# Unsettled science: New study challenges the consensus on CO2 regulation – modeled CO2 projections exaggerated

I’m really quite surprised to find this paper in Nature, especially when it makes claims so counter to the consensus that model projections are essentially a map of the future climate.

The Hockey Shtick writes: Settled Science: New paper ‘challenges consensus about what regulates atmospheric CO2 from year to year’.

A new paper published in Nature “challenges the current consensus about what regulates atmospheric CO2 from year to year” and finds “semi-arid ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere may be largely responsible for changes in global concentrations of atmospheric CO2.”

The authors find links between the land CO2 sink in these semi-arid ecosystems “are currently missing from many major climate models.” In addition, they find that land sinks for CO2 are keeping up with the increase in CO2 emissions, thus modeled projections of exponential increases of CO2 in the future are likely exaggerated.

# Climate science: A sink down under

Nature (2014) doi:10.1038/nature13341
Published online21 May 2014

The finding that semi-arid ecosystems in the Southern Hemisphere may be largely responsible for changes in global concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide has repercussions for future levels of this greenhouse gas.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature13341.html

more here: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/

## 152 thoughts on “Unsettled science: New study challenges the consensus on CO2 regulation – modeled CO2 projections exaggerated”

1. pokerguy says:

Can’t speak to the particulars, but seemingly excellent news that this paper has seen the light of day in the current repressive atmosphere. Is it possible things are changing a bit?

2. RayG says:

I stopped reading at the assertion that in the first sentence that CO2 is the main driver of global climate change. I also note that there are no citations to support this claim.

3. michael hart says:

1 Month 10 Days until the second-coming of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory.
http://oco.jpl.nasa.gov/

4. hunter says:

5. catweazle666 says:

Ah, more “settled science”, right?

6. Latitude says:

Well, I mean really….
who was stupid enough in the first place to think an additional 2 ppm/yr would overwhelm the system

7. MikeUK says:

Nature itself (and Nature Geoscience) still look like reputable journals to me
(whoops, I hope The Team don’t read that, and send in the enforcers)
Its that “Nature Climate Change Whores” (no offense to that fine profession) that is the comic for Green coffee tables.

8. Alan Robertson says:

Better go find that little Dutch boy, because the dike has a hole in it.

9. Dave says:

RayG says:
I stopped reading at the assertion that in the first sentence that CO2 is the main driver of global climate change. I also note that there are no citations to support this claim.

Obama said it’s a fact. So it’s gotta be true, right?

10. Dave says:

oops, forgot the “sarc” tag.

11. Greg says:

Actually sounds like a dubious proposition but good to see Nature managing to publish anything other than the usual AGW fodder.

12. Dave Wendt says:

I am reminded of this from 2009

Irrigated afforestation of the Sahara and Australian Outback to end global warming

