Shore.

  67. Ron de Haan (11:52:25) : Yes, you will have Cap&Trade and if you don´t , you already have Holy EPA. That´s another story!…you are done. If I would have found a futuristic fiction book story, back in the 1950´s, I wouldn´t have bought it for being too naively fantastic. Can´t imagine THAT´s the USA, it´s really unbelievable! .

  68. “rbateman (13:34:01) :
    […]
    Heat Hinders Ground’s Ability to Absorb CO2 – I thought sunlight was a prescribed component of photosynthesis. It’s the plant that eats the C02, not the dirt. Frozen plants don’t eat anything.”
    Minor nitpick: Dirt doesn’t but rock absorbs a lot of CO2 through weathering.

  69. “Joel Shore (12:41:20) :
    […]
    The other strut is the attribution of the entire increase in CO2 concentration observed over the last 1/2 century to anthropogenic sources.”
    It should also be noted that AFAIK since about 2000 – with the rise of China – anthropogenic CO2 production accelerated but it doesn’t show in the very linear looking (with a seasonal wiggle) Keeling curve. So this correlation is falling apart. Anybody got more info on this?

  70. In my opinion, the limited band of CO2 absorption wavelengths is the real issue here. I often see carbon dioxide likened to a blanket covering the earth. But, due to the large transparent holes in that blanket’s Earth radiation blocking spectrum, I think it would be better likened to a wide scarf that you only wear around your neck.
    One can still freeze to death if all they have on is a scarf, whether it be one quarter of an inch thick or three inches thick.
    See:
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/06/atmospheric_spectral_absorption.png
    The critical area is the 6 to 20 micron band. (the above is a naked link)

  71. UPDATE: US Republicans Threaten To Block EPA CO2 Regulation
    The lawmakers say they plan to pass a “disapproval resolution” that would prevent the EPA from regulating gases such as carbon dioxide and will stop appropriations of any federal funding for administrative efforts to finance international climate agreements.
    The GOP vows come as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier Thursday pledged the U.S. would help fund up to $100 billion a year in long-term financing to developing countries such as China and India as part of a last-chance effort to salvage a climate conference in Copenhagen.
    http://www.smartmoney.com/news/ON/?story=ON-20091217-000598&amp;

  72. Ron de Haan (11:52:25)
    “Just think of it. We will need any sound argument and the “Bombshell from Bristol” is exactly what we need to defeat them.”
    Well, it’s a help, but it’s nowhere near sufficient. To paraphrase what you said, we need as much ammo and weaponry as we can get.
    DesertYote (12:44:52) :
    Regarding the “measurement of co2” question:
    This paper by Beck discusses the Keeling curve and various measurements of CO2, other than ice cores. It has some interesting things to say about the IPCC, as well.
    http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/180CO2/08_Beck-2.pdf
    As far as CO2 scrubbing goes, didn’t those recent nasa pics (don’t have the link handly) show very low CO2 concentrations over forests and high CO2 over deserts?

  73. Bart says:

    Even under the ridiculous assumption that the entire increase in CO2 levels we have witnessed in the last 50 years is anthropogenic CO2, more than half of it is not in the atmosphere after an average of less than 25 years (less than because the release of CO2 is more heavily weighted toward recent decades). This fact completely demolishes analyses such as this.

    It has been known for decades that about half of what we emit in the atmosphere is taken up almost immediately. Archer knows this in his analyses.

    Irrelevant. There is no evidence that lingering persistence on the order of hundreds or thousands of years exists, and even less that it exists and is significant. You are dealing in speculative science.

    No evidence other than our understanding of the basic chemistry of the process, along with paleo data (e.g., from the PETM)…and probably some other evidence that I have missed.

    More models with predetermined conclusions. Open your eyes. The Bristol paper evaluates real, empirical data.

    The Bristol paper has nothing to say about this. I have no idea why you think it does.

  74. Joel Shore (12:41:20) :
    Bart says:
    B) These results demolish the hypothesis that the dominant time constant for anthropogenic CO2 persistency in the atmosphere is on the order of hundreds or thousands of years
    Really? Can you explain that logic? I don’t see how they have anything to say one way or the other on that subject. (Note: I don’t know what you mean by “the dominant time constant” but the actual claim has been that the persistency is not determined by a single time constant because it is highly non-exponential (see http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/03/how-long-will-global-warming-last/ ), with ~1/4 of the perturbation still remaining after hundreds of years

    To a certain extent, this indeed is contrary to the multi time constant rate of absorption of the IPCC’s Bern (and other) models. If there were important slow time constants, we should see that the fastest time constant has troubles to maintain the rate of absorption as in the article is disproven. The Bern model may be only of some importance if we burn near all available oil and enormous amounts of coal, as only then the deep oceans CO2 concentration will increase substantially, which affects the atmospheric concentrations after a long delay.
    See the work and discussion of Peter Dietze at:
    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm
    and the difference between the Dietze model and the Bern model for current CO2 levels, if we should stop all emissions today:
    http://www.vkblog.nl/bericht/262958/De_CO2-cyclus (last graph)

  75. The title to this post is very misleading.
    The fraction of CO2 is in relation to the fraction of man made emissions to natural CO2.
    The title says “No Increase of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Fraction” …presumably the fraction of CO2 to other gasses found in the atmosphere.
    There are enough idiots on the AGW side and quite a few on the skeptics side saying all sort of garbage. Perhaps it would be better if those on the skeptics side were more concise and did not rely on misleading statements.

  76. I remember seeing someone claim that crops were growing faster because of all the extra CO2. I guess that’s mass hysteria for you.
    At some point, someone has to call this AGW movement mass hysteria. Just like the dot-com bubble & the real estate bubble & the investment banking bubble, it has its true believers who will eventually be hurt by it. People quibbled about the details on those things too, and, then the obvious fraud was found out.

  77. DirkH (14:03:13)
    If I am correct in my belief of how the dynamics should manifest themselves, there should be evidence of the accelerated input within roughly a 5-10 year lag interval, and it should be small. It would be interesting, if I had the data and could trust it, to perform a cross correlation. I could then remove the what-I-expect-would-be-small man-made signal and what remained, which would essentially be the linear looking part with some variations due to, e.g., volcano activity, would necessarily be due to natural causes. It amazes me that nobody has AFAIK done this.

  78. Many papers say CO2 turnaround time is about 7 years. Segalstad says 5.4 years.
    So, since the turnaround time is so short ,and it ends up as seabed sediment, whats the problem?

  79. DesertYote (12:44:52) :
    I would be interested in finding a primer on the science of CO2 measurement that answers some of my questions. I have considered writing to Dr. Roy Spencer, asking him to write one (but I am sure he does not to be pestered by dweebs like me).
    No problem, there are 10 “baseline” stations measuring CO2 in the atmosphere, not only Mauna Loa. These are all within 5 ppmv for yearly averages. Within a year, there are large seasonal variations (due to growing and decaying vegetation), mainly in the NH, and a gradient in altitude and latitude: the SH delays the NH with about a year. Some 70+ other stations measure on other places far away of huge sources and sinks and some 400+ stations measure at different heights near huge sources and sinks (to measure local/regional CO2 fluxes).
    Basic explanations of the measurements and rigourous calibration procedures are here:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
    Some extended discussion:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

  80. DirkH (13:56:56) :
    “rbateman (13:34:01) :
    […]
    Heat Hinders Ground’s Ability to Absorb CO2 – I thought sunlight was a prescribed component of photosynthesis. It’s the plant that eats the C02, not the dirt. Frozen plants don’t eat anything.”
    Minor nitpick: Dirt doesn’t but rock absorbs a lot of CO2 through weathering.

    That’s the part that bothers me. Seems that we are losing C02 to geologic formations that don’t want to give it back.

  81. Mike Borgelt (13:52:20)

    Now let’s see: Humans allegedly cause a 1% increase in atmospheric CO2 per year and roughly half of it goes away in that time. So if we stopped all human CO2 emissions tomorrow how long would it take for the 1% added over the last year to go away? The way I figure it the time constant of this is something like 9 months.
    Anybody got a better estimate?

    This time constant is the subject of debate. It is usually expressed either as the “half-life” or the “e-folding time”. The half-life is the time required to decay to half its initial value, while the e-folding time is the time required to decay to 1/e, which is 37% of its initial value.
    My own analysis, done a decade ago, showed that e-folding time is on the order of 35 years, while the IPCC, using the “Bern carbon model”, gives a value of 50 to 200 years. My analysis has recently been given support by the work of Jacobson, who gives a most probable value of 30 to 43 years.

  82. Syl (13:24:33) :
    “Perhaps an expert like Joel Shore can illuminate us. Ya think?”
    Funny! One of my other areas of interest is aquatic ecosystems. I thought about responding to some comments of his before posting what I did, but decided not to bother, “… timescale is on the order of a thousand years or more.” He has obviously read “all the literature” so what could I add? All I have is my knowledge gained through actual observations and experiments. I don’t think that would help as I’m not a peer reviewed moonbat. For the record, the timescale is on the order of a thousand days at most. If it was not, coral reefs would not exist!
    Its a shame that it seems that all of the sciences have been overrun by those with a political agenda.

  83. DirkH (13:56:56)

    “rbateman (13:34:01) :
    […]
    Heat Hinders Ground’s Ability to Absorb CO2 – I thought sunlight was a prescribed component of photosynthesis. It’s the plant that eats the C02, not the dirt. Frozen plants don’t eat anything.”
    Minor nitpick: Dirt doesn’t but rock absorbs a lot of CO2 through weathering.

    Major nitpick. I used to assist an eccentric Englishman, Allen Chadwick, in his garden. He used to say “Never call it dirt, ducks, it’s soil.” What he meant was that dirt is what gets on our shoes, while soil is a living organism containing a host of both plant and animal life. As a result, the soil both sequesters and releases a lot carbon. Estimates of the size of this flux are on the order of 60 Gigatonnes of carbon per year (about six times the human emissions), while the reservoir of carbon in the soil is estimated at 1,600 Gigatonnes.

  84. It will be really funny when the “experts” figure out that 388 ppmv CO2 pretty well fits within the normal range of warm periods in the last 10,000 years.
    The ice core CO2 data make for a very nice 200- to 500-yr moving average; but they can’t resolve decadal- and century-scale changes.
    I would think that the fact that the AIRS data show polar CO2 to be ~30 ppmv lower than low- to mid-latitude CO2 would be a clue that the ice cores systematically underestimate global atmospheric CO2.
    AIRS
    Plant SI data accurately depict CO2 with nearly annual resolution over portions of the last 10,000 years. SI data over the last 60 years match the MLO data and they can be empirically tested.
    SI vs MLO & Ice Cores

  85. Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:53:22) :
    “Of course, the earth’s carbon cycle hardly distiguishes between “man-made” and natural CO2 (it does for a tiny fractionation of isotopes), but as the emissions are one-way additions and the sum of all natural processes is negative (less CO2 increase is measured than there are emissions), there is zero net extra CO2 induced by nature. They are talking about (man made) quantities, not type.”
    Ferdinand, if the carbon cycle does not distinguish between the two, then the dynamics which continually remove the much larger natural input must be equally adept at removing the anthropogenic portion.
    It may be argued with very few assumptions that the model should be
    Cdot = (Co – C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    where C is the atmospheric concentration, Co is the equilibrium level of CO2 in the atmosphere without anthropogenic forcing, tau is the dominant time constant, adot is the rate of input from anthropogenic sources, and Ko is a sensitivity factor which is essentially a stimulated emission term, e.g., anthropogenic forcing causes warming, which heats the ocean, releasing more CO2.
    This additional CO2 is natural, with natural isotopic composition. It would be like the action of a transistor. A transistor does not actually amplify a given weak signal by making the electrons bigger, or some such silliness. Rather it uses the weak signal to modulate a stronger signal so that it becomes qualitatively similar to the weak signal.
    Without Ko, an adot which is less than or equal to 3% or so of the value of Co/tau, which is the rate of natural CO2 release, results in a 3% steady state increase in the level of C. That is, if Co were representative of 280 ppmv, the level of C due to adot would be less than 1.03*280 = 288 ppmv. To get a level of about 380 ppmv such as we have observed from anthropogenic forcing alone, Ko would need to be greater than a factor of 10, which is extremely unlikely IMHO.
    The only assumptions which went into deriving this model are:
    A) locally linear dynamics
    B) the term Ko*adot represents the dc gain of a linear operator K acting on adot, and the potentially higher frequency components of this operator are not significantly excited by adot
    It is possible, though IMHO unlikely, that the value of tau could change significantly with increasing C, hence dramatically increasing the sensitivity as the concentration increases. I believe the results of the Bristol paper argue against this possibility.

  86. nofreewind (12:54:54) :
    This is all based on the carbon cycle which is nothing but a theory, because although they might be able to make a fair estimate of man-made CO2 emissions, it is almost impossible IMHO, to estimate accurately Ocean and land-based fluxes. The IPCC even says so, here is a very important IPCC picture.
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-7-3.html
    note: the caption – “Gross fluxes generally have uncertainties of more than ±20%”.

    You need to make a distinction between the total inventory and the individual flows: The year by year increase is what is really measured +/- 0.2 ppmv. The emissions is what is calculated from fossil fuel sales +/- 0.5 ppmv. That is what is important: in average 55% of the fossil fuel emissions (as extra mass, not as individual molecules) is remaining in the atmosphere. Where the extra CO2 is going into is not known with high accuracy, it may be that in one year more is going into vegetation, the other year more in the oceans, depending of temperature and precipitation. But that is not important for the overall inventory, as that is not based on individual fluxes.
    To accept the 43% figure you have to accept all the other models, like the carbon cycle, as absolute truth and ignore the 20% error factor they admit to. (Gross fluxes generally have uncertainties of more than ±20%). That error factor is much more than man’s CO2 contribution.
    The overall inventory is not based on any model.
    What about the warming oceans? I think we can all accept that global temperature have warmed somewhat since 1850 and warmer oceans will release more CO2. This warmer article,Carbon Dioxide in the Oceans, states: “In general, tropical waters release CO2 to the atmosphere, whereas high-latitude oceans take up CO2 from the atmosphere.” How is all of that measured?, There are millions of miles of ocean each releasing or taking up a different amount of CO2 depending on temperature gradients.
    The short term influence of temperature is about 4 ppmv/K. For (very) long term temperature changes (glacials-interglacials), the ratio goes up to about 8 ppmv/K, far too small to be the cause of the increase: 8 ppmv for a temperature increase of about 1 K since the LIA, while we see a 100+ ppmv increase…
    The natural world creates about 212 Gt of Carbon, yet man only creates about 7-8 Gt, or 3-4% of natural. Yet the IPCC admits to error bars of 20% in their Carbon/CO2 estimates. Call me a skeptic, but you know what I think, I think they start with the man-made 7-8 Gt and then work “backwards”, making all the other number fit.
    The 212 GtC is not important at all, as some more is removed (216 GtC) at the other side of the globe and/or in another season. Even if it was 1,000 GtC in and 1,004 GtC out, this isn’t important, as long as more is removed by nature than added, only the emissions are important…

  87. Invariant (13:13:00) :

    I would have thought that, given the greater heat capacity of the oceans compared with the atmosphere, and that the oceans receive energy every day from the sun, that it was unlikely for the oceans would react substantially to atmospheric temperature changes.
    Sure it’s the other way around – the thermal mass of the ocean is 700 times larger than the thermal mass of the atmosphere…


    Are people actually saying that if we heat the atmosphere that the water and land will only absorb that additional heat over a time scale of years?
    Surely that cannot be true: the whole pattern of evaporation and precipitation will even out air temperature to water temperature in much less time. Hotter air will cool itself by evaporating water faster, which will be returned as rain to the water and land.
    If it is true that heated air will only slowly pass on any gained heat, then the whole CO2 thing falls apart. Our burning of fossil fuels more than accounts for the change in air temperature.

  88. kwik (14:27:45)

    Many papers say CO2 turnaround time is about 7 years. Segalstad says 5.4 years.
    So, since the turnaround time is so short ,and it ends up as seabed sediment, whats the problem?

    This reflects a common misconception. There are two times of interest. One is the residence time of CO2, which is the length of time that the average CO2 molecule stays in the air before being absorbed by a plant or the soil or the ocean. This is fairly easy to measure, can be measured in a couple of ways, and as you say is on the order of five to seven years.
    The other is the halflife or e-folding time. This is a measure of how long it take for the system to return to its dynamic equilibrium level after a pulse of CO2 has been emitted to the atmosphere. It is much more difficult to measure. Estimates for the e-folding time range from thirty to two hundred years.
    w.

  89. DirkH (12:43:36) :
    Sorry completely O/T but this is just too funny, it’s on the
    right side of the ScienceDaily page, a link to…
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091223074659.htm

    Actually not that OT, as it illustrates how to screw up good research. As evolution progressed, going on the hypothesis these changes are for decreasing the odds of successful mating, then wouldn’t the genes that lead to the least-successful mating get removed from the gene pool simply because there would be less offspring? More successful mating leads to more offspring thus greater dispersion of genes for more successful mating, seems pretty straightforward. On what basis would they conclude that less-successful mating would be a desirable trait more likely to get passed on?
    Looking at the concept of such difficult plumbing, I would conclude something else. As more than one Amazonian tourist has found out, it can be dangerous to be naked in certain natural bodies of water, there are assorted critters, worms and larvae etc, that like to swim up the plumbing. By having a longer stretch of plumbing, somewhat convoluted and with a few dead ends, the odds of the critters getting in to where they can seriously affect fertility is reduced. Thus genes protecting against critter-related loss of fertility would be selected for propagation, thus the difficult plumbing seen is explainable in a way that is in accordance with evolutionary theory.
    Going deeper in the article, they think the difficult plumbing is aimed at thwarting aggressive forced mating. By experiments with glass tubes using assorted shapes from the difficult plumbing, they think they show the shapes prevent duck phalli from working properly, thus the shapes are thwarting forced mating. For one thing, I think it shows duck phalli do not work properly in a hard non-resilient substance like glass. Couldn’t they have used silicone models with a few drops of glycerin or vegetable oil? Second, if they keep aggressive males from successfully completing their task, why would more docile males be more successful in a less-aggressive coupling? They are examining an effect that takes less than a half of a second, so the difference does not seem to be coming from the males. Are the females doing anything different that would make the less-aggressive mating more successful, thus propagating the genes giving a preference in fertilization to the less-aggressive mating?
    Offhand the work seems tainted by a bit of feminist feel-good philosophy, “Nature helps the females fight back!” In reality aggressive forced mating, when the males do not have to worry about child rearing, is normally rather successful. When males take part in child care, aggressive males gather harems. Repeatedly, evolution chooses aggressive males. Therefore this research shows that evolution is thwarting male aggressiveness?
    Note the lead author is named Patricia. No comment.

  90. Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:30:21) :
    Thank you very much. You supplied exactly what I was interested in. It looks like your article addresses all of the questions I have. The last time I tried to find this type of info via google, I got so frustrated by all of the nonsense that I gave up!

  91. “Bart (14:22:33) :
    DirkH (14:03:13)
    If I am correct in my belief of how the dynamics should manifest themselves, there should be evidence of the accelerated input within roughly a 5-10 year lag interval, and it should be small.”
    So they say it’s taking the air from a power plants chimney that long to reach Hawaii? Through some hand-waving dynamics?
    This is all so sad. I mean it’s sad that journalists and politicians believe this obvious rubbish.

  92. Early in this discussion Marcus posted this link:
    http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm
    According to the graph “Atmospheric CO2 Background 1826-1960”, CO2 levels were fairly stable from 1870 to about 1920 and then began a gradual upward trend. In the mid 1930’s the graph shows an strong annual increase of atmospheric CO2 which peaks in the early 1940’s, followed by a decline back to the prior levels for the early part of the 20th century. The mid-1930’s were very warm with a peak in 1934.
    An old chemistry book I have, written around 1940, shows CO2 as component of atmosphere at around 350 ppm which is more or less what the graph indicates which gives some rough validation to the accuracy of the graph—at least in this time frame.
    A question comes to mind. What caused the increased warming (circa 1934) *before* the maximum CO2 concentration in the early 1940″s–a decade or so later? This looks to me as if CO2 follows warming—and fairly quickly too. It suggests something(s) other than CO2 is driving global temperature swings.

  93. Furthermore, humans are *not* by any means the only source of light (c12 and c13) carbon on the planet. Human fossil fuel use is one source, however, methane clathrates tend to be light carbon, as do volcanic sources. (Including the Mauna Loa source). Counting the increase in ‘light’ co2 cannot account for all sources of such, including coal seam fires, methane seeps, and other sources.
    On the other hand there are unrecognized ‘light’ sources from human influence, such as carbonate decomposition, etc, wherein acidic sources break down carbonate rocks.

  94. Syl (13:24:33) :
    DesertYote (12:44:52) :
    “I have always been suspicious of the reports of CO2 levels and have many questions. For one thing, how are ice core based data correlated with other data?”
    Well, the REAL HUGE HUMONGOUS BOMBSHELL in the last few weeks was the report out of NASA on the AIRS satellite data re CO2. Contrary to ‘consensus’ belief, CO2 is NOT well mixed in the atmosphere. In fact it is rather lumpy. (Odd, isn’t ‘Lumpy’ the name of Lucia’s climate model? Rather prescient methinks.)
    So one can say that the ice core data on CO2 correllates only with itself.

    Sorry to disappoint you, but the satellite shows that CO2 levels are quite well mixed, within 1% of 385 ppmv for yearly averages. But of course, if you have huge seasonal influences and constant emissions and a NH-SH delay, you will see these influences both in the satellite data and in the ground stations.
    Ice core data have an overlap of about 20 years with the CO2 levels of the South Pole.

  95. I should have said “Without Ko, an adot which is less than or equal to 3% or so of the value of Co/tau, which is the rate of natural CO2 release, results in an upper bound of a 3% steady state increase in the level of C.”
    Also, to further explain the last comment, tau is the value of the time constant at a locally linearized set point. If the state evolves to such a point that the linearization no longer is an accurate description, then if the dynamics are smooth, you can re-linearize about a new set point which has a modified value of tau. From this, you can reason yourself to a model in which tau is dynamically changing with C. However, the Bristol paper argues that the dynamics are not really changing significantly with the increasing concentration of CO2.

  96. Mapou (12:21:51) : “I mean, how does the earth know that it must retain only half of the man-made CO2? How about the naturally emitted CO2? How does nature tell the difference between the two types of CO2? I sense some unseen magic in the woodwork.”
    I’ll have an uneducated stab at this: In spring and summer plants sequester the CO2 as they grow. In autumn and winter they don’t. Humans produce CO2 all year round so about half doesn’t get sequestered.

  97. Joel Shore (13:36:02) :
    “None of these things are being ignored. What matters is the rates at which these processes occur. Read the literature…Then comment.”
    You have utterly missed the point. It’s not about what happens on land, it’s what’s happening in the oceans. Any comparison of rates between the two is a diversion.

  98. Willis Eschenbach (13:04:11) :
    Knorr’s paper, and Anthony’s posts have been about the observed airborne fraction, and I quoted in IPCC AR4 on that topic (“remarkably little variation”).
    It’s true that the IPCC says that models predict an increase over the next century. What is not often noted about the Knorr paper is that he said the trend since 1860 was not zero, but 0.7±1.4 %/decade, which the press release says is “essentially zero”. But it’s not so small, just uncertain. Fig 7.13 of AR4 marks a model result showing a 11% rise from 2000 to 2100. That’s 1.1%/decade – well within Knorr’s range, and fairly close to his mean 0.7.
    “In any case, since each and every one of the models say that the airborne fraction increases with increasing levels of CO2, a scientific observationally based study saying that those model results are hogwash is certainly worth highlighting.”
    It doesn’t say that they are hogwash at all. Knorr’s study only adds new info about the century 1860 to 1960. A little more relevant to the model performance the IPCC’s observation since 1959. But the model results are for C21, and in any case are consistent with Knorr’s range.
    “so we take temperature readings from thousands of sites to get a global average temp but for CO2 we use ONE site in Hawaii ?
    Seems like there are lots of sources of CO2 in Hawaii that could skew any measurements …
    the assumption the the atmosphere is perfectly mixed on a global scale is utter ignorance …

    No, there are lots of sites. Here is just one (Scripps) network. Here is a longer list, with data.
    The well-mixed atmosphere is not an assumption. It’s shown in the earth pic at the head of this post. And that shows variation, but look at the legend. The whole color range is 382-390 ppm CO2!

  99. “Dr. Roy Spencer in his book “Climate Confusion,” points out how man-made global warming alarmists attempt to mislead the public by claiming that global CO2 emissions total about 50 billion tons per year. He fails to acknowledge that the total weight of the atmosphere is 5 quadrillion tons. In other words, the 50 billion tons adds to 5 million billion tons, or a mere 10 parts per million – relatively speaking, a trivial change each year.”
    Bay City power plant crippled by false global warming Information
    http://www.mlive.com/opinion/bay-city/index.ssf/2010/01/bay_city_power_plant_crippled.html

  100. What a day:

    DUBLIN, Jan 1 (Reuters) – All flights to and from Dublin were suspended on Friday after heavy snowfall on New Year’s Eve which also disrupted bus and rail services in the Irish capital.

    Dublin Bus said on its website that no local bus services would be operating on Friday until further notice due to the harsh weather and Irish Rail also reported disruptions at major stations.

    And in India:

    New Delhi – At least 17 people died as towns and cities in India’s northern states were hit by cold weather, officials said on Friday.
    “Sixteen people have died in Uttar Pradesh since early Wednesday due to cold [weather] conditions in the state. Most victims were homeless or pavement dwellers,” state police spokesman G N Khanna said.
    Police in Jammu, the winter capital of India-administered Kashmir, found the body of a worker who also died due to the cold.

    Cooling is more dangerous than warming.

  101. Look at it from a plant’s perspective:
    At about 150 ppm CO2, most plants stop uptake.
    The CO2 content of Antarctic ice core during glacial epochs fell to 180 ppm–if that was the global average for CO2 maybe that explains why core ice had much higher dust content as deserts expanded from loss of vegetation.
    Plants do much better between 1,000 ppm and 2,000 ppm; that’s why greenhouses are augmented with CO2 to those levels. Plants also utilize water better with higher levels of CO2 so less water is needed and many arid regions are now experiencing notable greening as a consequence.
    I’ve read where some experts estimate the maximum CO2 content of the atmosphere would approach about 600 ppm with additional anthropogenic sources, which is not where plants would really like it, and certainly below any levels harmful to humans. At approximately 600 ppm, equilibrium would set in, and it would stay at the level until all fossil fuels were burned up, after which time it would decline. Maybe by then we’ll look aroud for all those oilfields where CO2 was sequestered and release that into the atmosphere.
    The oceans contains about 50 times as much CO2 as the atmosphere, so it doesn’t take much warming of the oceans to make a significant contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere. Conversely, carbonic acid, formed as rain falls through the atmosphere, eventually reaches the sea, and this H2CO3 is quickly incorporated into the shells of marine animals. It doesn’t take thousands of years for those little critters to get busy.
    The land biomass should expand until it reaches a point of equilibrium, which would undoubtedly be larger than total biomass today. That bodes well for all ecosystems, which benefits mankind, too.
    So plants will continue to see an advantage, especially if the BRIC countries continue to make their contributions to a greener planet. And I don’t see anything stopping them, certainly not snowstorms next summer in Mexico City.
    Or will Gore not be invited?

  102. Bart (13:38:57) :
    Even under the ridiculous assumption that the entire increase in CO2 levels we have witnessed in the last 50 years is anthropogenic CO2, more than half of it is not in the atmosphere after an average of less than 25 years (less than because the release of CO2 is more heavily weighted toward recent decades). This fact completely demolishes analyses such as this.
    No matter what the cause of the increase is (there is a lot of evidence it is), if we stop all emissions today, next year the result will be a decrease of about 4 GtC (about 2 ppmv), the same as today. But as the CO2 pressure difference between the atmosphere and the oceans (and plant alveoles) now is 2 ppmv less, next year we will not lose 2 ppmv anymore, but substantially less. And so on for all next years. With some calculation (see the link to Peter Dietze in a previous message), the half life time of CO2 in the atmosphere is about 40 years. Thus 50% of the excess still is in the atmosphere after 40 years, 25% after 80 years,…
    The other strut is the attribution of the entire increase in CO2 concentration observed over the last 1/2 century to anthropogenic sources.
    There is little doubt that the increase over the past 1.5 century is due to anthro emissions. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html
    All alternative explanations fail on one or more observations…
    A dominant time constant on the order of 5-10 years, such as has been estimated by several studies, and which is reasonably supported by the Bristol paper, would confirm that the claims of CAGW are without merit
    As Willis already said, 5-10 years residence time is how fast a CO2 molecule (whatever the source) is exchanged between air and water/plants, which doesn’t add or removes any CO2 in total quantity. That has nothing to do with the time needed to remove half an excess amount of CO2 (whatever the source), which is about 40 years.

  103. Mooloo (14:54:26): Are people actually saying that if we heat the atmosphere that the water and land will only absorb that additional heat over a time scale of years?
    Yes. It seems so¹. I’ve been working with commercial thermal simulations for quite some time, and I can assure you that it takes years to heat or cool down an ocean with an average depth of ~4000 metres.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean
    Do you know the concept of thermal mass? A very nice analogy with an electrical RC circuit is found here:
    http://web.mit.edu/16.unified/www/FALL/thermodynamics/notes/node129.html
    The time constant, τ, is in accord with our intuition, or experience; high density, large volume, or high specific heat all tend to increase the time constant, while high heat transfer coefficient and large area will tend to decrease the time constant.
    Now imagine the high density, large volume and high specific heat of the ocean…
    ¹http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/pubs/HeatCapacity.pdf

  104. re Nick Stokes (15:19:46) :
    Apologies, the second part of this comment responded to Jeff (13:46:47) :

  105. @Kim Moore

    Historical CO2 measurements are usually derived from proxies, with ice cores being the favorite. Those done by chemical methods prior to 1960 are often rejected as being inadequate due too poor siting, timing or method. The CO2 versus wind speed plot represents a simple but valuable tool for validating modern and historic continental data. It is shown that either a visual or a mathematical fit can give data that are close to the regional CO2 background, even if the average local mixing ratio is much different.
    [..]
    Many of the discussions concerning anthropogenic global warming center on the important role of atmospheric CO2 as a greenhouse gas. Having good CO2 measurement data at many regional locations is particularly important. When these locations do not fulfill the usual criteria for obtaining CO2 background levels, a procedure to derive these levels with the help of other meteorological parameters will be useful. The same holds for the study or the validation of historical CO2 measurements.

    Accurate estimation of CO2 background level from near ground measurements at non-mixed environments
    Selectet as “best paper”
    and peer reviewed
    So, the historic measurements Beck checked and published can now in certain circumstances be validated and verified.

  106. DirkH (14:59:58) :
    “So they say it’s taking the air from a power plants chimney that long to reach Hawaii? Through some hand-waving dynamics? “
    Not exactly. If you elevate the rate at which you are forcing CO2 into the atmosphere, it takes a while to integrate into an observable change. Further, the change is being opposed by the natural sinks, so there is additional increasing phase lag of input frequency content within the -3 dB bandwidth of omega = 1/tau, and accelerating attenuation and phase delay of the components beyond this bandwidth.

  107. Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:51:11) :
    Nice to see you here again.
    “The 212 GtC is not important at all, as some more is removed (216 GtC) at the other side of the globe and/or in another season. Even if it was 1,000 GtC in and 1,004 GtC out, this isn’t important, as long as more is removed by nature than added, only the emissions are important…”
    This is something that has bothered me ever since I started studying this whole issue. It seems the carbon cycle is not a zero-sum game at all. Over the past 600 million years CO2 has been dropping almost steadily and I assume it has to do with life itself. CO2 down, O2 up. At some point, 180ppm I think, most photosynthesis will cease. We definitely need a cushion especially before the next glaciation hits!

  108. Joel Shore (13:53:43)
    (re well-mixed vs lumpy)
    “The differences are still pretty small compared to the total change in CO2 levels since the pre-industrial…our current uncertainties in other areas pretty much swamp any uncertainty due to these fairly small geographic variations in CO2 levels.”
    It seems anytime a discrepancy is noted, the effect is hand-waved away. Perhaps if more attention were paid to all these minor-doesn’t-really-matter details, the models would be in better shape.
    The energy balance is screwed up. Even Trenberth says so. So get to work.

  109. “THE Climategate scandal continues to unfold. The thousands of emails leaked to the internet from the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia reveal a tight-knit, influential group of scientists whose attitude to their profession is, to say the least, distorted.
    It seems that a religious belief in disastrous climate change has destroyed their common sense and their appreciation of what is the appropriate way to carry out research.
    Climategate may at least demonstrate that the concept of a scientific consensus with regard to global warming is nonsense. There may indeed be thousands of scientists contributing to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but on any particular aspect of the overall story all have to rely on the word of the few scientists who are directly involved. And when the particular aspect concerns experimental data on which the whole story rests, the data purporting to show the world is getting warmer, then the consensus argument is indeed on shaky ground.”
    Boffins may be Illegal
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/boffins-may-be-illegal/story-e6frg6zo-1225815349833

  110. Willis Eschenbach (14:55:57) :
    kwik (14:27:45)
    Many papers say CO2 turnaround time is about 7 years. Segalstad says 5.4 years.
    So, since the turnaround time is so short ,and it ends up as seabed sediment, whats the problem?
    This reflects a common misconception. There are two times of interest. One is the residence time of CO2, which is the length of time that the average CO2 molecule stays in the air before being absorbed by a plant or the soil or the ocean. This is fairly easy to measure, can be measured in a couple of ways, and as you say is on the order of five to seven years.
    The other is the halflife or e-folding time. This is a measure of how long it take for the system to return to its dynamic equilibrium level after a pulse of CO2 has been emitted to the atmosphere. It is much more difficult to measure. Estimates for the e-folding time range from thirty to two hundred years.
    w.

    If you looked at the half life as you would for radioactive decay I would think the average lifetime would directly imply the time to equilibrium. If the average molecule of CO2 is free in the atmosphere, before being absorbed, for between 5.4 and 7 years, than would not that be equivalent to the half life of a radioactive molecule where at some time interval 1/2 decay to another isotope?
    As I am understanding this application of the average residence time free in the atmosphere, it would imply that a CO2 molecule has a half life of 5.4-7 years as an atmospheric molecule. Half would be absorbed sooner and half would survive longer. If that is true/ A rule of thumb used in establishing when a radioactive material is for all intents and purposes decayed away to zero is approx 7 half lives, or 37.8 – 49 years, thus a pulse of CO2 would be indistinguishable from the background levels after that time interval.
    Maybe a statistician would interpret average life time differently, but I see it as being the time interval when 1/2 half the original population is re-absorbed.
    Larry

  111. First: It is silly to think that the ability of the planet to absorb atmospheric co2 is in any way a constant. It likely has negative and positive feedbacks in and of itself that are poorly understood if understood at all.
    Second: The steady increase in measured CO2 in the atmosphere from Hawaii is actually devastating for those who want to blame humans. The reason for this is simple. We just went through the bad part of a major worldwide recession where even large numbers of Chinese lost their jobs. Yet the increase in measured CO2 didn’t waver one bit from it’s upward slope. So, if worldwide consumption falls, and brings CO2 emissions with it (as it must do), and CO2 still increases at the same rate…. doesn’t that demonstrate quite clearly that the human impact on CO2 in the atmosphere is negligible? Even assuming there is a lag time, you would expect the increase in CO2 to at least level off in an instantaneous measurement, that didn’t happen. So as far as I’m concerned, it’s back to square one to demonstrate that humans are even responsible for the measured CO2 increase.

  112. David Middleton (14:50:35) :
    It will be really funny when the “experts” figure out that 388 ppmv CO2 pretty well fits within the normal range of warm periods in the last 10,000 years.
    The ice core CO2 data make for a very nice 200- to 500-yr moving average; but they can’t resolve decadal- and century-scale changes.

    Depends of which ice cores. The Law Dome ice cores have an 8 year resolution over the pas 100 years and a 40 years resolution over the past 1,000 years.
    I would think that the fact that the AIRS data show polar CO2 to be ~30 ppmv lower than low- to mid-latitude CO2 would be a clue that the ice cores systematically underestimate global atmospheric CO2.
    You are looking at momentary CO2 levels by the satellite, in another season you will see a complete different picture, and the averages are quite similar: not more than 5 ppmv difference between Barrow and the South Pole, which would be near zero if not 95% of the emissions were in the NH. See one of the animations at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/index.html
    Plant SI data accurately depict CO2 with nearly annual resolution over portions of the last 10,000 years. SI data over the last 60 years match the MLO data and they can be empirically tested.
    SI data have one big problem: a local/regional CO2 bias. As plants used for SI data by definition grow on land, they respond to local CO2 levels at leave height, which may change over time. Even if you calibrate the data (with an accuracy of +/- 10 ppmv…) to current CO2 levels (and/or ice cores), there is not the slightest guarantee that the local CO2 levels didn’t change over time: from swamps to grass to forests to fields and back in the main wind direction, besides increasing traffic and urbanisation. See e.g. the results of the tall tower experiments in The Netherlands:
    http://www.chiotto.org/cabauw.html

  113. “Bart (15:55:59) :
    […]
    If you elevate the rate at which you are forcing CO2 into the atmosphere, it takes a while to integrate into an observable change. Further, the change is being opposed by the natural sinks”
    Ok – i see. I forgot that the Keeling curve is the integration of the emissions. So obviously the curve must look different. The two graphics i linked to can thus not be expected to look the same. We would need to see the differential of the Keeling curve to compare it with the yearly emissions. My mistake.

  114. DirkH (16:18:32) :
    The one sentence should better read:
    I forgot that the Keeling curve corresponds to the integration of the emissions.

  115. I’ve nothing more to add from what i’ve written on other threads on this matter. However, I still am highly amused with the obsession with c02. Its irreleveant to the climate, and there are no arguments to be developed anymre about its role, and I think the AGW lobby know this – that more c02 doesn’t mean more heat, or contrarywise that less c02 doesn’t mean any less.
    Its the emotional obsession with c02 which is amusing from a scientific perspective – I think RLindezen covered it by saying that its because it goes after people to dwell on c02 and explode its role up to some phenomenal degree. Its effectively like claiming that if the air pressure is high, don’t walk outside as you’ll be trudging through something as dense as sludge.
    for all those who still think ice cores are the holy grail of co2 measurements: It takes 80 years for air bubbles to close and anything could happen to the c02 content during that time – its something that isn’t well understood, so although they show a trend, they don’t show a precise resolution or an exact real time data match: neither could c02 from air bubbles at ground level over glacial areas be an exact proxy for what the c02 content was in the northern hemisphere, such as Mauna Loa, Italy, USA, France, Scandinavia, etc during the same time period that is indicated by ancient ice in subzero regions.

  116. I would be more willing to accept some other gas or agent as a primary driver for anthropogenic global warming — an agent directly impacting the remaining open spectra.
    All the concern about CO2 seems to have too much of the ’round up the usual suspect’ or ‘Billy did it’ aura to suit me. CO2 seems to have become the bête noir (black beast) of the greenhouse effect.
    As an unrelated aside, I wonder if there has been any measured net change in the temperature and/or altitude profile of the tropopause over, say, the last 30 years. I would think this would have a direct bearing on the overall health of the convective heat transfer system in the lower atmosphere.

  117. Kim Moore (15:02:43) :
    Early in this discussion Marcus posted this link:
    http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm
    According to the graph “Atmospheric CO2 Background 1826-1960″, CO2 levels were fairly stable from 1870 to about 1920 and then began a gradual upward trend. In the mid 1930’s the graph shows an strong annual increase of atmospheric CO2 which peaks in the early 1940’s, followed by a decline back to the prior levels for the early part of the 20th century. The mid-1930’s were very warm with a peak in 1934.

    I have had a lot of discussions with Ernst about his graph. He has done a tremendous lot of work to gather the 90,000+ historical data. The main problem with the data is that the majority of the data responsible for the 1942 peak are not reliable, because taken on land where there is a huge positive bias of CO2 from a lot of sources (soil bacteria, fields and forests at night, urbanisation). Moreover, there is no special change visible around 1942 in high resolution ice cores, SI data or coralline sponges.
    See my take on Beck’s data here: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html

  118. Joel Shore (12:41:20)
    What you ignore is that there is a timescale associated with how long it takes the CaCO3 in the rocks to make it into the ocean to neutralize things, and unfortunately, this timescale is on the order of a thousand years or more.
    Which would be correct if we use the abiogenic arguments,however as is well known the earth is inhabited by living species that have a remarkable property of increasing the topology (surface area eg koch curve) of the globe,which in turn increase or enhance the weathering and its subsequent effects on climate.
    eg Biotic enhancement of weathering and the habitability of Earth
    David W. Schwartzman* & Tyler Volk†
    : AN important question in the Earth sciences is the role of the biota in the chemical weathering of silicate rocks, which affects atmospheric CO2 and therefore climate1-10. No comprehensive study of biotic influences, however, has quantitatively examined the climatic consequences were weathering to take place under completely abiotic conditions. Here we calculate that if today’s weathering is 10, 100 or 1,000 times the abiotic weathering rate, then an abiotic Earth would be, respectively, approx15, 30 or 45 °C warmer than today. The upper two temperatures are preferred estimates because of the probable almost complete absence of soil under abiotic conditions, suggesting that without a biota that significantly enhances weathering rates, the Earth today would be uninhabitable for nearly all but the most primitive microbes. Life may have been crucial in cooling early Earth and maintaining relatively cool conditions.
    Whilst this has been known foe some time Dokuchaev, V.V 1879, Vernadsky 1922,the Cycle of Weathering: B. B. Polynov 1937, 1950 and its implication as a BVP seem to be overlooked by the IPCC and in the UEA studies Global Carbon Project etc ,Then again if you can quantify the carbon cycle whilst disregarding 50% of the earths biomass by volume (the microbial world ) and still “balance the books” within 3 significant figures,is it not legitimate to question the accuracy of the “outcomes” and hence forecasts.

  119. There have been three times during the past 200 years when the concentration of CO2 exceeded 400 ppm. The earth did not end.
    Happy completion of the trip around the thing that really runs the weather to all.

  120. I find this story almost impossible to believe. Why? Because it’s the very foundation stone of the AGW hypothesis. I haven’t seen it covered in the mainstream at all. Are people busy preparing rebuttals?

  121. Ferdinand Engelbeen (15:37:42)
    i admit some scepticism of the isotope ratios of c/12/13/14 ratios, and to the background of c02 as being a fixed pool that could not possible surpass 280ppm, since that is the maximum value that is inferred from old ice. We don’t have exact aerial measurements from direct chemical analysis from the period that is covered by ice core measurements – which are ice core proxies and not necessarily atmospheric c02 measurements, any more than we don’t have reliable arctic ice extents prior to 1979. However, since global temperatures are often inferred as greater than today and at much lower levels of co2 than today, then it suggests that either c02 has no influence on the climate, or that ice co2 measurements are not accurate as to the aerial co2 content of the time period they reflect. In fact both these statements could be true.
    They’re both engineered (like satellite data) to produce a result. With isotopes, i’m sure you’re acquainted with Segalstaad’s investigation and have concocted a refutation of it – however, determining a ratio from isotopes is akin to scratching several molecules from a diesel locomotive’s engine piston and then elaborating exactly what its horsepower and torque is. Its a big leap of faith…

  122. A total idiot (15:05:23) :
    Furthermore, humans are *not* by any means the only source of light (c12 and c13) carbon on the planet. Human fossil fuel use is one source, however, methane clathrates tend to be light carbon, as do volcanic sources. (Including the Mauna Loa source). Counting the increase in ‘light’ co2 cannot account for all sources of such, including coal seam fires, methane seeps, and other sources.
    On the other hand there are unrecognized ‘light’ sources from human influence, such as carbonate decomposition, etc, wherein acidic sources break down carbonate rocks

    The most important sources on earth are on the high d13C side (around zero per mil): carbonate rocks, deep oceans, volcanic degassing and positive: near surface oceans. Only fossil and newly formed organic carbon is (highly) depleted in d13C. See: http://homepage.mac.com/uriarte/carbon13.html for a nice introduction.
    How can we make a differentiation between light carbon of human origin and light carbon from other sources? By using the oxygen balance. We can calculate the oxygen use from fossil fuel burning from the burning efficiency of the different fuels. When measuring the trend of oxygen use, one can see if there is more or less oxygen used than calculated. In this case since about 1990 (when oxygen measurements were accurate enough), there is less oxygen used. That means that all other sources (mainly vegetation) produce more oxygen than they consume. Thus vegetation is a net sink for CO2, exceeding all other sources of light CO2 (except the human contribution). Of course, there still can be other (strong 13C depleted) sources, but that means that these sources (methane e.g.) should have increased considerably, of which is no proof (methane levels are quite constant in the past decade).
    See: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/287/5462/2467.pdf Battle ea. partitioning
    http://www.agu.org/journals/gb/gb0504/2004GB002410/2004GB002410.pdf Bender ea. idem
    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf until 2002.

  123. ok well how about the sum total of all living species on the planet, including the billions of humans. How much co2 does the sum total of animal life exhale per annum? and if this stays in the atmosphere for 100 years (or 40 years seems a new favourite) , that is a huge amount of non-fossil fuel c02 that probably surpasses fossil fuel co2, and is addition to the carbon cycle.
    Ferdinand – given these factors, there should be much more c02 than there is in the atmosphere. However, these exchanges of c02 are not measured, as its an impossible task at present, and so the figures are speculation. Given the diurnal-seasonal-annual-decadal-multidecadal trends in c02 – there is a suggestion that co2 molecules can be absorbed as quickly as they are emitted, and emitted as quickly as they are absorbed.

  124. This report seems to contradict the Keeling curve, and to question the evidence for the man made rise in CO2 that underlies AGW:
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/18343
    How credible is this?

    Not very.
    http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=25
    http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=12
    http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=7
    (Assuming you’re focussing on the extreme outlier (to put it charitably) views of Jaworowski in the canadafreepress article)

  125. DirkH (16:18:32) :
    “Bart (15:55:59) :
    […]
    If you elevate the rate at which you are forcing CO2 into the atmosphere, it takes a while to integrate into an observable change. Further, the change is being opposed by the natural sinks”
    Ok – i see. I forgot that the Keeling curve is the integration of the emissions. So obviously the curve must look different. The two graphics i linked to can thus not be expected to look the same. We would need to see the differential of the Keeling curve to compare it with the yearly emissions. My mistake.
    I forgot that the Keeling curve corresponds to the integration of the emissions

    There is an extreme good correlation between accumulated emissions and the increase in the atmosphere over the past 46 years. In itself a strong indication that the emissions cause the increase, as there is no natural process capable to follow the emissions in ratio to such a degree:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1960_2006.jpg
    The graph is for Mauna Loa and the South Pole trends, as these show that the increasing emissions in the NH give an increase in lag of the SH CO2 trend.
    The trends compared with the temperature trend over the period 1900-2004 (CO2 levels in ice cores up to 1960):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/temp_emiss_increase.jpg
    Which shows that temperature is not the driving force for CO2 levels: CO2 still increases in ratio with the emissions, even if the temperature doesn’t increase in the 1945-1975 period and in the current period since 1998.

  126. Mooloo (14:54:26) :

    Are people actually saying that if we heat the atmosphere that the water and land will only absorb that additional heat over a time scale of years?
    Surely that cannot be true: the whole pattern of evaporation and precipitation will even out air temperature to water temperature in much less time. Hotter air will cool itself by evaporating water faster, which will be returned as rain to the water and land.
    If it is true that heated air will only slowly pass on any gained heat, then the whole CO2 thing falls apart. Our burning of fossil fuels more than accounts for the change in air temperature.

    I agree. As all sea swimmers will tell you, the oceans are still warm in autumn, and even into winter to some extent, but cold in spring, and even into summer. So I would suspect that it takes less than six months. Not years. Six months. Perhaps ocean currents make a difference, bit what about large lakes? I understand there are a few in North America.
    No we look at what is happening to the oceans. It seems, as I recall, that they are cooling. Not starting to warm up. The heat is not going into the oceans to come back and kill us all at some future tipping point.
    I’m not sure what to think, but it does not seem as though we have anything to be alarmed about, does it?

  127. Ferdinand Engelbeen (15:37:42) :
    From your link:
    5.1:

    No matter how high the natural seasonal turnover might be, in all years over the previous near 50 years, the natural CO2 sinks were larger than the natural CO2 sources… Thus it is impossible that natural sources were responsible for (a substantial part of) the increase of CO2 in the past 50 years.

    This is non sequitur. The sinks will always expand to the level needed to counter the current forcing from whatever source. That is the nature of an equilibrium in a feedback system. All you have proven is that the known sinks are larger than the known natural inputs.

