Claim: computer model says thawing permafrost will run a lopsided carbon game in the Arctic

From DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Computer sims: In climatic tug of war, carbon released from thawing permafrost wins handily

permafrost-carbon-small

There’s a carbon showdown brewing in the Arctic as Earth’s climate changes. On one side, thawing permafrost could release enormous amounts of long-frozen carbon into the atmosphere. On the opposing side, as high-latitude regions warm, plants will grow more quickly, which means they’ll take in more carbon from the atmosphere.

Whichever side wins will have a big impact on the carbon cycle and the planet’s climate. If the balance tips in favor of permafrost-released carbon, climate change could accelerate. If the balance tips in favor of carbon-consuming plants, climate change could slow down.

Turns out the result will be lopsided. There will be a lot more carbon released from thawing permafrost than the amount taken in by more Arctic vegetation, according to new computer simulations conducted by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The findings are from an Earth system model that is the first to represent permafrost processes as well as the dynamics of carbon and nitrogen in the soil. Simulations using the model showed that by the year 2300, if climate change continues unchecked, the net loss of carbon to the atmosphere from Arctic permafrost would range from between 21 petagrams and 164 petagrams. That’s equivalent to between two years and 16 years of human-induced CO2 emissions.

The scientists included nitrogen dynamics in the model because, as permafrost thaws, nitrogen trapped in deeper soil layers (below one meter underground) will decompose and become available to fertilize plants. At the same time, organic carbon frozen in deeper soil layers will decompose and enter the atmosphere.

“The big question has been: Which side wins? And we found the rate of permafrost thaw and its effect on the decomposition of deep carbon will have a much bigger impact on the carbon cycle than the availability of deep nitrogen and its ability to spark plant growth,” says Charles Koven of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division.

Koven conducted the research with fellow Berkeley Lab scientist William Riley and David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They recently reported their research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists believe that nitrogen’s relatively small impact on the carbon cycle is due to the fact that deeper layers of permafrost won’t thaw until the fall or even early winter, when summer’s warmth finally reaches more than one meter below ground. At that stage in the growing season, the deep nitrogen that decomposes and becomes available will have few plants to fertilize.

The model’s output also highlights uncertainties in the science. After all, the simulations found that between 21 petagrams and 164 petagrams of carbon will be released to the atmosphere, which is a big range. The scientists say that more field and lab research is needed to determine how carbon-decomposition dynamics work in deep layers of permafrost versus at the surface, including the role of microbes, minerals, and plant roots.

“These simulations allow us to identify processes that seem to have a lot of leverage on climate change, and which we need to explore further,” says Koven.

###

The terrestrial ecosystem portion of the Earth system model simulations were conducted at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at Berkeley Lab.

The research was supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

There’s a carbon showdown brewing in the Arctic as Earth’s climate changes. On one side, thawing permafrost could release enormous amounts of long-frozen carbon into the atmosphere. On the opposing side, as high-latitude regions warm, plants will grow more quickly, which means they’ll take in more carbon from the atmosphere.

Whichever side wins will have a big impact on the carbon cycle and the planet’s climate. If the balance tips in favor of permafrost-released carbon, climate change could accelerate. If the balance tips in favor of carbon-consuming plants, climate change could slow down.

Turns out the result will be lopsided. There will be a lot more carbon released from thawing permafrost than the amount taken in by more Arctic vegetation, according to new computer simulations conducted by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).

The findings are from an Earth system model that is the first to represent permafrost processes as well as the dynamics of carbon and nitrogen in the soil. Simulations using the model showed that by the year 2300, if climate change continues unchecked, the net loss of carbon to the atmosphere from Arctic permafrost would range from between 21 petagrams and 164 petagrams. That’s equivalent to between two years and 16 years of human-induced CO2 emissions.

The scientists included nitrogen dynamics in the model because, as permafrost thaws, nitrogen trapped in deeper soil layers (below one meter underground) will decompose and become available to fertilize plants. At the same time, organic carbon frozen in deeper soil layers will decompose and enter the atmosphere.

“The big question has been: Which side wins? And we found the rate of permafrost thaw and its effect on the decomposition of deep carbon will have a much bigger impact on the carbon cycle than the availability of deep nitrogen and its ability to spark plant growth,” says Charles Koven of Berkeley Lab’s Earth Sciences Division.