Abstract
Each year, irrigated Saharan- and Australian-desert forests could sequester amounts of atmospheric CO2 at least equal to that from burning fossil fuels. Without any rain, to capture CO2 produced from gasoline requires adding about $1 to the per-gallon pump-price to cover irrigation costs, using reverse osmosis (RO), desalinated, sea water. Such mature technology is economically competitive with the currently favored, untested, power-plant Carbon Capture (and deep underground, or under-ocean) Sequestration (CCS). Afforestation sequesters CO2, mostly as easily stored wood, both from distributed sources (automotive, aviation, etc., that CCS cannot address) and from power plants. Climatological feasibility and sustainability of such irrigated forests, and their potential global impacts are explored using a general circulation model (GCM). Biogeophysical feedback is shown to stimulate considerable rainfall over these forests, reducing desalination and irrigation costs; economic value of marketed, renewable, forest biomass, further reduces costs; and separately, energy conservation also reduces the size of the required forests and therefore their total capital and operating costs. The few negative climate impacts outside of the forests are discussed, with caveats. If confirmed with other GCMs, such irrigated, subtropical afforestation probably provides the best, near-term route to complete control of green-house-gas-induced, global warming. At the time I first saw this i did some very rough back of the envelope engineering calcs which suggested the irrigation water could be acquired more frugally by collecting icebergs shed from Antarctic ice sheets, hauling them to coastal areas of Australia, Africa, and South America and using the melt water as a source. 13. Londo says: “I stopped reading at the assertion that in the first sentence that CO2 is the main driver of global climate change. I also note that there are no citations to support this claim.” Perhaps that was the price to pay to get the paper through toll gate known as peer review. If there is one unsupported claim that you probably can publish in any climate journal that’s probably it. 14. Rhoda R says: RayG says: Ray, it may be that that statement was the only way that this study could have been published. I suspect that if the man-made, developed countries driver for C02 is shot down there will be much less interest in government funding of AGW research. 15. David Ball says: As Don Easterbrook pointed out (do not recall the thread), a change from 300ppm to 400ppm is NOT a 30% increase in Co2, as alarmists constantly shout. RayG says: May 22, 2014 at 11:14 am This is the part of cli-sci they want you to believe is “settled”. It is not. 16. As many of the actual scientists who have been espousing the “CO2 as Devil” meme walk away from the bad science, this paper tries to reveal that humanity may not even be the cause of higher CO2 concentrations. Those to whom Warmism is a religion will pretend not to notice. 17. @michael hart says: May 22, 2014 at 11:16 am +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) was a NASA Earth System Science Pathfinder Project (ESSP) mission designed to make precise, time-dependent global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ So, why do these Californians name the thing an “Orbiting Carbon Observatory” ? Measuring “Carbon” and measuring “CO2” are two quite different things I should think. I guess it is just another Obamination of the new dictionary making the meaning of carbon and carbon dioxide interchangeable. So when does the “War on Carbon” begin to include carbon based life-forms? And these are scientists? Oops. I misspoke. Grant seeking scientists. Now it makes sense. Sorry I was so dense. (Age must be making me cynical). 18. Scott Scarborough says: No, Its a 33 1/3 % increase in Co2. 19. vboring says: @Dave Wendt It does seem obvious that afforestation is a better solution than coal plant CCS – it is a venture that comes with all kinds of side benefits. Forests are certainly more useful than filling the ground with lethal concentrations of CO2. But I’d skip the RO plants and just use giant evaporation ponds. Add enough water vapor to the atmosphere and it’ll eventually rain out somewhere. Put the forests there. Aside from the forest production, you also get sea salt and clouds, which is good news for albedo. As geoengineering experiments go, it wouldn’t be that different from when the US turned the great plains into irrigated cropland. 20. Eliza says: Its probably a discrete “first” way out for NATURE so none of the big AGW shots notice. Its a climb down and we will be seeing more and more of this until the “norm” will in fact be the skeptic position, The whole AGW scam will only completely disappear when the funding dries out. For example, it is highly unlikely that Labor if they win the next election in Australia will pick it up again since Abbot has basically cut off all funding for AGW research and propaganda. 21. David Ball says: Scott Scarborough says: May 22, 2014 at 11:54 am “No, Its a 33 1/3 % increase in Co2.” Firstly, have the courage to address me directly. Secondly, go back to math class. The clue is ppm. Get a clue. 22. richardscourtney says: Friends: I have lost count of the number of times during this month that I have been in an “I told you so” situation on WUWT. On May 1, 2014 at 7:33 am I wrote here saying The existing data is such that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration can be modeled as being entirely natural, entirely anthropogenic, or some combination of the two. And there is no data which resolves the matter. (ref. Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, ‘The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle’ E&E v16no2 (2005) ). Later that day, on May 1, 2014 at 2:37 pm in the same thread, I wrote here saying The existing observations are all consistent with the carbon cycle adjusting to a changed equilibrium to provide the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. And if the equilibrium state of the carbon cycle has changed then the cause of the rise in atmospheric CO2 is whatever caused the alteration to the equilibrium state. Perhaps the anthropogenic emission has altered the equilibrium state. And perhaps the temperature rise from the Little Ice Age (LIA) has altered the equilibrium state. And perhaps … etc.. So, I do not know what has caused the recent rise in in atmospheric CO2. In reality nobody knows the cause because the available data does not indicate the cause, but some people think they know the cause. I explained some of the evidence which refutes the Bern Model (i.e. the carbon cycle model used by the IPCC) during subsequent argument in that thread. The recent paper in Nature will become very important if it induces a true consideration of the carbon cycle which is sorely needed and over the years has been prompted without success by our paper, by Salby, by and etc. Richard 23. James Ard says: Funny that Londo and Rhoda were composing the same post at the same time regarding the price it takes to get a study into a journal these days. 24. Dave Wendt says: vboring says: May 22, 2014 at 11:56 am @Dave Wendt It does seem obvious that afforestation is a better solution than coal plant CCS – it is a venture that comes with all kinds of side benefits. Forests are certainly more useful than filling the ground with lethal concentrations of CO2. At the time it struck me that this would be a wonderful “Put up or shut up ” proposal to brace the Climate Catastrophists with i.e if you insist we must as a prudent “precaution” urgently address the increase in atmospheric CO2, we will stipulate to your alarmist notions and fully fund this proposal. In return all we ask is that you punt on the bird chopping windmills, worthless solar plants, ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels, carbon credits, carbon taxes, curly lightbulbs and the entire plethora of useless non solutions. We agree to provide you each with one way transport to your choice of either the Outback or the Sahara where you can plant and tend trees to your bleeding hearts content and kindly leave the rest of us completely the Hell alone for the duration. 25. Sierra Rayne says: @David Ball You claim the following: “As Don Easterbrook pointed out (do not recall the thread), a change from 300ppm to 400ppm is NOT a 30% increase in Co2, as alarmists constantly shout.” To Scott’s reply, you state: “Scott Scarborough says: May 22, 2014 at 11:54 am, “No, Its a 33 1/3 % increase in Co2.” Firstly, have the courage to address me directly. Secondly, go back to math class. The clue is ppm. Get a clue.” Scott is correct. And no, the units are absolutely irrelevant when calculating percent changes, as they cancel out when doing this basic math. Anyone who claims that “a change from 300ppm to 400ppm is NOT a 30% increase in Co2” is full of complete nonsense. If Easterbrook said that, he is entirely wrong. 26. We see little mention of the Andean Altiplano, where possibly the growth of some species is limited more by CO2 scarcity (partial pressure) than by temperature or rainfall. Current interpretation of mud cores from Lake Titicaca indicates no certain history of Holocene forestation, but oddly enough, introduced eucalyptus (from Australia, of course) has no trouble growing at 4000 meters. It has been in the region for over a century, and is used for firewood and pole wood. If I were concerned with carbon capture I would plant lots of trees up high. Of course eucalyptus introduces the potential for forest fires, as we have seen in Oakland and recently in Valparaiso. –AGF 27. SCheesman says: David Ball: “The clue is ppm. Get a clue.” OK, I give up. Give me a clue. I must need to go back to math class, because I can’t see how increasing anything from 300 to 400, whether ppm, ppb, ppt or (insert your units here), is anything but a 33 1/3% increase. Am I missing something obvious? Please show your math. • sraynesk says: Here is the math: (400 ppm-300 ppm)/300 ppm = 0.333 = 33.3% The units cancel in the numerator and denominator during the percent difference calculation. 28. David Ball says: 300/1,000,000 into 400/1,000,000 = ? 29. David Ball says: But 33 1/3% sounds much scarier. 30. jeff 5778 says: One can only hope that when the checkmate paper is written, it starts with the words “CO2 is the main driver of global climate change”. That ensures it being published. 31. more soylent green! says: Is it William S. Briggs who tallied a list of things caused by global warming? Is anybody keeping a list of everything missing from the climate models? 32. I’m sorry but claims that an increase from 300 to 400 in units of anything isn’t an increase of 33.3% are just fodder for those who claim WUWT is full of cranks. Stop it. The paper itself looks quite interesting and is yet another nail in the coffin of ‘the science is settled’. Strange days my friends, strange days. 33. SCheesman says: David Ball “300/1,000,000 into 400/1,000,000 = ?” >>>>>> A percentage or fractional change calculation requires a difference in the numerator between the final and initial state, as others above have noted. 34. David Ball says: Jonathan Abbott says: May 22, 2014 at 1:44 pm Show me the correct math then, Jonathan. sraynesk says: May 22, 2014 at 1:21 pm It is not “cancelled out”. 35. David Ball says: SCheesman says: May 22, 2014 at 1:46 pm Show the calculation. 36. Mr Ball, you’ve already been given it. I guess (perhaps not) that you’re going to tell me the correct answer is 0.01%, but that’s the difference, not the increase. 37. SCheesman says: David Ball “Show the calculation.” Google “percentage change calculation” and you will find, universally: % change = ((final – initial) / initial) * 100% 38. Chad Wozniak says: Worthless. 39. kenw says: look, get rid of the fraction (convert ppm to decimal) 0.0004 – 0.0003: is the difference, aka the change /0.0003: expressed as a % of the original value (the leading zeros cancel, or you can still them, it matters not) (4-3)/3 = (the change) / the original value = the % change 33.3% geeesh….. btw, this was done in Excel. Go tell Bill Gates he doesn’t know math…… 40. David Ball says: kenw says: May 22, 2014 at 2:33 pm The difference is 0.0001, which, expressed as a percentage is 0.01%. 41. José Tomás says: Nature and other papers have obviously noticed that CAGW has no future (they are not idiots), but you cannot backtrack and save face at the same time. So, expect lip service paid to CAGW for a long time, even while published articles go in the opposite direction. 42. SCheesman says: @David Ball May 22 at 2:41 pm The difference is 0.0001, which, expressed as a percentage is 0.01%. OK, I get it. You think a percentage change is exactly the same as the absolute difference in concentration times 100. I guess when you define your own terms you can get any answer you want. 43. As I stated already 0.01% is the difference between the two percentages, not the percentage increase. Atmospheric CO2 has increased by 33.3% from 0.03% to 0.04%. Anyone who is going to bother to read anything about global warming that contains any numbers at all will understand this. Claiming the percentage increase is 0.01% is fodder for those who criticise WUWT. 44. José Tomás says: Hey, I cannot believe that half of the comments about this post relate to the difference between “percentage” and “percentage points”. Of course when an opinion was supported by 40% of the population and now 60% of people support it, we have a “50% increase” in its support, AND / OR a “20 percentage points” increase of the same. C’mon, guys, let’s not spend time and energy in such things. Can we move on, now? 45. earwig42 says: Wayne Delbeke says: May 22, 2014 at 11:49 am (Age must be making me cynical). And in your case age has made you wise. 46. Quite aside from the ado about percentages, the biggest question that occurred to me reading the top article was: Huh? I plot: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1960/to:2015 and try to see some feature in this bland, monotonic curve that demands explanation. But I fail. Whatever mechanism they claim to have discovered doesn’t appear to be new, or rapidly varying, or exciting — given this data. Don’t get me wrong — I’m far from convinced that the Bern model is correct. But that’s because there is a near-infinity of possible explanatory models that can fit the data linked above, and there is absolutely no structure in the data that can be used to differentiate between them. That means one has to construct a teeter-totter argument on top of Bayesian priors and assumptions or independent observations (like this study) that, in the end, don’t really change the curve compared to other sets of assumptions that already do pretty well explaining it. This gives one little chance of falsifying (in a Bayesian sense, altering posterior probabilities) the assumptions of any one of the hypotheses. What is needed is for a nice, big bolus of CO_2 to be injected into the system all at once — a good sized meteor strike on a large coal field that burns all of the coal at once, for example. The closest we’ve come to that is the first Gulf War, when Iraq torched a huge set of oil wells which then burned unchecked for weeks. The really interesting thing is that the only real structure I can see in the plot above is that it flattens, very slightly, for almost a decade after the Gulf War. This sadly confounds any effort to try to learn something about the relaxation times of the underlying processes, at least if one reasonably assumes that there should be a POSITIVE direct response to burning roughly 800,000 cubic meters of oil a day for around 200 days — roughly 150 megatons of oil. Of course, this is still only about 1% of the annual consumption of oil and it was delivered on annual time scales, so it still doesn’t count as a proper bolus, so the dip is likely a coincidence (and due to unknown causes as I can’t imagine that consumption of carbon based fuels had anything like a mirroring flattening over that interval, and if anything temperatures were sharply rising towards the 1998 ENSO event). So I guess that the top article is “interesting”, but I don’t see it as being at all relevant to any assertions of future warming or lack thereof. rgb 47. David Ball says: Ok, I get it. You guys think a change from 0.03% to 0.04% is an increase of 33.3%. I guess when you define your own terms you can get any answer you want. 48. milodonharlani says: David Ball says: May 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm How about looking at it this way? The top two GHGs are H2O & CO2; the others occur in such minute quantities as not to matter for this purpose. Average concentration in the air of H2O is about 30,000 ppm or more; of CO2 now ~400, up from ~300 over roughly the past century. The GHG gain from 30,300 to 30,400 ppm equals 0.33%. Scary! 49. Mike Jonas says: David Ball – Please allow me to clear this up for you: At 0.03% of atmosphere, there are about 2,300Gt of CO2. At 0,04% of atmosphere, there are about 3,100Gt of CO2, ie, around 30% more. Note that the 30% relates to the “2,300Gt” base. An increase from 0.03% to 0,04% is similarly an increase of about 30%, because it relates to the “0,03%” base. Mathematical convention requires that you state explicitly if your comparison of two percentages relates to the original base, by using the term “percentage points” or explicitly referrring to the base. Thus, while an increase from 0.03% to 0,04% is an increase of around 30%, it can also be expressed as an increase of 0.01 percentage points, or as 0.01% of the atmosphere. 50. Mike Jonas says: Now, to get back to the real subject, I see no numbers. By how much does this arid-land growth change the 3,100Gt of atmospheric CO2? I suspect that is negligible. [Sorry about commas instead of dec pts in the prev post – my keyboard has now shrunk to the point where I can’t distinguish them. I think it’s caused by climate change.] 51. Latitude says: milodonharlani says: May 22, 2014 at 3:30 pm ==== I like that!….and it’s the most accurate way I’ve seen it yet 52. timg56 says: Has anyone researched the huge phytoplankton blooms off both coasts of S America that satellites recently discovered? I would think they might represent a significant carbon sink, as I believe they are estimated in the gigaton range. 53. michaelspj says: You can sign on to Nature’s “double blind review experiment”. That’s how we got published last month. 54. Bill Illis says: As CO2 rises, the viability of vegetation grows substantially, especially in dryer regions. Increased CO2 can actually turn a desert into a grassland and, if more precipitation also occurs along with increased CO2, a desert can turn into a forest. So, is that going to result in more CO2 sequestration by plants. Obviously yes. That is why the. Carbon uptake of plants, oceans and soils has increased from basically net Zero 100 years ago, to a net Carbon sink of 5.0 billion tons Carbon in recent years. If you look at the individual numbers for grassland, it appears grasses are actually one of the biggest net sinks, probably responsible for about 3 billion tons of the 5, not tropical forests as climate scientists have perpetuated a myth about. But this is what they do, so it is not surprising. A desert turning into grassland is one way we know vegetation is increasingly sinking Carbon. The deep dark soils of grassland and pasture tell a story. Why are they dark compared to sand? Carbon, not surprisingly. 55. David Ball says: Well, what does everyone who challenged me think of the responses by milodonharlani and Mike Jonas? If you think this isn’t an important point, you are woefully uninformed about the green propaganda in the MSM, the alarmists blogs, and the general public’s lack of knowledge and lack of information on this subject. It is you who are doing a disservice to this blog by capitulating on alarmist math. 56. BioBob says: Bill Illis says: May 22, 2014 at 5:32 pm The deep dark soils of grassland and pasture tell a story. Why are they dark compared to sand? Carbon, not surprisingly. ——————- Wouldn’t be a hoot if it turned out that intensive agriculture was primarily responsible for the increase in CO2 ? I’d like to see what happens when the warmist propose we stop farming. Pass the popcorn. 57. BioBob says: David Ball says: May 22, 2014 at 5:53 pm Well, what does everyone who challenged me think of the responses by milodonharlani and Mike Jonas? —————– I think we are doomed because of the massive increase in methane /sarc 58. David Ball says: Mike Jonas. Please post your source for (Gt) of Co2. Funny that you think you had to “clear this up for me”. 59. David Ball says: I have stated before that the estimates for Co2 uptake by the vast boreal forests of Canada and Russia have been grossly underestimated. 60. milodonharlani says: David Ball says: May 22, 2014 at 6:11 pm As I’ve often said, until climate “science” is able to buy a clue as to the carbon dioxide sinks that exist in nature, CACA will remain voodoo at best, & probably worse than voodoo. Fundamental research remains to be done in spades before GCMs have a chance of reflecting however dimly the mere shadow of reality. 61. BioBob says: milodonharlani says: May 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm : As I’ve often said, until climate “science” is able to buy a clue as to the carbon dioxide sinks that exist in nature, CACA will remain voodoo at best —————- Ain’t that the truth ! ALL sinks AND sources with numbers that have reasonable error bars. The numbers they use now, with perhaps the exception of fossil fuel sources, are “estimates” (extrusions of fundaments). 62. David Ball says: The difference is 0.0001, which, expressed as a percentage is 0.01%. This is a dazzlingly fallacious argument. This particular fallacy is known as equivocation. You’ve used “percentage” in a different way than is ordinarily understood by humans all over the planet. The true percentage is the difference compared to the original concentration, times one hundred. What you’ve done is express the difference as a percentage of 1.0, which is utterly meaningless. 63. Phil. says: David Ball says: May 22, 2014 at 5:53 pm Well, what does everyone who challenged me think of the responses by milodonharlani and Mike Jonas? That you’re incapable of performing elementary high school math! Here’s a problem for you: A substance is 99% water. Some water evaporates, leaving a substance that is 98% water. How much of the water evaporated? By your crazy math 1% of the water evaporated! See below for the correct answer. http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/view/63108.html 64. 4 eyes says: Anecdotal evidence follows. Last spring I went back to the Cooper Basin in central Australia for the first time in 15 years. Previously i worked there for 7 years. My first observation which i commented on to old colleagues still there was that there was more growth. Not just grasses which come and go with floods and droughts but shrubs and trees were lusher and proliferating. So if someone else concludes that there is CO sink out there I won’t disagree with them. 65. BioBob says: jorgekafkazar says: May 22, 2014 at 7:11 pm This is a dazzlingly fallacious argument. ————————- So is the purported importance of .04% of the atmosphere, which is really what this is really all about. As I said, everybody knows it’s really the 1800 parts per billion methane that has everybody worried because it’s 29 times more active than that nasty CO2. 66. BioBob says: LT says: May 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm CO2 growth rate appears to follow most temperature pulses —————— Yep, that is pretty much the several year old hypothesis of Murry Salby, temps and rain. See here for details: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=murry+salby 67. lee says: Yep, but Australia has always been a sink, not just because of recent rains. ‘Australia has 149 million hectares of forest. Of this, 147 million hectares is native forest, dominated by eucalypt (79%) and acacia (7%), and 1.82 million hectares is in plantations[i]. Grassland covers around 440 million hectares of land in Australia[ii]. ‘ ‘ Science tells us that the range for forests with continuous canopies is about 0.5-2 tonnes of carbon per year for each hectare. Grasslands may have a similar annual rate of net carbon uptake[i], but the long-term storage of carbon per hectare of grasslands is less than that over an average hectare in woody trees. ‘ http://www.chiefscientist.gov.au/2009/12/which-plants-store-more-carbon-in-australia-forests-or-grasses/ wiki says 2012 estimated emissions 430Mt CO2. 68. Mike Jonas says: David Ball – Source of the Gt of CO2 is http://cdiac.ornl.gov/pns/convert.html#3 1 ppm CO2 = 2.13 Gt C. 1 mole CO2 = 44.009 g CO2 = 12.011 g C. So 300ppm CO2 is 2.13 * (44.009 / 12.011) * 300 = 2,341 Gt CO2. Hopefully, my arithmetic was correct, but in any case the increase from 0.03% to 0.04% is correctly stated as about 30% and is also correctly stated as 0.01 percentage points. Pointing this out is not alarmist, it’s just trying to help, given that there has been a misunderstanding of mathematical convention. So please, everyone, a technicality like this does not make anyone “crazy” or “incapable” (such comments are decidedly unhelpful), and as David Ball was pointing out, 30% of a small amount is … an even smaller amount. 69. jauntycyclist says: they still looking for the missing heat…. in the oceans, in the deserts, in the forests, under the bed….co2 keeps rising but no heat as predicted and no 50m climate refugees. 70. richardscourtney says: milodonharlani: Your post at May 22, 2014 at 6:40 pm says As I’ve often said, until climate “science” is able to buy a clue as to the carbon dioxide sinks that exist in nature, CACA will remain voodoo at best, & probably worse than voodoo. Fundamental research remains to be done in spades before GCMs have a chance of reflecting however dimly the mere shadow of reality. YES!! I have been saying that in many places (e.g. WUWT, HI Conference, etc.) for many years. Please see my above post at May 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm which is here and follow its links. For now, I provide the CO2 sources and sinks which we considered to be most important – so we assessed – in our paper referenced in my above post. MECHANISMS OF THE CARBON CYCLE Short-term processes 1. Consumption of CO2 by photosynthesis that takes place in green plants on land. CO2 from the air and water from the soil are coupled to form carbohydrates. Oxygen is liberated. This process takes place mostly in spring and summer. A rough distinction can be made: 1a. The formation of leaves that are short lived (less than a year). 1b. The formation of tree branches and trunks, that are long lived (decades). 2. Production of CO2 by the metabolism of animals, and by the decomposition of vegetable matter by micro-organisms including those in the intestines of animals, whereby oxygen is consumed and water and CO2 (and some carbon monoxide and methane that will eventually be oxidised to CO2) are liberated. Again distinctions can be made: 2a. The decomposition of leaves, that takes place in autumn and continues well into the next winter, spring and summer. 2b. The decomposition of branches, trunks, etc. that typically has a delay of some decades after their formation. 2c. The metabolism of animals that goes on throughout the year. 3. Consumption of CO2 by absorption in cold ocean waters. Part of this is consumed by marine vegetation through photosynthesis. 4. Production of CO2 by desorption from warm ocean waters. Part of this may be the result of decomposition of organic debris. 5. Circulation of ocean waters from warm to cold zones, and vice versa, thus promoting processes 3 and 4. Longer-term processes 6. Formation of peat from dead leaves and branches (eventually leading to lignite and coal). 7. Erosion of silicate rocks, whereby carbonates are formed and silica is liberated. 8. Precipitation of calcium carbonate in the ocean, that sinks to the bottom, together with formation of corals and shells. Natural processes that add CO2 to the system 9. Production of CO2 from volcanoes (by eruption and gas leakage). 10. Natural forest fires, coal seam fires and peat fires. Anthropogenic processes that add CO2 to the system 11. Production of CO2 by burning of vegetation (“biomass”). 12. Production of CO2 by burning of fossil fuels (and by lime kilns). Several of these processes are rate dependant and several of them interact. And the rate constants are not known for most of these processes. Also, annual the rate of change to atmospheric CO2 (measured at Mauna Loa since 1958) shows small change with time (i.e. the recent rise in atmospheric CO23 concentration is approximately linear). As I said in my above post, we demonstrated that any one of three natural mechanisms in the carbon cycle alone can each be used to account for the observed rise. Our cited paper provides six such models with three of them assuming a significant anthropogenic contribution to the cause and the other three assuming no significant anthropogenic contribution to the cause. Each of the models matches the available empirical data without use of any ‘fiddle-factor’ such as the ‘5-year smoothing’ the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) uses to get its model (i.e. the Bern Model) to agree with the empirical data. So, if one of the six models of our paper is adopted then there is a 5:1 probability that the choice is wrong. And other models are probably also possible. And the six models each give a different indication of future atmospheric CO2 concentration for the same future anthropogenic emission of carbon dioxide. Data that fits all the possible causes is not evidence for the true cause. Data that only fits the true cause would be evidence of the true cause. But the above demonstrates that there is no data that only fits either an anthropogenic or a natural cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. Hence, the only factual statements that can be made on the true cause are (a) the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration may have an anthropogenic cause, or a natural cause, or some combination of anthropogenic and natural causes, but (b) there is no evidence that the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has a mostly anthropogenic cause or a mostly natural cause. Hence, it cannot be known what if any effect altering the anthropogenic emission of CO2 will have on the future atmospheric CO2 concentration. Robert Brown makes the same points in his post at May 22, 2014 at 3:09 pm here when he writes concerning the Nature paper reported in the above article Whatever mechanism they claim to have discovered doesn’t appear to be new, or rapidly varying, or exciting — given this data. Don’t get me wrong — I’m far from convinced that the Bern model is correct. But that’s because there is a near-infinity of possible explanatory models that can fit the data linked above, and there is absolutely no structure in the data that can be used to differentiate between them. And he concludes his post saying So I guess that the top article is “interesting”, but I don’t see it as being at all relevant to any assertions of future warming or lack thereof. which echoes the finding of our paper that I have here reported, and it is similar to the conclusion of my above post which said I explained some of the evidence which refutes the Bern Model (i.e. the carbon cycle model used by the IPCC) during subsequent argument in that thread. The recent paper in Nature will become very important if it induces a true consideration of the carbon cycle which is sorely needed and over the years has been prompted without success by our paper, by Salby, by and etc. Richard 71. richardscourtney says: LT: Your post at May 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm says (asks?) It has always bothered me why CO2 growth does not trend with emissions, using the woodfortrees app one can clearly see that CO2 growth rate appears to follow most temperature pulses. Unless I am doing something wrong. http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1978/mean:12/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/from:1978/derivative/mean:12/normalise Yes, CO2 changes follow temperature changes at all time scales. I refer you to the discussion in the previous thread which is linked from my first post in this thread. In that discussion I gave you this answer. And I draw your attention to this post which I provided in that thread and it includes {snip} the IPCC assertion that the atmospheric CO2 is an accumulation of excess anthropogenic CO2. That assertion is clearly not true. This is the CO2 data from Mauna Loa http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ The seasonal variation in each year is a slow rise indicating increase to atmospheric CO2 followed by a steep fall as sequestration of CO2 is greater than CO2 emission followed by a rapid reversal. There is no reduction to the rate of sequestration as the sequestering ‘sinks’ fill. Clearly, the sinks do not fill. The annual rise of any year is the residual of the seasonal variation of that year. The dynamics of the seasonal change is consistent with the carbon cycle adjusting to a new equilibrium. Adjustment of mechanisms with long rate constants provides the annual rise while adjustment of the mechanisms with very short rate constants provides the seasonal variation. I hope this answer is sufficient. Richard 72. David A says: RayG says: May 22, 2014 at 11:14 am I stopped reading at the assertion that in the first sentence that CO2 is the main driver of global climate change. I also note that there are no citations to support this claim. ==================================================== Well you missed some improvement in admitting a lack of knowledge, which in itself is rare in climate science. However I do understand your reaction, as I had a similar one. What climate change are they referring to? No observable increase in drought, floods, storms, hurricanes, and a steadily growing greening of the earth. The benefits of CO2 are known and observed, the harms are theoretical, and largely failed by the observations. 73. LT says: Thanks, Richard, one more question, so any rise or fall in in ocean sea surface temperatures will cause a short term change in atmospheric CO2 levels, but you are saying the biosphere will sequester that additional CO2? On the plot I provided, if you look at the 1998 El-Nino event you can see the warming trend begin and the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels follows within a few months. But when the El-Nino ends and sea surface temperatures drop a year or so later, CO2 levels fall to a level relative to the temperature drop. It would seem if the biosphere sequestered more CO2 when the levels were maximum during the peak of the El-Nino, they should have dropped to a lower level than they were before the El-Nino began. 74. rgbatduke says: Well, what does everyone who challenged me think of the responses by milodonharlani and Mike Jonas? If you think this isn’t an important point, you are woefully uninformed about the green propaganda in the MSM, the alarmists blogs, and the general public’s lack of knowledge and lack of information on this subject. It is you who are doing a disservice to this blog by capitulating on alarmist math. “Alarmist math”? Is that something like “Jewish physics”? Wow, again I read something that leaves me flabbergasted. Look, dude, language is this nifty thing used for communication. Trouble is, it only works when everybody speaks the same one. Mathematical language has the advantage of being comparatively independent of the nuances and vagaries of human language, but it still only works if everybody speaks the same one. So let’s see what the dictionaries (which were not secretly written by “Alarmists” decades ago just so they could be used to corrupt the minds of modern voters) say: http://www.wikihow.com/Calculate-Percentage-Increase http://www.mathsisfun.com/numbers/percentage-change.html http://www.mathgoodies.com/lessons/percent/change.html http://mathforum.org/library/drmath/sets/select/dm_percent_increase.html (note that this is around 20-25 separate links, all with the same answer) http://www.purplemath.com/modules/percntof.htm and I could go on, and on, and on, because this is literally high school algebra. Go find your high school algebra textbook, look this up, and you will find that “percent increase”, “percent decrease”, “percent change” are all given by: $\frac{X_f - X_i}{X_i} \times 100$ This usage is consistent in the press when speaking of non-climate things like taxes — if you search you can find e.g. articles describing the change in local tax rates from$36 per $100,000 of property valuation to$37 per $100,000 of property valuation as a 2.7% increase (do the math), not a 0.001% increase which is what you claim is the “non-alarmist” mathematically correct statement. It is perfectly easy to make statements in English — and mathematics — about not the “percent increase” which already has a precise meaning — but about the absolute change in concentration, or the absolute change in tax rates, or the absolute change in percentage in general. Oh, wait, this was in your high school math text too: http://www.math.umb.edu/~joan/MATHQ114/change.htm https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20100422104537AA9jWX4 http://www.acponline.org/clinical_information/journals_publications/ecp/janfeb00/primer.htm This last one is especially useful, as it was written for physicians who can easily be just as clueless as you appear to be. I quote a very relevant passage from the article: Both expressions have their place. Without any qualification, both statements (“reduced the risk by 1%” and “reduced the risk by 50%”) could be construed as representing either an absolute or relative difference. But most important, note the difference in “feel.” A statement of “reduced the risk by 1%” does feel like a smaller effect than “reduced the risk by 50%.” This is, of course, your objection, to the “feel” of public statements made without careful qualification of whether or not it is absolute or relative percentage that is being discussed. Indeed, this is highly important when (for example) examining outcomes using Bayes theorem, because a 50% change in relative risk in a disease that has a 0.0001% prevalence (that is, a change from 0.0001% to e.g. 0.00005%) is for most of us utterly ignorable without some good reason to think that we are in a subcategory of the population with a much higher prevalence. However, these errors are basically never made in published papers because the referees (should and usually do) catch them. Statements are made that are utterly unambiguous, often presenting the actual numbers as well as the computed percentage changes. This is absolutely true in climate science, where only complete idiots don’t know that CO_2 is a very tiny fraction of the total atmosphere and that oxygen itself isn’t even close to being 30% of the atmosphere let alone CO_2. This is basically high school science. So the “burning issue” you are worried about just doesn’t exist. No scientist or even moderately well educated lay person is going to do a wrong computation based on “30% increase” being interpreted — incorrectly — as meaning “going from 0.03% to 30.03%”. Only a complete idiot is going to make the double error of misusing the high school algebraic definition of percent increase and be so clueless about high school science that they think that there could be 30% CO_2 in an atmosphere that is only 20% O_2 to start with. Now, could you please stop using up valuable bandwidth arguing about something that a) doesn’t matter; and b) is without question incorrect. If you want to start a thread on the dialectic of climate change, by all means, write an article and submit it to Anthony, but don’t hijack a science thread to promote “denier doublethink” just because you want to pretend that an absolute change of 0.01% cannot possibly have any effect. Or, if you want to convince people that an absolute change of 0.01% cannot possibly have any effect, write a science article and attempt to prove it, but — if you manage to get Anthony to post it, which you won’t unless it is excruciatingly well documented and filled with really good math — be prepared for me and several others familiar with the science to eviscerate the article and probably in at least some cases make fun of you in the process. rgb 75. rgbatduke says: Mod help, please. Friggin’$#&@ closing tags. Could you please close the italic tag right after “all given by:” in the previous post.

