Global Warming Potentials

Global Warming Potentials fail because gas concentrations are not “well-mixed”

Guest post by Dr. Vincent Gray

I came across this revealing statement on page 247 of the IPCC Third Assessment Report (2001). paragraph 4.1.4. Chapter 4

“The atmospheric lifetime is truly a scale factor relating (i) constant emissions (Tg/yr) to a steady-state burden (Tg), or (ii) an emission pulse (Tg) to the time-integrated burden of that pulse (Tg-yr). The lifetime is often implicitly assumed to be constant, independent of the sources, and is likewise assumed to represent the decay time (e-fold) of a perturbation. These assumptions apply rigorously only for a gas whose local chemical lifetime is constant in space and time such as for the radioactive noble gas radon, whose lifetime is a fixed nuclear property. In such a case the mean atmospheric lifetime equals the local lifetime: the lifetime that relates global emissions to the global burden is exactly the decay time of a perturbation.

This general applicability of the atmospheric lifetime breaks down for greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants whose chemical losses vary in space and time. NOx, for instance, has a local lifetime of 5 d in the upper troposphere; and both times are less than the time required for vertical mixing of the troposphere. In this case emission of NOx into the upper troposphere will produce a larger atmospheric burden than the same emission into the lower troposphere. As a consequence the definition of the atmospheric lifetime of NOx is not unique and depends on the location (and season) of its emissions.

The same is true for any gas whose local lifetime is variable and on average shorter than about 0.5 yr, the decay time of a north-south difference between hemispheres and one of the longer time scales for tropospheric mixing. The majority of greenhouse gases considered here have atmospheric lifetimes greater than 2 yr, much longer than tropospheric mixing times; and hence their lifetimes are not significantly altered by the location of sources within the troposphere.

When lifetimes are reported for gases in Table 4.0, it is assumed that the gases are uniformly mixed throughout the troposphere. This assumption is unlikely for gases with lifetimes <1 yr,  and reported values must be viewed only as approximations. (My emphasis)

This shows why they are so concerned to fiddle the measured results of gas concentrations to try and argue they are “well-mixed” and have no variability. So all results they don’t like are suppressed as “noise”, the many previous results, publicised by Beck, are suppressed, and measurements over land surfaces are forbidden. There is overwhelming evidence that none of the gases are “well-mixed”, so all of the Global Warming figures are Phoney.

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Theo Goodwin

Wonderful post! I have been suggesting that the “well mixed” assumption of AGW theorists is an “a priori” assumption that lacks empirical support. Thanks for your sleuthing. Maybe we will see some valuable empirical research done in this area, though not by the AGW crowd.

Mike McMillan

Interesting. The Chileans are burning a lot of fossil fuels.
I checked a prevailing wind chart, and the concentrations seem more connected with high pressure areas than winds or human generated CO2.
http://geography.uoregon.edu/envchange/clim_animations/gifs/two_sfcwinds_web.gif

Dale

I did a quick look-up of region temp changes, and there’s very little correlation between the CO2 distribution and the long-term temperature changes. Some of the highest temp changes occurred in areas with the lowest CO2 ppm.
http://www.john-daly.com/guests/tempo196.gif

Gary Pearse

Were not talking a large difference from highest to lowest around the globe – it is pretty well mixed by most measures (delta 10ppm). Since the contributions in a warming phase are mainly from the oceans, I would say they should be fairly well mixed anyway.

Spartacus

Every time I see this CO2 graphic, the same question arises in my mind: If the temperature rise anomaly (whatever that is) is so well corelated with the CO2, as the AGW crowd says it is, how can the North Pole be the region where the temperature as been climbing more dramatticaly? For me is another case of a few faulty surface stations badly interpolated for the representation of an area where the measurement points are very scarce. CO2 concentration is persinstantly bellow earth’s average in that region, as you can easily see in the Map or, better, in any CO2 distribution animation sequence derived from these maps.

Thanks, Dr. Gray.
If well-mixed does not stand as a hypothesis, then the IPCC must make it an axiom, of course!

