Engelbeen on why he thinks the CO2 increase is man made (part 4).

A CO2 symbol aflame in front of a coal power plant in Germany. (Photo: Reuters) Image via knowledge.alliance.com - click for more info

Foreword: This is the final entry in a four part series by Fedinand Engelbeen. While the narrative is contrary to the views of many of our readers, it is within the framework of WUWT’s goal of providing discussion on the issues. You won’t find guest posts like this on RC, Climate Progress, Open Mind (Tamino), or Skeptical Science where a guest narrative contrary to the blog owner(s) view is not allowed, much less encouraged in a four part series.

That said, I expect this final entry to be quite contentious for two reasons. 1) The content itself. 2) The references to the work of Ernst Georg Beck, recently deceased.

As Engelbeen mentions below, this part was written weeks before, and readers should not get the impression that this is some sort of “hit piece” on him. Unfortunately, it simply worked out that the appearance of part 4 happens after his death, since I had been running each part about once a week. I had considered not running it, but I’m sure he would invite the discussion, and we’d have a lively debate. It is our loss that he will not be able to. For that reason, I’d appreciate readers maintaining a civil tone in comments. Moderators, don’t be shy about enforcing this. My thanks to Ferdinand Englebeen for his hard work in producing this four part series. – Anthony

Links to Parts 1 2 3

About background levels, historical measurements and stomata proxies…

1. Where to measure? The concept of “background” CO2 levels.

Although there were already some hints of a “global” background CO2 level of around 300 ppmv in previous years, the concept was launched by C.D. Keeling in the fifties of last century, when he made several series of measurements in the USA. He found widely varying CO2 levels, sometimes in samples taken as short as 15 minutes from each other. He also noticed that values in widely different places, far away from each other, but taken in the afternoon, were much lower and much closer resembling each other. He thought that this was because in the afternoon, there was more turbulence and the production of CO2 by decaying vegetation and/or emissions was more readily mixed with the overlying air. Fortunately, from the first series on, he also measured 13C/12C ratios of the same samples, which did prove that the diurnal variation was from vegetation decay at night, while during the day photosynthesis at one side and turbulence at the other side increased the 13C/12C ratio back to maximum values.

Keeling’s first series of samples, taken at Big Sur State Park, showing the diurnal CO2 and d13C cycle, was published in http://www.icsu-scope.org/downloadpubs/scope13/chapter03.html , original data (of other series too) can be found in http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/literatur/keeling/Keeling_1955.doc :

Figure 1. Diurnal variation in the concentration and carbon isotopic ratio of atmospheric

CO2 in a coastal redwood forest of California, 18-19 May 1955, Big Sur St. Pk.

(Keeling, 1958)

Several others measured CO2 levels/d13C ratios of their own samples too. This happened at several places in Germany (Heidelberg, Schauinsland, Nord Rhine Westphalia). This confirmed that local production was the origin of the high CO2 levels. The smallest CO2/d13C variations were found in mountain ranges, deserts and on or near the oceans. The largest in forests, crop fields, urban neighborhoods and non-urban, but heavily industrialized neighborhoods. When the reciprocal of CO2 levels were plotted against d13C ratios, this showed a clear relationship between the two. Again from http://www.icsu-scope.org/downloadpubs/scope13/chapter03.html :

Figure 2. Relation between carbon isotope ratio and concentration of atmospheric CO2 in different air types from measurements summarized in Table 3.4

(Keeling, 1958, 1961: full squares; Esser, 1975: open circles; Freyer and Wiesberg, 1975,

Freyer, 1978c: open squares). All 13C measurements have not been corrected

for N2O contamination (Craig and Keeling, 1963), which is at the most in the area of + 0.6‰

The search for background places.

Keeling then sought for places on earth not (or not much) influenced by local production/uptake, thus far from forests, agriculture and/or urbanization. He had the opportunity to launch two continuous measurements: at Mauna Loa and at the South Pole. Later, other “baseline” stations were added, all together 10 from near the North Pole (Alert, NWT, Canada) to the South Pole, all of them working continuous nowadays under supervision of NOAA (previously under Scripps Institute), some 60 other places working under other organizations and many more working with regular flask sampling.

We are interested in CO2 levels in a certain year all over the globe and the trends of the CO2 levels over the years. So, here we are at the definition of the “background” level:

Yearly average data taken from places minimal influenced by vegetation and other natural and human sources are deemed “background”.

For convenience, the yearly average data from Mauna Loa are used as reference. One could use any baseline station as reference or the average of the stations, but as all base stations (and a lot of other stations, even Schauinsland, at 1,000 m altitude, midst the Black Forest, Germany) are within 5 ppmv of Mauna Loa, with near identical trends, and that station has the longest near-continuous CO2 record, Mauna Loa is used as “the” reference.

As the oceans represent about 70% of the earth’s surface, and all oceanic stations show near the same yearly averages and trends, already 70% of the atmosphere shows background behavior. This can be extended to near the total earth for the part above the inversion layer.

Measurements above the inversion layer.

Above land, diurnal variations are only seen up to 150 m (according to http://www.icsu-scope.org/downloadpubs/scope13/chapter03.html ).

Seasonal changes reduce with altitude. This is based on years of flights (1963-1979) in Scandinavia (see the previous reference) and between Scandinavia and California (http://dge.stanford.edu/SCOPE/SCOPE_16/SCOPE_16_1.4.1_Bishoff_113-116.pdf ), further confirmed by old and modern https://wiki.ucar.edu/display/acme/ACME flights in the USA and Australia (Tasmania). In the SH, the seasonal variation is much smaller and there is a high-altitude to lower altitude gradient, where the high altitude is 1 ppmv richer in CO2 than the lower altitude. This may be caused by the supply of extra CO2 from the NH via the southern branch of the Hadley cell to the upper troposphere in the SH.

From the previous references:

Figure 3. Amplitude and phase shift of seasonal variations in atmospheric CO2

at different altitudes, calculated from direct observations by harmonic analysis

(Bolin and Bischof, 1970)

From https://wiki.ucar.edu/display/acme/ACME :

Figure 4. Modern flight measurements in Colorado, CO2 levels below the inversion layerin forested valleys and above the inversion layer at different altitudes

As one can see, again the values above the inversion layer are near straight and agree within a few ppmv with the Mauna Loa data of the same date. Below the inversion layer, the morning values are 15-35 ppmv higher. In the afternoon, these may sink to background again.

If we take the 1000 m as the average upper level for the influence of local disturbances, that represents about 10% of the atmospheric mass. Thus the “background” level can be found at 70% of the earth’s air mass (oceans) + 90% of the remaining land surface (27%). That is in 97% of the global air mass. Only 3% of the global air mass contains not-well mixed amounts of CO2, which is only over land. These measured values show variations caused by seasonal changes (mainly in the NH) and a NH-SH lag. Yearly averages are within 5 ppmv:

Figure 5. Yearly average CO2 levels at different baseline stations plus a non-baseline station (Schauinsland, Germany, only values taken when above the inversion layer and with sufficient wind speed).

General conclusion:

Background CO2 levels can be found everywhere over the oceans and over land at 1000 m and higher altitudes (in high mountain ranges, this may be higher).