rgb

[Done. ~ mod.]

76. wayne Job says:

As mentioned previously Australia is a carbon sink yet the idiots in the last government introduced a carbon tax and other stuff that costs a motza. The top of Australia receives enough rainfall in the monsoons to green the entire land mass. Green BS has prevented the capture of said water.

Most of the soil in inland desert Australia is of good quality just add water. Most of my long life I have advocated doing something to make our land blossom, for we do not lack sunshine.

Sunshine, water and CO2 is all it needs, our new government has a plan for a few hundred dams in our tropical north to create a bread basket for Asia, that would be a start.We have an abundance of water falling on our land, we just need to over ride the green crap.

If we do bloom our deserts we would welcome the CO2 output of our neighbours as fertiliser.

77. richardscourtney says:

LT:

Thankyou for your response at May 23, 2014 at 5:25 am in response to my attempt an answer for you here that was at May 23, 2014 at 12:39 am.

Thanks, Richard, one more question, so any rise or fall in in ocean sea surface temperatures will cause a short term change in atmospheric CO2 levels, but you are saying the biosphere will sequester that additional CO2? On the plot I provided, if you look at the 1998 El-Nino event you can see the warming trend begin and the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels follows within a few months. But when the El-Nino ends and sea surface temperatures drop a year or so later, CO2 levels fall to a level relative to the temperature drop. It would seem if the biosphere sequestered more CO2 when the levels were maximum during the peak of the El-Nino, they should have dropped to a lower level than they were before the El-Nino began.

.
It is not that simple.
And nobody understands the system behaviour sufficiently to make a confident assertion of what “should” happen in relation to ENSO or any other change.

Any change in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) will induce a change to atmospheric CO2 concentration. Each year the oceans net emit more than an order of magnitude more CO2 than the annual increase of CO2 in the air, and they sequester it back later in the year. Hence, at least in theory, this mechanism alone could induce a rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration which is an order of magnitude higher than has happened since 1958 (when CO2 measurements began at Mauna Loa).

However, any change to atmospheric CO2 concentration will vary all the other effects listed (and numbered) in my above post at May 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm which is here.

At higher air temperatures, the rates of processes 1, 2, 4 and 5 will increase and the rate of process 3 will decrease. Process 1 is strongly dependent on temperature, so its rate will vary strongly (maybe by a factor of 10) throughout the changing seasons.