PaulR

Wait a minute. Where is the rest of the article that makes the case that the graphic of atmospheric CO2 variation establishes CO2 is not well mixed? Sure the blue to red coloration makes it look like a lot, but inspecting the scale shows that there is only about 3% variation from blue to red. Does 3% variation really justify throwing out conclusions requiring CO2 be “well mixed”?

Willis Eschenbach

Dr. Gray, first you need to give us a mathematical description of what you call “well-mixed”.
For example, is a gas whose concentration varies by say ± 1% by location around the planet “well-mixed”?
How about a variation of ± 3% around the planet? Well-mixed or not? Or ± 5%, or ± 10%? Where is the line?
I ask because, per your colored map at the top, the CO2 concentration varies from about 378 ppmv to 385 ppmv. That gives us an average of 381.5 ppmv.
More to the point, however, the range of the variation in CO2 concentration is
381.5 ± 0.9%
Me, I’d call a variation of plus/minus one percent “well mixed”. The variation in CO2 concentration globally is less than one percent.
Which is why I’m asking about your definition of “well-mixed”. Less than one percent?
Thank you for a thought-provoking article.
w.

tokyoboy

Dr. Gray, could you please lead me to the source of the top Figure (map)? Thanks.

Septic Matthew

If the range is 376 ppm – 386 ppm, I’d call that “well-mixed”. 10/386 < 0.3% approximation error. That's less than the inaccuracies in the equilibrium assumption and Clausius-Clapayron equation. Less as well than the approximation error in the Stefan-Boltzman equation.
This whole issue of the accuracy/inaccuracy of a whole slew of approximations needs to be addressed more systematically than has been done to date.

Great to see Dr Vincent Gray here. I remember finding your material on IPCC years ago, and finding the hatred with which you were regarded – enough to put off lesser mortals but for me it had the reverse effect, eventually.
Makes me look forward to seeing Soon and Baliunas rehabiliated here some time. And it would be nice to rerun John Daly here too. You know, the one whose death Phil Jones welcomed. These are all still relevant as ever.

Mike Davis

Willis:
You seem to be confusing average with mean!

RobWansbeck

Although the variation is small, the areas of high concentration show a better correlation with volcanic activity than with burning of fossil fuels.

Myrrh

IIRC, this is only for mid-troposphere, and their conclusion was that CO2 was not well-mixed contrary to expectations, they called it lumpy, and said that they would need to understand more about why this was so by studying winds. So if this mid-trop graphic shows little variation, perhaps they meant through the three levels they measured, upper, mid and lower. They didn’t release the data for upper and lower. Why is this graphic of only one month the poster child? All those years of data gathering and this is all we get?
I did try to get the raw data but couldn’t work out the contortions to get it.
The mid-troposphere in August — planes anyone?

George E. Smith;

Good to see the Southern Cross flag here again Vincent. With you in Wellington, and Dr de Freitas in Auckland, you are spread a bit thin, when it comes to reining in those politicians in the (really) windy city.
As for the wonderful mixing of atmospheric gases; there’s the little matter of that now expurgated NOAA pole to pole annual CO2 cycling plot; from about 6 ppm p-p at Mauna Loa to about 18 ppm p-p at the north pole, and only around -1 ppm p-p at the south pole.
So this old longtooth Kiwi is not sold on the idea of good atmospheric gas mixing.
I tried telling John Key, that NZ ought to start to lead the world out of the dark ages of MMGWCC; but he sicced his Science Adviser; Sir Whatsisname on me, and the chap said he thought the science was well established. The bump on my head has finally gone away.
George

rbateman

You have to wonder about the source in Antarctica, surrounded by a ring of the lowest concentrations. Looks also to be spinning off of the S. Pole like paint on a potters wheel.

