Aircraft measurements show surprisingly high levels of black carbon particles in the global atmosphere – Asia blamed


First global portrait of greenhouse gases emerges from pole-to-pole flights

HIPPO logoBOULDER—A three-year series of research flights from the Arctic to the Antarctic has successfully produced an unprecedented portrait of greenhouse gases and particles in the atmosphere, scientists announced today.  The far-reaching field project, known as HIPPO, is enabling researchers to generate the first detailed mapping of the global distribution of gases and particles that affect Earth’s climate.

The series of flights, which come to an end next week, mark an important milestone as scientists work toward targeting both the sources of greenhouse gases and the natural processes that draw the gases back out of the atmosphere.

“Tracking carbon dioxide and other gases with only surface measurements has been like snorkeling with a really foggy mask,” says Britton Stephens, a scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and one of the project’s principal investigators. “Finally, HIPPO is giving us a clear view of what’s really out there.”

“With HIPPO, we now have views of whole slices of the atmosphere,” says Steven Wofsy, HIPPO principal investigator and atmospheric and environmental professor at Harvard University’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “We’ve been quite surprised by the abundance of certain atmospheric components and the locations where they are most common.”

The three-year campaign has relied on the powerful capabilities of a specially equipped Gulfstream V aircraft, owned by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and operated by NCAR. The research jet, known as the High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research (HIAPER), has a range of about 7,000 miles (11,000 kilometers). It is outfitted with a suite of specially designed instruments to sample a broad range of atmospheric constituents.

The flights have helped scientists compile extraordinary detail about the atmosphere. The research team has studied air samples at different latitudes during various seasons from altitudes of 500 feet (150 meters) above Earth’s surface up to as high as 45,000 feet (13,750 meters), into the lower stratosphere.

HIPPO, which stands for HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations, brings together scientists from organizations across the nation, including NCAR, Harvard University, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the University of Miami, and Princeton University. NSF, which is NCAR’s sponsor, and NOAA are funding the project.

Surprises on the way to a global picture

The first of the five HIPPO missions began in January 2009. Two subsequent missions were launched in 2010, and two in 2011. The final mission comes to an end on September 9, as the aircraft returns from the Arctic to Anchorage and then to its home base at NCAR’s Research Aviation Facility near Boulder.

Each of the missions took the research team from Colorado to Alaska and the Arctic Circle, then south over the Pacific to New Zealand and near Antarctica. The flights took place at different times of year, resulting in a range of seasonal snapshots of concentrations of greenhouse gases. The research was designed to help answer such questions as why atmospheric levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, have tripled since the Industrial Age and are on the rise again after leveling off in the 1990s. Scientists also studied how logging and regrowth in northern boreal forests and tropical rain forests are affecting levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere. Such research will provide a baseline against which to evaluate the success of efforts to curb CO2 emissions and to enhance natural CO2 uptake and storage.

GV in Anchorage, Alaska
The GV in Anchorage, Alaska during HIPPO. (©UCAR, Photo by Carlye Calvin. This image is freely available for media use.


The team measured a total of over 80 gases and particles in the atmosphere.

One of HIPPO’s most significant accomplishments has been quantifying the seasonal amounts of CO2 taken up and released by land plants and the oceans. Those measurements will help scientists produce more accurate estimates of the annual cycle of carbon dioxide in and out of the atmosphere and how the increasing amount of this gas is influenced by both the natural world and society.

The team also found that black carbon particles—emitted by diesel engines, industrial processes, and fires—are more widely distributed in the atmosphere than previously thought. Such particles can affect climate in various ways, such as directly absorbing solar radiation, influencing the formation of clouds or enhancing melt rates when they are deposited on ice or snow.

“What we didn’t anticipate were the very high levels of black carbon we observed in plumes of air sweeping over the central Pacific toward the U.S. West Coast,” says NOAA scientist Ryan Spackman, a member of the HIPPO research team. “Levels were comparable with those measured in megacities such as Houston or Los Angeles. This suggests that western Pacific sources of black carbon are significant and that atmospheric transport of the material is efficient.”