Koven conducted the research with fellow Berkeley Lab scientist William Riley and David Lawrence of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They recently reported their research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists believe that nitrogen’s relatively small impact on the carbon cycle is due to the fact that deeper layers of permafrost won’t thaw until the fall or even early winter, when summer’s warmth finally reaches more than one meter below ground. At that stage in the growing season, the deep nitrogen that decomposes and becomes available will have few plants to fertilize.

The model’s output also highlights uncertainties in the science. After all, the simulations found that between 21 petagrams and 164 petagrams of carbon will be released to the atmosphere, which is a big range. The scientists say that more field and lab research is needed to determine how carbon-decomposition dynamics work in deep layers of permafrost versus at the surface, including the role of microbes, minerals, and plant roots.

“These simulations allow us to identify processes that seem to have a lot of leverage on climate change, and which we need to explore further,” says Koven.

###

The terrestrial ecosystem portion of the Earth system model simulations were conducted at the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), a DOE Office of Science User Facility located at Berkeley Lab.

The research was supported by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

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154 thoughts on “Claim: computer model says thawing permafrost will run a lopsided carbon game in the Arctic

    • Year 2300. Humans will continue as they are. No energy efficiency. No new inventions. Nuclear fusion is certainly still 30 years away. This is the power of the crystal ball of climastrology.

      • Lara Croft, X-Box360 fantasy World, don’t you just love all that scientifistocated stuff?

      • Another worthless model programmed by clueless computer gamers (a.k.a. Climatologists). It might as well be showing the extent of unicorn dung in the year 2300.
        But the graphics are kinda cool, so it must be true.

    • Based on the last 18 years of temperature change we will have 0 times 0. Is there a number for that?

      • Based on my grade school daughter, the number is somewhere between -1 and 1. Without a super computer though, we can’t narrow it any further.

      • Back when CAGW was first becoming a real scare the claims were that we would see catastrophic events by 2010, 2020 or 2030 now of course since we are all still here the new catastrophe won’t happen until 2300. Funny how that happens but at least we can all rest assure in the knowledge that none of these “scientist” will end up having to flip hamburgers because the funding for their programs can now stretch out hundreds of years and even if they are proven wrong again they will all have died of old age before their funding is cut.

      • Thanks a lot. I tried that on my calculator and it exploded. Oh well, it’s still more useful than a climate model.

    • So.
      We do not know.
      The End.
      Auto – with hat-tip to the shade of Terry Pratchett – much missed author and campaigner.

  1. “if climate change continues unchecked” should be “if climate change continues as predicted by models in worst-case scenario”, of course. I kinda hesitate to believe it’s how things will really be.
    Otherwise no real surprise, this process is part of what’s behind the raise of CO2 following each end of ice age.

    • Richard Betts, who heads the Climate Impacts area of the UK Met Office, claims his areas of expertise as a climate modeler and was one of the lead authors of the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (WG2). Says –

      “Everyone (Apart from a few who think that observations of a decade or three of small forcing can be extrapolated to indicate the response to long-term larger forcing with confidence) agrees that we can’t predict the long-term response of the climate to ongoing CO2 rise with great accuracy. It could be large, it could be small. We don’t know. The old-style energy balance models got us this far. We can’t be certain of large changes in future, but can’t rule them out either.”

      So this study is based on “We Don’t Know.”
      On another note – “Simulations using the model showed that by the year 2300, the authors decedents will be billionaires after investing the money made off this Sim-game due to compound interest.”

      • “…by the year 2300, the authors decedents will be billionaires…”

        They’ll have to be ’cause all the other predictions have the planet underwater from melted ice caps long before then so they’ll need a pretty big boat to hold 3 generations at a time and you gotta have somewhere to grow crops. That cost a lot of money. Remember, buy before Antarctica melts.

  2. “The model’s output also highlights uncertainties in the science. After all, the simulations found that between 21 petagrams and 164 petagrams of carbon will be released to the atmosphere, which is a big range. The scientists say that more field and lab research is needed…”
    We need more money to hone our model to reduce our near order-of-magnitude uncertainty!!!

    • Hey, let’s grant them something. At least they gave the range instead of just the average. Even a layman can understand 21-164 is an absurdly large range and thus question the utility of the predictions.