Gail Combs

Glad to see someone is addressing the “well-mixed” assumption.
That is an assumption that has always struck me as being absurd. We have a huge CO2 “active” planet, with numerous sinks and generators. Sinks and generators that shift through the day and through the year.
We have the data gathering done on an active volcano next to a tropical ocean. The data is then “groomed” to make sure it fits.
“4. In keeping with the requirement that CO2 in background air should be steady, we apply a general “outlier rejection” step, in which we fit a curve to the preliminary daily means for each day calculated from the hours surviving step 1 and 2, and not including times with upslope winds. All hourly averages that are further than two standard deviations, calculated for every day, away from the fitted curve (“outliers”) are rejected. This step is iterated until no more rejections occur. “
How we measure background CO2 levels on Mauna Loa.
I would FIRE a lab tech who pulled this type of data “manipulation”.
I have not worked with gases but I have worked with mixing liquids and solids. The “assumption” that the batch was “well mixed” has come back to sting the mix room crew too often for me to EVER trust that assumption without good scientific data to support the assumption.

tom T

Whomever came up with the globe chart must think there is some significance to the range of 376 -386 PPMV if not why make such a large color difference?

Gail Combs

Oh and do not miss this great chart “Figure 5a. Measurements of CO2 by a continuous in-situ analyzer at a tall tower during the summer in northern Wisconsin. The top plot show the CO2 values at six different heights on the tower. “ http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_fig5a.png
“Well mixed” yeah right, 340ppm to off the chart (beyond 405ppm) is really well mixed I would say /sarc
From the same article I quoted in my first comment: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html

stevo

This article is completely devoid of reason. You argue nothing; you present no calculations; you present no logic; you simply make the bizarre claim that no greenhouse gas is well mixed, even while your article shows CO2 concentrations throughout the atmosphere uniform to within less than 2%. And then you deduce from that bizarre claim that “all of the Global Warming figures are Phoney”? Looks to me like you’ve simply lost the plot.

Gail Combs

rbateman says: @ October 2, 2011 at 5:15 pm
“You have to wonder about the source in Antarctica, surrounded by a ring of the lowest concentrations. Looks also to be spinning off of the S. Pole like paint on a potters wheel.”
______________________________________________________________________
Do not forget Antarctica has volcanoes. MAP: http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Volcanoes/Antarctica/Maps/map_antarctica_volcanoes.html

Gary Pearse says: October 2, 2011 at 3:55 pm,

…delta 10ppm…I would say they should be fairly well mixed..

Yes, you are correct that the colour map at the top of this post doesn’t show a significant variation. But even this map is a smoothing of what really happens over land.
This would be why the IPCC forbids land measurements in its considerations — because it varies so much. This is also why Charles (“Dave”) Keeling chose the Mauna Loa, Hawaii location for his CO2 measurements. The ocean and altitude have the effect of smoothing natural daily (and seasonal) variations in CO2.
Please take a look at this graph of CO2 taken at the Wisconsin Tower in summer (graph from here). The CO2 varies close to land by 50+ ppm.
This graph shows changes with wind speed (graph from here). It can vary by 100ppm in one day. See the true picture now!?
Has the IPCC measured the local temperatures to see if there’s any correlation to the local CO2? No, because local CO2 land measurements are forbidden by the IPCC.

George Steiner

Let me ask this. What is the mechanism that does the mixing? Most man made CO2 is produced in the Northern Hemisphere I assume. So what does the mixing?

Willis Eschenbach

Paul Clark says:
October 2, 2011 at 5:52 pm

… Has the IPCC measured the local temperatures to see if there’s any correlation to the local CO2? No, because local CO2 land measurements are forbidden by the IPCC.

Paul, per your link the Wisconsin land measurement varies by about 30 ppmv over the course of a week or so, from about 340 to 370 ppmv.
If we agree with the IPCC use of “climate sensitivity” and use their values, the increase in CO2 should be equal to log(370/340, 2) *3 degrees per doubling = about a third of a degree.
A signal of that maximum amplitude is going to be very hard to find in a daily or even an hourly temperature set.
w.