The rates of processes 1, 3 and 4 are dependent on the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. The rates of processes 1 and 3 will increase with higher CO2 concentration, but the rate of process 4 will decrease.

The rate of process 1 has a complicated dependence on the atmospheric CO2 concentration. At higher concentrations at first there will be an increase that will probably be less than linear (with an “order” <1). But after some time, when more vegetation (more biomass) has been formed, the capacity for photosynthesis will have increased, resulting in a progressive increase of the consumption rate.

Processes 1 to 5 are obviously coupled by mass balances. Our paper (which discussed this) assessed the steady-state situation to be an oversimplification because there are two factors that will never be “steady”:
I. The removal of CO2 from the system, or its addition to the system.
II. External factors that are not constant and may influence the process rates, such as varying solar activity.

Modeling this system is a difficult because so little is known concerning the rate equations. However, some things can be stated from the empirical data.

At present the yearly increase of the anthropogenic emissions is approximately 0.1 GtC/year. The natural fluctuation of the excess consumption (i.e. consumption processes 1 and 3 minus production processes 2 and 4) is at least 6 ppmv (which corresponds to 12 GtC) in 4 months. This is more than 100 times the yearly increase of human production, which strongly suggests that the dynamics of the natural processes listed as 1-5 can cope easily with the human production of CO2. A serious disruption of the system may be expected when the rate of increase of the anthropogenic emissions becomes larger than the natural variations of CO2. But the above data indicates this is not possible.

The accumulation rate of CO2 in the atmosphere (1.5 ppmv/year which corresponds to 3 GtC/year) is equal to almost half the human emission (6.5 GtC/year). However, this does not mean that half the human emission accumulates in the atmosphere, as is often stated. There are several other and much larger CO2 flows in and out of the atmosphere. The total CO2 flow into the atmosphere is at least 156.5 GtC/year with 150 GtC/year of this being from natural origin and 6.5 GtC/year from human origin. So, on the average, 3/156.5 = ~2% of all emissions “accumulate”.

The above qualitative considerations suggest the carbon cycle cannot be very sensitive to relatively small disturbances such as the present anthropogenic emissions of CO2. However, the system could be quite sensitive to temperature. So, our paper considered how the carbon cycle would be disturbed if – for some reason – the temperature of the atmosphere were to rise, as it almost certainly did between 1880 and 1940 when there was an estimated average rise of 0.5 °C in average surface temperature.

Summarising the above, I don’t know the answer to your question because there is insufficient data to say, but I have explained the complexities which prevent anybody knowing the answer to your question without much more information. Much, much more knowledge of the carbon cycle needs to be acquired. (And I do know this response is not what you wanted; sorry.)

Richard

78. It is time now for some reprioritization of the dwindling federal research money from the flawed and observationally deviated CGMs & ECIMs to studies of all source and sinks of carbon dioxide in the Earth Atmosphere System. Need prioritization of the Carbon Cycle in research. N’est ce pas?

John

79. BioBob says:

richardscourtney says: May 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm
————————

Your list of processes, at least, left off geochemical processes that mobilize CO2 from bedrock & soils.

Complex interactions between geochemical & biological processes that mobilize CO2 from bedrock & soils. [biological production of acids, root action, etc.]

Both of these are likely associated / rate constrained by temperature and moisture.

I think it is quite interesting that CO2 measuring satellites show such significant CO2 production rates over rain forest.

80. richardscourtney says:

BioBob:

Thankyou for your comment at May 23, 2014 at 7:07 am on my post at May 22, 2014 at 11:59 pm.

Your list of processes, at least, left off geochemical processes that mobilize CO2 from bedrock & soils.

Yes, and there are also some others which I did not list.

As I said

For now, I provide the CO2 sources and sinks which we considered to be most important – so we assessed – in our paper referenced in my above post.

Subsequently, at May 23, 2014 at 6:20 am, I explained the complexity of interactions between the processes which I listed.

The important point – which I keep stating – is
The recent paper in Nature will become very important if it induces a true consideration of the carbon cycle which is sorely needed and over the years has been prompted without success by our paper, by Salby, by and etc..

Richard

81. richardscourtney says:

Friends:

I write to make a point which it seems is being overlooked by some participants in this thread; viz.
Flow rates are more important than “Sources” and Sinks” in the carbon cycle.

For example, deep ocean is not a “source” or “sink” of atmospheric CO2 concentration, but almost all the CO2 is in the deep ocean and, therefore, atmospheric CO2 concentration is affected by (and is probably determined by) the net rate and direction of flow between ocean surface layer and deep ocean.

Richard

82. BioBob says:

richardscourtney says: May 23, 2014 at 7:34 am
————–

Thanks for responding & helping with my failure of reading comprehension, heh.

I agree with your points (and their importance to this whole endeavor) except to ponder how anyone could determine which processes are most significant, given the sad state of pertinent attempts at measurement vs the breadth of measurements required. At any rate, I have always wondered about the vast global scale of acidic precipitation, both ‘natural’ (carbonic acid, etc) plus human induced, added to those geochemical processes acting on carbonate bedrock & soils hidden from obvious view. Yet carbon cycling studies call these effects minimal. This conclusion does not seem intuitive or likely to me simply because of the global scale of such processes and abundance of such substrates.

83. To the extent that some plant species’ growth may be limited by CO2 partial pressure and hence altitude (ignoring temperature and precipitation constraints), a 33% increase in CO2 concentrations allows that plants which formerly grew near sea level could now grow at 3000m, and plants which were limited to 2000m could now grow at 4000m. And tropical highlands present situations where freezes are rare at 4000m. –AGF

84. BioBob says:

richardscourtney says: May 23, 2014 at 7:56 am
almost all the CO2 is in the deep ocean

—————-
I agree flux rates are important when we are considering atmospheric CO2 concentration. However, water is a wonderful solvent and life can mobilize carbon from whatever source is available. Perhaps a significant amount of ‘CO2’ has been transformed into carbonate & other carbon containing sedimentary deposits versus that currently dissolved in ocean water ? And perhaps the abundance of such deposits act as a continual source and sink maintaining a certain equilibrium with ocean water and it’s contributors ? Rivers are said to be the kidneys of the world, most making their carbon deposits into the ocean.

85. If one leaves behind the intentionally constricted IPCC thinking and its beloved naïve carbon cycle cartoon (Bern Model of the carbon cycle), then a whole new research world on the natural sources and sinks of the carbon cycle lays bright and promising before the eyes of the independently skeptical researcher.

I suggest a very significant shift in federal research money from faulted GCMs & ECIMs to new focus on the carbon cycle’s natural sources and sinks. It seems new researchers must always have a strategy to ignore completely the journals that have shown consistent tendency toward cloaked and biased gatekeeping behaviors.

John

86. LT says:

Richard,
Actually this was very helpful, thank you for your time. I have been asking this question for a while and you are the only one that could provide any insight whatsoever. I think it can be said with confidence that global temperatures drive atmospheric CO2 levels at all time scales, and CO2 levels are a metric that define the activity of the biosphere. The next question is “is the ratio of atmospheric CO2 molecules trapped in a million year old air bubble from Antarctica the same as a sample taken from the top of mountain in Hawaii?” :)

87. BioBob says:

@ richardscourtney

I like this one:

all of the six models match the empirical data. However, they provide very different ‘projections’ of future atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration for the same assumed future anthropogenic emission. And other models are probably also possible.

The ability to model the carbon cycle in such a variety of ways means that according to the available data
(1) the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is not known,
(2) the future development of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration cannot be known, and
(3) any effect of future anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide on the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration cannot be known.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2759764/replies?c=13

That about sums it all up. Heh

88. richardscourtney says:

BioBob:

Thankyou for your interest. Indeed, I am pleased at the interest in carbon cycle studies in this thread: until now – excepting people taking sides between Ferdinand and Bart with me in the middle – few have expressed much interest in carbon cycle studies.

Perhaps the carbon cycle is an interest which has ‘reached its time’.

At May 23, 2014 at 8:07 am you discuss acidity within the carbon cycle. It is an interesting point.

For example. if the pH of the ocean surface layer reduced by an average of 0.1 then that change would be far too small for it to be observed, but that pH change would alter the equilibrium between ocean surface and air to provide an alteration of atmospheric CO2 greater than is claimed to have happened since the industrial revolution. And that would have happened whatever changes to anthropogenic and natural CO2 emissions had also happened.

Such a pH change could occur as a result of increased sulphate ions from deep ocean volcanism. And the sulphur-induced pH change of the ocean surface layer would not be significantly affected by the carbonate buffer.

Merely accounting sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2 would indicate nothing about such alterations to equilibria in the carbon cycle.

Richard

89. Chris4692 says:

Thanks for the CO2 discussion. I’ve only been able to skim, but have bookmarked and will read when I have time. Lots of time.

90. Ted Clayton says:

Atmospheric CO2 considerations suffer from the failure to take account of its status as a “trace” constituent of the gas mixture. Chemical & physical behavior of “trace” substances differs, often wildly, from the parameters of the same substance, as a macro-component of the mix.

The classic Lab 101 example is the drying of clothes. The modern clothes-dryer dries fabrics down to about 4-6% moisture. At that level of water-content, no further reduction of the moisture content can be had (under the same T-P), due to fundamental changes of the physical chemistry of water, at the reduced percentage.

CO2 is plainly highly sensitive to minor fluctuations of acid-base balance, among other considerations. The best technical analogy, is that of semiconductor physics. CO2 in the atmosphere is essentially a gas-phase “dopant”, in the semiconductor sense.

To obtain any given particular solid state semiconductor materiel behavior, requires extremely precise control of component mix ratio (esp. of the dopant).

Flip it around the other way – slight changes of dopant-levels lead to large changes of macro-behavior of the bulk mix.

My guess is, CO2 behavior will prove to diverge flamboyantly for many reasons, under fine-grained variations & gradations of the ambient-anything.

91. Sorry, this will be a short reply as I am travelling around and don´t have access to my files, will be back on Sunday…
In short, the article is about the year by year variability and doesn´t address the increasing trend of CO2, which still is near fully human. About half of the 9 GtC per year human emissions are absorbed by nature, about 1 GtC per year by the biosphere and 3.5 GtC per year by the oceans. Both are variable and heavily influenced by short term temperature variations, but in general that levels out in 2~3 years.

More details next Sunday…

92. BioBob says:

@ richardscourtney

Yes, virtually all rain is acidic and some very much so, and the composition is pretty well known for both human and natural components. Organic compounds are quite often acidic. I haven’t seen much about the action of either on mass balance / flux of CO2 in soils, and other surface & subsurface substrates, nor is it likely to be easily distinguishable from associated biological (perhaps geochemical as well) processes. While the areal unit flux is possibly small, the surface area with such effects is global in 3 dimensions.

It is certain that the warmists think the whole carbon cycle topic so critical to our understanding of CO2 and it’s importance or lack thereof, that they (warmists) have no problem going absolutely postal on anyone who actually dares to investigate. So I wish you great felicity and my support (which is worth absolutely nothing) in the face of what would appear to be certain scientific death [snort].

When the US gov’t AGW funding is withdrawn like it has been in OZ, we can get back to science and the warmists can return to 3-card-monty, ponzi & pyramid schemes, Nigerian letters, and other pastimes that their qualifications pertain.

93. Ferdinand Engelbeen says: [ … ]

It’s all good!

94. BioBob says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen says: May 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm
9 GtC
—————–
let me see, 6.5 Gtc they used to say versus 9 Gtc — why that’s a 38.5 % increase in such a short time – it can’t be more than a few years — we are certainly doomed. If not from CO2 then certainly by the effects of 1800 ppb methane, which is 29 times more effective as a greenhouse gas.

So what part of the estimated total global carbon cycle production is 9 Gtc ? 3% plus or minus 3% or perhaps 4% plus or minus 4%

95. milodonharlani says:

IMO science hasn’t yet accounted for all CO2 sinks, so can’t say how long it would take for the climate system to adjust to whatever human contribution has been through deforestation, agriculture, burning fossil fuels, etc. But IMO within at most several centuries atmospheric levels will return to whatever they would be based solely upon natural temperature. Humans probably won’t always perturb the CO2 cycle to the same extent as now, not that there’s a great deal wrong with what we’re doing at present.

96. rogerknights says:

rgbatduke says:
May 23, 2014 at 5:33 am
Mod help, please. Friggin’ \$#&@ closing tags. Could you please close the italic tag right after “all given by:” in the previous post.

Bump

97. richardscourtney says:

milodonharlani:

In your post at May 23, 2014 at 1:17 pm you say

Humans probably won’t always perturb the CO2 cycle to the same extent as now, not that there’s a great deal wrong with what we’re doing at present.

Humans may be disturbing the carbon cycle but there is no evidence that we are.