Researchers were also surprised to find larger-than-expected concentrations of nitrous oxide high in the tropical atmosphere. The finding has significant environmental implications because the gas both traps heat and contributes to the thinning of the ozone layer. Nitrous oxide levels have been increasing for decades in part because of the intensive use of nitrogen fertilizer for agriculture. The abundance of the gas high in the tropical atmosphere may be a sign that storms are carrying it aloft from sources in Southeast Asia.

Balancing the carbon budget

The task of understanding how carbon cycles through the Earth system, known as “balancing the carbon budget,” is gaining urgency as policy makers discuss strategies to limit greenhouse gases. Some countries or regions could be rewarded with carbon credits for taking steps such as preserving forests believed to absorb carbon dioxide.

“Carbon markets and emission offset projects are moving ahead, but we still have imperfect knowledge of where human-emitted carbon dioxide is ending up,” NCAR’s Stephens says.

Before HIPPO, scientists primarily used ground stations to determine the distribution of sources of atmospheric CO2 and “sinks” that reabsorb some of the gas back into the land and oceans. But ground stations can be separated by thousands of miles, which hinders the ability to measure CO2 in specific locations. To estimate how the gas is distributed vertically, scientists have had to rely on computer models, which will now be improved with HIPPO data.

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September 7, 2011 9:28 pm

I’ve been railing on about black carbon for 6 years now. It’s pathetic that activists are not making this enemy #1. Still fighting the battles of 90’s.
REPLY: Soot is far easier to limit and manage than CO2, but since the USA’s EPA standards have pretty much eliminated soot, it can’t be taxed or fined much, so they go after CO2 – Anthony

September 7, 2011 9:32 pm

The contents of the atmosphere seem entirely irrelevant when it comes to ambient temperatures over time. The reason for this has been excellently summarised by Harry Dale Huffman at;

Louis Hissink
September 7, 2011 9:39 pm

Black carbon particles – what, a Henry Ford particle ?

D Marshall
September 7, 2011 9:47 pm

Hansen was a co-author of a 2002 paper on black carbon ( ) and concluded it needed further studies as the evidence was pointing to it as a “bad actor”

Interstellar Bill
September 7, 2011 9:58 pm

While they marvel over their treasure trove of actual data (for a change!)
they don’t miss a chance to recite the AGW catechism.
Just because they actually measure CO2
we’re supposed to fall for their anti-doomsday follies.
The soot results, however, are another blow to their meme
’20th century warming was all due to CO2′
With the coming Grand Minimum, however, we may need that soot’s extra warming!

Robert Clemenzi
September 7, 2011 10:16 pm

The article says that soot directly absorbs solar radiation, but does not mention that it is also a good blackbody emitter. Considering the low concentration in the atmosphere, is it a net absorber or a net emitter? And how do we know?
If I was to guess, when the air temperature is above 5C it is a net emitter (causing local cooling), and a net absorber at lower temperatures.

September 7, 2011 10:30 pm

Well all we have to do is sell the 3rd world the wests efficient coal fired power station technology, and the soot would be gone.
Oh Sorry, did I blasfeam?

September 7, 2011 10:41 pm

So how does this soot compare to cosmic rays as cloud droplet nuclei?
Less, more, same, much more, much less?

September 7, 2011 10:55 pm

So nitrous oxide is another gas that traps heat! Someone tell them to employ a physicist who will be able to explain to them what a gas is.

September 7, 2011 11:24 pm

Since the early 1980s diesel engines in Europe have been steadily and progressively “cleaned up” by imposing ever stricter emission controls. I drove a diesel car for several years, but eventually had to scrap it as changes to the emission laws meant it could not comply. It had a Euro II engine which was, for its time, pretty clean. We are now mostly running on Euro IV engines and even cleaner machines are in the pipeline. As Anthony says, cleaning up the soot from the diesel engine is relatively easy – if there is the political will to do so. Any visit to the Far East or to certain Middle Eastern countries where the strict control of emissions is a matter of “what?” confirms that the engines still in use in these areas fail to comply with even the most basic adjustments…
Manila’s buses, Tehran’s traffic (buses and lorries no longer permissible in Europe!), Bangkok’s traffic, Jakarta, Dehli or wherever – now you’re talking sooty exhaust emission!