    • …between 21 petgrams and 164 petagrams of carbon… One question Where did all this carbon come from? How did it get there? Wouldn’t it being there mean it was warmer in the past?

    • At least we can be sure that, given a decade or two and a few billion $$$, they should be able to narrow that range down just as much as they’ve narrowed down the Climate Sensitivity to a doubling of CO2.
      Remember, just 20 years ago they thought it was somewhere between 1.5 and 4.5, with 3 as the most likely.
      Today they’re not even sure what the most likely point is.

  3. There is a lot of ocean up in the Arctic. Winter is still going to happen every year. Clear water radiates far more energy to space than ice covered water. Do the models account for that?

    • Clear water also evaporates a lot more, which means there will be more snow in the land regions surrounding the arctic.

  4. So in 100 it hasn’t changed much. But in 20 years we’ll lose 25% of permafrost. They’re basing this on what?

  5. Do they say what value they used for climate sensitivity?
    If it’s the IPCC value, then I’m not surprised they get such a result.

  6. The scientists say that more field and lab research is needed…”

    I agree with the need for fieldwork.
    At the moment the models have uselessly large range of predictions. Perhaps it would help if they were constrained by reality?

  7. Climate Science has become tea leave reading, crystal ball illuminating, Nostradamus believing, mass hypnosis on steroids. That our government fully funds what are in reality “Clairvoyant” carnival tents each with their own midway barker is incredulous.

    • My sentiments, exactly. Can we all agree that referring to CO2 as “carbon” is both inaccurate and spin-driven?

  8. It is clear to me that they left out the big sink in their mass balance model because their model results do not agree with observations. In the Arctic, CO2 concentrations are the highest when the ocean is covered with ice , land is frozen, and biological systems are shut down. The concentrations are lowest when the ocean is covered with the least amount of ice, when the land has thawed, and biological systems both on land and sea are active. That CO2 is coming from the tropics, not from melting permafrost. Emissions from the ENSO regions are several orders of magnitude greater than all the emissions that the Arctic could possibly produce. Any possible increase in Arctic emissions will not be measurable, lost in the variability of ENSO emissions.

    • If CO2 increases in the atmosphere, it will affect plant growth
      worldwide – not just in the Arctic.

      • I agree. My point is that their model assumes the local concentration of CO2 is primarily a function of the biological activity on land in the Arctic and neglect global sources and sinks in their mass balance. Also, RGB points out that the assumptions in their soil mass balance model are at least questionable if not wrong.

      • They didn’t say “CO2”, they said “frozen carbon”.
        I stopped reading at that point.

  9. If nitrogen can decompose (into what I wonder? its subatomic constituent particles?) this changes everything.

  10. computer model says, GIGO is GIGO no matter how many teraflops you throw at it
    ‘ The scientists say that more field and lab research is needed to determine how carbon-decomposition dynamics work in deep layers of permafrost versus at the surface, ‘
    Now there is shock a climate ‘research’ paper that calls for more funded becasue of uncertainty but still makes great claims of the certainty of its central idea .

  11. Oh darn!! If only the model had shown that plants overcame the thawing permafrost! But it didn’t so woe is us!

  12. Whatever happened to the “release of methane from the permafrost” scare? So now we fall back onto the good ole CO2 scare to be released from the permafrost. When will these modellers give up the “C” from “CAGW”?

