The life and times of Carbon Dioxide

From the “fun with conjecture department”, another graduate school paper parroting the claim from NOAA’s Susan Solomon that excess man-made CO2 stays in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

From CO2science: In a paper recently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels, Dr. Robert H. Essenhigh (2009), Professor of Energy Conversion at The Ohio State University, addresses the residence time (RT) of anthropogenic CO2 in the air. He finds that the RT for bulk atmospheric CO2, the molecule CO2, is ~5 years, in good agreement with other cited sources (Segalstad, 1998), while the RT for the trace molecule CO2 is ~16 years. Both of these residence times are much shorter than what is claimed by the IPCC.

It seems to me that Gaia does a fine job of respirating CO2. It doesn’t just “sit there”, as you can see the process is quite dynamic:

More at NOAA ESRL Carbon Tracker

Via Eurekalert: If greenhouse gas emissions stopped now, Earth still would likely get warmer

While governments debate about potential policies that might curb the emission of greenhouse gases, new University of Washington research shows that the world is already committed to a warmer climate because of emissions that have occurred up to now.

There would continue to be warming even if the most stringent policy proposals were adopted, because there still would be some emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. But the new research shows that even if all emissions were stopped now, temperatures would remain higher than pre-Industrial Revolution levels because the greenhouse gases already emitted are likely to persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years.

In fact, it is possible temperatures would continue to escalate even if all cars, heating and cooling systems and other sources of greenhouse gases were suddenly eliminated, said Kyle Armour, a UW doctoral student in physics. That’s because tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols, which tend to counteract the effect of greenhouse warming by reflecting sunlight back into space, would last only a matter of weeks once emissions stopped, while the greenhouse gases would continue on.

“The aerosols would wash out quickly and then we would see an abrupt rise in temperatures over several decades,” he said.

Armour is the lead author of a paper documenting the research, published recently in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. His co-author is Gerard Roe, a UW associate professor of Earth and space sciences.

The global temperature is already about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than it was before the Industrial Revolution, which began around the start of the 19th century. The scientists’ calculations took into account the observed warming, as well as the known levels of greenhouse gases and aerosols already emitted to see what might happen if all emissions associated with industrialization suddenly stopped.

In the best-case scenario, the global temperature would actually decline, but it would remain about a half-degree F higher than pre-Industrial Revolution levels and probably would not drop to those levels again, Armour said.

There also is a possibility temperatures would rise to 3.5 degrees F higher than before the Industrial Revolution, a threshold at which climate scientists say significant climate-related damage begins to occur.

Of course it is not realistic to expect all emissions to cease suddenly, and Armour notes that the overall effect of aerosols – particles of sea salt or soot from burning fossil fuels, for example – is perhaps the largest uncertainty in climate research.

But uncertainties do not lessen the importance of the findings, he said. The scientists are confident, from the results of equations they used, that some warming would have to occur even if all emissions stopped now. But there are more uncertainties, and thus a lower confidence level, associated with larger temperature increases.

Climate models used in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments take into consideration a much narrower range of the possible aerosol effects, or “forcings,” than are supported by actual climate observations, Armour said. The Nobel Peace Prize-winning panel, sponsored by the United Nations, makes periodic assessments of climate change and is in the process of compiling its next report.

As emissions of greenhouse gases continue, the “climate commitment” to a warmer planet only goes up, Armour said. He believes it is helpful for policy makers to understand that level of commitment. It also will be helpful for them to understand that, while some warming is assured, uncertainties in current climate observations – such as the full effect of aerosols – mean the warming could be greater than models suggest.

“This is not an argument to say we should keep emitting aerosols,” he said. “It is an argument that we should be smart in how we stop emitting. And it’s a call to action because we know the warming we are committed to from what we have emitted already and the longer we keep emitting the worse it gets.”

###

The paper was published in the Jan. 15 edition of Geophysical Research Letters.

If greenhouse gas emissions stopped now, Earth still would likely get warmer

186 thoughts on “The life and times of Carbon Dioxide

  1. “This is not an argument to say we should keep emitting aerosols,” he said. “It is an argument that we should be smart in how we stop emitting.”
    ========================================================
    Their escape hatch.

  2. CO2 is the gas of life–and ask any farmer whether current global average temperatures (12C=54F) are really better for plant growth than temperatures a few degrees higher.
    It is the living things that count.
    These warmists scare me because they are unravelling the economies of the developed world, and because everything they do undermines the well-being of life.
    Face it people, the warming-or-CO2-is-bad people are scary and dangerous and we don’t actually know about the effect of CO2 on terrestrial wildlife or on people. There is FUNDING to be had in anything dangerous, and unlike our “enemies,” these dangers are real!
    There will be extinctions if we do not promote CO2 for what it really is. And some of that, we have to find out.

  3. Interesting that some people think it is quite permissible to report on the results of research but not on the research. That is especially strange at this time in the history of climate science. The reason is that climate science is awash with reports of results but suffers from a dearth of research. You would think that climate scientists would report on their new research methods or maybe their new empirical data. Could it be that their methods are the same old, tired, useless computer models that climate scientists have used to flood the world with their fantasies? The government should give all of us time on their supercomputers and then we could all just sit around and compare fantastic model runs.

  4. Determining the residence time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a rather complex problem. A common misconception arises from simply looking at the annual carbon flux and the atmospheric stock; after all, with 230 gigatons absorbed by the oceans and land every year, and a total atmospheric stock of 720 gigatons, one might expect the average molecule of CO2 to remain in the atmosphere for only three to four years.
    Such an approach poorly frames the issue, however. It is not the residence time of an individual molecule that is relevant. What really matters is just how long it will take for the stock of anthropogenic carbon emissions that has accumulated in the atmosphere to be reabsorbed.
    The simplest way to approximate the time it will take to reabsorb the anthropogenic flux is to calculate how long it would take for the atmosphere to revert to preindustrial levels of 280 parts per million if humans could cease emissions immediately. If the current net sink of around 4 gigatons of carbon per year remained constant over time, it would take about 50 years for the atmosphere to return to 280 ppm. However, there is no reason to think that these sinks would remain constant as emissions decrease. Indeed, it is more realistic to anticipate that the net sink would shrink in proportion to the decrease in emissions, just as it has increased with the increase in emissions over the past century.
    Scientists can approach this problem in a number of different ways. They can use models of carbon sink behavior based on their best knowledge of the physics of ocean carbon absorption and the biosphere. They can also use records of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide during glacial periods in the distant past to estimate the time it takes for perturbations to settle out.
    Using a combination of various methods, researchers have estimated that about 50 percent of the net anthropogenic pulse would be absorbed in the first 50 years, and about 70 percent in the first 100 years. Absorption by sinks slows dramatically after that, with an additional 20 percent or so being removed after 500 years and the remaining 10 percent lasting tens if not hundreds of thousands of years before being removed.

  5. Thank you for that animation! I’ve never quite seen the cycle like that. Am I right in thinking that the abrupt decline in CO2 during NH summer is the plant life coming back from winter and sucking it all out of the atmosphere? If so, I couldn’t think of anything better than to show why we should INCREASE emissions. Talk about helping farmers get a bit more crop yield out of the growing season!

  6. As usual, it is worse than we thought! It is a travesty that the AGW money hydrant has resulted in so many science graduates jumping aboard the “death train” of deciding on the results before they do their research. Exactly the same as the rule in politics about not announcing an inquiry unless you know the conclusions it will reach. There will be a lot of unemployed scientists in 10-20 years.

  7. It just does not make any sense that “the greenhouse gases already emitted are likely to persist in the atmosphere for thousands of years”. At the moment, a certain percentage of the added CO2 ends up in the air, a certain percentage of the added CO2 ends up in the oceans, and a certain percentage of the added CO2 increases photosynthesis. Photosynthesis with 390 ppm CO2 uses more CO2 than photosynthesis with 280 ppm CO2. So IF we were to stop adding CO2 into the air right now (other than breathing of course), the higher rate of photosynthesis would cause an immediate drop in CO2.
    According to Le Chatelier’s principle, with each drop in atmospheric CO2, the equilibrium CO2 between the oceans and the air changes so some CO2 would come out of the oceans assuming there is no temperature change. This means a lower drop in CO2 than might otherwise be expected. In addition, as the CO2 drops, the rate of photosynthesis also drops, but as long as the CO2 is above 280 ppm, the higher rate of photosynthesis would cause further drops in CO2. I do not know what the time line would be, but the CO2 would decrease rapidly at first and then more and more slowly as time went on. The CO2 concentration with respect to time would form a curve similar to the half-life curves for what remains of radioactive substances.

  8. But in the PBS’ NewsHour’s one-and-only lengthy presentation of the skeptic’s side of AGW (offered not by a scientist, but by a coal exec), the NewsHour interviewer countered him by saying toward the end, “…carbon dioxide, once it’s up in the atmosphere, really doesn’t disappear for a hundred years or more…” http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/environment/july-dec97/air_12-5.html
    Gosh, if that was said on TV, it must be true…… or maybe that was a setup, since I showed in my American Thinker article from last year that the interviewer’s question eerily paraphrased a line straight out of anti-skeptic book author Ross Gelbspan’s The Heat is On – see the last set of paragraphs here: “The Left and Its Talking Points” http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/07/the_left_and_its_talking_point.html

  9. This thing reads like a tourist brochure………….
    Temps might go down, and the uncertainty says they might go down even more…
    ….temps might go up, and the uncertainty says they might go up even more
    temps might even stay the same……..
    Plus, I don’t know who’s science they are reading, but they got almost all of that wrong

  10. Zeke Hausfather says:
    “Such an approach poorly frames the issue, however. It is not the residence time of an individual molecule that is relevant…”
    In fact, Zeke’s approach poorly frames the issue. The relevant issue is this: will the rise in CO2 cause global harm?
    Carbon dioxide has risen almost 40%. Despite that very significant rise, there is no evidence — none — that any global damage has occurred. Reasonable people would expect to see at least some evidence of harm due to such a large increase in this trace gas.
    But there is no such evidence, and it isn’t for lack of searching for it. There is nothing the alarmist crowd would like more than finding something they could point to proving that CO2 is a problem. But as it turns out, CO2 is harmless at current and projected concentrations.
    Zeke is on the Grantham Foundation dole, so he doesn’t see things clearly. Jeremy Grantham is as wacked out as Al Gore. They are both motivated by the money to be made from the fake “carbon” scare.
    All the available evidence confirms that carbon dioxide is a harmless and beneficial trace gas. More is better. Only by trumpeting this invented scare can climate charlatans like Gore, Grantham, Pachauri, Mann and their clique keep raking in taxpayer loot.

  11. “Zeke Hausfather says:
    February 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm ”
    Zeke, you are welcome to “frame” the debate any way you like, but it won’t change the simple fact that life evolved under much higher levels of CO2 and craves high levels of CO2.
    Saying we need “pre-Industrial” CO2 levels, makes the silly implication that the results of industry are automatically bad – despite the incredible amount of good it has accomplished.
    But you want to frame it that way? Then fine, let’s get some “pre-Industrial” CO2 levels, but not from the tiny sliver of time you’ve decided is optimum for some delusional reason – let’s go back to when corals evolved, since environmentalists are so worried about corals, and get the CO2 levels UP to the levels they started under.
    Ah, but if we did that then we’d have to burn a lot more coal now wouldn’t we? And human progress must be stopped at all cost!

  12. I really don’t understand how shoddy articles like this get published in a scientific magazine. The claims made are outrageous far, far away from reality.
    Nice to see the seasons back in the movie. peak CO2 NH at the end of winter time and lowest level at the end of the growing season.
    I am with Alan Caruba: Deconstructing the Global Warming Fraud
    http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com/2011/02/deconstructing-global-warming-fraud.html
    Just wait for the next big volcanic eruption that will put more aerosols and CO2 in the atmosphere than 100 year of industrial revolution.
    Solar minimum/hibernation and big volcanic and siesmic events seem to go hand in hand.
    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CBUQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spaceandscience.net%2Fsitebuildercontent%2Fsitebuilderfiles%2Fssrcresearchreport1-2010.doc&rct=j&q=ssrcresearchreport1-2010.doc&ei=TwBbTbzFAcP6lweQrO3aDA&usg=AFQjCNF1HJD0MjijaKaU08YRd-OKCPNaQQ&sig2=r0Gp-ZmUW9FcSx29brYZdw&cad=rja

  13. And yet another model predicts a catastrophic end of the world unless we immediately destroy civilization.
    No data reported, no procedures reported, just our impending doom.
    And my taxes are paying for this? I weep!

  14. Zeke Hausfather says:
    February 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm
    Absorption by sinks slows dramatically after that, with an additional 20 percent or so being removed after 500 years and the remaining 10 percent lasting tens if not hundreds of thousands of years before being removed.
    =====================================================
    Zeke, what would you say a “normal/healthy” CO2 level would be for this planet?

  15. Smokey says:
    February 16, 2011 at 5:26 pm
    Carbon dioxide has risen almost 40%. Despite that very significant rise, there is no evidence — none — that any global damage has occurred. Reasonable people would expect to see at least some evidence of harm due to such a large increase in this trace gas.
    =====================================================
    But, but the models say………
    That damned reality is a butt kicker! I’ve been, as most of us on this planet, have been hearing nothing but doom and gloom from the Malthusian climate tea leave readers. And nothing ever happens. Some say, because they doomsayers alarmed the world we’ve been able to prevent other man caused disasters. Except they can’t prove any of it. This particular issue though is different. We’ve been inundated with scare mongering of AGW for over 30 years! And nothing has happened. Nade, zip, Nichts, Intet, 何も, Rien, 没有什么.
    Did I say nothing? Well, we did manage to spend an enormous amount of money. So much, it is incalculable. We did manage to freeze a few people and starve a few to death……..raise prices on any available good and service, and empower a bunch of Malthusian misanthropists with Marxist characteristics.

  16. “The global temperature is already about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit higher than it was before the Industrial Revolution, which began around the start of the 19th century. ”
    IMHO this is not yet a “given,” as long as the temperatures are based on unreliable ground thermometers and further, until just several decades ago they had been located very sparsely across the globe.

  17. Why on earth would anyone want a return to LIA temperatures?!
    In fact, it is possible temperatures would continue to escalate even if all cars, heating and cooling systems and other sources of greenhouse gases were suddenly eliminated
    They’re also advocating a return to the whip and buggy? To give up the very technology that makes adaptation to extremes in temperature easier? Amish lifestyle for everyone?
    That was an amazing video, by the way. You could really see the seasonality in CO2 levels.

  18. Aching to stop listening to political, emotional , scientific and pseudo-scientific mind-numbing BS from all sides and seeking information to help you make up your own minds about alleged AGW?
    Google: What’s Wrong With the Surface Record.
    Go to Appendix – Station Records with data to 1998 or 1999.
    There are 66 clickable ‘greenfields’ sites, many with records going back over a 100 years listed from all over the world and going back 290 years in the case of Composite Central England..
    For data up to 2010, but only from 1880
    Google: GISS Surface Temperature Data Analysis
    (NASA official James Hansen)
    Go to it and do your own informative search !

  19. >>
    But uncertainties do not lessen the importance of the findings, he said.
    >>
    Oh really? I wonder in what other branch of science you could seriously make a statement like that.
    >>
    The scientists are confident, from the results of equations they used, that some warming would have to occur even if all emissions stopped now. But there are more uncertainties, and thus a lower confidence level, associated with larger temperature increases.
    >>
    OK , so these uncertainties do matter. I guess it’s a rather Rumsfeldian type of uncertain uncertainties and certain uncertainties.
    But don’t forget , no matter how uncertain our uncertain uncertainties may be, that does not detract from our certainty of the importance of certain uncertain results.
    At least I think that’s what he’s saying. 😕

  20. You know what? I like the fact the Earth breaths deeply, has a few wrinkles here and there, and is a bit on the CO2 pudgy side, instead of being rack skinny, full of oxygen, cold to the touch, and has pancake smooth skin.

  21. Watching the video, it’s absolutely clear how totally plant absorption and emission dominates the CO2 patterns. The industrial emitters show little or no impact.
    That article is garbage, indeed.

  22. “Zeke Hausfather says:
    Determining the residence time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a rather complex problem.
    No it isn’t
    “It is not the residence time of an individual molecule that is relevant. What really matters is just how long it will take for the stock of anthropogenic carbon emissions that has accumulated in the atmosphere to be reabsorbed.”
    Complete Bollocks. We KNOW the rate at which 14CO2 exits the atmosphere and the order of the reaction. It is about a decade and first-order.
    “Using a combination of various methods, researchers have estimated that about 50 percent of the net anthropogenic pulse would be absorbed in the first 50 years, and about 70 percent in the first 100 years. Absorption by sinks slows dramatically after that, with an additional 20 percent or so being removed after 500 years and the remaining 10 percent lasting tens if not hundreds of thousands of years before being removed.”
    Show me ANY dynamic system where the rapid sinks act in a saturated manner?
    Go on, show me ANY system that behaves like this. Don’t you know what a steady state is?
    Have you ever studied any kinetics?

  23. …might, if, likely, possible, likely, if, probably, possibility, uncertainties, even if, should,…science, no…just bulldust…

  24. Zeke Hausfather should learn Henry’s Law a more specific instantiation of Le Chatelier’s principle. Then learn the effect on biomass of the increase in CO2.
    Nothing is linear in nature yet people persist in linear thinking.

  25. KV says:
    February 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm
    Hi KV, thanks man! That’s good! But, most of us here are pretty familiar with GISS. In fact, we were instrumental in fixing one of their graphics just yesterday! But, you’re absolutely correct, one should seek to find the answers themselves. When you have more questions than answers, though, it is necessary to seek out others for their information. One does have to discern the fact from fiction when one does. But then, you have to do that also when sifting through data. Presenters, even governmental agencies, will sometimes be disingenuous.

  26. Oh, I almost forgot, there’s a few here that are quite knowledgeable on the difficulties of the “Surface Record”. Many are very familiar with John L. Daly, Prof S. Fred Singer and Dr Vincent Gray. They are worth the read. You should go to http://surfacestations.org/ . Then, you should come back here.

  27. And I thought carbon dioxide was colorless. It’s obviously red. Funny, when I exhale that 50,000 ppm on each breath I don’t see anything. /sarc
    I like Doug’s observation, “And yet another model predicts a catastrophic end of the world unless we immediately destroy civilization.”

  28. KV says:
    February 16, 2011 at 6:24 pm
    Aching to stop listening to political, emotional , scientific and pseudo-scientific mind-numbing BS from all sides and seeking information to help you make up your own minds about alleged AGW?
    Right.
    Dr. Richard North has drawn another conclusion:
    We are all Revolutionaries now
    http://eureferendum.blogspot.com/2011/02/we-are-revolutionaries-now.html
    The proponents of the AGW scam talk about the First Global Revolution
    see http://green-agenda.com
    So if we want to resist their crooked theories and objectives we can only be Contra Revolutionaries.
    Never in my life I could have imagined we could sink to such a level in such a short time only because of a group of eco fascist green hacks out to save the planet and destroy our civilization.

  29. Why are the strongest seasonal changes in CO2 happening at such high lattitudes near the arctic?
    And hey, I notice Australia produces no visible CO2 in winter – can we skip the Carbon Tax, Ms Gillard?

  30. Luboš Motl (The Reference Frame) posted on this issue not too long ago:
    http://motls.blogspot.com/2011/01/weather-in-year-3000-once-again.html
    His approach is interesting and worth reading. He inserts Vostok ice core graphs.
    As we are looking at CO2 I will ask a question. The ice core investigations claim a low CO2 value of about 180 ppm and say it is a global value. That is also a value I have seen as the minimum necessary for plants to live. If both are true statements then about every 100,000 years photosynthesis on Earth comes very close to shutting down. My searching has failed to shed light on this issue. Can anyone help?
    Thanks, John

  31. Watching the northern hemisphere “breathe” 10 ppm of CO2 per season is fascinating.
    I wanted to understand how much CO2 was in the atmosphere in terms that I could understand, so I did a (very) rough calculation: If all of the CO2 above me was compressed and frozen into dry ice, how thick a layer would it make on the ground?
    For the sake of my rough calculation I assumed that nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and the other trace gasses all have the same density as water. The weight of one atmosphere is 14.7 psi, equivalent to a water column 34 feet high. CO2 makes up 0.039% of the atmosphere, and so .039% of 34 feet = 0.16 inches or 4 mm. It’s a very rough calculation, but I think it gives the right order of magnitude. My guess is that if all of the CO2 in the atmosphere precipitated out on the ground as a solid, it would only make a layer between an eighth and a quarter of an inch thick.
    When you compare this to the amount of carbon stored in plants on the ground it starts to make sense why the plants grow so much more quickly when CO2 increases, and how they can lower the rate significantly in a single season.

  32. Zeke Hausfather says:
    quote
    Determining the residence time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a rather complex problem.
    unquote
    Only if you persist in doing it by modelling. You could check the bomb 14C data, data data….
    DocMartyn says:
    quote
    the disappearance of 14C from the atmospheric bomb testing give between 12-16 years,
    unquote
    Yes.
    The video is fascinating and unexpected. Why does the northern hemisphere fall behind the southern? Is it just because there is less ocean? Or have we done something to the northern seas which destroys their ability to absorb CO2?
    JF

  33. Meanwhile in wintery summertime Aus there’s another scary story this morning on page three of SMH.
    Can’t remember what it said though.