Gail Combs

Paul Clark, It is also why there was a smear campaign against Beck and his historic CO2 measurements.
Once you show the atmosphere is not “well mixed” then the CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa can not be “purged” of data that does not meet the standards:
1. The standard deviation of minute averages should be less than 0.30 ppm within a given hour….
2. The hourly average should differ from the preceding hour by less than 0.25 ppm…..
See: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html
And THAT means the standard deviation of the entire data set becomes much larger and the changes in CO2 shown to be “significant” over the past years all of a sudden become “noise”
This is why the assumption that CO2 is well mixed is absolutely critical to CAGW. Without that assumption the whole argument for throwing out data is falsified and the entire data base of recent CO2 measurements fall apart because it is “Cherry picked”
AJ Strata shows a similar type of reasoning applies to the temperature data: http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/11420

Paul Linsay

The right question to ask is whether the variations in the global map or in the Wiscinsin tower plots matter for the IR properties of the CO2 that vary only logaritmically with concentration. Probably not.

Gail Combs

George Steiner says: @ October 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm
Let me ask this. What is the mechanism that does the mixing? Most man made CO2 is produced in the Northern Hemisphere I assume. So what does the mixing?
___________________________________________________________
The wind and diffusion and thermals (warmed air rising)

Ted

Wow, people here are discussing CO2 variation as though they’re the first. Hint: there are a couple of satellite missions with this as the goal (one of which unfortunately didn’t work out).

KingOchaos

The GOSAT Japanese green house observatory satellite) results also show a 30ppm spread http://www.gosat.nies.go.jp/eng/result/result.htm although even less uniform than the figures shown from AIRS… i would be interested to know where exactly this 10ppm figure came from?
It has been known for a long time though that co2 is seasonally variable, with changing gas solubility in water vrs temp, as well as variable terrestrial uptake according to the season.

Myrrh

George Steiner says:
October 2, 2011 at 6:10 pm
Let me ask this. What is the mechanism that does the mixing? Most man made CO2 is produced in the Northern Hemisphere I assume. So what does the mixing?
Well, you asked..
A combination of ideal gas properties of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen – random elastic collisions at superspeeds in empty space (think jar), with Brownian motion thrown in for good measure – here I think this is oxygen and nitrogen bouncing it around until it is well mixed. As I had a PhD (physics) explain it to me, as he taught it and examined on it, carbon dioxide will diffuse into the atmosphere as per ideal gas where it will become thoroughly well-mixed it can’t be unmixed except by applying great work. No work required to mix it thoroughly, it diffuses because that’s how ideal gas molecules move in empty space.

Ask why is it so?

Just did a quick temp check for Australia in 2008, with all that CO2 over us we should be cooking, nah, it was hotter in the late 1800’s and early 1920’s.

Caleb

I am curious about the Mauna Loa “outliers” that get “thrown out.”
Is there raw data available, from before the “outliers” are removed?
I’ve heard many reasons for “high” readings being disregarded. (Most are brought up in order to discredit Beck’s assertion that there were higher readings in the past.)
I have not heard any reasons the “low” readings should be called “outliers” and be disregarded. Has anyone else?
I noted one chart, in a link given from 2006, had readings down around 360 ppm for serveral stretches on several days. Where does that “depleted” air come from?
Mauna Loa CO2 data is a sort of Gospel people have faith in. If it turns out to be “adjusted” like Hansen’s temperatures, I am going to be %%&&^%$!!!

Willis Eschenbach, October 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm,

A signal of that maximum amplitude is going to be very hard to find…

Still though, you’d think that there would be more of an interest to find some sort of correlation in hourly, daily, monthly, year-to-year and regional variations of CO2 to temperature. If there was a discernible correlation it would be the smoking gun the AGW lobby was looking for. Why aren’t they looking for it?
There are plenty of thermometers that give hourly readings but they do not have accompanying CO2 measurements. If the coverage for CO2 was as good as that for temperature I suspect a CO2 signal, were there to be one, could be found in the temperatures.

Willis Eschenbach

Paul Clark says:
October 2, 2011 at 7:54 pm

Willis Eschenbach, October 2, 2011 at 6:17 pm,

A signal of that maximum amplitude is going to be very hard to find…

Still though, you’d think that there would be more of an interest to find some sort of correlation in hourly, daily, monthly, year-to-year and regional variations of CO2 to temperature. If there was a discernible correlation it would be the smoking gun the AGW lobby was looking for. Why aren’t they looking for it?
There are plenty of thermometers that give hourly readings but they do not have accompanying CO2 measurements. If the coverage for CO2 was as good as that for temperature I suspect a CO2 signal, were there to be one, could be found in the temperatures.