  13. The permafrost Methane bogeyman disappears in the light of the facts.
    1) When there was warming in places like Alaska, atmospheric methane did not increase.
    2) Permafrost depletion in the NH stopped since 2005.
    3) When permafrost thaws, vegetation grows and removes more CO2 than is released by the melting. The region acts as a sink, not a source of CO2.
    4) Past warm periods (Medieval and Holocene warmings) did not produce increases in methane.
    So scientists with a model are stirring up alarm about thawing of Siberian permafrost. But there are scientists in Siberia monitoring the situation. What do they say?
    “Indeed above at the surface it has gotten warmer, but that’s just part of a normal cycle. The permafrost is rock hard, And that is how it is going to stay. There’s no talk of thawing.” Michali Grigoryev
    http://notrickszone.com/2012/11/19/russian-arctic-scientist-permafrost-changes-due-to-natural-factors-its-going-to-be-colder/
    “It seems that the permafrost should be melting if the temperature is rising. However, many areas are witnessing the opposite. The average annual temperature is getting higher, but the permafrost remains and has even started to spread. Why? An important factor is the snow cover. Global warming reduces it, therefore making the heat insulator for the permafrost thinner. Then even weak frosts are enough to freeze the ground deeper below the surface.”
    Nikolai Osokin is a glaciologist at the Institute of Geography, the Russian Academy of Sciences.
    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20070323/62485608.html
    “The Russian Academy of Sciences has found that the annual temperature of soils (with seasonable variations) has been remaining stable despite the increased average annual air temperature caused by climate change. If anything, the depth of seasonal melting has decreased slightly.”
    “This is just another scare story . . . This ecological structure is balanced and is not about to harm people with gas discharges.”
    Vladimir Melnikov is the director of the world’s only Institute of the Earth’s Cryosphere. The Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute is located in the Siberian city of Tyumen and investigates the ways in which ground water becomes ice and permafrost.
    “The boundaries of the Russian permafrost zone remain virtually unchanged. At the same time, the permafrost is several hundred meters deep. For methane, other gases and hydrates to escape to the surface, it would have to melt at tremendous depths, which is impossible.”
    Yuri Izrael, director of the Institute of Climatology and Ecology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
    http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20050822/41201605-print.html
    Runaway warming from permafrost thawing has not happened before, is not happening now, but we should believe it will happen if we don’t do something?

  14. CLIMATE MODEL‘s ARE AT BEST A PROBABILISTIC EXPLANATION AND SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS IF DEFINITIVE… which is exactly what political connections do with science.

  15. Seems like every day there’s a new computer model of a climate catastrophe rising CO2 will cause. They all contradict each other and they all should be thrown in the trash.
    The only good thing I can say about them is that they cause the most profound fatigue in even the most gullible member of the general public that the desire to just switch off and ignore the issue is almost overwhelming.
    Whilst you academics bluster amongst each other over technical details people with common sense and an ability to cut to the heart of an issue are able to disseminate the bulls**t much more effectively.
    Compounding, Linear, Logarithmic or non existent? That is the only question about the causal relationship between CO2 and temperature. The first two choices leads to boiling oceans at concentrations less than in our exhaled breath. Anyone who is not deluding themselves or simply an idiot should be able to rule these out. The second two senarios equate to a non threat. A mathematical impossibility for CO2 to cause any harm. They are also the only sane choices and don’t require political or financial intervention.

  16. These people just don’t get it. The ice cores show CO2 at its highest when the global temperature drops as the earth re-glaciates. The NH has been warmer than present or we would not have vegetation frozen in the not-so-permanent ‘perma-frost’.

  17. So we run the numbers like this:
    P(21) = P(21|W)P(W)
    vs
    P(164) = P(164|W')P(W')
    where P(21) is the probability of a 21 Pg release, P(164) is the probability of a 164 Pg release, P(21|W) is the conditional probability of releasing 21 Pg if it warms to W, and P(W) is the probability that it warms to W.
    What they’ve done is computed an estimate — and not a very good one — for P(R|W) for a whole range of releases, subject to a bunch of other assumptions (so that this result is much more contingent than they account for numerically as they blithely assume that “the deep nitrogen won’t become available until too late in the growing season”, which to me completely ignores the fact that there is a nitrogen cycle that covers the rest of the planet that doesn’t depend on “deep nitrogen” release at all, and one presumes that the warmer arctic will have more e.g. thunderstorms that produce nitrates and nitrites. Perhaps this is partly responsible for the large range of responses.
    One point that they seem to be missing is that the carbon and nitrogen locked up in the permafrost were in biological “equilibrium” at the time they were locked up. Unless they think that the ground froze from the bottom up (which is absurd) the lower layers are in bioequilibrium with a marginally warmer climate, the upper ones in bioequilibrium with a climate “ready” to permanently freeze but not quite there yet, that finally froze. As the system thaws, it is going to do so equally gradually, with the upper layers very slowly being bioactive and starting to grow and the lower layers not participating at all. As the lower layers thaw, however, they will transition to being heated from below more than they are cooled from above, because there is a net outward heat flux everywhere on the planet. The entire lower layer will therefore permanently melt FROM BELOW and thin towards the surface, with the upper surface of that layer oscillating with the seasons and thawing down slowly as well. A meter of earth is a super good insulator.
    But in the end, the whole thing hinges on P(W), or P(W’) for even more warming. So the whole thing should be prefaced with “If the models are — whatever they are, since “correct” isn’t even a vague possibility any more, but let’s say — accurate in their mean prediction of a 3 K warming, and if the whole list of assumptions we make are all correct as well, we have predicted that there will be a positive feedback of carbon into the atmospheric system as arctic permafrost melts, if it melts”.
    Now what happens if the warming is (say) 1 K, the permafrost doesn’t melt except a tiny bit at the edges, the extra CO_2 emitted is lost and invisible in the anthropogenic bolus already there, and the 1 K already accounts for it and then some? What if the places where the permafrost melts are right next to where the active biosphere already exists and it simply expands, nitrogen cycle and all, into the newly available area almost as fast as it appears (as it is probably going to appear over decades, enough time for a wide range of tundra and trees and scrub to grow)?
    Sigh.