2. The historical data

2.1. The compilation by Ernst Beck.

Note: this comment was written weeks before we heard of the untimely death of Ernst Beck. While I feel very uncomfortable that this is published now, as he can’t react anymore on this comment, I think that one need to know the different viewpoints about the historical data, which is a matter of difference in opinion, and has nothing to do with what one may think about Ernst Beck as person.

What about the historical data? While I only can admire the tremendous amount of work that Ernst Beck has done, I don’t agree with his interpretation of the results. Not in light of the above findings of what one can see as “background” CO2 levels.

The historical measurements show huge differences from place to place, sometimes within one year, and extreme differences within a day or day to day or over the seasons for the same place. That there are huge differences between different places shows that one or more or all of these places are not measuring background CO2, but local CO2 levels, influenced by local and/or regional sources and sinks. This is clear, if one looks at the range of the results, often many hundreds of ppmv’s between the lowest and highest values. Modern measurements, sometimes interestingly done at the same places as the historical one’s, either don’t show such a wide range, and then can be deemed background for the modern ones and therefore the historical one’s must be inaccurate as method or there were problems with the handling or with the sampling. Others show huge variations also today, which means that neither the modern, nor the historical data are background.

But let us have a look at the compilation of historical CO2 measurements by Ernst Beck:

Figure 6. Compilation of historical data by Ernst Beck.

From: http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/realCO2-1.htm

Beck only gives the yearly and smoothed averages and the instrument error. That doesn’t say anything about the quality of the places where was measured, thus which of these measurements were “background” and which were not. One may be pretty sure that measuring midst of London, even in 1935, would give much higher (and fluctuating) CO2 levels than near the coast with seaside wind. Moreover, a peak of some 80 ppmv around 1942 is hardly possible, but removing such a peak in less than 10 years is physically impossible. The total amount of CO2 involved is comparable to burning down one third of all living vegetation on land and growing back in a few years time. The oceans are capable of having a burst of CO2 with a sudden decrease of pH, but simply can’t absorb that amount back in such a short time span, even if the pH would go up again (and what should cause such a massive change in pH?). Therefore I decided to look into more detail at the peak period in question, the years 1930-1950.

2.2. The minima, maxima and averages

Here is a plot of all available data for the period 1930-1950, as used by Ernst Beck (plus a few extra I did find in the literature). These can be found at his page of historical literature:

http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/historical.htm

Figure 7. Minima, maxima and averages of historical measurements in the period 1930-1950

Not all measurements were published in detail. Several authors did provide only an average, without any indication of number of samples, range or standard deviation. But for those where the range was given, the results are widely varying. What is obvious, is that where the range is small, in most cases the average of the measurements is around the ice core values (Law Dome in this case, the values of three cores, two of them with a resolution of 8 years and an accuracy of 1.2 ppmv, 1 sigma). That is especially the case for the period 1930-1935 where several measurements were performed during trips over the oceans. And even most of the worst performers show minima below the ice core values.

And as one can see, the “peak” around 1940-1942 is completely based on measurements at places which were heavily influenced by local/regional sources and sinks. That doesn’t say anything about the real background CO2 level of that period. Moreover, the fact that the average of measurements at one part of the world is 600 ppmv and at the other side of the globe it is 300 ppmv within the same year, shows that at least one of them must be at the wrong place.

2.3. The accuracy of some apparatus

Some of the measurements were done at interesting places: Point Barrow and Antarctica, where currently baseline stations are established. Unfortunately, for these measurements, the portable apparatus was as inaccurate as could be:

Barrow (1948) used the micro-Schollander apparatus, which was intended for measuring CO2 in exhaled air (some 20,000 ppmv!). Accuracy +/- 150 ppmv, accurate enough for exhaled air, but not really accurate to measure values of around 300 ppmv.

The same problem for Antarctica (1940-1941): Accuracy +/- 300 ppmv, moreover oxygen levels which were too low at high CO2 (1700 ppmv), which points to huge local contamination.

2.4. What caused the 1941 peak?

The 1941 peak is heavily influenced by two data series: Poona (India) and Giessen (Germany). With a few exceptions, the results of Poona should be discarded, as these were mostly performed within and below growing vegetation, which may be of interest for those who want to know the influence of CO2 on growth figures, heavily influenced by CO2 production from soil bacteria, but not really suitable to know the background CO2 levels of that time.

Giessen is a more interesting place, as the measurements were over a very long period (1.5 years), three samples a day over 4 heights were taken. And we have a modern CO2 measuring station now, only a few km from the original place, taking samples every 30 minutes. Thus let us see what the historical and modern CO2 levels at Giessen are, compared to baseline places:

Figure 8. Historical data of Giessen, during a few days of extra sampling to measure diurnal changes.

Figure 9. A few days in the modern summer life of CO2 at Linden-Giessen compared to the raw data from a few baseline stations for the same days.

Data for Linden-Giessen are from http://www.hlug.de

Baseline stations hourly average CO2 levels, derived from 10-second raw voltage samples, are from ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/in-situ/

These are all raw data, including all local outliers at Barrow, Mauna Loa, the South Pole and Giessen. It seems to me that it is rather problematic to figure out anything background-like from the data of Giessen, modern and historical alike. And I have the impression that Keeling made not such a bad choice by starting measurements at the South Pole and Mauna Loa, even if the latter is on an active volcano.

2.5. Estimation of the historical background CO2 levels.

Francis Massen and Ernst Beck used a method to estimate the background CO2 levels from noisy data, based on the fact that at high wind speeds, a better mixing of ground level CO2 with higher air masses is obtained (see http://www.biokurs.de/treibhaus/CO2_versus_windspeed-review-1-FM.pdf ). This works quite well, if you have a lot of data points with wind speeds above 4 m/s and a relative narrow range at high wind speeds. Here the “fingerlike” data range at high wind speed measured at Diekirch (small town in a shielded valley of Luxemburg):

Figure 10. CO2 levels vs. wind speed at Diekirch, Luxemburg.

Compare that to a similar plot of the historical data from Giessen:

Figure 11. Historical CO2 levels at Giessen vs. wind speed.

There are only 22 data points above 4 m/s, still a wide range (300 ppmv!) and no “finger” in the data at high wind speeds.

Further, the historical three samples of Giessen, taken in the morning, afternoon and evening already give a bias of some 40 ppmv (even the continuous modern sampling at Giessen shows a huge bias in averages). The afternoon measurements have a higher average than the morning and evening samples, which is contrary to almost all other measurements made in that period (and today): during daylight hours, photosynthesis lowers the CO2 levels, while at night under an inversion level, CO2 from soil respiration builds up to very high levels. And at the other end of the world (Iowa, USA) in 1940, CO2 levels of 265 ppmv were found over a maize field. Unfortunately, there are no measurements performed at “background” places in that period, except at Antarctica, which were far too inaccurate.

My impression is that the data of Giessen show too much variation and are too irregular, either by the (modified Pettenkofer) method, the sampling or the handling of the samples.

2.6. Comparing the historical peak around 1941 with other methods:

The ice core data of Law Dome show a small deviation around 1940, within the error estimate of the measurements. Any peak of 80 ppmv during years should be visible in the fastest accumulation cores (8 years averaging) as a peak of at least 10 ppmv around 1940, which is not the case (see Figure 7.).

Stomata data don’t show anything abnormal around 1940 (that is around 305 ppmv):

Figure 12. CO2 levels vs. stomata data calibration in the period 1900-1990.