I wouldn’t waste my time trying to find such a signal, because (in addition to signal size) there’s a further problem. Variations in low-level CO2 (in general) are caused by variations in plant respiration and wind direction. This means that even if on the off chance I could find a correlation between temperature and CO2, it may be just the signal of the plants responding to temperature, or of the temperature and CO2 being connected by the wind.
As to why the AGW supporters aren’t looking at that, my guess is that many, perhaps most of them don’t really want to know if the AGW hypothesis is correct … and an experiment that might support it could also falsify it.
One possibility might be a study done around a strong CO2 source like a cement plant. The change there might be measurable enough, although the stack emissions generally contain more than just CO2.
However, I’m not sure what it would establish. Most folks, myself included, think that greenhouse gases affect the forcing. The question is whether that affects the long-term average temperature, and if so, how. And the problem is the tiny size of the signal (less than a 1% change in the total downwelling radiation at the surface over a century).
w.

Dave Wendt

I don’t really think the not well mixed argument is a productive one to make. As others have pointed out the range of ppms is rather small relative to the total. I would also point out that the sawtooth pattern that supposedly results from the uptake and decomposition cycle of vegetation in the Northern Hemisphere is reiterated, although much less distinctly, at the South Pole where there isn’t a green plant within a thousand miles. This would seem to suggest a continual pole to pole circulation. Although I suppose one could argue that it suggests the vegetation cycle is not the real cause and there is an as yet undiscovered factor driving the pattern.
To my mind the CAGW premise fails at so many more significant levels that if it hasn’t fallen by now, the degree to which CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere is unlikely to add much to the effort to reach the “tipping point” where it finally comes crashing down from the sheer weight of propaganda and thuggery that is becoming increasingly necessary to keep it from tottering off its pedestal.

anna v

For a long time I had running arguments on the fact that the CO2 global measurements are cherry picked from tops of mountains :, would you accept temperature measurements from the same locations to be the only true measurements of the earth’s temperature?
I suspect that the interesting plots were buried , the video does not go further than 2008, and JAXA still chews over their data just because of “the science is settled” pressure. Or maybe lack of finance.

Septic Matthew

oops: 10/386 < 0.3%
10/386 < 3%

Willis
“One possibility might be a study done around a strong CO2 source like a cement plant. The change there might be measurable enough, although the stack emissions generally contain more than just CO2.”
The problem is this misunderstands how the C02 effect works and misunderstands the time scale.
Adding C02 over time raises the opacity of the atmosphere ( on average). That increase in opacity raises the height at which radiation finally escapes back to space. As that height slowly increases and radiation escapes from a higher colder location, the temperature at the surface, again on average, rises.
This mechanism is something that you cannot measure locally or in a small time window. Locally and in a narrow time window far too many other factors will utterly swamp the signal. Its a global signal ( present in global averages) that is small relative to other natural fluctuations.
You really want to test it? suck half the C02 out of the atmosphere or double it. we are currently doing the latter experiment. Lets hope it doesnt turn out as badly as models predict.

pat

And we have the fake math again. A bonus, I suppose. Measuring something via calculation that differs than real data.
Of course the base supposition confounds the entire idea of atmospheric circulation.
That having been said, I recently revisited the Wikipedia page on the Greenhouse effect. While the first few sentences started off rather rationally, it quickly entered an area of bizarre speculation. Such as the temperature of the Venus surface is a result of a run-away greenhouse effect much like AGW.
We are talking crazy stuff here.

Spector

I am not sure that this poor mixing issue is a good argument against carbon dioxide hysteria. It is like saying that it cannot kill us all because some areas have only twenty-five percent of a lethal dosage and only a few areas have that 400 percent lethal dose.
I personally believe that the best argument is that CO2 is a minor player in tropospheric heat transfer with water vapor being the major facilitator. Water vapor forms clouds to reduce incoming solar radiation and it appears to enable the circulation that transports heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere where it can be radiated to outer space. As we live in the troposphere, I believe the unique properties of these ‘sticky’ water molecules are the most important to us.