    • Seems to me that they would first want to figure out what effect CO2 has on the climate……

    • I was going to say – I wonder what assumptions these guys at Livermore were making in preparing this crystal ball computer model forecast. It is always the one thing I have said about computer models generally (as have many others who know about computers): the more variable or free parameters you have in a computer model, the less likely you will have a reliable result, aka garbage in, garbage out. As you have very nicely pointed out, too many things are unknown here to figure out whether the Livermore model is really useful in talking about permafrost in this context.

  18. No I don’t believe in If anymore
    If’s an illusion
    If’s an illusion
    No I don’t believe in If anymore
    If is for children
    If is for children
    Building daydreams

  19. Oops, Mod, please help with the unclosed boldface tag. Teach me to hit post before finishing my coffee…
    rgb
    [Done. Right spot? .mod]

  20. Then why are we here?
    If any of the ‘tipping point’ scenarios were real, then they would have occurred already. It was certainly warm enough, long enough, during the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period and the Holocene Optimum that if these runaway warming patterns would have already happened.
    They didn’t, so either the tipping points don’t exist, or there is an opposing negative feedback, otherwise we would not be here.

    • The other possibility is that the tipping points did occur and wiped us all out….placing us now in Heaven Hell with the “Progressives”.

  21. First, this paper should never have been written.
    Second, it should have been rejected by the editor.
    Third, It should never have passed peer review.
    And finally, it should never have been published.
    Why?
    “Simulations using the model showed that by the year 2300, if climate change continues unchecked, the net loss of carbon to the atmosphere from Arctic permafrost would range from between 21 petagrams and 164 petagrams”

    • Climate simulations are real research. Which part of this is so hard to understand? /sarc
      But you missed the reason for the publication in the first place: “The scientists say that more field and lab research is needed to determine how carbon-decomposition dynamics work”. Ie. We want money, lots of money, and even more money after that, because climate. Or, if you’re a Simpsons fan: “I’m a climate scientist. Gimme gimme gimme!”
      Ignoring the moneygrab, the bit that disturbs me the most is: “The findings are from an Earth system model that is the first to represent permafrost processes as well as the dynamics of carbon and nitrogen in the soil.” It’s the first model to do this? So how do we know it’s accurate? Heck; I could whip up a climate model that runs on a ZX-81 that’s the first to model the interaction between the interaction between the position on the sun, relative to the galactic center, and the mating rituals of earthworms, but it would take years to validate the model.
      Unless, of course, that’s what they want to do: validate their model. It would be quite useful to have a model to do that. But who would fund the research needed to validate the model? Oh, I see… tie some sort of climate alarmism into the paper to get funding. /sarc
      Damn; two sarc tags. I need more coffee.

    • The Arctic is already warming, so what is so unreasonable about the authors developing models to try to predict the impact?

  22. Yes, for the Climate Liars, it’s all a big computer game, with “Carbon” the evil villain.

  23. Nothing so far from NASA on the promised March update on the OCO2 satelite data. Has anyone seen anything elsewhere?
    It has the potential to really set the cat among the pigeons if it is anything like the last release that showed CO2 in the most unlikely places and very little where the alarmists would like to see it.