From: http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2004-1214-121238/index.htm

And there is nothing special to see in the d13C levels of coralline sponges around 1940. Coralline sponges follow the 13C/12C ratios of CO2 in the upper ocean waters. Any burst and fall of CO2 in the atmosphere would show up in the d13 levels of the ocean mixed layer: either with a big drop if the extra CO2 was from vegetation, or with a small increase, if the extra CO2 was from the deep oceans. But that is not the case:

Figure 13. d13C levels of coralline sponges growing in the upper ocean layer.

2.7. Conclusion

Besides the quality of the measurements themselves, the biggest problem is that most of the data which show a peak around 1941 are taken at places which were completely unsuitable for background measurements. In that way these data are worthless for historical (and current) global background estimates. This is confirmed by other methods which indicate no peak values around 1941. As the minima may approach the real background CO2 level of that time, the fact that the ice core CO2 levels are above the minima is an indication that the ice core data are not far off reality.

3. About stomata data.

Stomata index (SI) is the ratio between the number of stomata openings to the total number of cells on leaves. This is a function of CO2 levels during the previous growing season (Tom van Hoof, personal communication). Thus that gives an impression of CO2 levels over time. As that is an indirect proxy of CO2 levels, one need calibration, which is done by comparing the SI of certain species over the past century with ice core and atmospheric CO2 measurements. So far, so good.

The main problem of the SI is the same as for many historical measurements: the vegetation of interest grows by definition on land, where average CO2 levels may vary within certain limits for one period of time, but there is no guarantee that these limits didn’t change over time: the MWP-LIA change might have been caused in part by changes in the Gulf Stream away from NW Europe, this bringing less warm wet air over land, even changing the main wind direction from SW to E. That may have introduced profound changes in type of vegetation, soil erosion, etc., including changes in average CO2 levels near ground over land.

Further, land use changes around several of the main places of sampling might have been enormous: from wetlands and water to polders and agriculture, deforestation and reforestation, all in the main wind direction, as all happened in The Netherlands over a full millennium.

Conclusion:

Stomata index data may be useful as a first approximation, but one shouldn’t take the historical levels as very reliable, because of a lack of knowledge of several basic circumstances which may have influenced the local/regional historical CO2 levels and thus the SI data.

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Keith D

I’m not sure that counting the oceans as “background” is accurate, as this is one of the greatest sources of natural CO2 out there. Suboceanic volcanoes are an unaccounted for source of CO2. I find it interesting that he used an active volcano for his other source of background. The second largest release from an active volcano is CO2, which is isotopically similar to that released from coal, etc. Nicely written, badly thought out.

I had the privilidge of having Ferdinand post at my forum two years ago.
I understood where he was coming from, but Derek, TonyB and myself among others did not agree with some of his conclusions about CO2 and particularly about the reliability of the MLO data.
But I agree with Anthony, that differing viewpoints that are presented civilly and rationally should be supported. Mr. Engelbeen was all that and more at my forum.

John Peter

“You won’t find guest posts like this on RC, Climate Progress, Open Mind (Tamino), or Skeptical Science where a guest narrative contrary to the blog owner(s) view is allowed, much less encouraged in a four part series.” Should that not be “…view is NOT allowed,…?
[Fixed, thanks. ~dbs]

Ferdinand
I know you to be an honourable person and that it is just coincidence that this piece is being run so soon after the death of Ernst Beck and that you mean no disrespect in any of your comments. It is right that Anthony should decide to run it.
As Ernst can not contribute can I offer readers my thread on ‘Historic variations on Co2’ earlier this year on which both Ernst and Ferdinand participated. As the name implies I examined the historic background to the taking of measurements back to 1830 so to some extent this is a counter point to the material that Ferdinand writes about. The 200 plus comments also add a great deal.
I have several questions for Ferdinand;
1) The people who regularly took Co2 measurements back to 1830 were brilliant scientists. Why do you think that whilst by 1945 we were able to split the atom yet we were still unable to split the composition of the atmosphere-despite 120 years of trying?
2) A 1 degree C rise in ocean temperature is supposed to produce 7ppm of Co2. At what temperature does the ocean outgas Co2 and at what temperature does it absorb? Presumably as it is only the surface that is in contact with the atmosphere it is the SST we need to be most interested in, which can vary considerably in temperature
3) Despite your excellent series of articles you remain sceptical of the actual real world effects of co2. Can you explain what you believe the temperature rise would be if Co2 levels doubled from the 300pm claimed for the start of the 20th century
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/historic-variations-in-co2-measurements/
Tonyb

Geoff Alder

where a guest narrative contrary to the blog owner(s) view is allowed…
Not allowed, I am sure!
Geoff Alder
[Fixed, thanks. ~ dbs, mod.]

Richard111

So what. This still does not prove CO2 makes any changes to the climate.
Here is a clue, check out the Maxwell_Boltzmann energy distribution curves for N2 molecules when the air temperature is below 0C, which most of the troposphere is above 2,500 meters.
Just what is exciting the CO2 molecules under those conditions to give that deadly “backradiation”?

Djozar

While I think Engelbeen makes good points, I’m still thinking about the historical data presented by Beck. Wasn’t there a study done where CO2 levels before the historical record actually followed the temperature rise? If Beck’s data was due to ineffective measurement equipment, wouldn’t the same hold true for older temeprature data? All in all, good article, well thought out and presented.

Joseph Day

The Stomata Index is measurable experimentally. Plants can be grown in the laboratory in an atmosphere with a fixed amount of CO2. That allows setting the SI to CO2 concentration in a direct way. From this information, it is possible to calibrate ice core data based on the SI, using plants preserved from the same period of time as the ice core section being tested. Ice core samples should not be used to calibrate the SI. Plant fossils provide SI values that cast doubt the reported ice core CO2 levels (the ice core levels are too low). See http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html.

Eddieo

I have visited your web pages and presented your work to my students in the past Ferdinand and agree with the conclusion that atmospheric C02 is rising and the change is almost certainly anthropogenic in origin.
My doubts over the scale of AGW originate from proxy temperature reconstructions and assumed large positive feedback in GCMs. However I think the lack of acceptance of uncertainty by the hockey team and there dismissal of McIntyre and McKittrick was what first raised my suspicions that all was not what they wanted us to believe. The warmists really did damage their cause by being so aggressive in their responses to well founded criticism.

Bob from the UK

Good points made, but not convinced with the certainty of the conclusions. It well known that during cool periods La Nina, that the annual increases in CO2 vary significantly. For a short period in 2008 during the depths of the La Nina there was a month or two with hardly any increases. This signifies to me that natural variability is as significant as the increase in CO2 which is attributable to man. Given that evidence I’m waiting for this cooling period to develop and see how it will affect the CO2 levels. Like everything else in climate science, detailed observations started during the solar maximum. It looks like we are now entering a solar minimum.