  34. To illustrate Zeke’s point, think about an olden days greengrocer who deals only in cash. He turns over $100 per day, but is losing on average a nett $100 per month, and is down to his last $1000. A fairy godmother gives him $1200 in $10 bills. How long will that money last.
    The actual bills might last only a few days, but they will be replaced by other bills. It should be about a year before his cash on hand is back to $1000.
    The Essenhigh figure, and the C14 data quoted, of 5-14 years, is the molecular lifetime. It corresponds to the time that our GG keeps those $10 bills – a few days.
    What counts is the time the total CO2 level is elevated, corresponding to the year’s reprieve for the GG. The CO2 molecules are exchanged, but the nett change in total CO2 is slow. The lifetime that Zeke and the AR4 are talking about is that much slower nett change.

  35. Well, I have found it now.
    The SMH seem to have copied the UK Gardian – how unusual!
    Here is the headline:
    QUOTE
    Climate change doubled likelihood of devastating UK floods of 2000Researchers have for the first time quantified the part climate change played in increasing the risk of a severe flood
    UNQUOTE
    Now I suppose some pore trained ststistican will have to look into this and tell us where the researchers goofed up.
    It’s getting quite booring.
    What did that fine ancinet scietist say ?
    Gobels was his name I recall:
    Dang – I’ve forgotten.
    No worries!

  36. Zeke Hausfather says:
    Zeke is actually mainly correct in what he says. I also initially looked at the residence time of specific molecules, and got 7 to 10 years for a time constant, but the problem is that as some CO2 is absorbed by oceans, some of the older CO2 is released to maintain the partial pressures, until the CO2 is sequestered (into weathered rock, shells and coral, dropping organic material to the ocean floor, and in long term plant growth). The net sequestration would give about a 50 year time constant and asymptotic decay from there.
    However, if the present level of 40% more CO2 than 150 years ago has had such a small temperature rise effect (and much of the temperature rise was in fact due to recovery from the LIA), then these numbers are of little consequence. In fact, the largest effect by far seems to be the more healthy crop production.

  37. Please excuse me.
    I’m in severe pain this morning.
    That does not seem to have improved my typing or spelling at all.

  38. Right.
    That one pushed me over the edge, went up on the roof in a handmade pair of Tin foil nappies (aluminium diaper for the US folk), slapped my chest and dared the God of Carbon dioxide to smite me.
    Eventually I got bored, and came back down with an odd set of tan lines, plus a strange static build in places unmentionable.
    I’m sending the used tinfoil apparel to them, it can get Sky sports, if you bend over far enough – methinks that’ll fit both their funding model and philosophical outlook.

  39. Julian Flood says:
    February 16, 2011 at 7:41 pm
    The video is fascinating and unexpected. Why does the northern hemisphere fall behind the southern? Is it just because there is less ocean? Or have we done something to the northern seas which destroys their ability to absorb CO2?
    =======================================================
    Obviously, by watching the video, one can see that the NH does indeed still “absorb” CO2. I would attribute the larger amount in the NH to heavier industrialization. There’s more there, because more is emitted there………just guessing.
    It was fascinating and unexpected. The currents are visible as is a respiration. If the video is valid, then even the term “CO2 persistence” is inaccurate and inadequate.

  40. Zeke Hausfather says:
    February 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm
    Determining the residence time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a rather complex problem. A common misconception arises from simply looking at the annual carbon flux and the atmospheric stock; after all, with 230 gigatons absorbed by the oceans and land every year, and a total atmospheric stock of 720 gigatons, one might expect the average molecule of CO2 to remain in the atmosphere for only three to four years.
    Such an approach poorly frames the issue, however. It is not the residence time of an individual molecule that is relevant. What really matters is just how long it will take for the stock of anthropogenic carbon emissions that has accumulated in the atmosphere to be reabsorbed.

    This is an excellent explanation of the reality that is facing us. I wish that some of the so called skeptics would address this issue in a scientific fashion, and explain what is wrong with your argument, in their opinion. It would improve the level of discussion greatly.

  41. Great graphics! Kudos to whoever put that together. As to the other stuff …. well we all know what KoolAid they are drinking. Sorry but given the geological record on CO2, and no I’m not talking the last 800,000 years (that hardly qualifies as geologic time), we are way low from average.
    http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm
    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Reference_Docs/Geocarb_III-Berner.pdf
    Even if you just limit it to tertiary period we should look at 1000 ppm as safe and anything lower is flirting with disaster.

  42. Zeke is correct. You have to look at the rates of CO2 absorption by the oceans and CO2 emission by the oceans. If there is an imbalance the CO2 ppm in the air will change.

  43. After reading NASA’s explanation of the carbon tracker (really CO2 tracker) I can’t put too much faith in the video. What is shown is not measured CO2, but a calculated CO2. The CO2 decreases in the NH summer because the model puts in increased photosynthesis in the summer.

  44. “eadler says:
    February 16, 2011 at 8:38 pm
    What really matters is just how long it will take for the stock of anthropogenic carbon emissions that has accumulated in the atmosphere to be reabsorbed.
    …..This is an excellent explanation of the reality that is facing us. I wish that some of the so called skeptics would address this issue in a scientific fashion”
    I have read many articles saying that this or that plant grows so much faster when the CO2 concentration is raised by this amount. In my opinion, one of the first things we would need to know is how much more photosynthesis occurs world wide with a CO2 concentration of 390 ppm versus 280 ppm. Are there any biologists who can give even a rough answer to this question?

  45. Momma nature is a b!tch.
    Sorry, but I’m gonna keep my CO2 spewing F-150. I have to haul firewood – cuz it has been a helluva cold winter. Oh, wait – that emits the evil CO2 too! I’m screwed either way.
    Looks like nature has it under control. Kinda like forever.

  46. Residence time for a CO2 molecule is not the same as residence time for elevated CO2 level du to man made emissions.
    I think this the reason for the mismatch between C02 science 5 yo 16 years which refers to the former and Susan Solomon who refers to the latter.

  47. This cr&p is so full of certain uncertainties, i hope this is not his PhD thesis.
    It sounds like he is not really able to tell us what is going to happen but he is certain of the uncertainties that something might happen but not exactly sure what!
    Does that sound about right?

  48. “Zeke is correct. You have to look at the rates of CO2 absorption by the oceans and CO2 emission by the oceans. If there is an imbalance the CO2 ppm in the air will change.”
    The oceans will absorb some portion of any increase, but so will the general biomass. Plants will absorb CO2 and that carbon will end up within biological molecules (carbs, proteins, fats…). The carbon gets out of the biomass, and back into the atmosphere as CO2, both when animals exhale, when things rot and when they burn. That throws a huge wrench in the estimation. What is the residence time of carbon from CO2 in the biomass? For carbon that ends up in wood for houses, much longer than carbon that ends up in food crops.
    To be a permanent sink (as are the oceans when absorbing up to their saturation level) the gross global biomass must increase. The sum total of C molecules within organic molecules (and thus not in the atmosphere as CO2) can only go up if the mass of organic molecules goes up – either more life, or more long lasting products made from living materials (wood, cotton, rayon…).

  49. Lets hear it from the farmers who use CO2 to improve crop yields inside greenhouses.
    I must assume they can measure the CO2, they claim 1,000ppmv improves yields by 100%.
    So just stop the CO2 feed into one greenhouse and record the time taken for the the CO2
    level to drop below present normal levels.
    That should give an indication of plant useage. Then repeat the test in in a sealed greenhouse
    over a swimming pool of water at 25C. Record CO2 levels then cool the water to 4C.
    You can precalculate the expected drop from the CO2/water absorption scale. Water at
    4C can hold nearly 3 grams of CO2 per kilogram of water. That is HUGE compared to
    395ppmv in the atmosphere at STP. About 0.7grams CO2 per kilogram of atmosphere.

  50. According to mainstream climate science, 50% of the mann made CO2 produced each year is absorbed in a year. From this it is pretty straight forward to estimate how much is left each year.
    yr fraction remaining
    1 .5
    2 .25
    3 .125
    5 .0313
    10 .001
    So while it could be said that the CO2 will stick around for many years, there isn’t very much of it after a couple of years. In any case, the notion that this is all due to mann made CO2 seems very far fetched given that natural production of CO2 is so much greater than human production. A very small estimating error in natural production could more than equal the total human production.

  51. Pure and utter BS. Is this the kind of PhD that is being churned out today in the field of “climate science”? We are getting to the stage where a PhD means nothing anymore; rather like in social science.

  52. And here was I thinking that modern temperature is higher than the pre-industrial age temperature because we are recovering from the LIA.

  53. Oh, good grief. So much BS, I can’t be bothered shuttling up and down the page to copy and paste bits to criticise. Steeptown – you say “We are getting (my emphasis) to the stage where a PhD means nothing anymore; rather like in social science.”? We’re well into that stage already IMO, and it’s not just PhDs – think about the Nobel Peace Prize, f’rinstance. Any sort of qualification or honour now seems to be awarded almost exclusively to those prepared to parrot the “approved” BS in which the world now wallows.
    Perhaps the truest statement there is that “the overall effect of aerosols (…) is perhaps the largest uncertainty in climate research. Given the way these “experts” sneer at the likes of Svensmark when he develops a very plausible theory showing both (a) how it happens and (b) that it’s nothing at all to do with the great demon Seeohtoo, that’s hardly surprising. Modern “academia” is proud of its ignorance, and will fight to defend it.
    Maybe we really should worry that civilisation as we know it really will end in 2012, or not long after. We’ll reach that point when the number of idiots who believe in this cargo cult rubbish increases so much that there aren’t enough people left who believe in real science and understanding the real world to run a civilisation. What an epitaph. The Human Race: Buried in Bullshit.

  54. David Falkner 10:36pm:-
    “Now, can back radiation from CO2 cause skin (or any type) of cancer? Has this been claimed by the AGWers yet?”
    It will be, now that you’ve given them the idea:-)

  55. Steve says: February 16, 2011 at 10:30 pm
    quote
    To be a permanent sink (as are the oceans when absorbing up to their saturation level) the gross global biomass must increase. The sum total of C molecules within organic molecules (and thus not in the atmosphere as CO2) can only go up if the mass of organic molecules goes up – either more life, or more long lasting products made from living materials (wood, cotton, rayon…).
    unquote
    Or a stable population of short-lived materials. If it’s stored as grass which quickly rots, it only matters if the new grass doesn’t grow fast enough to make up the deficit — the total stored will remain the same.
    Or maybe we can imagine the grass population staying constant but holding less CO2 for some reason, a change of species for example, like an ocean where silica run-off is replacing calcareous phytoplankton with silicaceous diatoms.
    But see:
    Global phytoplankton decline over the past century Daniel G. Boyce,1 Marlon R. Lewis2& Boris Worm
    The article is behind a paywall. Does anyone know how the southern ocean decline compares with, e.g. the North Atlantic?
    JF

  56. James says:
    February 16, 2011 at 11:51 pm
    The parameters change. More CO2 = more CO2 absorption. Self regulating system.

    It clearly only self-regulates to a degree else there wouldn’t be ~75 ppm more CO2 than 50 years ago.
    Regarding the time taken for the post-industrial CO2 ‘pulse’ (280ppm -> 390 ppm) to return to pre-industrial levels (280 ppm): Assuming the rate of absorption is a function of the excess (as appears to be the case currently) the half life of the pulse should be ~40 years. After 55 years ~37% (1/e) of the excess should remain.
    Re: Zeke Hausfather says:
    February 16, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Zeke (and others) are correct. The residence time of individual molecules is not the same as the time taken to remove the pulse. For example, if there were 750 GtC of carbon in the atmosphere and each year 150 GtC is absorbed and 150 GtC is emitted by the biosphere then the total atmospheric concentration (750 GtC) remains exactly the same. However the average residence time for a CO2 molecule is ~5 years.

  57. Could it be that easy to prove?
    http://homeharvest.com/carbondioxideenrichment.htm
    SAMPLE RESULTS FROM CO2 ENRICHMENT STUDIES
    BIBB LETTUCE

    By adding CO2 to the atmosphere around the plant, a 40% crop increase was achieved. Whereas previous crops averaged 22 heads per basket, lettuce grown in the increased CO2 atmosphere (550 ppm) averaged 16 heads of better quality per basket.
    CARNATIONS
    CO2 levels to 550 ppm produced an obvious increase in yield (over 30%), but the greatest benefits were earlier flowering (up to 2 weeks) with an increased percentage of dry matter.
    ROSES
    The addition of controlled carbon dioxide provided a remarkable improvement in blossom quality, number and yield. Plants consistently produced many more flowers with 24 to 30 inch stems. Average yield was increased by 39.7%.
    TOMATOES
    Work in experimental stations has shown that crop increases of as much as 29% have been obtained by increasing the CO2 concentration. More desirable firmness and more uniform ripening are also observed.”

  58. James Sexton says:
    “I would attribute the larger amount in the NH to heavier industrialization. There’s more there, because more is emitted there………just guessing.”
    I doubt that the effects of industry are particularly visible in the animation for a couple of reasons. First, the total contribution of fossil fuel burning is only about 3-4% of total turnover, so natural seasonal variations likely dominate, if you look at the Mauna Loa trace, the seasonal variation is much larger than the long term trend over the same time period.
    Secondly, the NH shows much greater variation than the SH in the animation, peaking in the winter and dipping in the summer, around Aug-Sept the NH goes down to well below anything seen in the SH; and I would expect the contribution from industrial output to be much more even, and it is clearly being overwhelmed in the summer.

  59. Mike said:
    “You have to look at the rates of CO2 absorption by the oceans and CO2 emission by the oceans. If there is an imbalance the CO2 ppm in the air will change.”
    Of course you do. Obvious.
    So what effect has the natural change in sea surface temperatures since the LIA had on both those rates ?
    Warmer sea surfaces will clearly skew the balance towards more CO2 in the atmosphere due to reduced absorbency.
    Hence the monotonic change shown by the Mauna Loa record despite changes in the rates of human CO2 emissions.
    The ice core records are most likely an inadequate proxy for past CO2 levels being far too coarse to reflect even centennial changes accurately and most likely also becoming more coarse and inadequate the further back one goes.
    Just as the biosphere ‘breathes’ CO2 so do the oceans but on different timescales related to oceanic cycling which results in changing sea surface temperatures over multicentenial timescales.
    The CO2 content of the air just reflects the natural balance between the two constantly shifting processes with the ever varying action of the sun and oceans combining to alter the tropospheric temperatures and cloudiness levels to add a further confounding effect on the biosphere’s CO2 processing rate and the CO2 absorption characteristics of the sea surface temperatures.
    None of that has been accurately unravelled to provide a reliable indication of human as compared to natural effects.
    It really is very wrong to start from a suggestion that the pre industrial levels were somehow set at some ‘ideal’ CO2 level such that any subsequent changes are significantly human induced.

  60. Zeke reckons it will take 50 years for the excess co2 in the atmosphere to decay to pre-industrial levels if mankind stops all emissions now. Assuming an exponential decay curve, the time constant would be 50 years, given 4 gigatons per year for 200 gigatons above the assumed natural equilibrium level.
    However it has taken mankind well over 150 years to build that level up, so the decay would be quite rapid really.
    However it is pointless postulating that mankind stop all co2 emissions immediately. We might stabilize at current emission rates if every country industrialized and used 80 percent nuclear energy, like France for example. This would stabilize co2 levels at 400 gigatons above pre-industrial equilibrium, 485 ppm or something.
    With a lot of effort, such a nuclear powered industrial economy might halve its emissions to stabilize at something like today’s levels. Would the results be worth the effort though? The results of all this excess co2 are not unambiguously different to nature. It takes an act of faith to believe it is.

  61. The value of 280 ppm for the preindustrial era are based on the assumption, that the icecore-data show reliable values of the CO2 content in the atmosphere in the past. But as Jaworoswski and other have shown this is not the case. Before 1985 values up to 550 ppm CO2 were measured in icecores. After 1985 these values were omitted with out any explanation. I do not believe that CO2 content in the atmosphere had such a high value but it shows that CO2 data from icecores are not reliable . An other way to determine the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from fossil fuel is measuring the delta 13 C. The measured value of delta 13 C shows not such an increase as compared to the calculated value using the IPCC data of -7 per mill for delta 13C for the preindustrial era and a 21 % increase (1988) of CO2 due to human activities.

  62. James Sexton says: But, most of us here are pretty familiar with GISS……..
    Thanks James. No disrespect intended to any of the erudite bloggers here and I am fully aware of and appreciate the work of the people and site you mentioned.
    My post was aimed at the rising tide of confused people who are crying out for information but don’t know where to start. They are making this known on blogs in Australia as the proposed carbon tax and Jo Nova’s BoM audit request has really stirred the possum!
    I know of no site other than John Daly’s where 66 x 2 mouse clicks allows one to view up to 140 odd years of world temperature surface records clearly illustrating no “unprecedented” warming has occurred!
    With WUWT being the leading science blog, curious but uncommitted people will visit and maybe my post may spark one two to have a wider look.

  63. What does everyone think of this.
    There is an article on the BBC’s website by Richard Black, their (warmist) Environment Correspondent, quoting a report that global warming will cause more rain in the UK. The report is apparently based on ‘actual records since 1766’, plus computer models.
    HOWEVER – the report goes on to say that ‘much more work’ needs to be done on the computer models – as there is much uncertainty as to whether the models are valid.
    Don’t you think it would be better to wait until the reporters are certain they can stand by their findings – rather than the usual ‘we think its all disastrous but we’re not sure yet’ approach..?

  64. Zeke is correct, let me explain with an alalogy
    Place a leaky bucket under a dripping tap with a dripping rate exactly equal to te leakage so the water level reamins in equilibrium. Then you pour an extra pint into the bucket. Let’s say this extra pint was colored red to distiguish it from the other.
    Afte some time the red colour would diminish from the bucket as the color was thinned out, but the water level would not necessarly sink to the original level in the same rate.
    The water color show the residece time for each water molecule. This is, however, of no interest seen in a macro perspective. The water level show whats matter, namely for how long time an elevated level will persist.
    The water lever is analog to the CO2 level which may have a half life of approximately 40 – 60 years even though each molecule have a residence time of only 4 years

  65. In 2010, Human emissions of Carbon (through CO2) were about 9.5 billon tons (9.5 GTs).
    Oceans and Plants absorbed about 4.69 GTs and,
    The amount that stayed in the air was about 4.80 GTs. The global concentration of CO2 increased by about 2.30 ppm to 388.57 ppm. [Each 1 ppm of CO2 is about 2.13 GTs Carbon].
    Thae airborne fraction of CO2 was once again about 50.0%.
    The amount that Oceans and Plants absorb each year is about 2% of the excess Carbon in the atmosphere above the equilibrium level which seems to be about 280 ppm.
    CO2 has been about 280 ppm for the past 24 million years since C4 grasses evolved between 36 million to 24 million years ago. C4 grasses, being relatively efficient users of CO2 compared to the plants that evolved before, were able to drawdown CO2 levels lower where they were in pre-history before C4 grasses evolved and CO2 levels dropped down to 280 ppm). It has stayed right at this level ever since give or take a short bump up at times and short bump down in an ice age for example.
    So right now, there is about 830 GTs Carbon in the atmosphere and there is an excess of 233 GTs Carbon above the 280 ppm level. 2% of 233 GT excess equals 4.66 GT (which is exactly what Plants and Oceans absorbed in 2010). If you go back and look at the historic levels of emissions and CO2 that remained in the air, this 2% seems to hold up almost exactly every year).
    So, if human emissions stopped, how long will it take to remove 233 excess GTs of Carbon at a drawdown rate of 2% per year.
    We will back down to 285 ppm within 140 years.
    If we cut our emissions in half, back down to 4.75 GTs per year, Oceans and Plants will then absorb the exact same amount and the CO2 levels will stabilize.
    That is how the Math is done when one is objective and looks at the actual numbers.

  66. KV says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:42 am
    James Sexton says: But, most of us here are pretty familiar with GISS……..
    ————————————————————————————————
    IC, wonderful then! Our posts complemented each others quite nicely. No offense was taken, even before the explanation.

  67. “jka says:
    Zeke is correct, let me explain with an alalogy
    Place a leaky bucket under a dripping tap with a dripping rate exactly equal to te leakage so the water level reamins in equilibrium”
    Stop right there. What you are describing in this system is a STEADY STATE and not an equilibrium. A steady state is not an equilibrium, the analytical tools used to describe a steady state are completely different to those used to describe and equilibrium or near equilibrium state.
    But let use use your model.
    The height of the water measured in the steady state is a function of the sum of the influx and the efflux.
    The influx rate is zero order, i.e. 1 liter per minute.
    The efflux from the system is dependent on the height of the water, the efflux is approximately first order with respect to height (hence pressure).
    Therefore, you will find an non-liner, exponential, relationship between the height of the water in the bucket and the flow rate into the bucket. Moreover, one could add food coloring at any point and calculate the efflux rate by monitoring the disappearance of the optical signal in the bucket; juts like the 14C signal in the atmosphere.
    The take home message is this; postindustrial steady state = [CO2] 280 ppm , present steady state [CO2] 360 pp means that the humans have increased the influx into the atmosphere by 360/280 approximately 30%. The fraction of fossilized CO2, 4C stripped CO2 in the atmosphere should be about 30%.