    “The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in pre-industrial times is based on ice cores, which of course are less certain and more smoothed, but there are other proxies with a better resolution in time, which point to lower CO2 levels prior to the emissions.
    This proves beyond doubt that human emissions are the main cause of the increase of CO2, at least over the past near 50 years.”

    Let me reinterpret that. To your satisfaction, you have determined that CO2 levels were lower before the age of mass industrialization. Thus, you conclude that, because they are higher now, this is proof that the increase is from industrialization. This is post hoc ergo propter hoc.
    5.2

    “Again, this clear relationship [in Fig. 15] points to a direct influence of the emissions on the increase in the atmosphere.”

    This is your most powerful argument and, if I did not have strong mathematical reason to believe it to be physically impossible, I would probably accept it prima facie. But, what we really see are merely two increasing time series. They appear to be superficially correlated by the inflection between 1950-1965. It would be an understandable human impulse to presume that such a concurrence would be unlikely. However, if you graph the actual ice core data at Law Dome using the 20 year averages, it becomes apparent that the inflection in the atmospheric CO2 graph is not nearly so neat and tidy, and moreover that it is embarked on an entirely new slope by 1960, at a time the “accumulated emissions” is just getting ramped up. So, which came first? The upswing in anthropogenic CO2 production, or in atmospheric concentration? It appears the latter to me.
    But, even more damning of your argument is the fact that, if you continue plotting the ice core data back to its earliest data point in 1832, it is apparent that the CO2 level has been increasing approximately quadratically (perhaps the upswing from the nadir of a sinusoid?) throughout the entire ice core record, and the data reflect a function essentially continuous in time, with occasional minor hiccups, starting from a point at which positing an AGW influence would strain credulity.
    I would have to say, in addition, given the chicanery we have seen with fudging data sets, that I have low confidence that the “international inventory data base” has not been “adjusted” to reflect a desired outcome.
    5.3
    I don’t put much stock in the talk about isotopic ratios. Spencer showed some time ago that the ratio varies with the SST. And, there is this.
    5.4

    “In the 1950’s another human intervention caused trouble for carbon dating: nuclear bomb testing induced a lot of radiation, which nearly doubled the atmospheric 14C content. Since then, the amount is fast reducing, as the oceans replace it with “normal” 14C levels. The half life time is about 5 years.
    Again, this adds to the evidence that fossil fuel burning is the main cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere…”

    The 14C created by atomic testing is settling out, and this is evidence that fossil fuel burning is the main cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere? Sorry, I do not follow that argument.
    5.5

    There is only one fast possible source: fossil fuel burning.

    Argumentium ad ignoratiam. Process of elimination only works in a closed system for which all possibilities are known perfectly.
    5.6

    “Although the ocean pCO2 data are scattered in time and covered area the trends are clear that the average (increasing) flow of CO2 is from the atmosphere into the oceans and not the reverse.
    This adds to the overall evidence that human emissions are the main cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

    No, it is evidence that human emissions may be contributing to the increase in acidity of the oceans. It says nothing about the atmosphere.

  128. Ferdinand Engelbeen (17:11:21) :
    So how about fumaroles? How much co2 do they put into the atmosphere per annum?

  129. hotrod (16:12:38) :
    “Maybe a statistician would interpret average life time differently, but I see it as being the time interval when 1/2 half the original population is re-absorbed.”
    Well, I’m afraid I’m going to take the ‘other side’ here. Radioactive decay is dependent on nothing but itself. CO2 is dependent on the ‘absorbers’ ability to remove the CO2. IE, the oceans ability to absorb would be dependent on the temperature and partial pressure.

  130. DirkH (16:24:15) :
    “Syl (16:03:11) :
    We definitely need a cushion”
    We have a big cushion: the oceans.
    http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef4.htm
    ——-
    Nice link.
    No that is not the cushion we need because it won’t help us after we’ve fallen into the cold cold depths of glaciation where in the past I believe the cold oceans absorbed so much CO2 that it dropped to around 200PPM….only when we come out of it after 90 thousand years will we get it back.

  131. Anthony, of course you would be one of the first. That is why there are 4.888+ million hits and rapidly rising. Kazaam! OT, I got so interested in meteorite/asteroid/comet impact on earth as an important climate changer during the Holocene that reading took most of my day. (Kids are gone. What about football? Oh, well, there is the evening.)
    Question: I notice that in the 2008 testy controversy re whether the 536-545 AD catastrophic weather events were caused by volcanoes or comets, a study of ice cores co-authored by K. Briffa (lead author L. Larsen) absolutely dismissed a comet collision. Given some careful (to a novice) research by D.H. Abbott ea, it seems like there is some strong evidence for an extraterrestrial contribution. Could one of the reasons that the warmists need volcanoes as well as CO2 be because they can say that volcanic contributions to climate change are finished in two years? Therefore, keep your gaze on CO2 and its “forcings”. Are they afraid that funding for search (for comets/asteroids) and rescue (of Earth) for these orbiting chunks would deflect government research funds? “They” — the anti-comet/meteorite-swarm crowd — seem strongly dismissive. (For example, a similar attitude seems to come from those arguing against Firestone, West, and Warwick-Smith’s thesis suggesting (with a lot of proof) that comet collisions did in Clovis culture and large mammals and initiated the Younger-Dryas cold. What say you or your associates?

  132. hotrod (16:12:38) :
    As I am understanding this application of the average residence time free in the atmosphere, it would imply that a CO2 molecule has a half life of 5.4-7 years as an atmospheric molecule. Half would be absorbed sooner and half would survive longer.
    If let’s say you add only red colored human CO2 to the atmosphere (containing 800 colourless GtC) in one shot of 100 GtC. The red color will disappear with a yearly exchange rate of 150 GtC/900 GtC or about 17% per year, as the 150 GtC input is all by colourless CO2 from the other reservoirs. That doesn’t influence the fact that still most of the 900 GtC is in the atmosphere, as the catch of a red CO2 prevents the catch of a colourless CO2, which remains in the atmosphere. Thus the extra 100 GtC (as mass, not as red molecules) still is in the atmosphere, minus about 4 GtC (at current rates) which is the extra amount absorbed mainly by the oceans and vegetation (no matter the colour). Thus we still have 896 GtC in the atmosphere. And so on.
    You see the difference: the exchange rate (residence time) is 150/900, while the excess absorption rate is only 4/900, which means that the red coloured CO2 will be gone long before the total quantity of CO2 is back to the original level.

  133. Reddy Kilowatt greets with ELECTRICITY the Age of Aquarius arriving with the “Mystery BLUE Spiral Over Norway” on the “Rare BLUE Moon” of January 1, 2010!!!

  134. Recently there was an article about ocean fish causing more mixing of the oceans than previously thought. Think about it, another possible impact on CO2 levels could be related to over fishing. Or ocean pollution killing off ocean biology. By removing a necessary element of ocean mixing the top of the ocean becomes more concentrated with CO2 and that changes it’s absorption characteristics. The top layers also become warmer and out-gas extra CO2 as well as warming the atmosphere.
    Big impact? Small impact? Who knows? Has anyone studied this possible factor?
    While this may not be anything important, it does highlight complexity. Do scientists really think they have all the answers on such a complex subject?

  135. Mapou (12:21:51) :
    Let me see if I get this straight. The paper claims that the proportion of man-made CO2 retained in the atmosphere is more or less constant. In other words, if we generate a million tons of CO2 in a given period, about half a million (.55) tons are retained. This means that half a million tons are absorbed by the oceans, lakes, rocks, trees, etc. What is the physical mechanism behind this strange process, pray tell?
    I mean, how does the earth know that it must retain only half of the man-made CO2? How about the naturally emitted CO2? How does nature tell the difference between the two types of CO2? I sense some unseen magic in the woodwork.

    The earth doesn’t know what fraction it must maintain. The fraction (0.45 or whatever) is the result of two competing processes, 1)CO2 emission and 2)absorption in a multitude of sinks and souces, and their associated time-constants.
    Some long time ago I took the total man-made emission from 1970 to 1990, then compared this to the increase in [CO2] in the atmosphere using a simple model along the lines that Bart outlined wayyyy back in this thread, and found the time constant (e-folding) for removal to be about 10 years. With the magnitude of emission then (1990) in effect I thought it would be very difficult to ever double CO2 in the atmosphere. Of course if the sinks, the places where CO2 is absorbed, give out, then concentration would increase much more rapidly, and so will it if emissions increase. But even so, a knowledge of the rates and time constants allows one to estimate a maximum CO2 level.


  136. Spector (14:03:50) :
    In my opinion, the limited band of CO2 absorption wavelengths is the real issue here.

    You aren’t serious?
    Don’t you think that the IPCC covered that? The 10 um widow and all that? The spectral ‘peak’ for a 288K earth lying somewhere in that vicinity?
    Say it isn’t true …
    .
    .


  137. Joel Shore (13:36:02) :
    Read the literature…Then comment.

    Amend that to say: Read the literature, stare at the ceiling, shake your head in disbelief, realize where Joel, RC et al are wrong … Then comment.
    .
    .

  138. Ferdinand Engelbeen (17:36:40) :
    returning to the sources of c02: There’s animal respiration (all living animals) plants, oceans, fossil fuels, fumaroles, and so on. If this half life of 40 years, or residence time of 100 years (with an uncertainty factor of diurnal/5 years – 100 years – yes confusing) there must be one heck of a quantity of c02 in the atmosphere. Yet nature seems to etablish an equilibrium of 0.04% aerial. In looing through the siple dome data, there isn’t an increase between 1935 and ’45 – it stays constant, and otherwise, the record doesn’t follow a curve with fossil fuel emissions thereafter.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/94/16/8343.full.pdf
    One thing learned from ice cores is the trend of delay of 800-1500 years between temperature and c02 – and that given this delay, its obvious that warming can occur whilst c02 decreases through some prior sequence 800 years previously. Veizer is a data source on that, than Beck
    So: Just what was the state of affairs 800 years ago that gives us a natural high cycle of c02 today? A clue is SST’s which have been higher over the 20th-21stCenturies than hitherto, and that the sea surface contains 1000GT’s of c02 – and as SST’s are 1C warmer than 140 years ago, where a 0.1C increase in temperature is enough to allow oceans to emit 6GT’s of c02 into the atmosphere Takahashi (1961) , which supposedly accumulates too, though it doesn’t as its always in transition. put simply – a 1C increase in temperatures at 30 metres is enough to put 600GT’s into the atmosphere (which is nearly all co2 in the atmosphere) which leaves less co2 to be emitted from tropical oceans – so it seems that most of the increase in c02 since 140 years has in fact been natural.

  139. Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:53:22) :
    “… if you double the addition to the atmosphere, the simple rule says that the uptake rate will double too, all the rest being equal (for the interested reader: the global carbon cycle acts as a simple first order equilibrium process).”
    Is this what you mean? That the rate of change of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, dA/dt, can be expressed as
    dA/dt = R – kA
    where R is the rate of production of CO2 from all sources (incl man) and k is approximately constant. The “equilibrium” is then the steady-state at which dA/dt=0, R=kA. If that’s the case it’s quite easy to show that human produced CO2 is of no concern.
    If I am understanding you correctly, do you have references? In particular on the sequestration rate of the form kA.

  140. It might very well be that, considering the low levels to which CO2 falls during a glacial epoch (I agree with Syl above that a cold ocean is probably the major repository) and the threshold of about 150 ppm for plant uptake (below which they die and by extension, plant-eating animals, including man, all die), the best hope for survival is the CO2 that man is now pumping into the atmosphere. Of course, arable land may be at a premium for ~100,000 years, but without that extra CO2, the situation might be grim, indeed. That both animals and humans have survived prior glacial epochs gives proof that CO2 levels didn’t fall below threshold everywhere for long, but then humans weren’t very numerous, either.
    It almost makes me wish CO2 was a better greenhouse gas than it is.

  141. Well, the good news is that the oceans and plants continue to absorb a portion of our emissions at the same rate despite the pro-AGW set trying to claim that this was going to end.
    But the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is still increasing and it was increasing at a very slightly exponential rate before recently (the increase was increasing very slightly each year).
    The latest data from Mauna Loa, however, shows that the exponential increase has slowed or let’s say the annual increase is flat now or has been for the past four years.
    This is a subtle change but one has to extrapolate the changes out over 50 or 100 years to understand how that might be important. We are already just under the IPCC A1B scenario and a change from an exponential increase to a steady increase makes a big difference in the decades ahead.
    1990 to 2009 CO2 from Mauna Loa
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/graph/xxx/xxx_single_ts_custom_4b3ebc71ee78a775302130.png
    2000 to 2009 CO2 from Mauna Loa
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/graph/xxx/xxx_single_ts_custom_4b3eb8f163ebd455273417.png

  142. Kevin Kilty (18:58:35) :
    “The earth doesn’t know what fraction it must maintain. The fraction (0.45 or whatever) is the result of two competing processes, 1)CO2 emission and 2)absorption in a multitude of sinks and souces, and their associated time-constants.”
    Only none of these sinks and sources are fixed. We just get back to the standard figures of c02 stored in vegetation, decay, detritus etc is three times that of the atmosphere, ocenaic c02 considerably more etc – yet nature prevents aerial co2 from accumulating, and tumbling erratically and maintains a uniform increase, even though all natural sources are vastly greater than human sources.

  143. I first read the Bristol Article from the drugdereport.com and figured why it wasn’t published here. I somehow missed the November entries of WUWT.

  144. Slightly OT, but ETH Zurich is claiming glacier melt in the 1940s was driven by aerosols and solar radiation. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091231124858.htm
    “On the basis of their calculations, the researchers have concluded that the high level of short-wave radiation in the summer months is responsible for the fast pace of glacier melt. In the 1940s, the level was 8% higher than the long-term average and 18 Watts per square metres above the levels of the past ten years. Calculated over the entire decade of the 1940s, this resulted in 4% more snow and ice melt compared with the past ten years.”
    CO2 is not the only player (if it is a significant one at all).

  145. Syl (17:58:58) :
    hotrod (16:12:38) :
    “Maybe a statistician would interpret average life time differently, but I see it as being the time interval when 1/2 half the original population is re-absorbed.”
    Well, I’m afraid I’m going to take the ‘other side’ here. Radioactive decay is dependent on nothing but itself. CO2 is dependent on the ‘absorbers’ ability to remove the CO2. IE, the oceans ability to absorb would be dependent on the temperature and partial pressure.

    That is not really “the other side”, your observation is obvious, and I agree with you completely. The question is if there is any evidence that the existing sinks are to any significant degree changing in their ability to absorb CO2. If there is no demonstrable change in the CO2 fraction absorbed, I think we can take it as a good first approximation that the CO2 sinks are essentially constant (at least on a century time scale). Under that assumption the radioactive decay analogy holds.
    Larry

  146. This study is no bombshell. It’s a tentative contradiction to some recent studies tentatively suggesting that the absorptive capacity of the global carbon sinks has decreased. There have been other papers saying the airborne fraction is holding steady. The model runs in AR4 produce various carbon flux changes over time, most not changing in a statistically significant way until 2025 (when they begin to diverge from each other). The IPCC reports that CO2 emissions/airborne fraction has held steady for half a century, and that it is expected the fraction will change in the future. The Knorr study is a welcome addition to current observations. Time will tell if the study is robust, as with those recent ones saying differently. Prognostications on future climate change assume (variously) that the airborne fraction will hold steady [Hansen and Sato (2004) in AR4 Ch 2], and that it will increase.
    There’s no particular reason to elevate this study over the others (or the others over this). As for the media response, it’s no surprise that stories about decreasing carbon sinks would get more traction than a story of no change at all. It may not be ideal for us trying to wrestle with the nitty gritty, but there is grist for complaint on the media from both ‘sides’, and this is not a key issue. CO2 will is still rising in the atmosphere. If studies using sound methodology (like Knorr’s) showed that the rate was slowing down and the media ignored that, then there might be something weighty to complain about.
    Oh, and Anthony Watts was quick(est) on the draw in November. That’s the point of the top post, innit? Well, no argument there.

  147. OT, but fun. If you haven’t already seen Sherlock Holmes. There is one pronounced scene where he specifically instructs Dr. Watson to not offer a theory before examining the factual evidences, else the evidence will be misinterpreted to support the theory. AGW/IPCC/ incredibly expensive and largely useless model research anyone?

  148. Joel Shore (12:41:20) said:
    [with regards to CO2 uptake by the oceans, forming carbonate]
    “It doesn’t ignore that at all. What you ignore is that there is a timescale associated with how long it takes the CaCO3 in the rocks to make it into the ocean to neutralize things, and unfortunately, this timescale is on the order of a thousand years or more. You can read about this, for example, in David Archer’s book “The Long Thaw”.”
    I think Joel has confused things here. The oceans act as a CO2 sink not just because CO2 is soluble in H2O (quantifiable by Henry’s Law), but also because the calcium in the ocean binds the carbonate (carbon dioxide is in a reversible equilibrium with aqueous carbonate: H2O + CO2 = H2CO3, and carbonic acid lose and proton [and gains stability] with a pKa of 6.4). Thus, the kinetics of the CaCO3 at the solid/aqueous interface is not the question, but instead the kinetics of the solution phase reaction Ca++ + 2HCO3- = CaCO3 + 2H+, which is very fast. Now, if we were dumping HCl into the oceans and the solid CaCO3 would act as a buffer to prevent lower of pH, I would agree with you, but we’re discussing the ability of the oceans to suck up CO2, not suck up free protons from another acid.
    This can all be confirmed by considering the concentrations in ocean water:
    Ca++ ~ 10.7 mM
    HCO3- ~ 2.4 mM
    Realizing that 388 ppm CO2 and a Henry’s Law constant of 29.4 L*atm/mol would yield a saturated solution of only 0.013 mM carbon dioxide without any of the above reactions shows just how important they are for oceans acting as a CO2 sink. Note that Ca++ > 4*HCO3-, implying (somewhat) that the ocean can still absorb a very large amount of CO2 even without biological help.
    What’s amazing is how much CO2 the oceans should be capable of absorbing. Here are my back-of-the-envelope calculations. Someone please correct me if I’m wrong or feel free to improve upon my results:
    Atmosphere’s height if constant density = 5600m (Wikipedia)
    Earth’s diameter = 12735875m (avg of equator/poles from About.com)
    Thus, the volume of Earth’s atmosphere at STP ~ 2.87*10^27 L (using the differences in the two 4/3*pi*r^3 values).
    Ocean Volume = 1.30*10^27 L (Wikipedia)
    STP air is = 22.414 mol/L
    Thus, 388 ppm CO2 = 0.0087 mol/L
    Thus, total CO2 in atmosphere = 2.48*10^25 mol
    If ALL of this went inorganically into the oceans (ignoring equilibrium or any biological/soil uptake), it would add ~19 mmol carbonate to the ocean…OH MY GOSH, THIS IS SUPER HIGH, WHAT WILL WE DO!
    …Oh wait, in 2008 the world anthropogenic emission was 8 billion metric tons of carbon, aka 8.0*10^15 g = 1.8*10^14 mol = ~0.14 PICOMOLAR in the ocean. Put another way, if we pumped the equivalent CO2 anthropogenic emissions from 2008 directly into the ocean for the next 720 MILLION years, we would increase the CO2 concentration (if not damped/consumed by calcium/biology) in the ocean by 0.1 mM, or 4.1%.
    But this somewhat misses the whole point of this article–which is to show that the efficiency/performance of worldwide carbon sinks has not appreciably decreased, in contrast to what many CAGW supporters routinely claim. This makes sense given the above calculations.

  149. Frankly, I don’t find Mauna Loa trustworthy. Like GISS and East Anglia, there is a malodorous air about them and their smoothed result.

  150. P Gosselin (11:23:42) :
    I thought some mountain in Hawaii was measuring CO2 concentrations, and has shown a steady 2 or 3 ppm per year increase since measurements started in the 1950s.
    You mean this Bristol study says it aint so?
    Someone expalin this? I’m lost
    BS: That mountain you are refering to is down wind of an active volcanoe. I am using a different PC atm, or I would post the link to an article I read about. The article basically says that station is taking biased CO2 readings because of it being so close and in the direct path of the volcanoe’s output/ gases/ exhaust. You be the judge, but for me I have reservations/ or will remain skeptical of the validity of the Bristol study.
    Happy New Year- Brandon

  151. For human attribution calculation we need some numbers. From Ferdinand in a previous thread (http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/) there are 100Gt remaining human CO2 in the atmosphere out of over 400 Gt emitted since 1850. According to RC (http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases-are-due-to-human-activities-updated/) the C13 to C12 ratio has decreased by 0.15% since 1850.
    Seems like a small decrease but fossil fuel carbon has only a 2% lower C13/C12 ratio than the atmosphere (RC link). The atmosphere holds 775Gt, so let’s assume there’s 7.75Gt of C13 and the rest is C12 (a ratio of 1/100 for purposes of argument). According to F, there was 100Gt less total CO2 in 1850 or 675 Gt and the C13/C12 ratio according to RC was 1/99.85 instead of the nominal 1/100 assumed above. From that we get 6.76Gt of C13 in 1850.
    The fossil 100Gt added over the 160 years had a 2% lower ratio of C13 or .98Gt instead of 1Gt. The total C13 today should therefore be 6.76 + 0.98 or 7.74Gt. Since that is less than our assumed 7.75Gt, the missing C13 is likely due to less than 100Gt being of fossil origin. A 50/50 split would produce the correct ratio.
    OTOH the fossil amount is more because there was 160 years of mixing (about 1/2 of which was non-preferential) in which 10% of the reservoirs got mixed each year. The effect of the mixing is to raise the ratio of C13/C12 towards the ratios in the other reservoirs which contain the pre-1850 ratios. But the ratios in the other reservoirs also fall with the mixing of lower ratio CO2 from the atmosphere. But there is the huge deep sea reservoir which won’t fall but AFAIK doesn’t mix with surface ocean that much.
    One other factor is the 160 year period is very nonlinear with an exponential increase in the fossil input so early mixing doesn’t matter much at all. Obviously a model would be valuable at this point to obtain a quantitative result and I think I can safely say that quantitative results won’t come from the back of an envelope. A claim that 100% or even 95% of the added CO2 is due to fossil fuels because of the C13/C12 ratio change would be suspect without a comprehensive model to back it up. Even then I would have some doubts about a quantitative claim.

  152. Scott (20:46:47) : Now no fair using real science and math to argue with Joel that just makes things more confusing by making them clear and that is the last thing the facts need.
    /sarc off

  153. So, what this paper is confirming is that half of the manmade CO2 is trapping heat, meaning that the climate is wildly susceptible to minute changes in CO2 which can cause irreversible warming of the planet.
    Of course, this flies in the face of the historical record and any sense of reason.

  154. I woke to -33′ C with the wind -45. WE had one of the coldest summers in my 47 years. The year before didn’t need any air on in the house. The year before one week was in the 30′ . We may need a greener earth but put the Bull$hit to rest . If every thing was good they would have no new taxes. 911taxes, WMD taxes ect so things look bad, but good for the taxman! This is just my take

  155. Anthony, have you seen this:
    Fast Pace of Glacier Melt in the 1940s: Lower Aerosol Pollution
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091231124858.htm
    “The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present. This is despite the fact that the temperatures in the 20th century were lower than in this century. Researchers see the main reason for this as the lower level of aerosol pollution in the atmosphere.”
    “Solar radiation as the decisive factor”

  156. Eric (skeptic) (21:12:10) :
    A claim that 100% or even 95% of the added CO2 is due to fossil fuels because of the C13/C12 ratio change would be suspect without a comprehensive model to back it up. Even then I would have some doubts about a quantitative claim.
    Before models, the data are not clear . Have a look at chiefios summary:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-trouble-with-c12-c13-ratios/
    The data are sure not settled, imo, so what use of models?

  157. Famous physicist Freeman Dyson argues that the half of the world’s land mass that is not covered by cities, roads, deserts, but is able to support some sort of vegetation, is an efficient absorber of co2 emmisions. By improving agricultural practices, such as introducing no till farming, soil biomass will grow by at least 0.001 inches a year, which is all that is needed to absorb our rising co2. End of problem says Professor Dyson.

  158. Anthony
    Anthony said:
    “How quickly you all forget. WUWT was the very first to cover this story back on November 10th, 2009.”
    Theres no point getting exasperated with us-how are we possibly supposed to remember something from the last decade? 🙂
    Tonyb

  159. Hmmm….
    We measure CO2 in the “downwind” from all that red China production at Hawaii in that lime/yellow patch.
    Wonder what the news stories and research would look like if we used Ascention Island in the middle of that nice blue blob off the west coast of Africa just under the equator about 1/2 way to South America…
    Contemplating that nice colorful map leads me to believe the “well mixed CO2” hypothesis that let us use Hawaii as a proxy for the world is broken…
    Implications…. implications…

  160. The mountain referred to below is named Mauna Loa, located in Hawaii, is the world’s largest shield volcano in terms of area covered. The main site of the atmospheric observatory (MLO) is located approximately 2 miles north of the summit (Mokuaweoweo) of the volcano.
    Source :Wikipedia
    “The Mauna Loa Solar Observatory (MLSO), located at 11,155 feet (3,400 m) on the northern slope of the mountain, has long been prominent in observations of the Sun. The NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) is located close by. From its location well above local human-generated influences, the MLO monitors the global atmosphere, including the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Measurements are ADJUSTED [emphasis mine] to account for local degassing of CO2 from the volcano.”
    The last sentence says it all. No problem here, after all, in the vicinity of a volcano wind patterns are static, and CO2 outgassing of a volcano is constant, right? [sarcasm]
    I’ve always thought that MLO’s cartoonish graphs of Atmospheric CO2 looked suspiciously smooth.

  161. It sounds like Nature is matching our carbon emissions if our fraction remains the same and yet CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise.
    So, if we somehow managed to reduce our C02 emissions, Nature would continue to emit C02?
    BTW, is man natural and if not then why so?

  162. I’m not surprised. So we can summarise and say we know very little about the climate, certainly not enough to make a prediction of what the climate change will be over 1 year, let alone 100 years. So, why all the fuss about AGW? Where’s the evidence? I mean real evidence, not best guesses, superstitions, or corrupt science.

  163. Yes but……
    This article by Tim Ball, December 28, 2009
    I think is another one , it mentions Zbigniew Jaworowski and Ernst Beck from back in 2008 (You probably covered this also) and Tom Wigley from 1983.
    This article mentions a a paper submitted to the Hearing before the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation by Professor Zbigniew Jaworowski.
    Ernst Beck confirmed Jaworowski’s research in a September 2008 article in Energy and Environment.
    Beck found, “Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm.
    And the real kicker I think is The Hockey Team Member
    Tom Wigley, who is the heart of the CRU gang, introduced the 280 ppm number to the climate science community with a 1983 paper titled, “The pre-industrial carbon dioxide level.” (Climatic Change 5, 315-320). He based his work on studies by G. S. Callendar (1938) of thousands of direct measures of atmospheric CO2 beginning in 1812. Callendar rejected most of the records, including 69% of the 19th century records and only selected records that established 280 ppm as the pre-industrial level.
    http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/18343

  164. E.M.Smith (01:06:46) :

    Wonder what the news stories and research would look like if we used Ascention Island in the middle of that nice blue blob off the west coast of Africa just under the equator about 1/2 way to South America…

    No need to wonder – Ascension was a site, at least until 1992. And like the large number of high quality sites around the world, the results tracked Mauna Loa very closely. A few recent years:
    Year Ascen Mauna Ratio
    1985 345.2 345.90 0.998
    1986 346.2 347.15 0.997
    1987 348.4 348.93 0.999
    1988 350.4 351.48 0.997
    1989 351.6 352.91 0.996
    1990 352.9 354.19 0.996
    1991 353.9 355.59 0.995
    1992 355.2 356.37 0.997

  165. toyotawhizguy (01:15:22) : edit

    The mountain referred to below is named Mauna Loa, located in Hawaii, is the world’s largest shield volcano in terms of area covered. The main site of the atmospheric observatory (MLO) is located approximately 2 miles north of the summit (Mokuaweoweo) of the volcano.
    Source :Wikipedia
    “The Mauna Loa Solar Observatory (MLSO), located at 11,155 feet (3,400 m) on the northern slope of the mountain, has long been prominent in observations of the Sun. The NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) is located close by. From its location well above local human-generated influences, the MLO monitors the global atmosphere, including the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. Measurements are ADJUSTED [emphasis mine] to account for local degassing of CO2 from the volcano.”
    The last sentence says it all. No problem here, after all, in the vicinity of a volcano wind patterns are static, and CO2 outgassing of a volcano is constant, right? [sarcasm]
    I’ve always thought that MLO’s cartoonish graphs of Atmospheric CO2 looked suspiciously smooth.

    OK, lets get past the questions about Mauna Loa. I lived for a year on the Big Island, in Waimea. From there I could see the observatory referred to above. So as you might imagine, I did some extensive research on just how they do their sampling. As usual, Wikipedia doesn’t quite get it right.
    The spot was picked inter alia because it is very high and it is on an island. At night, as is common with islands, there is a predictable and regular “land breeze” that flows outwards from the island to the sea. As a result, air is pulled down from higher altitudes above the island to replace that air moving from the island out to sea. Several times each night, measurements of CO2 are made of this air, which is pulled from clean air aloft, and which is thus generally free of the contamination which afflicts many other sites. This is air which has been way up high crossing the Pacific, and passes over very little land before being sampled.
    As a number of people have pointed out, the mountain is an active volcano which outgasses CO2. And sometimes, if the winds are wrong, the air comes from areas where the CO2 is outgassing.
    However, Wikipedia is wrong when they say that the measurements are adjusted when this happens. They are not. It is immediately obvious when the air is contaminated with volcanic CO2, because as you might imagine the CO2 levels spike off the charts. These samples are not used for baseline CO2 measurements (although they are used to estimate the amount of CO2 being outgassed by the volcano). Since they take several measurements per night, this generally does not leave them without data. The volcanic CO2 is also usually near the ground, so the measurements are taken both at the ground and from tall towers as well. If these two agree and there is no unusual readings, they know they have measured good air.
    As someone pointed out above, this is not the only place on the planet where CO2 is measured. The close agreement between the Mauna Loa data and data gathered elsewhere is a good indication that their system for identifying spurious samples works quite well.
    So although as you might surmise I am a suspicious SOB who doesn’t believe anything related to climate science without a very hard look, I am satisfied that the data coming from Mauna Loa are valid and can be relied on. See here for more information.

  166. anon,
    when I looked at that story about the fast pace of glacial melt in the 40s, I didn’t take it at face value. The reason is that the basic premise of the whole study is why did the glaciers melt faster in the 40s when the CRU temp DB “proves” that it was not as warm then. Then you read the climategate emails, and see the discussion of tamping down the “warm blip” seen in the temperature data in the 40s, and I just assume that the problem is that the CRU temp history is wrong, and it really was warmer in the 40s, and we don’t need to go looking for zebras when the hoof beats are perfectly explained by horses.

  167. But, but , but
    Willis Eschenbach (03:24:54) :
    So although as you might surmise I am a suspicious SOB who doesn’t believe anything related to climate science without a very hard look, I am satisfied that the data coming from Mauna Loa are valid and can be relied on. See here for more information.
    Is it reasonable to measure CO2 from the high atmosphere and in isolated areas only and then call it global CO2? Why not measure temperatures the same way then? Up on high mountains from down winds and call them global temperatures?
    In addition, once I tried finding the publications of all those sources that track so nicely the Maona Loa curve, and I saw they were all Keeling and Somebody, a graduate student or a postdoc I suppose. It is like all those models coming out with “independent outputs”, imo. The independent checks by Beck, say another story, for example.

  168. Ferdinand Engelbeen (16:16:12) :
    David Middleton (14:50:35) :
    […]
    Depends of which ice cores. The Law Dome ice cores have an 8 year resolution over the pas 100 years and a 40 years resolution over the past 1,000 years.
    […]

    The “bubbles” may have that sort of resolution; but the gas within those bubbles represents a mixture of atmospheres over the firn densification time period. Law Dome does have one of the shortest firn densification periods of any of the ice cores I’ve seen data from and it does have far better atmospheric resolution than most most other ice cores.
    The plant SI data still have far better resolution; which does not degrade as badly with depth and time of burial.
    The ice cores do have the advantage of providing continuous records over 100’s of thousands of years. The plant SI are limited, so far, to a few scattered peat bogs and lacustrine depositional sequences.

    You are looking at momentary CO2 levels by the satellite, in another season you will see a complete different picture, and the averages are quite similar: not more than 5 ppmv difference between Barrow and the South Pole, which would be near zero if not 95% of the emissions were in the NH. See one of the animations at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/index.html

    The “momentary” image shows both polar areas (north and south) to have 20 to 30 ppmv less CO2 than the mid- to low-latitudes. That’s not a seasonal difference. NASA even says that the CO2 “is not well mixed in the troposphere”…
    “Chahine said previous AIRS research data have led to some key findings about mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide. For example, the data have shown that, contrary to prior assumptions, carbon dioxide is not well mixed in the troposphere, but is rather “lumpy.” Until now, models of carbon dioxide transport have assumed its distribution was uniform.”
    NASA Outlines Recent Breakthroughs in Greenhouse Gas Research

    SI data have one big problem: a local/regional CO2 bias. As plants used for SI data by definition grow on land, they respond to local CO2 levels at leave height, which may change over time. Even if you calibrate the data (with an accuracy of +/- 10 ppmv…) to current CO2 levels (and/or ice cores), there is not the slightest guarantee that the local CO2 levels didn’t change over time: from swamps to grass to forests to fields and back in the main wind direction, besides increasing traffic and urbanisation. See e.g. the results of the tall tower experiments in The Netherlands:
    http://www.chiotto.org/cabauw.html

    Stomatal densities don’t vary diurnally. Plants adjust stomatal density over time to obtain the most efficient CO2 respiration.
    Furthermore, pine needles tend to be higher above Earth’s surface level than snow. The gas bubbles in the ice cores represent surface CO2 levels to an even greater degree than the plant SI do.
    SI data over the 20th century match the instrumental CO2 data to a T… Wagner et al., 2005
    I agree that local phenomena can seriously affect the SI. Kouwenberg discounted the ~390 ppmv CO2 maximum at ~400 AD in her Jay Bath (Pacific NW) reconstruction as being due to local vegetation changes because she could not correlate the high CO2 with warmer temperatures. She did eliminate volcanogenic sources though. When Kouwenberg published her reconstruction in Geology (Kouwenberg et al., 2005), the pre-800 AD portion of the reconstruction was omitted because it was assumed to be a local phenomenon. The full reconstruction only appears in her PhD thesis.
    However, Kouwenberg, Kurchner, Wagner and the other pioneers of SI derivation of past CO2 levels are probably missing the “forest because of the trees.” They are looking for evidence of a pre-industrial coupling of CO2 and temperature. But they are looking for that coupling from the perspective of CO2 driving temperature changes. If they would step back and look at the whole forest, rather than a few trees… They would see that the SI CO2 maxima lag behind temperature maxima by 100 to 400 years.
    CO2 lags behind temperature changes at the glacial-interglacial scale, at the Dansgaard-Oeshger/Heinrich/Bond (~1470-yr) scale and perhaps even at the PDO scale.

  169. Sorry boys,
    It is good to be sceptical, but there is a difference between being sceptical and simply rejecting data, only because you don’t like them.
    I am a little tired of the repeating of always the same arguments, while with some search of the literature, one can find a lot of reliable information.
    As already said before, Mauna Loa is NOT the only CO2 station of the world, the South Pole even started measurements even before it. And we have about 70+ stations measuring CO2 nowadays at places far away from huge sources.
    10 “baseline” stations are used for “global” CO2 levels, continuously measuring CO2 from near the North Pole to the South Pole, with rigorous calibration: every hour three different calibration gases are used and every 25 hours a fourth calibration gas is used outside the range of the others to check problems with the calibration gases themselves. The procedures, which are used worldwide can be read for Mauna Loa here:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
    All raw one hour average CO2 calculations are the average of 2×20 minutes of voltage measurements from 2 intake lines and 3×4 minutes of calibration gas voltage measurements. These data, together with the sd of the values within the past hour can be found (for four baseline stations) at:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/
    Some data are flagged for deviations from what can be expected from the measurements. Even for the largest change in CO2 level due to seasonal impact, the change is far less than 0.1 ppmv per hour, which is the detection level. Thus if one sees a change of more than 0.3 ppmv in an hour, the data are flagged and not used for averaging. That is the case with downslope wind from the volcano, upslope wind in the afternoon, instrument malfunction etc. Volcanic vents in general show an uptick of about 4 ppmv, while upslope winds show a depletion of about 4 ppmv (only at Mauna Loa). Even if one uses all available data, there is no difference in average or trend with the “cleaned” data. Only most of the local outliers, not relevant for global CO2, are removed.
    See the trend of the raw, uncorrected hourly measurements here:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/mlo2004_hr_raw.jpg
    and compare that with the trend of the selected “clean” hourly measurements:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/mlo2004_hr_selected.gif
    So even if MLO is on a volcano and La Jolla Pier doesn’t use the data if the wind is from land side, and the South Pole has a lot of mechanical problems (what wouldn’t at -80 C), the raw or “cleaned” data just show the same trend, be it with a seasonal amplitude and a delay in altitude and between the NH and the SH, as most of the emissions are at ground level in the NH:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg

  170. Some time ago I remember seeing a similar map showing NOx concentrations. The industrialized regions were immediately obvious.
    The CO2 map shows no increased concentration over industrialized regions. Even with today’s increased CO2 levels natural sources appear to dominate.
    Does this not suggest that today’s CO2 levels are determined by nature and not mankind?

  171. David Middleton (14:50:35) :
    It will be really funny when the “experts” figure out that 388 ppmv CO2 pretty well fits within the normal range of warm periods in the last 10,000 years. The ice core CO2 data make for a very nice 200- to 500-yr moving average; but they can’t resolve decadal- and century-scale changes. I would think that the fact that the AIRS data show polar CO2 to be ~30 ppmv lower than low- to mid-latitude CO2 would be a clue that the ice cores systematically underestimate global atmospheric CO2. Plant SI data accurately depict CO2 with nearly annual resolution over portions of the last 10,000 years. SI data over the last 60 years match the MLO data and they can be empirically tested.

    David, this looks like interesting evidence, time for a WUWT post from you? – if you can please just explain it properly – incl. what is “plant SI data”? Your material also bears up what I’ve long suspected, that ice core CO2 measurements are much too low – not just because of being polar, but because there are multiple problems in the coring, handling, transporting, storing, and measuring processes. Technical issues that involve CO2 leak and more, not surprising considering the unique and hostile environment. This is not to rubbish ice cores, they provide wonderful data… if handled appropriately.

  172. barry (17:27:30) :

    This report seems to contradict the Keeling curve, and to question the evidence for the man made rise in CO2 that underlies AGW. How credible is this?

    Not very. [three links to “Some Are Boojums”…] Assuming you’re focussing on the extreme outlier (to put it charitably) views of Jaworowski in the canadafreepress article
    Barry, I agree with much of what you write above. But not this. I looked into “Some Are Boojums” extensively. He has his knife into Jaworowski, just Jaworoski, nobody else, and his reasoning did not hold up to my further investigation. I read Jaworowski’s science paper that was written in 1992, at the time when Climate Science was starting to go off the rails. At this point in time, Jaworowski wrote a paper that is chock-full of good science, that merely notes in a pretty scientifically normal way the poor science elsewhere. But later, Jaworowski became so incensed and upset that his later writings tend to allow the science to be a little bit beggared (but not compromised) by his very understandable criticisms of the political process that he could see was swallowing the good science alive. At the very least, J could hardly avoid being the target of tarring and skewed representation, by the desmogblog generation.
    This early paper was only in photocopied form, without the indexing that hyperlinks allows, that makes for much easier reading. I’ve typed it out and posted it here, with introductory notes and with co-author Segalstad’s blessing. I’ve actually incorporated the pictures used by “Some Are Boojums”, arriving at different conclusions.
    In all this, I have arrived at different conclusions to Ferdinand Engelbeen, whom I still regard as a good friend and worthy opponent. Happy New Year FE!

  173. Wansbeck (05:31:29) :
    “Some time ago I remember seeing a similar map showing NOx concentrations. The industrialized regions were immediately obvious.
    The CO2 map shows no increased concentration over industrialized regions. Even with today’s increased CO2 levels natural sources appear to dominate.
    Does this not suggest that today’s CO2 levels are determined by nature and not mankind?”
    This is a really good question and one that, until last night, I assumed to be a big arguing point and presumably in conflict only because of the ability of the Earth/plants to absorb CO2. However, the estimates I did for the ocean (see above) really got me thinking, so I’ll do similar ones here for the atmosphere and show that man has no measurable influence.
    Global anthropogenic carbon, 2008 = 8 billion metric tons (Wikipedia)
    STP Volume of atm (calculated in above post from Wiki/About.com data) = 2.86*10^27 Liters
    This equates to 1.82*10^14 mol/yr of CO2. Diluting this uniformly into the atmosphere and assuming steady uptake & removal of all natural CO2 gives an expected CO2 rise from anthropogenic sources of only 0.0000031 ppm/yr.
    This answer really, really bothers me. It’s an easy calculation to do, and anyone with freshmen-level chemistry, physics, or engineering can do it. Several of the data used for this calculation are far, far harder to calculate, such as the “height of a constant density atmosphere” and the “global anthropogenic carbon emissions”, yet these are readily calculated by atmospheric scientists. Because of this, I’m feeling like I calculated something wrong (someone please try to confirm these numbers). If I didn’t calculate something incorrectly, then it’s clear that the CO2 increase is not manmade (unless it comes from something other than direct emissions of CO2), and the simplicity of the calculation/results indicates that the scientists claiming global warming have been intentionally negligent, because I would assume that this is the first calculation one would do before making such claims about AGW.
    Again, I would appreciate it if someone could verify these calculations or point me in a direction where someone else has, as they are very simple but if my result is correct, then it is clear that AGW is wrong AND that the scientists claiming AGW is real or grossly negligent or bold-faced liars.
    Scott
    Colorado State University

  174. anna v, thanks for that link. It looks like a lot of the unknowns that are pointed out by E.M. Smith are model parameters or inputs. You could call that a lack of data, but I would say it is model inadequacy or model error. The modern data is precisely measured and well known and it seems to me that the model could be run and validated over the span of modern measurements.

  175. I would like to fully support Lucy’s comments 06 39 53
    both regarding Ferdinand and also the accuracy of the co2 data available pre Mauna Loa.
    I went down this road two years ago completely independently of Beck and obatained Callendars archives where his selection of Co2 readings at the low end of the spectrum is very evident. He was a man with a theory and Keeling was very eager to follow the same route.
    Giles Slocum demolished Callendars work very elegantly in 1955
    http://www.pensee-unique.eu/001_mwr-083-10-0225.pdf
    As it says in the paper referenced above, various printed books-which I have seen- considered around 400ppm at the beginning of the 20th century to be normal. Co2 had been regularly measured as an ordinary part of life since Saussure in 1830. Elizabeth Gaskill wrote of co2 levels in cotton factories in her novel ‘North and South’ and the Britsh govt had been well aware of levels since around 1850. They legislated in 1889 to keep it below certain limits in factories. These limits were monitored by the UK factories inspectorate.( a fearsome regulatory body)
    So high co2 levels in the atmosphere at around 350-400ppm were considered normal, they were measured regularly by many very fine chemists and patented analysing machines came into being to ensure compliance with the factories Act.
    If asked whether I believe direct Co2 measurements taken at the time by some of the finest scientists of the day, or proxies by way of tree rings and ice cores taken in the supercharged political atmosphere we have today, I am afraid my money is on the former.
    Callendar deliberately selected low Co2 values and we live with those consequences to this day. Sorry Ferdinand 🙂
    Tonyb

  176. Bart (17:50:22) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (15:37:42) :
    From your link:
    5.1:
    No matter how high the natural seasonal turnover might be, in all years over the previous near 50 years, the natural CO2 sinks were larger than the natural CO2 sources… Thus it is impossible that natural sources were responsible for (a substantial part of) the increase of CO2 in the past 50 years.
    This is non sequitur. The sinks will always expand to the level needed to counter the current forcing from whatever source. That is the nature of an equilibrium in a feedback system. All you have proven is that the known sinks are larger than the known natural inputs.

    Bart (17:50:22) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (15:37:42) :
    From your link:
    5.1: This is non sequitur. The sinks will always expand to the level needed to counter the current forcing from whatever source. That is the nature of an equilibrium in a feedback system. All you have proven is that the known sinks are larger than the known natural inputs.
    5.1 This is the heart of the matter: as long as the natural sinks are larger than the natural sources, nature adds nothing, nada, zero, to the total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere. No matter how much circulates during a year through the atmosphere (the turnover), it is the balance of your account at the end of the year which makes that you have a loss or a gain. The individual flows are not known to any high accuracy, but the balance at the end of the year is known: that is the difference between the emissions and what is measured in the atmosphere.
    In this case the only gain is from human emissions. Without them, there would be a loss. As long as we add 8 GtC/yr into the atmosphere and we see only half of it as increase, there is no other important source of extra CO2 active, or we should see an increase of more than 8 GtC/yr in the atmosphere. The only small extra addition is from temperature: about 8 ppmv caused by the warming with about 1 K since the LIA, but the total gain is about 100 ppmv, while we have added over 200 ppmv CO2.
    5.2 About ice cores:
    The (Law Dome) ice core CO2 levels and the CO2 emissions for the period 1900-1959 have about the same ratio as for the period after 1960 with more accurate measurements:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1900_1959.jpg
    I haven’t plotted the data before 1900, as there were far less emissions and the signal/noise ratio may be problematic.
    The trend of CO2 in the ice cores for the past few centuries is here:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_000_3kyr.jpg
    and there is little change in the previous 10,000 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_010kyr.jpg
    A real, not fabricated, hockeystick this time, from different ice cores, measured by different people in different labs from different organisations in different countries.
    And compare that to the timing of the reverse d13C hockeystick from coralline sponges in the upper ocean waters:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif
    What do you think that caused the exact parallel change of d13C and CO2 in ice cores (and atmosphere)?
    5.3 Will be answered in another comment
    5.4 Is meant for the period before the atomic bomb testing: carbon dating had to be adjusted for the dilution of 14C in the atmosphere by the burning of essentially 14C free carbon from fossil fuels.
    5.5 There are only two relative fast sources of CO2 in the atmosphere: the oceans and vegetation decay (volcanic being a minor source and in the recent decade rather quiet). Oceans as main source are impossible: d13C level is too high. Vegetation is impossible: more growth than decay, because of the oxygen balance. So what other fast source(s) are left?
    5.6 The increase in DIC is important, and the pCO2 difference between the atmosphere and the oceans: the average flow is from the atmosphere to the oceans, not the other way out.

  177. Wilson (17:50:38) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (17:11:21) :
    So how about fumaroles? How much co2 do they put into the atmosphere per annum?

    It is hard to catch up with all comments…
    From a lnown skeptic:
    “However, a paper by Nils-Axel Morner and Giuseppe Etiope, published in the journal ‘Global and Planetary Change’ in 2002, estimated that the lower limit for global volcanic degassing of carbon dioxide at around 300 million tonnes per year. By comparison, Gregg Marland and his colleagues at the U.S Dept. of Energy’s Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center have estimated that 26,778 million tonnes of carbon dioxide were emitted by human use of fossil fuels in 2003. Therefore, although Morner and Etiope did describe their estimate of carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes as “conservative”, it is less than 2 per cent of the annual emissions of carbon dioxide from human use of fossil fuels.”
    Even the Pinatubo eruption caused a decrease of CO2: the cooling caused by the aerosols was more important for CO2 uptake than the extra CO2 emitted by the volcano…

  178. The title of this post actually has nothing to do with the claim of the study. The research states that the proportion of human-induced CO2 emissions which are absorbed might remain constant, which has nothing to do with the fraction of atmospheric CO2 remaining constant (since the emissions increased).

