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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slow to follow
January 1, 2010 10:20 am

Does anybody know if there is a replacement CO2 sensing satellite in the works?:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5796656.ece

Marcus
January 1, 2010 10:27 am

I am not surprised
take a look at this side
http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

January 1, 2010 10:29 am

Le Chatlier strikes again!

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 10:32 am

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 🙂

Mark
January 1, 2010 10:37 am

see whut story link not working 🙂

January 1, 2010 10:40 am

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

Editor
January 1, 2010 10:40 am

WUWT was the first to cover it, and I may have been the first to point that out!
/brag_off

Invariant
January 1, 2010 10:44 am

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?

Not Amused
January 1, 2010 10:54 am

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.

PJB
January 1, 2010 11:03 am

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.”

Michael
January 1, 2010 11:07 am
NZ Willy
January 1, 2010 11:11 am

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.

January 1, 2010 11:13 am

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.

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 11:16 am

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

rbateman
January 1, 2010 11:16 am

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.

JonesII
January 1, 2010 11:17 am

So what?…we just don´t care after “Climate-Gate”!

P Gosselin
January 1, 2010 11:23 am

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.

kadaka
January 1, 2010 11:26 am

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.

January 1, 2010 11:31 am

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

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 11:31 am

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.

JonesII
January 1, 2010 11:33 am

Less CO2 less intelligent species, more abundancy of Gaia believers.

Robuk
January 1, 2010 11:46 am

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

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 11:48 am

“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.

Bart
January 1, 2010 11:50 am

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?

Ron de Haan
January 1, 2010 11:52 am

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.

DirkH
January 1, 2010 11:57 am

“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?

January 1, 2010 11:59 am

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.

kwik
January 1, 2010 12:03 pm

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

rbateman
January 1, 2010 12:08 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 12:13 pm

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.

Squidly
January 1, 2010 12:13 pm

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.

Squidly
January 1, 2010 12:17 pm

Oh, further, Burt Rutan also has a complete video series on AGW here.

Jimbo
January 1, 2010 12:18 pm

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(

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 12:19 pm

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?

Invariant
January 1, 2010 12:20 pm

Robuk (11:46:24) : The frost fairs on the thames,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_frost_fairs

Thanks Robuk. Interesting reading!

AnonyMoose
January 1, 2010 12:21 pm

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.

Mapou
January 1, 2010 12:21 pm

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.

kadaka
January 1, 2010 12:23 pm

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?

Glenn
January 1, 2010 12:28 pm

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.

Invariant
January 1, 2010 12:31 pm

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

snowmaneasy
January 1, 2010 12:39 pm

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….

Joel Shore
January 1, 2010 12:41 pm

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”.

DirkH
January 1, 2010 12:43 pm

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

DesertYote
January 1, 2010 12:44 pm

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).

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 12:47 pm

Kadaka, Glenn,
Ooppss, yes, my mistake. Got my articles mixed up…

Syl
January 1, 2010 12:48 pm

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!

thecomputerguy
January 1, 2010 12:51 pm

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.

snowmaneasy
January 1, 2010 12:51 pm

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…..

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 12:52 pm

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?

rbateman
January 1, 2010 12:52 pm

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.’

January 1, 2010 12:52 pm

Well, that’s not going to stop the Aussie moonbats. They got an early start on 2010.
http://tinyurl.com/ya4zx9g

Invariant
January 1, 2010 12:54 pm

Squidly (12:13:52) : A bit off topic, but I have a lot of respect for Burt Rutan
It’s interesting to see that Burt Rutan gives an estimate for thermal time constant of the oceans:
Also, the oceans take 30 to 100 years to react to atmospheric temperature changes http://rps3.com/Pages/Burt_Rutan_on_Climate_Change.htm
Do you know what is the origin of this estimate?

January 1, 2010 12:54 pm

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.

Richard Sharpe
January 1, 2010 12:55 pm

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.

kwik
January 1, 2010 12:56 pm

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?

rabidfox
January 1, 2010 1:01 pm

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

John Finn
January 1, 2010 1:01 pm

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.

Editor
January 1, 2010 1:04 pm

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.

Syl
January 1, 2010 1:05 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 1:08 pm

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.

snowmaneasy
January 1, 2010 1:12 pm

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……

Invariant
January 1, 2010 1:13 pm

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!

photon without a Higgs
January 1, 2010 1:13 pm

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!!!

Dan Hughes
January 1, 2010 1:17 pm

Yes, it was an exercise in model Validation: and the models weren’t.

Syl
January 1, 2010 1:24 pm

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!

John M
January 1, 2010 1:28 pm

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

Joel Shore
January 1, 2010 1:33 pm

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.

rbateman
January 1, 2010 1:34 pm

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.