  68. Zeke
    May be right but it’s all models and guesses. More to the point is that there is still no evidence of harmful effect from CO². Zeke is very good with cherry picks and graphs you need to watch the pea though.

  69. jka says:
    February 17, 2011 at 3:52 am
    Zeke is correct, let me explain with an alalogy..
    jka, both views are cvorrect. Change the RT for an individual molecule to 50 years and you also change the rate of decline. However, as Smokey says it is irrelevant. What matters is cost benefit of the increase. So far there are no credibile costs, no consistent correlations to the increase in CO2 that show an corresponding acceleration in sea level rise, an increase in hurricanes, droughts or floods. Nada, zip zilch. However the benefits of increased CO2 are known and well documented.
    Wheat, corn, rice and soy are perhaps the four largest food crops. Here is the results of 522 different experiments on these four foods with a 300 ppm increase inCO2 from ambient.
    Triticum aestivum L. [Common Wheat]
    Statistics
    300 ppm
    Number of Results 235
    Arithmetic Mean 32.1% increase in bio-mass
    Standard Error 1.8%
    Glycine max (L.) Merr. [Soybean]
    Statistics
    300 ppm
    Number of Results 179
    Arithmetic Mean 46.5% increase in bio-mass
    Standard Error 2.8%
    Zea mays L. [Corn]
    Statistics
    300 ppm
    Number of Results 20
    Arithmetic Mean 21.3% increase in bio-mass
    Standard Error 4.9%
    Triticum aestivum L. [Common Wheat]
    Statistics
    300 ppm
    Number of Results 235
    Arithmetic Mean 32.1% increase in bio mass
    Standard Error 1.8%

  70. Great animation !
    I see the peak of the North hemisphere CO2 bloom around the Vernal Equinox is much weaker in 2002 and 2007, that blatantly must be the warmer Feb to April in those Years. (look at the Siberian region)
    While the CO2 deficit around June to August is much weaker in 2003 and 2006, again very clearly temperature driven.
    I would imagine the whole signal would look remarkably different if the Taiga disappeared over night.

  71. based on that video, shouldn’t they be measuring atmospheric CO2 in Antarctica instead of Hawaii? Waay too much periodicity in the northern hemisphere.

  72. ***based on that video, shouldn’t they be measuring atmospheric CO2 in Antarctica instead of Hawaii? Waay too much periodicity in the northern hemisphere.***
    They probably didn’t know that when they set up the CO2 observatory at Mauna Loa. If they had, one supposes that they might have put their site elsewhere. However, in addition to the continuous measurements in Hawaii, “they” also make weekly “flask” measurements at other sites including the high northern and southern latitudes.

  73. Kyle Armour, a UW doctoral student in physics
    I wonder what qualifications are needed to become aUW doctoral student?
    Cant be very much from the looks of this article!

  74. This just in:
    NEW HAMPSHIRE, AS USUAL, CAN LEAD THE WAY
    Repealing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
    This upcoming Wednesday, February 23, 2011, the RGGI bill will be voted on by the full House. This legislation, if passed, will remove New Hampshire from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (A regional Cap and Trade Program). The RGGI has proved to be a massive failure that is serving only to damage New Hampshire’s economic competitiveness; withdrawal can’t come soon enough!
    I encourage you to contact your legislator today and express your strong support for removing NH from this regional Cap and Tax program. New Hampshire residents such as you have already spent $28.2 million in the last two years on this hidden government tax.
    Please, fellow New Hampshirites, call your representatives, or better, write them at once! $28M could have maintained all of our roads this winter.
    LIVE FREE OR DIE

  75. CarbonTracker provides a very pretty picture… hopefully their sites are better screened than surface temp sites. Too bad that we lost OCO…
    http://www.meteorologynews.com/2009/02/24/global-warming-satellite-lost-in-space/
    What is CarbonTracker?
    CarbonTracker is a system that calculates carbon dioxide uptake and release at the Earth’s surface over time. It estimates the carbon dioxide exchange from an ‘atmospheric point of view’. Since CO2 mole fractions in the atmosphere reflect the sum of all the CO2 exchange at the surface, they form the ultimate record of the combined human and natural influence on greenhouse gas levels.
    The CarbonTracker observing system
    CarbonTracker surface flux estimates are optimally consistent with measurements of ~31,500 flask samples of air from 81 sites across the world, ~27,800 four-hourly averages of continuously measured CO2 at 13 sites (10 in North America, plus observatories at Mauna Loa, Hawaii; Barrow, Alaska, South Pole; and American Samoa), and ~23,800 four-hourly averages from towers at 13 locations within the continent (see Figure 3). Eight of these towers sample air from heights more than 100m above ground level.
    Regards,
    Bob

  76. Observations, from watching that graphic:
    1. The CO2 is mostly in the northern half of the NH
    2. The CO2 in the SH almost never gets up to a”average”
    3. The CO2 in the NH is seasonal, with the summers being below “average” and the winters and spring being above “average”
    4. The little bit of above-average CO2 each year in the SH is very brief and covers only perhaps 2% of the SH
    5. The Mona Loa CO2 readings do not represent the “average” of the NH and SH totals. Its location almost never represents the SH at all. It only in SEP-OCT-NOV does it get below 370.
    It is important to be skeptical of this graphic, even if it may represent the gist of what is going on. I would question what data this is based on, with its momentary flickers of higher and lower tongues in areas I am certain do not have CO2 detectors in the resolution this graphic depicts. Likewise, patterns over the oceans can hardly be anything but extrapolations. No CO2 detectors are spread out over the SH (~80% ocean) nor in the NH oceans in such resolution. Likewise, like the GISS 250-km and 1250-km resolution avg. temperature maps, notice that the worst CO2 depicted is in the far north, where we already know the number of stations reporting is very minimal – yet it shows all sorts of resolution. This cannot be anything but extrapolation.
    It is GIGO and thus suspect, no matter that it seems to produce imagery that supports what we think is going on.

  77. There often seems to be confusion about the residence time of an individual component molecule within a place and the time for any change in the bulk amount in that place to change.
    Perhaps an example closer to home may help.
    Most people know that most of he molecules that make up their body today are not the same as the molecules that made up their body a few years ago. There are some limited exceptions in teeth and some regions of bones, but most of the tissues of the body recycle over varying timescales.
    Carbon leaves the body as CO2 and indigestible organic compounds, and enters it as digestible organic compounds. Obviously the carbon in the food you eat may only reside in the body for a short time, a glucose drink may see almost all the carbon in the glucose molecule lost as CO2 within a few hours in an active person. Carbon in fats and carbohydrates may reside in the body for much longer, but is rarely going to be present for more than a few years.
    Despite this, other things being equal, the total amount of carbon in a persons body will be relatively stable. Obviously it decreases overnight when no carbon is added, or during fasting. But there are various homeostatic mechanisms that restrict large swings in the total carbon content.
    The exception is if the intake of carbon is increased by more than the homeostatic compensations can cope with. Then the carbon content of a person will increase, usually as long-chain fat molecules. It only takes a few percent extra carbon in the diet for it to incrementally increase within the body despite the actual residence time of any single molecule being quite short, and virtually unchanged by the increased input.
    But as anybody knows who has tried to shed weight gained by an increase in the carbon input, it is not easy. Both the rate of input has to be cut and the rate of output increased.

  78. Edim says: February 17, 2011 at 4:38 am
    I was unable to get their site to plot any data. The y-axis for CO2 in ppm goes to 1.0 ppm max, which seems unreasonable. I was also unable to graph precip from any of the measuring sites, the y-axis for precip was 1.0mm max, which also seems unreasonable. Anyone get this to work? I’m using Firefox.

  79. Interesting video. Also worth watching is “Time history of atmospheric CO2 ” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2mZyCblxS4&feature=player_embedded).
    Residence time of CO2 is on the order of 5 years for an individual molecule. But when it leaves the atmosphere it’s just swapping places with another CO2 molecule in the oceans, in the carbon cycle of plants, etc. – the time for an increase of CO2 to be absorbed, primarily by the oceans, is on the order of centuries.
    A discussion of this particular canard of denial is available at skepticalscience.

  80. @- Feet2theFire says:
    February 17, 2011 at 8:46 am
    “I would question what data this is based on, with its momentary flickers of higher and lower tongues in areas I am certain do not have CO2 detectors in the resolution this graphic depicts. Likewise, patterns over the oceans can hardly be anything but extrapolations. No CO2 detectors are spread out over the SH (~80% ocean) nor in the NH oceans in such resolution.”
    It might have helped your skepticism if you had followed the link and read some of the documentation on how the graphic is generated. There may not be measurements of CO2 world-wide with the resolution apparent in some of the ripples and tongues of variation over oceans, but we do know the wind and air movements to that resolution and it would be ridiculous to assume that the CO2 in the atmosphere does not share those atmospheric movements.
    The resolution of measurements may also be greater than you suspect, see here –
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/documentation_obs.html#ct_doc
    Which shows the wide global distribution, including 6 around the South pole.
    “It is GIGO and thus suspect, no matter that it seems to produce imagery that supports what we think is going on.”
    That is an odd reversal of what is going on.
    The measurements and observations of wind made for meteorology could be all dismissed as garbage, but I suspect that meteorologists may object to the basic data of their subject being thrown out so cavalierly.
    We THINK this is what is going on, because the direct measurements we have, and that most people are reasonably sure are NOT garbage, indicate this pattern of distribution and change.
    Throwing out the many measurements made of CO2 levels and the data on air movements without some justification would seem arbitrary. Dismissing the best understanding we have of the chemical processes that source and sink CO2 without detailing your objections also seems a little capricious. You seem to hint that the graphic is distorted by some attempt to make it fit a pre-judged outcome. Perhaps you could be specific about what this outcome may be and how the graphic supports it.

  81. @- David says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:21 am
    “… However the benefits of increased CO2 are known and well documented.
    Wheat, corn, rice and soy are perhaps the four largest food crops. Here is the results of 522 different experiments on these four foods with a 300 ppm increase inCO2 from ambient.
    Triticum aestivum L. [Common Wheat]
    Statistics
    300 ppm
    Number of Results 235
    Arithmetic Mean 32.1% increase in bio-mass
    Standard Error 1.8%
    …”
    I wonder if you could document the source of this research.
    The problem I have with this claim is that making an admittedly brief search of the literature on the response of common wheat to raised CO2 does not produce anything like as many experiments as 235. With various permutations of the terms, (Wheat Triticum aestivum, raised CO2 PCO2 FACE etc) I could not get the number above about 50.
    The most recent experiment I did find was this one –
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19778369
    Plant Biol (Stuttg). 2009 Nov;11 Suppl 1:60-9.
    Effects of elevated CO2 on grain yield and quality of wheat: results from a 3-year free-air CO2 enrichment experiment.
    Högy P, Wieser H, Köhler P, Schwadorf K, Breuer J, Franzaring J, Muntifering R, Fangmeier A
    “Spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. TRISO) was grown for three consecutive seasons in a free-air carbon dioxide (CO(2)) enrichment (FACE) field experiment in order to examine the effects on crop yield and grain quality. CO(2) enrichment promoted aboveground biomass (+11.8%) and grain yield (+10.4%). However, adverse effects were predominantly observed on wholegrain quality characteristics. Although the thousand-grain weight remained unchanged, size distribution was significantly shifted towards smaller grains, which may directly relate to lower market value. Total grain protein concentration decreased significantly by 7.4% under elevated CO(2), and protein and amino acid composition were altered….
    With regard to mixing and rheological properties of the flour, a significant increase in gluten resistance under elevated CO(2) was observed. CO(2) enrichment obviously affected grain quality characteristics that are important for consumer nutrition and health, and for industrial processing and marketing, which have to date received little attention.”

  82. @izen –

    The resolution of measurements may also be greater than you suspect, see here –
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/documentation_obs.html#ct_doc
    Which shows the wide global distribution, including 6 around the South pole.

    You make my argument for me. That map of CO2 sampling stations is even less resolution than GISS. Ooooh!, a whole SIX stations in the Antarctic? I am impressed! /snarc

    we do know the wind and air movements to that resolution and it would be ridiculous to assume that the CO2 in the atmosphere does not share those atmospheric movements.

    You and I both know that the wind patterns have prevailing directions and velocities, but from year to year, those vary by a lot still. But to plug those into REAL data and then produce a graphic that purports to be the REAL deal – that is not real, and we should not be expected to accept it as real.

    Throwing out the many measurements made of CO2 levels and the data on air movements without some justification would seem arbitrary. Dismissing the best understanding we have of the chemical processes that source and sink CO2 without detailing your objections also seems a little capricious.

    You misrepresent what I am saying. I am not saying to throw out anything. I am saying not to ADD anything. I am saying that this graphic does not represent the history, just a patched-together surmise of the totality, based on patchy data. REAL history would be to have, say, 100-km blobs around each CO2 station and leave the rest of the global picture grayed-out. To fill in the rest with these streamers is imagination, not science.
    There are all of 17 oceanic data collection points, with some few additional coastal points. And those are supposed to represent over 70% of the globe? Ay-yi-yi.

  83. Izen says:
    “The problem I have with this claim is that making an admittedly brief search…”
    Brief, as in a few microseconds? There is plenty of info on the benefits of increased CO2 on plant growth. Why do you think farmers use it? Because they have extra money to waste on CO2 generators??
    Face it, CO2 is harmless and beneficial. More is better. Sorry about what that does to your alarmist belief system.

  84. izen says:
    February 17, 2011 at 10:06 am
    @- David says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:21 am
    “… However the benefits of increased CO2 are known and well documented.
    Wheat, corn, rice and soy are perhaps the four largest food crops. Here is the results of 522 different experiments on these four foods with a 300 ppm increase inCO2 from ambient.
    Triticum aestivum L. [Common Wheat]
    Statistics
    300 ppm
    Number of Results 235
    Arithmetic Mean 32.1% increase in bio-mass
    Standard Error 1.8%
    …”
    I wonder if you could document the source of this research.
    The problem I have with this claim is that making an admittedly brief search of the literature on the response of common wheat to raised CO2 does not produce anything like as many experiments as 235.”
    One paper can involve many different experiments producing many different results.
    Here is the link, http://www.co2science.org/data/plant_growth/dry/t/triticuma.php below is a print out through only B
    Akin et al. (1995)
    FACE, wet treatment 13%
    Akin et al. (1995)
    FACE, dry treatment 35%
    Andre and Du Cloux (1993)
    growth chambers, no water stress, day 23 23%
    Andre and Du Cloux (1993)
    growth chambers, no water stress, day 30 14%
    Andre and Du Cloux (1993)
    growth chambers, no water stress, day 38 30%
    Andre and Du Cloux (1993)
    growth chambers, water stress, day 12 45%
    Andre and Du Cloux (1993)
    growth chambers, water stress, day 36 23%
    Andre and Du Cloux (1993)
    growth chambers, water stress, day 50,14 days after recovery of normal watering 37%
    Balaguer et al. (1995)
    controlled environment chambers, leaves 52%
    Balaguer et al. (1995)
    controlled environment chambers, roots 38%
    Balagueret al. (1995)
    controlled environment chambers, stems 56%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled glasshouse, aseptically grown in agar, 0.25 mM Na2HPO4 37%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled glasshouse, aseptically grown in agar, 1.0 inositol hexaphosphate 17%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled glasshouse, aseptically grown in agar, 0.25 mM inositol hexaphosphate -4%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled glasshouse, aseptically grown in agar, 1.0 mM glucose-1-phosphate 45%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled glasshouse, aseptically grown in agar, 0.25 mM glucose-1-phosphate 7%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled glasshouse, aseptically grown in agar, 0 mM P 30%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled-environment cabinets, solution culture, transient P deficiency,1.0 mM KH2PO4 61%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled-environment cabinets, solution culture, transient P deficiency,0.01 mM KH2PO4 64%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled-environment cabinets, solution culture, transient P deficiency,1.0 mM inositol hexaphosphate 39%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled-environment cabinets, solution culture, continuous P deficiency,1.0 mM KH2PO4 19%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled-environment cabinets, solution culture, continuous P deficiency,0.01 mM KH2PO4 20%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled-environment cabinets, solution culture, continuous P deficiency,1.0 mM inositol hexaphosphate 20%
    Barrett et al. (1998)
    controlled glasshouse, aseptically grown in agar, 1.0 mM Na2HPO4 63%
    Batts et al. (1997)
    Grain biomass of plants grown in the field for four consecutive seasons within polyethylene-covered tunnels along which a temperature gradient was imposed 6 to 153%
    Bencze et al. (2004a)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed to maturity in pots in growth chambers under normal temperature 30%
    Bencze et al. (2004a)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed to maturity in pots in growth chambers; aboveground biomass at normal temperature; cv Emma 29%
    Bencze et al. (2004a)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed to maturity in pots in growth chambers; aboveground biomass under heat stress; cv Emma 35%
    Bencze et al. (2004a)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed to maturity in pots in growth chambers; aboveground biomass under normal temperature; cv Mezofold 19%
    Bencze et al. (2004a)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed to maturity in pots in growth chambers; aboveground biomass under heat stress; cv Mezofold 11%
    Bencze et al. (2004b)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed in pots in growth chambers for a total of 128 days after planting; cultivar Mv Martina 11%
    Bencze et al. (2004b)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed in pots in growth chambers for a total of 128 days after planting; cultivar Mv Emma 9%
    Bencze et al. (2005)
    Aboveground biomass of plants grown in controlled environment chambers at ambient temperature; cv. Mezofold 6%
    Bencze et al. (2005)
    Aboveground biomass of plants grown in controlled environment chambers subjected to 15 days of +11°C elevated daytime temperature; cv. Martina 20%
    Bencze et al. (2005)
    Aboveground biomass of plants grown in controlled environment chambers at ambient temperature; cv. Emma 18%
    Bencze et al. (2005)
    Aboveground biomass of plants grown in controlled environment chambers subjected to 15 days of +11°C elevated daytime temperature; cv. Emma 13%
    Benczeet al. (2004a)
    Well-watered and fertilized plants grown from seed to maturity in pots in growth chambers under heat-stressed temperature 30%
    Benczeet al. (2005)
    Aboveground biomass of plants grown in controlled environment chambers subjected to 15 days of +11°C elevated daytime temperature; cv. Mezofold 18%
    Benczeet al. (2005)
    Aboveground biomass of plants grown in controlled environment chambers at ambient temperature; cv. Martina 24%

  85. Izen, you appear concerned about the grain quantity. Here are some studies on that aspect….
    Manderscheid et al. (2003)
    Grain-yield biomass of well watered plants grown from seed to maturity in the field at Braunschweig (Germany) and enclosed by open-top chambers 14%
    Mulholland et al. (1997)
    Grown from seed in field within open-top chambers for full season (60 ppb O3); cv. Minaret; grain dry weight 36%
    Prior et al. (2005)
    Grain yield of plants grown from seed to maturity within open-top chambers constructed upon 7-m x 76-m x 2-m-deep soil bins filled with a reconstructed Decatur silt loam 31%
    Sharma-Natu et al. (1997)
    Grain biomass of the cultivar Kalyansona grown from seed to maturity out-of-doors in open-top chambers 49%

  86. According to Hansard (the official record of the UK Parliament), Andrew Bridgen MP said in the House of Commons last Friday that
    “each tonne of coal burned for power generation produces 2,215 kg of carbon dioxide”.
    Would someone more knowledgeable care to explain? Is the O2 so heavy?

  87. It is very important that people also look at the video recommded by KR (@90). The video shown at the top of the page has a major fault. I believe the intent of the video was to illustrate the differences between the NH and the SH as well as the seasons. However, in order to show this, the colorbar scale must change over time. For example, the scale for November 2000 is (about) 360-380, but by November 2008 is 375-395. People could easily miss this very important point that the environment is NOT “sucking it all out of the atmosphere.”
    Remember, agriculture is not an effective way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Once crops die or are harvested, that CO2 begins a new process in which it is returned to the environment. The everglades has a major problem with invasive species that thrive on nitrogen. One idea was to use other plants that attempt to store/fix the nitrogen. But, when these plants die (usually due to a freeze or other sudden event), all of the nitrogen contained within the plant is now available and the invasive species proceed to occupy this area. The CO2 cycle has many parts and is not one-way into plants.
    As for people claiming the virtues of CO2 on plant growth. Yes, in a controlled environment, if one increases the CO2 you can achieve higher growth rates. But, in the real world, higher CO2 also brings higher temperatures, which impacts where and how long things grow (as well as plant reproduction). This also leads to larger regions for insects to infest plants and crops (pine beetle is one example). And higher CO2 is better for weeds as well. Take a look. Of course, you could just use more herbicide and genetically modified crops and just ruin the environment in a different way.