P. Solar
September 7, 2011 11:31 pm

So now we can start a whole new international exchange structure selling nitrogen indulgences and a bunch of websites where we can calculate our nitrogen footprint when deciding to eat beef or chicken for dinner. 😉
Good to see some useful research is being done. Sometimes we focus too much on mickey mouse science of the likes of Mann and get the impression the whole science budget is a waste of money.

September 7, 2011 11:53 pm

The last paragraph said it all. Better models coming. Yeah, right.

September 7, 2011 11:58 pm

More of the usual methane BS stuck in there, I see. Methane’s fingerprint absorption spectrum is miniscule compared to either CO2 or H2O. The usual trope about it being 20X as potent as CO2 actually refers to the combustion products of CH4 IF it were burned, which are of course 1xCO2 and 2xH2O, the sum of whose GH effects are about 20x those of a single CO2 molecule.
Climate Science: Mendacity all the way down.

Jay Currie
September 8, 2011 12:37 am

I am liking this “collecting data” thing.
Of course there is alway the possibility that the raw data will be adjusted to conform to the models but, somewhere in the HIPPO program there will be actual, unadjusted data and that is what climate science in the true sense of the word science needs.

Allan M
September 8, 2011 1:03 am

The three-year campaign
seems a strange word to use for a series of measurement flights. I expect much of this Asia-bashing as we near the end of Kyoto. Meanwhile, since 2005, new Chinese coal-fired power stations are fitted with state-of-the-art SO2 scrubbers, and they are retrofitting the old stations.
Considering the size of the atmosphere, 5 flights do not seem to be yield relatively much actual data. So little data and much extrapolation/modelling seems the case. Maybe they haven’t heard of E. Lorenz or H. Poincare. Drowned polar bears come to mind.

Bloke down the pub
September 8, 2011 1:16 am

The science is settled then?

September 8, 2011 1:27 am

why atmospheric levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, have tripled since the Industrial Age and are on the rise again after leveling off in the 1990s.
I can answer that.
Increased use of natural gas results in more methane leakage. In large part as a result of efforts to tax and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Natural gas produces substantially less CO2 emissions than coal.
Another significant factor will be the Obama administration scaling back of GW Bush’s Methane to Markets program, which funded efforts to reduce methane emissions.
Although the Left goes into meltdown at the mere mention of this program. They are horrified by the suggestion that GWB was the only politician that actually did something constructive to limit GHG warming.

September 8, 2011 1:52 am

So what does their data say about Carbon Dioxide? Nothing about it being ‘well-distributed’, all that emphasis is on other stuff they found, but about its seasonal production which is what has been successfully measured for centuries by land measurements (Beck). CO2 is local and lumpy and heavier than air doesn’t travel well, it may get caught up in some wind systems for a while – this is what AIRS found.
And AIRS still hasn’t released its upper and lower troposphere data, afaik.

richard verney
September 8, 2011 2:14 am

We need to know to what extrent air borne aerosols and particles are a net positive or a net negative.
It may be that the current levels of black soot have solved the global warming problem (whether as a consequence of blocking solar irradiance and/or by seeding cloud formation). After all, there has been all but no rise in temperatures since the late 1990s.
May be we should change tack in tackling the perceived threat of global warming. May be we should simply insist upon China and India etc carrying out only minimal restrictions on the emissions of such particles allowing them to pollute in a controlled fashion which pollution is just sufficient to offset any temperature rise that would otherwise be generated by GHGs. This would be absolutely wonderful since there would be no need for extra taxes and no need for the developed nations to do anything. We can allow the developing nations to control and limit global warming. A win win situation for everyone, since the developing nations will be permitted to develop and the developed nations will not need to bankrupt themselve trying to address the perceived threat of CAGW..
Unfortunately, there is a danger with this approach, namely we do not know how the atmosphere works and we do not know the extent of any warming that has truly taken place, the reason for this and what if any role is played by CO2 (one should not forget the theory that when CO2 levels increase natural water vapour decreases thereby keeping a constant GHG balance). It may be that the aerosols and particulates measured have had no net cooling effect and there are other natural factors at play. Nonetheless it is worth a thought, although the green activists would not like to see such a pragmatic solution to the world ills, but then again, they are not truly interested in simply limiting global warming, they have other ideological concerns.

