An illustration that CO2 won't roast the Earth in a runaway tipping point…

…because the Earth has experienced massive CO2 pulses and  recovered before.

From the something you don’t see every day department comes this graph:

Atmospheric CO2 Concentration by Geologic Time Period

GeoCO2

Source: GeoCO2.png Photo by dhm1353 | Photobucket

H/t to Tom Nelson

Here’s the next graph showing the sources:

CO2_Decline

Source: http://s90.photobucket.com/user/dhm1353/media/CO2_Decline.png.html

Data sources here: (thanks to Bill Illis)

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Reference_Docs/Geocarb_III-Berner.pdf

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/trace_gases/phanerozoic_co2.txt

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/trace_gases/pagani2005co2.xls

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/epica_domec/edc-co2-2008.xls

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/climate_forcing/trace_gases/royer2006co2.xls

(Don’t use the Boron or Paleosols method ones, they are unreliable)

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/paleocean/by_contributor/pearson2000

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/ipcc2007/ipcc2007fig61top.xls

(Don’t use the Boron or Paleosols method ones, they are unreliable)

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/pearson2009/pearson2009.xls

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/tripati2009/tripati2009.xls

http://www.snowballearth.org/Bao08.pdf

ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/hoenisch2009/hoenisch2009.xls

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n7/extref/ngeo1186-s1.xls

(Don’t use the Boron or Paleosols method ones, they are unreliable)

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/extref/nature11200-s2.xls

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v486/n7401/extref/nature11200-s2.xls

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Henry Bowman

Can you provide a link to the original publication?

Whoa! That is really something I don’t see every day!
So, were the oceans boiling during the Cambrian?
How about simmering?
Was the planet at least ice free?
I mean, there must be something there for the CAGW by CO2 folks to cling to.

Steve Keohane

Not dissimilar to Scotese’s chart:
http://i46.tinypic.com/2582sg6.jpg

Truthseeker

“Greenhouse Gas” theory disproved right there …

David Archibald

Title: Carbon starvation in glacial trees recovered from the La Brea tar pits, southern California
Author: Ward, Joy K.; Harris, John M.; Cerling, Thure E.; Wiedenhoeft, Alex; Lott, Michael J.; Dearing, Maria-Denise; Coltrain, Joan B.; Ehleringer, James R.
Date: 2005
Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Vol. 102, no. 3 (Jan. 18, 2005): p. 690-694.

Bill_W

I see that the last source on the graph (red arrow) is Exxon (close enough). Therefore this whole post can be ignored. 🙂

David L. Hagen

The abundance of “stored solar energy” (aka stored biomass aka “coal”), indicates that about 4 to 10 times higher levels of CO2 than at present resulted in very productive net primary production and biomass formation – NOT desertification. See Youkon coal and Devonian coal.
Developing world farmers need all the help they can get from higher CO2 and higherer precipitation to better feed their families.
Why are “climate scientists” inverting the evidence with systemically biased unvalidated models?

Latitude

C3 plant CO2 starvation…..people do not seem to realize our planet was evolving…and C4 plants evolved from a lack of CO2 and high temps
Raise hell about something going extinct…and not realize what was happening
…talk about changing and not being able to adapt

Your graphs show nothing about temperature, so where does the assertion come that CO2 won’t affect temperature? A more meaningful (not to mention honest) illustration would be to show palaeo temperatures plotted with CO2 concentrations.

milodonharlani
milodonharlani

Kit Carruthers says:
August 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm
The Scotese citation from above plots the CO2 curve against reconstructed temperature.

Eric

Bill_W – are you daft? Can you not use Google? It looks like the red dotted line is the line of best fit for the Berner Geocarb III (Orange line). Robert A. Berner from Yale University produced and published this data in 2001. I am not sure what Expon. (Not Exxon) means. Exponential?

greymouser70

Bill W. You need to get your eyeglasses checked. That last source reads Expon. The red dashed line is the exponential plot of the CO2 trend.

Pieter F.

Would like to see the study using more conventionally accepted geologic timescale terms such as Cenozoic, Holocene, etc. Anthropocene and Tertiary are not recognized as formal geologic time units.

Eliza

AW I think the AGW is finished
http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/meant80n.uk.php
This means that probably NH minimum ice is about over. The increase is probably going to be spectacular this year!

JimS

I have presented similar information to CAGWers before. Their response was, “but the world was much different then, and you can not compare the present period with past periods when it comes to CO2.”
I have also seen a chart done graphing very old CO2 levels with temperature. There is some correlation, but not much. See the link below:
http://rogerfromnewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/global-temp-co2-over-geological-time.jpg

Pedantic old Fart

Given that CO2 is the building block for all eucaryoyic life on earth, what does the exponential curve suggest for life in the distant future. Burning all the coal will just put it off for a little while?