Bob from the UK

I would add to my comment above. If the increase of the CO2 can vary between 2.5 and 0 ppm in the space of a few months, then Beck’s observation is by no means unbelievable, it demonstrates that the capacity of the environment to absorb CO2 is indeed capable of very significant variation.

k winterkorn

If we accept the evidence that CO2 “background” levels are rising and that isotope ratios indicate a biologic source (rather than simple ocean outgassing or volcanoes), the issue is still far from settled. The following questions still need to be answered:
1. What is the total amount of bioavailable carbon in the oceans and soil (not in the atmosphere)?
2. What is the annual rate of CO2 production from that reservoir of carbon (by bacteria, fungi, etc.)?
3. How does that production vary as a function of changes in the earth’s average temp?
We know from info above that diurnal changes in bio-production of CO2 are massive. It is not a leap of faith to hypothesize that as the Earth warms from other non-human causes (eg solar or earth-orbit related) that CO2 production by the biosphere may follow in a lagging manner. The global rise in CO2 could be due to increased non-human bio-activity.

Keith D says:
September 24, 2010 at 8:57 am
I’m not sure that counting the oceans as “background” is accurate, as this is one of the greatest sources of natural CO2 out there. Suboceanic volcanoes are an unaccounted for source of CO2. I find it interesting that he used an active volcano for his other source of background. The second largest release from an active volcano is CO2, which is isotopically similar to that released from coal, etc. Nicely written, badly thought out.
The historical and current CO2 measurements over the oceans, coastal and at high altitude (mountains) or latitude (South Pole) all show the same CO2 levels and trends, plus a recurrent seasonal cycle and a NH-SH lag. The degassing/absorption of CO2 by the oceans is huge, but spread over a year and with sufficient wind speed fast mixed in, so that the change of levels within a day is even unmeasurable in the trend. Even the sporadic volcanic outgassing with downslope wind at Mauna Loa only disturbs the data with not more than 4 ppmv, this is included in the raw data of figure 9…

richard telford

For the stomata, see
Wenche & Birks 2006 Stomatal frequency of Betula pubescens and Pinus sylvestris shows no proportional relationship with atmospheric CO2 concentration. Nordic Journal of Botany 24: 327-339.
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1756-1051.2004.tb00848.x/pdf
The title says all you need to know.

Iron Mountain

CO2 levels are not important, CO2 has nothing to do with anything but plant life.
Only Al Gore and his cronies who are making millions on the Global warming scam, and the ignorant press who believe the fairy tails made up to make Gore millions, think its important. CO2 certainly does not affect the worlds warming or cooling, that much is a proven fact.

Stephan

OT but NH ice curve averages minima (Area under the curve AUC) may still end up being HIGHER than 2009 cause’ it seems to be shooting up rapidly!
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/icecover.uk.php

John in NZ

All very interesting but the important question isn’t ” Is the CO2 man made?”
It is “Is the climate sensitive to CO2 changes?”
Seems to be a lot of uncertainty for a settled science. Good to have the discussion though.

He has not proven that an increase in Co2 is bad for us.
so, this does not change my mind.
http://letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

Jeff B.

The whole thing reads like a scientific reach in to the minutia. As an engineer, I was always trained to look for the far greater inputs to a system. The controlling inputs. It should be abundantly obvious that it is not CO2. Millions of man hours have been wasted chasing this ridiculous tempest in a teapot for largely political reasons.
As Ike warned, this is what happens when government funds science.

Gary Pearse

Tonyb
Fair questions and remarks except for 2). Outgassing of CO2 has little to do with SST, but rather the temp of a thicker active layer (down to 700m? perhaps). Solution of CO2, similarly couldn’t be much in the few mm of sea surface. I suspect that it too has to do with a thicker layer that is stirred up by winds and influenced by rising and sinking currents of cool and warm water. It is interesting though that were the entire ocean to be calm, that few mm would likely be a barrier to CO2 both ways.

James Sexton

“Moreover, a peak of some 80 ppmv around 1942 is hardly possible, but removing such a peak in less than 10 years is physically impossible. The total amount of CO2 involved is comparable to burning down one third of all living vegetation on land and growing back in a few years time.”
During that time period, there was rapid industrialization, world wide. Further, rapid destruction, world wide and consequently rebuilding in many parts of the world. Many refer to the time period as WWII.
Doesn’t this seem to fit?

Enneagram

That’s good news. I like carbonated water and baking soda. May it be because I’m not progressive?

Djozar

Maybe I read the article incorrectly; I thought the point was that a large portion of the CO2 increase was man-made; I don’t think it made any claim that the CO2 was the key factor in global warming.

jorgekafkazar

Nice post. Thanks to Ferdinand Engelbeen for providing this long and interesting material and to Anthony Watts for providing an honest and open forum. I’m sure it will provoke much polite controversy.

John in NZ hits the nail on the head. The central question is this: does a rise in CO2 cause a measurable rise in temperature? Or, did the rise in T cause the rise in CO2? [Note that the rise in CO2 follows the rise in temperature.]
If a doubling of CO2 [of which the anthropogenic contribution to total CO2 is about one molecule out of 34] causes a rise in T of less than 1°C, then there is nothing to be concerned about; it is a non-problem, and all the alarmist discussion about CO2 increasing temperature is a waste of pixels.
The big scare regarding the rise in CO2 has been the threat of runaway global warming. But the ≈40% rise in CO2 has not caused the predicted temperature rise. The models are wrong. The real world evidence indicates that the increase in CO2 from 0.00028 to 0.00039 of the total atmosphere has been entirely beneficial.
I have read Ferdinand’s analysis, and have no quarrel with it. But it avoids the obvious conclusion: planet Earth is telling us that the CO2 scare was a false alarm.