September 8, 2011 2:35 am

A bunch of aviation crazies managed to promote a G5 for a hundred and fifty hours flying time and somebody else was paying. Well done!

John Marshall
September 8, 2011 2:52 am

Confusing what CO2 we produce with the annual total is foggy the picture. We only produce 3-4% of this annual total with the rest from natural producers so the scrabble to reduce our production will not change anything.

September 8, 2011 3:09 am

While searching for a reference for the number of people who use open fires (answer 3 billion) I came across this gem.
The IPCC has classified animal dung burnt as a fuel as renewable energy.

View from the Solent
September 8, 2011 3:16 am

Black carbon particles. What other sort of carbon particles did they expect to find? Diamond dust?

September 8, 2011 3:30 am

I predicted this years ago.
You tax Western industry out of the market, with all kinds of environmental and health and safety demands. So industry relocates to China – who does not give a damn about environmentalism – and voila, you have just trebled world emissions of Co2 and soot particulates.
This is what the campaigns of Al Gore and his ilk have achieved – and increase in all kinds of emissions, from Co2 to heavy metals. Oh, and an increase in worker deaths too. China manages to kill some 2 – 4,000 coal miners a year. You know that Chinese toys like to use the colour red on their packaging? That’s not ink, that the blood of Chinese coal miners….

September 8, 2011 3:32 am

I analyzed data for the IMPROVE federally-funded system of remote aerosol measurement stations at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere (CIRA) at Colorado State University, between late 1991 and mid-1994. Although the principal investigator(s) had already speculated that the elemental carbon (EC, also “black” because it is highly absorbing of light) in those remote sites (at federally-protected sites, like national parks) was being under-measured by 50%, my boss didn’t like it when I researched it on my own, confirmed it and demonstrated where the measurement errors lay (half of the EC was being mis-identified as organic carbon by the thermal process then used). I went further, and indicated most of the EC was due to incomplete combustion of diesel fuel, and that it was likely to be a major nucleation species for aerosol sulfate particles (between 25 and 67% of them). This did not sit well with my superiors when I tried to publish my findings, which ran counter to the line they were taking, I believe in league with the EPA, that the proper villains for aerosol “pollution” were power plants and forest fires. They went after power plants, and some of us were embarrassed that they ignored the fact that the highest pollution was measured during intervals when the supposedly offending power plant had been turned off; that was one of the early indications I had that there was a strong political pressure behind the science, directing it where it wanted the science to go. In the end, this was spectacularly confirmed for me, when I submitted my articles for publication against the wishes of my immediate superior, and was summarily marched down to the Institute director’s office and notified my position was being terminated, due to “budget cuts”. In my last months there, they hired two other people, at least one under the same funding as me, so I knew very well the whole process was a lie, and they were just punishing me for daring to publish against my boss’s (and perhaps his political bosses’) wishes. I got published after a two-year fight (Atmospheric Environment, Vol. 30-1, Jan. 1996). So a deleterious political intrusion, particularly by the EPA, into science became known to me back then, in the early ’90s. So also did a widespread incompetence among the leading lights in the field of atmospheric aerosols and visibility. Because of losing that position, I later found myself in a position to develop my own research program into the objective origin of the very popular “ancient mysteries”, with results that have led me right back to an understanding of a real crisis of incompetence across all the physical sciences, particularly the earth and life sciences (now dominated by the undirected evolution paradigm, which I have shown to be amazingly, definitively false). I don’t expect most readers here to believe this, of course; but I resolved to be open in communicating my epochal scientific findings (and also to try to make a good living, which has so far not worked out) long ago, all the consensuses to the contrary be damned, so to speak. Truthseeker, thank you for mentioning and linking to my Venus/Earth comparison earlier.

charles nelson
September 8, 2011 3:50 am

I am amused that someone who has undertaken a unique, first time study should be ‘surprised’ by the results…sounds like prejudice to me.