OK thank you. Looks like in the past when CO2 concentrations were higher than current, it was also warmer, when they were lower, it was cooler. Generally speaking, of course, and temperatures seem to plateau at 22C avg. It would have been good if Anthony Watts had been open about this in his post, rather than simply showing CO2 concentrations and somehow leaving it up to the reader’s imagination/intuition/prejudice to deduce what he’s trying to show!

Gary Hladik

JimS says (August 8, 2013 at 4:07 pm): ‘I have presented similar information to CAGWers before. Their response was, “but the world was much different then, and you can not compare the present period with past periods when it comes to CO2.”’
And each of these periods of high CO2 was much different from the others. That tells us that elevated CO2 didn’t melt the planet under a variety of prehistoric conditions. It’s then up to your opponents to specify exactly what unique condition(s) today will for the first time in the earth’s existence lead to climate catastrophe and why. I’m betting they can’t come up with anything.

milodonharlani

There is also material from Pagani, et al, 2005:
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/309/5734/600
They however felt the need to suggest that Antarctic glaciation resulted from lowered CO2, rather than a decline in temperature & cooling of the seas causing the fall in gas concentration in the air.
There were also biologic & geologic events which contributed to the post-PETM drop in the mid-Cenozoic, such as the Azolla Event, the rise of the Himalayas as India collided with Asia & the separation of Antarctica from South America & Australia by deep ocean channels.

milodonharlani

Gary Hladik says:
August 8, 2013 at 4:24 pm
Usual Warmunista excuses are a weaker sun & less rapid rise. The latter is either nonsense or a lie, depending upon the state of knowledge of the excuse-maker. The sun has gotten stronger by about one percent per 110 million years. Thus during the Ordovician Glaciation, it was only around 4% less powerful than now, yet CO2 was eight to 20 times higher, so the excuse-making math does not compute.

Pedantic old Fart says:
August 8, 2013 at 4:15 pm
Reply; the problem as I see it is there is way too much calcium buffering mass in the earth planetary body, and it is slowly absorbing all of the CO2, we need to find a way to geoengineer a release of CO2 from the rock, shell, and coral sequestration that is starving the green plants in the long run.

pkasse

*****
I see that the last source on the graph (red arrow) is Exxon (close enough). Therefore this whole post can be ignored. 🙂
*****
I think the post end with a (sark) face, folks.
REPLY: I can’t tell if you are being sarcastic or not, either way, your point is meritless. The data sources are posted and there’s no Exxon involved. – Anthony

Richard Howes

Eric says:
August 8, 2013 at 4:03 pm
Bill_W – are you daft? Can you not use Google? It looks like the red dotted line is the line of best fit for the Berner Geocarb III (Orange line). Robert A. Berner from Yale University produced and published this data in 2001. I am not sure what Expon. (Not Exxon) means. Exponential?
greymouser70 says:
August 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm
Bill W. You need to get your eyeglasses checked. That last source reads Expon. The red dashed line is the exponential plot of the CO2 trend.
Guys,
I think Bill was being funny.
Richard

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Uh-oh, the CO₂ level is dropping fast. Won’t be much longer until the plants shut down, then all life expires except a few small critters not using oxygen-based respiration.
Our path as stewards of the planet is clear. We’ll burn the fossil fuels for now to keep the atmospheric CO₂ high enough that life may grow and prosper, until energy from nuclear sources (including fusion) is so cheap we can afford to break down carbonates like limestone for the desperately needed trace gas of life.
And insane people want to capture it from power plant exhaust, so they can creatively dispose of it deep underground where they hope it will be gone forever. Don’t they understand this clearly-presented evidence? Why do they want to exterminate virtually all life on Earth? ARE THEY MAD?

Richard Howes

s/funny/sarcastic/p

JimS

@Gary Hladik
Thanks for the advice, Gary. I may try that next time. Although I have found that when I present this graph:
http://rogerfromnewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/global-temp-co2-over-geological-time.jpg
…they usually have little to say in response.

Master of Space and Thyme

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
August 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm
“Uh-oh, the CO₂ level is dropping fast. Won’t be much longer until the plants shut down, then all life expires except a few small critters not using oxygen-based respiration.”
I hope you are not serious and that you just neglected to mark the comment as being snark.

MarkUK

It looks like we are heading for no C02 ! that`s scary.

DGP

Richard Holle says:
Reply; the problem as I see it is there is way too much calcium buffering mass in the earth planetary body, and it is slowly absorbing all of the CO2, we need to find a way to geoengineer a release of CO2 from the rock, shell, and coral sequestration that is starving the green plants in the long run.
A lime kiln does exactly that and has been in use by man since prehistory. It needs a heat source though.