Murray Duffin

Following is some “back of the envelope” analysis I did a couple of years ago. Unfortunately the figures don’t copy and I don’t know how to get around that. However I agree the Ferdinand that at least 70% of the CO2 increase we have seen is anthropogenic, and that a lot of the high readings from Beck are local effects. I include my speculation about the ca 1941 peak, which clearly shows as a flat in the ice core data. everyone has a right to his own speculation – right?
The following analysis supports a ca 30 year air/ice age shift, and supports Jaworowski’s contention that pre-industrial CO2 concentration was higher than claimed due to CO2 loss from ice core depressurization. However it seems that the CO2 loss was only about 20 ppm for 1780, and probably no more than 30 ppm for ancient ice.
See:
1)http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm Rich source of CO2 data. And:
2)
Data from Ernst Georg Beck 2006
In Beck’s curve above, readings prior to 1840 seem totally anomalous, and probably should be discarded. The three lowest readings between 1840 and 1850 look plausible. Other readings before 1865 appear questionable.
If we take the smooth moving average from 1870 to 1960, excluding the peak from 1935 to 1950, Beck’s data seems to be consistently 10 to 15 ppm higher than the ice core data. Let us say 10 ppm to be conservative. If the ice core data is good, then we should conclude that Beck’s data is biased 10 ppm high.
Going to 1) above we can find 10 sites in the SIO air sampling network, and 8 sites in Germany, plus one in Italy that appear reasonably unbiased. For 1986, the European sites average 346 +- 7 ppm. The 10 SIO sites average 345 +- 2 ppm. Isolated sites in Europe, reasonably unaffected by urban bias are at world average atmospheric CO2 concentrations in 1986. 1980 Law Dome air age is also within 1 ppm of Mauna Loa 1980. It seems then that there is no depressurization loss of CO2 in sampling recent ice with low pressure differential.
If we take the 3 low 1840 to 1850 readings as good, and correct them for the 10 ppm bias, we have 300 ppm for European air in 1845. If the ice core air/ice age shift can be believed, this would correspond to about 1765 ice. Looking at Law, Siple and Vostok average we find about 280 ppm for 1765. This would suggest a decompression loss of 20 ppm for 200+ year old ice. And a pre-industrial real atmospheric concentration of more like 300 ppm than 280 ppm.
From the Vostok ice core, making a scatter plot of CO2 concentration vs temperature we find that atmospheric CO2 concentration increases 10 ppm for every 1 degree C rise in temperature. The global average temperature has increased about 1 degree C since 1780, contributing 10 ppm CO2. Therefore the anthropogenic CO2 increase is probably only 70 ppm, rather than the 100 ppm claimed by AGW believers.
The share of anthropogenic CO2 remaining in the atmosphere may be overstated by 30%.
3)
Beck data smoothed.
In 3, taking data only from ca 1865 as good, we can clearly see both WWI and WWII. As noted above, Europe 1986 corresponds with Antarctica 1986, which suggests strongly that Beck 1960 is biased 10 ppm high.
I went from
> Jaworowski to Beck, to RC on Beck, to Law Dome, and to
> several other sources. Seems to me that most all are right, and most all
> are wrong. To wit:
> Both Jaworowski and Beck seem to think that the measurements Beck presents
> are global, and therefore ice cores are wrong. They also are thinking
> statically rather than dynamically. RC agrees and points out, corectly,
> that there was no CO2 source that could create the 1942 peak (globally).
> Beck says the peak is not WWII because there are elevated readings in
> Alaska and Poona India.
> Let’s assume that the warm spell peaking about 1938 made a small
> contribution and WWII made a large contribution. There is no reason that
> there couldn’t have been local spikes also in Alaska (military staging)
> and Poona (industrialized part of India supporting the Asian campaign).
> Most of the measurements were from Europe, and in ’41/’42 Europe was in
> flames. Imagine a high ridge of elevated CO2 across Europe that is
> continuously flowing out to become well mixed around the world. By the
> time it gets to the South Pole 200 ppm would probably be no more than 20
> ppm.
> Now consider that a few year spike (bottom to bottom 1935 to 1952) gets
> averaged out over abouit 80 years during ice closure, so its maybe 4 ppm.
> By the time the core is made, 1942 ice is deep enough to form CO2
> clathrates, but not oxygen or nitrogen per Jaworowski, so when the core
> depressurizes, some more of the peak is lost, now 1 ppm.
> Now see Law Dome, per Etheridge “flat to slightly up and down” from about
> 1935 to 1952.
> You can take the Law Dome CO2 plot, look only at the last 100 years, and
> fit Beck’s peak right on the unexplained flat.
> There was plenty of CO2 to generate that ridge over Europe, and it was
> WWII. Beck is right, the ice core is right, RC is right; Beck is wrong, RC
> is wrong, but the ice core remains right.
> It would be nice if people didn’t jump to conclusions and would think
> dynamically.

So in heavily vegetative valleys the daily CO2 values bounce up and down from night to day 20% of background, and in densely inhabited coral reefs as much as 100% along with heavy Ph shifts. The temperatures daily, seasonally, and annually also range wildly….and I am supposed to go live in a cave in fear of a 4ppm CO2 annual increase that is some years only 2ppm, that is supposed to produce an almost unmeasurable gradual change in the background temperature?

tonyb says:
September 24, 2010 at 9:09 am
I have several questions for Ferdinand;
1) The people who regularly took Co2 measurements back to 1830 were brilliant scientists. Why do you think that whilst by 1945 we were able to split the atom yet we were still unable to split the composition of the atmosphere-despite 120 years of trying?
2) A 1 degree C rise in ocean temperature is supposed to produce 7ppm of Co2. At what temperature does the ocean outgas Co2 and at what temperature does it absorb? Presumably as it is only the surface that is in contact with the atmosphere it is the SST we need to be most interested in, which can vary considerably in temperature
3) Despite your excellent series of articles you remain sceptical of the actual real world effects of co2. Can you explain what you believe the temperature rise would be if Co2 levels doubled from the 300pm claimed for the start of the 20th century

Hi Tony, some time ago we met…
About your questions:
1) The scientist were brilliant, the methods they used were good for that time, and quite accurate at +/- 10 ppmv for most of them. There might have been problems with some methods (the Pettenkofer method is critisized as having 50% too high values by some), but in general that is not the problem. There were two problems: the accuracy of most methods was even not fine enough to know that there were seasonal differences, although several researchers did suppose that, but then based on measurements within vegetation. And the concept of “background” CO2 levels was not even invented, as most measurements were taken “as is” for “rural”, “town”, “polar”, “mid-latitude” air masses (the latter two over the oceans). Only with the insight of C.D. Keeling and his new method with a much better accuracy of +/- 0.1 ppmv and continuously measured, one could see that there were seasonal changes (to his own surprise), as the prevailing theory was that the oceans would level off alle differences, including the human emissions.
2) There are large differences in ocean surface temperature between the equator and the poles, that makes that the pCO2 of the ocean waters near the equator is much higher than of the atmosphere. On the other side, biolife uses a lot of CO2, far more near the equator than near the poles, that lowers the pCO2 difference, but still temperature wins. Thus there is a permanent release of CO2 near the equator. The opposite happens near the poles, and especially in the NE Atlantic at the THC sink place, which act as a permanent sink for CO2. The mid-latitudes act as a sink in winter and a source in summer.
See Feely e.a. at http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml
(their previous pages are interesting too, but there are errors in the calculation of average fluxes in/out the oceans, although the sign would be right)
The oceans surface layer (the “mixed” layer) equilibrates more or less within a year with the atmosphere (that is a dynamic equilibrium), but the main sink for CO2 from the atmosphere is at the THC sink place, which takes CO2 down to the deep oceans to return many hundreds of years later at the mid-Pacific upwelling. Thus temperature is important, but not the only factor. Even so, the increase in the atmosphere makes that the oceans for the same average temperature absorb more and more CO2, as the pCO2 in the atmosphere increases and thus the pCO2 difference between atmosphere and oceans decreases over warm oceans (reducing the outgassing) and increases over cold parts (increasing the uptake)…
3) Based on absorption rates, a CO2 doubling would give an increase in temperature of about 0.9°C. Including (an already doubtful) feedback from water vapour, that would give an increase of about 1.3°C. That is all (and I would like that in my mostly cool, wet country). Climate models include a lot of feedbacks, of which cloud feedback is the most important and always positive, according to the modelers. If you put that question before cloud scientists, they agree that clouds are a negative feedback. Dr. Spencer has written several articles on this, including clouds as forcing, not as feedback.
Further, to fit the 1945-1975 cooling period, climate modellers included an extra negative forcing: aerosols. In my opinion, the effect of (sulphate) aerosols in climate models is far overblown (and therefore also the effect of GHGs), as I discussed on RealClimate (before I did give up to comment there as half of my comments were censored):
http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=245
See comment #6 with a lot of links to more comments…
Last but not least, there is a period at the end of the previous interglacial, where CO2 levels dropped 40 ppmv without measurable effect on temperature, which points to a low influence of CO2:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/eemian.html
Thus in my opinion (and of many others), while there may be an influence of CO2 on temperature, it is very modest and (far) below what the climate models (and the IPCC) “project”…

dbleader61

I just want to pass along a compliment again to Anthony about his choice of the picture for this post. I liked the modified pics for “Chicken of the Sea” on the James Cameron piece, but really like this one.
Not sure if you meant it, Anthony, but there’s such a degree of understated irony in picking the shot of CO2 on fire from the alarmist camp. CO2, of course, doesnt burn – in fact having characteristics that allow it to be the active ingredient of the majority of fire extinguishers – just one more of its beneficial uses that I hadn’t considered before – CO2 as a “cooling” agent.
And I share others’ compliments to you for running Mr. Engelbeens narrative. It does show a great deal of maturity lacking elsewhere. But somewhat selfishly, I find it useful because I get to see the AGW arguments in order sharpen my anti-AGW arguments. I sure don’t want to try to drag them out of the trash at RC or CP.