Some people wrongly assert that ice core data is such evidence, but that is refuted by stomata data.

Richard

98. Gunga Din says:

richardscourtney says:
May 22, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Friends:

I have lost count of the number of times during this month that I have been in an “I told you so” situation on WUWT.

==============================================================
There’s a saying, “It doesn’t matter who sings the song as long as the song gets sung.”
I’d add, “And the more that are singing, the more it keeps ringing.”

(OK. Maybe I should have left the original alone.8-)

99. BioBob says:

richardscourtney says: May 23, 2014 at 2:03 pm
Humans may be disturbing the carbon cycle but there is no evidence that we are.
——————————-
Humans may be disturbing the carbon cycle but there is no evidence that what we are doing has a significant global effect in that regard.

There …. I fixed it….heh.

100. Pamela Gray says:

A better set of questions:
One, combining all the molecules in the atmosphere that absorb and re-emit long wave infrared radiation, what is the current combined ppm compared to 50 years ago in both absolute and relative terms? Two, can that change result in a substantial change in heat that is measurable via land based sensors to the extent the change is greater than the standard instrument/human error of the measure? Three, can the water cycle slow down or speed up in response to that change such that temperature change is attenuated? Four, do reliable and valid observations (IE those that have continuity of data and maintained unchanged environment) over that time span demonstrate that hypothesis? And finally, five, if change has occurred has it been harmful, beneficial, or neutral?

101. Brian H says:

timg56 says:
May 22, 2014 at 5:10 pm

Has anyone researched the huge phytoplankton blooms off both coasts of S America that satellites recently discovered? I would think they might represent a significant carbon sink, as I believe they are estimated in the gigaton range.

It’s more funner than that, even. A recent NASA film featured here showed that daily, the CO2 absorbed by the rainforests in SA during the day matches that emitted at night. So the rainforests themselves, in situ, are “carbon neutral”. But the runoff from the major rivers fertilizes huge Atlantic phytoplankton blooms which supply much of the world’s oxygen.

102. richardscourtney says:

Gunga Din:

At May 23, 2014 at 2:15 pm in response to my having said

I have lost count of the number of times during this month that I have been in an “I told you so” situation on WUWT.

you say to me

There’s a saying, “It doesn’t matter who sings the song as long as the song gets sung.”

True, but my concern is that one is often forgiven for being wrong and rarely forgiven for being right.

Richard

103. richardscourtney says:

Pamela Gray:

re your questions at May 24, 2014 at 7:14 am.

I respectfully suggest that in the context of AGW, the most important question concerning the carbon cycle is:

Would atmospheric CO2 concentration be different in the absence of the anthropgenic CO2 emission and if so by how much?

Richard

104. Gunga Din says:

richardscourtney says:
May 24, 2014 at 10:00 am

you say to me

There’s a saying, “It doesn’t matter who sings the song as long as the song gets sung.”

True, but my concern is that one is often forgiven for being wrong and rarely forgiven for being right.

=============================================================
8-) True.
Thanks for not being silent.

105. LT says:

The next question is “is the ratio of atmospheric CO2 molecules trapped in a million year old air bubble from Antarctica the same as a sample taken from the top of mountain in Hawaii?”

It is: if you had samples taken at Mauna Loa over the course of ~560 years and make a time-weighted average, you would find the same CO2 level as in the air bubble enclosed in the 800,000 years old ice core of Dome C in Antarctica. This is proven for the short time -20 years- that there is an overlap between CO2 measurements at the South Pole and the high accumulation ice cores at Law Dome (1960-1980):

If properly extracted and handled, ice cores contain a wealth of information of the ancient atmosphere, inclusive CO2 levels. The only drawback is that the resolution is limited by the time the pores still are open to the atmosphere, allowing the mixing of the atmosphere in the pores over many years. More basic information about ice cores:
http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf

I have no idea why Richard prefers stomata data, these are proxies with their own biases and problems, while ice core CO2 levels still are unchanged (in most cases for Antarctic cores) over hundredthousands of years. If there are discrepancies between the two series, then the stomata data are certainly wrong…

106. BioBob says:
May 23, 2014 at 1:04 pm

let me see, 6.5 Gtc they used to say versus 9 Gtc

Humans emissions increased about every year in the past 50 years, while CO2 in the atmosphere increased with much year by year variability. But in each year of the past 50+ years, human emissions were larger than the increase in the atmosphere. Thus nature was a net, but variable sink for CO2 every year of the recent past, whatever or where these sinks might be:

where 1 ppmv = 2.12 GtC

107. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen:

The next question is “is the ratio of atmospheric CO2 molecules trapped in a million year old air bubble from Antarctica the same as a sample taken from the top of mountain in Hawaii?

at May 24, 2014 at 2:39 pm you say

It is: if you had samples taken at Mauna Loa over the course of ~560 years and make a time-weighted average, you would find the same CO2 level as in the air bubble enclosed in the 800,000 years old ice core of Dome C in Antarctica. This is proven for the short time -20 years- that there is an overlap between CO2 measurements at the South Pole and the high accumulation ice cores at Law Dome (1960-1980):

Say what!?
We don’t have “samples taken at Mauna Loa over the course of ~560 years” so we cannot make a “time-weighted average” over such a period.

Law Dome is rapid deposition ice and, therefore, is not indicative of the long term ice from e.g. EPICA. The CO2 data obtained from ice cores very, very different from the CO2 data obtained from real-time samples e.g. at Mauna Loa.

I gave some explanation of this in my post addressed to you on May 4, 2014 at 2:03 pm which is here.
I copy that post to here to save others needing to find it.

Ferdinand Engelbeen:
At May 4, 2014 at 1:37 pm you assert

CO2 levels in ice cores are direct measurements in ancient air bubbles enclosed in the ice, not proxy based on some derived metric. That is an advantage above any kind of proxy.

Nonsense!
Ice is NOT a sealed glass bottle.

All ice surface is coated in a liquid layer (i.e. water) at all temperatures down to -40°C (this is why ice is slippery). And ice crystals have a liquid coating. Gases dissolve in water and do so preferentially.

The firn takes decades to seal and will be dissolving gases as it does so. So, there is no reason to suppose the composition of air trapped in resulting ice will be representative of atmospheric composition, and there is good reason to suppose the trapped air will not have the same composition as the atmosphere.

And then there is movement of ionic solutions in liquid crystal surface layers of the resulting ice.

The ice core data and the stomata data are each indicative and each is useful, but neither is directly comparable to results of atmospheric measurements.

Richard

I here add that during the decades the firn takes to seal the air in the firn will be mixed by being pumped in and out by variations in atmospheric pressure (i.e. weather).

Also, please note my final sentence which says
The ice core data and the stomata data are each indicative and each is useful, but neither is directly comparable to results of atmospheric measurements.
That is my considered view, and I fail to understand how in your post I am answering you can misrepresent that as you do in your final paragraph where you say

I have no idea why Richard prefers stomata data, these are proxies with their own biases and problems, while ice core CO2 levels still are unchanged (in most cases for Antarctic cores) over hundredthousands of years. If there are discrepancies between the two series, then the stomata data are certainly wrong…

I accept the indications of high atmospheric CO2 concentration and rapid variation in the concentration indicated by the stomata data. The lower rates of change indicated by the ice core data are “certainly wrong” because they are smoothed by the decades of time for the firn to solidify and, therefore, the ice core data cannot indicate fluctuations that happened over a few decades.

And I accept the variations in atmospheric CO2 concentration indicated over centuries by the ice cores and which are not available as continuous time series from stomata data.

So,
I prefer the ice core data for some purposes which the stomata data cannot provide.
And
I prefer the stomata data for some purposes which the ice core data cannot provide.

Richard

108. @David Ball: You say:
“As Don Easterbrook pointed out (do not recall the thread), a change from 300ppm to 400ppm is NOT a 30% increase in Co2, as alarmists constantly shout.”

ARE YOU SERIOUS?

109. theBuckWheat says:

I am waiting for someone to declare what the optimum climate is supposed to be, and upon what criteria that was determined. Then I need to know where our climate is in comparison with this metric.

If we go only on averages, on average the land upon which my present house sits would be (again, on average) be under a thousand feet of ice. How much climate change does that imply, and imply more than once?

110. richardscourtney says:
May 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm

Richard, you are years behind the current knowledge of ice cores. As said and proven in the previous discussions, there is no liquid layer on the ice-air boundary at -40°C and certainly not inbetween the ice crystals. There is some theoretical migration in relative “warm” coastal ice cores like Law Dome and Siple Dome at around -20°C. All what that does is broadening the resolution from ~20 years to ~22 years at medium depth. That is all. but that doesn’t change the average over that time span. Thus if stomata data show average higher values over the same time span, then the stomata data are biased, which they always are, because they measure local CO2 over land, not global in priscine air as ice cores do.

Further, even the worst resolution ice cores would show the current 100+ increase of CO2 over 160 year. Which proves that it never happens before in the past 800,000 years. But more about that later…

111. Who or what is responsible for the recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere…

To begin with, the simplest answer that fits all observations in general is the right one. In this case: humans emit increasing amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere and the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere simply follows the emissions with 50-55% of the amounts emitted. More essential: human emissions fit all known observations like the mass balance, the increase of carbon in the ocean surface, in land vegetation, the 13C/12C ratio changes, the (pre-nuclear bomb tests) 14C/12C ratio changes, etc.

It is easy to find several alternative theories which fit the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. but they all fail one or more observations. Any theory that fails even one observation simply is wrong and must be discarded.

Take e.g. the theory of Richard May 23, 2014 at 9:26 am which says that an outbreak of some undersea volcanoes can alter the pH of the oceans, emitting lots of CO2 into the atmosphere. In theory entirely possible (and may have happened at some times in the past). Besides that the human contribution and part of the extra ocean emissions then must be absorbed by vegetation (which is too limited to do that), this is proven wrong:
– make a solution of soda or baking soda. That contains a lot of carbon in the form of carbonate and bicarbonate.
– add vinegar: lots of CO2 is bubbling up. That means that the total carbon in the solution is firmly reducing.
Thus IF there is a pH decrease of the oceans caused by the addition of acidic components, then the total amount of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) in the ocean surface will decrease. If the reduction of pH is the result of more dissolved CO2 out of the increase in the atmosphere, then DIC will increase over time. The latter is what happens. See:
http://www.biogeosciences.net/9/2509/2012/bg-9-2509-2012.pdf
Fig.5 shows an increase in DIC with a decreasing pH…
Observations don’t support Richard’s theory, thus the theory failed and should be discarded.

Next message will give my step by step reasoning why humans are responsible for the recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

112. Step by step, all based on observations…

Here the graphs of the past 113 years of human CO2 emissions (for the past decades based on fossil fuel sales -taxes- and burning efficiency), measurements in ice cores and firn (1900-1959) and direct measurements (1960-current) and temperature measurements (Hadcrut4 global):

Both CO2 emissions and increase in the atmosphere are paralleling each other with a slightly quadratic curve, while temperature is far more variable with an 1910-1945 increase, 1946-1975 flat, 1976-2000 increase, 2000-current flat. The trend of CO2 in the atmosphere simply follows the emissions and doesn’t follow the temperature trends, especially not for the flat periods. That translates in a very high correlation between CO2 increase in the atmosphere and human emissions:

The correlation with temperature is a lot less impressive:

Further, the short term reaction of CO2 on temperature changes is 4-5 ppmv/°C (seasonal, 2-3 years), up to 8 ppmv/°C (decades to multi-millennia). The latter is based on the Vostok and Dome C ice cores, which show a surprising fixed ratio between temperature and CO2 levels, where CO2 lags ~800 years during glacial-interglacial transitions and several thousands of years for the opposite transitions. This proves that there is no detectable migration in these ice cores, or the ratio between CO2 changes and temperature changes should fade away for each interglacial back 100 kyear in time… Further, even the medium resolution (~20 years) Law Dome ice core shows a similar change of CO2 in a few decades over the MWP-LIA transition:

A change of ~6 ppmv for a change of ~0.8°C with a lag of ~50 years. Again around 8 ppmv/°C.

The underlying point is that there is not more than 8 ppmv/°C change which means that the increase of CO2 since the Little Ice Age from around 1600 will give not more than 8 ppmv extra CO2 for a maximum 1°C increase in temperature. That is far from the over 100 ppmv increase we see over the past 160 years. All ice cores with sufficient resolution show the same increase over the recent past:

Then another interesting item: near all inorganic carbon has an isotopic ratio between 13C and 12C around the standard: near zero per mil δ13C. Near all organic carbon has much lower ratios: the average of land plants is around -24 per mil, coal also at -24 per mil, natural gas at -40 per mil, etc. The deep oceans are between zero and +1 per mil, the ocean surface at +1 to +5 per mil, volcanoes between -4 and +4 per mil, most chalk deposits also are around zero per mil.