Mac the Knife

The 1st graph needs a “You Are Here!” label attached to the Mauna Loa CO2 bars…. and a “PPMV” label attached to the Y axis.

The CO2 production from cement making process is temporary, the fresh concrete re absorbs as much CO2 as was released in the slaking process, was the problem with the sealed biosphere building experiment, organic matter decomposed into methane and CO2 then was sequestered back into the concrete, taking the oxygen with it till it got low oxygen content life threatening.

Robert of Ottawa

Yikes! We need more CO2! get burning, folks.

dcardno

Kit Carruthers – the reference is pretty clearly to the “tipping point” argument, that a rise to 600 ppm CO2 would lead to some sort of runaway heat increase. The headline on the post might’ve given it away.

Robert of Ottawa

Richard Holle @ August 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm
I think I know the project you are talking of, but a link would be useful, for me and oth.ers

Robert of Ottawa

kadaka (KD Knoebel) asks @ August 8, 2013 at 4:39 pm
ARE THEY MAD?
No, to allow them madness is to forgive them. No, they are hell-bent on hell. They hate humanity; they hate being well-fed; they hate the economic system and technology that provide them food, shelter and clothing.
Misanthropists should be dealt with by humans.

Rud Istvan

The big dip in CO2 circa 300mya corresponds to the Karoo Ice Age at the end of the Carboniferous. Grist for the ‘but for CO2, the next ice age would have begun’ crowd.
Silly and not dispositive, since the continents were together as Pangea and differently positioned. A VERY Good ebook on all this is Prof. Uriarte’s Earth Climate History. Worth a gander for anyone seriously interested in climate change facts over the long haul. His paleo CO2 time series are not meaningfully different than in this post, since drawn from the same scientific sources.
Plants have spent a long time (billions of years) learning how to grow using photosynthesis to convert CO2 to polysaccharides and Oxygen. Until very recently, plants were ‘winning’ so much they almost ran out of CO2. (Gasp, gasp). At least that is what the main post chart says.

AndyG55

This highlight exactly what I have been saying..
We MUST, MUST, MUST push the CO2 level back up.
It is totally essential for continued life on Earth.
700+ at the very least !!

Gary Pearse

Interesting that the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian, aka “Carboniferous” is very low in CO2 but this was the era when almost all global coal seams were laid down! This means that the very high CO2 previously created these enormous tropical swamps which died down in the Carboniferous sequestering all the C as coal without any help from us. It is just mind boggling that we have spent $2 trillion because of the pathetic CO2 problem illustrated in this graph. It seems as if the Climategate scandal, which put CAGW into a downward spiral, allowed shackled, closeted scientists to come out of the woodwork and release a pent up store of scientific papers.
Kit Carruthers says:
August 8, 2013 at 4:00 pm
“Your graphs show nothing about temperature, so where does the assertion come that CO2 won’t affect temperature? A more meaningful (not to mention honest) illustration would be to show palaeo temperatures plotted with CO2 concentrations.”
True, but it is well known anyway that the swings from min to max throughout the last billion years has only been 8-10 degrees. Note the high (lets give it ~+6 degree C higher to be generous) coincides with 7000 ppm CO2, that’s ~20 times present CO2, that’s just over 4 doublings so Climate sensitivity is 1.5C per doubling, that’s a nice generous figure. Compare this with 5 or 6 degrees by 2100 and you will see why non-members of the club are crying foul with IPCC and the Hockey Team.

Chad Wozniak

A simpler way to reach the same conclusion: visit a commercial greenhouse. Lots of CO2, and lots of water vapor, if you’re thinking feedbacks (ain’t any, of course). No runaway heating here!
Duhhhh . . . . . .

What are the views today of James Lovelock?

I am James Lovelock, scientist and author, known as the originator of Gaia theory, a view of the Earth that sees it as a self-regulating entity that keeps the surface environment always fit for life… I am an environmentalist and founder member of the Greens but I bow my head in shame at the thought that our original good intentions should have been so misunderstood and misapplied. We never intended a fundamentalist Green movement that rejected all energy sources other than renewable, nor did we expect the Greens to cast aside our priceless ecological heritage because of their failure to understand that the needs of the Earth are not separable from human needs. We need take care that the spinning windmills do not become like the statues on Easter Island, monuments of a failed civilization. – Bishop Hill, James Lovelock, 12 December 2012 (in a letter noted by Phillip Bratby) via (WUWT 1/26/2013)

Lovelock was not so much recanting Climate Change alarmism, but taking issue with some of solutions proposed by the Greens.
There is an NBC report: ‘Gaia’ scientist James Lovelock: I was ‘alarmist’ about climate from April 23, 2012 that where he is definitely slowing down his alarmism.