Harold Pierce Jr

ATTN: ALL
THE FOLLOWING IS REALLY IMPORTANT SO PAY ATTENTION!
After analysis, the concentration for CO2 in a sample of local air is reported for purified dry air (PDA) which does not occur in the earth’s atmosphere and is comprised of nitrogen, oxygen, the inert gases, which are the fixed gases, and CO2. The composition of PDA (i.e., the relative amounts of the fixed gases and CO2) is fairly uniform through out the atmosphere and is idependent of location, pressure, temperature, and humidity except for local variations in particular with respect to CO2. This is the origin of the term “well-mixed atmospheric gases.”
For PDA at STP (i.e., 273.15 K and 1 atm. pressure), there are presently about 390 ml, 17.4 millimoles, 766 mg, or 0.000766 kg of CO2 in 1 cubic meter. The density of PDA at STP is 1.29 kg per cubic meter. The concentration of CO2 in PDA is 390 ppmv.
Consider this: Will o.ooo766 kg of a gas have the capability of influencing the physical state of 1.29 kg of the fixed gases? I don’t think so.
In real air there is no uniform distributon of the masses of the consituents including water vapor and clouds in the atmosphere in space and time as is shown by daily weather maps of the various regions of the earth. High pressure cells have more mass of the gases than do low pressure cells, and thus there is no uniform distribution of CO2 in the atmosphere. Air containing water vapor is less dense than dry air and has less mass of the fixed gases and of CO2 both of which will vary with humidity.
Clouds are liquid water in the air, and the tiny droplets of water will contain the atmospheric gases, the amount of which will depend on local temperature and pressure. Since clouds move about, they can transport CO2 in the liquid phase from location to location. Depending on local conditions, they can release into local air some of the gases or dissipate and release water vapor and all of the gasses.. The clouds can also release rain drops which will carry the atmospheric gases to the earth’s surface. A heavy and prolonged rainfall can deposit substantial amounts of CO2 on the earth’s surface.
The metric used for CO2 in climate model calculations is ppmv and is incorrect.
The metric that should be used is either mass per unit volume or moles per unit volume. Current climate models use the incorrect metric for CO2 and thus are fatally flawed. Another fatal flaw is not taking into account the CO2 in the water droplets of clouds which can also release water vapor.
For interesting info and much useful data on the atmosphere and air, go to Universal Industrial Gases Inc.’s website at:
http://www.uigi.com/air.html

Enneagram

It’s time to remember some facts about CO2:
CO2 follows temperature, not the other way. Open a coke and you?ll see it: The more you have it in your warm hand the more gas will go out when you open it.
CO2 is the transparent gas we all exhale (and Not SUV: That dark is SOOT=Carbon dust) and plants breath with delight, to give us back what they exhale instead= Oxygen we breath in.
CO2 is a TRACE GAS in the atmosphere, it is the 0.038% of it.
There is no such a thing as “greenhouse effect”, “greenhouse gases are gases IN a greenhouse”, where heated gases are trapped and relatively isolated not to lose its heat so rapidly. If greenhouse effect were to be true, as Svante Arrhenius figured it out: CO2 “like the window panes in a greenhouse”, but?the trouble is that those panes would be only 3.8 panes out of 10000, there would be 9996.2 HOLES.
See:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/28018819/Greenhouse-Niels-Bohr
CO2 is a gas essential to life. All carbohydrates are made of it. The sugar you eat, the bread you have eaten in your breakfast this morning, even the jeans you wear (these are made from 100% cotton, a polymer of glucose, made of CO2 you did’nt know it, did you?)
You and I, we are made of CARBON and WATER.
CO2 is heavier than Air, so it can not go up, up and away to cover the earth.
The atmosphere, the air can not hold heat, its volumetric heat capacity, per cubic centimeter is 0.00192 joules, while water is 4.186, i.e., 3227 times.
This is the reason why people used hot water bottles to warm their feet and not hot air bottles.
Global Warmers models (a la Hansen) expected a kind of heated CO2 piggy bank to form in the tropical atmosphere, it never happened simply because it can not.
If global warmers were to succeed in achieving their SUPPOSED goal of lowering CO2 level to nothing, life would disappear from the face of the earth.

Bob from the UK says:
September 24, 2010 at 9:44 am
Good points made, but not convinced with the certainty of the conclusions. It well known that during cool periods La Nina, that the annual increases in CO2 vary significantly. For a short period in 2008 during the depths of the La Nina there was a month or two with hardly any increases. This signifies to me that natural variability is as significant as the increase in CO2 which is attributable to man. Given that evidence I’m waiting for this cooling period to develop and see how it will affect the CO2 levels. Like everything else in climate science, detailed observations started during the solar maximum. It looks like we are now entering a solar minimum.
The influence of temperature variations on the CO2 increase rate is about 4 ppmv/°C, but that only influences the variability around the trend, not the trend itself. The long-term influence (as seen in ice cores, including the MWP-LIA cooling) is about 8 ppmv/°C, by far not enough to explain the current 100+ ppmv increase with an about 1°C increase in temperature since the LIA.
The current rather flat temperature in the last decade didn’t give a change in ratio between the increase in the atmosphere and the emissions (about 55% of the emissions).
Bob from the UK says:
September 24, 2010 at 9:49 am
I would add to my comment above. If the increase of the CO2 can vary between 2.5 and 0 ppm in the space of a few months, then Beck’s observation is by no means unbelievable, it demonstrates that the capacity of the environment to absorb CO2 is indeed capable of very significant variation.

The fastest change is by vegetation: every spring CO2 levels are at maximum, falling rapidely (in the NH) when mid-latude leaves are growing and photosynthesis starts again. The opposite happens in fall, when a lot of leaves are decaying back to CO2 by soil bacteria. The opposite happens in the oceans, where summer gives more release and winters more absorption. As both act countercurrent, the net natural variability is surprisingly small: some +/- 1 ppmv from year to year, while the human emissions currently reach 4 ppmv/year and the average increase in the atmosphere is 2 ppmv/year:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg
While the seasonal change is huge (about 60 GtC back and forth for vegetation, some 90 GtC back and forth for the oceans), that doesn’t imply the possibility of a huge change in sink capacity: the earth is greening (thanks to the extra CO2), but not with 200 GtC in less than 10 years (as Beck’s 1941 peak implies), only 1.2 GtC/year extra…

TomRude

I think I recall during the AirVent discussion that Dr. Beck had some new 2010 publications in the pipe.

tjfolkerts

Keith D says: Suboceanic volcanoes are an unaccounted for source of CO2.
But there is no reason to expect a change in undersea volcanoes in the last ~150 years. In a sense, then, they are “accounted for, since they presumable are part of the natural equilibrium that had been keeping CO2 near 300 ppm for millennia.
Richard111 says:
Here is a clue, check out the Maxwell_Boltzmann energy distribution curves for N2 molecules when the air temperature is below 0C, which most of the troposphere is above 2,500 meters.
Just what is exciting the CO2 molecules under those conditions to give that deadly “backradiation”?