The atmosphere was around -6.4 +/- 0.2 per mil all over the Holocene, until around 1850:

After 1850 there was a rapid decline in δ13C, both in the atmosphere and the ocean surface, which completely parallels the human emissions.
This completely refutes the oceans as the origin of the CO2 increase. because any substantial increase in contribution (either additional or circulating) from the oceans would increase the δ13C level of the atmosphere.

Rests the biosphere. Because it is not possible to see any difference in isotopic composition between fossil and recent organics, one need an alternative. That was found in the oxygen balance. Fossil fuel burning uses oxygen, Plant growth produces oxygen, but plant decay uses oxygen. The total balance shows that the biosphere as a whole (land + sea plants, microbes, insects, animals…) produce more oxygen than they use:
http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf
The consequence is that not only the biosphere is a net sink, but also that it is a net sink for preferably 12CO2, leaving relative more 13CO2 in the atmosphere. Thus neither the oceans or the biosphere are the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere or the rapid decline of the δ13C level.

At last, there was a lot of discussion about the variability in the rate of change of CO2 with temperature. According to some (Bart, Salby), the short term variability and the long term trend over the past decades to millennia are all natural and caused by the same processes. This is not the case. Have a look at the variability and trends on Wood for Trees since Mauna Loa started their CO2 measurements.
This shows that the rate of change of CO2 is directly the result of the rate of change of temperature. The small lag (pi/2 for most frequencies) is a matter of physics: it takes time for CO2 changes to react on temperature changes.

More important, it shows that there is no contribution of the rate of change of temperature, which has no trend at all, to the trend of the CO2 rate of change. The latter is entirely the result of another process (either human emissions or natural) that increases CO2 slightly quadratic in the atmosphere, resulting in a near linear trend in the rate of change of CO2. Wood for trees has not the human emissions in its database, but if you plot their rate of change, that is near double the rate of change of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere, also near linear.

Even more important, Mauna Loa also offers the δ13C observations since 1991. If the rate of change of CO2 goes up from the oceans, then the δ13C rate of change should go up synchronized. If the rate of change of CO2 is going up from vegetation, then the rate of change of δ13C should go down, as either less uptake (more remaining fossil CO2) or more decay will give lower δ13C in the atmosphere. Here the plot:

It may be clear from the extremes (1992 Pinatubo. 1998 El Niño) that the rate of change of CO2 is influenced by changes in (land) vegetation, as the δ13C and CO2 changes are opposite to each other.

Thus the short term (1-3 years) variation in rate of change of CO2 is largely similar to temperature changes, with the biosphere as main origin. But the long term trend of the biosphere is more CO2 uptake with higher temperatures (and increased CO2 pressure) in the atmosphere. That proves that the short term variability and the long term trend are NOT from the same processes as these have opposite results.

Conclusion: the short term variation in the rate of change of CO2 is entirely natural and mostly from decreased uptake (even production) of CO2 by (land) vegetation, while the long term trend is neither from the biosphere or the oceans, which both are net sinks for CO2.
There is only one conclusion possible that fits all observations:
Almost all of the recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere comes from human emissions.

113. @Ferdinand Engelbeen: I commend you for following the Science on this point. I look forward to the post. Thanks

114. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
May 25, 2014
Both CO2 emissions and increase in the atmosphere are paralleling each other with a slightly quadratic curve, while temperature is far more variable with an 1910-1945 increase, 1946-1975 flat, 1976-2000 increase, 2000-current flat. The trend of CO2 in the atmosphere simply follows the emissions and doesn’t follow the temperature trends, especially not for the flat periods. That translates in a very high correlation between CO2 increase in the atmosphere and human emissions:

The correlation with temperature is a lot less impressive:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/temp_co2.jpg

You have several contributions above; thank you for taking the time to develop them. I’ll try to address each separately to avoid further confusion.

The first plot referenced above is very clear, very compelling.
The second? Completely contradictory and very confusing! Perhaps breaking the “story” into three plots may clear things, perhaps re-thinking the second graphic entirely may help. Thus, if you chose to fix “cumulative emissions ppmv” as the x-axis, present the first plot, the second becomes “time (years) vs “cumulative emissions ppmv”, and the third becomes “Global temperature” vs “cumulative emissions ppmv” – PARTICULARLY important PRIOR to 1950!

More commonly, however, people have become used to seeing “time” on the x-axis. That would require re-plotting each chart of your argument with “time” horizontally.

I think what you thought you were presenting is “change in temperature per change in CO2 ppmv”. But, the link between “change in temperature per change in time” and “change in CO2 ppmv per change in time” is missing. (That is, there is no link at all between the two since the year 950 (and the year 1950!), which might have been your point, but – if so – it was not made by these two plots.)

115. David Ball says:

Okay, Let me ask this question. Which represents the actually situation better? A 30% increase or a 0.01% increase in Co2? What do you think the general public thinks when it sees a “30% increase in Co2”? The general public have no concept of the make-up of our atmosphere, never mind the proportional increase in any one of the gases. When the public sees “30% increase”, they are freaking out because they do not understand what that number actually represents. I have never met anyone in public who is actually aware that carbon dioxide makes up only 0.04% of our atmosphere. The alarmists play on this, and I get the impression that many here do not understand this either. You are talking to yourselves, and are insulated from the publics lack of knowledge on this subject.

And yes, warrenlb, I am serious. Why don’t you show me in term that I can understand.

My perspective is that the math is being used to grossly misrepresent the situation.

Robert Brown, thank for attempting to enlighten me, but I fear you completely missed my point.
Hell, the general public couldn’t tell you the difference between “carbon” and “carbon dioxide”.
Perhaps a saunter down to your local coffee shop to ask random people these questions. You will be shocked at the lack of information. “30%” is scientifically and mathematically accurate, but completely misleads.

116. RACookPE1978 says:
May 25, 2014 at 9:01 am

RAC, I am not sure what you mean what is going wrong with the plots…

The first plot is the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, the total emissions and the changes in temperature since 1900 all against time over the past 110+ years. No problem with that,

The second shows the correlation between total emissions and increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is a near perfect fit. The steps of both are what was plotted in the first graph for each year, but now comparing both variables against each other. From a process viewpoint, that shows that an increase of CO2 increases the sink rate in natural sinks (as can be expected for the oceans, but also for land vegetation). That both show a similar curve (and hence such a high correlation) is more or less coincidence because human emissions increase slightly quadratic, both the sink rate and the increase in the atmosphere also increase slightly quadratic. If there was no increase in emissions at all, the increase in the atmosphere would flatten and go assymptotic to a new equilibrium at some high(er) level.

The third shows the chaotic correlation between temperature and CO2 increase: a huge change in temperature of halve the scale (like what happened during the 1998 El Niño) has little effect on measured CO2 levels on short term, but the full change over 110+ years should give near 100 ppmv increase. The latter is near impossible, as 1°C temperature increase of the ocean surface gives a maximum of 17 ppmv extra CO2 in the atmosphere at equilibrium and no increase in temperature or exchange rate of the deep oceans is observed. And vegetation only grows harder with more CO2…

All I wanted to show is the difference in correlation between human emissions or temperature as possible causes of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere…

117. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen:

Thankyou for replying to my post at May 24, 2014 at 3:27 pm with your post at May 25, 2014 at 12:44 am. Your reply says in total

Richard, you are years behind the current knowledge of ice cores. As said and proven in the previous discussions, there is no liquid layer on the ice-air boundary at -40°C and certainly not inbetween the ice crystals. There is some theoretical migration in relative “warm” coastal ice cores like Law Dome and Siple Dome at around -20°C. All what that does is broadening the resolution from ~20 years to ~22 years at medium depth. That is all. but that doesn’t change the average over that time span. Thus if stomata data show average higher values over the same time span, then the stomata data are biased, which they always are, because they measure local CO2 over land, not global in priscine air as ice cores do.

Further, even the worst resolution ice cores would show the current 100+ increase of CO2 over 160 year. Which proves that it never happens before in the past 800,000 years. But more about that later…

Unfortunately your reply is – to be polite – misguided because claiming reality is other than it is does not help.

The surface of all water ice is coated with a disordered (i.e. liquid) layer at all temperatures down to -40°C and it is the reason why ice is slippery. This adherent liquid layer was discovered in the nineteenth century by Michael Faraday and the reasons for it were not discovered until the 1990s.

I know this property of water ice is an inconvenient truth for your assertions, but it is a property of ice in the real world.

And the firn does take decades to solidify to form the ice: the IPCC says the Vostock ice takes 83 years to seal. During that time the air will be mixed in the firn by variations in barometric pressure. The effect of this mixing alone provides an alteration to ice core data which is similar to an 83-year-running-average conducted on ice which sealed in individual years. Hence, the ice core data cannot be directly compared to Mauna Loa data (measurements at Mauna Loa began in 1958 which is less than 83 years).

The stomata are created in individual years. That is not a “bias” (unless you also wish to claim the Mauna Lopa data have the same “bias”).

And you make a daft assertion about stomata data when you write

they measure local CO2 over land, not global in priscine air as ice cores do.

.
The air exposed to the stomata is as “priscine” as that exposed to the ice cores. The stomata and ice cores are both “over land”. And neither is “global”.

You make another strange assertion when you write

Further, even the worst resolution ice cores would show the current 100+ increase of CO2 over 160 year. Which proves that it never happens before in the past 800,000 years.

No, that would only be true if the ice acted as a sealed container similar to e.g. a glass bottle. But the ice is not like that as is shown by several facts including the large difference between the age of a cored ice sample and the age of the CO2 it contains.

Ice cores are useful proxies, but they are NOT sample bottles.

Richard

118. richardscourtney says:
May 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm

The surface of all water ice is coated with a disordered (i.e. liquid) layer at all temperatures down to -40°C and it is the reason why ice is slippery.

The “liquid”-like layer of water molecules is down to -33°C, at that temperature not more than a few molecules thick. At -40°C it is zero. Inbetween the ice crystals there are no liquid layers at all even at less cold temperatures. Even pushing two ice balls together reforms the liquid-like layer of each into a more solid layer, making that removing both from each other needs far more force.

But that all is of no interest for the value of ice cores for historical CO2 levels. Of interest is if the CO2 levels changed over time either by selective rejection at closing time or by migration. The answer on the first item is no (but it is yes for oxygen and some other small molecules). The answer on the second item is: very small for “warm” coastal ice cores and unmeasurable for the colder inland ice cores over the full 800,000 years of Dome C.

the firn does take decades to solidify to form the ice

Depends of the accumulation rate: the high accumulation rate Law Dome ice cores have their bubbles sealed after ~40 years, where the average CO2 level is only 7 years older than at the atmosphere, and the bulk represents a spread (= resolution) of only 10 years, with a long, small tail of up to 40 years old CO2. The Vostok ice core needs hundreds of years to seal and the average resolution is ~600 years. For the Dome C ice core the resolution is ~560 years.

Hence, the ice core data cannot be directly compared to Mauna Loa data

As I have said before, the ice core data can be compared to the time weighted average of Mauna Loa data, if you take samples over the same time span as the resolution of the ice core. For the Law Dome ice cores, you only need 10 years of samples, which is sufficient to have 20 years of direct overlap between Mauna Loa (in fact South Pole) CO2 data and Law Dome ice core CO2 data. For the Dome C ice core, you need 560 years of samples. Thus the Mauna Loa data series is not long enough to give that answer.

The stomata are created in individual years. That is not a “bias” (unless you also wish to claim the Mauna Loa data have the same “bias”).

Stomata data are measured on leaves which grow on plants which grow by definition on land in a CO2 rich atmosphere which is average higher than “background”. The latter is measured over ice where no volcano or plant is present for thousands of km around. The average CO2 level on land can change with hundreds of ppmv within a day or even as monthly averages. Here the monthly CO2 averages for a semi-rural place (Giessen) which is comparable to many places where stomata samples are taken:

The stomata data bias can be compensated for by calibrating the stomata data to ice cores and direct measurements over the past century, but there is not the slightest knowledge how the local bias changed over previous centuries, due to land changes in the main wind direction…

No, that would only be true if the ice acted as a sealed container similar to e.g. a glass bottle. But the ice is not like that as is shown by several facts including the large difference between the age of a cored ice sample and the age of the CO2 it contains.

For CO2, the ice core IS a sealed container, as good as a glass bottle, if the temperature is low enough. The difference between the age of the ice and the average age of the enclosed air is a matter of open pores still in direct contact with the atmosphere while the snow accumulates. That makes that the average gas age is a lot younger than the surrounding ice. That has nothing to do with any migration after the bubbles are sealed…

119. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand:

Thankyou for your post at May 25, 2014 at 2:22 pm in response to my post (immediately above it) at May 25, 2014 at 12:26 pm.

Others can assess our arguments for themselves, but I point out that your acceptance of ice core data is similar – and is wrong for similar reasons – to the acceptance of tree ring data by Michaekl Mann.

I repeat
Ice cores are useful proxies, but they are NOT sample bottles
No sample obtained from one place provides a global indication.