Legatus

I was kind of hoping for larger variations in CO2 by area. For instance, by being just west of California, one would be in an area of 386ppmv, go far enough west and it drops to 382, yet that is only 4 ppmv. If, then, one could find a day when temeratures and pressures and humidity and clouds (at all altitues for all of these) were the same in the two locations, leaving amount of CO2 as the only variable, one could directly measure infrared and see if it goes up. However, 4 ppmv may be too small to tell.
Now, however, I hear that it varies much more over land, this would seem to be the best place to tell. However, over land, the amount of radiation from the surface would vary much more strongly, as well as detectable infrared from rising hot air and evaporating water.
So the idea of seeing if there is more detectable infrared under areas of sky with more CO2 would be difficult to pull off. That leaves a worldwide avwerage over wide areas of measured infrared, over a long enough period of time that it goes back many decades. Does such a dataset exist? The TAO dataset seems to not go back any further than 2001.
In other words, has anyone yet directly measured increased infrared with increased CO2, such that it could be difinativly said that the infrared was the result of the CO2, and not from something else? If not, are we not discussing CAGW when we have no direct data to tell us if it’s central idea, that increasing CO2 causes increasing infrared, is true or false? Or is it all just modeling and guesswork?

Willis Eschenbach

steven mosher says:
October 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Willis

“One possibility might be a study done around a strong CO2 source like a cement plant. The change there might be measurable enough, although the stack emissions generally contain more than just CO2.”

The problem is this misunderstands how the C02 effect works and misunderstands the time scale.
Adding C02 over time raises the opacity of the atmosphere ( on average). That increase in opacity raises the height at which radiation finally escapes back to space. As that height slowly increases and radiation escapes from a higher colder location, the temperature at the surface, again on average, rises.
This mechanism is something that you cannot measure locally or in a small time window. Locally and in a narrow time window far too many other factors will utterly swamp the signal. Its a global signal ( present in global averages) that is small relative to other natural fluctuations.

The change in DLR is immediately apparent when (for example) a cloud comes over at night. So clearly, a large enough change in the atmospheric absorption/radiation of longwave radiation can and does have an immediate effect. So your claim that the time window is too small to detect the changes from changing DLR runs aground there.
Similarly, a change in the CO2 concentration around a point source will indeed make an immediate change in the DLR, despite your claim to the contrary. For it not to do so would be a contravention of physics. It absorbs the IR, it warms the atmosphere, which increases the radiation of the atmosphere.
Finally, variations in GHGs like water vapor certainly make a measurable difference “locally”, think a desert versus over the ocean. I am mystified why you think the effect of GHGs cannot be measured either locally or quickly.
So your claim that I “misunderstand how the CO2 effect works” is not true. In fact, you acknowledge that when you claim further down that the problem is not that I misunderstand, but that that the signal is too small locally to measure … which is an entirely different claim, one which acknowledges that I do know what I’m talking about, since I SAID THE SAME THING, that the effect is there but quite small locally. So in fact, you are agreeing with what I already said.
Finally, is there a measurable effect around a cement plant? Neither you nor I know the answer to that, Steven … but you claim to know, and I’m not that bold to claim something I don’t know. I claim that if it is measurable locally anywhere, it might be measurable there, but nobody knows because no one has tried it.
w.

Co2 also rises logarithmically maybe Moore’s law could be applied to the production of co2, there has to be a point where co2 generators reach a natural peak of co2 production, Unless you believe that a rise of co2 is solely caused by Anthropogenic sources and that they correlate with human population growth.
Other trace gases such as Argon which is almost 1% of the atmosphere at 9340ppm and who’s Molecular Weight is 39.95 which is lighter than Co2 who’s Molecular Weight is 44.01 (this means that Argon stays in the atmosphere longer than Co2 and presumably this is due to the difference between their Molecular Weights) does not have concerned groups of wacky environmentalist, human hating extremists or financially motivated political campaigns to ban it’s production to set up Argon cap n’ trade markets in the name of saving the planet from global warming or cooling or whatever the hell effect Argon at 9340ppm has on the climate.
🙂

John Marshall

CO2 concentrations do not matter if CO2 has no effect on climate. If CO2 is heated by incoming solar radiation that energy is lost to heating the surface because 1st law must be obeyed. That heat will be lost to the surrounding atmosphere and eventually to space.