  179. I have posted this query a few times, and have yet to see any theories. According to this clip of the AIRS data (link below), April in the NH has the highest concentrations of CO2. Pause the video on April each year. I notice in the west, Canada, Alaska and the northern tier of the US have the highest concentration for the year during April. WHY? The oceans might be warming slightly from sun exposure, but it seems to be over land. It’s way colder than we thought and the CO2 frost is sublimating? Don’t think so. The spread of Vernal Bonfires celebrations into snowy climes to celebrate the return of daylight? I give up!
    http://tinypic.com/m/2l9dea/1

  180. Ok, I found the problem in my calculations, both for the ocean and the atmosphere. I had messed up the conversion from km^3 to L in both my ocean and atmospheric volumes.
    Thus, both are in the 10^21 L range, not 10^27 L. This makes a huge difference for the atmospheric stuff…anthropogenic numbers for the atmosphere would be 3.1 ppm/yr. However, the “practical” difference for the ocean doesn’t really change. If we pumped all of the 2008 emissions directly into the ocean and it all converted to carbonate, the carbonate concentration would increase at 0.14 micromolar/yr. Thus, to change the carbonate concentration of the ocean by 1% would still require a full 175 years assuming no biological or chemical compensation/buffering/dampening. Consequently, these basic calculations still support the article–nature’s natural uptake of CO2 is nowhere near its capacity.
    Sorry for any confusion from the mistakes in my earlier posts. 🙁
    Scott

  181. I’m sorry not to have read all the comments chain; it is too massive for me now. But I did note a continuing concern for CO2 residence time. The Wikipedia article on carbon dioxide once manifested a very interesting graph of atmospheric C-14 concentration in the wake of global atmospheric nuclear testing. Since the testing stopped at a clear demarcation, it was possible to see the decline in the isotope (due to chemical absorption by natural processes, not to inherent radioactivity), which I recall to be an e-folding time on the order of 5 years. Unfortunately, the article is now a battlefield under truce and this graph has been deleted.
    As an aside, I think it has to be recognized that the global warming issue (among others) is a test that invalidates the fundamental premise of Wikipedia (that unaccountable, anonymous, unqualified, unproctored editors can compile the wisdom of the ages).

  182. If the airborne fraction in percentage has been the same for about 60 years, and even if the absolute number has been increasing, would this then mean that all the deforestation really hasn’t had as large an impact on co2 as one is led to believe? What with mother nature still being able to recycle most of the co2 any way.
    Seems odd to me, but then again more co2 does support more green stuff. :p

  183. Ferdinand
    “It is good to be sceptical, but there is a difference between being sceptical and simply rejecting data, only because you don’t like them.”
    Let’s be clear that’s exactly what Callendar and Keeling did. And that’s what you do too when you discuss Beck’s work or the stomata data. It’s very easy to reject a paper as “not reliable” when you don’t trust the accuracy of the measurement methods and you know that lot’s of people know the conclusion they want and get there by assumptions. But that’s a sword that cuts both ways. As you know, there are very few climate papers that stand up to close scrutiny – an awful lot is grounded on handwaved assumptions and finished by poor stats. And the number of arbitrary fiddle factors used in this game is astounding.
    Your own arguments rest on two main bits of evidence; the C12/C13 fractioning and the ice core data. As Spencer showed you, the first argument fails quite easily when you do a simple control test. The second rests on a few cores from the Antarctic. AFAIK the Arctic data doesn’t support the hypothesis and the stomata work contradicts it. We also know – because they tell us – that the different CO2 station data are all calibrated against each other. And we know too that researchers in this field are prone to cherry-pick data that fits the paradigm and thusly find signals in the noise. As for the CO2 being well-mixed, well I always suspected that was overly simplistic and it hasn’t yet been proven – the AIRS people saying it isn’t true but remaining cagey.
    The entire set of carbon source and sink calculations are innumerate. Of course the error bars invalidate every calculation. Literally we don’t know if any of the sources or sinks are plus or minus. As you pointed out, you have to assume it from subtracting the stuff we put out from the stuff that’s measured by the Keeling franchise. Your argument that this net rise can’t be from the warming sea is based on extrapolating from Antarctic proxies for heaven’s sake. Why even assume that what happens in the Antarctic reflects the rest of the globe? Oh yes I remember – because CO2 is well-mixed.
    The skepticism exists because everything done in this area is questionable. That a warming sea is pronounced to be a net sink, in contradiction of both nature and of other team arguments elsewhere, is only further evidence of just how easy it is for climateers to pull arguments straight out of their rear end and call it evidence.

  184. Anthony,
    Thanks for “running” this bombshell again. The initial impact did not sink in for me the first time as the rerun did.
    It seems to me that those who disagree with the “bombshell” term either don’t understand the importance of thoroughly understanding this subject before imposing draconian measures or they want to hide the fact that the AGW story (especially tipping point) does not hang together too well when one tries to understand the residence time and build up mechanism of CO2. Clearly the science is not settled on this subject as evidenced by the fact that there is a widely divergent range of “opinions” on how long CO2 hangs around even from AGW advocates (50 years to thousands).
    I was recently referred to Archer’s papers by a noted scientist and upon reading his recent works was appalled to learn that anyone would cite Archer’s computer efforts as sufficient to justify the “tipping point” warning.
    see
    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/archer.2008.tail_implications.pdf
    To claim a tipping point Archer seems to indicate
    that the CO2 absorbtion capability of the oceans, etc can only deteriorate due to “overloading” but never increase (tipping point!!) . Archer even critizes the IPCC as being too conservative (short). Of course this is contridicted by the subject Bristol paper. Conventional science would suggest that the absorption would increase as the partial pressure is increased since the driving force increases.
    I wonder if anyone peer reviewed all the assumptions in his computer program. The more one looks into the issue the more one realizes how complicated and diverse the mechanisms really are and how difficult it would be to create a comprehensive computer model .
    Almost 50 years of engineering experience (including exposure to less complex computer models) lead me to be skeptical about any computer simulation of complex systems without understanding all the asumptions, boundary conditions and fudge factors. My experience with those who develop computer models of complex systems are well intended but they are niave about the accuracy of the product. It would be nice if Archer et. al. laid out these in their papers for discussion.
    In the engineering community one would never (unless it is government funded) build a plant (even a pilot plant) without a full evaluation of these factors. Unfortunately the day of judgment soon arrives in the enginnering community that never occurs in the academic community and mistakes might cause dismissal.
    I learned a lot about CO2 from the posts on this article by many of the accomplished posters and thank everone especially the insights of the following:
    TIM CLARK (11:05:58) :
    …”1. Someone stated that 45% of anthropogenic CO2 releases remain in the atsmosphere. I believe the poster confused isotopic analysis with absolute quantity, as the US Department of Energy analysis determined that only 4% of the increased Anthr.. releases remained in the atsmosphere causing the increase to ~ 380 ppm. Therefore, Chris, increasing Anthro.. [pCO2] induces increased plant (or ocean organism) growth, period. But increasing plant growth and subsequent decay returns increased amounts of CO2 back into the atmosphere. The sequestration of the 96% of mans’ releases is either captured in urban structures, oceanic cycles, long-lived species (trees, shrubs) or in increases in soil organic matter (which is increasing). How much in each is debated, but a .05% increase in carbon sequestered in the soil could account for all of it. Increased soil organic matter also leads to imcreased biomass (sequestration) as numerous beneficial processes are correlated to OM, ie. nutrient availability, water infiltration and retention, reduction in compacted soil root impedance, etc. IMHO, the significance of this study is humans increasing CO2 contributions are still being sequestered at the same proportionate rate. Logically then, more is being sequestered each year. Plant response indicates this will continue in the same fashion at least up to 700ppm. …
    Finally the other point that troubles me most, as an engineer, is the claim by the AGW folks that CO2 emissions from biofuels is OK since it is “renewable” while emissions from fossil fuels is “bad”. Hopefully someone can enlighten me but if you believe Archer et al. it seems to that the source of CO2 does not matter at all. Archer et. al. would like to make you believe that nature treats
    manmade CO2 emissions differently than “natural”. Enlightenment is appreciated.
    Again thanks, Anthony.

  185. An interesting article that makes mention of WUWT, from Skeptical Science.
    Thursday, 31 December, 2009
    Is the airborne fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions increasing?
    The ‘airborne fraction’ refers to the amount of human CO2 emissions remaining in the atmosphere. Approximately 43% of our CO2 emissions stay in the atmosphere with the rest being absorbed by carbon sinks. But is the airborne fraction increasing? A paper published in November 2009 found no statistically significant trend (Knorr 2009). Anthony Watts labeled this result the “Bombshell from Bristol” – A potentially devastating result for anthropogenic global warming. Was it such a shock? The 2007 IPCC verdict on the airborne fraction was “There is yet no statistically significant trend in the CO2 growth rate since 1958 …. This ‘airborne fraction’ has shown little variation over this period.” (IPCC AR4) I’m not sure the move from “not much happening” “to “still not much happening” warrants the label “bombshell”.
    Rest of the article: [URL]http://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-the-airborne-fraction-of-anthropogenic-CO2-emissions-increasing.html[/URL]

  186. “Michael J. Dunn (08:54:58) :
    …Wikipedia article on carbon dioxide once manifested a very interesting graph of atmospheric C-14 concentration in the wake of global atmospheric nuclear testing. Since the testing stopped at a clear demarcation, it was possible to see the decline in the isotope (due to chemical absorption by natural processes, not to inherent radioactivity), which I recall to be an e-folding time on the order of 5 years. Unfortunately, the article is now a battlefield under truce and this graph has been deleted…”
    It’s still available at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14
    It looks to me that the half-life is around 70 yr (so e-folding ~50 yr), but that’s for CO2 in the upper atmosphere. It would be a lot shorter for CO2 produced at ground level where the major sinks are.

  187. Scott (08:46:03) :
    “…to change the carbonate concentration of the ocean by 1% would still require a full 175 years assuming no biological or chemical compensation/buffering/dampening. Consequently, these basic calculations still support the article–nature’s natural uptake of CO2 is nowhere near its capacity.”
    This is the key point. In this case it is reasonable to suppose that the rate of sequestration is roughly proportional to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, A; that is, equal to kA where k is roughly constant. A simple mass balance of the atmosphere is then
    dA/dt = R – kA
    where R is the rate of production of CO2 from all sources (incl human). This indicates that A approaches a steady-state value Ass (but depending on the magnitude of k, and whether R is changing rapidly, might not be observed to actually reach Ass) given by
    Ass = R/k
    If k is roughly constant this shows that separate contributions to R directly translate into a contribution to Ass. So if human activity contributes a ~%5 addition to R it contributes a ~5% contribution to Ass (ie to atmospheric CO2).
    Note that this conclusion doesn’t require us to have highly accurate measures of the components of R. If we are confident to say “humans make a small contribution to the overall rate of CO2 production” then we should be confident to say “humans make a small contribution to atmospheric CO2”.

  188. The key lines were contained in parenthesis just before the line graph (which substantiated them). This does NOT mean that atmospheric CO2 from human generated sources have not increased. They clearly have and exponentially so. It means only that the proportion of such gases retained in the atmosphere has remained constant, a fact the IPCC and Hanson and many others have long recognized.
    So where do you get off concluding that taking drastic steps is somehow out of line with the science?

  189. Lucy Skywalker (06:39:53) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (07:34:39) :
    “5.1 This is the heart of the matter: as long as the natural sinks are larger than the natural sources, nature adds nothing, nada, zero, to the total mass of CO2 in the atmosphere.”
    Incorrect. This is very subtle, but try to see it through.
    In a feedback system, the mechanism taking out will always expand in reaction to an increase in the disturbing signal. If the natural sources expand, so will the sinks. If the artificial sources expand, so will the sinks. The sinks will therefore always be greater than the natural sources alone. What you are stating here is not a profound insight – it is a tautology.
    5.2 About ice cores:
    “I haven’t plotted the data before 1900, as there were far less emissions and the signal/noise ratio may be problematic.”
    Then, you must proffer justification for the S/N being un-problematic after 1900. The fact is, the curve is very smooth. I see no justification for eliminating the pre-1900 record on that basis. And, what it shows is that CO2 was already rising before the age of industrialization. There is no conclusive evidence, therefore, that the rise, although bearing superficial resemblance to the temperature record (see Lucy Skywalker (06:39:53) above for refutation of this) is driving the temperature record. Indeed, I see evidence in your own data that the inflection of the atmospheric CO2 concentration rise preceeds that of the accumulated emissions. You could argue that the time of precedence is arbitrary, since the ice core data was phase advanced to match the instrument record, and this advance is itself a statistical parameter with some variation, but in arguing that it could be so variable, you will undercut other AGW arguments which rely on the necessary phase advance being well known.
    Is it really credible that the inflections could have occurred at roughly the same time and not be related? Let me suspend my suspicions, for a moment, that the data have been “adjusted”, and the unadjusted data might not show such an approximate happenstance – I will just ignore for the moment the fact that the ice core data are phase advanced to match up with the instrument record, and that the idea that we could calculate historical anthorpogenic emissions to such a smooth curve with zero error bars is fantastic. Now, taking the data at face value, is it really credible that the inflections could have occurred at roughly the same time and not be related?
    I believe, based on my experiences in the wild world of statistics, that it is. The simplest example of the anti-intuitive properties of statistics is probably one most technical types have encountered in their first probability class. The professor comes in and asks everyone their birthday. In a class of 30 students, the odds are better than 2 in 3 that at least two people will have the same birthday. When it happens, all the neophytes are amazed, because it just doesn’t seem likely, given the way our brains have been programmed before we encounter such mathematics.
    To calculate the probability, we would need to know how frequent such upsurges are. Then, we could have an idea of how often such an event would coincide, within a space of some interval of years, with a randomly selected instant in time, such as the time at which the human race moved into massive industrialization. The regnant orthodoxy argues that such events are rare, but then, it argues there was no MWP as well, and we all know that is false.
    “The (Law Dome) ice core CO2 levels and the CO2 emissions for the period 1900-1959 have about the same ratio as for the period after 1960 with more accurate measurements:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1900_1959.jpg

    Any two trends will have the same ratio for all periods in which they exist. Again, this is tautology.
    “What do you think that caused the exact parallel change of d13C and CO2 in ice cores (and atmosphere)?”
    There is no doubt that CO2 has been rising, from whatever source.It is not d13C which gives an indication of change, it is d(13C/12C). The hypothesis that the ratio has decreased because of increasing 12C is only one possibility.In this link, Dr. Spencer argued convincingly that the ratio naturally rises and falls with absorption and release of CO2 from the ocean due to SST. (I really hope you will not argue that Dr. Spencer’s analysis is flawed along the imbecilic lines of some of our trolls – I will be most disappointed).
    “5.4 Is meant for the period before the atomic bomb testing: carbon dating had to be adjusted for the dilution of 14C in the atmosphere by the burning of essentially 14C free carbon from fossil fuels.”
    The period of massive industrialization and accelerated anthropogenic CO2 release came after the bomb testing. The fact that 14C has decreased since then is in no way conclusively attributable to the accelerated anthropogenic production – there is no way you could convince me you could pick such a small signal out of such enormous hash. Indeed, you are the only researcher I have seen to claim such. Most analyses I have seen explicitly state that 14C is not useful for this purpose, and they focus on the d(13C/12C) ratio.
    5.5 There are only two relative fast sources of CO2 in the atmosphere: the oceans and vegetation decay [as far as I (you) know] (volcanic being a minor source and in the recent decade rather quiet). Oceans as main source are impossible: d13C level is too high [as far as I (you) know] .
    High 13C is indicative of non-fossil fuel source, according to the hypothesis. Plants marginally prefer 12C, so fossil fuel burning is supposed to raise 12C, resulting in a lower 13C/12C ratio. I think you rushed in writing this and meant to say this, so I am going to assume you are arguing the opposite of what you say. However, this link I sent earlier argues that the picture is much more muddled than this simple set of assumptions would suggest. So I think, again, there is too much of a signal to noise problem here to draw conclusive, er, conclusions.
    5.6 … the average flow is from the atmosphere to the oceans, not the other way out.
    We don’t know that. You are basing the hypothesis on the 13C/12C ratio. As I have stated previously, I reject that line of argument.

  190. Oops, forgot to cut out the Lucy Skywalker (06:39:53) : at the top. I was saving that link because I wanted to look into it in more detail. Thanks, Lucy.

  191. Incidentally, on this:
    “Then, we could have an idea of how often such an event would coincide, within a space of some interval of years, with a randomly selected instant in time, such as the time at which the human race moved into massive industrialization.”
    In actuality, the inflection in the atmospheric CO2 curve appears to be due to some random event, such as occurs earlier in the record, but larger, at or around the year 1943. I was curious if that might coincide with some volcanic event. There is this.

  192. anna v (04:44:41)

    But, but , but
    Willis Eschenbach (03:24:54) :

    So although as you might surmise I am a suspicious SOB who doesn’t believe anything related to climate science without a very hard look, I am satisfied that the data coming from Mauna Loa are valid and can be relied on. See here for more information.

    Is it reasonable to measure CO2 from the high atmosphere and in isolated areas only and then call it global CO2? Why not measure temperatures the same way then? Up on high mountains from down winds and call them global temperatures?

    anna v, a good question. CO2 is what is called a “well mixed” greenhouse gas. Per the map at the head of this thread, it varies less than ± 1% around the globe. If temperature varied this little around the planet, it would certainly be reasonable to measure the temperature in the same way.
    The CO2 level measured in Mauna Loa is mainly used to measure the trend in CO2. For detailed purposes, it is not generally claimed to be the exact average CO2 around the globe, as there are other CO2 measuring stations. These vary slightly from the Mauna Loa measurements, and show a general trend of more CO2 in the Northern Hemisphere and less in the Southern Hemisphere.
    It is close enough to the global average for general purposes, however, because for most of the things that we are discussing a value within ±1% is more than adequate, and much more accurate than most other things we can measure about the climate.
    There are plenty of bad or inaccurate measurements in climate science, and enough incorrect claims, to keep us busy for a long time. Attacking the few good measurements merely hurts our credibility.

  193. Scott says:

    Thus, both are in the 10^21 L range, not 10^27 L. This makes a huge difference for the atmospheric stuff…anthropogenic numbers for the atmosphere would be 3.1 ppm/yr. However, the “practical” difference for the ocean doesn’t really change. If we pumped all of the 2008 emissions directly into the ocean and it all converted to carbonate, the carbonate concentration would increase at 0.14 micromolar/yr. Thus, to change the carbonate concentration of the ocean by 1% would still require a full 175 years assuming no biological or chemical compensation/buffering/dampening. Consequently, these basic calculations still support the article–nature’s natural uptake of CO2 is nowhere near its capacity.

    Glad you found your error in the atmospheric concentration calculations. I was going to tell you that your result seemed to be off by about 6 orders of magnitude, which indeed turned out to be the case. As for your ocean calculation, I can’t tell you exactly what is wrong with it at the moment but I would suggest that you read a textbook or article that goes through such calculations. (One example is “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey.) A lot of people have already thought hard about these chemical reactions and mixing in the ocean and you will likely benefit from their insights.
    Steve Keohane says:

    I have posted this query a few times, and have yet to see any theories. According to this clip of the AIRS data (link below), April in the NH has the highest concentrations of CO2. Pause the video on April each year. I notice in the west, Canada, Alaska and the northern tier of the US have the highest concentration for the year during April. WHY? The oceans might be warming slightly from sun exposure, but it seems to be over land.

    I believe that most of the annual cycle in CO2 levels is actually driven by the biosphere. So, CO2 concentration peaks in the late winter / early spring because this is just before plants start taking up a lot of CO2.

  194. JamesG (09:22:09) :
    Ferdinand
    “It is good to be sceptical, but there is a difference between being sceptical and simply rejecting data, only because you don’t like them.”
    Let’s be clear that’s exactly what Callendar and Keeling did. And that’s what you do too when you discuss Beck’s work or the stomata data. It’s very easy to reject a paper as “not reliable” when you don’t trust the accuracy of the measurement methods and you know that lot’s of people know the conclusion they want and get there by assumptions. But that’s a sword that cuts both ways. As you know, there are very few climate papers that stand up to close scrutiny – an awful lot is grounded on handwaved assumptions and finished by poor stats. And the number of arbitrary fiddle factors used in this game is astounding.

    It near impossible for me to react on all reactions…
    At the moment that Callendar collected his graph, he had several a priory criteria (not after-the-fact criteria as many climate science articles of today) which he did use to include or exclude CO2 measurements. One of the criteria was that the measurements might not be used for agricultural purposes. Why? Because it was known, even in that time, that such measurements showed a huge positive bias. Not because that would disprove AGW, as that wasn’t even thought to be a problem, even beneficial. That criterium excludes the measurements of Giessen (Germany) and Poona (India). Without these two series, no 1942 peak in Beck’s historical data graph.
    That is the main problem with Beck’s data: many of the series are taken over land within forests, fields, gardens,… CO2 levels taken over the oceans or coastal with wind from the oceans show much lower values and are around the ice core values (which were sampled decades later), so Callendar was right to use these criteria.
    I still wonder why some skeptics use different criteria for temperature readings and CO2 measurements: temperature readings are (rightfully) discarded if taken on parking lots, asphalt roofs, near AC exhausts, etc. But for CO2 measurements, one accepts without hesitation any (even impossible) value, as long as it is high enough to counter the “man-made” increase…
    What Ernst Beck has done is the equivalent of taking a temperature series from Helsinki mid-winter add the temperature (even from one day) in Rome on a hot summer roof as representive for the next year, add the temperature of a few months in Antarctica for the following year,… without any selection criteria, just averaging everything, reliable or not, representive or not, and then conclude that the middle year was much warmer than the previous and following year…
    The 1942 80 ppmv CO2 peak in Beck’s graph is physically near impossible: that would include a release of 160 GtC as CO2 within a few years, and completely impossible: the disappearing of the same amount of CO2 within a few years. There is not the slightest sign of such a huge change in CO2 around 1942 in any other proxy (temperature, ice cores, SI index, d13C levels in ice, trees, coralline sponges),… Thus there is no supporting evidence for a 1942 peak in CO2.
    I would love to believe Beck’s graph, as that would kill one of the cornerstones of AGW, but I can’t, because it isn’t true, as all other indications don’t show such a change, even not in high resolution (coralline sponges 2-4 year).
    Your own arguments rest on two main bits of evidence; the C12/C13 fractioning and the ice core data. As Spencer showed you, the first argument fails quite easily when you do a simple control test. The second rests on a few cores from the Antarctic. AFAIK the Arctic data doesn’t support the hypothesis and the stomata work contradicts it. We also know – because they tell us – that the different CO2 station data are all calibrated against each other. And we know too that researchers in this field are prone to cherry-pick data that fits the paradigm and thusly find signals in the noise. As for the CO2 being well-mixed, well I always suspected that was overly simplistic and it hasn’t yet been proven – the AIRS people saying it isn’t true but remaining cagey.
    It is false that the CO2 data are intercalibrated, the calibration gases are intercalibrated, not the data! That is normal practice for any quality laboratory, without that, one can indeed fabricate any trend one wishes…
    My own arguments rest on more than the ice core or d13C data, the basic point is the mass balance. The 13C/12C ratio was extensively discussed on this blog with Dr. Spencer, see my comments in that discussion. It is some time ago, but the basic point was that Dr. Spencer underestimated the strength of the d13C signal caused by fossil fuel burning.
    Some discussions with Dr. Spencer (oceans are the cause of the increase):
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/25/double-whammy-friday-roy-spencer-on-how-oceans-are-driving-co2/
    and
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/01/28/spencer-pt2-more-co2-peculiarities-the-c13c12-isotope-ratio/
    But please also read my comments!
    Dr. Spencer and many other high profile skeptics accept the Mauna Loa data as reliable and trustworthy, he uses them without hesitation. See the article on his blog:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/increasing-atmospheric-co2-manmade%e2%80%a6or-natural/
    and my response, also published by him on his blog:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/01/the-origin-of-increasing-atmospheric-co2-a-response-from-ferdinand-engelbeen/
    Arctic ice core CO2 data (Greenland) are not reliable: much volcanic (Icelandic) acidic dust included, which produces CO2 in situ. And my take on SI data is the result of a discussion with Tom van Hoof, an author on SI data. I am still waiting for his comment on my remarks that SI data react on local CO2 levels (where we agree), and how that changed over time due to vegetation changes (not by global CO2, changes).
    The local 1940-1942 historical CO2 levels of Giessen (Germany) were about 60 ppmv higher than the global ice core levels of the same age, while the modern Giessen/Linden measurements are 30 ppmv higher in average…
    The entire set of carbon source and sink calculations are innumerate. Of course the error bars invalidate every calculation. Literally we don’t know if any of the sources or sinks are plus or minus. As you pointed out, you have to assume it from subtracting the stuff we put out from the stuff that’s measured by the Keeling franchise. Your argument that this net rise can’t be from the warming sea is based on extrapolating from Antarctic proxies for heaven’s sake. Why even assume that what happens in the Antarctic reflects the rest of the globe? Oh yes I remember – because CO2 is well-mixed.
    As the Antarctic ice core measurements are an average of several years of CO2 levels, the measurements show the global average CO2 levels of these years. Even in the current increasing emissions period, one year average at the South Pole differs less than 5 ppmv from near the North Pole.
    The individual CO2 flows have no importance at all for detecting the cause of the increase. You don’t need a detailed overview of all your ins and outs in bussiness over a day: counting what is in your cash register at the end of the day, every day again is enough to know if you have a loss or a gain…
    The skepticism exists because everything done in this area is questionable. That a warming sea is pronounced to be a net sink, in contradiction of both nature and of other team arguments elsewhere, is only further evidence of just how easy it is for climateers to pull arguments straight out of their rear end and call it evidence
    The CO2 measurements are reliable, I only could wish that the temperature measurements were that reliable and subject to the same rigorous calibration procedures. But it is proven – as far as science can prove something – that the oceans are a net sink for CO2. Simply because the increase in atmospheric CO2 is higher than the increase in partial CO2 pressure in the oceans due to higher temperatures.

  195. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Now, since all the screaming is about the “climate change” that occurred in the latter half of the 20th century, and the IPCC says that climate change alone will increase the airborne fraction and also that the fraction hasn’t increased, I don’t know how they reconcile those two facts. Seems very contradictory to me, but since the IPCC is a corrupt UN idiocracy I suppose it should not be surprising …
    In any case, since each and every one of the models say that the airborne fraction increases with increasing levels of CO2, a scientific observationally based study saying that those model results are hogwash is certainly worth highlighting.

    Gavin points out a number of things in this regard here ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/unforced-variations-2/comment-page-2/#comment-152592 ):
    (1) The AR4 results for future temperature trends used models that do not include carbon cycle feedbacks. Rather, they used various prescribed scenarios that specify the rise in greenhouse gases with time, which are in turn based on assumptions about emissions vs time, and the linkage between the two did not assume any carbon cycle feedbacks. (Of course, any given scenario for a rise in greenhouse gas concentrations could be consistent with a variety of different scenarios for a rise in emissions coupled with different magnitudes of carbon cycle feedback.)
    (2) The models that predict the carbon cycle feedbacks do not generally show any significant change in airborne fraction during the 20th century. So, it is incorrect to claim that Knorr’s results show the “model results are hogwash”. Unfortunately, we cannot yet test the predictions of these carbon cycle feedbacks in the models. (Or, at least, a good direct test has not been thought of yet, AFAIK.)
    (3) In the carbon cycle model, the magnitude of the change due to changes in the airborne fraction by 2100 varies from an extra 20 to 220 ppmv over the nominal ~800 ppmv for SRES A2 (one of the moderately high emissions scenarios, I believe). So, the contribution of the predicted carbon cycle feedbacks to the CO2 level above the ~280ppm pre-industrial baseline ranges from ~4% to ~30%. I.e., it ranges from a fairly trivial contribution to a decent one, but still a minority of the effect.

  196. Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:37:24)
    “the increase in partial CO2 pressure in the oceans due to higher temperatures”
    Now I’m confused – higher sea water temperature means MORE dissolved CO2? Does this mean that Le Chatelier’s principle is wrong?
    (Le Chatelier’s Principle states that a dissolved gas (carbon dioxide in this case) always becomes less soluble with increasing temperature. One can testify to this from experience that much more gas is released from a can of soda that is opened when it is warm rather than when it is cold.)

  197. phlogiston (13:29:42):
    I believe that was a typo on Ferdinand’s part and he meant to say

    Simply because the increase in atmospheric CO2 is higher than the DEcrease in partial CO2 pressure in the oceans due to higher temperatures.

    Or, maybe an even better statement would have been, “Simply because the increase in the partial CO2 pressure in the oceans due to the increase in atmospheric CO2 is higher than the decrease in partial CO2 pressure in the oceans due to higher temperatures.”
    Scott:
    In my previous post, I said “As for your ocean calculation, I can’t tell you exactly what is wrong with it at the moment but I would suggest that you read a textbook or article that goes through such calculations.” Actually, one thing that may be part of the problem is that the oceans are best modeled as a mixed layer that has about the same amount of carbon as the atmosphere and then the deep ocean which has an amount that is about 2 orders of magnitude larger…and the exchange between the surface water and the deep ocean is pretty slow, so it is part of what forms the bottleneck (although, as I noted previously, I think the rate at which one can get calcium carbonate into the ocean to buffer the added carbonic acid due to the higher partial pressure of the CO2 gas is also an important piece of the puzzle).

  198. Joel Shore (13:08:22)
    Joel, as always, a pleasure to hear from you. For those who don’t recognize the name, Joel is a scientist (a physicist I believe?), and one of the few AGW supporters with the courage to post here under his own name. That gets my respect even though we often disagree. Onwards to the issues.

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    Now, since all the screaming is about the “climate change” that occurred in the latter half of the 20th century, and the IPCC says that climate change alone will increase the airborne fraction and also that the fraction hasn’t increased, I don’t know how they reconcile those two facts. Seems very contradictory to me, but since the IPCC is a corrupt UN idiocracy I suppose it should not be surprising …
    In any case, since each and every one of the models say that the airborne fraction increases with increasing levels of CO2, a scientific observationally based study saying that those model results are hogwash is certainly worth highlighting.

    Gavin points out a number of things in this regard here ( http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/01/unforced-variations-2/comment-page-2/#comment-152592 ):

    I am surprised that after the CRU emails you post a link to RC. I wouldn’t up their page count by one if you paid me. The site is a shill for Michael Mann, who showed himself in the emails to be a man who is willing to do lie, cheat, and steal to get his point across whether it is true or not. RC ruthlessly censors scientific dissent, and your citing them gives that anti-scientific view credence. You lower your scientific crediblility immensely by any association with them.

    (1) The AR4 results for future temperature trends used models that do not include carbon cycle feedbacks. Rather, they used various prescribed scenarios that specify the rise in greenhouse gases with time, which are in turn based on assumptions about emissions vs time, and the linkage between the two did not assume any carbon cycle feedbacks. (Of course, any given scenario for a rise in greenhouse gas concentrations could be consistent with a variety of different scenarios for a rise in emissions coupled with different magnitudes of carbon cycle feedback.)

    As far as I understand the scenarios, this is not true. The scenarios specify the rise in emissions, not the rise in GHGs, which is left to the models to calculate. If I’m wrong, please provide a cite.

    (2) The models that predict the carbon cycle feedbacks do not generally show any significant change in airborne fraction during the 20th century. So, it is incorrect to claim that Knorr’s results show the “model results are hogwash”. Unfortunately, we cannot yet test the predictions of these carbon cycle feedbacks in the models. (Or, at least, a good direct test has not been thought of yet, AFAIK.)

    That was exactly my point. The IPCC says that climate change causes a change in airborne fraction, viz my citation above:

    “Climate change alone will tend to suppress both land and ocean carbon uptake, increasing the fraction of anthropogenic CO2 emissions that remain airborne and producing a positive feedback to climate change.”

    The IPCC also is very emphatic that there was significant climate change during the 20th century. And the log change in CO2 since pre-industrial levels is about half of that from a doubling of CO2. But we have seen no change in atmospheric fraction … connect the dots.
    Having said that, however, I was wrong to say that the study showed the model results were hogwash. Foolish me, I didn’t note the huge confidence interval of the study results, my bad. The 95% confidence interval for the study results is a change in airborne fraction of -2.0% to 3.4% …

    (3) In the carbon cycle model, the magnitude of the change due to changes in the airborne fraction by 2100 varies from an extra 20 to 220 ppmv over the nominal ~800 ppmv for SRES A2 (one of the moderately high emissions scenarios, I believe). So, the contribution of the predicted carbon cycle feedbacks to the CO2 level above the ~280ppm pre-industrial baseline ranges from ~4% to ~30%. I.e., it ranges from a fairly trivial contribution to a decent one, but still a minority of the effect.

    I fear I lost you here, likely my fault. What is the source of your figures for the “carbon cycle model”?
    In any case, as you say, has been no change in the airborne fraction resulting from a change from 280 ppmv pre-industrial to the present 390 ppmv. So the entire 220 ppmv of change due to airborne fraction variation you reference above must occur between now and 800 ppmv, not between pre-industrial ppmv and 800 ppmv. This makes the high end estimate of 220 ppmv 54% of the change between now and 800 ppmv … which is not “a minority of the effect”.
    My best to you,
    w.

  199. Michael J. Dunn says:

    The Wikipedia article on carbon dioxide once manifested a very interesting graph of atmospheric C-14 concentration in the wake of global atmospheric nuclear testing. Since the testing stopped at a clear demarcation, it was possible to see the decline in the isotope (due to chemical absorption by natural processes, not to inherent radioactivity), which I recall to be an e-folding time on the order of 5 years. Unfortunately, the article is now a battlefield under truce and this graph has been deleted.

    That residence time is about in-line with other estimates for atmospheric CO2. However, that is not the relevant time for estimating the time it takes for a pulse of fossil fuel CO2 in the atmosphere to disappear. I am reposting below something that I posted on another thread explaining this:
    On the issue of residence times, I was just re-reading the relevant section of “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey ( http://books.google.com/books?id=8zBRAAAAMAAJ ). He calculates a residence time on the order of 5-6 years for the atmospheric reservoir. Here is what he then has to say (pp. 20-21):


    The atmosphere + biota + soils + mixed layer [of the ocean] components thus form a tightly coupled subsystem which slowly exchanges carbon with the deep ocean.
    When fossil fuel carbon is added to the atmosphere, the relevant response time scale is not given by the residence time of atmospheric carbon based on the exchange with the other reservoirs with which the atmosphere rapidly interacts. Rather the response to fossil fuel carbon is given by the residence time of carbon in the coupled atmosphere-biosphere-mixed layer subsystem. This is because the rapid transfer of carbon from the atmosphere to the biota or mixed layer is quickly followed by the return flow to the atmosphere. The residence time of coupled atmopshere + biota + soils + mixed layer subsystem is given by the total mass of carbon in the subsystem (about 3100 Gt) divided by the rate of exchange with the deep ocean (about 10 Gt C but highly uncertain). The result is a residence time of about 300 years. This is a very crude representation of highly complex processes, which are discussed in more detail in Chapter 8, but serves to illustrate in an intuitively simple manner how two very different response time scales for atmospheric CO2 (5-6 years and 300 years) can arise and how we can get a feeling for what the magnitude of the response time scales should be.

  200. Thanks for a response Joel. What you describe accounts for no uptake, that’s 2 months away in these areas. But what generates it? No one lives there to speak of, (ref. pop. density, not the good folks who do live there), so what is the source? It appears to suddenly bloom up in a huge, largely uninhabited, non-industrialized, frozen area. Any ideas?

  201. I think its important never to forget the following sentence by Michael Hulme;
    “We will continue to create and tell new stories about climate change and mobilize them in support of our projects” ….

  202. Steve Keohane (14:14:44):
    Well, CO2 is pretty well-mixed in the atmosphere (not perfectly so…especially between hemispheres, but pretty good), so I don’t think you should think of these variations as being due only to local sources. It will have pretty good communication with a large fraction of the Northern Hemisphere.
    Willis:
    Thanks for your kind words. I am indeed a physicist.

    I am surprised that after the CRU emails you post a link to RC. I wouldn’t up their page count by one if you paid me.

    To each his own. You have directed me before to the website of the Senate Minority Committee on the Environment, basically in the hands of Sen. James Inhofe and Marc Marano (before he moved on to start ClimateDepot). I am willing to bet you a substantial amount of money that any survey of climate scientists would find a substantially larger portion who think that Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann are trustworthy on the science than who think that James Inhofe and Marc Marano are.

    As far as I understand the scenarios, this is not true. The scenarios specify the rise in emissions, not the rise in GHGs, which is left to the models to calculate. If I’m wrong, please provide a cite.

    I don’t think what you say and what I say are necessarily in conflict. I agree that the scenarios specify emissions but I think the point is that the way the models have generally converted this into CO2 concentrations was not with elaborate carbon cycle models that included feedbacks, so my understanding was that the models would at least roughly assume that the airborne fraction would remain constant. (I admit that I am not exactly sure if that is their precise assumption or exactly how close to it their assumption is…Something worth looking into.)

    The IPCC also is very emphatic that there was significant climate change during the 20th century. And the log change in CO2 since pre-industrial levels is about half of that from a doubling of CO2. But we have seen no change in atmospheric fraction … connect the dots.

    Well, the climate change that we have seen thus far is not that large compared to what we might expect to see. The log-change for CO2 is about 46% of a doubling but there have also been increases in aerosols and the climate system has not yet fully equilibrated to the changes. Furthermore, the various feedbacks are not all due to the warming climate. There are also issues of things, like the growth in biomass with increasing CO2 concentration, tending to saturate after a while.
    As you note, on top of that are the uncertainties in the Knorr results.

    I fear I lost you here, likely my fault. What is the source of your figures for the “carbon cycle model”?

    I was paraphrasing Gavin who in turn gives as his source IPCC AR4 10.4.1 (I assume he means the WG-1 report).

    In any case, as you say, has been no change in the airborne fraction resulting from a change from 280 ppmv pre-industrial to the present 390 ppmv. So the entire 220 ppmv of change due to airborne fraction variation you reference above must occur between now and 800 ppmv, not between pre-industrial ppmv and 800 ppmv. This makes the high end estimate of 220 ppmv 54% of the change between now and 800 ppmv … which is not “a minority of the effect”.

    Well, okay, I suppose you could do it from the ~385 ppmv baseline if you want. However, I don’t think you have done this calculation quite correctly since, as I understand it, the additional 220ppmv would be over and above the 800 ppmv, so the final total would be 1020 ppmv instead of 800 ppmv. So, we would be talking about ~35% of the difference between 385ppm and 1020ppm coming from the increase in airborne fraction.

  203. Wansbeck (05:31:29) :
    Some time ago I remember seeing a similar map showing NOx concentrations. The industrialized regions were immediately obvious.
    The CO2 map shows no increased concentration over industrialized regions. Even with today’s increased CO2 levels natural sources appear to dominate.
    Does this not suggest that today’s CO2 levels are determined by nature and not mankind?
    ?
    No it doesn’t suggest it at all, for two reasons.
    NOx and SOx are produced largely by man in industrial areas. That means the initial concentrations in particular areas are strikingly higher. That makes it different to COx, which is produced all over the globe to start with.
    More importantly, NOx and SOx are highly water soluble. They are come down as “acid rain” in a way not even remotely duplicated by COx, which is barely water soluble.
    Combine the unequal production with the half-life in the atmosphere and you get a very uneven spread across the globe.
    COx is resident for long enough to be widely and evenly dispersed. Those of you who don’t like this fact ought to move on to other areas of concern because you are wasting your time with this one. (Note: I’m a sceptic, not a warmista, but not on this.) The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing, what needs to be determined is the reason and the effects.

  204. phlogiston (13:29:42) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:37:24)
    “the increase in partial CO2 pressure in the oceans due to higher temperatures”
    Now I’m confused – higher sea water temperature means MORE dissolved CO2? Does this mean that Le Chatelier’s principle is wrong?
    (Le Chatelier’s Principle states that a dissolved gas (carbon dioxide in this case) always becomes less soluble with increasing temperature. One can testify to this from experience that much more gas is released from a can of soda that is opened when it is warm rather than when it is cold.)

    Except of course that the pCO2 in the atmosphere is increasing independently so that the equilibrium temperature of the ocean will increase.

  205. why not discuss how many bb’s can be stacked on top of each other since no person has proven that an increase in co2 causes an increase in temperature.

  206. Kudos to Rhinebeck sophomore Michelle Dewkett for speaking out against the school district for only showing Al Gore’s Am Inconvenient Truth and demanding that they follow their own policies and present a balanced view. Rhinebeck is my home town and I have posted this on 5 of my sites including the Rhinebeck blog.
    http://www.boudica.us/rhinebeck-blog.html.
    Comments are overwhelmingly in support of Michelle. Visit and post a comment. Let’s hope she starts 2010 off with some fireworks in Rhinebeck.
    Bob A.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5YnZKwgjR4&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

  207. davidc (10:31:19) :
    [responding to my earlier post at (08:54:58)]
    “It’s still available at
    “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-14
    “It looks to me that the half-life is around 70 yr (so e-folding ~50 yr), but that’s for CO2 in the upper atmosphere. It would be a lot shorter for CO2 produced at ground level where the major sinks are.”
    Thanks for the pointer (bless you) and the correction. The human memory is frail.
    I crudely plotted the 5-year data points and estimated the e-folding time from the mean initial slope (reference level is 100%, since C-14 is constantly produced by cosmic rays) as being about 29.4 years. This would make the half-residence time about 20 years, which is consistent with the graph.
    I don’t understand why you ascribe these concentrations to the upper atmosphere. The data from which the graph was constructed were taken at ground level.

  208. “John Doe (14:21:21) :
    According to IPCC’s data distribution center, they use CO2 concentrations in their projections. See http://www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_co2.html
    Ok… but they say they got time series for concentrations of CO2 through running Carbon Cycle models:
    “For each of the illustrative and marker emissions scenarios, CO2 concentration projections calculated by two different carbon cycle models were reported in IPCC (2001) and used as the bases …”
    They then link to here:
    http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/122.htm#box37
    where they “explain” their CC models. I don’t really understand what they’re trying to do here – i would think that the only sensible option would be
    to run GCM and CC in parallel but here i get the impression that they first run a CC and then feed the CO2 concentration time series into the GCM.
    I think on this page two snippets are important: They say:
    “In addition to varying the climate sensitivity (1.5 to 4.5°C), …”
    and
    “The effect of increasing climate sensitivity to 4.5 °C (increasing the climate feedback)…”
    So they seem to assume a climate sensitivity for the doubling of CO2 of at least 1.5 deg C. Unfortunately they don’t say here what feedback factor range they assume. Could be from 1 to 3 , from 2 to 6, from 3 to 9. Well why should they tell us mere mortals. Maybe somewhere else in their paper mountain they say it.
    The funny thing is in my comment at
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/11/17/the-steel-greenhouse/#more-12889
    DirkH (16:28:20) :
    i computed for a rise in incoming energy of 0.85 W/m^2 a rise in surface temp of 0.15 deg C. As small changes are near-linear a rise of 4 W/m^2
    (the usually assumed radiative forcing effect of a doubling of CO2) would give approx. 0.75 deg C. But the IPCC computed their models with an assumption of a climate sensitivity (incl. the assumed water vapor feedback) of 1.5 to 4.5 deg C. So did they implicitly assume that water vapour feedback at least doubles the effects of CO2?

  209. I should add that in my computation (0.85W/m^2 more–> 0.15 deg C temperature rise) i did not assume any climate sensitivity but just applied the Stefan-Boltzmann-Law.

  210. phlogiston (13:29:42) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:37:24)
    “the increase in partial CO2 pressure in the oceans due to higher temperatures”
    Now I’m confused – higher sea water temperature means MORE dissolved CO2? Does this mean that Le Chatelier’s principle is wrong?
    (Le Chatelier’s Principle states that a dissolved gas (carbon dioxide in this case) always becomes less soluble with increasing temperature. One can testify to this from experience that much more gas is released from a can of soda that is opened when it is warm rather than when it is cold.)

    Sorry if this confuses you: DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) is the total amount of dissolved CO2 as CO2 + bicarbonate + carbonate in the ocean water, where pCO2 is the partial pressure of only the free CO2 in the same water. pCO2 increases as a result of higher temperature, lower pH, higher salt and/or DIC content and the CO2 tends to escape to the atmosphere, if the CO2 concentration there is lower (pCO2 there is roughly equal to ppmv, minus the water vapor content) or opposite when pCO2 of the atmosphere is higher.
    Thus a higher temperature in seawater means that the free CO2 molecules in the water are more mobile and hence a higher pCO2 (without a change in total dissolved carbon) which may lead to more CO2 escape to the atmosphere…

  211. Joel Shore said:
    “Steve Keohane says:
    I have posted this query a few times, and have yet to see any theories. According to this clip of the AIRS data (link below), April in the NH has the highest concentrations of CO2. Pause the video on April each year. I notice in the west, Canada, Alaska and the northern tier of the US have the highest concentration for the year during April. WHY? The oceans might be warming slightly from sun exposure, but it seems to be over land.
    I believe that most of the annual cycle in CO2 levels is actually driven by the biosphere. So, CO2 concentration peaks in the late winter / early spring because this is just before plants start taking up a lot of CO2.”
    Perhaps the pulse in Spring is winter snow and ice melting and releasing the CO2 trapped in it.


  212. Mooloo (14:56:57) :

    More importantly, NOx and SOx are highly water soluble. They are come down as “acid rain” in a way not even remotely duplicated by COx, which is barely water soluble.

    1.5 g/kg for CO2 (20C).
    Come now, that it is far more soluble that O2 or N2 or even Methane.
    What is your cutoff point for ‘remotely’ or ‘barely’?
    Anything past 100:1?
    .
    .

  213. Lucy Skywalker (06:39:53) :
    Thanks for the reply, Lucy.
    Yes, the boojums site has it in for Jarowoski. Moderate commentary is always preferable, but Jaorowoski is a real outlier and his criticisms on ice core sampling are considered so wrong-headed that serious scientists (rather than eager bloggers) haven’t bothered much with it. His output and absolutist statements did, however, prompt a rebutting letter, as you saw in one of the links.
    You and Ferdinand have looked at this more than I have, so I don’t think my input would be particularly useful. Nevertheless, I would say that the modern CO2 concentration record corroborates the made in rejecting data considered corrupted. We see steady levels of CO2, not the wild fluctuations some of in the raw data from ice cores. (Robustness of modern record tested in comments above)
    I note you said on your site that Englebeen’s criticisms had been answered ‘in the paper’, but if the paper is wrong, then you’re relying on an argument from authority, aren’t you? To which I would reply – why is Jarowoski ceded authority against the rest of the ice core science community?
    Have you expertise in this field? I don’t, so the reasonable default for me is to the concentration of understanding, not the outliers.
    All the best for the New Year. Like you and Ferdinand, I’ve tended to become friendly with the people I duke it out with on the net – as long as there’s respect. Nice to see it happens even in the climate wars.

  214. Ferdinand Engelbeen (08:00:04) :
    It is hard to catch up with all comments
    Wilson (17:50:38) :
    ok to recapitulate, or copy n paste:
    how about the sum total of all living species on the planet, including the billions of humans. How much co2 does the sum total of animal life exhale per annum? and if this stays in the atmosphere for 100 years (or 40 years seems a new favourite) , that is a huge amount of non-fossil fuel c02 that probably surpasses fossil fuel co2, and is addition to the carbon cycle.
    Ferdinand – given these factors, there should be much more c02 than there is in the atmosphere. However, these exchanges of c02 are not measured, as its an impossible task at present, and so the figures are speculation. Given the diurnal-seasonal-annual-decadal-multidecadal trends in c02 – there is a suggestion that co2 molecules can be absorbed as quickly as they are emitted, and emitted as quickly as they are absorbed.
    My scepticism is not of the coefficients of Henry’s law, but on the sources and sinks of c02 which are remain relatively unknown, so that mathematics only applies to what is known, or is speculation, and an inventory of all sources of c02 isn’t measured.
    My other comment was that since a 1C in ocean temperatures increase over the last 140 years at 30 metres is capable of emitting 600gt’s of c02, or else a 0.1C in SST’s can emit 6gt’s of co2, (Takahashi, 1961)then its plausible that – given sst’s have been increased over this 140 years, its probable that most c02 increase is natural, and anthropogenc co2 is still at its fraction, given the time cycle of anthropogenic emission and absorbtion.
    the caveat is that these are not measured, so remain unknown.

  215. I’ve been spending a little time trawling through the discussion here which is germane to Ferdinand’s and my discussion. Julian Flood (02:59:30) had some very interesting things to say, to which Ferdinand added some thoughts at Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:24:53).
    The rather churlish remarks from the person calling himself “Loquor ” were not very illuminating, but I felt one in particular was precious in the wake of the UEA scandal:

    Loquor (13:05:02) states:
    I think that the basic things that really tires “alarmists” and mainstream scientists into this counterproductive behaviour is the level of dishonesty that is displayed constantly from “sceptical” scientists. In this regard, there is simply no alarmist counterparts, at least not scientific ones.