Richard

120. richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2014 at 12:32 am

Richard, the scientific definition of a “proxy” is a variable which is correlated to another variable which may be used as an approximation of the second value. Ice cores CO2 thus is not a proxy, as that are direct measurements of the desired value, with a repeatability of +/- 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma). The only drawback is that these values are averaged over 10 to 600 years, depending of the local accumulation rate.
Stomata data are proxies, as the stomata density roughly (the repeatability of the stomata proxy is +/- 10 ppmv within a limited range) reflects the average local CO2 level over the previous growing season, thus is influenced by local variations of CO2 caused by plant growth/decay, landscape changes,… in the main wind direction. And other influenting factors like drought, wind direction, nutritients,… may have changed over the centuries.
Thus if there is a discrepancy between the average CO2 levels measured in ice cores over the resolution time span and calculated from stomata data over the same time span, then there is no way to prefer the stomata data over the ice core data.

No sample obtained from one place provides a global indication.

Come on Richard, you know better than that. In 95% of the atmosphere: over all oceans from the North Pole to the South Pole and over land in deserts or everywhere above a few hundred meters you can measure the same CO2 values within +/- 2% of full scale. Even the +/-2 % is largely seasonal in the NH and a matter of lag between where the main (human) sources are and the distribution time needed to reach altitudes and the other hemisphere. Here the yearly averages for several places:
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/co2_trends.jpg and

It doesn’t matter for any effect of CO2 (as far as there is an effect) on temperature if the local level in the bulk of the atmospheric column is 392 or 408 ppmv, as even a doubling from 280-560 ppmv only gives a theoretical increase of 0.9°C.

121. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand:

No. Your claim that ice cores take samples is wrong. And your repetition of your claim does not make it right.

As I said, if your claim were right then there would be no ice age/gas age difference. But there is.

And if ice cores provide ‘global’ data then stomata data must also be ‘global’ – and for the same reason – if as you say ice cores provide ‘global’ data because

In 95% of the atmosphere: over all oceans from the North Pole to the South Pole and over land in deserts or everywhere above a few hundred meters you can measure the same CO2 values within +/- 2% of full scale.

Richard

122. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand:

PS. Use whatever “theory” you want to assess the correlation of CO2 to temperature because I can give you other theories which provide different indications. Your theory cannot be used as confirmatory evidence of itself.

Richard

123. richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2014 at 3:32 am

Richard, as usual, you are trying to win a discussion by futilities about words. Ice cores are direct measurements of averaged global CO2 levels, where the averaging period depends of the snow accumulation rate. The ice age – gas age difference also depends of the accumulation rate, but there is not the slightest influence of that difference on what is measured in the gas bubbles.

Stomata data are not global, simply because they are taken near ground level over land where huge changes in CO2 level can be meausured within minutes. Compare the CO2 data for a few summer days at Giessen (semi-rural, mid-west Germany) with these from Barrow (Alaska), Mauna Loa and the South Pole (all unfiltered raw data):

Because most plants don’t grow a few hundred meters above ground, they don’t live in global CO2 levels. That is easily seen in regular flights measuring CO2 from ground level up to several km, here for the Rocky Mountains:

Above the inversion layer, the same values were measured as at Mauna Loa at 6,000 km distance.

I can give you other theories which provide different indications.

Yes, but the difference is that “my” theory fits all observations and I still haven’t seen any alternative theory that doesn’t fail one or more observations…

124. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen:

At May 26, 2014 at 7:10 am you assert

“my” theory fits all observations and I still haven’t seen any alternative theory that doesn’t fail one or more observations

That is wrong on both counts.

You persistently ignore information which completely falsifies your theory. For example, I refer you to my above post at May 23, 2014 at 12:39 am which is here here. It explains information which I have repeatedly put to you and you have studiously ignored; viz.

This is the CO2 data from Mauna Loa
http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
The seasonal variation in each year is a slow rise indicating increase to atmospheric CO2 followed by a steep fall as sequestration of CO2 is greater than CO2 emission followed by a rapid reversal. There is no reduction to the rate of sequestration as the sequestering ‘sinks’ fill. Clearly, the sinks do not fill.

So, your theory is directly refuted by observations (the sinks are observed to not fill) and requires no interpretation from the observations.

None of the other explanations is directly refuted by observations.

Richard

125. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen:

I have thought long and hard before answering this point in your post at May 26, 2014 at 7:10 am .

You offensively claim

Richard, as usual, you are trying to win a discussion by futilities about words.

That is pschological projection by you. I don’t do that, but you do. For example, in that same post you say

Stomata data are not global, simply because they are taken near ground level over land where huge changes in CO2 level can be meausured within minutes. Compare the CO2 data for a few summer days at Giessen (semi-rural, mid-west Germany) with these from Barrow (Alaska), Mauna Loa and the South Pole (all unfiltered raw data):
http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/giessen_background.jpg

Well, ice cores form at ground level and they cannot record variations because they take decades to form. Stomata data also do not record such variations because they take months to form.

In reality, those variations indicate that – as I said – an indication from one site cannot be a “global” indication.

Indeed, you admit that temperature has some effect on atmospheric CO2 concentration so – if a single site provides “global” CO2 data – then that site would provide a “global” temperature indication.

You are choosing the proxy data which fits what you want to be true and saying other proxy data must be adjusted to match it (with no reason for the adjustment except what you want to be true).

Richard

126. richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2014 at 7:28 am

Richard, as repeatedly said to you: the seasonal swings and the long-term trend are different processes. The seasonal swings are the direct result of temperature changes on plants: growing new leaves and wood in spring-summer-fall and decaying the same leaves in fall-winter-spring. That are huge changes in a few months which are repeated each year. The change in total carbon is ~60 GtC for each direction (~120 GtC if you include the day/night respiration/uptake of CO2). The net result of that change is currently ~1 GtC/year more uptake than decay. That is caused by the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere, which is entirely the result of the 9 GtC/year extra CO2 humans emit. The increase in uptake is near independent of the temperature trend.
Thus seasons = temperature influenced (as good as the 2-3 years variability in rate of change)
Extra uptake = pressure influenced.
Different causes, different effects…

127. richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2014 at 7:42 am

Well, ice cores form at ground level and they cannot record variations because they take decades to form.

Ice cores are formed at ground level in an (cold) desert: there are no local sources or sinks of CO2 of any substantial influence and CO2 levels measured at the South Pole or the edge of the ice cap or at Mauna Loa or Barrow near the North Pole are within a few ppmv. The high resolution ice cores can’t measure cyclic variations of less than their resolution, but even the 560 years resolution Dome C ice core would show the current change in CO2 over 160 years, even if that was part of a 640 year cycle and not a one-sided increase, as it certainly is.

Still ice cores show global CO2 levels, but averaged over the resolution period, while stomata data show local (partly corrected) CO2 levels, but only averaged over the necessary amount of sample.
Thus while stomata data show changes over a shorter period than ice cores, the absolute figures of both average and changes should be taken with a grain of salt.

you admit that temperature has some effect on atmospheric CO2 concentration so – if a single site provides “global” CO2 data – then that site would provide a “global” temperature indication.

That was true for the pre-Industrial past and very general: there was a 8 ppmv/°C ratio between temperature and CO2 levels, but with a variable lag of several decades to several millennia. That isn’t true anymore since humans emitted enough CO2 to disturb that dynamic equilibrium process…

128. Scott Scarborough says:

No, Its a 33 1/3 % increase in Co2.

May I add to the fun? Thanx:

Atmospheric CO2 has risen from ≈3 parts in 10,000, to 4 parts in 10,000. Chicken Little would think that means the sky is falling, but it’s only an acorn.

+++++++++++++++++++++++

Ferdinand says:

…there was a 8 ppmv/°C ratio between temperature and CO2 levels, but with a variable lag of several decades to several millennia. That isn’t true anymore since humans emitted enough CO2 to disturb that dynamic equilibrium process…

…and nothing happened. There is no indication of any harm from the added CO2. Therefore, the default position, the Occam’s Razor conclusion, is that CO2 is “harmless”.

CO2 is also quite beneficial. Increased agricultural production and the overall greening of the planet are due to rising CO2 emissions. Ferdinand, you should emphasize these points more in your conclusions. Otherwise, when you quote big numbers like gigatons, folks like warrenlb start running around in circles, clucking that the sky is falling.

129. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
May 26, 2014 at 8:27 am

We have bounced around several different concepts on this thread, but while we have your attention on CO2, let me ask you to apply your background on CO2 to the following …

CO2 is considered one of several greenhouse gases.

1. Over the years since 1800, what is the consensus plot of CO2 ppmv vs time, and what is the plot of man’s releases of CO2 over that same period? You have the far shorter plot above, but that does NOT address the apparent global warming between 1800 and 1945.

2. If relative humidity is 50% in today’s current conditions of 400 ppmv CO2, what are the ground level equivalent ppmv of the so-called greenhouse gasses at STP in winter (lowest total humidity) and summer (highest actual water vapor concentration)?

3. One writer above claims that CO2 becomes more and more important in its greenhouse gas radiation controls as altitude increases because the ground-level water vapor disappears as the air temperature decreases towards the stratosphere. If so, what are actual greenhouse gas concentrations at 30,000 ft, 50,000 feet, and 120,000 feet altitude?

130. RACookPE1978 says:
May 26, 2014 at 10:02 am

CO2 levels over the past 1,000 years can be derived from ice cores, where the resolution is ~10 years for the past 150 years and ~20 years for the past 1,000 years:

and accurate measurements at the South Pole and Mauna Loa since 1958.
For human emissions we have estimates since about 1751 and more accurate calculations, based on fossil fuel sales since a few decades. The 1900-current plot was derived from figures at:
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/
I fully agree (and so does the IPCC) that the warming 1850-1945 was entirely natural. The problem is that the climate models all use CO2 as the sole cause of the increase in temperature after 1945. They did run into troubles for the period 1945-1975 where there was a slight cooling with increasing CO2, but used the cooling effect of “human aerosols” as scapegoat. The problem now is repeated with the 2000-current “pauze” despite record CO2 increase and levels and the scapegoat doesn’t work anymore this time. Simple conclusion: climate models have no clue what the influence is of the natural variability on temperature, thus can’t know the influence of more CO2…

I have no idea, but there is a nice tool on the Net which shows you the net effect of different scenario’s: Modtran. It is based on Hitran, a very accurate lab line by line absorption measurement series for different GHG mixtures in air at different air pressures. The Hitran model then was reduced in size and increased speed for Modtran at a slight cost of resolution:
http://forecast.uchicago.edu/modtran.html
The difference between summer and winter in the mid-latitudes outgoing IR is ~52 W/m2 for clear skies, but that is mostly the result of the colder surface temperatures in winter. What I don’t have is the incoming (solar) energy for the same band, which would show the difference between energy ins and outs.

Water vapour indeed drops rapidely with height, while there is little change of CO2 with height, only a lag of the increase with altitude (and latitude, mainly between NH and SH).
Here a few profiles:

131. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

Simple conclusion: climate models have no clue what the influence is of the natural variability on temperature, thus can’t know the influence of more CO2…

Thank you. The Null Hypothesis is relevant here. Since there is nothing unusual or unprecedented happening now compared with before the 1940’s, and since all current climate parameters have been exceeded in the past, CO2 cannot have the claimed effect.

Phil Jones shows that step changes since the LIA have been almost identical, despite big differences in CO2.

CO2 simply does not have the claimed effect. It probably causes some small warming, but a slightly warmer planet is beneficial. And if the truth were told about global temperatures, we would probably be observing a very slight cooling.

At current and projected concentrations, more CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. That is my testable hypothesis. It has never been falsified, but I would be just as happy if you falsified it because then we would have learned something more.

132. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
May 26, 2014 at 12:06 pm

Thank you sir. Files and data saved.

133. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen:

Your assertion-filled and evidence-empty post at May 26, 2014 at 8:27 am includes this gem

That isn’t true anymore since humans emitted enough CO2 to disturb that dynamic equilibrium process…

Perhaps that is right and perhaps it is not.

Please provide evidence that “humans emitted enough CO2 to disturb that dynamic equilibrium process”.
And
Please say the date and say how you know the date “since” we did it.

Richard

134. richardscourtney says:
May 26, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Please provide evidence that “humans emitted enough CO2 to disturb that dynamic equilibrium process”.

the same for the CH4 levels:

The same for the 13C/12C ratio:

Human emissions since 1751 are estimated twice the increase in the atmosphere and firmly confirmed in the last decades. But only since ~1850 one can see the human “signal” getting above the natural noise.

Of course, one can make any theory that fits the increase of CO2 since ~1850. But that should also fit all other observations ánd remove all human emissions at the same time. I am still waiting for such a theory…

Richard, you can be as naive as you want, but ignoring all evidence because you don’t like the result is what we can expect from CAGW people. Sceptics should do better than that.