Dan

WhatdidItellyou.

steven mosher says:
October 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm
“Adding C02 over time raises the opacity of the atmosphere ( on average). That increase in opacity raises the height at which radiation finally escapes back to space. As that height slowly increases and radiation escapes from a higher colder location, the temperature at the surface, again on average, rises.”
Mosher, there is no historical record of correlation showing CO2 driving temperature. NONE, get used to it.
Willis Eschenbach says:
October 3, 2011 at 12:21 am
“It absorbs the IR, it warms the atmosphere, which increases the radiation of the atmosphere.”
Willis, you don’t seem to have much of a grasp of physics. The absorption and re-emission of IR does not necessarily equate to warming.
In a gas for example, absorption and re-emission of IR cannot cause warming if the gas has already reached the maximum local thermal equilibrium temperature possible from that particular source of IR, namely the ground. If however the gas in question has in fact been heated to a higher LTE temperature by another more powerful source of IR, such as that from incoming solar EMR, as is always the case during daylight hours, then there will be no heating whatsoever from the outgoing IR.
This is simply a description of the second law of thermodynamics in action.
IR has to become thermal radiation before heating can occur. Thermalisation of EMR can only occur where the laws of thermodynamics allow. You cannot ignore these laws, as so many, including you Willis and Mosher there, continue to do.

As I understand it, the term “well mixed” does not mean homogeneous, or as AR3 has it “uniformly mixed” – the clue is in the term itself.. There appears to be no correlation on the distribution map between CO2 and known sources and sinks , as might be expected. Man-made emissions are dwarfed by those from natural sources, and are (relatively) highly localised, so wouldn’t show up on a map on that scale.
Any attempt to correlate local warming with local CO2 concentration is likely doomed to failure, since the CO2 signal would be dwarfed by water vapour. I have somewhere a report (pdf) of an attempt made in Hawaii to do just that, and the results were, to say the least, inconclusive. I’ll see if I can find it and provide a link.

Willis Eschenbach,
I think I don’t agree with your statement:
“Similarly, a change in the CO2 concentration around a point source will indeed make an immediate change in the DLR, despite your claim to the contrary. For it not to do so would be a contravention of physics. It absorbs the IR, it warms the atmosphere, which increases the radiation of the atmosphere.”
For what I know, the CO2 concentration at ground level is high enough to not perturb IR absorption, after a CO2 pulse is added, to a level accurately measurable.
A CO2 increment can reveal itself only at an higher altitude, after the atmospheric circulation mixed and rised it aloft.