  88. Sensor operator,
    You are operating under the mistaken assumption that the rise in CO2 has been harmful. It hasn’t.
    Read up on the climate null hypothesis, which shows there has been no global change due to the rise in harmless and beneficial CO2.
    The entire “carbon” scare is based on the mistaken belief that CO2 will cause runaway global warming and climate catastrophe. Relax. There is zero evidence that CAGW exists outside of the minds of true believers.

  89. Bill Illis says:
    February 17, 2011 at 4:15 am
    I note you are citing net figures for the oceans and biosphere. These are differences between very much larger and not so easy to estimate fluxes in and out.
    Given the small amount of total man made emissions, how reliable is the math about how much man made CO2 is being added, I wonder. And if the oceanic or biosphere absorptions increase just a little – I think they are about 250 Gt, from the NASA data I’ve inspected – then the whole picture changes. A lot more plant growth would do the trick, i.e. mop up the fossil fuel emissions.
    Which is not to say we shouldn’t migrate to cleaner energy, and more secure (politically) energy (gas a good start, replacing coal), but why panic and risk destroying economies en route? (and in the case of the UK, seriously risk the lights going out if present policies continue unchanged much longer)

  90. Sensor’s link begins: “With global warming comes increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which benefits at least one species—weeds.” 1) Grade school grammar requires “come”; plural subject, plural verb. 2) Does this introduction accept that warming has caused the CO2? (hence, no AGW? –AGW orthodoxy reverses the cause and effect, you know) 3) Are we to suppose that weeds benefit more than cultigens from CO2? Adam’s curse continues and worsens.
    Neither CO2 nor any supposed resultant heat can be considered anything but the most insignificant factors in the spread of pine beetles. The single most important cause of their spread is firefighting, which disrupts their natural extermination. This is typical alarmist irrational nonsense.

  91. @sensor operator:

    As for people claiming the virtues of CO2 on plant growth. Yes, in a controlled environment, if one increases the CO2 you can achieve higher growth rates. But, in the real world, higher CO2 also brings higher temperatures, which impacts where and how long things grow (as well as plant reproduction). This also leads to larger regions for insects to infest plants and crops (pine beetle is one example). And higher CO2 is better for weeds as well.

    These have to be the feeblest arguments against CO2 since Hansen started the shrillness.
    Oxygen is breathed in by animals. CO2 is breathed in by plants. Ergo, an increase in CO2 – which, BTW is not nearly what it was in earlier epochs – helps plants.
    It is not just a lab experiment. Look at those patterns in the video: In the NH, every time the plants die off over the winter the CO2 in the atmosphere increases by several percent, and every time the plants start growing again the CO2 drops again. It couldn’t be more clear: CO2 in the atmosphere is used by plants.
    That happens in the SH basically only where there are plants, not where there is ocean, where it remains essentially flat, vis-a-vis the seasons.
    But arguing that WEEDS proliferating is an argument about keeping CO2 in the atmosphere down – how feeble and peripheral of an argument is that? Come on. You can do better than that!

    But, in the real world, higher CO2 also brings higher temperatures…

    That is the AGW argument, isn’t it? You do know that reducing the loss of heat (in re-radiating) is not the same as warming, don’t you?
    1. Based on the fact that UHI hasn’t been properly quantified and allowed for, even though some studies suggest it is probably a magnitude bigger than the oft-depended on Wang-Jones study, we don’t, in fact, know this is true. The adjusted NOAA/GISS/CRU numbers say it is true, but many, many of the individual stations’ histories do not show warming in the raw data – even ones that after adjusting are clearly shown to have warming. So, if the warming is an artifact of the adjustments (as seems possible), and possibly 90% the UHI is not properly accounted for, is it any wonder that some people still aren’t convinced that this is true?
    2. If this is intrinsically true, then why is it that the increase of CO2 after WWII did not bring with it an increase in temperatures until around 1980? Does this not suggest that something else is going on and that the assumption about CO2 is perhaps wrong or only part of the story?
    3. Courtesy of Phil Jones: And why is it that there were two other 2-3-decade periods since 1880 that show the same rise in temperature (the same slope), even though the industrialization level – the human part – was not enough to “cause” a temperature rise?
    You see, you take it on faith that this is true, even when there are plenty of arguments why it is still to be questioned. But you deny the counter-arguments and repeat the assumption as if they didn’t exist.

  92. keith at hastings uk – We’re putting out about 29GT (very solid number from fossil fuel consumption) of CO2 per year. The rise in CO2 levels given that level of output should be at least 4 ppm/year, but we’re seeing a little over 2 ppm/year increases.
    That means that about 45% of the CO2 we put out is being absorbed by the biosphere, primarily (according to changes in ocean pH) by the oceans.
    Plants take in and then release a lot of CO2, which accounts for the yearly swings in CO2 concentration (as seen in the video at the top of this topic), but these aren’t a permanent sequestering of CO2 – eat the plant, digest it, and out comes the CO2 again. It would be great if they did, but that won’t be the case unless we bury all the plants and never let them rot. Or maybe turn them into coal or oil – but they don’t form very fast, certainly not as fast as we’re burning them.

  93. Feet2theFire“…an increase in CO2 – which, BTW is not nearly what it was in earlier epochs…”
    Hm – certainly not recently. Watch the video I linked earlier: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2mZyCblxS4&feature=player_embedded
    We’re about 100 ppm higher in CO2 than the world has seen for at least the last half million plus years. Glacial cycles were driven by solar changes (orbital variations changing heating), and CO2 lagged behind as a feedback. But now we’re changing CO2 first; CO2 is the forcing change on the climate rather than orbital changes.

  94. Sensor operator,
    “And higher CO2 is better for weeds as well.”
    I wondered how long it would be before some alarmists came up with that one. It reminds me of a guy I heard about who went to one of those get-rich business opportunities and after an hour of listening to the pitch replied “I’d hate to earn that much – I’m thinking of all the income tax I’d have to pay.”

  95. @keith at hastings uk:
    Which is not to say we shouldn’t migrate to cleaner energy, and more secure (politically) energy (gas a good start, replacing coal), but why panic and risk destroying economies en route?
    I agree, except that there IS no cleaner energy at present that is capable. If there was, people would be changing over in droves. Wind will never be adequate. Solar has always been long on hope and far short on delivery. Tides? As a very small adjunct only. I like the potential of Thorium MSR, but it isn’t happening anywhere except China, and that is still down the road just a bit.
    As to panicking and destroying economies: That I saw right away, too – but I saw it causing a great dying off of humans as a result. I see the AGW people as being amazingly inert to the number of people this will kill, because if industries die, the quality of life drops precipitously. For many that means loss of jobs, and how that can avoid killing off half a billion to 2 billion people I don’t know. Yes, I am pulling those numbers out of thin air, but I don’t see them as being unreal. Without the current level of technology, we couldn’t get food to people – we couldn’t grow enough, and we couldn’t ship it, and we couldn’t keep it fresh. And if people don’t have jobs they can’t afford it. Tent cities would proliferate. Sanitation would be negatively impacted. Our infrastructure would be on thin ice.
    The real problem is not CO2. The real problem is land use, due to increasing population. While the AGWers are all wailing about CO2, the land use problem isn’t being solved. UHI is real. As to how big a problem it is, though, remains to be seen. Raw temps far away from cities do not show much increase, so perhaps even land use isn’t a global warming problem. In the meantime, we are overfishing the oceans and no one is doing enough about that. When the fish are all gone, what will the Japanese (the most criminal over-fishers) eat?
    We have real problems, and we are wasting so much time and energy on this stupid, stupid fantasy. And the others are not getting addressed. Shame on the AGW people.

  96. Sensor operator says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:32 am
    This also leads to larger regions for insects to infest plants and crops (pine beetle is one example).
    ——————————
    Mountain pine beetle (dendroctonus ponderosae) has resided in his present range, from B.C to Mexico, for a very long time. It has never been -30Celsius in Mexico, and yet it is often claimed that that is a winter temperature that is necessary to keep the population in check.
    The recent massive infestation in the pine forests of BC and beyond has not been mirrored in the warmest regions of its range. Furthermore, the BC outbreak started in the coolest parts of the province and is coming to an apparent end now in the warmer south, where it has made less of an impact than had been anticipated. (Where have we heard that expression, before?)

  97. Well the first thing I noticed looking at that video, is that the high levels of CO2 (380-390) and the low levels (360-370) occur right at the North Pole; well over the arctic ocean. So the CO2 at the north pole is being inserted adn removed, right there at the north pole; or over the arctic ocean.
    And those high red/brown levels of CO2 occur in the February through March time frame. The CO2 peaks right when the arctic ocean ice cover peaks. There is no migration of CO2 into or out of the arctic region around the pole; it comes and goes right there in the arctic, and it cycles to the extent of about 18-20 ppm. If you follow that cycle, you will see that the red to blue transition is shorter than the blue to red transition. That 20 ppm drop in CO2 occurs in just 5 months, and then takes the next seven months to return to the red.
    There is only one possible phenomenon that can explain that change, since there is no “Growing season” in the arctic; well only the ice growing season, and as the sea ice grows, the sea water that freezes, must give up its CO2, which is far less soluble in ice than in sea water; and since the cold sea water is already CO2 saturated per Henry’s Law, any oceanic CO2 expelled from the ice is also expelled from the saturated ocean water into the atmosphere.
    The ONLY credible atmospheric CO2 real measurments we have are the Mauna Loa Records, that start at 315 ppm in 1957-8, and now are at 390 ppm in 2011 That is a 23.8 % increase in 53 years. So there’s proxy data that says it might once have been as low as 280 ppm; but there is also proxy evidence that it once was over 7000 ppm.
    I’ll accept the 1958-2011 actual data, and pass on the proxy guesses.
    During that steady 23.8% increase in CO2, there has been absolutely no matching Temperature rise as predicted by the Teracomputer models; just a random walk and some occasional spurts; particularly when the US National debt goes up.
    But in any case; if we were to assume that that 280 ppm Historical base pre-industrial level was correct; and I use the word assume with caution, as you know what that means; then that 18-20 ppm is being removed at a rate of 3.6 to 4.0 ppm per month; a rate which if continued would remove the 110 ppm excess, in 27-30 months; so that is the decay time constant; no more than three years, so 99% can be removed in 15 years.
    So nyet: BS on the thousands of years of Solomon.
    So when was the last time that the atmosphere was free of CO2 if the residence time is 1000 years ?

  98. Most seems already to be said here: It seems a recurrent mistake of many skeptics to confuse the residence time of individual CO2 molecules (like the tiny amounts of 14C from the nuclear tests) with the decay time needed to reduce an excess amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. The first is based on the amount of CO2 which is exchanged over the seasons and permanently between warm and cold parts of the oceans: about 90 GtC (as CO2) is going back and forth between the oceans and atmosphere (more from the oceans at higher temperatures, more into the oceans at lower temperatures) and about 60 GtC is going into vegetation during the growing season and about the same amount decays in fall/winter. Oceans and vegetation work in countercurrent over the seasons, reason why the seasonal variation is quite modest. The NH variability shows that land vegetation is the dominant factor (as also the 13C/12C ratio shows), the SH has less land and shows less seasonal variation.
    Thus in total about 150 GtC is exchanged between the oceans/vegetation and the atmosphere over the seasons. That doesn’t add or remove any CO2 to/from the atmosphere, as long as at the end of the year there was as much addition as removal.
    Humans currently add some 8 GtC/year. The increase in the atmosphere is about 4 GtC/year (2 ppmv/year). Thus the natural balance is 4 GtC more sink than source.
    That means that the excess CO2 since the industrial revolution (100 ppmv, or 210 GtC), if we stop all emissions today, will sink next year with about 4 GtC. One year later with a little less than 4 GtC (as the difference between the real CO2 level and the _thermo_dynamic equilibrium CO2 level is a bit reduced) and so on… The real half life time of an excess amount of CO2 is around 40 years. See the work of Peter Dietze at John Daly’s website:
    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm
    The Solomon and the IPCC long term CO2 levels are based on the “Bern model”, which shows different half life times for different reservoirs: the ocean surface (very fast), the deep oceans (medium fast), vegetation (as more permanent storage in roots and peat) and rock weathering (very slow). For medium term, the deep oceans are the most important. There is no sign that these will be saturated with the current (and near future) CO2 emissions. The 10% near permanent CO2 residence in the atmosphere, according to the Bern model, is only applicable if we burn all available oil and lots of coal…
    That all doesn’t say anything about the effect of any surplus CO2 on temperature…

  99. Stupid question: when I saw the ice core’s CO2 line versus the real/measured CO2 values it struck me that the ice core line was fitting to the minimum of the measurements.
    The warmistas say that CO2 is younger (the air bubble) then the ice (the 83 years gap)
    Can it be that the ice core always tends to average to the minimum CO2 values over a period?
    I mean that CO2 exits the bubble if there is less CO2 in the atmosphere but is not added to the bubble when there is more in the outside air? A one way process?
    I mean such test could be theoretically done in lab to check. Is this idea totally rubbish?

  100. “Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    February 17, 2011 at 1:56 pm
    Most seems already to be said here: It seems a recurrent mistake of many skeptics to confuse the residence time of individual CO2 molecules (like the tiny amounts of 14C from the nuclear tests) with the decay time needed to reduce an excess amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. e.t.c.”
    Ferdinand, let us take you numbers for a moment and look at the pre -Industrial ecosystem; 280 ppm CO2.
    In all those years there was mineralization of carbon; the true sinks of carbonates falling to the ocean bottom to make chalk in the future and the organic debris falling to the bottom to form methane/oil. We also have forests and peat marshes whereby carbon is mineralized.
    All these sinks denude the atmosphere and the atmosphere is in ‘equilibrium’ with the oceans, w.r.t. CO2.
    Do you think that the whole of the biosphere was carbon limited and life on land totally dependent on volcanoes?

  101. Lars P says:
    February 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm
    Stupid question: when I saw the ice core’s CO2 line versus the real/measured CO2 values it struck me that the ice core line was fitting to the minimum of the measurements.
    Not a stupid question. The question is which of the two curves are more reliable than the other. The drawback of the ice core values is the resolution: 8 to 600 years, depending of the snow accumulation speed (more at the coast, less at the center of Antarctica). For the rest, the average doesn’t change by averaging and the high accumulation Law Dome ice cores have a 20 years overlap (1960-1980) with direct measurements at the South Pole. Measurements of both are within the error margin of the ice cores (1.3 ppmv – 1 sigma).
    The main problem with the historical measurements is that many of them were taken on land, near huge sources and don’t show “background” CO2 levels, while the Antarctic levels are background (background CO2 levels are within 5 ppmv for yearly averages over 95% of the atmosphere). Background levels show very little variability, except for seasonal influences. Many historical measurements, if repeated, show huge variability and lower values with high wind speed (which means better mixing with higher air layers, thus more background-like). High wind speed values over land and all measurements over the oceans show values around the ice core values…

  102. DocMartyn says:
    February 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm
    Ferdinand, let us take you numbers for a moment and look at the pre -Industrial ecosystem; 280 ppm CO2.
    In all those years there was mineralization of carbon; the true sinks of carbonates falling to the ocean bottom to make chalk in the future and the organic debris falling to the bottom to form methane/oil. We also have forests and peat marshes whereby carbon is mineralized.
    All these sinks denude the atmosphere and the atmosphere is in ‘equilibrium’ with the oceans, w.r.t. CO2.
    Do you think that the whole of the biosphere was carbon limited and life on land totally dependent on volcanoes?

    All we know for sure (as far as one can be sure…) is that there was a pre-industrial (dynamic) equilibrium between CO2 capturing and CO2 releases, where the equilibrium setpoint was dictated by temperature. According to the Vostok and now Dome C ice cores, at least for the past 800,000 years some 8 ppmv/°C change in setpoint. Thus at one side CO2 capturing by cold oceans (via the THC) to the deep part, land vegetation long term capturing and carbonate formation. At the other side carbonate rock dissolution (via volcanoes and weathering) and deep ocean oversaturated CO2 return near the equator. Higher temperatures increase carbon sequestering by biolife, but increases CO2 releases from the oceans…
    Even now, there is a short term response (0.5-2 years) of CO2 variability around the trend to (ocean) temperature changes at about 4 ppmv/°C. That influences the variability in natural sink capacity, but has little influence on the main trend (a maximum of 8 ppmv since the LIA for 1°C increase in temperature), which now is about 100 ppmv above the temperature dictated equilibrium.

  103. George E. Smith says:
    February 17, 2011 at 1:51 pm
    Well the first thing I noticed looking at that video, is that the high levels of CO2 (380-390) and the low levels (360-370) occur right at the North Pole; well over the arctic ocean. So the CO2 at the north pole is being inserted adn removed, right there at the north pole; or over the arctic ocean.
    You need to be cautious with the satellite data: the AIRS CO2 values are from the mid-troposphere, not from the whole CO2 column. Limited CO2 measurements from Schauinsland (South Germany) at about 1,000 m high show more amplitude than at Barrow (high North Alaska), so I suppose that much of the variability seen by the satellites near the poles is brought there from the mid-latitudes vegetation growth and decay than from the poles themselves (via the Ferrel cells). Further, CO2 from the oceans has a higher 13C/12C ratio than atmospheric CO2, thus freezing in winter should increase the d13C ratio of atmospheric CO2, but we see a decrease (and a sharp increase in spring), which points to vegetation decay (and new growth in spring), not oceanic releases. Seasonal growth is more restricted than vegetation decay, which is more spread over the year, increased in summer, but still going on in winter…
    The ONLY credible atmospheric CO2 real measurments we have are the Mauna Loa Records, that start at 315 ppm in 1957-8, and now are at 390 ppm in 2011 That is a 23.8 % increase in 53 years.
    Here I disagree. The ice core CO2 record is not a proxy, but real direct measurements of CO2 in ancient air. There is an overlap of 20 years with the South Pole measurements for the Law Dome ice core. The same ice cores show that the CO2 levels were about 280 ppmv some 150 years ago. Confirmed by other ice cores with different temperatures, accumulation rate and resolution.
    But in any case; if we were to assume that that 280 ppm Historical base pre-industrial level was correct; and I use the word assume with caution, as you know what that means; then that 18-20 ppm is being removed at a rate of 3.6 to 4.0 ppm per month; a rate which if continued would remove the 110 ppm excess, in 27-30 months; so that is the decay time constant; no more than three years, so 99% can be removed in 15 years.
    It is not because a sudden start of leaves growing in spring removes lots of CO2 in a short time span, that this goes on forever. Once formed, the CO2 capturing goes on in growth of wood, roots and blossoms/fruit, but almost all of it returns a few months later as rotting leaves, eaten fruit, etc… It still is a cycle. The amplitude of the cycle is huge, but the net effect is small… In fact the whole net effect of the cycle is relative small, as the oceans go the other way round: the summer temperatures give more release of CO2 from the oceans. The net effect of both cycles is a global amplitude of about 5 ppmv for a global temperature amplitude of 1°C (the NH summer gives more warming than the SH winter gives cooling and vv.). The ultimate net effect after a full seasonal cycle is about 2 ppmv/year removal of CO2 from the atmosphere at the current conditions (100 ppmv surplus)…

  104. @George Smith
    George, if you look at the stations on this map http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/CT2010/summary/network-global.pdf , you will see that there is no “North Pole” station. The map is cut off at about 75°N, anyway. The points you make would mean something if there was data up there, but there isn’t.
    There are only 2 stations in Greenland, one in northern ALaska, one in northern Sacninavia, one on Spitzbergen, one in Iceland and one off the coast of Norway. That really shows that there are only three in the Arctic Ocean, and two of those are on coasts. The Alaska one is about 20° from the pole, about 1400 miles.
    All of what you see in the Arctic is extrapolated. It isn’t real, no matter how real the data is that they use. Just like there are only 17 stations representing the 71% of the globe that is ocean, those stations are representing something that they don’t actually represent. Most of the graphic here is extrapolation, and with a false precision.

  105. “David Falkner says:
    February 16, 2011 at 10:36 pm
    Now, can back radiation from CO2 cause skin (or any type) of cancer?”
    No way. This back radiation is in the infrared range that is just felt as heat. The heat photons do not have the energy to ionize organic molecules and cause cell damage. Skin cancer is caused by higher energy photons such as ultraviolet. X-rays and gamma rays are also dangerous in high doses.

  106. “Questing Vole says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:14 am
    According to Hansard (the official record of the UK Parliament), Andrew Bridgen MP said in the House of Commons last Friday that
    “each tonne of coal burned for power generation produces 2,215 kg of carbon dioxide”.
    Would someone more knowledgeable care to explain? Is the O2 so heavy?”
    The balanced equation is C + O2 –> CO2. The atomic mass of C is 12 and that of O is 16, so 12 grams of C produces 44 grams of CO2. So if 1000 kg (1 tonne) of pure carbon reacts with oxygen, 3666 kg of CO2 should be produced. Therefore the coal he is talking about cannot be assumed to be pure carbon.

  107. Ferdinand Engelbeen You did not answer the question. In your ‘equilibrium’ model all mineralized carbon must be, in geological time, instantly replaced by newly entered carbon into the BIOSPHERE. You have not explained why the rate remained constant, when we know that enormous amount of carbon are sequestrated all the time.
    Finally, I wonder why you think the saw-tooth pattern that unlies the Kelling curve is chemio-physical as opposed to biological?
    Speaking as a biologist, I would suspect that having an atmosphere which is about 23% O2 might suggest that biology, not chemistry, is the major component of the atmospheres composition.
    Not equilibrium, steady state. say it to yourself, STEADY STATE.