As Dr. Spencer said: saying that humans are (probably) not the cause of the recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is one of the 10 worst arguments you can use in a debate with others.

135. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand:

I asked you to justify your assertion that “humans emitted enough CO2 to disturb that dynamic equilibrium process” and you have replied at May 26, 2014 at 10:54 pm.

For example, you say this.

Human emissions since 1751 are estimated twice the increase in the atmosphere and firmly confirmed in the last decades. But only since ~1850 one can see the human “signal” getting above the natural noise.

What “signal” and how is it seen “above the natural noise”? You don’t say.
And what is that “noise”?

The natural emission is two orders of magnitude more than the anthropogenic emission.
Why was the “dynamic equilibrium process” not disturbed by natural variations in CO2 emissions If it is disturbed by such a tiny addition as the anthropogenic emission?

Please note that answers to these questions are not affected by the relative magnitudes of the anthropogenic emissions and the increase in the atmosphere since 1751 (unless you can show otherwise).

And having made those evidence-free assertions you say to me

Richard, you can be as naive as you want, but ignoring all evidence because you don’t like the result is what we can expect from CAGW people. Sceptics should do better than that.

As Dr. Spencer said: saying that humans are (probably) not the cause of the recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is one of the 10 worst arguments you can use in a debate with others.

I am NOT ignoring any evidence:
I am asking you to provide evidence to support your assertions and you are failing to provide any.

THERE IS NO “RESULT” FOR ME TO LIKE OR DISLIKE.
I don’t know if the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration has a natural cause, an anthropogenic cause, or some combination of natural and anthropogenic causes: but I want to know. You believe the cause is anthropogenic and ignore all information which refutes your belief. And I am not so naïve as to accept your belief without evidence (especially when you fail to provide any evidence).

And – as I said – I want to know the cause of the rise. Achievement of that knowledge cannot be helped by opinions concerning expedient arguments to further the sceptic cause.

Richard

136. richardscourtney says:
May 27, 2014 at 12:56 am

Richard, I know, it is at no avail to have any discussion with you, because you simply don’t accept any argument that does need you to admit that humans are the cause of the recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

In short for those still listening:
– over the past 800,000 years the current increase in CO2 and CH4 and N2O and the decrease in 13C/12C ratio is unprecedented, even in the worst resolution ice cores.
– natural CO2 variability over the same 800,000 years is 8 ppmv/°C (resolution 560 years), 8 ppmv/°C over the MWP-LIA transition (resolution 20 years), 4-5 ppmv/°C over year-by-year variability and 5 ppmv/°C over the seasons. But we see a change of over 100 ppmv/°C over the past 160 years…
– natural variability of the 13C/12C ratio is +/- 0.2 per mil over the Holocene and similar changes for a glacial-interglacial transition. Current drop since ~1850 is 1.6 per mil…

Of course that is not 100% “proof” that humans are the cause, but if all indications point in the same direction and there are no contradictions, then the best fit is probably the real cause. And you have to come with much better evidence to overturn the above knowledge.

137. David Ball says:

dbstealey says:
May 26, 2014 at 9:30 am

Loved the Chicken Little/ acorn line !!

Saying that Co2 has increased 30% is misleading at best. It does not represent the reality at all. Does it? So where is warrenlb to correct us? Why was everyone jumping on me when I am only trying to show how the math is being used to “up the scary factor”. Where are my challengers now? Do they really think 30% increase in Co2 is representative or describes the reality in any way? Isn’t science supposed to be descriptive and representative?

Are people so easily mislead? Rhetorical question, because clearly, the answer is yes.

138. Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
May 27, 2014 at 5:15 am

“. . .

In short for those still listening:

. . .

Of course that is not 100% “proof” that humans are the cause, but if all indications point in the same direction and there are no contradictions, then the best fit is probably the real cause. And you have to come with much better evidence to overturn the above knowledge.”

– – – – – – – – – –

Ferdinand Engelbeen,

I am still listening.

An observational database shows that Man’s burning of fossil fuels puts its CO2 inside the boundaries of the Atmosphere Subsystem (AS) of the Earth-Atmosphere System (EAS). I have not met a person who says that is not so. This CO2 put into the boundaries of the AS by man is not based on observation from Mauna Loa measurements of atmospheric CO2, it is based on records of fossil fuels shipped, sold, taxes on sales and kilowatts of power produced (etc.).

There is no interpretation needed of that situation just described in the preceding paragraph. But the Mauna Loa atmospheric CO2 data needs interpretation as to causes of its time series behavior (keeping separate the subject of ice core proxies of atmospheric CO2).

Given the nascent state of knowledge of the carbon cycle within the EAS, it appears to me that multiple plausible interpretations exist about possible significant causes of Mauna Loa CO2 time series observations. Man’s fossil fuel burning is one of the plausible candidates for cause of some changes seen in the Mauna Loa CO2 time series.

I think science will fill the void in carbon cycle knowledge. Am I overly optimistic about scientific progress?

I appreciate your openness to all the possible causes to Mauna Loa time series observations in the face of nascent carbon cycle knowledge.

John

139. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen:

You start your post at May 27, 2014 at 5:15 am with falsehood about me which – in reality – does apply to you.

You then provide a list of facts (some of which are dubious) which you admit

Of course that is not 100% “proof” that humans are the cause, but if all indications point in the same direction and there are no contradictions, then the best fit is probably the real cause. And you have to come with much better evidence to overturn the above knowledge.

I do not need to “overturn” anything because you have not shown – and nobody can show – that any of those facts is evidence of an anthropogenic cause.

Ferdinand, you are the one making assertions, not me.
You are the one failing to provide any explanation of and/or justification for your assertions.

I only have a duty to doubt your assertions unless and until you provide some evidence to support your assertions.

Richard

140. milodonharlani says:

Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
May 27, 2014 at 5:15 am

IMO, the Eemian, which was warmer & lasted longer than the Holocene, shows what nature on its own can produce in the way of CO2 concentration during an interglacial. Studies both of ice cores & leaf stomata indicate a possible upper limit to Eemian CO2 of around 330 ppm, IIRC. Dunno how reliable these studies might be.

141. Ferdinand,

I keep asking, but the answers you give do not respond to my question. You say that human emissions are the reason for the rise in CO2. That was not my question.

What I want to know is this: can you find any testable, measurable data showing any global harm caused specifically by the rise in anthropogenic CO2?

If you can find any scientific evidence showing global harm, or global damage, that is specifically attributable to the rise in human CO2 emissions, then that is reason enough to try and find a solution.

I have asked that question a score of times, but so far no one has ever posted any evidence of global harm due to CO2.

If CO2 causes no harm, then CO2 is ipso facto ‘harmless’, and the carbon scare is based on a false alarm.

As a matter of fact, the rise in CO2 is measurably beneficial to the biosphere, which leads to my repeatedly posted, testable hypothesis:

At current and projected concentrations, CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. More is better.

Please falsify that, if you can.

142. John Whitman says:
May 27, 2014 at 8:42 am

The above article is one of the many steps to unravel parts of the carbon cycle. But while these are of interest, the large contributions are already roughly known:
– a ~90 GtC exchange between oceans and the atmosphere of which ~50 GtC seasonal in and out the (mid-latitude) ocean surface and ~50 GtC continuous between the equatorial upwelling places and the sinks at the poles.
– a ~60 GtC seasonal exchange between the biosphere and the atmosphere, mainly due to the (mid- to high-latitude NH) forests.

These rough estimates are based on oxygen and δ13C balances and the residence time for CO2 in the atmosphere.

Besides that, we have the mass balance: currently 9 GtC in from humans, 4.5 GtC left in the atmosphere = 4.5 GtC absorbed by nature as a whole.
Which makes that the natural carbon balance was negative for over 50 years:

be it quite variable. But even so: the natural variability is less than 2% of the the natural in/out fluxes, which is remarkable low for natural processes. And the natural variability is less than halve the human contribution…
Even if the carbon cycle was double the estimates (which isn’t the case, as that would halve the residence time), that doesn’t change the net result, which is the difference in calculated emissions and what is measured as increase in the atmosphere.

From the oxygen balance we know that the biosphere as a whole is a net sink for CO2 of ~1 GtC/year since ~1990.
From buffer chemistry (and measurements) we know that the ocean surface layer is a net sink of ~0.5 GtC/year.
The rest of ~3 GtC/years is going into the deep oceans, as all known other possible sinks are either too small or too slow.

Thus in light of the mass balance and all other observations, the only explanation that fits all observations is the increase in human emissions…

143. dbstealey says:
May 27, 2014 at 10:16 am

At current and projected concentrations, CO2 is harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere. More is better.
Please falsify that, if you can.

Because I agree with that, I don’t see any reason to falsify that!
The more reason that I regret that so many sceptics insist that humans are/may not be the cause of the increase. That is a bad argument if the main discussion must be about the very low impact of CO2 on temperature and its benefices for the biosphere…

144. richardscourtney says:

milodonharlani:

re your post at May 27, 2014 at 9:26 am.

I think this blog provides a good summary of the stomata indications
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html
and the links to its referenced sources are useful for more detailed information.

Richard

145. Ferdinand says:

Because I agree with that, I don’t see any reason to falsify that!

Thanks.

But the way the Scientific Method works, everyone [including me] must try to falsify the hypothesis.

I have tried [really], but failed. It seems that no one is able to falsify the hypothesis that CO2, at current and projected levels, is harmless, and beneficial to the planet.

146. richardscourtney says:
May 27, 2014 at 1:45 pm

I think this blog provides a good summary of the stomata indications
http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html

There are several factual errors in that blog, but the main problem is already in the second figure, where the remark is put: “ice cores understate CO2 average and CO2 variability”. While the latter may be true, the average in ice cores is not changed by the averaging over the resolution period. Thus the sentence should be: stomata data overstate the CO2 average but may give a better idea of the CO2 variability. Even that may be overstated, as that is local variability, not global.

The stomata data are in trunks of over 1,000 years, the Dome C ice core has a resolution of 560 years. Not enough to see the faster variations, but by far enough to compare the averages.

Anyway for the latest 1,000 years we have better resolution ice cores (~20 years) which can rival with the stomata data for resolution. Even for the full Holocene we have the Taylor Dome ice core with a resolution of ~40 years.

Further, the comments on ice cores on that blog are – gently said – completely outdated…

Further even the stomata people have looked for other influences on the stomata data than CO2:
The second comment is of interest.
Water has as much influence as CO2 on the stomata data for some species:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/016819238490090X

A lot of information about the stomata (index) data can be found at:
http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/RPP.pdf
with this intriguing sentence:
A common explanation for this CO2 `ceiling’ phenomenon [note less response of stomata density or index] is that plants today have not experienced elevated CO2 levels (350+ ppmv) for at least the entire Quaternary and possibly longer

147. richardscourtney says:

Ferdinand:

Please try to understand that showing something is possible is NOT the same as showing it is true.

It is possible that human activities are the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration. I am seeking information which shows that possibility is or is not true in part or in whole.

The nearest to such information in this thread was provided by milodonharlani whose post at May 27, 2014 at 9:26 am says

Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
May 27, 2014 at 5:15 am

IMO, the Eemian, which was warmer & lasted longer than the Holocene, shows what nature on its own can produce in the way of CO2 concentration during an interglacial. Studies both of ice cores & leaf stomata indicate a possible upper limit to Eemian CO2 of around 330 ppm, IIRC. Dunno how reliable these studies might be.

Assuming those studies and indications are “reliable” then that does suggest a ‘natural’ upper limit of CO2 around 330 ppmv.

But you ignored that information – which supports your assertion of anthropogenic cause of the rise – because it relies on stomata data that refutes your assertion of ice cores being sample bottles.

Richard

148. richardscourtney says:
May 28, 2014 at 6:51 am

Richard, the reliability of ice core CO2 data was investigated already in 1996 by Etheridge e.a. on three Law Dome ice cores. Drilled by different techniques, CO2 sampled top down in firn and ice from the surface to rock bottom. That confirmed the “firn densification model” which calculates the composition of the air in the firn and ice for age distribution.
Thus while not samples of one year, they are averaged samples of 10-600 years of ancient air, still the same since the bubbles were closed, except for some theoretical migration in “warm” ice cores. As far as there is any CO2 migration in the ice, that only broadens the resolution, but doesn’t change the average over the resolution period.

Stomata data have a much better resolution but are proxies, based on the change in average CO2 levels at the location of growth in the previous growing season and some other factors. If there is a discrepancy between the averages of ice cores and stomata data, then it are the stomata data which local positive bias did change over the centuries, not the ice cores that are too low.

Thus while stomata show more variability and a better resolution, one should take the absolute values (and the amplitude of the variability) with a grain of salt.

About the cause of the recent increase: At least one can use the “human hypothesis” as a working hypothesis. As long as there is no contradiction with any of the observations, the hypothesis is valid. If there is a better hypothesis that still fits all observations, then the first can be abandoned…