    The commmenter “blue (03:56:05)” hijacked the thread for a while, claiming Spencer had been ably refuted by Tamino. Dr. Spencer has replied to Tamino’s rant, but I don’t think he realized the full silliness of it, which I noticed when challenged by the troll who styles himself “ThinkingBeing” in another thread. Tamino had actually accused Spencer of detrending the raw CO2 data and, in taking the numerical derivative, it was a tautology he would get the same slope as for his raw data. The problem was, Spencer didn’t detrend the raw data, but the numerically differentiated data, as was evident in his plot labels.
    Allan MR MacRae (15:51:46) and Ferdinand Engelbeen (08:46:14) both offered projections on CO2 concentrations at Mauna Loa in 2008, the former based on the leading SST data which were available at the time, the latter on simple linear trending. Both were fairly close to how things actually panned out, as they were to each other anyway, so no particular information gained…

  216. Quoting from the Nov. 10 article:
    Yet here we are, on the brink of economy crippling legislation to tackle a problem we don’t fully understand and the science is most certainly not settled on.
    As much as I agree with the sentiment, I’m coming around to the notion that at heart the science doesn’t really matter to politicians, or to activists who believe in AGW. A lot of them don’t understand science in the first place. Some of them could be genuinely concerned, just based on what they’ve heard from “experts”. I think most of them see an opportunity to raise a tremendous amount of funds for all sorts of things they’d like to do. The “science” is just an excuse.
    When the “science” of AGW is strongly challenged, what I’ve seen with politically connected people who were concerned about it before is they don’t care. They think it’s a problem no matter what the science says. They see “the northern ice sheet melting” and the disappearing glaciers in Glacier National Park, and don’t even get them started about “the plight of the polar bears”. They merely believe that humans are to blame for it. No real scientific evidence will convince them otherwise. They’ve believed it all along, because it ties in to an environmental belief that humans have been destroying the Earth. The “science” has merely been another arrow in their quiver, which they can use to make their arguments. For some it’s a belief that has been with them for years. They just have a new story to put on it.
    It’s been disappointing for me to contemplate this idea. I’ve spent time researching and arguing about the scientific evidence with people who are alarmed about what they see, because I thought it carried significance in the argument for them. What I’ve found at bottom is most of them don’t care. WUWT posted an article a while back by Dr. Lindzen talking about how the alarmists basically take the position that the simplest model, the simplest explanation is the right one–basically adopting Occam’s Razor as a credo. That seems to be the case.
    It’s essentially been an argument all along between those who have what I’d call a religious reverence for the Earth (with fundamentalist doctrines to boot) and who are basically critics of the civilization that’s been built, hoping to change it in ways that they deem to be more “environmentally friendly” and “socially responsible”, and those who have been happy about the way civilization has developed and are more pragmatic about its future development. The “science” has been used as a “prop” by one side in this argument, at least. They’ve taken advantage of the fact that science is taken as an authority in our society (something it’s not really meant to be, but that’s how it’s regarded by the public for better or worse–I think worse).
    As for me I’ve been more interested in it from a skeptic’s perspective. I say fine, if we need to limit CO2 emissions let’s do it, but let’s be sure we need to do it, first. Let’s minimize our pollution (the stuff we really need to be concerned about) out of care for our home (Earth), and otherwise let economics dictate which energy strategy wins out.

  217. Ferdinand Engelbeen (08:00:04) :
    Oh thanks for that, but I meant fumaroles, either hole vents under the sea or around the earth’s surface, steam vents, geysers, subduction / degassing from oceanic crust etc.. I’m not sure that these are accounted for or whether there is an inventory

  218. Joel Shore (13:55:10) :
    “Scott:
    In my previous post, I said “As for your ocean calculation, I can’t tell you exactly what is wrong with it at the moment but I would suggest that you read a textbook or article that goes through such calculations.” Actually, one thing that may be part of the problem is that the oceans are best modeled as a mixed layer that has about the same amount of carbon as the atmosphere and then the deep ocean which has an amount that is about 2 orders of magnitude larger…and the exchange between the surface water and the deep ocean is pretty slow, so it is part of what forms the bottleneck (although, as I noted previously, I think the rate at which one can get calcium carbonate into the ocean to buffer the added carbonic acid due to the higher partial pressure of the CO2 gas is also an important piece of the puzzle).”
    Hi Joel,
    Thanks for the input. The two-layer thing is clearly where my calculation falls short–it was only a concentration calculation using the entire ocean volume and didn’t even take into consideration the thermodynamics of the CO2/bicarbonate/carbonate/calcium system. Could you reference a good review article or seminal paper on this system so I can get a better grip on it?
    I am relatively new to this debate and have only been able to read bits and pieces over the last few months. Now I’m on Christmas vacation and have been reading more in depth and toying with some basic calculations to get a better grasp of things. My undergrad was in chemistry and chem eng, and my Ph.D. work is in anal chem (developing instrumentation to measure chemistry of atmospheric aerosols, ironically enough, though I know too little atmospheric chemistry to intelligently contribute on most discussions wrt that). However, most of the flows I work with are laminar, and obviously these don’t help with modeling ocean mixing (diffusion of carbonate for 10 years only nets a root(2Dt) distance of 1-2 m, clearly not important here). Thus, I still need to do quite a bit of reading to catch up with things, but unfortunately the majority of places I go to for information are far too one-sided for me to trust. 🙁
    With regards to the calcium carbonate issue, I still believe that it shouldn’t be about calcium carbonate coming up from the deep ocean…calcium carbonate shouldn’t be affected much by the addition of carbonic acid, as the extra acidity (which would drive the removal of carbonate from the CaCO3) is offset by the additional carbonate (which drives the equilibrium back to the CaCO3). I would have to do some equilibrium calculations to be more certain of the exact effects. However, the ocean water still has a substantial amount of dissolved/free Ca++ (~10 mM) which can scavenge CO2/carbonate immediately with very fast kinetics. I’m only addressing the ability of the ocean to scavenge additional CO2 here, not the change in pH.
    -Scott

  219. Joel,
    My previous post said:
    “Could you reference a good review article or seminal paper on this system so I can get a better grip on it?”
    To clarify, this request is on the ocean 2-layer system, not the carbonate/calcium system, which is freshmen chemistry.
    Thanks,
    -Scott

  220. Willis:

    Thanks for your kind words. I am indeed a physicist.

    You are more than welcome. I’m trying to do my part to change the often virulent tone of the climate discussion (which I have contributed to as well at times, mea culpa).

    I

    am surprised that after the CRU emails you post a link to RC. I wouldn’t up their page count by one if you paid me.

    To each his own. You have directed me before to the website of the Senate Minority Committee on the Environment, basically in the hands of Sen. James Inhofe and Marc Marano (before he moved on to start ClimateDepot). I am willing to bet you a substantial amount of money that any survey of climate scientists would find a substantially larger portion who think that Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann are trustworthy on the science than who think that James Inhofe and Marc Marano are.

    Inhofe and Morano are not scientists, they are politicians. They are people who cite and report and quote the views of scientists, so whether they are “trustworthy on the science” is immaterial.
    Schmidt and Mann, on the other hand, report their own views as if they were scientific. Unfortunately, they are just politicians pretending to be scientists. As the CRU emails clearly show, they are not scientists at all. Real scientists don’t lie and cheat to present their views. Real scientists don’t trick politicians by opening the windows and turning off the air conditioners to heat the room up before Senate Hearings. Real scientists don’t lie to keep their findings in the public eye and conspire secretly behind the scenes to deny other scientists a chance for publication. Real scientists don’t censor opposing scientific views on their website to present a false image to the unsuspecting that everyone agrees with their views.
    Finally, I believe that you are right that most climate scientists still haven’t noticed that a number of their leading lights, among them some of the most visible and influential climate scientists on the planet, are no better than common criminals. They are men and women who hide their data and code from public view and advise destroying emails that are subject to Freedom of Information Act requests and pack the jury-box of peer review and splice data onto proxies to “hide the decline” in the proxies and backdate papers to get them into the IPCC report.
    So yes, I agree, I’m sure most climate scientists are still in denial about that … I’m just not sure what your point is in bringing up that sad truth about the current state of climate science.
    w.

  221. _Jim (17:05:24) :
    1.5 g/kg for CO2 (20C).
    Come now, that it is far more soluble that O2 or N2 or even Methane.
    What is your cutoff point for ‘remotely’ or ‘barely’?

    Cripes! Of course you are right. When the North Sea fogs roll in all the CO2 is dissolved quickly and the plants all die.
    If CO2 was not barely soluble then it would entirely dissolve with the rain, and wash into the sea never to return. That’s what happens to actually soluble gases, like chlorine. Life would cease, of course – but hey, you’d win the argument!
    For those of you who are not chemists, try this simple experiment. Open a can of dilute CO2 solution (a.k.a. Coke). Watch as the CO2 rapidly leaves the water. That’s because CO2 is only weakly soluble.
    Now compare this to a much stronger solution of SOx, namely your lead-acid car battery. Watch how the SO3 shows basically no interest in leaving the water unless heated. (Dissolved NO2, nitric acid, is the same. )

  222. _Jim (17:05:24) :
    Mooloo (14:56:57) :

    More importantly, NOx and SOx are highly water soluble. They are come down as “acid rain” in a way not even remotely duplicated by COx, which is barely water soluble.
    1.5 g/kg for CO2 (20C).
    Come now, that it is far more soluble that O2 or N2 or even Methane.
    What is your cutoff point for ‘remotely’ or ‘barely’?
    Anything past 100:1?

    Where do you get this from? For sea water the solubility in our current atmosphere is ~120mg/litre (which mostly exists as bicarbonate ion).

  223. Joel Shore (14:44:44) : “I am willing to bet you a substantial amount of money that any survey of climate scientists would find a substantially larger portion who think that Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann are trustworthy on the science than who think that James Inhofe and Marc Marano are.”
    You may be correct. Of course the ranks of “climate scientists” (modeling gurus and hangers on) are likely shrinking after the release of Mann’s and Jones’ email discussions. The rest of the scientific community is still outraged, while you seek to defend the indefensible torture of science and scientific data perpetrated by mann and Jones and Schmidt.
    It appears that you are posing to stake out a high road, that is quite lower than you imagined. I feel your shame, and so do alot of other scientists and engineers that actually have expertise and knowledge of these areas of physical science.

  224. The week that the paper was first published (early Nov 2009) was the week when the mainstream press carried the hysterical “6 degrees not 2 degrees” catastrophic warming explosion story. One of the “reasons” quoted for the new hysterical figure was that the carbon sinks were ceasing to work as usual, i.e. the opposite to what the study found. So the MSM are hardly playing catchup, but rather are playing the usual diametrically-against-the-evidence hysterical shrieking.

  225. P Wilson (19:09:10) :
    Oh thanks for that, but I meant fumaroles, either hole vents under the sea or around the earth’s surface, steam vents, geysers, subduction / degassing from oceanic crust etc.. I’m not sure that these are accounted for or whether there is an inventory
    The figures include fumaroles and fields where continuous emissions of CO2 take place (normaly peaking just after an eruption and/or an earthquake). But of course, undersea volcanoes and fumaroles are only roughly known. But even if these were largely underestimated, there is no indication that there is a substantial increase from these sources.

  226. Lucy Skywalker (06:16:23) :
    […]
    David, this looks like interesting evidence, time for a WUWT post from you? – if you can please just explain it properly – incl. what is “plant SI data”? Your material also bears up what I’ve long suspected, that ice core CO2 measurements are much too low – not just because of being polar, but because there are multiple problems in the coring, handling, transporting, storing, and measuring processes. Technical issues that involve CO2 leak and more, not surprising considering the unique and hostile environment. This is not to rubbish ice cores, they provide wonderful data… if handled appropriately.

    I’m working on an SI post on my own (very much not ready for prime-time) blog… But I doubt it will be up to WUWT standards. I’m a geologist/geophysicist by education and professional experience; you really need a botanist to explain the details of plant stomata and the use of Stomatal Index (SI) to derive atmospheric CO2. I’m so botanically impaired, that I not only do not have a “green thumb;” I have a “green thumb-screw”… I can even kill cactus in Texas.
    Basically, plants breathe CO2 through microscopic epidermal pores (stomata). The density of the stomata in some types of plants has a strong correlation with atmospheric CO2. In a CO2-rich environment, the stomatal density decreases. In a CO2-rich environment, the stomatal density increases. The plants strive to maximize the efficiency of CO2 respiration. Many extant plant species are represented in the recent fossil record in settings like peat bogs and lacustrine (ponds & lakes) sequences and in herbariums. The usual process is to start with a “training set” of living plants and empirically test the stomatal response to variations in atmospheric CO2. The training set will yield a mathematical relationship between SI and CO2, if the particular plant species is useful for SI analysis.
    There are four papers that I highly recommend:
    Wagner et al., 2005
    Stomatal frequency responses in hardwood-swamp vegetation from Florida during a 60-year continuous CO2 increase.
    American Journal of Botany. 2005;92:690-695
    Wagner et al., 1999
    Century-Scale Shifts in Early Holocene Atmospheric CO2 Concentration
    Science 18 June 1999:
    Vol. 284. no. 5422, pp. 1971 – 1973
    DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5422.1971
    Kouwenberg et al., 2005
    Atmospheric CO2 fluctuations during the last millennium reconstructed by stomatal frequency analysis of Tsuga heterophylla needles.
    Geology; January 2005; v. 33; no. 1; p. 33-36; DOI: 10.1130/G20941.1
    Kouwenberg 2004
    Application of conifer needles in the reconstruction of Holocene CO2 levels.
    PhD Thesis
    Quite often the SI studies are summarily dismissed by the Warmists as the products of fossil fuel industry hacks and an effort on the part of skeptics and deniers to cloud the science with unnecessarily complicated data. But… The leading researchers in SI are anything but skeptics. They are looking for a pre-industrial coupling of CO2 and climate. The ice cores seem to show a coupling in the Pleistocene… The modern instrumental appear to show a coupling… But the pre-industrial ice core CO2 data over the last 10,000 years, or so, do not show a coupling.
    The plant SI data do seem to show a coupling form the Holocene to pre-industrial times of the last millennium. But,,, The problem for the Warmists is that the Holocene to Recent coupling also seems to have a lag time similar to the Pleistocene ice cores. Delta-CO2 trails delta-T by 100 to 400 years on a fairly consistent basis.
    Early Holocene SI vs GISP2 Temps (X-axis is Years Before Present).
    Last 2000 Years SI vs GISP2 Temps (X-axis is Calendar Years).
    I also find a similar lag time for the Modern Warming when I plot the ice core / instrumental CO2 data against Moberg’s 2000-year climate reconstruction (Moberg et al., 2005)…
    Moberg v CO2
    But the ice core data lack the resolution to show the same decadal- and century-scale shifts in atmospheric CO2 during and before the Little Ice Age.

  227. Correction to David Middleton (05:27:53) …
    “In a CO2-rich environment, the stomatal density increases.”
    Should be…
    In a CO2-poor environment, the stomatal density increases.

  228. P Wilson (18:15:20) :
    how about the sum total of all living species on the planet, including the billions of humans. How much co2 does the sum total of animal life exhale per annum? and if this stays in the atmosphere for 100 years (or 40 years seems a new favourite) , that is a huge amount of non-fossil fuel c02 that probably surpasses fossil fuel co2, and is addition to the carbon cycle
    The CO2 exhaled by animals, including humans, and the decay or burning of wood is not one-way addition, it is part of the cycle: all CO2 emitted was taken away at some earlier date (months to a few years ago) from the same atmosphere. Thus it doesn’t change the CO2 level with important amounts if averaged over e.g. 10 years. On the other side, fossil fuels contain carbon from many millions of years ago, when the CO2 level was probably many times the current one. By burning oil and coal and gas, the CO2 released is really additional to the natural cycles of today.
    Given the diurnal-seasonal-annual-decadal-multidecadal trends in c02 – there is a suggestion that co2 molecules can be absorbed as quickly as they are emitted, and emitted as quickly as they are absorbed
    That is not true: vegetation only absorbs as much CO2 as limited by growth factors like temperature, water, nutritients,… Thus that takes time and what ultimately is sequestered as more or less permanent carbon is only a tiny fraction of what a seasonal cycle captures and releases over a year (about 2 GtC of the 60 GtC cycling). The same for the oceans: the ultimate sequestering is from the pressure difference between the atmosphere and the oceans. That sequesters only about 2 GtC from the 90 GtC flowing out and in the oceans: partly continuous from the warm equator to the cold poles, partly in/out over the seasons for the mid-latitudes. Be aware that the CO2 flows from/to the oceans are countercurrent to the flows to/from vegetation, which can be seen in the rather moderate seasonal CO2 level changes.
    Thus at the end of a year some 4 GtC is really sequestered, even if much more (temperature dependent) is recycled (released and absorbed) by nature.
    My other comment was that since a 1C in ocean temperatures increase over the last 140 years at 30 metres is capable of emitting 600gt’s of c02, or else a 0.1C in SST’s can emit 6gt’s of co2, (Takahashi, 1961)then its plausible that – given sst’s have been increased over this 140 years, its probable that most c02 increase is natural, and anthropogenc co2 is still at its fraction, given the time cycle of anthropogenic emission and absorbtion
    One need to be careful with Henry’s law, which is only directly applicable for fresh water. Seawater contains much more CO2 than fresh water, but mainly as bicarbonate and only a very small fraction is CO2 in solution. That means that the release (or uptake) of CO2 depends mainly of two factors: the difference in partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) between ocean surface and atmosphere and the transfer speed between the two media. The latter is the more important: wind speed gives the better indication of how much is transferred, while pCO2 mainly gives the direction of the transfer. See:
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml (Fig. 4)

  229. Phil. (22:13:31) :
    “Where do you get this from? For sea water the solubility in our current atmosphere is ~120mg/litre (which mostly exists as bicarbonate ion).”
    The figure quoted by _Jim (17:05:24) (1.5g/kg) is for fresh water, the type found in our current atmosphere.

  230. Phil. (22:13:31) :
    “Where do you get this from? For sea water the solubility in our current atmosphere is ~120mg/litre (which mostly exists as bicarbonate ion).”
    The maximum water solubility of CO2 at atmospheric pressure and 25C is indeed 1.45 g/L as stated by _Jim, and this value comes from when the headspace is all CO2 (except for the small amount of equilibrium water vapor also in the headspace). His number is likely coming from this Wikipedia article:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide
    Note that I prefer the better representation at:
    http://jcbmac.chem.brown.edu/myl/hen/carbondioxideHenry.html
    However, a better approach is to utilize the Henry’s law coefficient for CO2, which is 29.41 L*atm/mol at 25C. Using this value for 1 atm gives 1.496 g/L, in good agreement with _Jim’s value. Note that including the vapor pressure of H2O at 25C (23.76 torr) in the headspace lowers the partial pressure of CO2 and thus the dissolved amount changes to 1.449 g/L, fixing the above small discrepancy.
    Your ~120 mg/L is on the same Wikipedia page as the 1.45g/L given above and is the ACTUAL bicarbonate concentration in the ocean (note that I use 145 mg/L in my spreadsheet, but I think that value includes carbonate and CO2 also).
    I think the confusion comes from not considering the equilibria in the system. The amount of CO2 dissolved in the water depends on the amount in the air, and they are proportional. Thus, even though the fog picks up CO2 to its equilibrium concentration, it is relatively insignificant since the majority of the CO2 remains in the air. The system is more complicated than this because the dissolved CO2 is in equilibrium with bicarbonate/carbonate, and these are dominant at higher pH (fog is typically acidic). Note that this is actually why NOx/SOx is considered highly soluble. I don’t know the Henry’s law coefficients for these gases (although I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re LOWER than those for CO2!), but in reality the value is mostly pointless because the gases react with water to form the highly-soluble nitrate/nitrite or sulfate/sulfite ions, driving the equilibrium to move essentially all of the material to the water/ionic forms, giving the appearance that these gases are highly water-soluble. Theoretically, carbonate acts the same at high pH, but in practice we don’t see this because of the much higher pKa(s) of carbonate. Note that this makes doing accurate chemistry at high pH a real pain. 🙁
    At 388 ppm CO2 and 25C, the equilibrium concentration of CO2 in the water is ~0.6 mg/L. However, the dominating factor for getting more into the water is the relatively high pH of ocean water driving the reaction towards the carbonate species, and as you pointed out, (bi)carbonate is present at over 100 mg/L.
    Hopefully that makes things clearer and not more confusing,
    -Scott

  231. Bart (11:31:33) :
    Again som more stuff. Will make it shorter (?), as I lost the long version by pushing the wrong button (better for readability too, I suppose):
    about 5.1, the mass balance.
    Let us see what happens with some realistic figures. At the end of the year, we can make a balance of what happened that year:
    C(new) = C(old) + C(emiss) + C(sources) – C(sinks)
    where new and old are the carbon contents of the atmosphere, emiss are human emissions and sources and sinks are all natural.
    In practical figures:
    C(new) = 800 GtC + 8 GtC + 150 GtC – 154 GtC = 804 GtC
    Where the 150 GtC is a rough estimate but the difference between sources and sinks is what is calculated from the difference between emissions and measurements.
    More in detail, to make a differentiation between oceans and vegetation:
    C(new) = 800 GtC + 8 GtC + 90 GtC – 92 GtC + 60 GtC – 62 GtC = 804 GtC
    Based on O2 and d13C changes over the seasons, to calculate the partitioning between oceans (90 GtC) and vegetation (60 GtC): Battle e.a. in Science.
    Let’s suppose that a substantial part of the Earth’s vegetation burns down in a given year. That sets a lot of CO2 free (+ 4 GtC) and the thick smoke hinders vegetation uptake (- 4 GtC), the oceans don’t react (immediately):
    C(new) = 800 GtC + 8 GtC + 90 GtC – 92 GtC + 64 GtC – 58 GtC = 812 GtC
    Thus we see such kind of events immediately in the fact that the amount of increase is more than what humans emit during that year.
    But as we haven’t seen such increase in the past 50 years (and before), the oceans must have absorbed a substantial part of the increase following the vegetation burning:
    C(new) = 800 GtC + 8 GtC + 90 GtC -x GtC + 64 GtC – 58 GtC = 804 GtC
    Again, we only know for sure (with a small margin of error) what was and is in the atmosphere and what was emitted in between.
    That gives x = 100 GtC
    The total input from nature is 154 GtC, the total output 158 GtC, again nature is a net sink for CO2, whatever happened with any individual flows. And there was no increase in the atmosphere due to nature as a whole, as long as the emissions are larger than the measured increase…
    5.2 About ice cores:
    The total emissions in the period 1850-1900 were about 5 ppmv, thus giving about 2.5 ppmv increase in the atmosphere. The temperature induced variability is about +/- 2 ppmv + 8 ppmv/K for longer trends and the error margin of ice cores is about 1.3 ppmv (for the high accumulation cores of Law Dome). Thus much noise for a small signal.
    For the period 1900-1960, the emissions totalise over 40 ppmv, for a CO2 increase of over 20 ppmv. Good enough for a reliable trend.
    I need to protest against the notion that the ice core CO2 data were advanced to match the atmospheric data. That is what you heard from Jaworowski: that is a serious blunder from him (and Segalstad). They used the table of ice core ice age of Neftel to compare the CO2 data in the ice core to the Mauna Loa atmospheric data, while the adjacent column in the same table shows the gas age, that is where CO2 resides.
    Even for someone not familiar with ice cores, it must be obvious that as long as there are open pores in the ice, there is an exchange between the air in the ice and in the atmosphere. Only after the layers are dense enough, the exchange stops. But then the ice is already 30-800 years older than the average air inside the bubbles.
    See more about Jaworowski:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html
    For me, the indication of rising levels at the same moment and in continuous similar ratio with the emissions, as well as in ice cores, as in d13C levels (again in ice cores, but also in trees and oceans), unprecedented (be it smoothed) in the past 800,000 years, is reason enough to conclude that the emissions were the cause. In the previous 800,000 years, CO2 levels were directly correlated to temperature: about 8 ppmv/K, where temperature was leading with about 600 years. After the start of the industrial revolution, the correlation is lost. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/Vostok_trends.gif
    Btw, d13C (delta 13C) is a commonly used marker of the 13C/12C ratio, compared to a standard. See: http://homepage.mac.com/uriarte/carbon13.html for the formula and the levels in different media.
    5.4 About the d14C decline.
    There are lots of comments on this on the Internet: carbon dating is used for organic objects of before 1950, but needed to be corrected for the influence of fossil fuel burning:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suess_effect
    5.5 About the reason that fossil fuels are at the origin of the increase.
    Oceans can’t be the source: d13C levels are too high. That is measured at a lot of places in the oceans: 0-1 per mil for deep oceans 1-4 per mil for ocean surface (depending of abundancy of plant life). The atmosphere is at (a measured) -8 per mil. Any substantial release of (deep) ocean CO2 would increase the d13C level of the atmosphere (even taking into account the isotopic fractionation both ways at the surface). But we see a decrease…
    The burning of fossil fuels uses oxygen. How much can be calculated. The measurements show a slight deficit in oxygen use. That means that vegetation is a net source of oxygen, thus a net sink for CO2. Including non-human releases of CO2 by burning forests, coal seems, methane clathrate releases,… Thus whatever the d13C fractionation of different plant types (as in your link), the total of all plants use relative more 12C than 13C, thus increasing the d13C level of the atmosphere. But we see a decrease…
    It doesn’t matter what kind of fossil fuels are used, it is the only known source of low 13C released in huge quantities for the moment. All other known natural sources are at the high d13C side, compared to the atmosphere, with only a few exceptions (methane clathrates which are very low in 13C, but there is no sign that these are increasing – CH4 levels are quite flat). Thus fossil fuel burning is the cause of the d13C decline…

  232. Most people assume that total atmospheric CO2 is a directly measured data set. It ain’t. It is a modeled data set. And worse, it is assumed that it should be increasing in terms of the amount, distribution, and isotope proportion relating to the anthropogenic source. This assumption puts the scientific method on its head. Maybe they call it value added data, I don’t know. But it leads and has led many down the primerose path.
    If you want to create an elixir that fixes every ailment or a better trap that catches a mouse, the snake oil/mouse catching salesman creates a model that says it will do all that and more and then sells it as such. No research method involved. Just wishful thinking. The approach is a marketing approach, and a good one. Do what works, whatever it takes, to get the results we want. That is also a very good way to approach education. Describe where you want students to be academically, then apply the “do what works, whatever it takes” principal. But it ain’t the scientific method, not even when explained with equations and the word “thus”.

  233. Wansbeck (05:56:00) :
    Phil. (22:13:31) :
    “Where do you get this from? For sea water the solubility in our current atmosphere is ~120mg/litre (which mostly exists as bicarbonate ion).”
    The figure quoted by _Jim (17:05:24) (1.5g/kg) is for fresh water, the type found in our current atmosphere.

    But an atmosphere of pure CO2 which is not our current atmosphere!

  234. Well you wonderful folk of science, yes why not can we make our own electric cells for our homes? And they want to ban this innovative divice? nope no grace in this day and age should that happen by law for one thing cannot. If they try they shell out trillions of dollars to call for repairs in the damages to pre-historic land scapes noting due process of a cleaner execution of supplied power to survive and create a dollar too. will have a large litigation against all whom try to give one Crown more clout than the other private bills of support it is corrupted mechanics. I like somthing that can achieve both. not riun the two.
    wait , you think this knocks the socks off this blue print I have can make water, fresh and clean like rocks from space to pressure cold energies in filtered sequences. it’s good. 240 volts to do every thing @ 115 volts then down to 90 volts then to 60 volts then a reverse carbon like space catalistic resinonce in sound that creates a captured sound to make energy.

  235. Pamela Gray (08:30:33) :
    Most people assume that total atmospheric CO2 is a directly measured data set. It ain’t.
    Pamela, CO2 is measured (really measured, not assumed or modelled) at over 400 places on earth. Some 70+ of them are far away from huge sources or sinks, the other 330+ are aimed to measure local/regional CO2 fluxes to gain more insight in the carbon cycle. Besides that, ships measurements, buoys and flights measure CO2 at more places at the ocean surface and over land at different heights.
    Of the 70+ “clean” stations, 10 were chosen as “baseline” stations, as these have the longest trends. Their annual averages are within 5 ppmv, of which the largest difference is the NH-SH delay. From flights and oceans we know that 95% of the atmosphere shows the same CO2 level within tight limits (except for a seasonal cycle and the NH-SH gradient). Thus without any model, the average CO2 levels of the 10 baseline stations represent 95% of the atmosphere with +/- 2.5 ppmv (or +/- 0.7% of the absolute value).
    For a measurement of something in nature, that is a tremendous achievement.
    And indeed also other related measurements like methane, oxygen, isotope compositions and their trends are of the most reliable available.
    You may not like the outcome, but as that doesn’t say anything about the influence of increasing CO2 levels on temperature/climate, you should concentrate on that part of the debate. Focusing on something that is not defendable is undermining the credibility of all sceptics…

  236. I would like to add one thing a cordless tele phone @900Mhz can throw on my lights on in low watts too if needed mind you.
    The low band has great attribute when configured to one allownce. A direct frequecny to recognize the initerupted power of low band powered frequencies.
    I’t not new though, but open to configure better upon the consumers grid bid lists.
    Also for water grabbing, and making clean Oxygen was my sector of interests.
    They all do go hand in hand right? Dino sours were so big in the early earth why?
    Shared atoms. Visit me @ http://theproviworld.wordpress.com/ and i will tell you what happens when greed put a chain to an end of not sharing what we can’t see no more.

  237. Willis Eschenbach (11:45:20) :

    anna v, a good question. CO2 is what is called a “well mixed” greenhouse gas. Per the map at the head of this thread, it varies less than ± 1% around the globe. If temperature varied this little around the planet, it would certainly be reasonable to measure the temperature in the same way.

    Who is calling it a well mixed green house gas? Keeling who oversees everything?
    That is the question. From the data of the satellites the variation is much more than 1%, 30ppm over 380 , even 20, is more than 1%.
    From the land data the variation is more like 50% , Beck for example.
    I am not questioning the measurements, ( though seeing the mess of the surface temperature measurements maybe I should) . I am questioning the assumption of well mixed and the interpretation, that 380ppm is unprecedented as a value, when there are values in the world of 400 much before any fossil fuel exhausts.
    Shades of hockey stick come up.

  238. “theproviworld (09:51:28) :
    Well you wonderful folk of science,[…]”
    It look’s like what you’ve invented is a kind of fuel cell. I recommend to you to go over to http://www.climateprogress.com, they discuss alternative energies a lot. We here are not against new inventions, surely not. But here, we try to explore the reasons for climate fluctuations so climateprogress is really the better forum i think.

  239. My apologies to my wording. Yes there is a incentive to consumers who can innovate to decrease to impact of environment photothesis in slowing build ups of carbons co2 that corrodes to allow a faster decay of our oxygen bio-mass atmosphere to naturally sustain the current status to clean it’s self at the levels indicated by moecular atoms in sharing the recycled splits of these. My spelling is not good, any carbon delay that that has a element count to mass is indeed to be delayed from such breakdown of lower and middle to upper stratospheres that can spell a surge in radio electromagetic fields that flow it’s way in UV light. This light seeps through ozone crack.
    My innovative ideas are like many, and should be encouraged like many others. A comment from from one innovations mentioned to occur on a forum is safe to address the right directions to access the resourses that will assist in creating newly innovative greener products and yes practice. thank you for directing me on the right path. Lauren J. Hendry from theproviworld

  240. anna v (10:18:42) :
    Look at these plots for the range of CO2 values from AIRS
    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA11186_modest.jpg
    Also the Japanese data
    http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2009/05/20090528_ibuki_e.html#at1
    Makes me suspicious that the top plot has been homogenized . Maybe the Japanese are slow in treating the data trying to homogenize them too. Climategate should make us very suspicious of the whole climate industry

    Anna V and others, please!
    Have a look at the time span: 1 (one) month for AIRS, 1 (one) week for the Japanese satellite. And even then the whole “non-homogenization” is less than 5% of the value.
    “Well mixed” doesn’t mean that everywhere at any time of the year exactly the same level of CO2 is measured. It means that the amounts level out in a not too long time span, all over the world. Like a year for all measurements in one hemisphere and a few years for the whole earth… But if you have huge (seasonal) exchanges at ground level and continuous additions in one hemisphere, there will never be exact the same level at all places.

  241. Ferdinand Engelbeen (07:37:30) :
    5.1
    You are still seeing this as a static system. It is not. This is like the politicians who believe they can always get more money for public spending simply by raising taxes. But, this does not always work because the pool of taxable funds shrinks due to the taxation itself.
    Am I getting through to anyone else out there? I would appreciate some affirmation. This is so obvious to me, and I am feeling a little depressed by my failure to get the idea across.
    5.2
    “I need to protest against the notion that the ice core CO2 data were advanced to match the atmospheric data.”
    Some method has to be used to assign a time tag to specific depths. Whatever that method is, the result is a statistical parameter which has some assignable error bar.
    5.et al.
    Yada, yada. We are getting bogged down. Let me just issue a blanket proclamation that I believe you are A) expressing a level of certainty in particular data and hypotheses which is not merited and B) ignoring other possible explanations for the observations, as well as counter-evidences.
    A problem here is that you are reasoning inductively, while I am reasoning deductively. You are delving into all the minutiae of this and that, attempting a process of elimination, and you are getting lost in the trees. There are certain physical principles, though, which must hold regardless of the details. This gives one a view of the forest and its boundaries.
    I can tell you with absolute confidence, based on rigorous mathematics, that it is highly unlikely that the rise in CO2 we have witnessed in the last 1/2 century is due to anthropogenic forcing alone. If the advocates’ camp started their induction with that conclusion, instead of the opposing one, I can guarantee you, you would be focusing on trees of an entirely different variety. That is the weakness of inductive reasoning – it too often leads to confirmation bias.

  242. There is of course a problem with the calculation of e-folding time from the modeling of a sudden plug being added to the biosphere: It doesn’t even remotely represent reality. The notion of e-folding is merely a mathematical wrapping paper for the ridiculous notion that CO2 will always accumulate from man’s emissions even though our emissions represent only 3% of the those from the biosphere. It was required politically as a panic spreader. Exactly the same trick was used with CFC’s to force the Montreal protocol. Of course now though we are told that these everlasting CFC’s are reducing and the replacement HFC’s are incredibly potent greenhouse gases that will also last forever.

  243. Alex Harvey (08:00:19) :
    Thats partially my point: We don’t know what the co2 volume cycle is – given that there are 1000 gt’s at sea surface levels – of course, if seas warm and becomes a net emission then its going to go somewhere else, and even if upwelling c02 from ocean depths introduces into the system, only a small fraction will remain airborne – so I’m sceptical that we really have the entire c02 cycle accounted for. That would explain the missing sink that the IPCC trumpet. They call it a missing sink but what occurs to me is that we simply don’t know what happens to c02
    PS – thats why its better used as a coefficient than a constant law (Henry’s)

  244. For whomsoever it might interest, the following is an outline of my overall reasoning.

    A) Natural and anthropogenic CO2, except for minor isotopic variation, are overwhelmingly the same molecule, and they must be treated essentially identically by the available sinks
    B) Anthropogenic CO2 production is a few percent of natural production
    C) In a system governed by smooth differential equations (and, the Bristol study lends credence to that assumption), this requires that anthropogenic CO2 by itself cannot be directly responsible for a rise in overall level by more than a few percent
    D) positive feedback can boost the gain of the system so that a greater rise occurs, but this rise would not merely be an accumulation of the anthropogenic input, but rather would be a stimulated emission of other CO2 from other reservoirs, e.g., anthropogenic CO2 increases temperature, leading to greater release of CO2 from the oceans.The increase in the atmospheric CO2 concentration would be more subtle than merely the accumulated anthropogenic release – the anthropogenic CO2 would mix with the natural CO2 in both the sinks and the atmosphere, and the overall increase would be a mix of anthropogenic and natural CO2
    E) This stimulated emission term would have to be much greater (about an order of magnitude) than the original input to create the delta we have seen in atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and I personally do not find that scenario credible

    Based on this “forest rather than trees” outlook, I am necessarily led to the following deductive conclusions:

    1) The AGW hypothesis requires some very unusual dynamics to be plausible at a fundamental level of logic
    – placing responsibility for the observed rise in CO2 essentially on anthropogenic sources requires enormous stimulated emission, and/or severe nonlinearity which renders the assumption of point (C) invalid
    2) Isotopic ratios may or may not indicate that most of the anthropogenic release is still in the atmosphere, but if so, it is likely an artifact of incomplete mixing or the input from another low 13C/12C reservoir. Otherwise, if it is true, and all other possibilities have genuinely been considered and rejected, then the dynamics are severely nonlinear, likely chaotic, and we probably have no ability to predict what will happen in the future. Severe nonlinearity or chaotic dynamics would almost certainly manifest themselves in other observable ways, e.g., increasing Brownian motion or other erratic behavior as the CO2 level increases.

    Bottom line: You cannot have a situation in which, in the facile position put forward by many advocates, the natural sources and sinks balance out, and the anthropogenic input simply accumulates on top of that. That is simply not how a dynamic feedback system works in the real world.

  245. Bart (11:29:47)
    Yes I’d accept that the c02 cycle is not static/fixed and that consequently, a lot of spurious correlations between oxygen and c02 isotopes can be made. Its not helped by the fact that c02 exchanges are not measured – they are assumed. Similarly with airborne c02 molecules. No one has measured then cycle of a c02 molecule to verify the airborne duration, which I imagine varies enormously accoring to altitude, wind, air pressure, and all the exchange cycles that we know about

  246. Ferdinand Engelbeen (09:56:30) :
    Ok, but that’s rather like saying the answer is 388, (a direct measurement) without the equations that led to the figure. It is the dynamics that are not being measured. Its impossible to – being an invisible gas – to see what c02 does to produce this sum of 388, which is why some people here are questioning too precise a set of maths. Whilst some say that 288 and 100 make 388, others say that 370+18 make 388 (ppm)

  247. Ferdinand
    It is far better to measure CO2 by using all measurements, confirm it gives a gaussian distribution and then use the 5% cutoff as your minimum value. That is what is done with mechanical engineering data. If engineers arbitrarily decided what data to use based on whimsy assumptions of whose data was more reliable or not then there would be a lot more engineering failures in the world. That is, Becks method is far closer to standard practice than Keeling or Callendar. Why is wind-driven data from the sea better than land data when the land flux is 300Gt and the sea flux is 400Gt compared with the human addition of 27Gt? Obviously it even depends on the direction of the wind. As I understand it ML even reject 80% of the data before it even goes into their statistical sausage machine, according to the wind direction. They get what they want to see all right.
    Well here is a nice background CO2 test in a desert, which one might reasonably assume is without any CO2 vegetation or factory sources:
    http://www.unlv.edu/Climate_Change_Research/NDFF/co2_treatment.htm
    No data was rejected. We can assume though that the ambient was correctly measured since the experiment itself would have been affected. Now knowing that 40% of the land mass on earth is arid and using well-mixed CO2 “trick” to assume that this result represents the entire globe gives the result of no change in background CO2 in 10 years. Crucially this place is also well away from the sea. Callendar and Keeling may easily have chosen exactly the worst selection criteria. Who’d really know for sure? But if they had used standard procedures and hence NOT rejected data they didn’t like then it wouldn’t have mattered at all.
    Despite that i agree with you that there it is far more potent to argue about the crazy residence time which is based on even worse procedures, loopier assumptions, and even more arbitrary fiddle factors. I’d also argue we hammer home on the fact that they still project net deforestation in a planet that is demonstrably greening
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalGarden/
    and they then use this false conclusion to postulate that there is a bigger missing sink thanks to deforestation. In fact if the land assumptions are corrected to reflect reality then there is no need for a warming sea to be called a net sink. Try it!

  248. Bart (12:00:44) :
    Bottom line: You cannot have a situation in which, in the facile position put forward by many advocates, the natural sources and sinks balance out, and the anthropogenic input simply accumulates on top of that. That is simply not how a dynamic feedback system works in the real world.
    ————————
    Absolutely clear to me, but then I got my head around drug pharmacokinetics over the years and there are certain similarities re. multi-phasic clearance mechanisms.
    Perhaps it might be instructive to consider the time in history when humans were adding an extra 0.00001% to the atmosphere and the annual emissions became 100.00001% of natural emissions. Anyone believe that the kinetics changed at that point ??
    OK, then work your way up to 103% and voila – did we cross a tipping point in the kinetics between 100.00001% and 103%. Nope.

  249. Bart (11:29:47) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (07:37:30) :
    5.1
    You are still seeing this as a static system. It is not.

    Not one of the few hairs left on my head thinks that the CO2 cycle is a static system. Of course it is a dynamic system, more or less in equilibrium for a given temperature, as long as humans don’t add some extra…
    That is clear from the ice cores over the past 800,000 years.
    5.2 about ice cores (again):
    Please read the literature. The scientific world didn’t stop after 1992, when Jaworowski wrote his last report. In 1996, Etheridge produced a very detailed report of three ice cores drilled at Law Dome, using different (wet and dry) methods, avoiding cracks and clathrates, sampling CO2 from the ice bubbles but also from the firn (again with different materials) from the surface to bubble closing depth. See:
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/1996/95JD03410.shtml
    The ice core air bubbles had the same CO2 level as the stil open air inclusions from the firn at closing depth. The CO2 level at 72 m closing depth was the same as air at the South Pole of 7 years before. Thus the gas phase in the ice core was average 7 years old. There were 40 counted ice layers at the same depth. Thus the difference between measured gas age and measured ice age was 33 years. And the ice core gas age data had an overlap of 20 years with the South Pole data. Nothing arbitral, nothing modeled, everything measured. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_overlap.jpg
    5.x
    In my former working life I was process engineer, later process automation engineer. My strength was that I was able to find a problem in a process (or computer program) much faster than others, simply because I was always eliminating the impossibilities, instead of looking at the possibilities first.
    It is physically impossible that the oceans are the main cause of the recent increase. It is physically impossible that the biosphere is the main cause of the increase. It is highly improbable that huge amounts (equivalent to 1/3rd of all vegetation on earth) entered the atmosphere within a few years around 1942, but it is physically impossible that the same amount disappeared in a few years… I can add a few more, but now it’s your turn: show me your mathematics which make you sure that the increase is not (alone) from the emissions…

  250. Bart (12:00:44) :
    To my conclusions, I should also have added:
    3) Assuming smooth dynamics and reasonable positive feedback, the majority of the rise in atmospheric CO2 we have observed in the last 1/2 century is natural, and the C13/C12 ratios provide no additional information except that we do not know as much about the entire carbon cycle as some would like to believe
    This conclusion, based as it is on fundamentals, leads me to question any data which purports to contradict it. If a person proffering such evidence looks deeply enough, I am confident he or she will find flaws in the analysis or processing of the data, or in the underlying assumptions. I expect to be vindicated in time when the atmospheric CO2 begins to decline again even as we keep pumping more in.

  251. Scott says:

    Thanks for the input. The two-layer thing is clearly where my calculation falls short–it was only a concentration calculation using the entire ocean volume and didn’t even take into consideration the thermodynamics of the CO2/bicarbonate/carbonate/calcium system. Could you reference a good review article or seminal paper on this system so I can get a better grip on it?

    Good question. Unfortunately, I am not sure about a good paper that you can easily get your hands on. My reference, as I noted, is the book “Global Warming: The Hard Science” by L.D. Danny Harvey, which is quite good…although it was published in 2000, so it is not the most up-to-date.
    You might try looking at this paper by Harvey: http://faculty.geog.utoronto.ca/Harvey/Harvey/papers/Harvey%20%282003a,%20C%20sequestration,%20GRL%29.pdf and the references therein and the citations that have been made to it: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?cites=5076057463512281645&hl=en&as_sdt=2000

  252. Bart (12:00:44) :
    For whomsoever it might interest, the following is an outline of my overall reasoning.
    B) Anthropogenic CO2 production is a few percent of natural production
    C) In a system governed by smooth differential equations (and, the Bristol study lends credence to that assumption), this requires that anthropogenic CO2 by itself cannot be directly responsible for a rise in overall level by more than a few percent

    The problem is right in B: Anthro CO2 is a few percent of natural production Anthro CO2 is additional, natural production is part of a cycle, a dynamic equilibrium, while anthro CO2 is a disturbance of the equilibrium.
    Take into consideration a fountain where a huge pump drives water to the top from the basin below. A perfect dynamic equilibrium (besides some evaporation). Add a small flow of water with a hose. You will see that the level in the basin will increase, even overflow, although the additional flow is only 1/100th of what the pump “produces”.
    The Bristol study concluded that the increase in the atmosphere is still the same percentage of the emissions, not of the total input (natural + human). Thus the natural equilibrium reacts to the (only) disturbance like a simple linear, first order process. No need for exotic explanations.
    [REPLY – Right. ~ Evan]

  253. Mooloo, Phildot, and Englebeen
    If the solubility of CO2 is fairly (a quantitative term, I know) low, then why is the ice core data considered a reflection of atmospheric CO2? Especially since Englebeen said all the CO2 is squeezed out when measuring which would be what is dissolved plus what’s in the air bubbles. Wouldn’t that dilute the total and be less than what the atmosphere was holding?

  254. Bart says:

    Bottom line: You cannot have a situation in which, in the facile position put forward by many advocates, the natural sources and sinks balance out, and the anthropogenic input simply accumulates on top of that. That is simply not how a dynamic feedback system works in the real world.

    Bottom line: You do not sufficiently understand the system that you are talking about. Forget about the transfers back-and-forth between the atmosphere, biosphere, soil, and mixed layer of the ocean. As L.D. Danny Harvey explains in the quote that I made above, the transfers between these are fast enough that they can essentially be considered as one reservoir (with some further calculations discussing the partitioning between the different “parts” of this one reservoir). Once you consider this as one reservoir, all you have are two terms:
    (1) The input term representing the release of CO2 that has not been part of this system into the system through the burning of fossil fuels.
    (2) The output term representing the mixing of the carbon down from the mixed layer into the deep ocean.
    Then, it becomes very clear why the release of the fossil fuel CO2 is what is causing the increase in the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    I also recommend that you really think about Ferdinand’s statement that “Focusing on something that is not defendable is undermining the credibility of all sceptics…” (and Willis’s similar statement). Personally, since I don’t really have much emotionally invested in you guys being credible, I don’t really care what you do. But, I will just tell you that focusing on all of this nonsense really does make it easy to dismiss you guys as the equivalent of flat-earthers. Better to focus on the actual issues that there is some legitimate scientific debate on, e.g., what the feedbacks and resulting climate sensitivity are, rather than issues that were perhaps the subject of scientific debate half a century ago but are not today. At least there you have a prayer of seriously influencing the scientific community.

  255. Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:39:15) :
    “It is physically impossible that the oceans are the main cause of the recent increase. It is physically impossible that the biosphere is the main cause of the increase. It is highly improbable that huge amounts (equivalent to 1/3rd of all vegetation on earth) entered the atmosphere within a few years around 1942, but it is physically impossible that the same amount disappeared in a few years…”
    There are necessarily assumptions required with which these absolutist statements must be qualified. You will note, I always try to state such qualifications in my own pronouncements. I suggest you review the underlying assumptions in your statements, perhaps in a role-playing mode as a skeptic, and see if you do not discover weaknesses in them. I have tried to point some out to you, but I think it is impossible to make any headway that way because of the adversarial dynamics which inherently arise.
    I can add a few more, but now it’s your turn: show me your mathematics which make you sure that the increase is not (alone) from the emissions…
    See Bart (14:51:01) .

  256. Ferdinand
    1. “It is physically impossible that the oceans are the main cause of the recent increase.
    2. It is physically impossible that the biosphere is the main cause of the increase.
    3. It is highly improbable that huge amounts (equivalent to 1/3rd of all vegetation on earth) entered the atmosphere within a few years around 1942, but 4. it is physically impossible that the same amount disappeared in a few years”
    http://nasascience.nasa.gov/earth-science/oceanography/ocean-earth-system/ocean-carbon-cycle/ask-a-scientist
    Look at the actual numbers and get it right! What isn’t shown there though are the error bars for ocean and plant fluxes, both of which are rather larger than man’s puny contribution.
    As for the disappearance after the 40’s. I admit to some skepticism about that too but there was a sharp decrease in temperature then which has definitely been adjusted out to a large extent. Everywhere I look I see a linear correlation with CO2 – Endersbee, Beck, and the “pause” in CO2 that I demonstrated above. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Vostok lag was only in reality a few years: One of the few things I agree with Wm Connolley about. Heck they seem to adjust that x-axis in ice core data willy-nilly.
    It’s a lot easier to imagine though when you a) calculate the vegetation correctly or b) realize just how much CO2 is already stored in the ocean. You might then wonder why the CO2 level is so curiously constant. Of course there are geological data – that you reject – that says it can vary quite a lot.

  257. Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:03:46) :
    Take into consideration a fountain where a huge pump drives water to the top from the basin below. A perfect dynamic equilibrium (besides some evaporation). Add a small flow of water with a hose. You will see that the level in the basin will increase, even overflow, although the additional flow is only 1/100th of what the pump “produces”.
    This is not a feedback system!
    It would be a feedback system if you had the flow come from outside and added a drain. Then, an equilibrium would be established when the inflow matched the outflow from the drain. When you added 1% more inflow, the water would stabilize at a new equilibrium at 1% greater depth than the old equilibrium, because the pressure forcing the water out at the drain is proportional to the volume of the water column above it.
    You have to understand this. Atmospheric CO2 did not stabilize because there just happened to be an equal amount coming in and going out. That is not how nature works. The equilibrium was established because that is where a point was reached in which a greater source would induce a greater sink and vice versa.
    Balances in nature do not come about by luck.