  108. “David says:
    jka, both views are cvorrect. Change the RT for an individual molecule to 50 years and you also change the rate of decline.”
    No the point is that the rate of decline is independent of the residence time of the individual molecule. Let me add some more figures to the bucket analogy to illustrate.
    Let the leaky bucket contain 10 pints of water and let the rate of leakage equal the rate of dripping of two pints per year. The average molecule will then have a residence time of 5 years, that is simple mathematics.
    If you then pour one pint of extra water to the bucket, we can assume that the leakage will increase until the water level is again steady at 10 pints. But by how much the leakage will increase depends on the nature of the leakage, a hole in the bottom have different physical response to water level than a hole close to the surface and one hole behaves different than many small. This is not simple mathematics, it is a complex systems which needs to be measured and analyzed to estimate the decline.
    This is similar to estimation of the rate of decline of the current level of CO2 at 390 ppm. if all man made emissions stopped now how long time wil lit take before it sink to preindustrial level of 280 ppm. It does not depend on each molecules residence time which can be easily calulated, but it is a very complex feedback mechanism which is not yet fully understood.

  109. “He finds that the RT for bulk atmospheric CO2, the molecule CO2, is ~5 years, in good agreement with other cited sources (Segalstad, 1998), while the RT for the trace molecule CO2 is ~16 years. Both of these residence times are much shorter than what is claimed by the IPCC.”
    This is a demonstrably incorrect claim, the residence time is given in the 1990 IPCC WG1 report (the version referred to by Prof. Essenhigh) on page 8 (last paragraph in first column) as being “about 4 years” (it is referred to there as the “turnover time”. It is the “adjustment time” that the IPCC WG1 report claims to be “of the order of 200 years”. They are not the same thing, and the distinction is clearly made in the report. A figure of about 4 years is also given for the turnover time on page 948 in the glossary of the most recent IPCC WG1 report (it is mentioned this is also called the “mean residence time” in soil carbon biology).
    So rather than being shorter than the time quoted by the IPCC, the ~5 year time given by Essenhigh is actually *longer* than claimed by the IPCC (~4 years)
    Sadly the conclusions of Prof. Essenhigh’s paper are completely wrong as it is the adjustment time that is relevant to the attribution of the observed rise in atmospheric CO2, not the residence time (for which Prof. Essenhigh’s calculation is essentially correct and uncontraverisal). The reason why residence time is irrelevant has been explained more than once at WUWT, most notably the lucid explanations given by the apparently indefatigable Ferdinand Engelbeen.

  110. Feet2theFire says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm
    There are only 2 stations in Greenland, one in northern ALaska, one in northern Sacninavia, one on Spitzbergen, one in Iceland and one off the coast of Norway. That really shows that there are only three in the Arctic Ocean, and two of those are on coasts. The Alaska one is about 20° from the pole, about 1400 miles.
    You don’t need many stations for CO2 measurement: for 95% of the atmosphere, the CO2 levels are within 5 ppmv, if averaged over a year. The main disturbances are in the first few hundred meters over land, where day/night and winter/summer for biolife are the main sinks and sources, besides most of human emissions. A few hundred meters higher over land or everywhere over the oceans, levels are (relative) fast mixed and only the seasonal differences are seen anymore and the NH-SH lag, as the ITCZ hinders the exchanges of air masses between the hemispheres. The trends at the different stations from near the North Pole to the South Pole are quite identical anyway, with an increasing NH-SH lag, as the human emissions (mostly in the NH) increased over time. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg
    The carbon tracker film in the introduction is not based on the station data, but on satellite measurements, which fully cover 90N to 60S. The satellite data were calibrated with air flight measurements, as the current satellite measurements have a peak resolution around 5000 m height. Even so, there is little difference between the satellite data and the ground station data, except for seasonal amplitude.

  111. Sensor operator says:
    February 17, 2011 at 11:32 am
    “As for people claiming the virtues of CO2 on plant growth. Yes, in a controlled environment, if one increases the CO2 you can achieve higher growth rates. But, in the real world, higher CO2 also brings higher temperatures, which impacts where and how long things grow (as well as plant reproduction). This also leads to larger regions for insects to infest plants and crops (pine beetle is one example). And higher CO2 is better for weeds as well…”
    Sensor you are incorrect. In my earlier post I gave the results from 522 different experiments on the four largest food crops. Many of these experiments were done in the real world in places like China and parts of Europe. The only thing controlled was “standard farming practices” and the only difference was added CO2. The results are real. To pretend otherwise is to ignore hundreds of real world results.
    In regard to weeds what was found in “real world” studies is that the feared problems do not in general manifest, as the competition for soil and nutrients is equally enhanced for the desirable growth and in farming this is controlled equally well either organically or not. Yes, many insects exist were vegetation grows. This should be tautology. More areas where vegetation grows, more food for insects and people.
    However more food grown on the SAME acreage allows more food with no increased labor in controlling both weeds and insects. Additionally many beneficial insects and bacteria are enhanced by additional CO2
    As to heat stress from CO2, you could not be more wrong. The heartiness of the plants to survive both heat and cool as well as drought is greatly enhanced by additional CO2, often far more then the 30 to 30% increase in bio mass from a 300 PPM increase of CO2. The benefit far out weighs any possible harm from an increase in temperature from a doubling of CO2. With CO2 enhanced warming (which is mostly at night) frost damage would be limited and formerly cold areas are opened up to growing by both the warmth and the increased heartiness of the plant due to additional CO2.
    You really should read the Idso’s book to get an inclusive look at the peer reviewed research and see where all your concerns are directly addressed in numerous studies.

  112. My comment at February 18, 2011 at 5:16 am articulates the benefits of additional CO2. The KNOWN benefits of CO2, and strong evidence that the warming from a doubling of CO2 will be 1 c or less, is cause for me not to be concerned about the CO2 residence time debate. That being said the evidence, observed and in peer review literature is that the IPCC overstates how rapidly CO2 will accumalate in the atmosphere.
    Tom V. Segalstad, Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology
    stated it clearly and concisely as follows…
    “Solomon et al. (2009) have obviously not seriously considered the paper by Segalstad (1998), who addresses the 50% “missing sink” error of the IPCC and shows that the Revelle evasion “buffer” factor is ideologically defined from an assumed model (atmospheric anthropogenic CO2 increase) and an assumed pre-industrial value for the CO2 level, in conflict with the chemical Henry’s Law governing the fast ~1:50 equilibrium partitioning of CO2 between gas (air) and fluid (ocean) at the Earth’s average surface temperature. This CO2 partitioning factor is strongly dependent on temperature because of the temperature-dependent retrograde aqueous solubility of CO2, which facilitates fast degassing of dissolved CO2 from a heated fluid phase (ocean), similar to what we experience from a heated carbonated drink.
    Consequently, the IPCC’s and Solomon et al.’s (2009) non-realistic carbon cycle modelling and misconception of the way the geochemistry of CO2 works simply defy reality, and would make it impossible for breweries to make the carbonated beer or soda “pop” that many of us enjoy (Segalstad, 1998).
    So why is the correct estimate of the atmospheric residence time of CO2 so important? The IPCC has constructed an artificial model where they claim that the natural CO2 input/output is in static balance, and that all CO2 additions from anthropogenic carbon combustion being added to the atmospheric pool will stay there almost indefinitely. This means that with an anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 residence time of 50 – 200 years (Houghton, 1990) or near infinite (Solomon et al., 2009), there is still a 50% error (nicknamed the “missing sink”) in the IPCC’s model, because the measured rise in the atmospheric CO2 level is just half of that expected from the amount of anthropogenic CO2 supplied to the atmosphere; and carbon isotope measurements invalidate the IPCC’s model (Segalstad, 1992; Segalstad, 1998).
    The correct evaluation of the CO2 residence time — giving values of about 5 years for the bulk of the atmospheric CO2 molecules, as per Essenhigh’s (2009) reasoning and numerous measurements with different methods — tells us that the real world’s CO2 is part of a dynamic (i.e. non-static) system, where about one fifth of the atmospheric CO2 pool is exchanged every year between different sources and sinks, due to relatively fast equilibria and temperature-dependent CO2 partitioning governed by the chemical Henry’s Law (Segalstad 1992; Segalstad, 1996; Segalstad, 1998).
    The full write up is here. http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N31/EDIT.php
    Read it before you tell me again how residence time does not matter. Dr Segalstad understands what you are saying very well, yet you are misreperenting what his message is.

  113. DocMartyn says:
    February 17, 2011 at 6:47 pm
    Ferdinand Engelbeen You did not answer the question. In your ‘equilibrium’ model all mineralized carbon must be, in geological time, instantly replaced by newly entered carbon into the BIOSPHERE. You have not explained why the rate remained constant, when we know that enormous amount of carbon are sequestrated all the time.
    Finally, I wonder why you think the saw-tooth pattern that unlies the Kelling curve is chemio-physical as opposed to biological?
    Speaking as a biologist, I would suspect that having an atmosphere which is about 23% O2 might suggest that biology, not chemistry, is the major component of the atmospheres composition.
    Not equilibrium, steady state. say it to yourself, STEADY STATE.

    It seems more a matter of language: Steady state or dynamic equilibrium is the same for me: there is an equilibrium between the amount of carbon released and amount of carbon sequestered, where the setpoint of the dynamic equilibrium is dictated by temperature.
    If the temperature increases, the oceans will release more CO2 than they absorb, until the CO2 partial pressure in the atmosphere is the same as the average partial pressure of CO2 in the oceans. The same for CO2 in the alveoles, but here there is an increase of uptake with higher CO2 in the atmosphere, as the availability of CO2 is a limiting factor for plant growth. The combination of oceans and vegetation uptakes and releases were the main factors of CO2 levels over the past near 1 million years (and probably far beyond). Other geological factors like volcanic vents and rock weathering are much smaller and slower but may play a huge role over geological times.
    It is possible to make a differentiation between CO2 uptake by the oceans and by vegetation, based on O2 use and d13C isotopic changes. See:
    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf
    The uptake 1993-2002 by the oceans was about 1.7 GtC/year and by land vegetation about 1 GtC/year, both with large margins of error.
    Thus while the seasonal (and permanent) natural CO2 fluxes in/out the atmosphere are huge, more or less permanent CO2 sequestering by oceans and vegetation is quite limited, even if we are already 100 ppmv above the steady state setpoint for the current temperature…

  114. David says:
    February 18, 2011 at 5:39 am
    David, I had a short but heavy discussion with Segalstad at a meeting in the European Parliament (where Anthony and several other skeptics were too). Segalstad (and Essenhigh) and many others are simply wrong in these matters. The 5 years residence time is how long in average any CO2 molecule of any source remains in the atmosphere. That is a matter of throughput: indeed some 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere (150/800 GtC) is exchanged each year with CO2 from other reservoirs. That is exchange, not one-way addition or removal. In reality it is 18.75% in and 19.25% out, thus the real removal rate is 0.5% of the atmosphere (4 GtC/800 GtC). That is the reason that the human addition of about 1% carbon per year still gives an increase of the atmospheric CO2 level and that we are fully responsible for the increase.
    Solomon et al. (2009) have obviously not seriously considered the paper by Segalstad (1998), who addresses the 50% “missing sink” error of the IPCC and shows that the Revelle evasion “buffer” factor is ideologically defined from an assumed model (atmospheric anthropogenic CO2 increase) and an assumed pre-industrial value for the CO2 level, in conflict with the chemical Henry’s Law governing the fast ~1:50 equilibrium partitioning of CO2 between gas (air) and fluid (ocean) at the Earth’s average surface temperature.
    Some more research since 1998 has shown that the main CO2 sink is in the deep oceans, the second one in vegetation, see the link here:
    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf
    So, there is no missing sink, only some large error margins in partitioning between the two main sinks.
    According to Henry’s Law (which is for pure dissolved CO2), and the chemical equilibria between CO2, bicarbonate and carbonate in seawater, the partitioning between atmosphere and the upper part of the oceans is about 10:1 (NOT 1:50!) that means that an increase of 100% in the atmosphere will increase the total carbon content (DIC) of the upper oceans (the “mixed layer”) with 10%. Or the current 30% increase in the atmosphere did increase the DIC of the upper oceans with 3%. For about a 1000 GtC content of the ocean mixed layer, that means an increase with 30 GtC. That is all. That was measured at different points in the oceans over time and in a few continuous series. Here for the Bahama’s:
    http://www.bios.edu/Labs/co2lab/research/IntDecVar_OCC.html
    See figure 1 and compare the increase in % DIC over the past 20 years with the increase in % of seawater pCO2 (which is what Henry’s Law dictates). Also compare that with the atmospheric pCO2 % increase at Mauna Loa or elsewhere.
    Thus Segalstad is wrong and the Revelle factor still is alive and kicking…
    Further, there is nothing wrong with the carbon isotope changes. The measured values are about 1/3rd of the expected values if all human CO2 should stay in the atmosphere. But we know that about 1/5th of all CO2 is exchanged with CO2 from other reservoirs. For the biosphere, that has less influence, as most of the isotopic changes return in the non-growth seasons. But what goes into the deep oceans only returns many hundreds of years later, thus the deep ocean releases of today have the deep ocean isotopic composition of hundreds of years ago. In that way, we can make an estimate of the deep oceans – atmosphere exchanges:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/deep_ocean_air_zero.jpg
    The mismatch in the first decennia may be a question of CO2 releases from the biosphere.
    Indeed the atmospheric CO2 levels are the result of a fully dynamic system with many ins and outs, but the evidence from ice cores (and several proxies) is that the CO2 levels in the past 800,000 years were mainly dictated by temperature, only disturbed in recent times by our releases…
    At the other side, as said before, the Bern model of the IPCC overstates the excess CO2 half life time, as the longer terms are only of interest for extreme releases of fossil CO2 where also the deep oceans are saturating, but by far not relevant for the current and near future releases.

  115. With all the talk of Vostok, we need to be reminded of a universally ignored problem: T tracks CO2 only on a millennial scale, not on a multi-decadal scale. The long term correlation is easily explained as a tandem response to ice sheet extension; the lack of any short term correlation all by itself refutes the claim of CO2 forced heating: there is NO evidence in the ice cores for any such phenomenon!
    The claim of current CO2 forced T rise has no analog in the cores. –AGF

  116. Ferdinand Engelbeen this is what you get when you plot Human Carbon emissions vs Keeling.
    http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/AnthropogenicCarbonvsKeelingCO2.jpg
    As you can see, the line shape gives us an S type curve. The curve should be approximately linear in a chemical dynamic equilibrium box model.
    The last part of the curve suggests that atmospheric [CO2] will tail off even with higher emissions. The first part of the curve suggests that either pre-1950’s human generated carbon release is underestimated, or that the pre-industrial CO2 levels were about 300 ppm.
    This is a model based on what the atmospheric CO2 would be if the t/1/2 of CO2 sequestration was 250 y-1.
    http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/SteaystateCO2fittedforthalfof250yea.jpg
    There is no fit to Keeling what so ever.
    This was the best fit I got, running a simple steady state model.
    http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/SteaystateCO2fittedtoKeelingCurve.jpg
    Here I assumed the efflux rate from the atmosphere was 29 y-1. I got a 1:1 fit with Keeling.
    This is obviously too simple, as CO2 disappearance is likely to be a mixture of first and second order rate constants, but 29 years works nicely for a model. As a kineticist, the rule is within one order of magnitude, so a t1/2 for 14C matches the 29 y-1 of the model.
    This shows how the model responds to a complete stop of human generated CO2, in the year 2006.
    http://i179.photobucket.com/albums/w318/DocMartyn/SteaystateCO2after2006ELE.jpg
    50 years to get to 1966 years, 100 years to get to 1918 years and 150 years to get back to 1887.

  117. Izzat CO2 video a file that can be down loaded for safe keeping. That’s avery interesting thing to have around.

  118. A G Foster says:
    February 18, 2011 at 7:40 am
    With all the talk of Vostok, we need to be reminded of a universally ignored problem: T tracks CO2 only on a millennial scale, not on a multi-decadal scale. The long term correlation is easily explained as a tandem response to ice sheet extension; the lack of any short term correlation all by itself refutes the claim of CO2 forced heating: there is NO evidence in the ice cores for any such phenomenon!
    The claim of current CO2 forced T rise has no analog in the cores. –AGF

    One need to be careful: there is a quite good short term (0.5-2 years) correlation between temperature and CO2 increase rate, thus opposite to the AGW thesis. See e.g.:
    http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/co2conference/pdfs/tans.pdf which also shows the LIA drop of CO2 at cooler temperatures with a lag of only 50 years. That CO2 follows temperature changes doesn’t exclude the opposite influence, where the calculated (theoretical) influence of CO2 on temperature for a large part is filled in over some 30 years. That this is hardly visible in the temperature record is a matter of several other (natural) influences like PDO, ENSO,… which give a lot of variability around the trend. Not that I think that the influence of CO2 is that big, but you can’t prove from the trend that there is no influence at all…

  119. A G Foster says:
    February 18, 2011 at 7:40 am
    Universally does not include myself and others that I know. Thank you for your response. It is funny that a trump card like that is ignored (pretty much universally). It is the real inconvenient truth.

  120. @Ferdinand Engelbeen February 18, 2011 at 3:24 am:

    You don’t need many stations for CO2 measurement: for 95% of the atmosphere, the CO2 levels are within 5 ppmv, if averaged over a year.

    So, 5ppm is not much. That is what you are saying, yes?
    You do realize what you are saying, don’t you? This graphic is a historical map delineated in bands 5ppm wide (less if you count the color blendings), and you are saying that the +/- for each station is the full 5ppm, meaning that the colors represented could be the next band over, to the high or low side. That means this map means nothing. All those color changes might exist and might not, not until they change by 10ppm or more. All this is, then, is a pretty, meaningless – and pretty meaningless – graphic.
    Your +/- is fully one quarter of the extremes shown on the legend.
    This is nothing but false precision.

  121. “”””” Feet2theFire says:
    February 17, 2011 at 5:37 pm
    @George Smith
    George, if you look at the stations on this map http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/CT2010/summary/network-global.pdf , you will see that there is no “North Pole” station. The map is cut off at about 75°N, anyway. The points you make would mean something if there was data up there, but there isn’t. “””””
    Easy for you to say Feet; basically I’m a simple minded individual, and when I see numbers, and graphs, and movies, and other publishings; specially ones put out by my Gummint using my tax dollars, I’m silly enough to believe what they tell me. After all if they dont’ give a tinkers damn about the Nyquist Sampling theorem; why should I. Two stations for the entire Arctic should be plenty; one for the white areas and one for the brown areas.
    You know we peons out here, who have to both finance this sort of “data”, and then run our lives according to that data, take a dim view of being lied to by our government agencies.
    I’m told that around 1900, there were precisely 12 weather stations in the Arctic; that is from +60 deg to the pole. That number grew apparently up to around 86 or so; so they say, and then it dropped down into the 70s I believe; possibly due to the collapse of the Soviet Union. In any case; we are asked to believe a trail of climate data that relies on an unstable reporting system like that.
    Personally, I don’t believe ANY global Temperature records data prior to 1980; due to a Jan 2001 report by John Christy et al, and I don’t believe ANY CO2 data besides Mauna Loa, and that goes back to 1957/8.
    There are some things in “Science” that we actually believe that we know reasonably well; for example, there is Paul Dirac’s number for the magnetic moment of the electron. In some elsewhere defined units system, this number is 1.00115965221 with a standard deviation of 4 in the last digit. Well that is the experimentally MEASURED value. That does not agree with the theory which gives the number as1.00115965 246 with a standard deviation of about 20 in the last digit. Obviously a totally screwed up theory, compared to the precision of Climatism, which gives the Universal Climate Sensitivity Constant as 3.0 deg C per doubling +/-50% , or 1.5 to 4.5 deg C per doubling.
    So Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED) can explain “everything” that goes on outside an atomic nucleus; other than gravitation, and lots of stuff that goes on inside; and if you need to get inside the inside, the you need QCD or Quantum Chromodynamics.
    So if it was up to me to control Taxpayer Funding of climate research; I would shut down every single government grant, laboratory or agency such as NOAA/NASA/NCDC etc until such time, as that entire collection of otherwise unemployable “scientists”, have come up with a completely accurate Absorption Spectrum for CO2 in a standard dry atmosphere (0-32km alt.) over the wavelength range from 0.1 micron to 100 microns; that atmosphere comprising N2, O2, Ar, CO2 and nothing else, covering the Temperature range from -90 C to +60 C (near surface), containing laboratory measured values, as well as the theoretically calculated values; no I don’t need it good to 10 significant figures; I’d be reasonably happy with a standard deviation of 0.1%, anywhere in the range.
    Currently it would seem we know it (we think) well enough to say it is logarithmic with CO2 over some small range, or linear over some small range, or even square root over some small range; but generally just non-linear, and we know it within a factor of three or so.
    It seems like the measured values for the observed CO2 absorption band in the neighborhood of 15 microns in air; do not agree with the theoretically calculated values; not even to within 10%. I’d say that is one screwed up theory.
    It would seem that the very first crudest theory of Atomic Spectra was able to predict as of then, unobserved spectral lines of Hydrogen; to better than 1% (lot better), and yet today with our Teracomputers, we can’t get within 10% for one of the pieces of information that is going to determine, if humans become extinct (from terminal stupidity) or not.