Chris Edwards
September 8, 2011 4:10 am

Well done MR Rore! this is mainly, I think, due to carbon credits, the loss of manufacturing in the west due to the overload of green taxes and the movement to unregulated factories in asia with the resultant carbon greants, what a crock!

September 8, 2011 5:25 am

“REPLY: Soot is far easier to limit and manage than CO2, but since the USA’s EPA standards have pretty much eliminated soot, it can’t be taxed or fined much, so they go after CO2 – Anthony”
You cynic! I’ll bet you thought the sales of emissions allowances in Waxman-Markey were just another tax too, just because the $65 billion per year expected revenue was discussed widely, while the expected annual carbon emissions were not. For shame. (sarc off)

September 8, 2011 5:26 am

So if there is more nitrous oxide and black carbon than we thought but its warming less than we thought, if at all, what does that imply for the sensitivity of temperatures to CO2?
One guess.

chris y
September 8, 2011 5:53 am

I missed the part where they discuss measurements of the spatial variation of CFC and/or CO2 concentrations. This would be the first attempt to measure this piece of ‘settled science’ that is common in climate and stratospheric ozone models.

September 8, 2011 6:27 am

Data – yay!
But surely we don’t need research into the carbon cycle anymore? I’m sure I heard the science was settled…
I wonder (seriously) how much of the black carbon comes from smokey old jet engines, or has the price of jet fuel got so high it’s worth replacing all the old ones?

Billy Liar
September 8, 2011 6:38 am

Harry Dale Huffman says:
September 8, 2011 at 3:32 am
I admire your integrity. A rare commodity these days.

September 8, 2011 6:52 am

They say, “Some countries or regions could be rewarded with carbon credits for taking steps such as preserving forests believed to absorb carbon dioxide.” So they’re not sure that forests absorb carbon dioxide. Perhaps they need to study the carbon cycle after all.

Bruce Cobb
September 8, 2011 6:54 am

The rebranding of soot, which is a true pollutant as “black carbon” is just one further in their overall scheme to stigmatize and demonize carbon, the building block for all life. Any warming effects of soot are vastly outweighed by the negative health effects. Thus, “black carbon” operates as a nice, convenient red herring for them.
HIPPO’s agenda clearly is pseudoscience, and simply more of the same CAGW garbage to help determine “who’s to blame”, and thus who pays and who is rewarded in the whole carbon trading ponzi scheme.

September 8, 2011 6:55 am

The very same soot has been fingered for Arctic ice extent and Himalayan glacier recession. It seems to me Warmists have been fingering the wrong culprit (c02).

Arctic – 2005 research
“It is not the sort of place one would expect pollution to be a problem, but new NASA research reveals that soot is traveling farther north than previously believed…….Koch and Hansen’s research reveals that soot might have a longer range than previously believed, with higher concentrations reaching far into the Arctic. As dark soot falls on the snow and ice of the Arctic, it turns the white, reflective surface into a dark surface that absorbs the Sun’s energy. This extra energy makes the snow melt more quickly.”
Dr James Hansen and Dorothy Koch

Himalayan glaciers – 2009 research
“…the new research, by NASA’s William Lau and collaborators, reinforces with detailed numerical analysis what earlier studies suggest: that soot and dust contribute as much (or more) to atmospheric warming in the Himalayas as greenhouse gases.”

Seeing is believing……
More from the Soot Files

Nuke Nemesis
September 8, 2011 7:10 am

Soot isn’t a greenhouse gas, but it still seems to be from human emissions, so it’s possible “black carbon” will be the next demon.
However, we don’t know if the soot provides a net cooling or a net warming effect. Once this is decided, they can scapegoat it, such as blaming it for masking the greenhouse warming. Or they can blame it for melting the Arctic, or killing off the pika or endangering polar bears.