  258. Why do people always bring up that overflowing basin analogy as if it is even remotely comparable? How about a floating overflowing basin in a pond 600 times larger than it? Or how about avoiding crap analogies altogether?

  259. JamesG (13:08:40) :
    Ferdinand
    It is far better to measure CO2 by using all measurements, confirm it gives a gaussian distribution and then use the 5% cutoff as your minimum value. That is what is done with mechanical engineering data.

    The problem with the historical data is that these are sparse, sometimes only one or a few measurements on one place or even absent for several years. And certainly not Gaussian distributed. Some series had serious diurnal variations (today these shouldn’t even been taken into account, except for flux determinations). Giessen e.g. was sampled three times a day, while at the time of the morning and evening sample the largest change in CO2 level is visible today (with continuous measurements). That alone introduces already a positive bias of about 30 ppmv not withstanding what happened if the sample in reality was taken 15 minutes earlier or later.
    Why is wind-driven data from the sea better than land data when the land flux is 300Gt and the sea flux is 400Gt compared with the human addition of 27Gt? Obviously it even depends on the direction of the wind. As I understand it ML even reject 80% of the data before it even goes into their statistical sausage machine, according to the wind direction. They get what they want to see all right.
    As you can read on my pages, the 80% rejection of data is an urban legend (2004: 65% used, 13% no data – instrument malfunction, 22% rejected) and it even doesn’t change the average or the trend if you include or exclude the rejected data. The seasonal ocean flux (90 GtC) is larger than the seasonal land vegetation flux (60 GtC), but the combination of these countercurrent fluxes doesn’t change the global amplitude in CO2 with more than +/- 5 GtC over the trend. That is of the same order as the emissions at 8 GtC/year.
    Well here is a nice background CO2 test in a desert, which one might reasonably assume is without any CO2 vegetation or factory sources:
    http://www.unlv.edu/Climate_Change_Research/NDFF/co2_treatment.htm

    I was surpised how much vegetation still was in the deserts of Arizona, and the s.d. of around 10 ppmv of the measurements proves that there still is contamination. Which is visible btw if you look at the foto: a green desert?
    It is quite simple: no CO2 data over land are reliable below the inversion layer, as there simply is not enough mixing and too many sources (and sinks). The reason that Keeling wanted to measure at the South Pole (and Mauna Loa) was that he experienced hundreds of ppmv difference day/night in forests, but much smaller differences in deserts, and that both places gave near the same (lower) values in the afternoon when the sun did mix up the air layers.
    Please have a look at the work of Feely et al about the oceans as sink:
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

  260. Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:03:46) :
    Reply continues:
    “No need for exotic explanations.”
    It is your explanation which is exotic. My description describes natural, ordinary, everyday dynamics. Yours is un-natural. It is pure empiricism, unattached to physical law.

  261. Syl (14:12:17) :
    Mooloo, Phildot, and Englebeen
    If the solubility of CO2 is fairly (a quantitative term, I know) low, then why is the ice core data considered a reflection of atmospheric CO2? Especially since Englebeen said all the CO2 is squeezed out when measuring which would be what is dissolved plus what’s in the air bubbles. Wouldn’t that dilute the total and be less than what the atmosphere was holding?

    There is no CO2 dissolved in the ice itself. There may be some adhered at the ice surface within the bubble (NOT in between the ice), but that is squeezed out by vacuum during the measurement. Thus what is in the bubbles still is what was enclosed at the time of bubble closing, up to 800,000 years ago.

  262. Joel Shore (14:25:37) :
    Bottom line: You do not sufficiently understand the system that you are talking about.
    Clearly, you do not have enough of a background in dynamical systems to understand that there are general rules which must be obeyed in any physical system.
    But, I will just tell you that focusing on all of this nonsense really does make it easy to dismiss you guys as the equivalent of flat-earthers.
    Enjoy your bliss. It won’t last.

  263. Joel Shore (14:25:37) : edit

    Bart says:

    Bottom line: You cannot have a situation in which, in the facile position put forward by many advocates, the natural sources and sinks balance out, and the anthropogenic input simply accumulates on top of that. That is simply not how a dynamic feedback system works in the real world.

    Bottom line: You do not sufficiently understand the system that you are talking about.

    I agree entirely with Joel here. There are a variety of systems that exhibit exponential decay when disturbed from a dynamic equilibrium. Google “Le Chatelier’s Principle” for a host of examples in chemistry.
    JamesG above objected to that analogy of a basin which is being filled and is draining at the same time. Although he says this is a “crap analogy”, he fails to say why. Let’s examine the analogy. We have a basin with a drain in the bottom, which is being filled from the top.
    Since the outflow increases as the depth increases, the basin will fill until the depth is such that the outflow exactly balances the inflow. At that point it is in dynamic equilibrium, with the level of the water in the basin neither rising nor falling.
    Now imagine that we take an extra bucket of water and dump it into the basin. The water level will rise immediately. However, it will not stay higher than the equilibrium level forever. Because the outflow is now greater than the inflow (because of the extra pressure from the extra depth), the level will begin to sink down to its equilibrium level again.
    Since the pressure is highest right after the extra bucket is dumped in, initially the level will drop quickly. But as it approaches equilibrium the drop will slow. This kind of change is called an “exponential decay”. It is quite common in many natural systems.
    One thing about this system is that the size of the inflow and outflow don’t affect the fundamental nature of the exponential response. Whether the flows are big or small, you still get the same kind of exponential decay when you add a bucket of water to the basin.
    As Joel said, all of this is well known and well documented in a host of natural systems.

  264. Joel Shore (14:25:37) :
    “But, I will just tell you that focusing on all of this nonsense really does make it easy to dismiss you guys as the equivalent of flat-earthers.”
    I want to expand on this. It is the general ignorance of people in the climate sciences in the area of systems theory which causes me to dismiss much of what they have to say.
    I am not preaching anything exotic or nouveau here. I’m talking about fundamental systems theory of the kind that allows every person reading this to hop in the shower every morning, cook their breakfast, listen to the radio in their car on the way to work, perhaps hop on a jet plane for a conference, and then come home and sit at their computer and type whatever folderol they desire to have read by people across the globe.
    It is just stunning to me to be accused of being a primitive by people who might as well be sporting chicken bones in their noses and wearing grass skirts. Simply amazing…

  265. Willis Eschenbach (15:32:58) :
    Please see my response to the water fountain analogy at Bart (14:59:16). Ferdinand did not have a drain. He just has a pump recirculating the same water around and around. It is no really different than simply having a static pool of water. There is no exponential decay. Anything you add will increase the level. If you keep on adding, it will overflow.
    That is not how the natural system works.

  266. Joel Shore (14:25:37) :
    Once you consider this as one reservoir, all you have are two terms:
    (1) The input term representing the release of CO2 that has not been part of this system into the system through the burning of fossil fuels.
    (2) The output term representing the mixing of the carbon down from the mixed layer into the deep ocean.
    Then, it becomes very clear why the release of the fossil fuel CO2 is what is causing the increase in the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    ———————-
    Joel, I think this is the silliest thing I’ve ever seen written by you.
    Two carbon dioxide cycles operating independently, just because YOU happen to call one “one reservoir” ??

  267. As all the CC experts are here i’d like to throw in a question.
    The IPCC says the halflife of the excess CO2 will be a 100 years minimum. And a quarter of it may stay forever in the atmosphere. At least i got the impression that they stated that.
    What’s your position on this, Ferdinand, Joel and Willis?

  268. Willis Eschenbach (15:32:58) :
    One more thing. If Ferdinand’s closed, static model of the fountain were how the natural system worked, WE WOULD NOT BE DISCUSSING THE ARTICLE WHICH IS THE POINT OF THIS ENTIRE POST!!!
    I have other things to do. Good day to you all.

  269. I have no problem with the basic concept that we are adding extra CO2 to the atmosphere. I don’t even mind the C13/C12 stuff as proof that fossil fuel burning is adding to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. What I do have a problem with is the funneling of our emissions into a neat package of 55% remaining and 45% being sequestered. A neat little graphing that we can follow with time. That we can point to with an accusing finger.
    Isn’t CO2 fungible? Isn’t it more like what Lubos Motl pointed out (in a posting I looked for and can’t find) that instead of this 45/55 split what we really have is a total amount being emitted each year and each year since the industrial revolution began the CO2 retained of that total amount is a steady per cent higher than the year before?
    This constant fraction business of OUR emissions that is sequestered each year is totally anti-intuitive, arbitrary, awkward, unexplainable, and seems to be merely a rhetorical trick.
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (15:16:33) :
    “There is no CO2 dissolved in the ice itself.”
    Thank you. That clears that aspect up for me. I obviously misunderstood an earlier statement.

  270. Willis Eschenbach (15:32:58) :
    Joel Shore (14:25:37) : edit
    Bart says:
    Bottom line: You cannot have a situation in which, in the facile position put forward by many advocates, the natural sources and sinks balance out, and the anthropogenic input simply accumulates on top of that. That is simply not how a dynamic feedback system works in the real world.
    Bottom line: You do not sufficiently understand the system that you are talking about.
    I agree entirely with Joel here.
    ————————–
    I don’t think you are agreeing with Joel here Willis. He’s suggesting that the new perturbation becomes additive and doesn’t go back into balance (I think).
    Also, like JamesG, I’m curious as to why you would use an analogy that has nothing to do with the real world. Humans have not dumped a bolus of CO2 into the atmosphere. It has been a slow and very minor increase of total emissions over 150 years. The equilibrium is maintained essentially in real time.
    I could give you a real analogy relating to the pharmacokinetics of drug A and more drug A, but I shall await what you say, as I feel I could (must) be misinterpreting what you and Joel are saying, or trying to say.

  271. I sense some confusion.
    IPCC expects the airborne fraction to increase as the sinks are likely to saturate in the Bern model. The fact that the the airborne fraction is constant shows that the sinks still are acting according to Fick’s diffusion law: flux is linear proportional to the concentration gradient. Which means that CO2 doubling is unlikely this century!

  272. JamesG and Bart,
    No example is perfect, but the fountain is an ideal example to counter the “man’s input is only a few percent of the natural influx”, as that has not the slightest influence on the (un)balance, because as long as the natural influx is equal to the outflux, the total amount circulating through the system is not of the slightest interest.
    But I have used plenty of other examples like bathtubes, lakes, stirred reactors, bank accounts,… with little effect. It seems one of the most difficult problems to convince most sceptics that we are responsible for the current increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Even if all scientific evidence points to it and no scientific evidence contradicts it. And not one of the possible alternatives holds against one or more observations.
    I have explained to Bart that the oceans can’t be the source of huge amounts of extra CO2 in the atmosphere: the d13C level is too high, thus should increase the d13C level of the atmosphere, but we see a decrease. But then he rejects everything that has something to do with isotope measurements. That is the work of hundreds of people in laboratories all over the world. Including hundreds of published scientific works.
    Sorry, but if you don’t accept that a lot of people on this earth are proud of their skills to provide us with the best data they can produce, then we can better stop this discussion.
    I am not talking here about people who hide their (temperature) data and/or methods or falsify (proxy) data by mixing in other (temperature) data which better fit their preconceived ideas. The people which provide the CO2 data and many other air based measurements are completely open: Pieter Tans of NOAA has been a few times a guest on this blog, even when there were troubles with the CO2 data. The data and methods are on line for everyone and interlaboratory control and off-line sampling by different independent organisations and rigorous calibration procedures are a guarantee that no small group can manipulate the data.
    But back to the discussion.
    Look at the actual numbers and get it right! What isn’t shown there though are the error bars for ocean and plant fluxes, both of which are rather larger than man’s puny contribution.
    Again, it is not of the slightest interest how much is circulating through a system. Neither how much is in other reservoirs. That all doesn’t add anything to the atmosphere. What adds to (or subtracts from) the atmosphere is the difference in flows at the end of the year. That is known: about halve of the emissions. The overall natural variability around the natural flows is known too for the past 50+ years: +/- 2 GtC or +/- 1 ppmv around the 4 GtC (2 ppmv) sink capacity these days. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg
    I accept geological data with some reservation, but these show little correlation between CO2 and temperature over earth’s history. There is a very good correlation between CO2 and temperature over the past 800,000 years in ice cores until the start of the industrial revolution. With a (quite sure) lag of CO2 after temperature. Again there is little correlation in the past 110 years: warming 1910-1945, cooling 1945-1975, warming 1975-2000, cooling after that, while CO2 is continuously increasing (the 1945 dip in one of the Law Dome ice cores is within the error margin). Endersbee only shows the period after 1980 ánd with 21 year smoothing, the 1945-1975 period shows the opposite… And if you believe Beck, we should have seen a dip in absolute levels of CO2 already by now, but they still are increasing (maybe a little slower now as we have less emissions).

  273. Joel Shore (14:25:37) : Joel, you’ve done the physicist thing again and oversimplified. Your model only shows that some of the CO2 increase is anthropogenic. Your model leaves out changes in the biosphere and it also leaves out the ocean warming since the LIA. Other natural flux changes are possible as well. The result is you have no basis for a quantitative statement. Qualitatively you are correct, there is an anthro component in the CO2 rise.

  274. Bart –
    I think there’s been some miscommunication with regards to how you’re interpreting the system behavior proposed by other posters. I don’t think people are claiming that the CO2 sinks are removing a constant rate of CO2. Instead, they’re claiming that the CO2 inputs, save mankind’s footprint, stay roughly constant and the sinks do not stay constant but cannot absorb all of the increase due to man.
    Equation format may make it clear. Without man, assume (yes, it’s an assumption) that the rate of change with time, dC/dt, is constant (0) and equals the emissions, E, minus the sinks, S:
    dC/dt = 0 = E – S
    What I believe you think people are saying is that anthropogenic emissions (A) are being added on top of this without any changes to E or S, yielding:
    dC/dt = E + A -S
    Thus, the concentration increases without any feedback. I think this is NOT what people are saying, they’re proposing something along the lines of the following model without man (thus still assumed steady-state), where S is proportional to the concentration, S=sC (lowercase s is a coefficient that when multiplied by the concentration yields the rate lost to sinks), which might be representative of a simple feedback system:
    dC/dt = 0 = E – sC
    Now, if you add man’s input, you get:
    dC/dt = E + A – sC
    Note that, with time, the value S=sC will increase, but there will still be an increase in C that is directly due to anthropogenic input even though the system feedback increases the amount the sinks remove. In fact, I would say that this is what the publication in this article discusses – if the sinks were not increasing (or were beginning to increase at a slower rate than the emissions increase), then the percent of anthropogenic emissions being removed would be decreasing. That they are staying constant means that the sinks are still removing a similar fraction of the CO2 concentration. That also indicates that there’s a good chance that if current CO2 emissions level were maintained that no CAGW would occur because sinks are up to the task of removing current emissions levels.
    I’m fairly sure you understand all of this and simply misinterpreted what others were saying. Or perhaps I’ve misinterpreted what all parties are saying (and need to be corrected), but that’s my take on it.
    -Scott

  275. Scott (17:03:52) :
    You are partly correct, but you have not followed through on the calculation.
    In the steady state, without anthropogenic forcing, C = E/s.
    Your “A” is a rate of anthropogenic input. It is less than or equal to perhaps 3% of E within some interval of time. We can thus say (wish I could use less than/greater than signs – does anyone know how to add these without messing up html tags?)
    Cdot is less than or equal to 1.03*E – sC
    and, because this is a first order differential equation, it is not difficult to show that this establishes a bound on C of
    C is less than or equal to 1.03*E/s
    at the end of that interval. That is, it would be at most 3% higher than its natural equilibrium.
    In fact, despite the fact that anthropogenic is about 3%, 6% tops, of the natural flux, we have seen a 30% rise in CO2 in the last 50 years.
    You see, Scott, they actually are “claiming that the CO2 sinks are removing a constant rate of CO2”. That is precisely what is being said in Ferdinand’s fountain example at (14:03:46).
    This is my whole point. How do you realistically get from 3%, 6% tops, to 30%?

  276. Ferdinand Engelbeen (16:29:29) :
    “No example is perfect, but the fountain is an ideal example to counter the “man’s input is only a few percent of the natural influx”, as that has not the slightest influence on the (un)balance, because as long as the natural influx is equal to the outflux, the total amount circulating through the system is not of the slightest interest.”
    Ferdinand, you are either not reading or refusing to consider my replies. Your fountain example is worthless because it does not have a feedback path. See Bart (14:59:16) again.

  277. Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:39:15) said:

    It is physically impossible that the oceans are the main cause of the recent increase. It is physically impossible that the biosphere is the main cause of the increase. It is highly improbable that huge amounts (equivalent to 1/3rd of all vegetation on earth) entered the atmosphere within a few years around 1942, but it is physically impossible that the same amount disappeared in a few years… I can add a few more, but now it’s your turn: show me your mathematics which make you sure that the increase is not (alone) from the emissions…

    I tend to have great regard for what you write because it seems so well thought out, however, I have a question.
    We are told that the solubility of CO2 in water decreases with temperature.
    How have you eliminated the possibility that the heat content of the oceans has been increasing recently, and therefore driving more CO2 out of solution?
    A small decrease in average cloud cover (perhaps because of fewer CRs getting through, or less DMSO being released by plankton–of course all such mechanisms need to be explained) should allow more energy to get to the oceans.

  278. philincalifornia says:

    Joel, I think this is the silliest thing I’ve ever seen written by you.
    Two carbon dioxide cycles operating independently, just because YOU happen to call one “one reservoir” ??

    Come on, folks. This isn’t that hard to understand if you just get rid of your mental block on it. You have a system where the equilibration time is rapid between the atmosphere, biosphere, soils, and mixed layer and much slower with the deep ocean. So, to a very good approximation, you can solve the equations for the equilibration of a slug of CO2 added to the atmosphere + biosphere + soils + mixed layer system and find how much of the CO2 is partitioned between these different systems and then consider the slower process of the exchange of this slug of CO2 with the deep oceans. (For the partitioning between ocean and atmosphere, these are the basic chemical kinetics equations. For the biosphere and soils, it is less rigorous to determine the partitioning…and the best estimates are probably empirical ones.)
    If you don’t like doing it this way, you could presumably numerically solve the full equations for the whole system … but, you would get essentially the same result from looking at it the way that I described and also get considerably more insight as to what is going on.
    Eric (skeptic) says:

    Qualitatively you are correct, there is an anthro component in the CO2 rise.

    The anthro component is actually equal to twice the rise, which means that the biosphere and oceans are taking up about half of what we emit and the rest is remaining in the atmosphere. The ocean has been a net sink of CO2, not a source, so claiming an ocean warming contribution is not really very sensical. The ocean warming has at best slightly increased the amount of our perturbation of CO2 that has remained in the atmosphere relative to how much would have remained had they not warmed. (I suppose if you look at it the other way around, you could say that had the warming that has occurred happened without any influx of CO2 from fossil burning, this warming would have caused a small increase in CO2 levels. However, the maximum amount that such warming would have caused is around ~20 ppm rise…and even that full amount would likely take longer to occur than the timescales that we are talking about, hence the lag between temperature and CO2 in the ice core data for the glacial – interglacial transitions.)

  279. Bart says:

    I want to expand on this. It is the general ignorance of people in the climate sciences in the area of systems theory which causes me to dismiss much of what they have to say.

    Before you can apply systems theory, you have to understand the system. You don’t, thus apply the theory wrongly, and then [snip] suggest that the people who understand the system much better than you do [snip] are somehow the ones who don’t understand your [snip] “systems theory”.
    [ lose the personal attack tone of voice and invective mood. -mod ]

  280. Bart (17:24:12) :
    You are partly correct, but you have not followed through on the calculation.
    In the steady state, without anthropogenic forcing, C = E/s.
    Your “A” is a rate of anthropogenic input. It is less than or equal to perhaps 3% of E within some interval of time. We can thus say (wish I could use less than/greater than signs – does anyone know how to add these without messing up html tags?)
    Cdot is less than or equal to 1.03*E – sC
    and, because this is a first order differential equation, it is not difficult to show that this establishes a bound on C of
    C is less than or equal to 1.03*E/s
    Yep, you’re right there…I hadn’t bothered to calculate that C(t=infinity) = (E+A)/(s*C(t=0)). Thus, C(t=infinity) = C(t=0)*(E+A)/E.
    So are you saying that if we put some (estimated) real numbers to this it shows that CO2 increases aren’t due just to man? Well, if we use supposed pre-industrial CO2 = 280 ppm and assume current anthropogenic (A = 8 Gt/yr) is 4% of the total (thus E = 200 Gt/yr), then we could expect an equilibrium of 291.2 ppm, far below the current value of 388 ppm.
    I get your point now, sorry I was shallow earlier.
    You see, Scott, they actually are “claiming that the CO2 sinks are removing a constant rate of CO2″. That is precisely what is being said in Ferdinand’s fountain example at (14:03:46).
    I apparently got this pump example confused with one that empties based upon fluid height/head pressure. I apologize for the mistake.
    Thanks for making all this more clear. I’m curious now and will better research the actual numbers as well as the findings of the current science on this.
    -Scott

  281. Grr, looks like my first post didn’t do the quotes like I wanted…maybe this will work better. Moderators–please feel free to remove the original.
    Bart (17:24:12) :

    “You are partly correct, but you have not followed through on the calculation.
    In the steady state, without anthropogenic forcing, C = E/s.
    Your “A” is a rate of anthropogenic input. It is less than or equal to perhaps 3% of E within some interval of time. We can thus say (wish I could use less than/greater than signs – does anyone know how to add these without messing up html tags?)
    Cdot is less than or equal to 1.03*E – sC
    and, because this is a first order differential equation, it is not difficult to show that this establishes a bound on C of
    C is less than or equal to 1.03*E/s”

    Yep, you’re right there…I hadn’t bothered to calculate that C(t=infinity) = (E+A)/(s*C(t=0)). Thus, C(t=infinity) = C(t=0)*(E+A)/E.
    So are you saying that if we put some (estimated) real numbers to this it shows that CO2 increases aren’t due just to man? Well, if we use supposed pre-industrial CO2 = 280 ppm and assume current anthropogenic (A = 8 Gt/yr) is 4% of the total (thus E = 200 Gt/yr), then we could expect an equilibrium of 291.2 ppm, far below the current value of 388 ppm.
    I get your point now, sorry I was shallow earlier and didn’t complete my calculations.

    “You see, Scott, they actually are “claiming that the CO2 sinks are removing a constant rate of CO2″. That is precisely what is being said in Ferdinand’s fountain example at (14:03:46).

    I apparently got this pump example confused with one that empties based upon fluid height/head pressure. I apologize for the mistake.
    Thanks for making all this more clear. I’m curious now and will better research the actual numbers as well as the findings of the current science on this.
    -Scott

  282. Scott (18:44:20) :
    Keep in mind A has actually been changing and is not a constant. If we suppose it has been growing linearly, and is only reaching 3% now, the actually effect would be a good deal less, possibly 1.5% depending on the time constant (based on integrating a triangle instead of a rectangle). My 3% is really just a conservative bound.
    You can assume 4% if you like – I think the IPCC fraction is estimated to be between about 2.4% to 5.4%. If the integrated effect is 1/2 this, we might reasonably expect that we should not get more than 5.4%/2 = 2.7% max anthropogenic induced CO2 rise.
    Glad you, at least, see what I have been talking about. If you follow my modeling up at Bart (14:51:01) , you will see my attempts to modify the model in such a way that the anthropogenic attribution would make sense. But, since I have to come up with roughly an order of magnitude amplification, it doesn’t generally lead to results which appear plausible. As I say there, the model
    Cdot = (Co – C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    where tau is the time constant, Co is the equilibrium CO2, adot is the rate of anthropogenic contribution, and Ko is a stimulated emissions gain factor, is very general, and depends only on the dynamics being “smooth” to the extent that they may be linearized about Co.

  283. philincalifornia says:

    Joel, I think this is the silliest thing I’ve ever seen written by you.
    Two carbon dioxide cycles operating independently, just because YOU happen to call one “one reservoir” ??

    Come on, folks. This isn’t that hard to understand if you just get rid of your mental block on it. You have a system where the equilibration time is rapid between the atmosphere, biosphere, soils, and mixed layer and much slower with the deep ocean. So, to a very good approximation, you can solve the equations for the equilibration of a slug of CO2 added to the atmosphere + biosphere + soils + mixed layer system and find how much of the CO2 is partitioned between these different systems and then consider the slower process of the exchange of this slug of CO2 with the deep oceans. (For the partitioning between ocean and atmosphere, these are the basic chemical kinetics equations. For the biosphere and soils, it is less rigorous to determine the partitioning…and the best estimates are probably empirical ones.)
    If you don’t like doing it this way, you could presumably numerically solve the full equations for the whole system … but, you would get essentially the same result from looking at it the way that I described and also get considerably more insight as to what is going on.

  284. Scott (18:44:20)
    Oh, and as far as the current science, the best I have found is explained here. As best I can tell, there has been a lot of hand waving, some questionable extrapolations of lab results, and they have effectively come up with models which decouple the dynamics so that natural CO2 and anthropogenic CO2 are treated differently with different time constants. Perhaps you can make more sense of it, since you appear disposed toward chemical analysis, which I haven’t studied in about 25 years.
    This does not sit well with me, because I see no reason for the sinks to discriminate between natural and anthropogenic CO2. I also suspect a misapprehension on the part of the modelers that the feedback dynamics of the natural flows can be shut down, and they will magically stay in equilibrium. In the real world, and in just about every context you can imagine, lack of resistance is always met with aggression and, like in a fixed point iteration, an autoregressive system always either ends up at a local equilibrium at which forces cancel, or it shoots off to the boundary.

  285. Bart (17:24:12) :
    Scott (17:03:52) :
    You are partly correct, but you have not followed through on the calculation.
    In the steady state, without anthropogenic forcing, C = E/s.
    Your “A” is a rate of anthropogenic input. It is less than or equal to perhaps 3% of E within some interval of time. We can thus say (wish I could use less than/greater than signs – does anyone know how to add these without messing up html tags?)
    Cdot is less than or equal to 1.03*E – sC

    Except you forgot that it’s compound interest!
    So if t is time in years then it’s (1.03)^t*E-sC

  286. “…they have effectively come up with models which decouple the dynamics so that natural CO2 and anthropogenic CO2 are treated differently…”
    One more thing… A smooth set of differential equations, which became more sensitive to adot as C increases, would have positive feedback, and would have become unstable in a runaway greenhouse long ago even without the anthropogenic input. So, all in all, I really think this notion that natural and anthropogenic CO2 can be treated differently is not plausible, whatever hand-waving exercises they might have come up with to convince themselves of it.
    It goes without saying that such principles could never have been tested on a planet-wide scale. I think it is just a kluge which they never really thought through in its implications because they saw rising CO2, and they wanted to finger a particular culprit.

  287. Phil. (19:51:51) :
    No, Phil, that’s not it. I hope you are just trying to be funny, because it’s not even close.

  288. Bart:
    It is just stunning to me to be accused of being a primitive by people who might as well be sporting chicken bones in their noses and wearing grass skirts. Simply amazing…
    I’ve experienced this as well in other forums where AGW is discussed. It’s really disconcerting that there are people out there who are convinced they have “the truth” and nothing you can say will convince them otherwise, even though their lack of modern outlook is clear, to me at least. What adds insult to injury is they make sly comments about how ignorant I am. It used to drive me up the wall.
    It reminds me of a discussion I saw a year ago about the same kind of ignorance (an ignorance of thought), though about a different subject. Someone chimed in that there are people in parts of Africa who will give you a look like you’re crazy if you say that there are no such things as evil spirits that cause disease. They KNOW it’s true, like the Sun rises in the East and sets in the West. If all else fails, all you can do is accept them as they are, leave them in their ignorance, and trust that the others reading the discussion can see their contribution for what it is.

  289. Bart (20:08:52) :
    Phil. (19:51:51) :
    No, Phil, that’s not it. I hope you are just trying to be funny, because it’s not even close.

    Nether is your analysis, you’ve failed to account for the fact that the sources are growing faster than the sinks.

  290. Phil, I’m not going to bother with you. You are dead wrong, so much so that there is no point in further discussion.

  291. Phil. (20:22:52) :

    “you’ve failed to account for the fact that the sources are growing faster than the sinks.”

    Sorry Phil, I don’t think that’s it. Look at some of the equations shown. In the simplest version (for instance, the one I described), manmade emissions are assumed at CURRENT levels, which are far higher than the start of the “industrial period”. Thus, they grew in a step change, instantly fast.
    Now, Bart did try to incorporate what would amount to delays/sluggishness in the sink response, but I don’t think that’s too necessary to prove the point. Consider one of my earlier posts on this thread but in a different line of discussion–Scott (08:46:03) :. Here I’d calculated a rate of 3.1 ppm/year increase at 2008 emissions (note the referenced post fixed an earlier calculation I gave where I had a unit conversion in error). Thus, for the rise from the supposed pre-industrial 280 ppm to the current 388 ppm, emissions at the 2008 rate would require 35 years with NO absorption/sinks of anthropogenic CO2. Consider the following graph:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type_to_Y2004.png
    If we consider a “block” of 8 gt/yr going back 35 years, how would it’s integration compare to the entire industrial period? I figure that it would be pretty similar (that’s eyeballing it, your evaluation may differ). Thus, for the entire 108 ppm change to be due to man, the equivalent of all of manmade CO2 from the mid-1800s would have to remain in the atmosphere, which is a bit ridiculous. Now, you can nitpick some of the numbers if you want. However, I think we could rerun them for an older date, say 1960, and then I imagine it would be apparent that the increase in CO2/yr was higher than all of manmade emissions. Maybe I’ll do this and see what the results are for sure, but my significant other is ready to call it a night…
    Please let me know if/what I calculated something wrong.
    -Scott

  292. Phil. (20:22:52) :
    Bart (20:08:52) :
    Phil. (19:51:51) :
    No, Phil, that’s not it. I hope you are just trying to be funny, because it’s not even close.
    Nether is your analysis, you’ve failed to account for the fact that the sources are growing faster than the sinks.
    ——————-
    Say what ?? We’re on a thread discussing Knorr et al. which is about the fact that even if the sources are growing faster than the sinks, so what ?? The previously existing (massive) sinks are not saturated, and the growth in CO2 levels (over ~ 12 – 20 ppm) is from somewhere else.
    Live with it.
    …. and while you’re living with it, calculate how long the next doubling is going to take, based on this data.
    As if it’s even relevant anyway.

  293. Scott (20:52:52) :
    Phil. (20:22:52) :
    “you’ve failed to account for the fact that the sources are growing faster than the sinks.”
    Sorry Phil, I don’t think that’s it. Look at some of the equations shown. In the simplest version (for instance, the one I described), manmade emissions are assumed at CURRENT levels, which are far higher than the start of the “industrial period”. Thus, they grew in a step change, instantly fast.

    No, I suggest you read Knorr, in particular Fig 1!

  294. philincalifornia (20:53:36) :
    Say what ?? We’re on a thread discussing Knorr et al. which is about the fact that even if the sources are growing faster than the sinks, so what ??
    I think that Knorr will be shocked to learn that this is is your interpretation of his paper!
    The previously existing (massive) sinks are not saturated, and the growth in CO2 levels (over ~ 12 – 20 ppm) is from somewhere else.
    “Somewhere else”, what are you babbling about!

  295. Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:29:41) :
    anna v (10:18:42) : said:
    Look at these plots for the range of CO2 values from AIRS
    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA11186_modest.jpg
    Also the Japanese data
    http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2009/05/20090528_ibuki_e.html#at1
    Makes me suspicious that the top plot has been homogenized . Maybe the Japanese are slow in treating the data trying to homogenize them too. Climategate should make us very suspicious of the whole climate industry”
    Fderdinand said:
    Anna V and others, please!
    Have a look at the time span: 1 (one) month for AIRS, 1 (one) week for the Japanese satellite. And even then the whole “non-homogenization” is less than 5% of the value.
    “Well mixed” doesn’t mean that everywhere at any time of the year exactly the same level of CO2 is measured. It means that the amounts level out in a not too long time span, all over the world. Like a year for all measurements in one hemisphere and a few years for the whole earth… But if you have huge (seasonal) exchanges at ground level and continuous additions in one hemisphere, there will never be exact the same level at all places.

    Your last paragraph applies to temperature too, exactly. Nevertheless we measure temperatures and do not call them well mixed. The percentage of temperature change in degrees kelvin 0ver the year , .2 Cper year, is much less than the CO2 differences and we, 0.01% for temperature per year, and we do not call temperature well mixed. We plot it in lumpy world plots that show anomalies. Lets see a map of CO2 anomalies, instead of values. If values of the temperatures were plotted the earth would be one color.

  296. Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:29:41) :
    anna v (10:18:42) : said:
    Look at these plots for the range of CO2 values from AIRS
    http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/jpegMod/PIA11186_modest.jpg
    Also the Japanese data
    http://www.jaxa.jp/press/2009/05/20090528_ibuki_e.html#at1
    Makes me suspicious that the top plot has been homogenized . Maybe the Japanese are slow in treating the data trying to homogenize them too. Climategate should make us very suspicious of the whole climate industry”
    Fderdinand said:
    Anna V and others, please!
    Have a look at the time span: 1 (one) month for AIRS, 1 (one) week for the Japanese satellite. And even then the whole “non-homogenization” is less than 5% of the value.
    “Well mixed” doesn’t mean that everywhere at any time of the year exactly the same level of CO2 is measured. It means that the amounts level out in a not too long time span, all over the world. Like a year for all measurements in one hemisphere and a few years for the whole earth… But if you have huge (seasonal) exchanges at ground level and continuous additions in one hemisphere, there will never be exact the same level at all places.

    Your last paragraph applies to temperature too, exactly. Nevertheless we measure temperatures and do not call them well mixed. The percentage of temperature change in degrees kelvin 0ver the year , .2 Cper year, is much less than the CO2 differences , 0.01% for temperature per year, and we do not call temperature well mixed. We plot it in lumpy world plots that show anomalies. Lets see a map of CO2 anomalies, instead of values. If values of the temperatures were plotted the earth would be one color.

  297. Phil. (21:54:48) :
    So you think that 280 ppm was some magic number that was in a sensitive equilibrium for millennia, only to be perturbed by a gradual increase of CO2 emissions from x to 1.03x starting in 1850 ?? And that the anthropogenic emissions became additive because the sinks were somehow saturated for no apparent reason ??
    You still believe in Mann’s hockey stick ??

  298. philincalifornia (22:31:26) :
    Phil. (21:54:48) :
    So you think that 280 ppm was some magic number that was in a sensitive equilibrium for millennia, only to be perturbed by a gradual increase of CO2 emissions from x to 1.03x starting in 1850 ?? And that the anthropogenic emissions became additive because the sinks were somehow saturated for no apparent reason ??

    You haven’t read the paper have you? The paper clearly points out that emissions rose from 2billion tons/year in 1850 to 35billion tons/year now, i.e. 17.5x, compound interest!

  299. Phil. (21:54:48) :
    Phil, you’re just not even wrong. Not only do I wrestle with the question of sensitivity extensively in this thread, but the Knorr report makes the matter moot: there is no indication of the sinks being overwhelmed or even diminishing appreciably in their power. You do not understand the article’s implications because it is clearly outside or your area of expertise, whatever that may be. Your post at 19:51:51 proves that to anyone who has a modicum of familiarity with systems theory. I see no hope of making you understand it, and no advantage in discussing it further with you.

  300. Joel Shore (18:11:54) :
    “Before you can apply systems theory, you have to understand the system.”
    You have it precisely bass-ackwards. In order to understand the system, you have to understand the underlying theory of systems and how they evolve in the real world.

  301. Scott: on this:
    Bart (20:06:28) :
    ” A smooth set of differential equations, which became more sensitive to adot as C increases, would have positive feedback, and would have become unstable in a runaway greenhouse long ago even without the anthropogenic input.”
    That is not completely true. Some models would. But, upon reflection, I find you can determine a nonlinear, negative feedback which will be stable and have increasing sensitivity to adot by taking the negative gradient of a particular class of potential functions, e.g.,
    V = (1/(2*tau))*(C-Co)^2/sqrt(1+eps*(C-Co)^2)
    As eps approaches zero, this produces the same feedback term as I gave earlier (Co-C)/tau. But while, with eps greater than zero, this will increase the effective time constant, leading to slower dissipation of the anthropogenic component, what it will also do is reduce the input from the natural sources as C deviates greatly from Co, and there is little reason to expect that.
    But, this is something like what the system would have to be in order for the orthodoxy to be reasonable. It goes without saying that the nonlinearity would have to be very significant to get a factor of 10 increase in the sensitivity to adot. The Knorr report pretty much rules this out in our current operating regime.

  302. anna v (22:27:10) :
    Have a look at the combined plot of yearly averages from different CO2 stations from near the North Pole to the South Pole and compare that to the yearly averages of temperatures from the same places and the same time span…
    Here is the one for CO2:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg
    Or a yearly average difference of maximum 1% of the full range
    Barrow for the same time span is average at -11 C, Hawai (sea level) at +24 C (didn’t find MLO station temperature data in a fast search) and the South Pole at -50 C. Or a near continuous yearly average difference of over 25% of the full range of absolute temperature.
    The difference in temperature between different places on earth may remain more or less constant, but I don’t think that you can say that temperature levels out all over the globe in a few years time…

  303. Richard Sharpe (17:43:38) :
    I tend to have great regard for what you write because it seems so well thought out, however, I have a question.
    We are told that the solubility of CO2 in water decreases with temperature.
    How have you eliminated the possibility that the heat content of the oceans has been increasing recently, and therefore driving more CO2 out of solution?
    A small decrease in average cloud cover (perhaps because of fewer CRs getting through, or less DMSO being released by plankton–of course all such mechanisms need to be explained) should allow more energy to get to the oceans.

    Indeed the upper part of the oceans can hold less CO2 when heating up. That is partly compensated by biolife (as well in the oceans as on land), which sequester more CO2 with increased temperatures.
    The historical ratio between CO2 and temperature was about 8 ppmv/K over glacials and interglacials. That includes (deep) ocean flows changes, land use changes (ice caps growth and retreat, forest growth up to the Arctic seas and retreat), with a lag of about 600 years. On shorter term (MWP-LIA) we see a similar ratio in high resolution ice cores. And nowadays we see a temperature dependent variability (Pinatubo, 1998 El Niño) in growth rate of about 4 ppmv/K around the trend.
    Thus worst case is that the temperature increase of about 1 K since the LIA has changed the equilibrium setpoint with about 8 ppmv. But as we have over 100 ppmv increase by now, the ocean temperature is only a small part of the increase. And the d13C level makes it impossible that the oceans delivered the bulk of the increase.

  304. One more thing on this: Bart (01:29:50)
    The hypothesis of a nonlinear, sensitivity amplifying, feedback such as in that post in no way invalidates the simple model equation from before
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    It merely says that the linearization which led to this equation might not have a wide region of accuracy, i.e., the system would have a high degree of nonlinearity, and you might need to re-linearize with a new value of tau as C evolved outside of this region. You could integrate the equation then in a piecewise continuous fashion. Or, as an approximation (possibly more precise actually, depending on the actual complete system description), you could just substitute in the gradient feedback function given with the additive (1+Ko)*adot input.
    To all:
    My developments here are still evolving. But, what I have has led me to conclude that the hypothesis of anthropogenic attribution for the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 in the last 50 years requires some very unusual dynamics which do not appear to be supported by the data, in particular this study from Knorr.
    These things can be stated for certain:
    1) the equation
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    represents the linearized form of the system no matter its details, with only the assumption of smooth differential equations describing it, and the approximation of a linear operator K acting on adot as being adequately described by its dc gain Ko – this is very likely a reasonable assumption if adot is a very low bandwidth signal, as it appears to be. The term Ko*adot represents stimulated emissions.
    As a linearization, it is accurate only in some local region about the set point Co and, if the system is highly nonlinear, it must be relinearized about a new set point when the system evolves beyond these boundaries.
    2) If Ko is “small”, then the effect of anthropogenic forcing on atmospheric concentration is small, and we can state with high confidence that the effect of a 3% ratio between anthropogenic and natural forcing is effectively 3% on atmospheric concentration, the initial linearization is likely adequate, and that is just about all there is.
    3) without strong nonlinearity in the system, Ko must be very large, roughly a factor of 10, to explain the observed rise. That would mean that for every unit of anthropogenic CO2, there are 10 more of natural CO2 stimulated to be released.
    4) with strong nonlinearity, and a significant value of Ko to engage it, we could be in a milieu in which frequent re-linearization would be required, and we might be able to fulfill the orthodoxy in which the anthropogenic input is enough to account for the observed rise. However, it does not appear likely to me that Ko could be very large and, furthermore, the Knorr paper argues against such exotic behavior.
    That is my case against the hypothesis attributing the rise to anthropogenic sources. I do not expect it to persuade those who cannot or will not understand it. But, I expect we will know within a few years who is right.
    This is just one of the legs upon which CAGW depends. The other critical leg is the existence of positive feedback for CO2 temperature forcing which others are focusing on at this time. It is very unseasonably cold outside where I am tonight, as it is in many places across the northern hemisphere. Thanks to all who interacted with me in this little excursion. I am done.

  305. Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:31:32) :
    In answer to Anna V’s excellent! question:
    “The difference in temperature between different places on earth may remain more or less constant, but I don’t think that you can say that temperature levels out all over the globe in a few years time…”
    CO2 doesn’t level out either–it’s always lumpy and I suspect there is more that NASA hasn’t said yet about the results but we’ll see. Besides, I hope and assume the models do NOT level out temperature even though we have these ‘global surface temperature’ series that everyone talks about, no matter how majorly lumpy the individual temp readings are. I would hope they treat CO2 the same way but I assume they do NOT. In their grids I doubt they are calculating a higher CO2 level in the grid that includes Pittsburgh than the one that includes Aukland but as I understand it they do calculate the temps.
    ————
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:59:23) :
    “The historical ratio between CO2 and temperature was about 8 ppmv/K over glacials and interglacials.”
    Please clarify something else for me. The ‘8ppmv/K’ refers to air temperature not SST, correct? or? Because as I understand it the ocean temperature did not change 10K between the glaciation and the interstitial. The question was about a rise in SST and the effect that would have on CO2, and I don’t think that was specifically answered. As temperature rose, more forests would appear which would tend to reduce, not add, CO2. So it’s not clear to me where the CO2 coming out of deep glaciations actually came from.

  306. Have a look at http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps
    the 600mb level of yearly temperatures, and take the percentage in Kelvin.
    Even worse,
    the sea surface temperature plot:
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+001
    has smaller variation.
    We still measure over the whole surface the temperatures , and so we should for CO2.
    The Keeling values you are quoting are not the whole real world picture, the way that temperatures on a mountain are not the real world whole picture.
    The distinction is not trivial. It is on whether this 280 to 380ppm has any meaning other than the carefully corrected measure of the few places on earth acceptable to Keeling.
    It is the same as the hockey stick question: were temperatures as high in medieval times as now? Was CO2 as high in 1940 as now?

  307. Syl (04:30:33) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:31:32) :
    CO2 doesn’t level out either–it’s always lumpy and I suspect there is more that NASA hasn’t said yet about the results but we’ll see.
    If you look at CO2 levels everywhere, these are lumpy in the first few hundred meters above land. There one can find any value with jumps of 100 ppmv within 15 minutes. But that is only near ground in less than 5% of the whole atmosphere. Measuring CO2 levels in the first few hundred meters over land is the equivalent of measuring temperature on asphalted parking lots or near AC outlets…
    In the rest of the atmosphere (over 95%), you will find the same values, only modulated by seasonal changes (ranging from +/- 1 ppmv for the South Pole to +/- 8 ppmv for Barrow) and the (growing) NH-SH lag. Even above Pittsburg (over 500 m) or above the industrialised Rhine Valley (Schauninsland, Germany, 1000 m). There are no diurnal changes in CO2 levels and no changes with altitude (except for some delay for the seasonal variation) as long as you are away from nearby sources. No need for gridding and a few stations are enough to make a “global” average. Even one station is enough to see what the trend is, as all the yearly average trends are exactly the same everywhere you measure (away from sources), except for a NH-SH delay. Compare that to the difficulties to compose a “global” temperature average or even a global trend…
    The temperature proxies used for reconstructions over the ice ages are d18O and dD (deuterium) heavy isotope levels, which are directly influenced by seawater temperatures of the SH oceans (at the evaporation side, a higher seawater temperature evaporates a higher ratio of 18O and D) and the temperature of the atmosphere at the precipitation side. The Antarctic ice cores temperature reconstruction (from the high-altitude inland ice cores) in this case is mainly a Southern hemisphere seawater temperature reconstruction (for the coastal cores, it is mainly the ocean temperature near the coast of Antarctica). The Greenland ice core (over 100,000 years) shows the NH seawater temperatures, which have some shift in timing and some more variability, but the general trend is similar as for the SH.

  308. Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:39:15) :
    It takes bubbles 80 years to close and form any anything could happen to c02 during this period, so effectively there are two data – ice core proxies and aerial c02 measurements. Ice core proxies can’t be compared to direct measurements as taken from Mauna Loa today, the one being taken as the base for the other – so as far as we know, c02 in the northern hemisphere could have been 400ppm+/- any time during the last 800,000 years.
    ok well here’s another speculation. The residence of c02 is said to be 100 years by the IPCC, and volcanic emission of c02 is recorded (where it is recorded) as 2.3% of proportion of anthropogenic c02 p.a, -its an uncertain figure given the unknown total mass of all other crust sources, such as seams, geysers, fumaroles, underwater volcanoes that upwell of c02 fossil isotopes yet volcanoes have been erupting for billions of years. If c02 could accumulate in the atmosphere, then since 1850, is there any figure of total accumulated isotope ratio that this could have incurred since 1850?
    Somwhow Its hard to believe that the amount of c02 that all animals expel, which is greater than that which humans expel, including anthropogenic fossil fuel source emissions, is somehow already fixed by the system since 1850-the present. Given the increase in vegetation and animal life (never mind the exponential increase in the human population since 1850) over the course of 200 years, they either had a far greater c02 source, we’re using from the same source, if there has been no great addition, or else none of these factors are really known.

  309. anna v (05:14:57) :
    Have a look at http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps
    the 600mb level of yearly temperatures, and take the percentage in Kelvin.
    Even worse,
    the sea surface temperature plot:
    http://discover.itsc.uah.edu/amsutemps/execute.csh?amsutemps+001
    has smaller variation.
    We still measure over the whole surface the temperatures , and so we should for CO2.
    The Keeling values you are quoting are not the whole real world picture, the way that temperatures on a mountain are not the real world whole picture.
    The distinction is not trivial. It is on whether this 280 to 380ppm has any meaning other than the carefully corrected measure of the few places on earth acceptable to Keeling.
    It is the same as the hockey stick question: were temperatures as high in medieval times as now? Was CO2 as high in 1940 as now

    Anna V, you are looking at trends of temperature which were already summed and averaged globally. I was comparing CO2 and temperature levels averaged over one year at different single places. CO2 is well mixed, as there is very little difference between yearly averages measured at 7 m height in Barrow (85N), 3,400 m height in Mauna Loa (20 N) or the South Pole (3,000 m, 90S). Temperature is not well mixed as if you take the averages at the same places, there is over 80 C difference between the equator and the poles, despite that a lot of energy flows continuously from the equator to the poles. The same for altitude: there is very little difference for CO2 levels measured at the foot of Mauna Loa and at the observatory, while there is a permanent difference in temperature.
    The difference between both is that the gains and losses of temperature are much larger and faster than the mixing time or energy flow can compensate for, while the CO2 mixing time is sufficient to distribute the gains and losses of CO2 all over the globe with minimal effect.
    Thus even if ice cores only measure CO2 at Antarctica, that are the same values (within a few ppmv) you will find at Barrow, Mauna Loa, everywhere on sea, on mountains over land, in general above the inversion layer (a few hundred to 1,000 m). Only in the middle of forests, fields, towns, you will find any (un)desired value, as these places include huge sources/sinks and the local atmosphere is not well mixed. That is only for less than 5% of the atmosphere (by weight). At your wish, even these are monitored to measure CO2 fluxes, nice if you interested in the exchanges, but irrelevant if you are interested in “global” levels and trends.