    • They’re busy collecting the singed chicken feathers they had marinated in albino goat’s blood that had to be buried on a Tuesday when the moon is waning gibbous. Then they’ll have the rest of the voodoo data they need to finish up the “calibration” and measurement routines that will provide data several orders of magnitude finer than the sensors can detect. It appears to be yet another multi stepped process with lots of room for “calibration” and “quality control” to measure something they can’t accurately measure to see of they’re even right. I’m sure the Climateers will now be whining about 50 ppbv changes in CO2 once they start washing the data through the statistical models of lord knows what planet claiming that more measurements give them more accuracy.

  24. Funny. I tbought we were the primary climate drivers. So in other words whether we drive our cars or live in loin cloths and mud huts will make no difference. I’ll take cars for 1,000 Alex.

  25. “Simulations…” “… model…” “…. if climate change continues unchecked…” I gave up when I saw those key words in that sentence. More GIGO from the planet Zod.

  26. These “scientists” make a mockery of the word. They are without shame, concerned only with the climate gravy train continuing.

  27. This is such a stupid study. How did it ever get past…. Okay, never mind it’s a rigged game. They can and will say whatever they want especially if it is backed by a model. The complicit media blare the news and when the facts are presented those will get back page, small story treatment.

  28. Yet another example of the wackamole form of climate hype.
    Arctic ice is no longer (never was) a problem.
    Sea Level Rise is no longer (never was) a problem
    Ocean Currents are not going to make a sudden change and destroy the climate (was never [going] to happen)
    Tibetan glaciers are not in crisis (never were)
    Polar Bears are doing fine (have been [doing] so for a long time)
    Greenland melting away? Nope
    Etc, etc, etc, etc,
    Now the climate hypesters are claiming permafrost is [going] to kill us all.
    Notice that nearly all of the alleged examples of hype are in places far away or deep under the ocean and hidden from easy view.

    • Hunter, that is why I drafted a statement for the US Senate, during their recent debate re. Keystone.
      An appropriate legislative motion on climate change should read like this:
      Whereas, Extent of global sea ice is at or above historical averages;
      Whereas, Populations of polar bears are generally growing;
      Whereas, Sea levels have been slowly rising at the same rate since the Little Ice Age ended 150 years ago;
      Whereas, Oceans will not become acidic due to buffering from extensive mineral deposits and marine life is well adapted to pH fluctuations that do occur;
      Whereas, Extreme weather events have not increased in recent decades and such events are more associated to periods of cooling rather than warming;
      Whereas, Cold spells, not heat waves, are the greater threat to human life and prosperity;
      Therefore, This chamber agrees that climate is variable and prudent public officials should plan for future periods both colder and warmer than the present. Two principle objectives will be robust infrastructure and cheap, reliable energy.

  29. This reminds me of the NOAA computer simulation that showed the BP oil spill going all around the Atlantic. The word computer simulation should be replaced with computer animation. These things a more akin to Toy Story than to realistic predictions.

  30. All of the Arctic permafrost had melted by 7000 BP …. and did not re-freeze until 3000 BP …. and the proxy records do not confirm any major outgassing of CO2 from the rotting Arctic biomass during those 4,000 years of “global warming” Arctic temperatures, … to wit:
    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/PageMill_Images/image354.gif
    Graph source: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/stomata.html
    And to wit:

    Over most of Russia, forest advanced to or near the current arctic coastline between 9000 and 7000 yr B.P. and retreated to its present position by between 4000 and 3000 yr B.P.
    During the period of maximum forest extension, the mean July temperatures along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5° to 7.0°C warmer than modern.
    Excerpted from Abstract: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0033589499921233

    • All of the Arctic permafrost had melted by 7000 BP …. and did not re-freeze until 3000 BP …
      Xxxxxxxxxcxxxxxxxx
      Samuel.
      Maybe but I doubt it. I have worked in permafrost and discontinuous permafrost areas. Where the active zone becomes warm enough for good plant growth, it acts as an insulating layer for the ground below. The top two or three metres may remain unfrozen for a larger portion of the year, but you will still get a surprise when you dig a hole. And as trees and willows grow and moss forms, the permafrost recovers to within a few inches of the surface. At least that is what I believe from working north of 55. Could be wrong though. Only ran a few computer models of soil temperature profiles and that was a long time ago.