Richard Saumarez
January 1, 2010 1:34 pm

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.

DirkH
January 1, 2010 1:35 pm

“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.

Joel Shore
January 1, 2010 1:36 pm

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.

Bart
January 1, 2010 1:38 pm

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.

Peter Hearnden
January 1, 2010 1:39 pm

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….

Tom P
January 1, 2010 1:43 pm

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 ]

Jeff
January 1, 2010 1:46 pm

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 …

January 1, 2010 1:48 pm

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!”

January 1, 2010 1:52 pm

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?

January 1, 2010 1:53 pm

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.

Joel Shore
January 1, 2010 1:53 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 1:53 pm

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.

JonesII
January 1, 2010 1:54 pm

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! .

DirkH
January 1, 2010 1:56 pm

“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.

DirkH
January 1, 2010 2:03 pm

“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?

Spector
January 1, 2010 2:03 pm

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)

January 1, 2010 2:04 pm

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;

Greg
January 1, 2010 2:08 pm

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?

Joel Shore
January 1, 2010 2:08 pm

Jeff says:

so we take temperature readings from thousands of sites to get a global average temp but for CO2 we use ONE site in Hawaii ?

Actually, we don’t… http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/

DirkH
January 1, 2010 2:11 pm

Here’s a pic from wikipedia showing the rise of CO2 emissions
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type_to_Y2004.png
and it looks nowhere like the Keeling curve; also from wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mauna_Loa_Carbon_Dioxide-en.svg
Wonder how warmists explain that away. I’m too lazy to do a statistical analysis myself, i mean it’s flogging a dead horse really. It’s just broken.

Joel Shore
January 1, 2010 2:15 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 2:16 pm

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)

joshua corning
January 1, 2010 2:22 pm

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.

JDN
January 1, 2010 2:22 pm

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.

Bart
January 1, 2010 2:22 pm

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.

kwik
January 1, 2010 2:27 pm

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?

January 1, 2010 2:30 pm

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

rbateman
January 1, 2010 2:40 pm

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.

Editor
January 1, 2010 2:41 pm

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.

DesertYote
January 1, 2010 2:45 pm

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.

Editor
January 1, 2010 2:48 pm

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.

Editor
January 1, 2010 2:50 pm

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

Bart
January 1, 2010 2:51 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 2:51 pm

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…

Jeff Alberts
January 1, 2010 2:51 pm

The satellite data also show that CO2 is far from well-mixed.

Mooloo
January 1, 2010 2:54 pm

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.

Editor
January 1, 2010 2:55 pm

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.

kadaka
January 1, 2010 2:58 pm

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.

DesertYote
January 1, 2010 2:58 pm

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!

DirkH
January 1, 2010 2:59 pm

“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.

kwik
January 1, 2010 3:02 pm

e-folding???? hmmm must read on that. Unless its something from a super-confuser? hehe.

Kim Moore
January 1, 2010 3:02 pm

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.

A total idiot
January 1, 2010 3:05 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 3:07 pm

Congratulations, Anthony!
You have done mankind a great service.
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

January 1, 2010 3:09 pm

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.

Bart
January 1, 2010 3:09 pm

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.

Gareth
January 1, 2010 3:14 pm

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.

Syl
January 1, 2010 3:15 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 3:19 pm

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!

DirkH
January 1, 2010 3:23 pm

“Kim Moore (15:02:43) :
[…]
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.”
Some say cosmic rays: Svensmark , Kirkby.
video 1 hour presentation by Kirkby
http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1181073/
the slides used in the presentation
http://indico.cern.ch/getFile.py/access?resId=0&materialId=slides&confId=52576

Rod
January 1, 2010 3:26 pm

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?

Michael
January 1, 2010 3:31 pm

“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

crosspatch
January 1, 2010 3:31 pm

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.

Galen Haugh
January 1, 2010 3:32 pm

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?

January 1, 2010 3:37 pm

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.

Invariant
January 1, 2010 3:38 pm

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

January 1, 2010 3:38 pm

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

Michael
January 1, 2010 3:39 pm

On issues like global warming and evolution, scientists need to speak Up
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123101155.html

Happy New Conspiracy!
January 1, 2010 3:45 pm

http://www.peterrussell.com/Odds/WorldClock.php
I like this man’s ‘World Clock’ very well – but the ‘global temperature’ looks a little one wayish for my taste.

January 1, 2010 3:55 pm

@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.

Bart
January 1, 2010 3:55 pm

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.

Syl
January 1, 2010 4:03 pm

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!

Syl
January 1, 2010 4:03 pm

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.

Michael
January 1, 2010 4:11 pm

“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

hotrod
January 1, 2010 4:12 pm

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

Jeremy
January 1, 2010 4:15 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 4:16 pm

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

DirkH
January 1, 2010 4:18 pm

“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.