  310. Ferdinand Engelbeen (08:08:58) :
    Only in the middle of forests, fields, towns, you will find any (un)desired value, as these places include huge sources/sinks and the local atmosphere is not well mixed. That is only for less than 5% of the atmosphere (by weight). At your wish, even these are monitored to measure CO2 fluxes, nice if you interested in the exchanges, but irrelevant if you are interested in “global” levels and trends.
    And can you not see that temperature also comes with sources and sinks? So by your logic we should not be measuring ambient temperatures but only away from any geographic sources and sinks. At night, I suppose?
    You are making a value judgment of “desirablitlity”.
    When one is measuring one is gathering data and does not cherry pick for “desirability”.
    I do not trust the cherry picking of the CO2 team and seeing what climategate has brought forth, I do not think I am overly suspicious. In fact, fiddling with CO2 would be the first target of data fiddlers since it is the quantity set up for the blame. Maybe we need another whistleblower/hacker from that team.

  311. The Knorr article should remind us that the IPCC is vague about how they translate projected future human emission of CO2 into projected future concentration of CO2. Some good questions: 1) Are the IPCC models for carbon uptake and release consistent with the reliable observational record showing that the planet has managed to take up more CO2 (net) as humans have released more CO2? 2) Do their models predict that the “atmospheric fraction” should have been constant (Knorr 40%, IPCC 55%) over the past century? 3) How fast and high is the IPCC suggesting that the “atmospheric fraction” will rise over the next century as some sinks begin to “saturate” or degrade from warming? 4) Is there any solid observational evidence that the atmospheric fraction has already begun to rise? 5) Can any of these models explain why CO2 levels were about 50% lower during the last glacial maximum?
    Since the IPCC and others seem to be silent about these logical questions (and instead cite the slogan that most of the CO2 you emit today will still be causing GW 500 years from now), I suspect that they don’t want the skeptics to understand how much uncertainty exists in the link between CO2 emissions and CO2 accumulation. It should be noted that increased atmospheric fraction for CO2 depends on climate sensitivity AND is a positive feedback for climate sensitivity. Knorr mentions in his introduction that an increasing atmospheric fraction can translate into 500 ppm higher CO2 concentrations in 2100 in some models without any change in human emissions!

  312. Bart (00:49:23) :
    Phil. (21:54:48) :
    Phil, you’re just not even wrong. Not only do I wrestle with the question of sensitivity extensively in this thread, but the Knorr report makes the matter moot: there is no indication of the sinks being overwhelmed or even diminishing appreciably in their power. You do not understand the article’s implications because it is clearly outside or your area of expertise, whatever that may be.

    So you clearly haven’t read Knorr’s paper. That paper clearly shows that the direct emissions into the atmosphere by fossil fuel combustion have increased from 2 billion tons/year of CO2 to 35 billion tons/year and that the net sink capacity of the earth has only been able to remove ~60% of that. So atmospheric CO2 content has increased at about 40% of the rate of emission of combustion generated CO2.
    This apparently at variance with your understanding of the way that the atmosphere works based on your profound knowledge of system theory and therefore the data must be wrong! Not only that those of us who decline to accept your ‘pronouncements’ are the equivalent of primitives ‘wearing grass skirts with bones through our noses’.
    I see no hope of your understanding the real world but I do hope that I’m able to dissuade other readers from believing your nonsense.
    In your systems theory world if you have an output ramping up at 40% of a ramping input what does that tell you about the net response of the remaining sources and sinks?
    Your post at 19:51:51 proves that to anyone who has a modicum of familiarity with systems theory. I see no hope of making you understand it, and no advantage in discussing it further with you.

  313. Ferdinand Engelbeen (07:32:36) :
    Thank you for your time answering my queries. I understand what you’re saying. It is useful for some overall picture of what CO2 is doing. I still think it’s important for the climate models, though, to be more granular. CO2, which they consider oh-so-important, seems to be an afterthought when it comes to their gridcells and time steps. If differences of 100ppm or more have a temp effect won’t it affect the OLR calculations? And the OLR is to the fourth power of T, so this along with not understanding clouds and thus generally not getting the proper temps in their grid cells can lead to large errors in the energy balance calcs.
    As for ocean temps, are you saying that the oceans did have a 10C change in temp between glacial/interglacial? I still find that 8ppm/1K difficult to accept back then and tend to think the glacial/interglacial aspects of the theory are among the weakest.

  314. Bart (14:51:01)
    Sorry for the late reply on this one. At that moment there were too many other reactions, and I thought to reply on a later time, because your formulations do need some time for me to assimilate (last time over 20 years ago with direct process dynamics). But there were so many reactions meanwhile (+ family matters)…
    Let’s have a look at your basic formula:
    Cdot = (Co – C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    First reaction: why are you introducing a secondary, indirect equation involving temperature in an equilibrium which is first order about influences of mass/concentrations? There is no need to do that, as that is controversial (maybe zero effect, maybe high) and masks the direct influence of the addition of mass to a dynamic equilibrium in a mass transfer. Moreover, any extra CO2 due to temperature changes is the result of the total difference in Ko*((C+adot) – Co), as that will give the (controversial) temperature difference, not from Ko*adot alone. If you take the emissions at face value, that is what is added as mass, no need for any type of feedback.
    Let’s suppose that we stop all emissions today. Then the basic formula for the most common type of equilibrium system is:
    C(new) = C – (C-Co)/tau
    Where C(new) the new concentration is of carbon/CO2 in the atmosphere, C the old concentration, Co the concentration at equilibrium and tau the time constant. Simple as it is, this is what happens when there is no additional input (whatever) anymore and we start with levels higher than the equilibrium level e.g. with a one-shot of 100 GtC (man made CO2) into the pre-industrial atmosphere of 580 GtC. Here the plot (with realistic estimates for residence time – 5 years – and half life time – 40 years):
    Thus the formula still is:
    C(new) = C – (C-Co)/tau
    where the initial Co = 580, C = Co + 100 = 680 and tau = ~55 (in fact a double tau: one for ocean surface, the other for deep oceans).
    The result:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_pulse.jpg
    Where tCA is the total amount of CO2 as GtC in the atmosphere, nCA the amount of “natural” CO2, FA is the fraction of anthro CO2 in the atmosphere and FL is the fraction of anthro CO2 in the upper level oceans (FL is not of relevance in this discussion).
    Wat we see is that such a one-shot injection of CO2 gives an immediate increase of total CO2, which is slowly removed by (mainly) the (deep) oceans. Even so, the fraction of anthro CO2 (measurable by the d13C levels) decreases much faster, due to the fast exchanges with the other compartiments.
    What happens if we don’t add a one-shot huge amount of CO2, but a constant amount of CO2 per year? Here the plot:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_constant.jpg
    From the beginning on, the increase of the CO2 level pushes more CO2 in the sinks, until the sinks are equal to the extra source. That introduces a new equilibrium including the emissions and a constant fraction of the anthro CO2 in the atmosphere.
    And what if we have a near constant procentual increase of the anthro input, as is near what humans have done over time? Here the plot with the addition of the emissions, as calculated from fossil fuel burning since 1850:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_emiss.jpg
    As once can see: no end of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere sight, even not of the human fraction and the increase of total CO2 matches the observed increase near perfectly.
    One can calculate the d13C in the atmosphere and the upper ocean level with the flows as used in the above plots:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_calc_obs.jpg
    Not a perfect fit, but not bad for a first shot, whithout calculating the effect of vegetation exchanges on d13C levels…
    All we can show with these plots is that even without using any feedback mechanism based on temperature effects, it is possible to emulate reality, based on simple mass balances and the simplest equation for a dynamic equilibrium.

  315. Phil. (09:52:15)
    Not necessarily. Taking all sources of co2, I imagine there are a lot of unknown sources – further made difficult by th efact that they are not measured – the respective outgassing from oceans, other natural additions, such as volcanoes, geysers, earth crust seams, fumaroles etc most of which are entirely unknown, and could add up to billions of additional GT’s p.a. Ferdinand said that when animals respire they are not adding c02 but that’s not true, since oxygen is breathed in co2 formed and respired, and the sum total of all animal life c02 surpasses that of all anthropogenic,
    In short, we simply don’t know c02 cycle volumes, so no matter how precise the mathematics, there are holes.
    i’ll ask the question to Ferdinand again: What happened, 800-1500 years ago that gives a high point of c02 today, given that Ice core trends show a lag of temperatures between this period of time, and corresponding c02 levels.

  316. Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:28:55) :
    “First reaction: why are you introducing …”
    Ferdinand, I did not “introduce” anything. It is an extremely general development. The nonlinear system model is simply
    xdot = f(x,adot,T)
    C = h(x)
    where x is the state variable vector, T is temperature, f() and h() are smooth functions, and the rest you know.
    I assume the system may be linearized about a set point so that the perturbation equation becomes
    dx_dot = (df/dx)*dx + (df/dadot)*adot + (df/dT)*dT
    dC = (dh/dx)*dx
    with “d” interchangeably meaning full and partial differentiation in the appropriate context, and the partial derivatives, e.g., df/dx, being evaluated at the equilibrium x0, and with Co = h(x0). It is necessary that df/dadot be proportional to dh/dx.
    With dC = C – Co, these equations can be finagled into the form I gave, except that I ignored the term in dT because it is not a feedback and hence does not affect the partial sensitivity to adot.

  317. Ferdinand Engelbeen (11:28:55) :
    Ferdinand, it sounds like you’re pretty busy, so I will keep my question short and to the point: Why did you choose 40 years as the half-life ??

  318. Syl (09:54:02) :
    Thank you for your time answering my queries. I understand what you’re saying. It is useful for some overall picture of what CO2 is doing. I still think it’s important for the climate models, though, to be more granular. CO2, which they consider oh-so-important, seems to be an afterthought when it comes to their gridcells and time steps. If differences of 100ppm or more have a temp effect won’t it affect the OLR calculations? And the OLR is to the fourth power of T, so this along with not understanding clouds and thus generally not getting the proper temps in their grid cells can lead to large errors in the energy balance calcs.
    As for ocean temps, are you saying that the oceans did have a 10C change in temp between glacial/interglacial? I still find that 8ppm/1K difficult to accept back then and tend to think the glacial/interglacial aspects of the theory are among the weakest

    You are welcome… I had the impression too that notwithstanding that CO2 levels are rather nicely distributed over the globe, that the first layer over land, where a lot of emissions take place would be important. Therefore I used the Modtran (absorption spectra at moderate resolution) of the Archer’s to look what should happen if the first 1,000 m over land were increased to 1,000 ppmv CO2. The net result (if I remember right) was some 0.05 C extra warming, not really important (if that is a constant bias). It seems that the influence needs an increase over the full air column to be of some importance.
    More important, indeed where all models fail is the influence of clouds (probably net cooling effect, while all models incorporate a net warming feedback effect) and aerosols: by far exaggerated cooling effect (which means that the warming effect of 2xCO2 is exaggerated too), even the sign may be wrong (soot in India helps warming the atmosphere and melting of the Himalayan glaciers)…
    The temperature gradient of about 10 C may be right. I am not sure about that, maybe that mainly means that the equatorial oceans were colder: from 28 C down to 10 C or somewhere around, more ice building near the poles and (near) freezing waters at mid-latitudes… Further, lots of deserts due to less precipitation (and less CO2), more duststorms,… Not pretty times to live in, I prefer global warming!

  319. philincalifornia (11:51:00) :
    Ferdinand, it sounds like you’re pretty busy, so I will keep my question short and to the point: Why did you choose 40 years as the half-life ??
    I did base that initially on the work of Peter Dietze:
    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm
    As result of a lot of discussions (about 2 years now) with other sceptics about the same points as discussed here, I did split the flows in/out the ocean surface and the deep oceans, which gave a better fit for the d13C levels, although not necessary for the CO2 half life time in general.
    If you use a shorter half life, the CO2 levels don’t reach the measured values and with a slower half life, you go up much faster. That is the background.
    Of course, this is “tuning”, but it shows that the 40 years half life time is not far off and that the shorter times used by Segalstad and others are relevant for residence times of individual molecules, not for the half life time which is of interest here. Neither are the long half life times of the IPCC (the Bern model) right, as these are only applicable if we burn all available oil and most of coal (and even then…).

  320. Regarding:
    Phil. (09:52:15) :

    “So you clearly haven’t read Knorr’s paper. That paper clearly shows that the direct emissions into the atmosphere by fossil fuel combustion have increased from 2 billion tons/year of CO2 to 35 billion tons/year…”

    So here’s the start of the first sentence of the introduction of the Knorr paper:

    Of the current 10 billion tons of carbon (GtC) emitted annually as CO2 into the atmosphere by human activities…

    I admit to not having read the paper word-for-word in its entirety, only given it a casual glance, but when I looked at it, I never saw a value of 35 billion tons/yr, nor a reference to 25+ billion tons/yr of non-anthropogenic fossil fuel burning (that would add to the 10 billion tons/yr of anthropogenic emissions, although I don’t think that value is entirely fossil fuel burning, thus the ’25+’ instead of ’25’). Could you please show where you obtained this value of 35 billion/yr?
    Thanks,
    -Scott

  321. Bart (11:47:35) :
    Ferdinand, I did not “introduce” anything. It is an extremely general development. The nonlinear system model is simply
    xdot = f(x,adot,T)
    C = h(x)

    I don’t see any reason to assume a non-linear model, as the reaction of temperature on CO2 changes is quasi-linear. From the ice cores we see that a change of about 10 K results in a change of 80 ppmv (nothing sure about the other way out). Thus all what happens if the temperature changes, is a quite linear change in Co, the equilibrium CO2 concentration. As there is little change in current temperature since the LIA, this leads to not more than 8 ppmv change in Co.
    The other way out, we are for the sake of equilibrium interested what an extra addition of CO2 above an equilibrium is doing over time. It is of no interest at all that CO2 may have an influence on temperature and hence that some more CO2 may be released by the equilibrium reaction. What we add to the atmosphere as mass is what is of interest, as that leads directly to more sinks, as the differential pressure between atmosphere and ocean surface (and vegetation) increases. But as the Knorr paper says, the increase in sinks is only about half the increase in emissions, thus the remainder is staying in the atmosphere, and the emissions are the full cause of the increase (except a small contribution of temperature, which changes Co).

  322. Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:07:08) :
    “Not pretty times to live in, I prefer global warming!”
    Me too!
    Thank you again. I think I learned much today.

  323. Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:22:39) :
    philincalifornia (11:51:00) :
    Ferdinand, it sounds like you’re pretty busy, so I will keep my question short and to the point: Why did you choose 40 years as the half-life ??
    Answer:
    I did base that initially on the work of Peter Dietze:
    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm
    As result of a lot of discussions (about 2 years now) with other sceptics about the same points as discussed here, I did split the flows in/out the ocean surface and the deep oceans, which gave a better fit for the d13C levels, although not necessary for the CO2 half life time in general.
    If you use a shorter half life, the CO2 levels don’t reach the measured values and with a slower half life, you go up much faster. That is the background.
    ———————-
    Thanks for the answer Ferdinand. It helps to explain the disconnect between posters coming at this from first principles and those who assume a priori that all the CO2 rise is due to anthropogenic emissions.
    I’m in the former camp, and assumed a half-life of around 10 years (or slightly less) based on:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Radiocarbon_bomb_spike.svg/2000px-Radiocarbon_bomb_spike.svg.png
    Clearly, with a shorter half-life, as you confirm, there is a shortfall in the calculated amount of anthropogenic CO2 that could be in the atmosphere today. (PS Phil from somewhere up there – that’s what I was “blabbing” about. I hope I explained it better this time).
    The link to Dietze is very helpful thanks, but I can’t help thinking that backfilling the half-life to fit the conclusion could be dangerous if the conclusion turns out to be not exactly as one believed.
    As one example, if the calculations of human emissions were way off base due to one large country emitting vastly more than is currently thought, you would miss this, because you would not be asking the question. Also, there are clearly other scenarios that would be missed.

  324. Bart (11:47:35) :
    Correction:
    “It is necessary that df/dadot be proportional to the transpose of dh/dx.”

  325. P Wilson (11:29:55) :
    Not necessarily. Taking all sources of co2, I imagine there are a lot of unknown sources – further made difficult by th efact that they are not measured – the respective outgassing from oceans, other natural additions, such as volcanoes, geysers, earth crust seams, fumaroles etc most of which are entirely unknown, and could add up to billions of additional GT’s p.a. Ferdinand said that when animals respire they are not adding c02 but that’s not true, since oxygen is breathed in co2 formed and respired, and the sum total of all animal life c02 surpasses that of all anthropogenic,
    In short, we simply don’t know c02 cycle volumes, so no matter how precise the mathematics, there are holes.
    i’ll ask the question to Ferdinand again: What happened, 800-1500 years ago that gives a high point of c02 today, given that Ice core trends show a lag of temperatures between this period of time, and corresponding c02 levels

    P WIlson, I said that animal CO2 is of no importance, I didn’t say that animals don’t exhale CO2. Why is animal CO2 not important? We do produce CO2 from carbohydrates and other food that we have eaten before: directly or indirectly via meat, fish,… ultimately all our carbon comes from plants. These plants grow by taking away CO2 from the atmosphere: CO2 is “plant food”. Thus all CO2 that you exhale was taken away from the atmosphere a few months to a few years ago. The net result is that your exhaled CO2 doesn’t change the CO2 content of the atmosphere, if you average that over a period of a few years.
    Indeed we don’t know exactly how much CO2 cycles through the atmosphere (there are some indications in the d13C and O2 cycle), but that too is not important at all. Even if you have not the slightest notion how much money you did spend and earn over a day, you will have a pretty good idea of what happened, by counting what is in your wallet at the end of the day and comparing that with the previous day… That is what is done for CO2 movements too: the inventory of what was burned and what the increase was in the atmosphere is what is of interest, not any individual flow in the cycle.
    Not much happened in the past 10,000 years, according to ice cores CO2. There were a few periods that the temperature was (highly probable) warmer than now: The Holocene optimum, the Roman warm period and the warm Medieval period. The lag of 600 years in ice cores is only for the glacial-interglacial transition, the other way out the lag is many thousands of years and there is a lag of about 50 years for the MWP-LIA cooling (CO2 falls with about 8 ppmv). The current lag of CO2 after temperature changes is only a few months… It seems that the lag period is amplitude and duration dependent…
    Further, there is not reason to assume that temperatures and CO2 levels of the past are responsible for the current CO2 rise, therefore the influence of temperature on CO2 levels is too small…

  326. Joel Shore (18:06:55) said: “The anthro component is actually equal to twice the rise, which means that the biosphere and oceans are taking up about half of what we emit and the rest is remaining in the atmosphere.”
    Joel, over what time period? How is the anthropogenic component twice the rise when CO2 is lower in late 2008 than mid 2006? Does the 2x constant vary? Are you claiming anthropogenic CO2 varies seasonally? I’ll go with any time period you want, but I need numbers like I outlined above.
    Then you say “However, the maximum amount that such warming would have caused is around ~20 ppm rise”
    Time period? What about the other fluxes, like biosphere responding to post-LIA warming? Derivation of the 20? This is hardly what anyone would call a quantitative analysis.

  327. Anna V.
    If all termometers during day and night in 95% of the atmosphere, from the ocean surface to the stratosphere and above 500 m over land show very similar temperatures, why would you bother to include thermometer readings from the 5% air over land surface, where any temperature reading changes 20 C in 15 minutes, shows huge day/night differences, jumps up if a car passes or falls down when there is plenty of wind…
    Have a look at a few days in the life of a CO2 measuring device at Giessen/Linden (Germany), rural, in the neighbourhood: a small village, a small town, agricultural fields, grass, forests and other items all within a few km in different directions. And of course traffic. Compare that with the raw data (including outliers) from Barrow, Mauna Loa and the South Pole:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/giessen_background.jpg
    Why would you include such data, if these aren’t necessary at all to have an idea of the global trend?

  328. philincalifornia (13:11:39) :
    I’m in the former camp, and assumed a half-life of around 10 years (or slightly less) based on:
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/e/e2/Radiocarbon_bomb_spike.svg/2000px-Radiocarbon_bomb_spike.svg.png
    Clearly, with a shorter half-life, as you confirm, there is a shortfall in the calculated amount of anthropogenic CO2 that could be in the atmosphere today. (PS Phil from somewhere up there – that’s what I was “blabbing” about. I hope I explained it better this time).

    As you may have observed, in the calculated plots, there is the “fraction” of anthro CO2, which is subject to the same fast residence time of about 5 years, as applicable for the fate of 14C from the atomic bomb testing. But that is how fast a “labeled” carbon is exchanged for an “unlabeled” carbon from the (deep) oceans which contain more 13C and far less 14C than the atmosphere of today. That doesn’t change the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, despite that some 150 GtC (back and forth) is exchanged between the different reservoirs and the atmosphere. What really matters, are the quantities involved: one adds 8 GtC nowadays and 4 GtC stays in the atmosphere. Thus the sink rate (regardless of type) is only 4 GtC/yr, which is quite a difference, compared to the exchange rate of 150 GtC/yr. Therefore one need quite different time periods for residence and for excess reduction.

  329. Kevin (15:34:41),
    The “Skeptical Science” blog is a false front for an alarmist blog. They are a chameleon blog, pretending to be something they’re not; they wouldn’t understand scientific skepticism if it bit ’em on the ankle.
    They remind me of the communists who recruited American boys and girls to fight in Spain in the late ’30’s by calling themselves the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.
    When you start with a lie, it’s only downhill from there. Stick around here — at least you’ll have an honest site to comment on.

  330. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel, over what time period? How is the anthropogenic component twice the rise when CO2 is lower in late 2008 than mid 2006? Does the 2x constant vary? Are you claiming anthropogenic CO2 varies seasonally? I’ll go with any time period you want, but I need numbers like I outlined above.

    Read the Knorr paper…You know, the one that this thread is about. They show that the airborne fraction has remained constant at about 45%. That means that our emissions are a little bit more than double the amount by which the CO2 level in the atmosphere has been rising and this has stayed pretty constant with time.
    And, no, I am not claiming that this is true on the month-to-month scale. There are obviously seasonal cycles due to the growth and decay of the biosphere flora (and perhaps changes in ocean temps)…and there are some variations year-to-year in the rise associated with things like ENSO. But average over a few years and the airborne fraction remains quite constant…That is what the Knorr et al. paper is saying.

    Then you say “However, the maximum amount that such warming would have caused is around ~20 ppm rise”
    Time period? What about the other fluxes, like biosphere responding to post-LIA warming? Derivation of the 20? This is hardly what anyone would call a quantitative analysis.

    Hey, Ferdinand is saying 8 ppm. I am just being generous and saying that if you look at the glacial – interglacial cycles and really make the largest possible estimate that you could, you could perhaps justify about a 100 ppm change associated with a 5 C change in global temperature, which would mean that the ~1 C rise in temperature from the depth of the LIA could at most have caused about 20 ppm rise in CO2. There are a number of reasons that one could argue that this is likely an overestimate and that Ferdinand’s 8 ppm estimate is probably more realistic, but I was just trying to give you folks the benefit of the doubt. God knows that people who are seriously trying to argue that the rise in CO2 is not anthropogenic need all the help they can get!!!

  331. Smokey says:

    The “Skeptical Science” blog is a false front for an alarmist blog. They are a chameleon blog, pretending to be something they’re not; they wouldn’t understand scientific skepticism if it bit ‘em on the ankle.

    Oh, the irony, it burns!!!!

  332. Ferdinand Engelbeen (13:25:05) :
    The 800+ year delay is what was originally though during the 1990’s . Now that we have finer resolution trends from vostok, it shows that period of delay for the full 420,000 years, though other periods show 350 years, not just for ice iges. What is shows is that there was no point where c02 increase/decrease produced the crresponding increase or decrease in temperature.
    I’ still to be convinced that vegeation increase over 150 years and population explosion doesn’t exhale more c02. Certainly 6,000,000,000 exhale more c02 than 1,500,000,000, then there’s the increase in numbers of livestock and crops to feed these billions…

  333. Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:56:36) :
    “I don’t see any reason to assume a non-linear model, as the reaction of temperature on CO2 changes is quasi-linear.”
    That’s fine. The functions are general and abstract. If they are linear, then the “linearization” is an exact model.

  334. But, the more linear they are in actuality, the worse it is for the anthropogenic attribution hypothesis.

  335. No I doubt the rise could be anthropogenic, as if 45 stays in the air then previous year’s 45% gets absorbed so that the anthropogenic airborne fraction is in fact never more than 4%, and probably slightly less. If oceans put 26 times that of man into the air per year, and nature depletes a vast quantity of this 26 times, land non oceanic c02 quite a lot more, then there’s no reason to assume that this vaster fraction can’t also accumulate either, if accumulation is the factor that is vital for aerial residence. Besides, ocean c02 could be a lot more – we simply don’t know. We just assume, as it isn’t measured. In fact, no c02 exchanges are measured.

  336. what does biology teach? All animals breathe in air and produce c02 by fixing the oxygen with carbon internally. We try to account for vegetation/ land and ocean exchanges, but not for animal respiration which surpasses the entire anthropogenic volume, both from fossils fuel , land useage, forestry, and human exhaling of c02. So if you’re right (Ferdinand) what part of the c02 production is included in animal exhalation? Is it the vegetation figure, that is merely considered to be in rotation with animal life, both of which show increased volumes over 140 years? I’m not convinced that anthropogenic c02 could have caused the population to increase, and vegetation to increase over this period, since nature couldn’t provide enough to create these volume increases

  337. Joel says “God knows that people who are seriously trying to argue that the rise in CO2 is not anthropogenic need all the help they can get!!!”
    Joel, I am trying to help you out. Here’s a 30 months roughly (mid 2006 to late 2008) in which CO2 fell despite mankind’s inputs. Your statement that “the biosphere and oceans are taking up about half of what we emit and the rest is remaining in the atmosphere” is false for those 30 months. It is not true if we extend the period back to 1850 since the flux has certainly changed.
    Then you say “the airborne fraction has remained constant at about 45%. That means that our emissions are a little bit more than double the amount by which the CO2 level in the atmosphere has been rising”
    Pretending to be quantitative, but the second does not follow from the first. Then you say we need to average over a few years to get that result. But I show a 30 month interval where it is physically impossible. Also the C13 to C12 ratios show that manmade emissions can be as little as 1/2 of the natural increase and still obtain the current ratios.

  338. “Eric (skeptic) (19:15:00) :
    […]
    Here’s a 30 months roughly (mid 2006 to late 2008) in which CO2 fell despite mankind’s inputs.”
    Eric, where did you get that from? That would be new to me. Source?
    It might be possible that the emissions fell due to the recession but the CO2 content of the atmosphere is the integral of half our emissions according to Knorr so the Keeling curve keeps rising.

  339. “DirkH (19:40:36) :
    […]
    but the CO2 content of the atmosphere is the integral of half our emissions according to Knorr so the Keeling curve keeps rising.”
    Sorry – this is idiotic… that’s not what Knorr says but it follows from the net carbon flux that Ferdinand has stated : that half of our emissions get sequestered by natural processes.

  340. Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:02:51) :
    Anna V.
    If all termometers during day and night in 95% of the atmosphere, from the ocean surface to the stratosphere and above 500 m over land show very similar temperatures, why would you bother to include thermometer readings from the 5% air over land surface, where any temperature reading changes 20 C in 15 minutes, shows huge day/night differences, jumps up if a car passes or falls down when there is plenty of wind…
    Because temperature is a “proxy” for energy and energy is what changes weather climate, and counts in the energy balance. Energy balance is the main argument of the AGWarming scare, that man has changed the natural energy balance.
    Have a look at a few days in the life of a CO2 measuring device at Giessen/Linden (Germany), rural, in the neighbourhood: a small village, a small town, agricultural fields, grass, forests and other items all within a few km in different directions. And of course traffic. Compare that with the raw data (including outliers) from Barrow, Mauna Loa and the South Pole:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/giessen_background.jpg
    Why would you include such data, if these aren’t necessary at all to have an idea of the global trend?

    Because it is the global CO2 that enters the alarmist calculations, and in my opinion the premise that CO2 is well mixed is not true, from satellite data and even from your plot that is in the statement above.
    If it were a temperature curve one would take the average of minimum and maximum for the average input from the spot: over 400 going to 450. Where is the mixing in the polar region?
    In my opinion, the polar region is just one spot, as the mauna loa etc. At that spots cherry picked to follow prescribed prejudices of how CO2 behaves, not random good measurements.
    Attendant to that is that if CO2 were 400ppm in the 1940s , 390ppm is comparable and not something to be alarmed about.

  341. Dirk, I got it simply from the raw data at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ Joel likes to use the smoothed values to demonstrate or perhaps prove that “It has been known for decades that about half of what we emit in the atmosphere is taken up almost immediately.”
    Well I keep asking Joel, if that’s not true for 30 months or so, then what does “almost immediately” mean?

  342. I should really say: what does “about half” mean in the context of almost immediately? Shouldn’t it be “all” almost immediately or “none” almost immediately depending on factors that Joel refuses to quantify?

  343. Bart (18:14:21) :
    But, the more linear they are in actuality, the worse it is for the anthropogenic attribution hypothesis.
    One more try:
    The reaction of CO2 on temperature changes is about 8 ppmv/K the opposite reaction is about 1 K for 2xCO2 (without further feedbacks), thus about 0.4 K for the 100+ ppmv we have now over the pre-industrial level. That means that the back-and-forth extra CO2 increase due to the 100+ ppmv increase gives about 5 ppmv extra due to the extra temperature. That is quite irrelevant for the whole calculation of what is the cause of the increase.
    What is important, is that humans emitted over 200 GtC as CO2, of which 55% (100+ GtC) remained in the atmosphere, all the time since the start of the industrial revolution (Knorr talks about 45% remaining in the atmosphere, but that includes land use changes, which are more uncertain). That is additional CO2, not part of the regular CO2 cycle. Any increase of CO2 input into the atmosphere, whatever the source, increases the differential pressure of CO2 between the atmosphere and the ocean’s surface (and leaves alveoles), which increases the absorption and decreases the releases of the oceans. This is the reaction of a simple process in dynamic equilibrium, and that is where we are interested in. It is all about pressure (differences), not about temperature or other secondary reactions. From a process point of view: the non-linear increase of additional CO2 causes an increase of airborne CO2 at a fixed ratio, as long as the sink rate is directly proportional to the difference between the current CO2 level and the equilibrium level.
    The only influence of temperature is that the equilibrium level (Co) is shifting with 8 ppmv/K. As there was some warming during the period of emissions, that may be accounted for. But that is only a small part of the CO2 increase, the rest is from the emissions, as long as a mass balance still is valid and no CO2 escapes to space…

  344. If 55% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are ALWAYS extracted from the atmosphere by natural processes (ie aggregate sinks vary naturally to maintain this ratio) – then why are carbon credits given for growing trees? Why does the CDM recognise that additional (man-made) sinks make a difference, when the existing biosphere and hydrosphere sinks will always take 55% without there help ?

  345. anna v (23:59:14) :
    In my opinion, the polar region is just one spot, as the mauna loa etc. At that spots cherry picked to follow prescribed prejudices of how CO2 behaves, not random good measurements.
    If you average the yearly data from the satellites, there is less than 1 ppmv difference of CO2 levels all over the atmosphere in the NH or in the SH. There is a small difference of a few ppmv between the hemispheres. That is all. Thus even if you measure in one spot, you have the global averages within a few ppmv. If you don’t trust the Mauna Loa data, use the South Pole data (these started earlier, but have a gap of a few months), or use the average of all available stations. In all cases, the yearly average (which filters out the seasonal variation) is within a few ppmv and in all cases, the trend is about 60 ppmv over the past 50 years. Thus even if the “real” global average is 5 ppmv higher or lower than what is measured at only one spot, that is irrelevant, as the trend is far higher.
    Attendant to that is that if CO2 were 400ppm in the 1940s , 390ppm is comparable and not something to be alarmed about.
    What you are saying here is that the Mauna Loa data are irrelevant, and the Giessen data around 1940 and now show that there were times that the globe had comparable levels at that time. Well that is equivalent to saying that a proper thermometer hut placement is irrelevant and that one need to use all available data, whatever their qualtity. The Giessen and Poona data are the main series which are responsible for the “peak” in CO2 of 1942. Thus spot data, of which is known that these have a (variable) bias (today) and an (unknown) bias around 1940. Nothing is known about how rigorous the calibration procedures were (if any), how skilled the people were, the accuracy of the chemicals, the method, the apparatus, the preparation of the samples, the accuracy of the timing of sampling (quite important in the Giessen case)…
    Here the monthly averages of the modern Giessen/Linden data, compared to Mauna Loa:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/giessen_mlo_monthly.jpg
    Quite a difference in performance (be it cleaned for MLO, but even if the raw data were used…)

  346. P Wilson (18:35:37) :
    what does biology teach? All animals breathe in air and produce c02 by fixing the oxygen with carbon internally. We try to account for vegetation/ land and ocean exchanges, but not for animal respiration which surpasses the entire anthropogenic volume, both from fossils fuel , land useage, forestry, and human exhaling of c02. So if you’re right (Ferdinand) what part of the c02 production is included in animal exhalation? Is it the vegetation figure, that is merely considered to be in rotation with animal life, both of which show increased volumes over 140 years? I’m not convinced that anthropogenic c02 could have caused the population to increase, and vegetation to increase over this period, since nature couldn’t provide enough to create these volume increase
    If people and animals don’t starve from lack of food, that means that enough food is produced by plants. We have had the “green revolution” thanks to Borlough, which means that there still is enough food to feed the world (including fodder for animals we like to eat). Every single molecule of carbon (in any possible form) we have eaten comes directly or indirectly from plants. And every single plant has taken that carbon out of the atmosphere (or oceans), some months or years before. So the full cycle of air to plants to animals to humans and back to air is adding no extra CO2 to the atmosphere. To the contrary: the increase of CO2 by fossil fuel burning stimulated plants to sequester even more CO2 as wood and peat, at least since 1990.
    Thus humans and animals are just part of the vegetation carbon cycle. It doesn’t matter if some plant dies and releases its carbon directly to the atmosphere by bacteria and fungi or that we did eat them first, using the energy by “burning” the carbon calories (some do that better than others) and release that as CO2.

  347. “B E Brill (06:35:03) :
    If 55% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions are ALWAYS extracted from the atmosphere by natural processes (ie aggregate sinks vary naturally to maintain this ratio) – then why are carbon credits given for growing trees?”
    My guess would be because the owners of big forests tend to be aristocrats / billionaires and they want something back for all the money they gave the politician who got elected.

  348. Ferdinand Engelbeen (07:15:23):
    Regarding the accuracy of the Giessen and similar CO2 measurements, you say:

    “Nothing is known about how rigorous the calibration procedures were (if any), how skilled the people were, the accuracy of the chemicals, the method, the apparatus, the preparation of the samples, the accuracy of the timing of sampling…”

    None of those statements are true. However, plenty is now known about the incredibly sloppy methods currently used in surface station measurements. That raw data is then massaged, processed and adjusted, until it comes out in uniform agreement with other surface stations. And what do these adjusted measurements tell us? They say the planet is warming. And warming fast – which among other manipulations is the result of deceptively lowering past temperature records in order to show a steeper rise.
    Surely you must be aware of this widespread data manipulation [blink gif – takes a few seconds to load].
    Even as you defend the accuracy of current measurements, you question the results of those erstwhile scientists whose reputations depended on accurate, verifiable and reproducible measurements, while apparently giving a free pass to today’s government and university scientists who all appear to have both front feet in the grant trough, and worse, who are well paid by outside non-government benefactors with a heavy AGW agenda.
    Many of the scientists taking CO2 measurements in the 1800’s and 1900’s, such as J.S. Haldane, C.H, M.D., F.R.S., were Nobel laureates. Their measurements were the result of their own curiosity and specialties; Haldane studied mine safety, including accurately measuring CO and CO2 levels. The reputation of any of the numerous esteemed scientists taking CO2 measurements around the globe would have been ruined if other scientists could show that their methods were inaccurate. The fact is that those scientists were in general much more rigorous than today’s government and university pets; grant rainmakers who have privately admitted to fabricating large swathes of data in such a way as to fit their preconceived AGW hypothesis.
    Much of the historical CO2 data was taken during trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific ocean crossings, and on isolated, sparsely populated and windy coastlines. The measurement apparatus they used was thoroughly documented in their daily notes detailing the experiments, and when duplicated today they result in an accuracy within 3%. That convincingly shows that the many thousands of high CO2 measurements taken in the early 1800’s and the 1940’s were correct, which thoroughly debunks the claim that CO2 levels over the past thousand years remained constant at about 280 ppmv until recently.
    Finally, it should always be remembered that there is no empirical evidence showing that a specific increase in CO2 results in any measurable rise in temperature. That is obviously because CO2 has little if any effect on global warming, which occurs naturally with or without any rise or fall in CO2 levels.
    The CO2=AGW hypothesis is the basis for the entire runaway global warming industry. Literally billions of dollars have been paid out to promote the CO2 climate scare, while skeptical scientists have been granted less than one one-thousandth of what the climate alarmists have received.
    Arguing about the accuracy of Mauna Loa CO2 measurements only plays into the hands of the thoroughly dishonest politicians and scientists who are trying to control the industrialized world through government control of a completely harmless trace gas.
    Enabling those who lie to the public for money is not a wise move on the part of skeptics, who should instead be holding the alarmists’ feet to the fire by insisting that they must convincingly demonstrate, through open, public, and verifiable experiments and measurements, that a specific rise in CO2 causes a specific, quantifiable rise in global temperature.
    Rather than trying to split hairs regarding the accuracy of current CO2 measurements, we should be demanding that the scam artists claiming that CO2 causes global warming must first demonstrate, through verifiable, testable and reproducible measurements open to public scrutiny, that what they claim is scientifically valid. If the scientific method had been followed, the CO2=AGW hypothesis would have been dead and buried long ago, and taxpayers would have billions more dollars in their pockets, or available for solving real, as opposed to imaginary, problems.

  349. Ferdinand, we have talked on this before, and we certainly shall not agree.
    I do not trash the 40 or so official data, but am saying they are cherry picked locations. I am also saying that Keeling has imposed an orthodoxy on the subject and that I suspect that the satellite data took so long to come out because of massaging in order not to contradict the orthodoxy. I suspect this because of the land data, even the one you have shown, that show large average variations, which means that all this well mixed etc has to be rethought from the beginning. Even Nasa said CO2 was “lumpy” from satellite data.
    So again we have to agree to disagree.

  350. Ferdinand Engelbeen (06:29:17) :
    You just don’t seem to get it. This is all immaterial. My model is fundamental for how the system may evolve, regardless of any details, except that the output is an observable of the evolution of a smooth (differentiable) vector field. This model fundamentally constrains how the system may evolve due to the introduction of anthropogenic CO2.
    You can call out any details, and interpret them however you like, but if they cannot be fit into a plausible model of the form I have given, then your conclusions are detached from reality. I have given you the equation:
    Cdot = (Co – C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    Now, make your conclusions conform to this equation in, at least, piecewise continuous fashion. If you cannot, then your hypotheses fail. It is as simple as that.

  351. Smokey, (16:11) thanks for your reply. But, are you serious or … ? I’d expect that sort of response perhaps from RC to simply dismiss a different analysis wholesale because it doesn’t agree w/an apparent orthodoxy. But here? Wow!
    The article provides plenty of links to the literature to support its points. Skepticism is certainly warranted and a vital part of the process, but it seems to me that many here are as set in their position as those on the other side. So my question becomes — could anyone anywhere produce evidence that folks here would consider clear enough to indicate that there is potentially a problem? Is the answer “there is no evidence that could convince folks there is potentially a problem”? If so, that doesn’t seem like particularly good science either.

  352. Eric (skeptic) says:

    Joel, I am trying to help you out. Here’s a 30 months roughly (mid 2006 to late 2008) in which CO2 fell despite mankind’s inputs. Your statement that “the biosphere and oceans are taking up about half of what we emit and the rest is remaining in the atmosphere” is false for those 30 months. It is not true if we extend the period back to 1850 since the flux has certainly changed.

    I can’t believe you are seriously making this argument. Just look at the freakin’ graph: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ Then back out and look over the full available record: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.html There is a clear seasonal cycle with a rise superimposed.
    Sure, if you look over a short enough period and cherrypick your starting and ending points so that you are measuring from the top of the annual cycle in the start year to the end of the annual cycle in the end year, then you can make silly claims about what has happened over “30 months”. If anybody believes that to be a serious scientific argument, then they are frankly biased beyond all hope.
    Obviously, the intelligent way to look at a system where there is this oscillation superimposed on a rise is either to average over the seasonal oscillation or to choose to compare measurements at similar points of the periodic cycle. And, if you measure over a long enough period of time, even your cherrypicking method will show the rise very clearly…but such cherrypicking simply serves to lengthen the period of time over which you have to look to see the trend accurately.

  353. Kevin,
    You wanted someone else to do the reading that you weren’t willing to do? And then explain it to you? Well, maybe someone will.
    But I’ll repeat what got Joel Shore’s panties in a knot: ‘stick around here — at least you’ll have an honest site to comment on.’
    I can just imagine how few microseconds this comment of Joel’s would last on the alarmist blogs he gets his talking points from: “I will just tell you that focusing on all of this nonsense really does make it easy to dismiss you guys as the equivalent of flat-earthers.”
    Yeah, I can just see that comment being posted by a scientific skeptic on RC, SS, climateprogress, deltoid, etc. That will happen when this happens: click
    And you asked: “So my question becomes — could anyone anywhere produce evidence that folks here would consider clear enough to indicate that there is potentially a problem?”
    Answer: there may well be convincing evidence. The problem is that the people claiming they have solid evidence that CO2=CAGW continue to stonewall requests to publicly archive what they claim they have.
    I suspect they refuse to cooperate with requests for their data and methodologies is because they know that their hypothesis would be promptly falsified – and that’s the real reason they refuse to abide by the scientific method, and show everyone their raw and adjusted data, and the methods they used to arrive at their dubious conclusions.
    So I’m skeptical. But I can be convinced — if they open the books completely, and promptly and fully cooperate with all information requests. So we’re at an impasse: pseudo-science, vs scientific skepticism. One is a requirement of the scientific method, and the other is being shoveled by bovine fecal purveyance specialists. Guess which is which.

  354. Bart (13:12:45) :
    You can call out any details, and interpret them however you like, but if they cannot be fit into a plausible model of the form I have given, then your conclusions are detached from reality. I have given you the equation:
    Cdot = (Co – C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    Now, make your conclusions conform to this equation in, at least, piecewise continuous fashion. If you cannot, then your hypotheses fail. It is as simple as that.

    Actually it’s your obligation to show that your model accurately represents reality.

  355. Smokey (08:42:42) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (07:15:23):
    Regarding the accuracy of the Giessen and similar CO2 measurements, you say:
    “Nothing is known about how rigorous the calibration procedures were (if any), how skilled the people were, the accuracy of the chemicals, the method, the apparatus, the preparation of the samples, the accuracy of the timing of sampling…”
    None of those statements are true.

    How do you know that? I know how difficult it is to maintain some accuracy of chemical methods: the chemicals involved deteriorate, if you have an open end (cork not fully fit), there is an additional reaction with CO2 in the air, especially when there is a delay between sampling and titration/fixation… Most methods were accurate to +/- 10 ppmv, but some were accurate to +/- 150 ppmv (the micro-Schollander method, used in Barrow). Even the latter was simply averaged and included in the graph by Ernst Beck… The measurements in Antarctica show lower oxygen measurements (impossible, except if taken inroom or near an exhaust) thus the CO2 measurements are suspect too,…
    Further about some methods (used in several places, probably including Giessen):
    Caldwell performed five series of tests comparing the Pettenkofer method with known values of CO2 and with the Letts and Blake modification of the Pettenkofer, which was itself of a high accuracy when compared with known CO2 volumes. His summaries show actual CO2 concentration to vary from 0.66 to 0.89 of the amount measured by the Pettenkofer method.”
    In other words, the Pettenkofer values- and, by implication, many of those reported by Beck as supporting his over 400 ppm values in the 1930s-1940s- may have been over-estimated by 50%!

    The data taken over the oceans are much lower than the land based data and all are around the ice core data (as is the case for modern data). Thus these confirm that the CO2 levels were lower than now.
    BTW, Ernst made another error by assuming that CO2 measurements made in the ocean waters at 0 m depth were actually from the atmosphere, they were from the upper ocean level, thus from the water, not from the air above it.
    This all doesn’t mean anything about the credibility of the scientists involved, which are in high regard anyway. The problem is not even the accuracy of the methods itself (in most cases), the main problem is the places where was measured: in the middle of towns, fields, forests. For CO2, that is far worse than the UHI effect for temperature, even if you have the best available methods…
    However, plenty is now known about the incredibly sloppy methods currently used in surface station measurements. That raw data is then massaged, processed and adjusted, until it comes out in uniform agreement with other surface stations. And what do these adjusted measurements tell us? They say the planet is warming. And warming fast – which among other manipulations is the result of deceptively lowering past temperature records in order to show a steeper rise.
    Smokey, while this is true for temperature, that has nothing to do with CO2 measurements. Have you read how the Mauna Loa data are obtained? Here is the procedure, and independent of the continuous data, flask samples are taken and measured by (really) independent laboratories, different methods and from different organisations by different (even rivaling) people:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
    As a sceptic myself, I have even asked for the raw voltage data of the instrument and used the procedures as described in the above link: the calculated data match the raw CO2 data as filed by the NOAA.
    Thus in my opinion, the CO2 measurements are reliable, the global average CO2 data are reliable, the trend anyway is reliable (at least since 1959), the ice core data are reliable (with some larger margin), while the historical data are only fairly reliable, as far as taken over the oceans or coastal places with the wind direction from the sea.
    It is not because this is one of the cornerstones of the AGW theory, that it must be fake… But again, while the increase of CO2 (human made or not) is real, that doesn’t say anything about the influence of CO2 on temperature/climate…

  356. anna v (11:34:25) :
    Ferdinand, we have talked on this before, and we certainly shall not agree.
    Agreed…
    I suspect this because of the land data, even the one you have shown, that show large average variations, which means that all this well mixed etc has to be rethought from the beginning. Even Nasa said CO2 was “lumpy” from satellite data.
    The “lumpiness” of the satellite data is +/- 5 ppmv for a week (Japanese), +/-3 ppmv for a month (NASA) and less than 1 ppmv for a yearly average…
    Even if we take the modern Giessen data at face value, and use that as average for the 5% of the atmosphere, that is in the first 1,000 m over land, that means that the 30 ppmv average extra increases the “global” CO2 level with an extra 1.5 ppmv…
    It is even less, as the morning flights over Colorado show (in the afternoon, the valley levels are mixed with the overlaying air, thus levels go down):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/inversion_co2.jpg
    The CO2 levels measured over the inversion layer were within 1 ppmv with the Mauna Loa data at 6,000 km distance for the same days as the flights…

  357. Joel Shore (17:22:24)
    Joel, you say “Sure, if you look over a short enough period and cherrypick your starting and ending points so that you are measuring from the top of the annual cycle in the start year to the end of the annual cycle in the end year, then you can make silly claims about what has happened over “30 months”. If anybody believes that to be a serious scientific argument, then they are frankly biased beyond all hope.”
    Joel, my claims might be “silly” to you but they are based on undeniable facts (cherrypicked or whatever you want to call them). Up thread you said “the release of the fossil fuel CO2 is what is causing the increase in the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere.” There are 30 months where your claim is not true. All I am asking is that you explain why, quantitatively. No hand waving please.
    You claim “the fact that the amount remaining in the atmosphere is such a fixed fraction of what we emit provides even more evidence that the CO2 rise is indeed due to our emissions.” Please explain the quantity of “such”.
    And your claim that I mentioned before “It has been known for decades that about half of what we emit in the atmosphere is taken up almost immediately”. What kind of quantity is “about”?
    There is another simple explanation for what we see in the CO2 rises, that natural fluctuations cause rises and falls in CO2 including part of the long term rise since 1850. The fractional analysis C13/C12 tells me it could be as much as half the long term rise although it is probably less (i.e. the man made component of the rise is greater thsn 50%.
    If you are prepared to claim that the rise is 100% manmade, then show us your numbers. I am especially interested in how you account for the seasonal fluctuations. Also would like the numbers for the total rise 280 to 380 (i.e. an answer to Bart’s claims) No hand waves please. Also would like to see a fractional C13/C12 analysis, again numbers please.