The IR from the earth’s surface (and directly by sunlight for that matter) is exciting the CO2 molecules. As the IR travels thru the atmosphere, some gets absorbed by the various greenhouse gases. (That is pretty much the definition of a green house gas.) The molecule that had absorbed the IR photon very quickly loses it again. But since it is emitted in a random direction, some of the IR that would have escaped (if there were no greenhouse gases) gets directed back toward the earth.
Is the basic physics of green house gases really under question? GHG’s absorb and re-emit IR photons; they keep the earth warm (and keep Venus VERY warm). More GHG will block more IR and warm the earth further.
The possibility of negative feedback mechanisms and positive feedback mechanisms make it difficult to predict the extent of the warming — some say negative feedback will mean very limited changes in temp; others say that positive feedback could lead to catastrophic increases in temp. But feedback only matters when there is a real change to begin with, like GHG’s redirecting IR photons back to the earth.

BillyBob

One fire season in one country contributed 2.6Gt of carbon
“Wildfires that scorched parts of Indonesia in 1997 spewed as much carbon into the atmosphere as the entire planet’s biosphere removes from it in a year, shows new research published this week. The fires, which destroyed thousands of forest acres and left peat bogs smoldering for months, released as much as 2.6 billion metric tons of carbon — mostly in the form of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) — into the atmosphere. ”
http://www.albionmonitor.com/0211a/rainfire2.html
One has to ask the obvious question. How much carbon is NOT going into the atmosphere because such fires are prevented in place like Western North America because fire crews put all of them out (some later than others)?
What about the perpetual coal seam fires? Are there more fires because of coal mining?
I think anyone who categorically states the rise in CO2 is man made does not have a clue.

BillyBob

What about 3,000,000 plus underwater vocanoes? Previously the number was thought of as a lot lower. How much CO2? How much of the ocean acidification blamed on mans CO2 is caused by CO2 from underwater volcanoes?
“Oceanographers Hillier and Watts (2007) surveyed 201,055 submarine volcanoes. From this they concluded an astounding total of 3,477,403 submarine volcanoes must reasonably exist worldwide. They based this finding on the earlier and well-respected observations of Earth and Planetary Sciences specialist, Batiza (1982) who found that at least 4 per cent of seamounts are active volcanoes.
Read more at Suite101: Acid Oceans Due to Undersea Volcanoes?: New Study Refutes Theory Humans Are Responsible for Acidification http://www.suite101.com/content/acid-oceans-due-undersea-volcanoes-not-humans-a220085#ixzz10TpQcoKw
http://www.suite101.com/content/acid-oceans-due-undersea-volcanoes-not-humans-a220085

k winterkorn says:
September 24, 2010 at 9:54 am
If we accept the evidence that CO2 “background” levels are rising and that isotope ratios indicate a biologic source (rather than simple ocean outgassing or volcanoes), the issue is still far from settled. The following questions still need to be answered:
1. What is the total amount of bioavailable carbon in the oceans and soil (not in the atmosphere)?
2. What is the annual rate of CO2 production from that reservoir of carbon (by bacteria, fungi, etc.)?
3. How does that production vary as a function of changes in the earth’s average temp?

For 1) and 2) see some (rough) estimates at:
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/Images/carbon_cycle_diagram.jpg
But 2) is two-way, where the sinks via photosynthesis are slightly larger than the sources (as anyway the difference between emissions and increase in the atmosphere must go somewhere).
The variability of 2) in sink capacity as result of temperature changes is small: about 4 ppmv/°C, or +/- 1 ppmv year by year variability, as the graph linked in my previous message shows.
We know from info above that diurnal changes in bio-production of CO2 are massive. It is not a leap of faith to hypothesize that as the Earth warms from other non-human causes (eg solar or earth-orbit related) that CO2 production by the biosphere may follow in a lagging manner. The global rise in CO2 could be due to increased non-human bio-activity.
The local diurnal changes are massive, but global diurnal changes are undetectable small. Seasonal changes are about 5 ppmv (at 1°C change) globally (mostly in the NH, as where is most of the vegetation) and opposite to the long-term sensitivity of CO2 for temperature changes (about 8 ppmv/°C), which is mainly ocean temperature induced.
Biological life (including in the oceans) is not the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, as some more oxygen is produced by vegetation growth than by vegetation decay, thus more CO2 is taken away (and preferentially 12CO2) by vegetation leaving more 13CO2 in the atmosphere. But we measure a decrease of d13C levels. The only known source of low 13C besides vegetation is fossil fuel burning (and extra methane releases and land use changes, all human induced)…

Daryl M

While Ferdinand’s articles are interesting and appear to be well-researched, I believe the point he makes is moot and therefore also irrelevant. The AGW alarmist community has not proven that current global temperatures are driven to any measureable degree by CO2, whether it is a result of human activity or otherwise, and they have not explained any interrelation between historic CO2 levels and temperature.

The problem I notice here again in the dicussions is that we forget that we donot really know the influence of volcanics and what goes on beneath the surface of 70% of earth. How much CO2 is added from that? We know from the past that there were heavy fluctuations in CO2 due to whatever reasons. Maybe, in the end, we might even find that the testing of atomic bombs triggered more volcanic activities and earth quakes. Do we know how many atomic bombs were tested, and how much energy this added to the atmosphere?
In my investigations I could not find the proof that CO2 is to blame for global warming. On the contrary, as observed by others here, more CO2 will be good for greenery and good for life.
http://letterdash.com/HenryP/more-carbon-dioxide-is-ok-ok

Gary Pearse says:
September 24, 2010 at 10:45 am
Fair questions and remarks except for 2). Outgassing of CO2 has little to do with SST, but rather the temp of a thicker active layer (down to 700m? perhaps). Solution of CO2, similarly couldn’t be much in the few mm of sea surface. I suspect that it too has to do with a thicker layer that is stirred up by winds and influenced by rising and sinking currents of cool and warm water. It is interesting though that were the entire ocean to be calm, that few mm would likely be a barrier to CO2 both ways.
Indeed the “mixed layer” is some 100-200 m of ocean surface which are stirred up by winds and are responsible for the uptake and release of CO2, depending of temperature (and DIC content). See the Feely e.a. papers at:
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

James Sexton says:
September 24, 2010 at 10:50 am
During that time period, there was rapid industrialization, world wide. Further, rapid destruction, world wide and consequently rebuilding in many parts of the world. Many refer to the time period as WWII.
Doesn’t this seem to fit?

Even during that period, while the war certainly destroyed a lot (especially in Europe), the rebuilding and increase in industrial activity was mainly in the years after WWII, while that are the years of the drop back to “normal” CO2 levels according to Ernst Beck’s analysis.