  122. Ferdinand, this is amazing that you can expect anyone to assign any significance to this graphic whatsoever.
    I’d liken it to the man behind the curtain – it is all a graphic meant to impress the ignorant.
    It has imprecision bands actually half the height of what is depicted. It is the same as a static graph with a Y-axis from 360 to 380, which – because the short height – allows “spikes” that look huge, but if measured from zero wouldn’t even be perceptible wobbles.
    What this really says is that the +/- is only 1.3% for any bit of data, not to mention how few data points exist for any point in time.
    I’ve worked with precision temperature gauges, and +/- 1.3% is only about 2.5 times what the PRECISION and 4 times what the REPEATABILITY are listed at. So the data is barely outside the signal-to-noise ratio, as I see it. The full width depicted is only a range of +/-2.6%. Tsk tsk tsk…
    While this graphic may be instructive as a general guide, I wouldn’t ever read anything definitive into it or put it out for public consumption. I mean, those gradations of color are – as close as I can tell from the legend bar – representing 1/10th of the +/- (o.5 ppm), while the precision of the data is +/- 5.0 ppm??? Give me a break.
    And add to that the wide dispersal of geography of the sites. You say +/- 5 ppm means that it doesn’t matter because the +/- is “only” 5 ppm. You only make my argument for me. It is not “only,” not when the entire graphic is “only” 4 times that – and t2 times the error band.

  123. Anthony, I will continue to read WUWT?, but I shall no longer be posting. Two main reasons. I am clearly not welcome because of my views ( not by you, but many who post), and the second is that people are using my posts to attack my father. They equate my level of understanding to him. The truth is I left the house at 15 and never looked back. My father and I still have a strained relationship and do not speak very often (and I cannot blame him), but I do not want to tarnish his reputation in any way. Most here will be heaving a sigh of relief and say things like “good riddance to bad garbage”, blah, blah, blah. To those people I present a very large middle finger!! I have made it clear that I am not an academic, but have a deep interest in this field and have the temerity and understanding to ask the hard questions. Both sides of the debate are laden with cowards. I am disappointed in the behavior of many skeptics and followers who do not seem to understand the lengths to which these fellows will go to perpetuate the gravy train. Both sides of the debate. The truth is the only loser in all this. It is no wonder getting anything accomplished in academia is like elephants mating!! Thank you very much for your patience with me. I am certain I have tested it!! WUWT? has changed my life for the better. 70,000,000. WOW !! Live long and prosper.

  124. Ferdinand –
    Besides the fact that the 1940-1970 period refutes your claim that “there is a quite good short term (0.5-2 years) correlation between temperature and CO2 increase rate,” doesn’t it occur to any of the AGW folks that if points like this can be in dispute that the science certainly is not settled. It is just far too early in our collection of data to draw conclusions other than tentative ones – much less project current knowledge out for 100 years with any confidence at all.
    It is well and good/i> to draw those tentative conclusions – as long as it is understood – and stated – that they are tentative and merely working hypotheses, for the time being. Scientists do need some frameworks within which to place their evidence. As long as everyone understands that they are only part way on to the continuum no one begrudges anyone for having points of view (frameworks) that differ from one’s own.
    The problem the skeptics have is the blatant certainty claimed by the AGW folks on something there is still too much uncertainty about. AGW folks being willfully blind to things like the 900+ scientists who’ve found evidence supporting that MWP was global is only one issue. I say “willfully” because the papers are out there, but they keep pretending they are not, or (evidently) believing that those scientists are somehow delusional.
    The “blatant” and the “willfulness” add up to hubris, and hubris breeds blind spots. And blind spots – where do those fit into science, except as issues and personalities that future scientists will laugh at? Do the pro-AGW folks really want to be the laughing stocks of future scientists and textbooks?

  125. Re Vostok: Interesting that in Hansen’s record “hottest ever” 2010, his GISS site showed Vostok recorded an icy “plunge” from -53.5 to -55.8.
    What was that about Global Warming showing up most in the colder regions?
    Oh, silly me! I forgot that the new AGW paradigm is that intense cold, massive snow cover and record low temperatures is now proof of their theory. Every weather and climate event is “Global Warming” ’cause we UNIPCC ‘climate scientists’ predicted it!
    I’m not sure even the late great John Daly would have thought they’d sink this low!

  126. George E. Smith 11:09 am –
    All good points. You might then agree with the points I made to Ferdinand at 11:16am. The precision seems to be about +/-1.3% for this graph.
    If any of this basic precision of data and predictability is not a magnitude better than it is, then all those imprecisions are multiplicative when added together – meaning not worth a whole lot.
    I would point out that – based solely on what is shown in this graphic – Mona Loa has what I would term a “NH bias” which should be adjusted downward, if the SH is so consistently a few ppm less than Hawaii.
    I would again point out that every time I look at this graphich and its swirls and then go look at the station map at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/carbontracker/documentation_obs.html#ct_doc , I see something else that seems delusional. Looking at the eastern half of Asia in the video, there is a consistently impressive almost Mandelbrot-ian mesmerizing effect. That is done with precisely FIVE stations, none of them north of Mongolia – all the way to the pole! Yet the bulk of the swirling is in that area that has no stations whatsoever. Ay-yi-yi.
    This video is not science. It is fiction.

  127. DocMartyn says:
    February 18, 2011 at 9:07 am
    Ferdinand Engelbeen this is what you get when you plot Human Carbon emissions vs Keeling.
    Here you are plotting the year by year emissions against the Keeling curve, which is the resulting accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. That makes no sense, as one need to plot accumulation of the emissions (thus total emissions) against accumulation in the atmosphere. That gives a complete different view of what happened (and still happens) in reality:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/acc_co2_1960_2006.jpg
    The physical response of the uptake by the oceans is linear to the difference in pCO2 in the atmosphere vs. the average pCO2 in the surface waters, not to the increase in pCO2 over one year… And something similar for vegetation I suppose…
    But your next graphs show where the problem is: the (more or less) measured/calculated/estimated influx of natural CO2 is about 60 GtC from vegetation decay and 90 GtC from (deep) ocean releases near the equator. The estimated outflux are – at steady state – of the same order. The decay rate of these quantities is a few months half life time, directly related to (seawater) temperatures. See the (somewhat outdated) NASA graph at:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/CarbonCycle/Images/carbon_cycle_diagram.jpg
    Other natural influxes and outfluxes (volcanic vents, rock weathering, sea carbonate formation) are orders of magnitude smaller and essentially balanced within the much larger fluxes (e.g. volcanic vents are estimated at 1% of human emissions or less than 0.1 GtC/year).
    The rapid response to temperature changes says nothing about reactions on sudden releases of extra CO2 from non-temperature related sources (a mega volcanic event, a meteor impact or extra CO2 from human origin). But we know that the delta temperature/delta CO2 level ratio was quite stable over the past 800,000 years (be it with a 600 years smoothing for the far past). Thus it looks like that there were no such huge natural events in the past near million years (even the Pinatubo caused a drop in CO2 increase rate, due to extra cooling caused by its volcanic dust, neither does the Tambora eruption CO2 show up in high resolution ice cores). Thus your estimate of natural influx (and related decay rate) is way too large, except for temperature related influxes, but these have a very fast decay time, completely based on temperature changes.

  128. Feet2theFire says:
    February 18, 2011 at 10:58 am
    You do realize what you are saying, don’t you? This graphic is a historical map delineated in bands 5ppm wide (less if you count the color blendings), and you are saying that the +/- for each station is the full 5ppm, meaning that the colors represented could be the next band over, to the high or low side. That means this map means nothing. All those color changes might exist and might not, not until they change by 10ppm or more. All this is, then, is a pretty, meaningless – and pretty meaningless – graphic.
    The film in the intro shows the daily measurements, which are heavily influenced by the seasonal changes. The yearly averages of all stations within one hemisphere are all within 2 ppmv (a +/- 1 ppmv band). The difference between the NH and the SH is increasing, because it takes more time to distribute the increasing CO2 emissions in the NH over the equator (a lag of about 14 months), that is the largest contribution to the differences. Despite that, all “baseline” stations over the globe are within a +/- 2 ppmv band for yearly averages.
    Compare that to the measured increase over the past 50+ years of about 60 ppmv. It doesn’t matter at all that one station gives an increase of 58 ppmv and another says 62 ppmv… The accuracy of the local measurements at all stations is about +/- 0.2 ppmv, fine enough to detect any small local disturbance.

  129. Feet2theFire says:
    February 18, 2011 at 11:38 am
    Besides the fact that the 1940-1970 period refutes your claim that “there is a quite good short term (0.5-2 years) correlation between temperature and CO2 increase rate,” doesn’t it occur to any of the AGW folks that if points like this can be in dispute that the science certainly is not settled.
    While I agree that the science of the impact of more CO2 on temperature is far from settled, the impact of temperature on the CO2 increase rate is measured since the Mauna Loa and South Pole data started. See e.g. the graphs of Pieter Tans, starting half-way:
    http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/co2conference/pdfs/tans.pdf

  130. Ferdinand –
    Your 1:09 pm response was non-responsive to what you quoted from me. While it is appreciated that sometimes what others say triggers tangential thoughts, to the questioner, it looks like dodging the question.
    As to the NH Co2 taking 14 months to cross into the SH, I am fully aware of how little mixing of air from one hemisphere to the other there is. That doesn’t explain at all why the SH is for all intents and purposes a different balance altogether.
    But your bringing this into the mix is also no-responsive.
    In addition, I don’t accept the assumption at face value that CO2 crossing into the SH is even anything worth talking about. If you have a study that asserts this, put it forward. I don’t accept that it goes NH>SH anymore than SH>NH, not on your assertion, nor at the assertion of any AGW-er. AGW-ers have jumped to too many conclusions, evidently based on their demonization of CO2. So pardon me if I ask for sources.
    But could you please be responsive?

  131. Dear Ferdinand I see you are in favor of a bucket and sponge model; the free water is the atmosphere and the sponge is the oceans. You note the water level, add water and again measure the water level, anything that does not match goes into the sponge.
    Very sophisticated, I can see why such analysis provides you with no insight into sinks; there can be no sinks as you have a bucket and sponge.
    You have a model that looks for accumulation in the atmosphere and you have a model that reports accumulation in the atmosphere
    I do like the summative influxes though, in fact I have just been screaming down the phone to my bank demanding that they make my account equal to the sum of all of the moneys I have ever deposited. Strangely they believe I am mistaken that this is the best methodology.

  132. @Ferdinand Engelbeen 1:41 pm:

    the impact of temperature on the CO2 increase rate is measured since the Mauna Loa and South Pole data started. See e.g. the graphs of Pieter Tans, starting half-way:
    http://esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/co2conference/pdfs/tans.pdf

    Two things (at least)…
    “…starting half-way”? See, that is the point – you pick a convenient starting point and think we are too inert to recognize that you leave out what is inconveniently true. For example, the chart labeled “CO2 Trend at Mona Loa Observatory” begins in 1960, right in the middle of the 1940-1970 [BTW, I actually meant “1940-1976ish”] period I mentioned, the time of the decline. And there, right in the insert of the graph, is a smaller graph that shows that the CO2 was most steeply rising during that exact time period – yet the global temperatures were falling until the “Great Climate Change of 1976-1977.” The larger graph there shows Mona Loa from only 1960.
    The graph labeled “atmospheric carbon dioxide history” is suspect for the very reason that it is so closely aligned to the now-trashed Mann et al hockey stick, in that it is missing the LIA and the MWP, therefore bringing into question how much massaging was done to the proxy data in order to erase those centuries-ling events from the CO2 record like Mann did from the temperature record. That the AD 1000-1800 level is so blatantly flat-line non-changing makes me very skeptical of what was done to the data. Yes, color me skeptical.
    This coheres with my understanding that the most basic premise of AGW is that the total of all non-human CO2 is and has always been exactly the same. This oversimplification was a handy meme in order to blame any rise on human activity. But it suffers from one main weakness: They didn’t prove the flat-line. Showing it on Tans’ graph doesn’t convince.

  133. One of the more interesting things about NOAA’s CO2 weather tracker is that high CO2 concentrations are not occurring where fossil plants are located or at the times when electrical production is at peak.
    For example look at the Southeastern United States during the months of May-September. Electrical demand is at the highest during these months…yet the CO2 concentrations are at approximate low of 365 umol/mol.
    Next look at South America. Notice how highest CO2 concentrations appear deep in the Amazon river basin. A long way from any industrial or power plant sites.
    Then look at Africa. Notice how the highest concentrations again appear inland in central Africa. Again well away from regions with major industrial or power plant sites.
    Now look at China. Notice how the highest concentrations again appear in central China, again well away from the coastal areas where most of the population and major areas of industrial/utility plants are located.
    Even if one were to discount the many detailed science criticisms of the graphic. The graphic itself can lead a reasonable to question wither man-made CO2 is really much of an issue.
    Regards, Kforestcat

  134. Feet2theFire says:
    February 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm
    Your 1:09 pm response was non-responsive to what you quoted from me. While it is appreciated that sometimes what others say triggers tangential thoughts, to the questioner, it looks like dodging the question.
    As to the NH Co2 taking 14 months to cross into the SH, I am fully aware of how little mixing of air from one hemisphere to the other there is. That doesn’t explain at all why the SH is for all intents and purposes a different balance altogether.

    Sorry, but I thought that I answered your question. But I will try another way:
    – The measurement accuracy of the ground based stations is +/- 0.2 ppmv. I don’t know the accuracy of the satellite measurements, but I suppose less than the colored bandwith (thus better than +/- 2 ppmv).
    – The NH has a larger seasonal CO2 amplitude than the SH, simply because the NH has more land vegetation. The seasonal amplitude is mainly the result of vegetation growth in the warm months and vegetation decay in cold months. That is confirmed by the 13C/12C changes over the seasons: when CO2 is taken away by plants, that is preferentially 12CO2, leaving more 13CO2 in the atmosphere. That can be seen as an increase of the 13C/12C ratio during the warm months, opposite to the decrease of total CO2 in the same seasons. The SH has less land vegetation, which makes that there is little seasonal variation.
    – The seasonal differences are visible in the film, which is based on millions of satellite CO2 measurements 200-2008 at about 5,000 meter peak height (NOT from any ground based stations). These show a lot more variability in the NH than in the SH. Partly by changes in wind patterns and circulating cells, thus showing different daily mixing patterns of CO2, within certain limits (full scale +/- 10 ppmv over the full globe).
    – The ground based stations show similar (seasonal) variability, more near ground than at height and far more in the NH than in the SH. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/month_2002_2004_4s.jpg
    – The NH in (yearly) average shows slightly higher levels than the SH, simply because the main human emissions are in the NH. As humans emit 4 ppmv of CO2 per year and only 2 ppmv shows up in the atmosphere, the difference is absorbed by oceans and vegetation, also mainly in the NH. That means that there is a continuous flow of CO2 from higher to lower levels, thus from the NH to the SH (and from ground level to altitude) to bring all places to the same level (which never will happen). But anyway that takes time:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends_1995_2004.jpg
    All data can be downloaded from:
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/contents.htm and several other places.
    Better so?

  135. Re: “The ONLY credible atmospheric CO2 real measurements we have are the Mauna Loa Records”
    These are the most INCREDIBLE. No scientist worth his paypacket would declare after less than 2 years work that he had found a definite annual increase trend in measuring anything. This is what Keeling did. He had an agenda, to prove man-made emissions of CO2 were a problem. The idea of some mythic “background of well-mixed CO2” still hasn’t been shown to be proved, and even if such a critter did exist then trying to find it in the middle of an area of such immense volcanic activity and from under the summit of the largest active volcano in the world is silly. Claiming that he found this is obvious nonsense. How can anyone believe this makes sense? Because we’re told it does.
    Even, as it’s claimed, Mauna Loa measures “pristine” background CO2 coming from across the Pacific Ocean, there is no way that can be untangled from the constant spewing of CO2 into the atmosphere around these volcanic islands with thousands of earthquakes above and below the warm CO2 releasing waters or the from the venting and eruptions and mixed up in the atmosphere by winds and sun and rain.
    And, that claiming this ‘pristine CO2 level coming from over the Pacific’ is representative of ‘background’ global CO2 levels is also nonsense. How?
    They decide what the CO2 level should be by deciding at what level they exclude ‘volcanic’. ? Does that make sense? It’s all volcanic or other local. Even this mythical “pristine global background” arriving on the moisture laden trade winds from the NE is in the Ring of Fire.
    Map, Hawai’ian Hotspot in the Pacific Ring of Fire: http://www.geog.nau.edu/courses/alew/ggr346/text/chapters/ch12.html
    His son controlled Scripps and he oversaw, still does?, Mauna Loa. Keep the con in the family, the data from all the stations is manipulated just as Keeling manipulated it from the beginning, the only improvement is better co-ordination.
    You also need to factor in that CO2 comes down every time it rains, whatever is up there readily joins to water, and, that plants also breathe out CO2. They only eat it in photosynthesis to make glucose, which mostly it seems, they do before the morning is over.
    And to compound the con, they always say Mauna Loa is a “pristine” site for measuring CO2, uncontaminated by local production. Most take it on trust and don’t know that it’s surrounded in volcanic production of the stuff, and those that do know find excuses for it, even antis take the ‘scientific method’ described as though it made sense. It can’t make any sense. Of all their “pristine stations” this one is most absurd to be named this.
    Volcanic CO2 is identical to any man-made, and more here on the other stations with data contamination from volcanic activity, and the AGW mangling of the Suess effect: http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/
    Enough of taking seriously any data AGW produce.

  136. Myrrh;
    Yeah, once in a while some of the actual science done makes it through the IPCC political screen unnoticed. Elsewhere, all we get to see are the holes in the cheesecloth.

  137. The bumps and wiggles in the human production of CO2 do not show up in the measurement data. It follows that the atmospheric CO2 system is an efficient regulator which attenuate this input handily. It follows that the increase in atmospheric concentration over the past 50 odd years is from an entirely different source. And, that’s just all there is to it.

  138. Feet2theFire says:
    February 18, 2011 at 2:07 pm
    I have to retract parts of my comments: the carbon tracker film is not from satellite measurements (which started in 2002, not 2000), but from ground based stations, including flux measurements and (modelled?) flux estimates and modelled air circulation patterns. That makes the film nice for illustration but not really accurate for many parts of the globe. The real stuff is from AIRS (2002-2009) which can be found here:
    http://airs.jpl.nasa.gov/news_archive/2010-03-30-CO2-Movie/
    The differences between the carbon tracker film and the AIRS film are minor, but one should be aware that the carbon tracker is animation, only partly based on real data.

  139. Feet2theFire says:
    February 18, 2011 at 2:37 pm
    Two things (at least)…
    “…starting half-way”? See, that is the point – you pick a convenient starting point and think we are too inert to recognize that you leave out what is inconveniently true. For example, the chart labeled “CO2 Trend at Mona Loa Observatory” begins in 1960, right in the middle of the 1940-1970 [BTW, I actually meant “1940-1976ish”] period I mentioned, the time of the decline.

    As I have said, the influence of more CO2 on temperature is a matter of debate. The influence of temperature is no matter of debate anymore. That part can be found in the second halve of Pieter Tans’ slides. That doesn’t mean that I agree with the first part.
    But if you want a comment on the first part:
    I certainly disagree with his CO2 decay model (which is a variant of the Bern model).
    The cooling in the period 1940-1975 is about 0.2°C. If we may assume a maximum influence of 8 ppmv/°C, the net result of the temperature drop is 1.6 ppmv less CO2. In the same period, human emissions were about 40 ppmv, which did result in an (approximately) 20 ppmv increase. Thus the influence of temperature on CO2 is completely overwhelmed by the human emissions.
    Further, the CO2 curve is mainly based on ice cores, which are quite reliable because these are direct measurements in ancient air, including a 20 year overlap with the South Pole direct air measurements. Confirmed by other, less reliable proxies like sediments, stomata index data, coralline sponges d13C data,… The CO2 HS is real, the temperature HS is not. For coralline sponges, see:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif
    The LIA is visible in the high resolution Law Dome ice core as a drop of 6 ppmv (for an appr. drop of 0.8°C) with a 50 years lag, thus again (as over the past 800,000 years) a ratio of about 8 ppmv/°C:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_1000yr.jpg

  140. Bart says:
    February 18, 2011 at 10:25 pm
    The bumps and wiggles in the human production of CO2 do not show up in the measurement data. It follows that the atmospheric CO2 system is an efficient regulator which attenuate this input handily. It follows that the increase in atmospheric concentration over the past 50 odd years is from an entirely different source. And, that’s just all there is to it.
    Bart, we have had that discussion already several times: your frequency analyses is not applicable, simply because the resulting amplitude in the measurements is below the measurement accuracy. And it simply is impossible that any other sources of CO2 is the cause of the increase, as long as the increase is less than the emissions. As long as there is no destruction of matter.