  358. Bart (13:12:45) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (06:29:17) :
    You just don’t seem to get it. This is all immaterial. My model is fundamental for how the system may evolve, regardless of any details, except that the output is an observable of the evolution of a smooth (differentiable) vector field. This model fundamentally constrains how the system may evolve due to the introduction of anthropogenic CO2.
    You can call out any details, and interpret them however you like, but if they cannot be fit into a plausible model of the form I have given, then your conclusions are detached from reality. I have given you the equation:
    Cdot = (Co – C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    Now, make your conclusions conform to this equation in, at least, piecewise continuous fashion. If you cannot, then your hypotheses fail. It is as simple as that

    Well, as I have already said, the second part of the equation is irrelevant (if there is an influence at all, it is a very minor one). The real formula is:
    Cdot = (Co – C)/tau + Cem + Cnat
    Where Cem is the quantity released by human emissions and Cnat is what is added by nature in balance that passed.
    As Cnat is zero (there is no net addition by the natural cycle at all, at least in the past 50+ years), the formula is even simpler:
    Cdot = (Co -C)/tau + Cem and at current emissions levels:
    (C – Co)/tau = Cem – Cdot = 8-4 GtC/yr = 4 GtC/yr
    or
    (800 – 580)/tau = 4
    and
    tau = 55 years e-folding time or about 40 years half life time.
    As the Knorr paper (indirectly) showed, tau didn’t change over the past 160 years, as the oceans/vegetation still absorb CO2 in the same ratio to the emissions. Thus even if there were natural additions in the first 110 years of the total 160 year, that doesn’t change tau.
    Using tau as calculated and the emissions and ice core / MLO CO2 measurements, that leads to a near perfect fit between calculations and observed values over the past 160 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_emiss.jpg
    Where tCA is the calculated amount of carbon and tCA obs. the observed amount in the atmosphere, FA and FL the fraction of “anthro” CO2 in air and upper oceans.
    As long as the emissions increase with a near exponential rate (which may end now…) the Knorr paper makes it even easier to predict future CO2 levels:
    Cnew = Cold + 4*dT + 0.55 Cem
    Where dT is the difference in temperature over short time spans, as that changes the reference carbon level Co. This formula holds for all temperature/CO2 combinations for the past 800,000 years, but you need to increase the 4*dT to 8*dT over longer time spans (as that involves changes in ocean flows, ice cap and forests growth/shrinking,…).
    The problem with your formula is that you see the natural release of CO2 over the seasons in isolement, while these are part of a cycle, more than balanced by the natural sinks over a year. The natural release is important in winter times, during the part of the year that temperatures are low and more CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, and at the same time vegetation releases a lot of CO2 from rotting leaves and soil bacteria. But in the other halve year, the abundant growth of vegetation absorbs more than the same amount of CO2 again, at the moment that the oceans are warming up and releasing more CO2.
    Thus in average over a year, CO2 releases and absorption by nature nearly balances out, with a slight amount of more sink than source, caused by the increased levels of CO2, the latter due to human emissions…

  359. Eric (skeptic) (02:53:47) :
    Joel, my claims might be “silly” to you but they are based on undeniable facts (cherrypicked or whatever you want to call them). Up thread you said “the release of the fossil fuel CO2 is what is causing the increase in the current level of CO2 in the atmosphere.” There are 30 months where your claim is not true. All I am asking is that you explain why, quantitatively. No hand waving please.
    Eric, Joel is right in this case: it is a (statistical) sin if you use periods which don’t fit full years, where annual data are of interest (at about 2 ppmv/year) and a seasonal cycle of 5 ppmv is at work within every year.
    Knorr’s work averages over several years, as that eliminates short-term variations like seasonal and longer El Niño events and Pinatubo eruptions. If you look at the year-by-year variations, these are at about +/- 1 ppmv, but even then, the trend is very clear:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg
    And your claim that I mentioned before “It has been known for decades that about half of what we emit in the atmosphere is taken up almost immediately”. What kind of quantity is “about”?
    Increase = 0.55*emissions (or 0.45*[emissions + land use changes] if the latter are taken into account).
    There is another simple explanation for what we see in the CO2 rises, that natural fluctuations cause rises and falls in CO2 including part of the long term rise since 1850.
    As long as the increase in the atmosphere is smaller than the emissions, there is zero net addition by nature. The natural fluctuations (+/- 1 ppmv) are around the trend (+2 ppmv/yr)
    The fractional analysis C13/C12 tells me it could be as much as half the long term rise although it is probably less (i.e. the man made component of the rise is greater thsn 50%.
    You forget to take into account that every year some 20% of the “anthro” CO2 is replaced by (deep) ocean CO2, which is much higher in 13C. This dilutes the “anthro” fingerprint, but doesn’t add anything in quantity to the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
    If you are prepared to claim that the rise is 100% manmade, then show us your numbers. I am especially interested in how you account for the seasonal fluctuations. Also would like the numbers for the total rise 280 to 380 (i.e. an answer to Bart’s claims) No hand waves please. Also would like to see a fractional C13/C12 analysis, again numbers please
    Globally, the temperature change over the seasons is about 1 C. Globally the CO2 level shows a seasonal amplitude of about 5 ppmv around the trend. Thus the influence of temperature on CO2 levels over the seasons is about 5 ppmv/K. Not far away from the 4 ppmv/K for short term influence of temperature on CO2 sink rates as deduced from the Pinatubo eruption and the 1998 El Niño…
    And without any assumption that the increase is man made, the emissions fit the observed increase in the atmosphere with the assumption of a 40 years half life (see Ferdinand Engelbeen (03:31:34)) and with a few more guesses (about the fractions exchanged with the ocean surface and with the deep oceans) we have a good first estimate here for d13C levels:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_calc_obs.jpg
    Where d13CL is in the upper part of the oceans and d13CA in the atmosphere.

  360. Ferdinand. The isotope ratios are suspect in judging the composition of atmospheric co2. If you pu, 5 drops of ink in a litre of water, 3 drops in another, mixed each and took a sample of both – the ink is still there. Then we go along and infer from that a 30% composition of ink per 70% h2O for both, when it is less than 1% we are doing pure guess work and the same counts for atmospheric co2

  361. P Wilson (07:36:31) :
    Ferdinand. The isotope ratios are suspect in judging the composition of atmospheric co2. If you pu, 5 drops of ink in a litre of water, 3 drops in another, mixed each and took a sample of both – the ink is still there. Then we go along and infer from that a 30% composition of ink per 70% h2O for both, when it is less than 1% we are doing pure guess work and the same counts for atmospheric co2
    Depends… In the case of low 13C levels, there are only two main sources: fossil organics and fresh organics. All the other sources have (much) higher 13C levels. Both need oxygen for decay or burning. Oxygen use for fossil fuel burning can be calculated. The trend of oxygen use can be measured and the difference shows that a little less is used than calculated. Thus there is more organic growth than organic decay… That means that any d13C decline is from fossil fuel burning (except if one finds some other yet unknown source).
    In addition, the 14C level of fossil fuels is essentially zero, which influence can be traced on 14C levels in the atmosphere until 1950, when huge 14C levels were released by atmospheric nuclear tests.

  362. Ferdinand Engelbeen (03:31:34) :
    No, Ferdinand. My equation is not built up by some kind of hand-waving argument about how I think the dynamics should be. It is derived from first principles of mathematics to conform to what they must be. Yours is disconnected from reality and how actual systems work in the real world.

  363. Phil. (19:24:00) :
    “Actually it’s your obligation to show that your model accurately represents reality.”
    I did that here: Bart (11:47:35). But, my showing you does not mean I can make you understand it.

  364. Bart (12:10:27) :
    No, Ferdinand. My equation is not built up by some kind of hand-waving argument about how I think the dynamics should be. It is derived from first principles of mathematics to conform to what they must be. Yours is disconnected from reality and how actual systems work in the real world
    Wow, Bart, never heard of a mass balance? If you add some CO2 one-sided to a physical process where CO2 is transported both ways between the atmosphere and the oceans, the mass/concentration in the side where you add CO2 will increase. And the increase will push the reaction towards the other side. Additional CO2 doesn’t magically disappear, as in your formula.
    This is elementary process dynamics… Identical to adding one of the reacting chemicals to an equilibrium reaction.

  365. Ferdinand Engelbeen (05:19:58) said “Globally, the temperature change over the seasons is about 1 C. Globally the CO2 level shows a seasonal amplitude of about 5 ppmv around the trend. Thus the influence of temperature on CO2 levels over the seasons is about 5 ppmv/K. Not far away from the 4 ppmv/K for short term influence of temperature on CO2 sink rates as deduced from the Pinatubo eruption and the 1998 El Niño…”
    But in a prior post to Bart you said “The problem with your formula is that you see the natural release of CO2 over the seasons in isolement, while these are part of a cycle, more than balanced by the natural sinks over a year. The natural release is important in winter times, during the part of the year that temperatures are low and more CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, and at the same time vegetation releases a lot of CO2 from rotting leaves and soil bacteria. But in the other halve year, the abundant growth of vegetation absorbs more than the same amount of CO2 again, at the moment that the oceans are warming up and releasing more CO2.”
    So you don’t really have numbers for the seasonal cycle, just a statement to me that only the temperature matters for the seasonal component, and one to Bart that both temperature and biosphere matter. The problem with the lack of a numerical argument can be made clear with a little thought experiment.
    Suppose we simplify the seasonal effect to a square wave rather than a sinusoid. For 6 months we assume there is a natural flux of 200 Gt plus seasonal and for the other 6 months it is 200 Gt minus seasonal. For purposes of the thought experiment, we will not assume that 100% of the long term rise is man-made. If you want to provide a numerical argument proving otherwise, by all means please do so. That offer is open to Joel as well.
    Let’s now add the steady manmade component, 8Gt per year calculated from fossil fuel burning and other known activities, and use the observed rise of 4 Gt per year. There are obviously a range of possibilities for the seasonal component that still fit the other observed measurements e.g isotope ratios. If the seasonal delta is plus 10 Gt and minus 9 Gt for example, then the 4 Gt observed rise comes from 1Gt natural and 3Gt manmade over the long run.
    This is obviously possible since the seasonal delta is similar to the manmade delta. Contrary to another statement you made above, the natural to manmade ratio does matter since the higher it is, the more likely that the natural variations override the manmade ones. The only way it would not matter is by starting with the assumption that 100% of the rise is manmade.
    If you want to disprove what I said above, you can simply show (numerically) that the seasonal delta cannot be +10 and -9. You might do that by showing that, contrary to my first post in this thread, the mixing from the deep ocean reservoir over the last 160 years can account (numerically) for the observed dilution in the 13/12 ratio. There are other possibilities as well, but they require a model with numbers for the biosphere, especially land use changes for the 160 year period.

  366. Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:44:57) :
    Wow. I guess mathematics doesn’t reflect reality after all.
    The key problem with your model is that it decouples the dynamics of natural and anthropogenic CO2 so that they are treated differently by the sinks. This is unphysical.
    “Additional CO2 doesn’t magically disappear, as in your formula.”
    Actually, it does. That is the nature of a feedback system. We know it is an active feedback system because, otherwise, a balance would never have been established. That is the fallacy in your fountain model.
    This controversy mirrors the “missing lnk” controversy in evolution theory, and some wags have even dubbed it the “missing sink” controversy. It may surprise you to know that you are on the side of those who claimed the missing link disproved Evolution. The Evolutionists insisted the missing link had to be around, because logic ineluctably pointed to its existence. In the same way, I insist that you do not have a complete tally and/or accurate estimates enough to proclaim the missing sink does not exist, because logic ineluctably says it it there.
    The failure of your fountain idea is manifested in the fact that the CO2 fraction has stayed the same. There is a drain in the fountain which you have not accounted for. And, with that drain, there is feedback, which drains the fountain faster the more water is put in. In such a system, an constant increased flow does not overflow the fountain, it merely leads to a new equilibrium level, and the increase in the equilibrium level is proportional to the ratio of increased external flow to natural flow. In the climate system, the analogous ratio is too low to account wholly for the rise we have seen.
    Eric (skeptic) (03:06:30) :
    You are correct. If the climate system were so dramatically more sensitive to increasing CO2, we would not see regular sinusoidal natural variation. It would be amplified in the positive direction, leading to sharply peaking behavior when the natural CO2 inputs were high. That pretty much kills the hypothesis of anthropogenic attribution in and of itself. In time, the CO2 increase will reverse, probably in the next few years as the climate cools. I look forward to accepting Ferdinand’s apology when that happens (actually, I bet that is far less likely).

  367. Eric (skeptic) (03:06:30) :
    To begin with the last part:
    There is little influence of vegetation on d13C levels in the atmosphere due to seasonal changes. That is because most of what is absorbed in spring/summer is released again in autumn/winter when fallen leaves are rotting away. Thus vegetation mostly acts as buffer. Except for the part that is stored in more lasting wood/roots. And that is about 1.4 GtC/year, based on the oxygen balance. See:
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/287/5462/2467
    But as increasing uptake by vegetation is preferentially 12C, that increases the 13C/12C ratio, thus vegetation is not the cause of the thinning of 13C in the atmosphere.
    Something similar for the upper ocean level: this acts more or less as buffer for atmospheric CO2, including – with some more delay – for 13C/12C ratio’s. What is left is the deep oceans: what is going in the deep oceans near the poles sinks in the enormous mass of deep ocean CO2 and only returns (mixed with the rest) many centuries later. The deep oceans have a much higher d13C level (0-1 per mil) than the atmosphere (-8 per mil), thus what is released near the equator as deep ocean upwelling (mainly in the mid-Pacific) will dilute the “human” fingerprint. How much is needed to dilute the levels to what is observed can be found by using different exchange flows directly between the deep oceans and the atmosphere. Here my experiments:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/deep_ocean_air_zero.jpg
    With about 40 GtC/yr exchange with the deep oceans, the calculated d13C level is about what the observations show.
    Point two: the seasonal exchanges.
    The figures I have given are for the observed CO2 changes (NH + SH) and the observed temperature change (NH + SH) for the globe. The seasonal changes are much more pronounced in the NH than the opposite changes in the SH, as are the temperatures. That gives that there is a slight global average excess of + 5 ppmv CO2 and + 1 C temperature during NH summer. Mainly because much more land is in the NH. These are real figures (as far as temperature measurements are accurate…).
    I suppose that you understand that temperature is the main driver for CO2 releases from the (mid-latitude) oceans in summer and of CO2 absorption by (mid-latitude) vegetation in spring/summer. As both are in countercurrent, the net effect on hemispheric CO2 levels is only moderate and more influenced by vegetation in the NH than in the SH.
    Bart’s formula included the release of CO2 from all natural sources as part of the total increase. But that isn’t true, as in the other half of the year, the CO2 levels sink with (more than) the same amount of CO2. Only the emissions count in this case, as that are real additions, not part of the cycle.
    Let us show where your example goes wrong:
    The basic mass balance is:
    Cincrease = Cemiss + Cin – Cout
    where Cin is the seasonal plus and Cout the seasonal min
    That gives:
    4 = 8 + Cin – Cout
    and
    Cin – Cout = 4 – 8 = -4 GtC
    Whatever Cin or Cout is (even if you account for all inflows and outflows in parallel), Cout must be 4 GtC larger than Cin, or the mass balance doesn’t fit.
    With your example:
    Cincrease = 8 + 10 – 9 = 9 GtC
    Whatever the positive difference in seasonal cycle, the sum of emissions and seasonal cycle difference then is larger than the emissions alone, while we see the opposite. With other words: as long as the increase in the atmosphere is less than the emissions, there is zero addition (in mass, not in molecular exchanges) from nature.
    Here the reality of the difference in seasonal cycle and continuous rise of CO2 from Mauna Loa over the past years (2.1 GtC = 1 ppmv):
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/mlo_co2_seasons.jpg
    That need some update for past year, but the seasonal cycle (at MLO) and the continuous rise are clear…

  368. Bart (10:12:46) :
    The failure of your fountain idea is manifested in the fact that the CO2 fraction has stayed the same. There is a drain in the fountain which you have not accounted for. And, with that drain, there is feedback, which drains the fountain faster the more water is put in. In such a system, an constant increased flow does not overflow the fountain, it merely leads to a new equilibrium level, and the increase in the equilibrium level is proportional to the ratio of increased external flow to natural flow. In the climate system, the analogous ratio is too low to account wholly for the rise we have seen
    Bart, as I have said before, the fountain example is not how an equilibrium system is working. It was only used to show that a continuous cycle doesn’t influence the level of a fountain and that a very small extra flow is what does the job, whatever the original amount cycling through the fountain.
    To a certain extent, a bathtube example is better, but the problem is that the flows are not the most important part, but the pressure necessary to push more water through the drain. And indeed the flows give an indication of how much pressure is needed to obtain the necessary outflow for a given drain.
    But if the flows are not known, there is an alternative: when the level starts to increase, we can measure the increase in pressure and volume of the bathtube vs. the extra inflow. That shows us exactly how much pressure relates to the outflow and how much is retained in the bathtube.
    There are a few problems with your formula: your basic flows are way too high. There are a lot of educated guesses about the height of the ocean and vegetations flows, on the base of oxygen en d13C balances, but these are not of interest for the seasonal cycle: the real, measured, cycle is 5 ppmv for 1 C temperature cycle. The emissions nowadays are 4 ppmv/yr, thus of the same magnitude.
    But instead of looking at the flows, it is much simpler to look at the increase in pressure, because we know the influence of the current pressure difference on the difference between inflow and outflow: about 4 GtC/yr (2 ppmv/yr) for a pressure difference of about 100 ppmv. Each year we add 4 ppmv, thus with the same tau, the increase in pressure difference increases the pressure difference at the same rate. Thus without knowing any in or outflow, we simply know the result of the pressure difference and what happens when we add some extra CO2.
    As you could see, the different graphs I provided, all based on the theoretical flows and the emissions, show a quite good match with reality, as good for quantities as for d13C levels as well as in the atmosphere as in the upper oceans. I am awaiting your graphs based on your calculations, which shows the same match with reality, whatever the source of the extra CO2 you suppose… (they are speaking about a missing sink, not a missing source!)
    BTW, CO2 levels are still going strong up, despite the predictions of some people, years ago, that with the current flat temperatures (already one decade) the levels should level off or even decline…

  369. Bart:

    Wow. I guess mathematics doesn’t reflect reality after all.

    Mathematics is only a TOOL to help us to understand reality. Just like a hammer in the hands of someone who doesn’t appreciate how to use in a certain situation is not useful and can be dangerous, so it is with mathematics in the hand of someone who doesn’t understand the physical system well enough to right down the correct equations.
    Don’t blame it mathematics itself.
    At the very least, you should read and understand the scientific literature on the carbon cycle so that you can explain where the accepted science is supposedly wrong. You seem unwilling to even comprehend the arguments that you are opposing, which will continue to be the accepted science until someone can convincingly explain what is incorrect. Just saying you understand “systems theory” and know what the answer is doesn’t quite cut it.

    In time, the CO2 increase will reverse, probably in the next few years as the climate cools. I look forward to accepting Ferdinand’s apology when that happens (actually, I bet that is far less likely).

    Hmmm…Well, if you really believe that, you could earn some cash as I think I’d be willing to put some pretty serious money on you being wrong…and even give you some decent odds to boot. (Of course, we would want to bet over at least a few years…and it should run from the same month to the same month so that you can’t cherrypick by starting on the top and ending on the bottom of the yearly seasonal cycle.)

  370. Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:00:29) :
    There are no problems with my formula. It’s pure math. It’s as certain as 2 + 2 = 4. The only option you have is alternative interpretations, but realistic scenarios are constrained by the formula.
    The problem with your thinking is that you think only “net” natural flow matters. That is incorrect. I have given the following example before. Think of a weight hanging in equilibrium by a spring. The tension force of the spring is counteracting the force of gravity. Net force is zero. By your thinking, if you pull on the weight, and continue pulling on it, it will drop to the floor, because the net force of spring and gravity are zero, and do not oppose me.
    You do know what will really happen? The string will stretch by the same fraction as the ratio of the force of your pull to the force of gravity.
    Let me repeat that.
    The string will stretch by the same fraction as the ratio of the force of your pull to the force of gravity.
    The spring reacts to your tug the same as it reacts to gravity, and the dynamics are irrevocably coupled. You cannot ignore the equilibrium dynamics established by gravity in calculating the additional stretching. Here are the equations:
    K*x1 = m*g
    K*x2 = m*g + F_ext
    x2-x1 = F_ext/K
    (x2-x1)/x1 times 100% = F_ext/(K*x1) = F_ext/(m*g) * 100%
    In the same way, if the climate system is linear, and stimulated emission is small, and anthropogenic inputs are less than 3% of natural inputs, then the anthropogenic component of the rise is less than 3% of the equilibrium, in the same way that (x2-x1) above is (F_ext/(m*g)) times x1. QED.
    By becoming unmoored from physical reality, you have allowed yourself to be convinced that uncertain data paint a certain picture, and you have reached your conclusions based on what you believe that picture is. You are quite wrong. But, i do not believe you will be satisfied of it until you have seen the CO2 increase reverse course, which I assure you it will do in its own good time.

  371. kwik (12:56:58)
    “I bet that white stuff you see raining down on you when diving on Titanic and similar places is that CaCO3 stuff..? Anyone?”
    Much of it is fish snip or “fecal pellets” . Marine snow is a term sometimes used.
    It comprises dead planktonic material, fish poo and other detritus from the water column biota held together in flakes by the remains of zooplankton mucus food nets. It will contain CaCO3 of planktonic origin (coccolithophores, diatoms, radiolarians etc.)

  372. There are a couple of typos. Let me try again:
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:00:29) :
    There are no problems with my formula. It’s pure math. It’s as certain as 2 + 2 = 4. The only option you have is alternative interpretations, but realistic scenarios are constrained by the formula.
    The problem with your thinking is that you think only “net” natural flow matters. That is incorrect. I have given the following example before. Think of a weight hanging in equilibrium by a spring. The tension force of the spring is counteracting the force of gravity. Net force is zero. By your thinking, if you pull on the weight, and continue pulling on it, it will drop to the floor, because the net force of spring and gravity are zero, and the spring therefore, according to you, does not oppose you.
    You do know what will really happen? The string will stretch by the same fraction as the ratio of the force of your pull to the force of gravity.
    Let me repeat that.
    The string will stretch by the same fraction as the ratio of the force of your pull to the force of gravity.
    The spring reacts to your tug the same as it reacts to gravity, and the dynamics are irrevocably coupled. You cannot ignore the equilibrium dynamics established by gravity in calculating the additional stretching. Here are the equations:
    K*x1 = m*g
    K*x2 = m*g + F_ext
    x2-x1 = F_ext/K
    (x2-x1)/x1 times 100% = F_ext/(K*x1) *100% = F_ext/(m*g) * 100%
    In the same way, if the climate system is linear, and stimulated emission is small, and anthropogenic inputs are less than 3% of natural inputs, then the anthropogenic component of the rise is less than 3% of the equilibrium, in the same way that (x2-x1) above is (F_ext/(m*g)) times x1. QED.
    By becoming unmoored from physical reality, you have allowed yourself to be convinced that uncertain data paint a certain picture, and you have reached your conclusions based on what you believe that picture is. You are quite wrong. But, i do not believe you will be satisfied of it until you have seen the CO2 increase reverse course, which I assure you it will do in its own good time.

  373. “By your thinking, if you pull on the weight, and continue pulling on it, it will drop to the floor, because the net force of spring and gravity are zero, and the spring therefore, according to you, does not oppose you.”
    The important point here is, the spring does oppose your additional force with every bit the same the vigor it opposes gravity.

  374. Ferdinand Engelbeen (16:01:42)
    “Thus a higher temperature in seawater means that the free CO2 molecules in the water are more mobile and hence a higher pCO2 (without a change in total dissolved carbon) which may lead to more CO2 escape to the atmosphere…”
    Thanks for your clarification of the compartments of C in seawater.
    Going back to Le Chatelier, I think he would replace the “may” in your above sentence with “would”. “May lead to more CO2 escape” sounds a bit quantum or stochastic, it is correct that the higher temp and higher pCO2 increases only the probability that an individual CO2 molecule – should it be close to the surface – will escape to the atmosphere. But integrated to the macroscopic scale, lets not wriggle out of it, CO2 release from solution in seawater does increase with temperature (and I dont mean maybe!)

  375. Joel Shore (15:28:23)
    “At the very least, you should read and understand the scientific literature on the carbon cycle so that you can explain where the accepted science is supposedly wrong.”
    And, you should delve into the math.
    But, I do not need to know the proposed theory for a perpetual motion machine to tell you it is not going to work. That is what we are talking about here: fundamental limitations of reality.

  376. Ferdinand, thanks for your patient explanations. Regarding the C13/C12 ratio and deep ocean exchange, it is a nice analysis and chart, but the 40Gt calculated exchange with the deep ocean needs to be validated independently in order to validate your assumptions that went into the analysis (the primary one being that 100% of the CO2 increase is manmade and the corollary that the natural cycle is balanced).
    The “+ 5 ppmv CO2 and + 1 C” numbers are indeed real,. The 5 presumably includes biosphere and ocean warming and both have the possibility of asymmetry each year which I will demonstrate below. Although your model assumes symmetry and no natural long term rise, that assumption needs to be validated by matching the results (e.g. the 40Gt above) with some other physical process analysis, the same way that manmade fluxes are independently validated.
    Now for the mass balance equation: Cincrease = Cemiss + Cin – Cout
    I defined two seasonal states above to make my analysis easier. In the warm season the mass balance is
    15 = 8 + 10 – 3
    where 15 is the measured atmospheric increase, 8 is manmade emissions, 10 is natural emissions and 3 is natural absorption of manmade emissions.
    In the cool season I have
    -11 = 8 – 14 – 5
    where -11 is the measured decrease, 8 is the manmade emissions, -14 is the natural absorption and -5 is natural absorption of manmade emissions. The peak to trough is -11 or roughly the height of the natural sinusoid. The natural absorption of the manmade CO2 is independent of the natural CO2 flux (i.e. if the manmade CO2 were not produced, nature would still absorb -14.
    Both equations are balanced. Manmade emissions are constant at 8. In my simple model, manmade emissions are absorbed seasonally, less (-3) when nature is outputting more CO2 and more (-5) when nature is outputting less CO2. Nature itself releases +10 in the warm season and absorbs (-14) in the cool season (unbalanced, contrary to your assumption). Finally man outputs an unvarying 8, and the long term rise is 4 corresponding with independent calculations and measurements.

  377. Joel says “At the very least, you should read and understand the scientific literature on the carbon cycle so that you can explain where the accepted science is supposedly wrong.” I have read the scientific literature on the carbon cycle and it isn’t wrong. This picture is a little old http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/graphics/c_cycle.htm but there is nothing wrong with it except the numbers are a bit out of date.
    My paraphrase of your understanding of the picture linked above is “since the manmade emissions are greater than the observed atmospheric rise, 100% of the rise must be manmade”. But the seasonal rise and fall which is the same order of magnitude as the manmade emissions. That fact alone should make you question your assumption (or perhaps that is a conclusion). If you have any quantitative argument or take issue with any of my assumptions or conclusions above, please write it up.

  378. Eric (skeptic) (20:08:24) :
    As you suggest, spreadsheet analysis simply does not work for dynamic systems. This is not an exercise in accounting. It is not algebra, it is calculus.

  379. Bart (16:57:00) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:00:29) :
    There are no problems with my formula. It’s pure math. It’s as certain as 2 + 2 = 4. The only option you have is alternative interpretations, but realistic scenarios are constrained by the formula

    Well I agree: it is pure math. As good as a mass balance is pure math:
    C = Co + Cem + Cin – Cout
    Where
    804 = 800 + 8 + x – y GtC
    Thus x – y = – 4 GtC and there is zero addition from nature and the full increase is due to human emissions.
    With some more (nightly) thinking, I suppose that I now know where your error is:
    In the case of the bathtube example, the system is in equilibrium when output flows are equal to input flows at a certain height of water in the bathtube. That is the basic system.
    Now we add a small extra stream to the bathtube. That doesn’t induce an extra outflow in itself (as your formula suggests), but in first instance it increases the height of the water in the bathtube. That increases the pressure at the drain and that increases the flow.
    Something similar for CO2 in the atmosphere: if you add a small quantity of CO2 to a system in equilibrium, the CO2 level must go up first, or there is no reason why the CO2 “drains” would remove more CO2 from the atmosphere.
    That is what is lacking in your formula (and what is present in mine).
    Further, the equilibrium flows as seen in seasonal changes, deduced from O2 and d13C changes are temperature dependent, not pressure dependent. Temperature changes the equilibrium Co with 4-8 ppmv/K, but that doesn’t say anything about what an extra C does. It is like increasing the temperature of the bathtube: the height will increase, due to lower density of the water, but that doesn’t tell you what the height in the bathtube will do if you add an additional flow.
    And that is -again- the difference between temperature induced exchange rates (of about 150 GtC/season) and pressure induced removal rates (of about 4 GtC/yr)…

  380. Eric (skeptic) (19:51:42) :
    Both equations are balanced. Manmade emissions are constant at 8. In my simple model, manmade emissions are absorbed seasonally, less (-3) when nature is outputting more CO2 and more (-5) when nature is outputting less CO2. Nature itself releases +10 in the warm season and absorbs (-14) in the cool season (unbalanced, contrary to your assumption). Finally man outputs an unvarying 8, and the long term rise is 4 corresponding with independent calculations and measurements.
    Eric, I have not the slightest problem with your calculations. Indeed, globally more CO2 is absorbed in one season that in another. I didn’t make any seasonal assumptions, as these have no influence on the year-by-year balance. Only the year-by-year temperature changes have an influence: in warm (1998 El Niño) years, less CO2 is absorbed and in cold (1992 Pinatubo eruption) years more is absorbed. That doesn’t change the fact that even if in some months more may be released by nature than absorbed, the overall balance over 50+ years is that nature was a strong absorber of about 50% of the extra CO2 induced by humans.

  381. Eric (skeptic) (19:51:42) :
    Ferdinand, thanks for your patient explanations. Regarding the C13/C12 ratio and deep ocean exchange, it is a nice analysis and chart, but the 40Gt calculated exchange with the deep ocean needs to be validated independently in order to validate your assumptions that went into the analysis (the primary one being that 100% of the CO2 increase is manmade and the corollary that the natural cycle is balanced).
    You’re welcome… Indeed the d13C graphs are based on the assumptions that there is a balance (more natural sinks than sources) and the increase is man-made. But it shows that it is quite easy to determine how much deep ocean flow is needed to dilute the atmospheric 13C/12C rate to what is measured. It will be quite difficult to prove that, as that involves measurements of CO2 releases/uptake at the air/ocean surface, which are more dependent of surface water mixing due to wind speed than for the pCO2 differences.
    Some more on that can be read from Feely at:
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml
    Anyway, there are some useful estimates, based on tracers like CFK’s which track (and thus follow ocean flows) can be followed from the polar surface to the deep oceans, but it remains largely guessing.
    Others use N – P – DIC cycles/reactions to estimate what happens where, but that is even more difficult. See Gruber e.a (10 MB file, not easy stuff):
    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~gruber/publication/pdf_files/gruber_thesea_02.pdf

  382. Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:29:40) :
    C = Co + Cem + Cin – Cout
    Of course, the Co in this case is not the equilibrium Co, but the concentration of carbon (as CO2) in the previous year…

  383. Bart says:

    And, you should delve into the math.

    I have looked at the math, as described in L.D. Danny Harvey’s book. I haven’t bothered with your math because I already know that the basic problem is that you are missing a very important part of the whole picture, which is that the large natural flows that you are fascinated by are just exchanges between the different subsystems of the biosphere, (near-surface) soils, and the ocean mixed layer, whereas the carbon released through our burning of fossil fuels is a new source being added to this entire combined system (biosphere + soils + ocean mixed layer). This new source of carbon is quite rapidly transported and equilibrated within this combined system but the rate-limiting step is then the transfer of the carbon from this combined system to the deep ocean.

    But, I do not need to know the proposed theory for a perpetual motion machine to tell you it is not going to work. That is what we are talking about here: fundamental limitations of reality.

    No…We are talking about fundamental limitations in your ability to understand reality. In fact, we are talking about fundamental limitations in your ability to even try to understand reality. You would rather believe in your own convenient fiction.
    Just out of curiosity, do you think that there is some grand conspiracy among scientists on this issue? Or, do you believe you are the only one who has such mathematical insight that all these other scientists are missing?

  384. Ferdinand, thanks for checking the equations which were
    warm: 15 = 8 + 10 – 3
    cool: -11 = 8 – 14 – 5
    But I made an unintentional mistake. Only half of the manmade CO2 is released in each season. The equations could be something like:
    warm: 15 = 4 + 12 – 1
    cool: -11 = 4 – 12 – 3
    Or if the natural sinks exceed the natural sources by a little, and nature only absorbs 3/8 of the manmade, we get:
    warm: 15 = 4 + 12 – 1
    cool: -11 = 4 – 13 – 2
    There is no way with these equations for the observed rise to be due, in any part, to the natural sources as long as there is manmade CO2 being absorbed in some manner by nature, e.g. strictly seasonal:
    warm: 15 = 4 + 11 – 0
    cool: -11 = 4 – 11 – 4
    or e.g. not seasonal at all:
    warm: 15 = 4 + 13 – 2
    cool: -11 = 4 – 13 – 2
    So Joel’s simple notion is correct, at least as far as these simple equations go. And here I thought he was oversimplifying because he’s a physicist!

  385. Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:29:40) :
    … but in first instance it increases the height of the water in the bathtube. That increases the pressure at the drain and that increases the flow.”
    Of course it does. Remember, I am not saying anthropogenic emissions do not add to the overall level. I am saying they cannot account for the full 30% rise we have seen. The question is, how much do they increase the level? The answer is, they are constrained, in the linear no-stimulated-emissions case, to increase it no more than 3%.
    “That is what is lacking in your formula (and what is present in mine).”
    As I just explained, that is not lacking in mine.
    “Further, the equilibrium flows as seen in seasonal changes, deduced from O2 and d13C changes are temperature dependent, not pressure dependent.”
    That is the temperature dependent forcing, which I removed from my model because it does not affect the sensitivity to “adot”, the anthropogenic rate of CO2 input to the system.
    Joel Shore (07:32:06) :
    ” I haven’t bothered with your math…”
    It isn’t “my math”. It is math.
    “…the large natural flows that you are fascinated by are just exchanges between the different subsystems of the biosphere…”
    Groan… that is an incorrect picture. Those exchanges evolved as part of the overall feedback system. They reached their present levels because they fought against each other until an equilibrium was established. They did not just “happen”. There is no immaculate conception.
    “Just out of curiosity, do you think that there is some grand conspiracy among scientists on this issue? Or, do you believe you are the only one who has such mathematical insight that all these other scientists are missing?”
    I never attribute conspiracy to that which can be explained by incompetence. No, I do not believe I am the only one with the mathematical capability to see this. But I believe the loudest voices, which are dominating the debate, are not as mathematically adept as they are adept in their role as gatekeepers for the orthodoxy.
    Tell me why you find this so fantastic a possibility? Here are two examples: plate tectonics and the implication of h. pylori in the formation of ulcers. How long did it take these now well established theories to gain acceptance? And, why, when they are now so intuitively obvious?

  386. Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:29:40) :
    Re: “That is the temperature dependent forcing, which I removed from my model because it does not affect the sensitivity to “adot”, the anthropogenic rate of CO2 input to the system.”
    I explained this at Bart (11:47:35).

  387. Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:29:40) :
    Re: “The answer is, they are constrained, in the linear no-stimulated-emissions case, to increase it no more than 3%.”
    I use 3% because that is my assumed ratio of anthropogenic emissions to natural emissions.

  388. Bart (11:54:23) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:29:40) :
    Re: “The answer is, they are constrained, in the linear no-stimulated-emissions case, to increase it no more than 3%.”
    I use 3% because that is my assumed ratio of anthropogenic emissions to natural emissions.

    Except that the 97% natural aren’t emissions, but part of a temperature induced cycle. And the anthro 3% is the only part of the equation that really increases the pressure in the atmosphere…

  389. Ferdinand Engelbeen (01:29:40) :
    “C = Co + Cem + Cin – Cout
    Where
    804 = 800 + 8 + x – y GtC
    Thus x – y = – 4 GtC and there is zero addition from nature and the full increase is due to human emissions.”

    Never bring algebra to a calculus fight. This is just awful logic, Ferdinand.
    In actual fact, Cin – Cout is a convolution integral of the impulse response of the system minus one times the rate of anthropogenic production. If you differentiate it, whatever its form may be, then at least locally (in a mathematical sense), you will get
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (adot + K[adot])
    where K[ ] is a linear operator for which I substituted the dc (zero frequency) gain Ko in my equation.
    You are trying to analyze a dynamic system using static and uncertain sums. It just does not work.

  390. Ferdinand Engelbeen (12:05:38) :
    “Except that the 97% natural aren’t emissions, but part of a temperature induced cycle. And the anthro 3% is the only part of the equation that really increases the pressure in the atmosphere…”
    Yes, they are. See my comment on “immaculate conception” to Joel above.
    They go into the air, just like anthropogenic emissions, do they not? They are emissions. And, they and the anthropogenic emissions must be treated the same way by the sinks.

  391. The “cycle” comes about because the sinks act as regulating feedback. If there were no sink feedback, they would just accumulate, in the same way you think the anthropogenic emissions accumulate.
    This division into “cyclic” natural and “secular” anthropogenic components is arbitrary and unphysical.

  392. The feedback comes about because the sinks will expand in response to an increase, and contract in response to a decrease. They have to. That is what established an equilibrium in the first place.

  393. “The feedback comes about because the sinks will expand in response to an increase, and contract in response to a decrease. They have to. That is what established an equilibrium in the first place.”
    Moreover, if they did not, we would not be discussing the Knorr paper which is ostensibly the subject of this entire thread. The Knorr paper shows definitively that the sinks expand in response to increased forcing.

  394. Bart:

    Groan… that is an incorrect picture. Those exchanges evolved as part of the overall feedback system. They reached their present levels because they fought against each other until an equilibrium was established. They did not just “happen”. There is no immaculate conception.

    Fine. They evolved. That’s irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that these exchanges are exchanges within a relatively small subsystem (roughly 3000 Gt carbon, of which the atmospheric portion is about 20%) that exchanges carbon only very slowly with other larger reservoirs (the deep ocean and, if you want to take the geological view, the carbon locked up in rocks, in fossil fuels, etc). So, when you add a new slug of carbon to this subsystem, it will rapidly partition itself between the different components of the subsystem and then we will be back in equilibrium again. (Since we are adding carbon constantly, it is actually kind of being sustained slightly out of equilibrium.)
    What you are missing with your 3% nonsense is that you are looking at things that are irrelevant. I thought of even a better analogy than the fountain one today while cross-country skiing. (Yea!!! We finally have enough snow here in Rochester.) Simply imagine a room divided into two sides A (“atmosphere”) and B (“ocean mixed layer + biosphere + soils) by a metal screen that allows air to pass through (like a screen) door. And, imagine this room is sealed so no air can get in or out of the room, except for a pump that can pump more air into the A side. Now, there are large exchanges of air back and forth between A and B. (To make them macroscopic, one could set up currents by running a fine blowing from A to B on one side and blowing from B to A on the other.)
    When we turn on the pump, the air pressure in the rooms will start to increase. A portion of what we pump into A will of course end up in side B, so the pressures in both sides will increase. Even if the pump is injecting air into the room at a rate of only 3% relative to the amount that the fan is transferring from B to A, the reason for the entire pressure increase in A will be the pump…And, in fact, the only reason that the pressure in A doesn’t increase more than it does is that there will be a net flow now from A to B, i.e., side B now acts as a “sink” for part of what we pump into A.
    Of course, in the real system, there is also a small hole that allows air to escape out of side B (representing transfer of carbon to the deep ocean). And, when the pressure builds up in the room, it will start to increase the amount of air escaping out of the hole…But, if the hole is small, the pressure of the room would have to rise quite a bit before a new equilibrium were established.

    Tell me why you find this so fantastic a possibility? Here are two examples: plate tectonics and the implication of h. pylori in the formation of ulcers. How long did it take these now well established theories to gain acceptance? And, why, when they are now so intuitively obvious?

    Neither of those cases involved as simple mathematical arguments as you claim apply here. Furthermore, the real story in the Wegener case (and probably the ulcer case too) are more complex than you make them. I read something written by a physicist that noted both that Wegener’s ideas did find acceptance in parts of the scientific community fairly quickly although other parts were more resistant. The second point, even more important, is that Wegener’s picture was quite incomplete. There were lots of gaps in the logic and it was probably realistic for scientists to be skeptical until the understanding evolved to fill in those gaps.
    In that sense, plate techtonics and AGW actually have a lot in common. After all, it was way back around 1900 that Arrhenius proposed the notion of the burning of fossil fuels increase CO2 in the atmosphere and enhancing the greenhouse effect. However, it did not gain immediate acceptance because there were legitimate gaps in the theory. For example, nobody had good experimental evidence that CO2 was building up and the ocean chemistry and dynamics were not understood sufficiently well to counter the notion that all the CO2 that we were emitting could be absorbed by the oceans. It took the development of good measurement techniques for CO2 levels and a better understanding of ocean chemistry to recognize that such a buildup was, and indeed was expected to be, occurring.

  395. Eric (skeptic) says:

    So Joel’s simple notion is correct, at least as far as these simple equations go. And here I thought he was oversimplifying because he’s a physicist!

    We physicists (usually) know when we can “cheat” and get away with it. 😉

  396. Bart says:

    Moreover, if they did not, we would not be discussing the Knorr paper which is ostensibly the subject of this entire thread. The Knorr paper shows definitively that the sinks expand in response to increased forcing.

    Ah, Bart…Are you aware of the fact that the Knorr paper is based on the standard scientific notion that we are responsible for the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere? The only point that they are addressing is whether the fraction of our emissions that remains in the atmosphere has been changing over time or whether it has been remaining constant…and their conclusion is that, within errorbars, it has been remaining constant.
    I have no clue how someone who thinks that we could only be responsible for at most 3% of the rise in atmospheric CO2 levels could find any comfort whatsoever in the Knorr paper. I am quite positive that every author on that paper would tell you that you are utterly and completely wrong.

  397. Joel Shore says:

    …one could set up currents by running a fine blowing from A to B on one side and blowing from B to A on the other…

    Or, better yet, one could forget the “fine” and go with a “fan” instead. (Why don’t my fingers type what I tell them to?)

  398. Bart (11:34:18) :
    That is the temperature dependent forcing, which I removed from my model because it does not affect the sensitivity to “adot”, the anthropogenic rate of CO2 input to the system
    You didn’t remove it from your model, as you assume that still 97% is natural non-temperature dependent “emissions”, while these amounts are largely temperature dependent and counter-current, which makes that the momentary natural “emissions” are of the same order as the human ones… If there were no temperature induced seasons, how large would the natural emissions and sinks be? I don’t know and you don’t know…
    As the Knorr paper says, over the past 160 years, about halve the anthro emissions (as mass, not as individual molecules…) were absorbed, halve remained in the atmosphere. That is the result of the total carbon cycle, whatever the underlying equilibria and natural in/out flows were or are. That simply means that in the past 160 years, and as long as the anthro emissions increase as they did in the past, that all measured increase is due to human emissions.
    Again, my formula with all known changes in temperature and emissions fits the observed increase and d13C changes in the atmosphere and upper oceans (and vegetation), and the d14C changes (until 1950) in the atmosphere. I am eager to see the results of your calculations where everything fits reality…

  399. Joel Shore (13:28:45) :
    Joel, I cannot help you. Your mind is closed.
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:22:04) :
    Ferdinand, you do have a point. But, you are not taking into account that CO2 production has both a cyclical, temperature dependent quality, and a steady production, because the entire globe does not experience summer and winter at the same time.
    Let me put the temperature dependent part back into my equation
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot + S*dT
    You will recall from earlier I left this out because, I said, this does not affect the sensitivity to adot. It does, however, affect the calculation of the magnitude of the time constant, because of the cyclical temperature dependence you have brought up.
    Now, you are correct, to some extent, that I should be calculating adot as less than or equal to 3% of Co/tau plus the integral of the positive part of S*dT divided by 1 year. If we take S*dT = alpha*cos(omega*t), where omega = 2*pi rad/year and t is time in years, then the requirement becomes
    adot (is less than or equal to) 3% of Co/tau + alpha/pi/P
    where P = 1 year.
    How much does this change things? It depends upon the value of alpha, and the value of tau.
    If we take the Mauna Loa data as representative, the variation of C due to S*dT is less than 5 ppmv. Because S*dT is cyclical with a period of 1 year, sensitivity of C to S*dT is tau/sqrt(1+(2*pi*tau)^2), with tau in years. Thus, we have approximately
    alpha (is proportional to) 5*sqrt(1+(2*pi*tau)^2)/tau
    Let me also presume Co is proportional to 280 ppmv. I am told that the roughly 100 ppmv rise of the last 50 years is proportional to 45% of adot integrated over time, so I set adot proportional to (100/50/0.45) = 4.4 ppmv/year.
    So, I have the inequality
    4.4 (is less than or equal to) 0.03*(280/tau + 5*sqrt(1+(2*pi*tau)^2)/(pi*tau))
    Moving everything to the right side, we can easily show graphically that this inequality requires tau less than or equal to about 2 years.
    For the max value of tau, Co/tau is proportional to 140 ppmv/year. alpha/pi/P (is propotional to) 5*sqrt((2*pi)^2+(1/2)^2)/pi= 10 ppmv/year, which is 7% of the Co/tau value, so it is small.
    The ratio adot/(Co/tau) is less than or equal to 3.1%. So, in the linear, no stimulated emissions case, I have to amend my projection of the effect of anthropogenic forcing from 3% to 3.1%.
    Mea culpa. I am not infallible. But, you will pardon me if I still do not see a justification for the anthropogenic attribution hypothesis.
    Now, how do you get a 100 ppmv rise? Well, in this model, you can put in a secular dT trend.Temperature records, such as this, indicate cyclical temperature rises and falls +/- about 0.1 degC each year. In actual fact, the yearly variation in C due to S*dT is more like +/- 3 ppmv – I gave you 5 ppmv in the calculations above to be conservative. This suggests the sensitivity parameter S is proportional to about 3 ppmv/0.1 degC times sqrt(1+(2*pi*tau)^2)/tau = 189 ppmv/deg_C.
    The rise in global temperature since 1970 has been about 0.6 degC. This suggests, according to the equation above, that atmospheric CO2 concentration should have increased about 0.6*189 = 113 ppmv. Anthropogenic forcing should have contributed about 0.015*280 = 4.2 ppmv (I used 1.5% instead of 3% because anthropogenic production has actually been ramping up to 3%, and has not been 3% all the time). So, we have a total expected delta of about 117 ppmv from a base of 280 ppmv, or 397 ppmv.
    Not too shabby, given all the approximations I have made. It follows that, if temperatures genuinely start to decline, after 2-6 years lag time (3 time constants is commonly referred to as “settling time” in systems theory), you should expect to see the CO2 levels decline as well.
    If that doesn’t do it for you, I don’t know what will. In any case, I think we are done here.

  400. Joel Shore (13:28:45) :
    But, just one thing more: Whatever conclusion Knorr draws from his analysis, I am not required to reach the same conclusions. He has provided information. If you free your mind from the dogma, you will be able to draw independent conclusions from available information, too.

  401. I want to make a final observation with result to Bart (15:12:10). Let me state clearly what I have done.
    I have shown that the sensitivity of CO2 to yearly global temperature variation is about 189 ppmv/degC. With a time constant of 2 years, this provides direct correspondence between the yearly temperature variation of about +/- 0.1 degC to the +/- 5 ppmv observed variation in CO2 levels at Mauna Loa.
    If I take this sensitivity value and calculate the expected delta CO2 from a 0.6 degC secular trend, I end up with about the CO2 level we are seeing.
    I hope you all see the significance of this. I effectively had an estimator based on independent data (the cyclical variation of global temperature and CO2) and used it to calculate a reasonably accurate estimate of CO2 concentration from the secular trend in global temperature.
    In a sane world, that would just about settle the entire argument, and show that CO2, as always in the historical record, follows temperature, and not the other way around.

  402. Correction:
    I have shown that the sensitivity of CO2 to yearly global temperature variation is about 189 ppmv/degC. With a time constant of 2 years, this provides direct correspondence between the yearly temperature variation of about +/- 0.1 degC to the +/- 3 ppmv observed variation in CO2 levels at Mauna Loa.

  403. Bart says:

    But, just one thing more: Whatever conclusion Knorr draws from his analysis, I am not required to reach the same conclusions. He has provided information. If you free your mind from the dogma, you will be able to draw independent conclusions from available information, too.

    Well, I suppose I could take the evidence that NASA has provided and reach the conclusion that the moon is made of green cheese, but I doubt anybody would take that conclusion very seriously. Neither should they take yours.

    Joel, I cannot help you. Your mind is closed.

    Well, you could at least win some easy money off of me by taking me up on my offer to bet you, with decent odds in your favor (perhaps 10:1) that over some reasonable period of time (say, 3 years or more…and looking at the same month at the beginning and end period), the level of CO2 in the atmosphere will have risen or fallen. So, if you believe there is even a 10% chance that CO2 levels will fall over such a period, the betting terms would be in your favor!