      • Wayne, I’m sure then that you have dug yourself a northern refrigerator! That was one of the first tasks when a geological field party arrived at the first camp site with fresh meat and other perishables. Dig a hole put a few spruce fronds in and make a lid with spruce sticks and pile on the spruce bows for insulation. I also made a fine comfortable spruce frond bed with advice from an oldtimer, who, yoikes was a fair amount younger than I am now!

      • Wayne D,
        I knew that, what you stated, …. but, … the CAGW “warminists” are claiming that all the permafrost is “soon” going to melt ….. and I just echoed their claim.
        But for sure, not as much will melt during the next 100-300 years …. than what melted during those roughly 3,000 continuous years of surface temperatures that may have been 2.5° to 7.0°C warmer than modern.
        I spent a lot of time in the North Woods (Adirondacks) hunting and fishing during the late 60’s and the 70’s, both winters and summers. And “yes”, we used a Spruce covered refrigerator “pit” during the summers ….. and covered the plastic “waterline” from the “spring (H2O)” to the cabin with Spruce branches to keep it from freezing in the wintertime, thus we had “running H2O” in the cabin all year long. And yes, it got cold there in wintertime. Like 2’ to 4’ of snow and 16” to 30” of ice on the lake.
        One November, my friend “rushed” the season and headed out across the lake on his snowmobile and “kerplunk”, he and it ended up in the water in the middle of the lake. He was lucky he didn’t freeze to death fore he got back to the cabin …. and would have iffen he hadn’t grabbed his snowshoes when he felt the ice break underneath him. We had to wait until January before we dared to get back out there to lift that snowmobile up out of 20’ of H2O and back onto the ice.

    • Wow, CO_2 fell to ~200 ppm during the YD? That’s a major surprise. IIRC, 180 ppm is the plant extinction threshold, if it happens rapidly enough, where the partial pressure of CO_2 is no longer sufficient to diffuse into many plant species. One “expects” rapid evolution during such a time, but not all species can evolve rapid. We brushed up against this threshold in the Wisconsin, I knew that, but didn’t realize we got so close again in the YD.
      rgb

      • Carbon dioxide starvation, the development of C4 ecosystems, and mammalian evolution.

        The geological record of atmospheric CO2 during glacial intervals is very well established for the last 200 000 years, and stable isotope studies of marine carbonates indicate a cyclicity that can be reasonably extrapolated to about 700 000 years ago. CO2 concentrations in ice cores show that CO2 levels in interglacial intervals were about 270ppmv but about 180ppmv during glacial maxima (Jouzel et al. 1987; Neftel et al. 1988; Leuenberger et al. 1992).

        In North America the great extinction affecting large mammals (including Equus, Mammut, Mammuthus) at the end of the Pleistocene has been variously attributed to human overkill (e.g. Martin 1990) or increased seasonality. The vegetation changes observed during the Pleistocene and discussed elsewhere in this paper raise the possibility of a different mechanism: ecological change due to CO2stress.

        The paper includes injections of AGW-rhetoric.

      • Ted Clayton March 19, 2015 at 11:13 am
        Thanks for the link!
        rgbatduke March 19, 2015 at 10:37 am
        Yes, a close call indeed! And we’re being told that 400ppm or 500ppm is going to cause catastrophe. How do these people look at themselves in the mirror each morning?

  31. This is yet another article that shows the forest for the trees problem with all these papers. Whatever source of carbon is unlocked, permafrost thawing, oceans heating, etc etc the warming affect releases ever more CO2. In other words, every carbon releasing effect accelerates more release of carbon.
    Yet in the actual paleo-climate record there are bounds to the rise and fall of temperatures indicating there are negative feedbacks people are unaware of whenever climate changes either direction.
    What would be useful climate science is to discover exactly why we have a lower bound during ice ages. You’d think that as more sunlight is reflected to outer space, the earth would cool more and we’d get more ice and soon we’d be all ice. But that doesn’t happen. Likewise, you’d think that as more permafrost melts and oceans warm that we’d get more methane and C02 released and we’d get run away heating. But that doesn’t happen either. Is it more water vapor released as the planet warms reflecting more sunlight back that creates the upper bound?
    Clearly the checks and balances built into our chaotic climate system are not understood at all. A paper like this, and sooo many others, just ignore how ignorant and how far far away we are from settled science. Of course, it’s no surprise that the politically funded grant gravy train pays for results that fit the meme of runaway feedbacks. We must have a crisis to use to mold the masses to our whims.
    In the meantime, I’ll enjoy watching our recent slight uptick in temps coming out of the Little Ice Age which is yet one of a number of decreasing high points in temps since the end of the last ice age, meaning man has little to do with this and there is nothing we are doing that seems to be slowing down our inevitable slide back to ‘normal’ climate temps which results in no Canada, no ‘most of the British Isles’, etc. And if that isn’t just a crock. We need more man made global warming if we are to avoid slipping back to the full on ice age that is our ‘normal’ climate. But I’m not arrogant as the warmists are about man’s ability to geo-engineer this planet. An ultimate return of the glaciers is our ‘normal’ climate (whatever ‘normal’ means).
    Interesting science out there. Studying what doesn’t matter and ignoring what does.