Rob Potter
September 8, 2011 7:47 am

So where are the results? In particular, the balance between release and fixation over not just forests, but agricultural land?
Agricultural plants are now so efficient at fixing CO2 that not only is a limiting factor in crop productivity, but by early afternoon there is effectively no CO2 in any corn, wheat or soybean field for about 2-3 months each year. How high in the atmosphere this can be measured would be nice to know, but since they mention looking at the effects of logging and re-forestation in temporal regions (and forest growth having much lower CO2 fixation rates compared to crop plants) I am expecting something from the data.
I guess we should be pleased that someone is actually collecting these data, but I want to see it – and not just some kind of colour-coded pretty global images (like we get from the temperature people), but the raw numbers that can be analyzed independently.

David Falkner
September 8, 2011 7:54 am

Glad to see real data (CERES, anyone?) is being used to enhance the modeling process. Ahem.

Rob Potter
September 8, 2011 7:59 am

As regards soot, a quick thumbs up to all those who mentioned the impact of clean diesel engines on air quality – together with a proviso.
In Dhaka (Bangladesh) the soot from old buses is rally quite impressive, but when the government tried to legislate old buses off the road, the city simply stopped working as there were no other options for public transport (and no-one had funds to buy new buses) and the rules are now simply ignored. Some of the millions (billions?) being spent on subsidies (for windmills say, or solar panels) diverted into replacement buses for the mega-cities in the developing world would actually have an impact on air quality.
I was going to add a snarky comment about this being too low-tech – using current (proven) technology to address a solvable problem, but it is just too damn depressing to see so much money wasted on demonizing an essential trace gas.

David Falkner
September 8, 2011 8:00 am

Also, a note on the impending doom of Western civilization:
HIPPO stands for the HIAPER Pole to Pole Observations. HIAPER is an acronym for the name of the airplane. HIAPER is an acronym for High-Performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research. Presumably because naming the project the ‘High-performance Instrumented Airborne Platform for Environmental Research Pole to Pole Observations’ is a mouthful, they decided to put an acronym with an an acronym.

September 8, 2011 8:00 am

It looks to me that they are finally trying to determine the natural background of CO2 and to identify the major source and sink rates. Also, I’m not surprised that they are finding sub-micron carbon aerosols in the upper atmosphere. Around 0.5 microns is the size that has a minimum “deposition velocity”. Also, it is the size that can get deep into our lungs and initiate lung cancer. It dosen’t make a difference if it come from a cigarette or a truck. The EPA PM10 standard is supposed to address that issue. Scrubbers have removed a lot in the US (accumulated in sludge lagoons).
Based on my analysis of the ground observed CO2 data, I expect they will find the following:
1. The seasonal variations are due to natural changes in source and sink rates and are not related to anthropogenic sources.
2. Only the fraction of CO2 from organic sources is affected by seasonal changes.
3. The highest seasonal peak concentrations will be found in the mid latitudes probably in November or December. (I believe cloud dynamics is fractionating 12CO2 and 13CO2 and pumping the lighter into the upper atmosphere).
4. The Arctic is the greatest biological sink and dwarfs trees in the mid-latitudes.
A technique for estimating the fraction that comes from organic sources is to divide the 13/12 index by -27.3 (the NBS standard for graphite). The index already assumes the inorganic fraction is the PDB. In the atmosphere, both have ranges and are not set values.

Interstellar Bill
September 8, 2011 8:08 am

Rob Potter
You are the first I’ve heard mentioning low CO2 concentrations over agricultural fields.
Is this your own measurements, or a scientific study somewhere?
I would expect that such an effect would only be for zero windspeed.
If it’s so drastic as to be ‘zero’, it should be easy to prove with a CO2 meter.
If it’s true then farmers need to put a CO2 source in their fields.

September 8, 2011 8:39 am

Harry Dale Huffman says:
September 8, 2011 at 3:32 am
One reason I took early retirement from EPA in 1991 was because politics was becoming increasingly the driving force for doing research and reporting results. For example, The executive summaries of criteria documents had to be carefully written to meet OMB policy requirements. Ironically, shortly after I retired, I was hired by EPA as a consultant to revise a chapter in the particulate matter criteria document.