The new book will discuss how humanity can change the way it acts in order to help regulate the Earth’s natural systems, performing a role similar to the harmonious one played by plants when they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen.
[The book] will also reflect his new opinion that global warming has not occurred as he had expected. “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,”..
“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now. ,,, The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,”…
Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told msnbc.com: “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”
He said human-caused carbon dioxide emissions were driving an increase in the global temperature, … “It (the sea) could make all the difference between a hot age and an ice age,” he said.
“We will have global warming, but it’s been deferred a bit,” Lovelock said.
…he said he did not mind saying “All right, I made a mistake.” ….
Lovelock said he would not take back a word of his seminal work “Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth,” published in 1979. But of “Revenge of Gaia,” published in 2006, he said he had gone too far in describing what the warming Earth would see over the next century. “I would be a little more cautious — but then that would have spoilt the book,” he quipped.

His 1979 book made the crucial observation that the Sun has gradually warmed as it aged. What kept the Earth comfortable was life’s net consumption of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A negative feedback loop to keep life from using up too much carbon dioxide and thus making the climate cool and slow life down. If it warmed, life would use up more carbon dioxide and restore the balance. The drama of Gaia is that the planet is nearly out of carbon dioxide buffer. Carbon dioxide cannot go down much more without starving plants and we are at a sensitive portion of the logaritmic curve, so ice ages can easily happen. I believed the theory then and it is still a live hypothesis.
There seems little doubt that Lovelock still believes that rising CO2 levels will result in warming and that humans must do something to stop it. Buy I was struck by this statement:
“It (the sea) could make all the difference between a hot age and an ice age” This is an important rejoinder to any claims of “Precautionary Principle” because there are TWO possibilities to try to avoid.

I have a gripe about the first figure. The X-axis follows the geological periods, except for Quaternary, which has Pleistocene epoch broken out and perhaps the Holocene replaced by the silly Anthropocene. However, the explanatory boxes imply that the Anthropocene is represented by MLO data since the 1960s. Therefore it should be the leftmost set of bars, and the “C3 Plant CO2 Starvation period during the last glacial maximum should be the second set.
OT: Being a software engineer, the La Brea Tar Pits have an almost mythical meaning to us. (Look up the book The Mythical Man-Month, the cover image is of the tar pits in action.) I have made my pilgrimage there. Wasn’t too hard, I was in Santa Monica on business.

Scott

If the whole premise was true that CO2, sunlight and water vapour created a run away warming effect then we have just discovered a free perpetual energy source more powerful than PV cells, wind etc combined. based on that why is it that we havent built reactors to take advantage of such a powerfull free energy source??

Ox AO

Kit Carruthers says:
said, “where does the assertion come that CO2 won’t affect temperature?”
Don’t need to we are still in the Quaternary Ice age which means it is colder today.
And the fact we didn’t turn into another venus as Stephen Hawking said we would if CO2 goes up anymore.

RockyRoad

Scott says:
August 8, 2013 at 6:13 pm

If the whole premise was true that CO2, sunlight and water vapour created a run away warming effect then we have just discovered a free perpetual energy source more powerful than PV cells, wind etc combined. based on that why is it that we havent built reactors to take advantage of such a powerfull free energy source??

We have–they’re called “forests”.
Now the Greens don’t want us cutting down and burning anything.
Are they trying to drive CO2 even lower?
Are they setting up such a devastating array of CO2-hungry monsters that when fossil fuels are finally outlawed, foodstuff plants will die out, taking us with them?
Are people with too much time and evil thoughts on their hands going to destroy most of us in their quest for a Green Nirvana?
Rather looks like it.

Mark Hladik

What is even more interesting is to run a cross-correlation between the Berner & Kothavala GEOCARB III and Veizer’s paleotemperature reconstruction.
I’ve challenged any number of warmistas (John “Brooksie” Brookes, who used to be a regular at JoNova’s), and just this month challenged the troll ‘blackadderthe4th’, who flatly refused to run any data comparison (again, over at Jo’s website).
With careful and inferential analysis of the data presented in Geologic Time Scale 2012, and the predecessor 2004, it is possible to extend the record into the Late Proterozoic, the so-called “Snowball Earth” when CO2 levels may have been 13% of the atmosphere, or higher (B. A. 4 linked to one of his myriad videos which claimed a 20% concentration … ). The coefficient is even more interesting when those data are included.
Note that the Ordovician/Silurian boundary was also an ice-age, and the Carboniferous had major glaciation in Gondwana (south geographic pole). Veizer refers to the Jurassic as “globally cool”, so this may give you an idea of the correlation coefficient (R, not R^2) for the two curves.
Since the warmistas won’t tell me their correlation coefficients, would WUWT participants be willing to post some results?
Thanks in advance,
Mark H.

thingadonta

And there was a proliferation of biodiversity and rapid evolution in the Cambrian….