Tim F asks:
Is the basic physics of green house gases really under question?
No, I don’t think so.
my question from the start of my own investigations has been whether the net effect of CO2 in the atmosphere is cooling or warming. If the net effect is cooling, then CO2 is not really a greenhouse gas.
If you want more science on that, here it comes:
here is the famous paper that confirms to me that CO2 is (also) cooling the atmosphere by re-radiating sunshine:
http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/0004-637X/644/1/551/64090.web.pdf?request-id=76e1a830-4451-4c80-aa58-4728c1d646ec
they measured this radiation as it bounced back to earth from the moon. Follow the green line in fig. 6, bottom. Note that it already starts at 1.2 um, then one peak at 1.4 um, then various peaks at 1.6 um and 3 big peaks at 2 um. You will find it all back in fig. 6 top.
This paper here shows that there is absorption of CO2 at between 0.21 and 0.19 um (close to 202 nm):
http://www.nat.vu.nl/en/sec/atom/Publications/pdf/DUV-CO2.pdf
There are other papers that I can look for again that will show that there are also absorptions of CO2 at between 0.18 and 0.135 um and between 0.125 and 0.12 um.
We already know from the normal IR spectra that CO2 has big absorption between 4 and 5 um.
So, to sum it up, we know that CO2 has absorption in the 14-15 um range causing some warming (by re-radiating earthshine) but as shown and proved above it also has a number of absorptions in the 0-5 um range causing cooling (by re-radiating sunshine). This cooling happens at all levels where the sunshine hits on the carbon dioxide same as the earthshine. The way from the bottom to the top is the same as from top to the bottom. So, my question is: how much cooling and how much warming is caused by the CO2? How was the experiment done to determine this and where are the test results? (I am afraid that simple heat retention testing might not work here, we have to use real sunshine and real earthshine to determine the effect in W/m3 [0.03%- 0.06%]CO2/m2/24hours). I am also doubtful of the analysis of the spectral data, as some of the UV absorptions of CO2 have only been discovered recently. Also, I think the actual heat caused by the sun’s IR at 4-5 maybe underestimated, e.g. the radiation of the sun between 4 and 5 maybe only 1% but how many watts does it cause? Here in Africa you can not stand in the sun for longer that 10 minutes, just because of the heat of the sun on your skin.
Anyway, with so much at stake, surely, you actually have to come up with some empirical testing?
If this research has not been done, why don’t we just sue the oil companies to do this?? It is their product afterall.
I am going to state it here quite categorically again that if no one has got these results, then how do we know for sure that CO2 is a greenhouse gas? Maybe the cooling properties are equal to the warming properties.

The stomata index data are calibrated against background levels of CO2, not local levels. It seems unlogical then to suggest that they should not be proxies for historical background level but historical local levels.

Robert Austin

I would like to thank Ferdinand Engelbeen for thoroughly excellent series of posts. It just makes sense that man’s contribution of CO2 to the atmosphere, while being a small percentage of the total concentration, must hypothetically perturb the system to some extent and the estimate that about half the anthropomorphic contribution has remained in the atmosphere thereby increasing CO2 levels is not outlandish. On the basis that higher CO2 concentrations are good for plant life, we should celebrate heightened CO2 concentrations.
A more important question is the so called lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere. The dynamic range of natural concentration flux would seem to indicate a short lifetime. Thus, we can “turn down” the greenhouse effect if any real evidence of CAGW presents itself. No need to do anything until we really know something about climate.
And conceding that man has actually influenced the concentration of this trace gas is not really conceding very much. You still have the more important questions;
-is the climate measurably sensitive to increasing concentration of CO2 above 290 ppm?
– are the effects of the increased concentration of CO2 benevolent or injurious?

Ferdinand says:
“Thus in my opinion (and of many others), while there may be an influence of CO2 on temperature, it is very modest and (far) below what the climate models (and the IPCC) “project”…”
Finally, after four articles we have the crucial answer: there ‘may’ be a CO2 effect on T, but if so it is very modest, and far below what the models and the IPCC project.
No wonder Ferdinand was censored at RealClimate. Since the effect of CO2 on temperature is insignificant, there is no credible reason to spend $Trillions to mitigate the fabricated “carbon” scare.
All the proposals for Cap & Trade, for registering “carbon” footprints, for forcing companies to purchase “carbon” offsets, etc., is based on bogus science promoted by organizations and individuals who are using deliberate falsehoods [runaway global warming] to extract much higher taxes, force much higher prices, and create a heavy new unelected, permanent bureaucracy to control ordinary citizens by demonizing a beneficial and harmless trace gas.

Craig Goodrich

I for one completely reject the AGW hypothesis, in the belief that natural feedbacks (mostly hydrological) reduce the theoretical 1 degree C effect of CO2 doubling to somewhere between a quarter of a degree and unmeasurable.
But this series has convinced me that the CO2 increase of the last century is anthropogenic; many thanks to FE both for the thoroughness and rigor of his work and the clarity of his presentation.
One random thought, though — in 1939–45 we had a substantial unpleasantness in Europe and East Asia involving much burning things down and blowing things up. Has anyone done any research on whether all of this had any measurable effect on CO2 levels of the period, and if so how long (even local) effects lasted?

terry46

Let ‘s get this straight once and for all.People and animals must have CO2 to live .Plants give off CO2.Simple get rid of all people and animals and never grow another crop or tree or flower ever.PROBLEM SOLVED.

Dave Springer

@Engelbeen
“My impression is that the data of Giessen show too much variation and are too irregular, either by the (modified Pettenkofer) method, the sampling or the handling of the samples.”
Is that how science works now – by impressions?
Color me unimpressed by your impression.
Figure 11 is essentially identical to Figure 10 in shape.
The shape appears to be that of a smoking gun. You’re not going to get away with shrugging that off by saying there must be some sort of error in apparatus or procedures. Your “impression” isn’t worth a tinker’s damn.

George E. Smith

Well I’m in agreement with those who congratulate Ferdinand on a well put together piece, and the whole series.
I found Beck’s data from 1826 to be most interesting; and I am not prepared to dismiss the 1940s peak as being impossible either up or down. For teh whole of the arctic every year we get an 18 ppm drop in CO2 in five months; and it goes back up in the remaining seven moths;and there is basically nothing in the arctic to absorb that but the exposed ocean; maybe some tundra areas.
So 80 ppm in ten years is a piece of cake, if the original peak was itself a transient event like a massivs war period for example.
But Beck certainly doesn’t support a “background level” of any 280 ppm; which number is trotted out ad nauseum.
If in 1826 it was 365 as Beck suggests then 390 very nearly today is hardly worth noticing.
And even if Beck’s results are the result of local effects; that is still useful information that htis notion of a global well mixed value is a fiction.
In any case; nothing in this information gives me ANY comfort that the mean global (near) surface Temperature is linked in any (causal) way to atmospehric CO2.
But thanks for your efforts Ferdinand; I will likely be studying the details of your four episodes for some time to come.

George E. Smith

I have one area of great discomfort; looking at figs 10 and 11.
At various values of wind speed one can find (at any single wind speed) a very large spread in the CO2 ppmv. almost 3:1 range at 2 m/s; wow there’s that Climatism fudge factor range again.
What I find completely incomprehensible is that it is possible for such widely scattered data to yield exactly the same statistical value for the CO2 once wind speed is above 2 m/s
What kind of noise filtering could possibly yield such an unvarying straight line “mean” or is it “most likely value” or what.
Statistical mathematics is even more magical than my wildest imagination.