  141. kforestcat says:
    February 18, 2011 at 5:01 pm
    One of the more interesting things about NOAA’s CO2 weather tracker is that high CO2 concentrations are not occurring where fossil plants are located or at the times when electrical production is at peak.
    Human production of CO2 is more or less evenly distributed over a year, some more in winter, some less in summer (except for airco’s…), but in total currently some 8 GtC/year. Ocean releases are about 90 GtC, mostly when the mid-latitude oceans are warming up and reverse when cooling down. Vegetation releases are opposite: continuous decay in colder months, high uptake in warm months (some 60 GtC back and forth). Thus on short term, the influence of continuous emissions is hardly visible in the much larger “noise” caused by the seasons. On longer term (after 2-3 years) it is quite clear:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/mlo_co2_seasons.jpg
    that needs some update, but see the year by year increase, vs. the seasonal amplitude…

  142. DocMartyn says:
    February 18, 2011 at 2:10 pm
    Dear Ferdinand I see you are in favor of a bucket and sponge model; the free water is the atmosphere and the sponge is the oceans. You note the water level, add water and again measure the water level, anything that does not match goes into the sponge.
    Very sophisticated

    Except that in this case the change of water mass in the sponge is measured too. See the change in DIC of seawater at e.g. Bermuda:
    http://www.bios.edu/Labs/co2lab/research/IntDecVar_OCC.html
    For the uptake/release of CO2 from vegetation, that is more difficult (several stations are used to measure CO2 fluxes over land), but there is an indirect method by measuring O2 changes and d13C changes in the atmosphere, both are influenced by vegetation growth and decay.

  143. Myrrh says:
    February 18, 2011 at 6:32 pm
    These are the most INCREDIBLE. No scientist worth his paypacket would declare after less than 2 years work that he had found a definite annual increase trend in measuring anything. This is what Keeling did. He had an agenda, to prove man-made emissions of CO2 were a problem. The idea of some mythic “background of well-mixed CO2″ still hasn’t been shown to be proved, and even if such a critter did exist then trying to find it in the middle of an area of such immense volcanic activity and from under the summit of the largest active volcano in the world is silly. Claiming that he found this is obvious nonsense. How can anyone believe this makes sense? Because we’re told it does.
    Myrrh, comments like these of yours make me sad and nearly ashamed to be a (real) skeptic (to both sides). If you had read some of the literature, you should have known that Keeling was only interested in good measurements of CO2, hardly interested in “global warming”, which was not even a topic in the late fifties. See his struggle with the different administrations for the continuous support of the MLO measurements in his biography:
    http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/publications/keeling_autobiography.pdf
    After two years of accurate measurements, indeed he could see that the CO2 levels were increasing, simply because his new method was far more accurate (+/- 0.2 ppmv) to detect an increase of 1 ppmv/year than most of the old chemical measurements (+/- 10 ppmv).
    Further, you should have known that the South Pole measurements were first, far from any volcano or vegetation. The only reason that MLO is mainly used as reference is that it has the longest continuous record (except a few months), while SPO has a gap of a few years. The official “global” CO2 record doesn’t contain MLO data, but is the average of several near sealevel stations.
    In fact it doesn’t matter at all, as the differences in absolute value between the stations are within 5 ppmv and the trends are all similar: + 60 ppmv since 1958.
    You should have known that MLO easely can detect that the incoming air is not “pristine” but influenced by downwind volcanic CO2 (+4 ppmv) or upwind vegetation CO2 depleted (-4 ppmv). These data are rejected (but not deleted, they are still available in the hourly average record) and not used for averaging. See:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
    His son controlled Scripps and he oversaw, still does?, Mauna Loa. Keep the con in the family, the data from all the stations is manipulated just as Keeling manipulated it from the beginning
    10 stations are overlooked by the NOAA, 60 others are maintained by other organisations (Japanese, European). Scripps takes its own (flask) data independent of NOAA at MLO and other places. Please enlighten me how the data can be manipulated for so long, even without any single whistleblower in all these organisations reporting the scam.
    Further, your source of geological information is completely incorrect: the d13C level of almost all volcanic vents is much higher (near zero per mil) than of fossil fuels (-24 per mil) see e.g.:
    linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0377027399000761

  144. Myrrh says:
    February 18, 2011 at 6:39 pm
    And re residence time: the IPCC also says it’s only a few years: http://www.co2science.org/articles/V12/N31/EDIT.php
    Thinking of that graph showing IPCC out of kilter with the other studies, but the IPCC shorter residence times are buried in the bulk of the report.

    As said before, Segalstad is completely wrong: there is not the slightest connection between the residence time (which is about 5 years, also according to the IPCC, governed by the exchange rate of 150/800 GtC) and the time needed for an excess amount of CO2 to return back to the temperature driven steady state level (governed by the current removal rate of 4/800 GtC). This is so basic physical knowledge, that I don’t understand why Segalstad insists on an irrelevant residence time, while it takes a lot more time to remove an excess amount of CO2.

  145. “Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    there is not the slightest connection between the residence time (which is about 5 years, also according to the IPCC, governed by the exchange rate of 150/800 GtC) and the time needed for an excess amount of CO2 to return back to the temperature driven steady state level (governed by the current removal rate of 4/800 GtC). ”
    Ferdinand, you are being disingenuous. You present a bucket and sponge model and claim that it can explain the residency of bulk CO2 in two systems, atmosphere and water. You even present summative human generated CO2 vs keeling and generate a partition coefficient.
    Now, for your next trick, show a summative plot of 14C that the bomb tests generated vs the levels of 14C in the atmosphere.
    As always, it is always a pea in a shell game.
    Your sponge in a bucket model generates the answer you like, and so you ignore its inability to answer the disappearance in 14C, instead you hand wave.

  146. Ferdinand, I’m not going to argue with you about Mauna Loa, as I described, there’s some that see it as if it’s rational and continue to make excuses for it and some that see it for the nonsense it is. The ‘Green’ movement against coal, it was against coal note as it continues to be, not CO2 which was a fortuitous scapegoat, began in the Thirties, and it was these people that drew Keeling in. Of course all the stations are of one mind about CO2 levels..
    Anyway, what I was interested in coming back to before I saw you post to me, was the graph you linked here: Further, the CO2 curve is mainly based on ice cores, which are quite reliable because these are diret measurements in ancient air, including a 20 yer overlap with the South Pole direct air measurements. Confirmed by other, less reliable proxies like sediments, stomata index data, coralline sponges d13C data,.. The CO2 HS is real, the temperature HS is not. For coralline sponges, see: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif
    So anything that doesn’t fit with your AGWScience doctrine, is unreliable?
    Am I really seeing what I think I’m seeing? Seriously, can anyone help here?
    What I see in that graph, is that without interference from the AGWScience Manipulators in its Back Data History Office, from the time Keeling et al came into the game, Jamaica, Pedro and Atmospheric would have continued in the high 350-360+ ppm…
    How really weird though that if I’m reading this right, we end up with a reverse Keeling at the end, taking CO2 levels back to the pre-Industrial 280 ppm (which Keeling cherry picked as his starting point) but 200 years late at 2000 AD- I thought the AGW story was that CO2 was in the 380 ppm now?
    Have you never wondered how come all these other disparate sources “unreliable” CO2 studies are in general agreement and it’s AGW data which sticks out like a sore thumb ‘gainst them?
    See http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html for a different view of

  147. DocMartyn says:
    February 19, 2011 at 6:04 am
    I am aware that it seems very difficult for a lot of people to understand the difference between a residence time and an excess decay time. Let us try again:
    The throughput of a factory can be expressed in amount of goods (or expressed as capital) coming in and out of the factory. What is going in is coming out minus some waste and the goods involved has some potential added value. One can calculate the residence time of the materials in hours, days or months of the materials (and capital) involved. That results in a turnover time of goods and capital.
    Most shareholders are not very interested in the turnover time (they better should). They are interested in the gain (or, oh horror, loss) of their invested capital. Is there any connection between the two? Hardly. If the factory can sell their products at a higher price than it costs to manufacture the goods (raw materials + energy + maintenance + labour), there will be a gain. If they double the troughput (halve the turnover time) they may double the gain, but also make a loss, because the market collapses from overproduction…
    The same for CO2, with stricter (non-market) rules:
    The residence time is ruled by the troughput: what goes in goes out at more or less the same amounts. That doesn’t change the total CO2 in the atmosphere with one gram, as long as input and output are equal. Even if all CO2 in the atmosphere was exchanged within one day, that reduces the residence time to one day, but that doesn’t change the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Any additional input of CO2 would stay in the atmosphere forever, whatever the residence time, being one day or one millennium. Thus the residence time is completely irrelevant for the decay of any additional CO2 (whatever the source). What is relevant is the imbalance between inputs and outputs. Which is currently 4 GtC/year more natural sink than natural source. As the sink rate is directly proportional to the partial pressure difference between atmosphere and oceans, the decay half life time of the 200+ GtC extra CO2 is about 40 years, far beyond the 5 years residence time, but far below the hundreds of years of the IPCC. See Peter Dietze:
    http://www.john-daly.com/carbon.htm
    The fate of 14CO2 is quite simple: the total amount generated by the nuclear tests was in the order of 10^-12 ppmv, thus didn’t add any substance to the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Deep oceans have a 14C/12C ratio which is near the pre-bomb test level. Ocean surface uptake and release are fast (1-2 years) thus follow the bomb tests more closely. Vegetation also follows the bomb tests more closely, as most decay follows in a few years after uptake. Thus mainly the deep ocean-atmosphere exchanges are of interest. These are about 40 GtC/year. Which means that the residence time of 14CO2 is about 20 years. Essenhigh in the before mentioned essay of Segalstad finds 16 years. Not bad for my first estimate…

  148. Ferdinand – re residence time of CO2. If you’ve ever done or seen being done housework, you might have noticed that daily cleaning compared with weekly doesn’t mean that more dust is removed. CO2 in the atmosphere is like that dust, most of it is locally produced and being heavier than air it does not readily rise into the atmosphere. If it does, by wind and so on, it doesn’t make any difference to the amount that’s up there already because whenever the winds drop or it rains, it will all come down together.

  149. Myrrh says:
    February 19, 2011 at 7:40 am
    Ferdinand – re residence time of CO2. If you’ve ever done or seen being done housework, you might have noticed that daily cleaning compared with weekly doesn’t mean that more dust is removed. CO2 in the atmosphere is like that dust, most of it is locally produced and being heavier than air it does not readily rise into the atmosphere. If it does, by wind and so on, it doesn’t make any difference to the amount that’s up there already because whenever the winds drop or it rains, it will all come down together.
    Myrrh, you really need to read more about the fate of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 indeed is heavier than air, and large quantities released at once can suffocate people (as happened near some African ond other volcanic lakes). But once mixed in, it stays mixed in (except when catched by a tree or water), as all molecules, whatever their relative weight, are colliding with each other, going randomly everywhere. See the Brownian motion for particulates even much heavier than air:
    http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/brownian.htm
    The continuous addition of CO2 shows up near ground as good as at 12 km height, but that takes time, as also the seasonal changes, which occur at ground level show:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/seasonal_height.jpg
    Rain indeed brings some CO2 down from higher altitudes, but the amounts first were released when the ocean waters were evaporating. That doesn’t change the amounts that much (no measurable change in CO2 at ground level or 3,400 m height when it rains).
    And have a look at the CO2 trends at different heights from ground stations (sea level and mountain), airplanes and satellites… Here for ground stations and aircraft data:
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/

  150. @Ferdinand 2:26am:

    Thus the influence of temperature on CO2 is completely overwhelmed by the human emissions.

    It would be more accurate to say, “The influence of temperature on CO2 is interpreted that it is completely overwhelmed by human emissions.”
    But with human emissions being so small compared to natural CO2 emissions, I would argue this point. A ~1% variation in natural CO@ emissions would swamp human emissions. That is why skeptics dispute this: The AGW assumption that the total of all natural emissions is a completely constant value. No process in nature is that constant. I’ve not seen one AGW paper that gives even a LITTLE on this (i.e., that some of the increase of CO2 is from natural sources) – they all assume absolute constancy. Any assertion by AGW people that the increase is all from human sources is thus received by skeptics as false confidence.

    Further, the CO2 curve is mainly based on ice cores, which are quite reliable because these are direct measurements in ancient air

    There are papers that show that this is not true. It takes many years for the snow to get packed down to firn and then solid ice. The assumptions made about the air being trapped have been shown to be not as accurate and precise as claimed, even if this info never made it onto RC’s web page. I am asserting this without being able to provide sources, sorry. All proxies are of low resolution and low precision, no matter the claims. Else we wouldn’t see those huge error bars on the graphs. One notable example of proxies is that Briffa’s tree rings that didn’t even match recent decades’ instrument record and which had to be left off the “hide the decline” graph for the IPCC. Just the very existence of such a variance – tree rings going down while CO2 and instrument temps were going up – should have everyone going back and challenging their assumptions. But, no. They don’t even dive in to find out what the discrepancy comes from. …And they wonder why we don’t accept their assertions…

    The LIA is visible in the high resolution Law Dome ice core as a drop of 6 ppmv (for an appr. drop of 0.8°C)

    Wow. A drop of 0.8°C created the LIA? Then the 0.7°C rise since 1900 did what? Bring us out of the LIA? That is what many skeptics have been asserting – that all we are doing is recovering from the LIA. You seem to be making their point for them. I think it is a bit more complicated than that, but it is a valid point that AGW-ers blow off without even a comment. Myself, I don’t see a 0.8°C rise or fall being sufficient to create an MWP or a LIA. I base that on the year-to-year variations that don’t cause the accumulation of ice even remotely close to causing a climate collapse on the scale of what the global average – as compiled (which I don’t believe is correct) – tells us. My gut – which is not sourced…lol – says nothing less than about 4°C would cause a LIA. I DO think it is significant that the NH-SH air mixing is so low, so I do think the NH can wander considerably from what the SH is doing, making the signal in the SH less clear, though some SH cooling would occur. Some of that SH moderation would be from the oceanic sink; localized cold spots simply occur less due to dissipation.
    Now, does this mean that the 0.8°C at Law Dome might indicate a seriously larger deltaT in the NH? I would suggest that it could, and that it might be worth looking into. (If I had a university behind me and/or Mann-ish funding it is one of the subjects I would tackle.) The Arctic-Antarctic ice extent/ice mass see-saw suggests this NH-SH imbalance as well. Due to the low NH-SH air mixing, I have always taken assertions of “global” based on data from one hemisphere as being inherently “assumptive”: I don’t accept them at face value.

  151. Ferdinand (3:30am) –
    I want to jump in with one note in this discussion with Myrrh.
    You say this to Myrrh:

    Further, your source of geological information is completely incorrect: the d13C level of almost all volcanic vents is much higher (near zero per mil) than of fossil fuels (-24 per mil) see e.g.:
    linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0377027399000761

    Even though that full article is behind a paywall, the abstract does have one point I noted. (Aside: WHY in heaven’s name do those journals do that? Is it just so they can exlude the rabble from informing themselves? Do they think they are going to make money off us if we start to inquire? I might understand if they do it with newer articles – that would be the same reason the late owner of the Chicago Balck Hawks used to black out home games – but I have tried to access papers from 1932 and they are STILL behind a pay wall!)
    The article is at least in part about the Furnas caldera in the Azores and C14:C13 ratios.

    Furnas is one of the few volcanoes where clear 13C enrichment in plants due to endogenous degassing has been evidenced.

    This would argue against your applying these results across any broader spectrum – especially against making sweeping statements.

    Furnas is one of the few volcanoes where clear 13C enrichment in plants due to endogenous degassing has been evidenced.

    On its face, this in the abstract completely falsifies the statement you make that “the d13C level of almost all volcanic vents is much higher…” The full text may support your assertion, but I can’t get to the whole. Perhaps they are talking of two different things, thought it does not appear so. If you’d care to quote the passage you base your statement on, it would be appreciated.

  152. “Myrrh says:
    February 19, 2011 at 7:40 am
    CO2 in the atmosphere is like that dust, most of it is locally produced and being heavier than air it does not readily rise into the atmosphere. If it does, by wind and so on, it doesn’t make any difference to the amount that’s up there already because whenever the winds drop or it rains, it will all come down together.”
    Gases do not respond to buoyancy in the same way solids in liquids do. If they did, you would never see CFCs high up in the stratosphere. The only gas molecule that is NOT more or less uniformly distributed in the atmosphere is water vapor since it condenses as it gets colder. And there is a lot more carbon dioxide that is at much higher levels than the clouds.

  153. “Feet2theFire says:
    February 19, 2011 at 9:20 am
    But with human emissions being so small compared to natural CO2 emissions,…”
    Over the last 260 years, humans have burned many hydrocarbons to produce a lot of CO2. This CO2 has to go somewhere. I agree that natural emissions and sinks are much greater every year. However this does not disprove the fact that the extra CO2 that we humans put in does not have a cumulative effect over the centuries. I have no problem accepting that due to human emissions since 1750, the CO2 went up from 280 ppm to 390 ppm. The real question is how much has this extra CO2 influenced temperature. In my opinion, about 0.2 C so it is nothing to worry about.

  154. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    February 19, 2011 at 2:31 am
    “…the resulting amplitude in the measurements is below the measurement accuracy.”
    False. I demonstrated this.
    “And it simply is impossible that any other sources of CO2 is the cause of the increase, as long as the increase is less than the emissions. As long as there is no destruction of matter.”
    Absurd. I still goggle every time I see you insist on this elementary logical fallacy.

  155. Ferdinand, you have to explain your kinetics of the bucket and sponge for both 14CO2 and bulk CO2.
    You state that 45% of all the human generated CO2 is in the ocean and 55% in the atmosphere. This is you claim.
    Therefore, 55% of the 14CO2 generated in the bomb tests should be in the atmosphere and 45% in the oceans.
    This is not the case. I don’t want words, give me the maths, you were good enough to do a sumative plot of man made CO2 vs Keeling, now do a plot of man made sumative 14CO2 vs the atmospheric level.
    You bucket and sponge states they should be the same.

  156. “DocMartyn says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm
    Ferdinand, you have to explain your kinetics of the bucket and sponge for both 14CO2 and bulk CO2.
    You state that 45% of all the human generated CO2 is in the ocean and 55% in the atmosphere. This is you claim.
    Therefore, 55% of the 14CO2 generated in the bomb tests should be in the atmosphere and 45% in the oceans.
    This is not the case.”
    This is Werner Brozek asking for a clarification of your question. Suppose I started working in 1960 and worked every year and received 100 pennies each year and that the pennies were for the year I worked. So in 1960, I would receive 100-1960 pennies and in 1961 I would receive 100-1961 pennies and so on. Let us suppose I spent 45 pennies each year and saved the other 55. Assuming my saved pennies are well mixed, are you asking why I do not have 55 pennies from 1960 in 2010?

  157. I dunno if anybody noticed, but you can get shades of the Quasi Biennial Oscillation within that CO2 animation…

  158. Feet2theFire says:
    February 19, 2011 at 9:20 am
    But with human emissions being so small compared to natural CO2 emissions, I would argue this point. A ~1% variation in natural CO@ emissions would swamp human emissions. That is why skeptics dispute this: The AGW assumption that the total of all natural emissions is a completely constant value. No process in nature is that constant.
    Nobody says that the natural CO2 emissions are constant, neither skeptics or the IPCC. The variability in natural imbalance is measured since the SPO/MLO measurements started and is +/- 1 ppmv (+/- 2 GtC), while the emissions are currently at 4 ppmv/yr (8 GtC/yr) and the trend in the atmosphere is +2 ppmv/yr (4 GtC/yr). In the past 60 years, the natural balance was always negative: more sink than source, with only 1973 borderline zero. See:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em.jpg
    Why the natural variability is quite small, compared to the huge (seasonal) flows involved? That is mainly because the two main components of in/outflow work countercurrent: an increase in temperature (the main cause of the variation) increases outflow from the oceans, but also increases the uptake by vegetation…
    There are papers that show that this is not true. It takes many years for the snow to get packed down to firn and then solid ice. The assumptions made about the air being trapped have been shown to be not as accurate and precise as claimed, even if this info never made it onto RC’s web page. I am asserting this without being able to provide sources, sorry. All proxies are of low resolution and low precision, no matter the claims.
    The only source of the allegations against ice cores I know of are from Jaworowski. Completely outdated (nothing new since 1992) and completely refuted by the work of Etheridge e.a. on the Law Dome ice cores in 1996. Besides a small fractionation of the isotopes (for which is compensated) and a fractionation of the smallest molecules (O2, Ar,…) at closing time, the enclosed bubbles still show the air composition at the time of closure. Be it with a resolution between 8 and 600 years, depending of the accumulation speed (1.3 m/year ice equivalent for Law Dome to a few mm/year for Vostok). See more about Jaworowski and ice cores here:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html
    Ice core CO2 thus is not a proxy, but a smoothed real measurement of ancient CO2 levels.
    Wow. A drop of 0.8°C created the LIA? Then the 0.7°C rise since 1900 did what? Bring us out of the LIA? That is what many skeptics have been asserting – that all we are doing is recovering from the LIA. You seem to be making their point for them.
    I did say the reverse: the temperature drop of 0.8°C caused the 6 ppmv CO2 drop, with an about 50 year lag. I am sure that a 6 ppmv in/decrease of CO2 has hardly an effect on temperature, but I am not sure what the influence of 100 ppmv extra will do. Probably little (0.9°C for 2xCO2 is the basic radiation balance effect), as there is little evidence from any CO2 influence in the past…

  159. DocMartyn says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:52 pm
    Ferdinand, you have to explain your kinetics of the bucket and sponge for both 14CO2 and bulk CO2.
    You state that 45% of all the human generated CO2 is in the ocean and 55% in the atmosphere. This is you claim.
    Therefore, 55% of the 14CO2 generated in the bomb tests should be in the atmosphere and 45% in the oceans.
    This is not the case. I don’t want words, give me the maths, you were good enough to do a sumative plot of man made CO2 vs Keeling, now do a plot of man made sumative 14CO2 vs the atmospheric level.
    You bucket and sponge states they should be the same.