DirkH
January 1, 2010 4:20 pm

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

DirkH
January 1, 2010 4:24 pm

“Syl (16:03:11) :
We definitely need a cushion”
We have a big cushion: the oceans.
http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/esef4.htm

Michael
January 1, 2010 4:30 pm

“Hundreds of householders were still without water yesterday as engineers worked to restore supply cut off by the freezing weather.”
Many homes in Northern Ireland still without water Supply
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/many-homes-in-northern-ireland-still-without-water-supply-14616154.html

P Wilson
January 1, 2010 4:30 pm

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.

Spector
January 1, 2010 4:35 pm

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.

DirkH
January 1, 2010 4:35 pm

“Michael (15:39:33) :
On issues like global warming and evolution, scientists need to speak Up
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123101155.html

Sanity to Intelligence: Looks like we lost the WashPost. Intelligence to Sanity: We never had them in the first place.

January 1, 2010 4:40 pm

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

maksimovich
January 1, 2010 4:54 pm

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.

ShrNfr
January 1, 2010 5:03 pm

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.

Robinson
January 1, 2010 5:05 pm

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?

Sean Peake
January 1, 2010 5:07 pm

Totally OT but something strange is happening in San Francisco (no kidding I know, but this is different)—it seems the seals have buggered off, perhaps as a food source has come closer to shore. Is the Pacific cooling off the western US?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8437395.stm

P Wilson
January 1, 2010 5:08 pm

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…

January 1, 2010 5:11 pm

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.

P Wilson
January 1, 2010 5:17 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 5:17 pm

How quickly you all forget.

Anthony – have you forgotten ClimateGate? WUWT TRIPLED in readership – with Alexa readership increasing from 0.005% to 0.015% due to ClimateGate on Nov. 19th. i.e. 2/3 of your readers have come AFTER your WUWT post on Nov. 10.
Recommend showing the Alexa graph of the step increase due to ClimateGate.

January 1, 2010 5:22 pm

DirkH: Read CO2 Houdini of Gases

barry
January 1, 2010 5:27 pm

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)

January 1, 2010 5:36 pm

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.

Benjamin
January 1, 2010 5:43 pm

Uh… And what was I supposed to see in this article? I didn’t even see the picture posted here at WUWT in the link, and the article itself wasn’t very insightful, I’m afraid.
Was this the right link?
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091230184221.htm

January 1, 2010 5:43 pm

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?

Benjamin
January 1, 2010 5:45 pm

Got it! I mistook the OTHER link as part of an ad, and just past it over!

DirkH
January 1, 2010 5:45 pm

Thanks Ferdinand – that’s the important correlation that’s broken now.

Bart
January 1, 2010 5:50 pm

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.

P Wilson
January 1, 2010 5:50 pm

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

Syl
January 1, 2010 5:58 pm

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.

Syl
January 1, 2010 6:00 pm

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.

pyromancer76
January 1, 2010 6:00 pm

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?

January 1, 2010 6:03 pm

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.

Bruce Armour
January 1, 2010 6:03 pm

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!!!

Richard M
January 1, 2010 6:36 pm

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?

Kevin Kilty
January 1, 2010 6:58 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 7:11 pm


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 …
.
.

January 1, 2010 7:20 pm


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.
.
.

P Wilson
January 1, 2010 7:21 pm

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.

davidc
January 1, 2010 7:24 pm

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.

Galen Haugh
January 1, 2010 7:27 pm

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.

Bill Illis
January 1, 2010 7:30 pm

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

P Wilson
January 1, 2010 7:37 pm

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.

Cookie
January 1, 2010 8:11 pm

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.

K
January 1, 2010 8:18 pm

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).

hotrod
January 1, 2010 8:37 pm

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

barry
January 1, 2010 8:41 pm

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.

Policyguy
January 1, 2010 8:45 pm

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?

Scott
January 1, 2010 8:46 pm

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.

gary gulrud
January 1, 2010 8:56 pm

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

Brandon S (aka Smallz79)
January 1, 2010 9:07 pm

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

Eric (skeptic)
January 1, 2010 9:12 pm

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.

January 1, 2010 10:03 pm

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

January 1, 2010 10:48 pm

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.

george c
January 1, 2010 10:56 pm

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

anon
January 1, 2010 11:01 pm

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”

anna v
January 1, 2010 11:50 pm

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?

Beth Cooper
January 2, 2010 12:03 am

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.

Beth Cooper
January 2, 2010 12:09 am

Oops! I meant 0.01 of an inch per year.

January 2, 2010 12:32 am

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

Editor
January 2, 2010 1:06 am

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…

toyotawhizguy
January 2, 2010 1:15 am

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.