September 8, 2011 9:02 am

As always, lots of interesting information coming from WUWT. You guys are the frontrunners in the scientific information department. I have to say though that my distrust of mainstream scientists is such that I doubt what they say and I believe they should have all funding rescinded.

September 8, 2011 9:25 am

On a world-wide level, the plotted CO2 levels increase dramatically over ALL the deserts (where there are no plants to absorb and use the CO2 in photosynthesis reactions. This happens over both hot dry gravel-and-rock deserts (Kalahari, central Australia, Saudi, Sahara, US Great Basin deserts) and over the high cold dry deserts (Greenland, Gobi, Mongolian, etc.)
It is not clear from these same graphics that CO2 levels are actually measured to increase over populated regions with large industry: matching the known maximum limit of man-made CO2 being only 4% of natural-source CO2. The fact that populated regions with industry (northeast US, eastern China coastal regions, and central Europe are ALSO tremendous CO2-absorbing regions with much farmland and forests and are also near shallow ocean regions of great algae/plankton growing regions
Just as clearly, CO2 levels are always measured to decrease substantially over all plains and farmland and forests regions all over the world.

September 8, 2011 9:58 am

Interesting that they issue the press release even before the 3-year data-collection is complete.
Perhaps the analysis and interpretations are already in a manuscript ready for journal submission (just sprinkle with a little data for “credibility”, pop in the oven for 5 minutes, and serve!)
This is how the research money-wheeeeeeeeel works

Rob Potter
September 8, 2011 10:50 am

Interstellar Bill,
There is a well-described slump in photosynthesis rates in most crops even when well watered (previously, the slump was regarded as water stress, but has been confirmed under zero stress). At the same time, it is greatly affected by wind, as you say, with part of the reason for the timing being a mid-afternoon slump due to this often being the calmest part of the day.
However, if the HIPPO observations are supposed to be able to evaluate logging and re-growth of forests, I would expect it to see the seasonal effect of crops grown in the mid-West during the summer as well as other areas of high annual crop planting.
As for CO2 sources in fields, greenhouses (real ones) are sometimes supplied with increased CO2 and I have seen one grant application for project where CO2 was intended to be delivered to crops in the field. Costs were high, however, since getting hold of CO2 turned out to be not as cheap as first imagined. It takes a surprisingly large amount of energy to remove CO2 from power station emissions…..

September 8, 2011 12:01 pm

Test Co2 against Carbon
Soot is a carbon solid – Co2 is a Gas

September 8, 2011 12:06 pm

Could cosmic dust along with cosmic rays also increased since the sun when down in activity?

Gary Hladik
September 8, 2011 12:45 pm

Rich says (September 8, 2011 at 6:52 am): “So they’re not sure that forests absorb carbon dioxide. Perhaps they need to study the carbon cycle after all.”
A growing forest (e.g. after logging or a fire) is a net carbon sink. An old, mature forest is in CO2 equilibrium, with CO2 absorbed into growing trees offset by the decay of dead trees and forest litter. In the long run, then, any forest left to itself will become “carbon neutral”.
Humans can shift the equilibrium a bit by increasing or decreasing forest extent and “sequestering” forest carbon temporarily as lumber and paper products.

Allan M
September 8, 2011 12:55 pm

Rob Potter says:
September 8, 2011 at 10:50 am
It takes a surprisingly large amount of energy to remove CO2 from power station emissions…..
In that case, let’s build lots more breweries. 🙂

September 8, 2011 1:35 pm

“Some countries or regions could be rewarded with carbon credits for taking steps such as preserving forests believed to absorb carbon dioxide.”
Forests BELIEVED to absorb carbon dioxide? All that money, all that effort, all those words and science has at long last reached the stage where forests are only BELIEVED to absorb carbon dioxide?
I think I had better go and see a shrink, for all along, I had thought that it was KNOWN that forests absorbed carbon dioxide. It’s just as well I read up on progress in articles like this, as I can walk around with all kinds of misapprehensions.

September 8, 2011 2:04 pm

Trapping Carbon Black particles is simple. Simply pass the exhaust through a water bath.
And, if I remember my Underground Coal Permissible specs right, the NO will be transformed into NO2.
That’s it. No CO2 markets or caps needed, which has to cheese off the EPA and IPCC.
There might even be a market for the particles in manufacturing.