  404. Bart says:

    I have shown that the sensitivity of CO2 to yearly global temperature variation is about 189 ppmv/degC.

    You have shown no such thing because there is no evidence that it is the temperature variation that is responsible. Besides which, your prediction is high by at least an order order of magnitude in what it predicts for the glacial – interglacial transitions (despite the fact that the longer times for equilibration would lead to the expectation of even a larger effect). And, your data is completely incompatible with year-to-year variability in global temperatures and CO2 growth rates.

    In a sane world, that would just about settle the entire argument, and show that CO2, as always in the historical record, follows temperature, and not the other way around.

    In a sane world, your notions would be completely dismissed by the scientific community. (Well, I am glad to see that at least in one respect, this world isn’t too crazy!)

  405. Bart (15:14:20) :
    Joel Shore (13:28:45) :
    But, just one thing more: Whatever conclusion Knorr draws from his analysis, I am not required to reach the same conclusions. He has provided information. If you free your mind from the dogma, you will be able to draw independent conclusions from available information, too.
    ————————–
    Exactly.
    This thread is so frustrating. Why can you guys not assimilate what Bart is saying ?? It’s really simple stuff and not dissimilar to a simple chemical equilibrium. Joel, I think your room analogy (13:28:45) is a good one, but is not what is happening. You are effectively saying that the small hole out if which the air escapes is the rate-limiting step. This is essentially the same as saying that the sink (side B in your analogy) has become effectively saturated in the short time period under discussion, which is in apposition to Knorr (as well as the laws of science).
    If you start from first principles, Bart has shown that you can achieve the same result (the one that is observed) as you can by assuming that all of the increase is due to anthropogenic emissions then back-filling the rate constants to fit the conclusion. The latter is a circular argument.
    Bart, I haven’t read every single comment in this thread, but has anyone mentioned the slight decrease in pH, which could (would) also affect the equilibrium towards the atmospheric compartment, and could be chalked up as an anthropogenic component since it would presumably be a direct positive feedback (for CO2 levels in the atmosphere that is, just to be clear).

  406. philincalifornia:

    This is essentially the same as saying that the sink (side B in your analogy) has become effectively saturated in the short time period under discussion, which is in apposition to Knorr (as well as the laws of science).

    Actually, my little analogy predicts what Knorr et al. see exactly: What Knorr et al. say is we consistently see the same fraction of the additions (~45%) remaining in the atmosphere with the rest going into the other parts of the system. In my analogy, whatever is added to Side A will be rapidly partitioned between the two sides in a definite ratio (in the ratio of their volumes to be precise for the analogy), just like what Knorr et al. see. Of course, I don’t claim this to be any evidence that Knorr et al. is correct or that the real system will continue to operate this way. My analogy is, after all, just an analogy. And, while I think it captures a fair bit of the physics (at least for such a simple analogy), I certainly wouldn’t expect it to capture all of it.

  407. Bart (15:28:46)

    Correction:
    I have shown that the sensitivity of CO2 to yearly global temperature variation is about 189 ppmv/degC. With a time constant of 2 years, this provides direct correspondence between the yearly temperature variation of about +/- 0.1 degC to the +/- 3 ppmv observed variation in CO2 levels at Mauna Loa.

    Joel Shore and I disagree on a lot of things, but here I agree with him. That’s the nature of science, follow the evidence and not the scientist. Your math is incorrect.
    According to the Vostok data, the sensitivity of CO2 to yearly global temperature variation is about 3 ppmv/degC. You give a value of 189 ppmv/degC.
    The error is in your “yearly temperature variation” figures. The summer to winter global average temperature swing is on the order of 3.75C. The HadCRUT3 absolute data is here. Note that the data is gridded so it needs to be area-adjusted before averaging.
    I suspect that you are looking at reduced anomaly data rather than absolute temperature. If you use absolute temperature data, you get a value on the order of 1 ppmv/degC. This is in reasonable agreement with the Vostok figures.
    Finally, one of the things that I have learned in this game is that despite my convictions, I may well be very wrong. This is slowly leading me to be both less certain, and less contemptuous of those who disagree with me …

  408. Willis Eschenbach (17:10:23) :
    You can agree with him if you like, but his notion of atmospheric dynamics is pure fantasy. The natural CO2 emissions and the anthropogenic emissions must be treated equally by the sinks. There is no plausible argument which can be made otherwise.
    The sensitivity is pretty clear. Look at the CO2 charts I linked to – do you not see a +/- 3 ppmv once per year harmonic? Look at the temperature charts. Do you not see a +/- 0.1 degC variation? Look at my calculations. Do they not all fit the data?
    Joel Shore (16:19:48) :
    “Besides which, your prediction is high by at least an order order of magnitude in what it predicts for the glacial – interglacial transitions (despite the fact that the longer times for equilibration would lead to the expectation of even a larger effect).”
    A different operating point. The equations have to be linearized about the current equilibrium. The equilibrium conditions a long time in the past were likely different.
    “And, your data is completely incompatible with year-to-year variability in global temperatures and CO2 growth rates.”
    In general terms in recent history, no. That is how I reached the conclusions. Once again, as Ferdinand appears wont to do, you assume data with significant error bars is “truth”.
    Look, I’m done here. I have no illusions that I will turn around entrenched specious reasoning which has been reinforced over many years. Maybe, you will all give it another thought when the CO2 concentrations reverse course, which I claim they are very likely to do within some lag interval after temperatures show a definite decline. That lag interval is affected by the dominant time constant such as I have calculated (and which must, perforce, have significant error bars, too), as well as the lag associated with what I am sure is significant confirmation bias between the time the people taking the measurements stop throwing out measurements which do not agree with their expectations, and the time they start accepting them as truth.

  409. Willis Eschenbach (17:10:23) :
    The error is in your “yearly temperature variation” figures. The summer to winter global average temperature swing is on the order of 3.75C.”
    Incorrect, or at least irrelevant. My model is a global model. The temperature differential is the +/- variation in global temperatures over a year, not between summer and winter in a given hemisphere. I gave a link to justify my calculation.

  410. Willis, I am not a huge fan of Vostok because there is so little snow there that the CO2 readings are made up to 1000’s of years apart (see data ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/vostok/co2nat.txt). The impulse response of the natural system (e.g. http://unfccc.int/resource/brazil/carbon.html) is in the neighborhood of 10’s of years. Therefore a big slug of CO2 (e.g. 100’s of ppmv) landing on earth during the Vostok record would be invisible. Note that I can’t speculate where that slug of CO2 would come from, just that it would not show up in the ice core. Bottom line is I don’t like relying on a sensitivity that is calculated from temperature and CO2 curves that are very highly smoothed.
    Ferdinand has ice core data that he showed me once a while back (somewhere in Greenland, forgot where) but it had something like 10’s of years resolution thanks to lots of snow causing the air pockets to lock up a lot faster. Maybe he can dredge up a temperature sensitivity estimate from that data. Also would be interesting to see a C13/C12 ratio sensitivity to temperature from the ice cores.
    Considering the impulse response graph linked above, and if we dumped the whole human carbon emission from 1970-2006 (ftp://cdiac.ornl.gov/pub/ndp030/global.1751_2006.ems) of 217Gt of C (800Gt of CO2) into the atmosphere back in 1970, that would have caused the CO2 to pop from 325ppmv to 425ppmv roughly. From eyeballing the graph we would have about 40% left in 2006 or about 365ppmv. The actual in 2006 was 380. Makes sense that it is more since we didn’t dump it all back in 1970 but have trickled it in since. But it seems to me that it should be even higher (just intuition). Also the model doesn’t have any ability to do annual variations. OTOH, it should have reasonable fidelity for the major fluxes.

  411. Bart (18:22:46)

    Willis Eschenbach (17:10:23) :

    The error is in your “yearly temperature variation” figures. The summer to winter global average temperature swing is on the order of 3.75C.”

    Incorrect, or at least irrelevant. My model is a global model. The temperature differential is the +/- variation in global temperatures over a year, not between summer and winter in a given hemisphere. I gave a link to justify my calculation.

    Bart, I gave a link to the actual data at Willis Eschenbach (17:10:23). I’ve repeated it below. Could you please point to or repeat your link, as digging through 400 responses looking for an unknown mystery link is far too frustrating.
    And no, I’m not talking summer and winter in a given hemisphere. I’m talking about global temperatures. According to HadCRUT, the actual global average temperatures (1961-1990 avg) are:
    Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
    12.1, 12.2, 12.9, 13.9, 14.9, 15.6, 15.9, 15.7, 15.1, 14.1, 13.0, 12.4

  412. And to show the difference, the same reference (HadCRUT absolute values) gives the following for the changes by hemisphere:
    Month, North, South
    Jan, 7.9, 16.3
    Feb, 8.4, 16.1
    Mar, 10.6, 15.2
    Apr, 13.8, 14.0
    May, 17.1, 12.7
    Jun, 19.6, 11.6
    Jul, 21.0, 10.7
    Aug, 20.8, 10.6
    Sep, 19.0, 11.1
    Oct, 15.8, 12.4
    Nov, 12.0, 14.1
    Dec, 9.1, 15.6
    As you would expect due to the preponderance of ocean area in the Southern Hemisphere, the range in the Southern Hemisphere (5.7C) is much smaller than that of the Northern Hemisphere (13.1C).
    Like I said, excess certainty can come back to bite you …
    w.

  413. It seems to me the problem with using global seasonal temperature change is that it doesn’t capture the hemispheric bias (peak CO2 is just before NH growing season, but also near the peak of SH ocean warmth). Using a single global temperature can’t capture that effect.

  414. Bart says:

    You can agree with him if you like, but his notion of atmospheric dynamics is pure fantasy. The natural CO2 emissions and the anthropogenic emissions must be treated equally by the sinks. There is no plausible argument which can be made otherwise.

    There is a very plausible…and in fact, physically-correct…argument for why what you are saying is nonsense: There are no significant sources of natural emissions to the combined system of the atmosphere + biosphere + soils + ocean mixed layer. There are exchanges between elements of the combined system, just like there are exchanges between the two parts of the room in my analogy but those are not relevant.
    But, hey, if you want to go around spouting your crazy ideas about CO2, I won’t try to stop you. In fact, I encourage you to put them front-and-center in anything you send to policymakers, scientists, or other such informed or influential people who you choose to communicate with. It will certainly help them correctly decide how seriously to weigh your views and it will help to re-enforce the conception that AGW “skeptics” are merely people who will deny reality no matter how strong the scientific evidence is.

  415. By the way, I should add that the “conception” of AGW skeptics that I discussed in the last sentence of the last post is not one that I personally subscribe to in the absolute terms that I put it (i.e., without a qualifier like “some” or “many”). And, I am in fact happy to see some skeptics like Willis and Ferdinand take on those with more extreme views.
    If there is going to be a debate about scientific issues, it ought to be about issues where there is at least some legitimate grounds for debate (such as what the climate sensitivity is).

  416. Willis Eschenbach (18:55:35) :
    Willis: I am not talking about everything in the raw data. I am talking about the variation at the 1 year harmonic. Now, granted, my method of determining this, by eyeballing the data at the wikipedia link, was not particularly precise. To do it right, you need to estimate a PSD, and integrate the area under the curve at or around the particular harmonic, then take the square root. This gives the RMS of the sinusoid. Multiply this by square root of 2 to get amplitude.
    Your link to the HADCRUT data yielded a bunch of numbers without headers which I did not know what to make of. So, I did a PSD analysis for the most recent decade of GISTEMP. I find that the first (annual) harmonic variation is +/- 0.072 degC, not so far off from what I had assumed.
    The interesting thing, however, is there is a strong 2 year harmonic of about +/- 0.1 degC.
    The NOAA data here has strong harmonics at 1 year, 3 year, and 1 decade (!). The 1 year harmonic has amplitude of something like +/- 0.025 degC.
    If these are true global temperatures, they ought to have the same harmonic content. I am not sure what to make of this. But, strong harmonics at multiple year periods do not make a lot of sense to me, unless they are indications of periodic “adjustments”.
    The Mauna Loa CO2 data show very pronounced harmonics at 1 year and 1/2 year – that is a reasonable progression, reflecting a periodic function with fundamental harmonic at 1 year and submultiples of that period that in a standard Fourier series. The 1/2 year harmonic is about one third the amplitude of the 1 year harmonic. The first year harmonic is +/- 2.8 ppmv in amplitude.

  417. There are also obvious harmonics in the CO2 data with periods of 1/3 year, 1/4 year, and 1/5 year, but they are much smaller in comparison.

  418. Should have said:
    “But, strong harmonics at multiple year periods do not make a lot of sense to me, unless perhaps they are indications of periodic “adjustments”.”
    I do not know the reason for the outlandish behavior of the NOAA data, or of the 2-year harmonic in the GISS data.

  419. Found my problem with the GISS data – I was reading the data in column-wise rather than row-wise, so the data stream was January each year, then February each year, etc… Using absolute temperatures here, I am getting +/- 0.057 degC variation at the 1 year harmonic, and +/- 0.042 degC variation at the 1/2 year harmonic, which is roughly 2/3 of the amplitude of the first harmonic.
    The time constant of the CO2 system is rolling off frequencies at the usual -6 dB/octave, so it stands to reason the CO2 signature at the 1/2 year period would be attenuated by a factor of 2. Hence, CO2 at the second harmonic would be expected to vary at 1/3 of the first harmonic, just as has been recorded at MLO.
    I am reasonably assured this is on the right track, and if I were able to put the man-hours into it, I could gin up a reasonable case based on real world physical mathematical constraints. Not all the values should be expected to be precisely what they need to be – there are significant error bars on everything, but they are close enough, and based on actual physical constraints, and I am content. I mean, WTH, who’s going to listen to me anyway? But, maybe this will serve as inspiration for someone who understands the development, and is willing to put in the time to flesh it all out.

  420. philincalifornia (16:35:04) :
    “Bart, I haven’t read every single comment in this thread, but has anyone mentioned the slight decrease in pH, which could (would) also affect the equilibrium towards the atmospheric compartment, and could be chalked up as an anthropogenic component since it would presumably be a direct positive feedback (for CO2 levels in the atmosphere that is, just to be clear).”
    If I understand what you are getting at, I think you mean that the decrease in pH could effectively make the ocean sink progressively less able to absorb CO2?
    If so, I think that was always a possibility, and something extreme alarmists have been all but proclaiming to be gospel. But, aside from the Knorr paper, I think the regularity of the annual variation in CO2 content argues against it. If the uptake of CO2 were getting progressively more difficult, then I think those variations ought to become progressively distorted.

  421. Bart (21:11:47) :
    Yeah, I just wanted to make sure you had all bases covered (although, given that this doesn’t really address the biosphere and deforestation, there probably are other bases to cover). I have no vested interest in whether it’s 20, 40, 60, 80 or 108 (as in 388 minus the magic 280) ppm of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. My only interest, which is not particularly vested, but more instilled, is the truth, if it can be established mathematically.
    As you know, however, if it were to be established that levels over 280 ppm were only 20 ppm, 40 ppm or even 60 ppm anthropogenic, this is devastating to AGW alarmism, so this is an important line of discussion. For example, let’s say that in 150 years, we have only elevated CO2 by 60 ppm, with the rest being natural and temperature-related, the future doubling, in addition to looking extremely lame regarding climate catastrophe, is also looking extremely far away too. This, as a stand-alone fact, obviously negates the immediate need for “climate crisis” political action.
    I don’t need to tell you this. I guess I’m suggesting that you don’t give up on this thread just yet.
    My qualitative prediction for atmospheric CO2 levels in a cooling world is the same as yours. CO2 levels will go down, despite anything that happens in India and China, and Gordon Brown will have a photograph of a wind turbine on the front cover of his autobiography in … 2016.

  422. Bart (19:54:56), thanks for your reply.

    Willis Eschenbach (18:55:35) :
    Willis: I am not talking about everything in the raw data. I am talking about the variation at the 1 year harmonic. Now, granted, my method of determining this, by eyeballing the data at the wikipedia link, was not particularly precise. To do it right, you need to estimate a PSD, and integrate the area under the curve at or around the particular harmonic, then take the square root. This gives the RMS of the sinusoid. Multiply this by square root of 2 to get amplitude.
    Your link to the HADCRUT data yielded a bunch of numbers without headers which I did not know what to make of. So, I did a PSD analysis for the most recent decade of GISTEMP. I find that the first (annual) harmonic variation is +/- 0.072 degC, not so far off from what I had assumed. …

    In general, you can tell what a “bunch of numbers without headers” is by either the README file, or by looking at the page where the link is. In this case, that page says:

    File Formats
    CRUTEM3, CRUTEM3v, HadCRUT3, HadCRUT3v, Absolute ASCII file format

    for year = 1850 to endyear
    for month = 1 to 12 (or less in endyear)
    format(2i6) year, month
    for row = 1 to 36 (85-90N,80-85N,75-70N,…75-80S,80-85S,85-90S)
    format(72(e10.3,1x)) 180W-175W,175W-170W,…,175-180E

    Data represent temperature anomalies wrt 1961-90 °C
    Missing values represented by -1.000e+30
    Absolute is just the twelve monthly averages for 1961-90: there are no years

    In other words, there are 12 data blocks, each of which is 36 rows by 72 columns. Each data point represents a 5°x5° gridcell, as specified above.
    In general, absolute values are not used in climate science. Instead, what are given are the differences between the actual value, and the average value for that period.
    As you might imagine, the variation in anomaly values are generally much smaller than the actual absolute values. For example, as I pointed out before, the average global January temperature is 12.1C. So if a particular January comes in at 12.2C, this would be posted as an anomaly of “+0.1C”.
    Your problem is that you are comparing apples (absolute CO2 values) and oranges (anomaly temperature values). This appears to have led you down a variety of wild and wonderful pathways, tracing out patterns and harmonics that are meaningless because you are not looking at the actual absolute data. Instead, you are looking at anomalies.
    Here’s the thing — the anomalies have the monthly average value removed. That’s why they don’t go up in the summer and down in the winter. That’s why they only vary a few tenths of a degree, instead of three degrees. That’s why they don’t show an annual harmonic. You have made a very simple, fundamental mistake (using anomalies instead of absolute values) which has rendered all of your subsequent calculations incorrect.
    You think that because GISTEMP agrees with you about the ~ 0.1C variation, that means something. But they only agree because GISTEMP is anomalies as well. They say:

    Our analysis concerns only temperature anomalies, not absolute temperature.

    I say again, the annual global temperature variation is not a tenth of a degree as you keep claiming. That is the variation in the anomaly. The temperature variation is about three degrees. Re-run your interesting analysis with the values I give above, and let us know your results. If you need a historical absolute series, merely add the anomaly for each month to the absolute value for that month.
    All the best,
    w.

  423. Two more comments.
    Willis Eschenbach (18:55:35) :
    “According to HadCRUT, the actual global average temperatures (1961-1990 avg) are:
    Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec
    12.1, 12.2, 12.9, 13.9, 14.9, 15.6, 15.9, 15.7, 15.1, 14.1, 13.0, 12.4”

    I think the GISS data is an “anomaly” whereby the base period variation is taken out. So, would that invalidate my thesis? Not necessarily. What I have written as S*dT is kind of like my value of Ko, where I have assumed S is the dc gain of a linear operator. However, it was justified for the operation K[adot] ~ Ko*adot because adot is very low frequency. However, since dT has strong components at dc, as well as at the frequency of one cycle per year and its higher harmonics, that is not generally the same, and I really do need S to be a frequency dependent operator.
    So, the model has to be more like
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot + So*dTo + S1*dT1 + S2*dT2 + …
    where dT0, dT1,dT2… is the harmonic expansion of dT, and So, S1, S2,… are constants representing the gain of the operator at the specific frequency.
    In estimating the 1st harmonic sensitivity, I found S1 to be about 189 ppmv/deg_C. However, it may be more on the order of 1/20th of that, which would give it the required sensitivity to the absolute variation in dT. Is it possible for such convenient happenstance to occur?
    Actually, yes it is. It is well know in systems theory that, to precisely compensate and regulate a known disturbance, it is necessary to have an internal model in the loop. This internal model varies in such a way as to cancel out the disturbance precisely. For example, a PID controller is insensitive, in the steady state, to a constant disturbance, because the “I” part of the controller is an integral, which is an internal model of a constant. (What I define as “the steady state” here is a time interval which depends on the gain of the internal model.)
    Do we have an internal model of yearly variation in the CO2 loop? Yes, we do, at the very least in the yearly cycle of biomass growth and decay. This internal model could act to compensate the yearly variation precisely, so that the net sensitivity to temperature variation could be to temperature anomaly, rather than to the absolute variation, and the manifestation of this regulation could be an effective degaining of S1 by precisely the ratio of temperature anomaly amplitude to absolute temperature variational amplitude at that frequency. It would be no accident – an internal model in a stable control loop naturally converges to the correct offset for exact compensation. But, if the effective gain is low, it would take a while to reconverge to a changed input, and the system would then effectively be disturbed only by the anomaly.
    Sound far fetched? Admittedly, it is only conjecture at this time. But, it is on far firmer ground than the idea of decoupled dynamics for anthropogenic and natural CO2 emissions. It is actually a well worn concept in control theory, as to which the ubiquity of the “PID” control loop attests.
    I want to make it clear, though: There are two threads running here. One is, can we attribute the rise in CO2 solely to anthropogenic sources? I am convinced we cannot, and that the attempts to do so by arbitrarily decoupling the dynamics of the anthropogenic and natural CO2 are so much blowing smoke.
    The other thread is, can we reasonably extend the model I have put forward to explain the rise in CO2 as a result of the rise in temperature? I believe we can, but my efforts to do so have not progressed nearly so far, and the mechanism by which it does so may not be immediately apparent. Stay tuned, probably on another board sometime. This one is well past its “sell by” date.

  424. philincalifornia (22:02:26) :
    Thanks for your support. It is nice to know at least one person is listening in who knows where I am coming from, and to whom the things I am stating are common experience, rather than unfathomable gibberish.

  425. A note: the “gains” S1, S2, … in the model above would be, in general, 1 X 2 matrices, and dT1, dT2, .. 2 X 1 vectors consisting of the sine and cosine components of the Fourier series. Or, S1, S2,… could be complex, with dT1, dT2… also complex, and C would be the “real” output of the model. Put in other terms, S1, S2,… would have both gain and phase characteristics.

  426. Eric (skeptic) (18:50:35) :
    Ferdinand has ice core data that he showed me once a while back (somewhere in Greenland, forgot where) but it had something like 10’s of years resolution thanks to lots of snow causing the air pockets to lock up a lot faster. Maybe he can dredge up a temperature sensitivity estimate from that data. Also would be interesting to see a C13/C12 ratio sensitivity to temperature from the ice cores.
    Hi Eric, as far as I remember, the ice core measurements were from Antarctica, as CO2 levels from Greenland are unreliable due to acids/carbonate deposits from the Iceland volcanoes, which causes in situ CO2 production… The highest accumulation cores are from Law Dome, more towards the Antarctic coast. That makes that they show a very good resolution (2 cores – 8 years average for the past 150 years) to moderate (1 core – 40 years average for the past 1,000 years). The combined graph for the past 1,000 years is here:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_001kyr_large.jpg
    There is a some dip in the period 1600-1800 of about 6 ppmv in the finest resolution cores, which points to the colder LIA (CO2 lagging temperature with 50-100 years in this case). Depending of which temperature reconstruction you use, the largest difference between MWP and LIA was about 0.8 K (Esper, Moberg), thus that gives a CO2 sensitivity of about 8 ppmv/K in line with the ice core of Vostok for much longer time periods. Other reconstructions show smaller temperature variations MWP-LIA, but that are e.g. Mann’s hockeystick, I don’t think that one is very reliable…
    The d13C/12C ratio is interesting too, as that shows a similar trend. Here the trend for the past 400 years, both in the oceans as in the ice cores + firn + atmosphere:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif
    Over the past 23,000 years, that is from the coldest part of the previous glacial until now:
    http://epic.awi.de/Publications/Khl2004e.pdf
    The change in temperature LGM-Holocene (5 K?) gives a change of about + 0.4 per mil, probably due to increasing vegetation growth at higher temperatures.
    The d13C values in the atmosphere didn’t change much in the past 10,000 years (around -6.4 per mil), except for some temperature (vegetation growth) influence of about +/- 0.2 per mil. Since about 1800, levels in the atmosphere dropped to -8 per mil and the upper level oceans from near +5 to less than +4 per mil nowadays.
    Thus the general conclusion from both CO2 levels and 13C/12C ratio’s is that the current increase in CO2 and the decrease of d13C is not induced by temperature variations.

  427. philincalifornia (16:35:04) :
    If you start from first principles, Bart has shown that you can achieve the same result (the one that is observed) as you can by assuming that all of the increase is due to anthropogenic emissions then back-filling the rate constants to fit the conclusion. The latter is a circular argument.
    Indeed it is circular reasoning to use the rate constants, but what Bart shows doesn’t fit any of the observations, not even the increase in the atmosphere in constant ratio with the human emissions, without invoking some impossible feedback. That is a practical problem for a theoretical solution. Thus the theoretical solution is wrong…
    Bart, I haven’t read every single comment in this thread, but has anyone mentioned the slight decrease in pH, which could (would) also affect the equilibrium towards the atmospheric compartment, and could be chalked up as an anthropogenic component since it would presumably be a direct positive feedback (for CO2 levels in the atmosphere that is, just to be clear
    In the latest discussions I had with other non-human CO2 increase enthousiasts, this seems the new argument to show that the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to the lowering pH in the oceans. That may have been caused by some unknown undersea volcanic release of a lot of acids… Besides that it should be highly synchronised to human CO2 releases, that is not very likely: a decrease in pH due to adding a non-CO2 acid shifts the equilibrium in seawater from carbonate to bicarbonate to CO2. As CO2 pressure increases, more is released to the atmosphere. As result, the total sum of CO2 + bi + carbonate (= dissolved inorganic carbon, DIC) reduces, because less bi/carbonate is left when more CO2 escapes to the atmosphere. But we see the reverse: DIC increased over the past decades. Thus more CO2 entered the oceans, and that is the cause of the (very slight) decrease of pH… See:
    http://www.bios.edu/Labs/co2lab/research/IntDecVar_OCC.html

  428. Bart (15:12:10) :
    Ferdinand Engelbeen (14:22:04) :
    Let me put the temperature dependent part back into my equation
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot + S*dT
    You will recall from earlier I left this out because, I said, this does not affect the sensitivity to adot. It does, however, affect the calculation of the magnitude of the time constant, because of the cyclical temperature dependence you have brought up.

    I think you have misunderstand this, the temperature dependency is already in the factor adot, where you presume that adot is (currently) only 3% of the total inflow. The natural inflow of about 150 GtC is what is temperature dependent and mainly occurs as result of upper ocean temperatures in one direction and vegetation growth in the other direction, that is simply pumping CO2 from/to other compartiments, without draining anything (as Joel already said). In the bathtube example, that is the effect of a seasonal heating and cooling of the bathtube in separate compartiments. That doesn’t affect the average real, natural release/drain speed, which is much lower, unknown, and largely what is going into the deep oceans near the poles and comes out again near the equator.
    That is what we (Joel and I) try to show you. Thus your adot is not 0.03 but may be 0.5 or 2.0 or… That makes that you need to recalculate the rest of the equations too (and you may assume Ko = 0 for my part…).
    Further, far more important, my impression still is that you reverse cause and effect: if you add CO2 to the atmosphere, that isn’t added in ratio to the other inputs. It simply is added 100% to the atmosphere. As that increases the C – Co difference, the sinks increase in ratio to the increase/previous difference. Not the reverse, that the inflow rate dictates the increase in the atmosphere… Thus in this case, after one year:
    Cdot = (Co – (C + Cem))/tau = (580 – (808))/55 = -4.15 GtC which means that of the original 8 GtC added, some 3.85 GtC remains in the atmosphere. For adot (assuming Ko = 0), that means that adot is about halve the original equilibrium flows. But that is mainly of academical interest, as we do know tau, C, Co and Cem with reasonable accuracy. Thus we don’t need to know or estimate the real natural in or outflows.
    The rise in global temperature since 1970 has been about 0.6 degC. This suggests, according to the equation above, that atmospheric CO2 concentration should have increased about 0.6*189 = 113 ppmv. Anthropogenic forcing should have contributed about 0.015*280 = 4.2 ppmv (I used 1.5% instead of 3% because anthropogenic production has actually been ramping up to 3%, and has not been 3% all the time). So, we have a total expected delta of about 117 ppmv from a base of 280 ppmv, or 397 ppmv.
    A little overblown and it doesn’t fit reality. The 189 ppmv/K is far too high. The actual global change over the seasons is about 3 ppmv for 1 K increase, mainly as result of the NH (land) temperature swings. See:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
    and
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/seas_cycle.html (just push on show map), thus 3 ppmv/K.
    Further, the direct influence of temperature on the increase/sink rate of CO2 around the trend is about 4 ppmv/K, see:
    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2vsTMacRae.pdf
    And from the past 1,000 years to the 800,000 years old ice cores, the ratio between temperature and CO2 level changes is about 8 ppmv/K, if the temperature difference is maintained for hundreds to thousands of years. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/Vostok_trends.gif
    Moreover, there are two periods in the recent past where temperatures were flat/decreased: 1945-1975 and 2000-now. In both periods CO2 increased and still increases in ratio with the emissions, even while temperature/CO2 correlations went negative… See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/temp_emiss_increase.jpg
    Not too shabby, given all the approximations I have made. It follows that, if temperatures genuinely start to decline, after 2-6 years lag time (3 time constants is commonly referred to as “settling time” in systems theory), you should expect to see the CO2 levels decline as well.
    I shouldn’t hold my breath until that happens… ever.

  429. In Joel Shore (19:32:05) we read “It will certainly help them correctly decide how seriously to weigh your views and it will help to re-enforce the conception that AGW “skeptics” are merely people who will deny reality no matter how strong the scientific evidence is.”
    As you know Joel, sometimes reality is simple and sometimes it is not. Sometimes we interpret evidence in such a way as to make reality look simpler than it really is.
    Then you said “I am in fact happy to see some skeptics like Willis and Ferdinand take on those with more extreme views.” Not only that, you show up on these threads to take on those extreme views yourself. So you are not just happy to see solid science, but you are contributing to it. In this particular case the reality of manmade emission in the multi-hundred Gt range (carbon) and corresponding CO2 and corresponding rise in atmospheric CO2.
    But allow me a tiny tangent now. The CAGW believers point to models of aerosols as delaying warming. They point to warming of deep ocean as delaying atmospheric warming. They point out positive feedback in models, and also in measurements, some of which are adjusted using models. They make conclusions about sensitivity and then put forth theories of rapid ice melt and catastrophe.
    How much of this is based on reality? Strip away the models and speculation and their own denial of reality (e.g. recent slowing of Greenland’s glaciers) and there are few direct measurements of reality. Yet there are many claims that people who deny CAGW are denying reality. You imply that you would hope that the bad science (the clearly denying reality kind) get mixed and conflated with the legitimate scientific disputes over models or complex measurements (e.g. UTWV). But I don’t think that will advance the overall cause of science. I believe it has harmed science and one of the results is reactionary bad science.
    OTOH, what you are doing here, at least in this thread is useful and good for science, so please keep it up.

  430. Bart, I don’t get it.
    You first claim that the sensitivity of CO2 to temperature is 189 ppmv per degree Celsius. On this basis, you say that as soon as temperature starts to fall, so will CO2 … a reasonable claim based on your numbers, if they were correct..
    Joel and Ferdinand and I point out that your numbers are in error by a couple of orders of magnitude, and that the actual sensitivity to temperature is only 1 ppmv per degree Celsius or less.
    You claim this makes no difference to your thesis, saying:

    I think the GISS data is an “anomaly” whereby the base period variation is taken out. So, would that invalidate my thesis? Not necessarily.

    If you truly think that an error of two orders of magnitude in your main variable doesn’t invalidate your thesis, I fear I can’t help you. This is especially true since in addition to the incorrect magnitude, your error entirely removes the annual variation which is the basis of your claims.
    Here’s the best response in your situation. Say ‘Ooops, I was looking at the wrong data. My bad, my conclusions were wrong. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, better luck next time.’ If you do that, you look like a scientist.
    Any other response, like ‘I made a major foolish error but I’m still right, it doesn’t invalidate my thesis’, merely marks you as a fanatic rather than someone seeking the truth.
    My best wishes to you,
    w.

  431. Bart came in here professing to be a systems theorist with the mathematical model of the CO2 cycle which experimental data must agree with or be wrong! Despite the fact that he doesn’t understand the physical chemistry of the system (and having it explained to him, notably by Ferdinand) he bashed on regardless!
    I’ll try one more time, the ocean/atmosphere exchange of CO2 can reasonably be approximated by Henry’s Law, p=k*c, where p is the partial pressure of the gas, c the concentration of the dissolved gas in the liquid phase and k the coefficient (depends on temperature).
    So for a fixed volume of gas in equilibrium with a fixed volume of water the mass of the solute in the gas phase will have a constant ratio with the mass of solute in the liquid phase. A consequence of this is that new solute is added to the gas phase it will distribute itself between the two phases in the same ratio. Knorr’s findings illustrate that this is indeed true for CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere/ocean system. Note that because the total mass of solute in the system has increased the equilibrium concentration in each phase has increased too, this is the fatal flaw of Bart’s model, he assumes that the equilibrium concentration must stay the same and that the system is ‘trying’ to return to that concentration whereas it is actually ‘trying’ to maintain the same ratio of CO2 between the phases. Since k is a function of T if temperature varies then the setpoint also varies, this sensitivity must be small because the annual fluctuation of CO2 is small as Ferdinand has pointed out (189ppm/K would be totally impossible).
    The conclusion to be drawn from Knorr’s paper is that the system is consistent with a dominant exchange between the ocean and atmosphere which can be well described by a Henry’s Law model over a multi-decadal time scale between the atmosphere and an oceanic mixed layer to which CO2 is steadily being added with a small scale temperature fluctuation.
    This does not precluded longer term exchange with the deep ocean or the solid state (CaCO3).

  432. Ferdinand Engelbeen (07:37:45) :
    “I think you have misunderstand this, the temperature dependency is already in the factor adot, where you presume that adot is (currently) only 3% of the total inflow.”
    I think there may have been some confusion in my nomenclature, “adot” refers solely to anthropogenic input. I presume adot is currently only 3% of the total inflow because that is what the IPCC says. The question, which you have brought to the fore, is: what is the definition of that total inflow within my model?
    “The natural inflow of about 150 GtC is what is temperature dependent and mainly occurs as result of upper ocean temperatures in one direction and vegetation growth in the other direction, that is simply pumping CO2 from/to other compartiments, without draining anything (as Joel already said).”
    My problem with this thesis has always been that you have never suggested a mechanism by which such an independent cycle could be achieved and maintained. “Equilibrium is never achieved by luck” has been my mantra. You may not have noticed, but at Bart (23:07:49), I gave you a mechanism by which such a cycle could be established and maintained with minimal regulatory input.
    It is a rather advanced mechanism, and one I doubt has been considered explicitly and in all of its ramifications. There are fundamental limits, also, on how such a mechanism can function while maintaining overall stability. I still do not believe that it dominates to the degree needed to attribute the full 30% rise in CO2 of the last 50 years to anthropogenic causes, but I do believe it could allow substantially more of a contribution than 3%.
    I have not sorted out all of the ramifications, myself, yet. Nor do I expect I will for some time – I do have a job and a living to make. I would advise withholding final judgment until I can get back to you with something more meaty to sink your teeth into ;-).
    Willis Eschenbach (08:41:28) :
    “Say ‘Ooops, I was looking at the wrong data. My bad, my conclusions were wrong. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, better luck next time.’ If you do that, you look like a scientist.”
    Quite the opposite. I have put forward a plausible mechanism by which the sensitivity to temperature cycles can be substantially attenuated, and my thinking is evolving as I digest the ramifications of that mechanism. Indeed, it must be significantly attenuated based on the empirical evidence. We have CO2 variation on the order of +/- 3 ppmv, and we have absolute temperature variation on the order of +/- 2 degC.
    A scientist does not throw up his hands and say “my initial hypothesis was not entirely on the mark, so I give up – it cannot be explained”. A scientist looks for new possibilities, within the realm of the possible and the plausible, by which he can explain the discrepancy.
    Phil. (09:20:29) :
    The model hasn’t changed. It is fundamental. The interpretation of the model, and the assignation of parameter values, is all that will, or can, change.
    I do not understand this impulse to shut down debate before full understanding has been achieved. For a child, it would not be unexpected, but you would expect one’s outlook to evolve as one reaches adulthood.

  433. Bart (11:44:30) :
    Phil. (09:20:29) :
    The model hasn’t changed. It is fundamental. The interpretation of the model, and the assignation of parameter values, is all that will, or can, change.

    It’s fundamentally wrong, that’s your problem which you’re apparently incapable of realizing.
    I do not understand this impulse to shut down debate before full understanding has been achieved. For a child, it would not be unexpected, but you would expect one’s outlook to evolve as one reaches adulthood.
    No one’s trying to shut down debate, just trying to avoid wasting time down a blind alley. Your resort to childish insults when the flaws in your model are pointed out doesn’t help your case.

  434. Phil. (12:51:52) :
    It was a mistake to recognize your input. I won’t make it again. You have nothing of value to add to the conversation. Go fling your feces over at Tamino, or wherever you like to hang out with other small minded folk.

  435. I hope more thoughtful others recognize that I am actually flinging a lifeline to rescue Joel and Ferdinand from their own folly.
    The only way to satisfy their demand for an uncoupled, steady state CO2 cycle is via an internal model feedback, which effectively notches out the response to the full temperature variation in the CO2 response. You can doubt the existence of such feedback, or support Joel and Ferdinand’s interpretation, but not both. They are mutually exclusive. A steady state independent cycle cannot happen by luck. Something has to get it going and keep it going.

  436. “They are mutually exclusive.”
    Which is to say, Joel and Ferdinand’s conception of a steady state cycle is equivalent to saying there is an internal model feedback.
    “…which effectively notches out the response to the full temperature variation in the CO2 response.”
    This is a necessary consequence of such a feedback.

  437. Bart (14:21:10) :
    A steady state independent cycle cannot happen by luck. Something has to get it going and keep it going.
    They call that the THC, the thermohaline circulation. Kept going by the fact that the sun shines and the earth rotates…

  438. Ferdinand Engelbeen (15:30:09) :
    “They call that the THC, the thermohaline circulation. Kept going by the fact that the sun shines and the earth rotates…”
    In that case, the dynamics are not decoupled, and you do not get more than 3.1% (with appropriate error bars) rise due to anthropogenic forcing.

  439. I hope there is no perception that I have somehow conceded that my model results were wrong. The question of using absolute temperature variation versus temperature anomaly variation only affects the calculation of the sensitivity factor S1. The actual value of that parameter was immaterial to the conclusion drawn – the variation in CO2 was still +/- 3 ppmv regardless. At that point, it was just a number.
    The part where I got into trouble was saying that, if you used the value I had derived of S1 for S0, then you could also explain the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration as a consequence of the rise in temperature. But, if S0 = S1, and S1 is the sensitivity to absolute temperature variation, then S0 is too small to do that. If, however, S1 = S0*N, where N is the gain of a notch filter at the yearly cycle, then S0 still could be large enough.
    That led me to realize that a notch filter would be the natural consequence of an internal model feedback, and I could still get the value of S0 I desire. But, the wrench in this is that it would allow a decoupling of the anthropogenic and natural dynamics such as Ferdinand and Joel have been insisting upon without physical justification, and the upshot there would likely be a stronger role for anthropogenic CO2 in the observed rise.
    I think it is likely that the ultimate fallout will be both: there will plausibly be a stronger than 3% role for anthropogenic forcing in the observed rise, but this will also necessarily dictate a greater role for temperature forcing of the CO2 level than has previously been accepted.

  440. Bart says:

    But, the wrench in this is that it would allow a decoupling of the anthropogenic and natural dynamics such as Ferdinand and Joel have been insisting upon without physical justification, and the upshot there would likely be a stronger role for anthropogenic CO2 in the observed rise.

    We have given you lots of physical justification for the accepted picture of what is going on, along with lots of analogies, and discussion of the underlying mathematics. You have just chosen to ignore them.
    At any rate, I am glad that you seem to be coming around at least somewhat in your thinking. Perhaps you’ve realized the error of making arrogant statements like “I guess mathematics doesn’t reflect reality after all” when people challenge the reality of your model? It is always good to approach science with a healthy dose of humility and a realization that you have thought about the problem a lot less than those who have been working on it for a long time…and that many of them are at least as intelligent and knowledgeable as you are.

  441. Bart (11:44:30)


    Willis Eschenbach (08:41:28) :

    “Say ‘Ooops, I was looking at the wrong data. My bad, my conclusions were wrong. Nothing to see here, folks, move along, better luck next time.’ If you do that, you look like a scientist.”

    Quite the opposite. I have put forward a plausible mechanism by which the sensitivity to temperature cycles can be substantially attenuated, and my thinking is evolving as I digest the ramifications of that mechanism. Indeed, it must be significantly attenuated based on the empirical evidence. We have CO2 variation on the order of +/- 3 ppmv, and we have absolute temperature variation on the order of +/- 2 degC.
    A scientist does not throw up his hands and say “my initial hypothesis was not entirely on the mark, so I give up – it cannot be explained”. A scientist looks for new possibilities, within the realm of the possible and the plausible, by which he can explain the discrepancy.

    Not entirely on the mark???
    Your calculations were out by two freakin’ orders of magnitude, and on my planet that is a total miss. Yet your model was in complete harmony with that totally incorrect calculation.
    Now you say it makes no difference … m’kay. But if your model is untouched and unaffected by your error of two orders of magnitude, you have more problems than I can help you with.
    I’m not asking you to throw up your hands and quit. I am saying that the mechanism that you were so sure of, the mechanism that you were willing to insult people to defend, was wrong by two orders of magnitude. In order for you to rescue a shred of credibility, you need to start by acknowledging that you were emphatically proclaiming that you were right, right, right, when in fact you were ludicrously wrong, wrong, wrong. “Not entirely on the mark” doesn’t do it. The reality is you were two orders of magnitude wide of the mark from a newbie error. Trying to peanut butter over that crack and then rushing to impress us with your new you-beaut theory won’t get you any traction.

  442. Willis Eschenbach (20:18:19) :
    Suppose we have two numbers, x and y, and I say they are constrained by the equation
    x + y = 5
    Let’s say I suggest “one solution could be x = 1 and y = 4, then you come back and say “we know x is greater than 2, so your equation is bunk. That is tantamount to what you are claiming here.
    Joel Shore (19:20:02) :
    We have given you lots of physical justification for the accepted picture of what is going on, along with lots of analogies, and discussion of the underlying mathematics. You have just chosen to ignore them.”
    That is because you have not proposed any rigorous mathematics. You are just hand-waving and guessing at how you think the system mighta’ oughta’ kinda’ work.
    For the rest, you have misinterpreted my comments, but I don’t really see the point of pursuing it right now.

  443. Let me try to lay this out for you all one more time:
    1) Ferdinand’s suggestion was that the 3% figure for adot was for 3% of more than just Co/tau, but also had to take into account natural flows
    2) I showed that, even taking these into account, the figure barely budged. This conclusion was based on the observed CO2 yearly variation, and was in no way dependent on the sensitivity parameter
    3) Entirely apart from this exercise, I erroneously noted that the sensitivity parameter was quite large, and hastily proclaimed that this, then, could also account for the secular variation in CO2 from temperature forcing
    4) Willis noted that my calculation of the sensitivity parameter was way too large, so I could no longer claim the secular variation in CO2 was from temperature forcing from that calculation – that is all it meant
    5) I found, however, a striking (to me) correlation between the temperature anomaly and the first and second harmonic amplitudes of CO2 variation. I then cast about for a way to rescue the notion that the sensitivity was to temperature anomaly, rather than absolute temperature variation
    6) Based upon my experience in designing actual control systems for working real-world systems, I realized that this was possible if I inserted an internal model into the feedback loop. I then considered that deciduous plants and other biota do, in fact, internalize the yearly clock and might behave in a manner representative of such a feedback mechanism. I then realized that this did give Joel and Ferdinand a potential out – that such a feedback mechanism could perhaps set up a decoupled exchange system which could be considered independent of the anthropogenic cycle.
    It goes without saying that, even though such feedback mechanisms are routinely designed into working feedback systems, the likelihood of a similar and substantial climate feedback mechanism is remote. But, it still allows the possibility, however slim, that such feedback action could exist, and that could tie everything up into a neat, tidy ball: the otherwise mysterious rise in CO2 concentrations, the observable variations in temperature and CO2 fluctuations… everything.
    7) I now wish to delve into this subject, and determine whether there is any plausibility in the concept at all. But, my previous conclusions still hold:
    A) the sensitivity of the CO2 dynamics to anthropogenic forcing can be determined by the equation
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    We do not need to have the temperature forcing in this equation because it is a linear system, and superposition holds. Temperature dynamics can affect the values of tau and Ko, but that is already here.
    B) Including temperature dynamics leads to an equation of the form
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*tau + S0*dT0 + S1*dT1 + S2*dT2 + …
    Any linear dynamics, including the potential internal model feedback of which I have spoken, can be included by the appropriate evaluation of the sensitivities Ko, S0, S1, S2, …
    C) Any real world dynamics must be able to be expressed in this form in a local operating regime. Any hypothetical dynamics which do not, in some representation, conform to this model are invalid.

  444. “I then realized that this did give Joel and Ferdinand a potential out – that such a feedback mechanism could perhaps set up a decoupled exchange system which could be considered independent of the anthropogenic cycle.”
    However, since the feedback, if there is any, depends on a small subset of links in the carbon cycle chain, it is almost certain that it is not sufficient to entirely, or even mostly, decouple the anthropogenic and natural forcing.
    That is my position as of now. If anyone still has gripes with it, I apologize for not being able to make it clear enough for you. And now, I really must say au revoir to this thread.

  445. Bart (23:26:29) :
    Ferdinand’s suggestion was that the 3% figure for adot was for 3% of more than just Co/tau, but also had to take into account natural flows
    Last time now, until the moment you are able to give us the results of your “model” which fits all known observations (including measured increase and d13C decrease in the atmosphere and oceans in ratio with the emissions…) here my take on what is reality based.
    Starting with your formula:
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot
    adot is near independent from temperature. That is the THC: at the upwelling side temperature hardly change the deep ocean CO2 surplus release and at the downwelling side, there is no temperature change, only a shift of where the downwelling will take place (at the edge of the sea ice). The main change is from the overall pressure increase, which is directly related to the emissions. The original downwelling flows are largely unknown and probably small. Thus again (seems very hard to bring into your head): the human emissions are not 3% of the pressure dependent source/sink flows, they may be 50% or 200%. The measured pressure effect (over the past 160 years!) is an increase of 50% of the human addition.
    Besides that, we have the temperature dependent seasonal and multi-year flows. These are massive flows with little effect on pressure. In general 3 ppmv/K for seasonal and 4-8 ppmv/K for (multi-year to multi-millennia) temperature changes.
    Thus we have two equilibrium reactions: the temperature influence which mainly changes Co with a small pressure shift and huge flow changes between carbon compartments (biosphere and upper oceans) for a small temperature change and a pressure related equilibrium which has a small effect on temperature and flows (between atmosphere and deep oceans), but a huge effect on pressure. These two equilibrium reactions and their related flows are largely (but not completely) decoupled.
    Thus the combined formula is (assuming that Ko is low, compared to the influence of dT):
    Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + adot + F(dT)
    Further, as the emissions are not a constant addition over time, but a (near) constant increasing addition, adot isn’t applicable but instead of that, one may assume a rise in constant ratio to the addition. In fact what was found by Knorr… Thus the realistic, empirical formula that covers the increase over the past 160 years to over 800,000 years is:
    Cdot = 0.55*Cem + 4*dT
    Where 4*dT must be expanded to 8*dT for (very) long time periods of changed temperature.
    Thus please come back when you have figured out that your model fits reality (quantities and isotope ratio’s). Only then we can have a fruitfull further discussion…

  446. Ferdinand I agree with what you said above with one further point about the equation Cdot = (Co-C)/tau + (1+Ko)*adot.
    The real problem with this is the Co term which takes no account of the solution/dissolution process, this term should be Ctotal/(1+k) where Ctotal is the total CO2 present in the atmosphere/mixed ocean layer and k is a Henry’s Law coeff. Assuming a starting equilibrium with Co in the atmosphere the initial Ctotal = Co(1+k) but this term grows with time as follows:
    Ctotal = Co(1+k)+∫adot
    The temperature dependence enters via k and there is no need for the Ko term.
    With that change that formula might come reasonably close to reality.

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