Gail Combs

Caleb says: @ October 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm
“…..Mauna Loa CO2 data is a sort of Gospel people have faith in. If it turns out to be “adjusted” like Hansen’s temperatures, I am going to be %%&&^%$!!!”
_______________________________________________________________________
I think you had better read Tom V. Segalstad’s website, http://www.co2web.info/
From one of his pdfs
“…The 19th century measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere were carried out with an error of up to 100% . A value of 290 ppm v (parts per million, by volume) was chosen as an average for the 19th century atmosphere, by rejecting “not representative” measured values which differed more than 10% from the “general average for the time”. This introduced a subjective factor in the estimates of the pre-industrial level of CO2 in the atmosphere.
The Mauna Loa (Hawaii) observatory has been regarded an ideal site for global CO2 monitoring. However, it is located near the top of an active volcano, which has, on average, one eruption every three and a half years. There are permanent CO2 emissions from a rift zone situated only 4 km from the observatory, and the largest active volcanic crater in the world is only 27 km from the observatory. These special site characteristics have made “editing” of the results an established procedure, which may introduce a subjective bias in the estimates o f th e “true” values. A similar procedure is used at other CO2 -observatories. There are also problems connected to the instrumental methods for measurements of atmospheric CO2 ….
…The concentration of C O 2 in the gases emitted from the Mauna Loa and Kilauea volcanos of Hawaii reaches about 47% . This is m ore than 50 tim es higher than in volcanic gases em itted in many other volcanic regions of the world. The reason fo r th is is the alkaline nature of this volcanism, strongly associated with mantle CO 2 degassing. The Kilauea volcano alone is releasing about 1 MT CO2 per year, plus 60 – 130 kT SO2 per year (Harris and A nderson, 1983)…..
Daily fluctuations of C O 2 concentration over a grassland w ere found to reach 40 ppm ,
and the seasonal variations (between June and September) reached about 25 ppm (Spittlehouse and Ripley, 1977). daily variations over a w heat field can almost double the amoun t o f C O 2 in the air (Fergusson, 1985). Pales and Keeling (1965) noticed the existence of C O 2 sources at the Mauna Loa observatory itself, such a s e x h austs of a diesel engine-driven generator and automobile pollution which have become a problem (Keeling et al., 1976). In view of these points of criticism , the claim of Pales and Keeling (1965) that “the observatory is thus an excellent, if not ideal, site for measuring CO2 in the upper air” seem s to be overly exaggerated.
Throughout the whole period of measurements the results were “edited” (an expression used by Bacastow et al., 1985) to account for local disturbances causing both higher and lower CO2
concentrations. As Pales and Keeling (1965) stated, the measurements are clearly locally influenced. The authors applied “omissions of variable periods from the daily averages” to eliminate both high and low readings. In Figure 1 about 80% of the readings w ere omitted. In addition, days without data constitute 17% of the record. For these lacking days the values were assigned by linear interpolation (Keeling et al., 1976)…..

The pdf is 65 pages long and rips apart the whole CO2 data base including Ice Cores and Manuna Loa. There are a lot of references to back up the anaysis too. So yes the data has been “adjusted” like Hansen’s temperatures. No wonder the Mauna Loa data shows a nice linear increase in CO2. Without the CO2 is “well mixed” assumption the whole house of cards collapses.
Segalstad also had some interesting things to say about Keeling and his “agenda” for setting up the Mauna Loa observatory that puts an even larger question mark on the data. However I can not find the exact pdf it was in. It may also have been purged from the website for liability reasons although again he backed up his analysis with documentation.

LazyTeenager

Willis says in response to Steve Mosher
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The change in DLR is immediately apparent when (for example) a cloud comes over at night. So clearly, a large enough change in the atmospheric absorption/radiation of longwave radiation can and does have an immediate effect. So your claim that the time window is too small to detect the changes from changing DLR runs aground there.
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I agree that in principle that at ground level a measurable increase in downward long wave IR radiation is detectable for a local source of CO2.
But this is not exactly the same as the greenhouse effect for the simple reason that effect of IR emission from CO2 and other GHGs needs to be evaluated over the entire depth of the atmosphere. The local source you describe only acts in the 100 metre height near ground level.
I favor an electrical circuit analogy to visualize how this process works. In this analogy the Sun’s energy as absorbed at the earth’s surface constitutes a constant current source. The levels of the atmosphere can be thought of as a resistor chain representing an impedance to the passage of energy from the surface (the current source) to the vacuum of space ( ground).
A change in the resistance at any point of the chain will cause a change in potential (temperature) at all points along the chain.
Near the ground the conductance of energy is largely due to convection since gas density is high there. At higher altitudes the gas is not dense enough to transport energy so radiation must carry the same amount of energy. So let’s simplify things by referring to just 2 resistors: one at high altitude and one at low altitude.
If the resistance to heat transfer at high altitude increases then the total resistance of the circuit increases and so the potential difference (aka the temperature) between the surface and space increases. Since the temperature of space is constant the surface temperature must increase.
Getting back to your point I would conclude from my analogy that a local source of CO2 at ground level will have some effect on DLWR, but little effect in the overall rate of upward energy transfer. And that it would have a greater effect if the CO2 was released at high altitude.
Feel free to find holes.