JRR Canada
September 8, 2011 3:58 pm

Ozone anyone? Sounds like same story 1 We have no previous data.2 We have not completed processing the data.3 Its worse than we thought and we must…….
If we do not know the baseline how can we tell if there is anything unusual happening?

anna v
September 9, 2011 5:14 am

Lets not forget that the Japanese GOSAT is also measuring CO2.
Am I a suspicious sceptic to think that it is no coincidence that neither AIRS nor Jaxa are releasing newer CO2 maps? They are probably beating the data like an octapus* to make it stand up and salute the GCMs.
*when you catch an octopus you beat it for maybe half an hour on a hard rock so that it gets tender enough to eat.

September 9, 2011 3:41 pm

I would *really* like to see the C14 concentration in stratospheric black carbon- this would give a strong indication of the source of that BC; if the carbon date is young, biomass must dominate the supply of BC.

Acorn1 - San Diego
September 9, 2011 5:32 pm

Gary Hladik o 9/8-12:45pm says. …”old mature forests in CO2 equilibrium…”…
Gary…go to “CO2 Science” and find several articles that show renewed growth
since carbon dioxide is up 75-100 ppm.

richard M
September 9, 2011 7:29 pm

I actually know someone who was on these flights for the past year – no name mentioned or gender mentioned but I will say what I heard from this horses mouth is the same meme I’ve heard from the pro CAGW crowd. When you start a study with pre-decisional elements or prejudices, the outcome will be just as affected.

Edward Spalton
September 10, 2011 10:46 am

Hello Gray Monk & Richard Verney!
In 1974 the CIA produced a report that there was scientific consensus on imminent, catastrophic global cooling, caused by soot particles and aerosols. The scientists also told them they had an accurate prediction model and that, failing remedial human action, the whole of European Russia, Northern China and Canada would be covered permanently with hundreds of feet of ice and snow. There had been a panic about the failure of the Soviet Union’s wheat crop, sown in the Autumn of 1972, because of extreme frosts. I was in the grain trade at the time and remember the market going crazy in 1973 when the Soviets conducted a very effective clandestine buying raid on Chicago . The amusing thing is that some of the coolest dudes for freezing us all then are the hottest for frying us now. There is a microfiche of the CIA report in the British Library, I believe.
It is quite right that “carbon” became the preferred term for the alarmists so that people would confuse CO2 with soot and pollution. In the appalling propaganda adverts of the British Labour government, the cartoon showed an ominous blackness in the sky, along with a drawing of the little girl’s puppy getting drowned by rising sea levels. “Climate Change” seems to have replaced “Global Warming” (whilst meaning the same thing) at about the time that a UEA scientist complained it was “a travesty” that the recorded observations were not fitting their models. After all, nobody can deny that “climate change” happens, can they?

September 11, 2011 3:01 am

anna v says:
September 9, 2011 at 5:14 am
Lets not forget that the Japanese GOSAT is also measuring CO2.
Am I a suspicious sceptic to think that it is no coincidence that neither AIRS nor Jaxa are releasing newer CO2 maps? They are probably beating the data like an octapus* to make it stand up and salute the GCMs.

As far as I know they still haven’t released any of the data from the AIRS study on what they found about Carbon Dioxide in the upper and lower troposphere.
..and of course, there’s the satellites in recent years to measure CO2 which, er, exploded or something before they could do any data gathering.. 🙂
The AIRS data concluded that CO2 was not ‘thoroughly mixed’ in the mid troposphere atmosphere, that it was lumpy and subject to wind spread, which surprised them and they said they’d have to go and look at the part winds played in all this..
Sigh. Eventually they should make it back to real physics where CO2 being heavier than air and readily merges with water to form carbonic acid (all ‘pure’ rain is carbonic acid), is going to be local lumpy in our real fluid gaseous atmosphere which has weight and volume, rather than as in the AGW science fictional ‘ideal gas diffused in empty space’ scenario they keep finding themselves surprised doesn’t show up..

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