    Werner Brozek (thanks!) already answered the question, but here some addition:
    You state that 45% of all the human generated CO2 is in the ocean and 55% in the atmosphere. This is you claim.
    That is not what I claimed. 45% of the increase in total CO2 mass caused by humans end mostly in the oceans, but that may be the original human CO2 molecules or natural one’s. The decrease in total mass is independent of which molecules of what origin are absorbed.
    In the case of 14C, there is no increase in total mass, thus any change in total mass of CO2 doesn’t play a role in this case. Thus only the concentration of 14C in the reservoirs and the amounts exchanged with these reservoirs play a role. The 14C concentrations in the upper oceans and vegetation follow closely the atmosphere, thus don’t influence the 14C levels of the atmosphere that much. The deep oceans are more important in this case.
    I haven’t made a plot of the fate of 14C, but did make a plot of the fate of 13C, if you add 100 GtC “fossil” CO2 to the pre-industrial atmosphere at once, based on realistic exchange and decrease rates:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_pulse.jpg
    Where FA is the remaining fraction of “fossil” CO2 in the atmosphere, FL the same in the ocean mixed layer (the upper few hundred meters), tCA total CO2 as carbon in the atmosphere and nCA “natural” CO2 in the atmosphere, the amount of “fossil” CO2 is of course the difference between tCA and nCA.
    What can be seen is that the fraction of “fossil” CO2 rapidely declines from the initial 15% and after some 40-50 years is completely replaced by “natural” CO2. That is based on the exchange rate / throughput / residence time, where 20% per year of all CO2 in the atmosphere is replaced by “natural” CO2 from other reservoirs (in fact less, as mainly the deep oceans give the largest contribution of “natural” CO2). Independent of the decline in fraction of “fossil” CO2, the total mass of CO2 doesn’t decrease that fast, as that is only governed by the half life decay time of about 40 years of an excess amount of CO2 over the temperature controlled equilibrium.
    The same excersize can be done with the real emissions over the past 160 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_emiss.jpg
    While the emissions are 200% of the observed increase in the atmosphere, only some 9% of the original fossil CO2 molecules remain in the atmosphere, but still (near) 100% of the increase is caused by the emissions.
    One can calculate the theoretical d13C of the atmosphere and ocean mixed layer over time, based on the emissions and exchange rates with the (deep) oceans:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/d13c_calc_obs.jpg
    Although not perfect (the exchanges with vegetation are not taken into account), it gives a quite good match.
    In summary: CO2 isotopic changes are governed by the residence time / throughput and the isotopic levels in the different reservoirs, total CO2 mass changes are governed by the decay rate, which depends on the difference between total inputs and total outputs. Both differ more than an order in magnitude.

  160. Bart says:
    February 19, 2011 at 12:02 pm
    “…the resulting amplitude in the measurements is below the measurement accuracy.”
    False. I demonstrated this.

    At second thought, your demonstration was wrong too. The variability of the emissions is less than 10%, compared to a least squares quadratic curve. The latter is the most probable real emissions scenario. Your decomposition demonstrated a 30% variability in one of the terms (if I remember well), but that is only one term of the curve fitting and has no bearing with a real, measured variability. Of course it is a real feature of the curve fitting / decomposition, but not a measurable feature in the amounts released.
    A 10% variability means +/- 0.8 GtC or +/- 0.4 ppmv at current emissions levels (less in history), or after absorption of about 50% in other resevoirs, borderline the accuracy of the measurements (+/- 0.2 ppmv). Even without any filtering caused by the countercurrent huge natural flows or overclassing by the natural variability (+/- 2 ppmv), it would be near impossible to detect.
    “And it simply is impossible that any other sources of CO2 is the cause of the increase, as long as the increase is less than the emissions. As long as there is no destruction of matter.”
    Absurd. I still goggle every time I see you insist on this elementary logical fallacy.

    Sorry, I can’t help you in this case. But of course, if your bank makes a gain which is less than what the total sum is of your personal savings over a year, I am sure that you think that their bussiness is going fine…

  161. Feet2theFire says:
    February 19, 2011 at 9:41 am
    I agree that the paywall access to any publication older than a year should be set free. I have paid hundreds of dollars for old articles and even have subscribed to Science, because of their extreme paywall access ($ 30 per article!)…
    Furnas is one of the few volcanoes where clear 13C enrichment in plants due to endogenous degassing has been evidenced.
    On its face, this in the abstract completely falsifies the statement you make that “the d13C level of almost all volcanic vents is much higher…” The full text may support your assertion, but I can’t get to the whole.

    I think that you misinterpreted that part of the abstract (I haven’t bought the rest of the article either). I suppose that the plants involved did receive enough d13C enriched CO2 to be measurable in the plant’s carbon, while in other cases the differences were too small. Fact is that most volcanic vents have d13C levels between -8 and + 8 per mil d13C, depending of the source of the magma. Deep core magma (Iceland) is lower in d13C, while subduction magma (Indonesia) recycles carbonates from sea floor deposits which are higher in d13C. Here some more references:
    http://epswww.unm.edu/facstaff/zsharp/homepage/hompage-v6_website/files/Download/fischeroldoinyo.pdf
    -2 to -4 per mil (down right of the first page)
    http://igitur-archive.library.uu.nl/dissertations/2004-0128-122010/c6.pdf
    The carbon isotope signature of magmatic CO2 varies, but is usually quite different from the current d13C value of atmospheric CO2 (about -7.9‰). Most magmatically derived CO2 is much heavier (more depleted in 13C) in signature (Table 6.2), with a typical value of about -4.5‰, but the exact signature is dependent on the magma source. Mount Rainier, like the other Washington volcano Mt. St. Helens, deviates from the general picture with lighter d13C values (-11.1 to -12.4‰) in its magmatic CO2 than those of other volcanoes.
    Except for an error in the text: heavier means more enriched in 13C, the Washington volcanoes seems to be the exceptions on the rule…
    Anyway, even these volcanoes are much higher in d13C than fossil fuels (at -24 per mil).

  162. Ferdinand and Werner, sorry, my posts to you yesterday got mangled by my computer, will come back to this later today or tomorrow.

  163. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    February 19, 2011 at 9:19 am
    Myrrh, you really need to read more about the fate of CO2 in the atmosphere. CO2 indeed is heavier than air, and large quantities released at once can suffocate people (as happened near some African ond other volcanic lakes).
    And why did they suffocate? Because Carbon Dioxide is heavier than air and displaces air, i.e. it sinks to the ground, whenever it is available in sufficient quantities it will displace all air, so suffocation. This can happen in mines, pits, breweries, volcanic erruptions. In mines, the lighter than air methane will rise through the air and gather at the ceiling.
    That’s what it means to be heavier or lighter than air in the REAL world.
    The CO2-rich cloud was expelled rapidly from the southern floor of Lake Nyos. It rose as a jet with a speed of about 100 km per hour. The cloud quickly enveloped houses within the crater that were 120 meters above the shoreline of the lake. Because CO2 is about 1.5 times the density of air, the gaseous mass hugged the ground surface and descended down valleys along the north side of the crater. The deadly cloud was about 50 meters thick and it advanced downslope at a rate of 20 to 50 km per hour. This deadly mist persisted in a concentrated form over a distance of 23 km, bringing sudden death to the villages of Nyos, Kam, Cha, and Subum. http://www.geology.sdsu.edu/how_volcanoes_work/Nyos.html
    Once the force expelling the Carbon Dioxide had ceased, the Carbon Dioxide being heavier than air sank to the ground. This is what happens to all Carbon Dioxide released into the atmosphere, by default, because that is its nature, among its properties, relative to the atmosphere, and regardless of the amounts. Carbon Dioxide does not readily rise in air, because it is heavier than air, not one molecule of it nor a pool of it.
    It’s more than mathematics that’s the problem, see link below, it’s the creation of a unique imaginary molecule unknown to real science which has confusingly also been called Carbon Dioxide. The confusion was created deliberately, the promotion of it is largely through ignorance of the Real Carbon Dioxide, and generally, of our real world.
    http://www.suite101.com/content/royal-society-humiliated-by-global-warming-basic-math-error-a296746
    But once mixed in, it stays mixed in (except when catched by a tree or water), as all molecules, whatever their relative weight, are colliding with each other, going randomly everywhere. See Brownian motion for particulates even much heavier than air: http://www.aip.org/history/einstein/brownian.htm
    Your link causes all my windows to close down instantly.
    However, since I have read fairly extensively about Carbon Dioxide and have come across this argument before.. Brownian motion refers to particles being moved in fluids, (liquids or gases). Carbon Dioxide is a gas. It is the fluid medium in which particles move by Brownian motion.
    In molecular diffusion, the moving entities are small molecules which are self-propelled by thermal energy and do not require a concentration gradient to spread out through random motion. They move at random because they frequently collide. Diffusion is this thermal motion of all (liquid and gas) molecules [Diffusion is this thermal motion of all fluids (liquid and gas) molecules] at temperatures above absolute zero. Diffusion rate is a function of only temperature, and is not affected by concentration. Brownian motion is observed in molecules that are so large that they are not driven by their own thermal energy but by collisions with solvent particles.
    While Brownian motion of large molecules is observable under a microscope, small-molecule diffusion can only be probed in carefully controlled experimental conditions. Under normal conditions, molecular diffusion is relevant only on length scales between nanometer and millimeter. On larger length scales, trasport in liquids and gases is normally due to another transport phenomenon, convection.
    Therefore, some often cited examples of diffusion are WRONG: If cologne is sprayed in one place, it will soon be smelled in the entire room, but a simple calculation shows that this cannot be due to diffusion; the cause can only be convection. If ink is dropped in water, one usually observes an inhomogeneous evolution of the spatial distribution, which clearly indicates convection; diffusion dominates only in perfect thermal equilibrium.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diffusion

    I have put in caps what is in italics because I’ve italicised the whole quote.
    Do you see the problem I have here with AGW explanations such as yours? Not only do you use bog standard science out of context, you mix up all the concepts and laws to create this AGWCO2.
    When each component part is looked at in proper detail, your CO2 doesn’t exist.
    And re “trees”, Carbon Dioxide is the food of all plant life which uses photosynthesis for energy production, plants turn Carbon Dioxide into glucose for growth. We are 20% Carbon, we produce our own Carbon Dioxide to enable us to utilise Oxygen efficiently and for other biological processes.
    The problem here I’ve found is first of all that there is no real understanding of our atmosphere in AGW, hence all the mix and match concepts and laws to suit this new creation. Your “once mixed in stays mixed in”, is obviously wrong if you consider real life observations of how CO2 behaves because of its real gas properties, when Carbon Dioxide displaces air for example. So where does that come from? See if you can find from which part of Real Science your description was taken to be used out of context in the production of the imaginary gas AGWCO2.
    The continuous addition of CO2 shows up near ground as good as at 12 km height, but that takes time, as also the seasonal changes, which occur at ground level show: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/seasonal_height.jpg
    I shan’t risk opening that at the moment..
    However, bearing in mind that CO2 is 1.5 times heavier than air which means that it will always sink down through air unless some work is being done to prevent this, how does CO2 get to 12 km, since it isn’t by Brownian motion? Is there any other source of CO2 at the height? Well yes, there’s planes at 30-39,000 ft. That’s large passenger planes, military planes fly much higher. Plumes from errupting volcanoes can be that in height, and much more. The active volcanoes on Hawaii are half that height and continually venting and errupting, which in Hawaii’s winds and heat can carry CO2 higher.
    And knowing that because Carbon Dioxide is heavier than air and does not readily rise into the atmosphere, local production will tend to stay local, the seasonal changes therefore are local. Which knowledge as background will help in understanding Beck data.
    Rain indeed brings some CO2 down from higher altitudes, but the amounts first were released when the ocean water were evaporating. That doesn’t change the amounts that much (no measurable change in CO2 at ground level or 3,400 m height when it rains).
    Really? If that comes from Mauna Loa data, forget it, not acceptable to me as fact. The concept of measuring this mythical “background” CO2 (please do prove it exists if you can, and let me know if you can’t), from an area of such intense CO2 production is clearly absurd. It is not a “pristine” site as it is claimed to be by AGW repetition, all measurements will be contaminated by local production. But I could be jumping the gun here, so, what do you have which proves what you say?
    I say, “Carbon Dioxide dissolves readily in water forming a weak acid” and “as water falls through the atmosphere it absorbs Carbon Dioxide” are standard knowledge in the real world – so how did these measurements of yours find that the levels were no different at altitude and ground when it rains?
    And have a look at the CO2 trends at different heights from ground stations (sea level and mountain), airplanes and satellites… Here for ground stations and aircraft data: htt://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/
    The satellite data confirm that CO2 is not well mixed in the atmosphere. Not that I’m into conspiracy theories you understand.., but it is a pity that two satellites launched specifically to measure CO2 came to grief before they could do so. As I’ve said before re the stations, these are not trustworthy, from my point of view for many reasons, but by claiming Mauna Loa is a “pristine” site for measuring CO2 when it is obviously not does immediately inspire confidence, and should not inspire confidence. In fact, it should immediately inspire WTFUWT?
    Did you read the link I posted which had some more information on stations? http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/ It’s well worth reading. It also looks at the AGW claim that ‘human produced’ CO2 can be differentiated from the rest.
    (I have checked and checked my coding… keeping fingers crossed)

  164. Sigh, should be:
    ..but by claiming Mauna Loa is a “pristine” site for measuring CO2 when it is obviously not does not immediately inspire confidence, and should not inspire confidence. In fact, it should immediately inspire WTFUWT?
    …………………………….
    Werner Brozek says:
    February 19, 2011 at 9:55 am
    Gases do not respond to buoyancy in the same way solids in liquids do. If they did, you would never see CFCs high up in the stratosphere. The only gas molecule that is NOT more or less uniformly distributed in the atmosphere is water vapor since it condenses as it gets colder. And there is a lot more carbon dioxide that is at much higher levels than the clouds.
    How does water vapour get up there to form clouds?

  165. “Myrrh says:
    February 23, 2011 at 8:14 pm
    How does water vapour get up there to form clouds?”
    You may wish to read:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinetic_theory
    If many different gases were released from a plane, they would go up and down and sideways. Lighter gases would go faster and heavier ones would go slower, but after a certain amount of time, you would find as much of each gas 100 feet lower as at 100 feet higher. This assumes normal diffusion with no wind or other convection currents. And if you wait long enough, both the heaviest and lightest gases will be both near the ground and high up in the stratosphere. The major difference is that light gases like helium can reach escape velocity high up and therefore helium does not accumulate like chlorofluorocarbons for example. Water vapor, due to its polar nature, condenses when the concentration is high enough and it is cold enough. And the large liquid droplets cannot stay suspended but fall as rain. So in answer to your question. Water vapor does what any other gas does, it diffuses all over the place, and it does not matter if the molecular mass is 4 or 100.
    If you wish to read all about water, see
    http://www.seafriends.org.nz/issues/global/climate2.htm#Ice_ages

  166. Werner says:
    You may wish to read: http://en.wikipedia/wiki/Kinetic_theory
    If many different gases were released from a plane, they would go up and down and sideways. Lighter gases would go faster and heavier ones would go slower, but after a certain amount of time, you would find as much of each gas 100 fett lower as at 100 feet higher. This assumes normal diffusion with no wind or other convection currents. And if you wait long enough, both the heaviest and lightest gases will be both near the ground and high up in the stratosphere. The major difference is that light gases like helium can reach escape velocity high up and therefore helium does not accumulate like chlorofluorocarbons for example. Water vapor due to its polar nature, condenses when the concentration is high enough and it is cold enough. And the the large liquid droplets cannot stay suspended but fall as rain. So in answer to your question. Water vapor does what any other gas does, it diffuses all over the place, and it does not matter if the molecular mass is 4 or 100.

    What speeds are the molecules Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapour travelling?
    The wiki page on this relates this to molecules in a container. Where are the walls of the container constraining the gases from the plane? What is 1950 atmospheres of pressure? How far apart are the helium atoms at 1 atmosphere? How far apart are the molecules of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide?
    If you wish to read all about water, see: http://www.seafriends.org/nz/issues/global/climate2/htm#Ice_ages
    An, er, interesting page, refuting global warming because of Carbon Dioxide. Substituting a new scare, global food shortage and, I really don’t have time to more than skim it, using the same ‘unprecedented’ re flooding in Australia and heat wave in Russia which is not fact, it appears another variation on the theme. Is this the new meme now that temps are going down regardless we’re pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere? That global cooling causes heat waves? Sorry, if there’s something specific you want to convey to me by posting that site, you’ll have to spell it out.

  167. “Myrrh says:
    February 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm
    What speeds are the molecules Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapour travelling?
    The wiki page on this relates this to molecules in a container. Where are the walls of the container constraining the gases from the plane? What is 1950 atmospheres of pressure? How far apart are the helium atoms at 1 atmosphere? How far apart are the molecules of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide?”
    The answers to the above can be calculated with university level physics courses but your questions go way beyond this article.
    I will just briefly go into the question about speeds below. See the following site for the very simplistic formula 1/2mv2 = 3/2kT and the conditions under which it applies.
    http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/kinetic/kintem.html
    Very simply, at room temperature and pressure, molecules go about 400 m/s. But heavier molecules go slower and lighter ones faster. As temperatures go up, speeds go up. There is also a certain distribution of speeds so all molecules of a specific element do not go at the same speed at any given split second.
    For other items: 1950 atmospheres means the pressure is 1950 times what it is at sea level. At 0 C, there are 6.02 x 10^23 molecules in 22.4 L at sea level.

  168. Werner, thank you, but I’m trying to understand what you’re saying and I don’t speak Maths; you’ll need to work it out for me.
    My questions re your post: /#comment-608969
    What speeds are the molecules Oxygen, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapour travelling?
    Where are the walls of the container constraining the gases from the plane?
    What is 1950 atmospheres of pressure?
    How far apart are the helium atoms at 1 atmosphere?
    How far apart are the molecules of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Carbon Dioxide?
    But so far, you’re saying the molecules are travelling at around 400 miles per second at room temperature and pressure, some faster some slower.
    What’s room temperature? What is room pressure?

  169. “Myrrh says:
    February 28, 2011 at 3:35 am
    But so far, you’re saying the molecules are traveling at around 400 miles per second at room temperature and pressure, some faster some slower.
    What’s room temperature? What is room pressure?”
    I was using the metric system where m/s means metres/second.
    Room temperature is around 22 C or 295 K or 72 F.
    The average pressure at sea level is 1.00 atmospheres which is 101.325 kilopascals or 29.92 inches of mercury.

  170. Werner, this means that a molecule is travelling at 400 metres a second, which is 894.77 miles per hour. That’s fast, doesn’t stay in the room long then if the window is open?
    Earth’s atmosphere is pressing down against against every square inch of us at 14.7 lbs per square inch, which is 1 kilogram per square centimeter. Which makes the force on 1,000 square centimetres, around a square foot, about a ton.
    Are these mighty molecules? Somehow capable of shoving a ton of weight aside every square foot they travel? I want what they’re eating.
    How does sound travel through these speedy molecules?

  171. There is an excellent article just put up at:
    http://theinconvenientskeptic.com/2011/03/climate-time-lag-of-the-mt-pinatubo-eruption/
    This talks about the “Climate Time Lag of the Mt. Pinatubo Eruption”. It is very relevant to this discussion about “The life and times of Carbon Dioxide”
    “Myrrh says:
    March 2, 2011 at 3:07 am”
    See http://www.answers.com/topic/mean-free-path
    The average distance a molecule moves before hitting another is 68 billionths of a metre at normal sea level pressure. So it is not as if a molecule in the middle of a room can head straight out the window. But as some molecules slowly diffuse out, others diffuse into the room. So if you opened a bottle of perfume in a room and then opened the window, a person outside may smell some after a few minutes.
    As for the pounds per square inch, it is not what the molecules are eating but the weight of a square inch of molecules if you pretend a square inch of molecules extends into space from the ground.
    As for how sound travels, it is by a series of compressions and rarefactions of air molecules that travel out from a source. Check physics texts or google for more information on this and other things.

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