Back2bat
January 2, 2010 1:22 am

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?

Peter of Sydney
January 2, 2010 1:48 am

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.

Flints
January 2, 2010 1:55 am

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

January 2, 2010 2:45 am

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

kwik
January 2, 2010 2:55 am

Hmmm, a very complicated matter, indeed. Luckily, the science is settled, so we dont need to worry about this.
Just pay our taxes, and thats it!
In the mean time, I’m enjoying reading Professor Segalstad;
http://www.co2web.info/Segalstad_CO2-Science_090805.pdf

Editor
January 2, 2010 3:24 am

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.

tja
January 2, 2010 4:06 am

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.

anna v
January 2, 2010 4:44 am

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.

Editor
January 2, 2010 4:57 am

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.

January 2, 2010 5:16 am

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

Wansbeck
January 2, 2010 5:31 am

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?

January 2, 2010 6:16 am

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.

tfp
January 2, 2010 6:16 am

here is a section 1999 – 2002 of 10 CO2 measuring stations
http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/3694/co2manytrends.png
Note the linear trends show 3 outliers Sary Taukum (land locked) south pole and baring head (both south southern hemisphere).
The variation between outliers is approx 6 ppm
Also please read:
Willis Eschenbach (03:24:54) :

January 2, 2010 6:39 am

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!

Scott
January 2, 2010 6:51 am

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

Eric (skeptic)
January 2, 2010 6:55 am

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.

January 2, 2010 7:18 am

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

PekingDuck
January 2, 2010 7:26 am

It would seem that IPCC and alarmists are not part of the scientific “consensus” when it comes to CO2 residence time from what this chart implies…….If their models are indeed based on 100 plus year residence time of CO2 molecule then one could conclude that model temperature predictions are very suspect.
http://www.c3headlines.com/2009/09/the-liberal-attack-on-science-acorn-style-the-ipcc-fabrication-of-atmospheric-co2-residency-time.html

January 2, 2010 7:34 am

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.

January 2, 2010 8:00 am

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…

Rob Vermeulen
January 2, 2010 8:12 am

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).

Steve Keohane
January 2, 2010 8:45 am

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

Scott
January 2, 2010 8:46 am

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

Michael J. Dunn
January 2, 2010 8:54 am

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).

1DandyTroll
January 2, 2010 9:04 am

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

JamesG
January 2, 2010 9:22 am

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.

Don Shaw
January 2, 2010 9:38 am

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.

John Doe
January 2, 2010 10:00 am

There are large daily variations of CO2. You can see 150 ppm change at 2 meters and 20 ppm change at 81 meters. Look at the preliminary results from Helsinki area:
http://testbed.fmi.fi/Meetings/HTBworkshop20070412/2-6_HTB20070412_Uusimaa.pdf
Testbed.fmi.fi is an interesting site for other points of view as well as. Consider, for example, appropriate UHI corrections in a small town like Helsinki.

anna v
January 2, 2010 10:08 am

JamesG (09:22:09) :
Hear, Hear.
Else known as “what he said”.

B. Smith
January 2, 2010 10:18 am

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]

davidc
January 2, 2010 10:31 am

“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.

davidc
January 2, 2010 10:48 am

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”.

michaelfoley
January 2, 2010 11:14 am

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?

Bart
January 2, 2010 11:31 am

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.

Bart
January 2, 2010 11:32 am

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.

Bart
January 2, 2010 11:37 am

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.

Editor
January 2, 2010 11:45 am

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.

Joel Shore
January 2, 2010 12:29 pm

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.

January 2, 2010 12:37 pm

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.

Joel Shore
January 2, 2010 1:08 pm

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.

January 2, 2010 1:15 pm

Michael J. Dunn (08:54:58) : please could you email me, thanks.

phlogiston
January 2, 2010 1:29 pm

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.)

Joel Shore
January 2, 2010 1:55 pm

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).

Editor
January 2, 2010 2:03 pm

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.

Joel Shore
January 2, 2010 2:07 pm

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.

Steve Keohane
January 2, 2010 2:14 pm

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?

kwik
January 2, 2010 2:17 pm

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” ….

John Doe
January 2, 2010 2:21 pm

According to IPCC’s data distribution center, they use CO2 concentrations in their projections. See http://www.ipcc-data.org/ddc_co2.html

Joel Shore
January 2, 2010 2:44 pm

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.

Mooloo
January 2, 2010 2:56 pm

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.

Phil.
January 2, 2010 3:22 pm

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.

pby
January 2, 2010 3:30 pm

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.

January 2, 2010 3:34 pm

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]

Michael J. Dunn
January 2, 2010 3:43 pm

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.