  32. Let’s get real. The year 2300 is 285 years away. Carbon based fuels will be replaced by then for pollution reasons if they have already not been depleted. We will need the added carbon for plant growth worldwide. Considering the progress in technology in the past 100 years, I have to believe, that somewhere, somehow, we will develop practical energy sources (not the current green failures) to replace our present fossil fuel energy sources.

  33. It’s worth remembering that this is just one of many natural positive feedbacks which take the full ‘Earth System Sensitivity’ between a Holocene climate and an ice-free state to around 2.4°C/W/m², or 9.5°C per doubling of atmospheric CO₂ (Hansen & Sato 2011)… although that would take many centuries, of course.

  34. Some basic observations:
    Boiling point of methane (at sea level): −161.5 °C (−258.7 °F)
    Boiling point of CO2 (at sea level): −56.6 °C (−69.8 °F)
    Boiling point of water (at sea level): 0°C (32°F)

    • Boiling point of water (at sea level): 0°C (32°F)

      That explains why the oceans have mostly boiled away.

      • by that the extreme drought is explained 🙂
        but i think he meant freezing point of water but however nice typo hahahahaha

    • Last line should read: Melting point of water ice (at sea level): 0 C or 32 F. Water boils at 100 C or 212 F, a property of which I take advantage in my kitchen (hard-boiled takes 4 minutes).

  35. Sorry about the last comment but I worked in permafrost and discontinuous permafrost for 15 years of my engineering career and wrote papers on design parameters for northern utilities. Changes like they propose would require something pretty extraordinary in my opinion as permafrost currently exists very far south in isolated areas all the way into the US high mountains.

  36. More fanciful model simulations by the computer gamers. Where is the calibration and verification ?
    Its an unfortunate term but nevertheless valid ; mathematical and computational masturbation.

  37. They should try simulating the last interglacial instead, because we know the answer to that one. The permafrost melted, but CO2 or CH4 didn’t increase.

  38. Nonsense! Increased forcing of the climate increases positive NAO/AO, that won’t warm the Arctic. The Arctic warms with increased negative NAO/AO, which is most profound in solar grand minima.

  39. A major factor that comes into play, is that permafrost ground thaws from the top down. Thawed ground then insulates the lower ground. Pioneering weeds quickly take advantage of thawed top-soil, not only improving the insulating value of the surface-dirt, but also taking up the water released by thawing.
    If permafrost was as subject to ‘runaway’ melting as depicted, more of it would have been lost during the Medieval Warm Epoch.
    Yes, there can be ‘some’/’various’ more or less dramatic melting and CO2-release events, particularly in special situations … but overall, across the vast expanses of permafrost country, the frozen structures hang in there pretty well, during warm spells. If it were otherwise, there wouldn’t be so much of it today.

  40. I can say unequivocally that this study is completely divorced from reality (certainty 100%). No geologist was within speaking distance of these closeted indoor investigators. No loon eggs were broken during this research. I have worked on projects in Northern Canada since as far back as 1958. I’ve mapped the geology of areas (from ~300km^2 to 2000km^2) spread from Yukon to Labrador. I’ve managed regional and local mining exploration projects in Yukon, northern BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador (the official name of the province is these three words!). Indeed, I’m still working on projects in northern Quebec. I’ve laid out drilling projects in many of these localities and sampled soil horizons into clayey, stoney subsoils. So what?
    Well, the average overburden thickness (loose material overlying bedrock) is less than a few metres – say 3-4m and there is no carbon hiding in the hundreds of metres of bedrock beneath it. Moreover, Glacial till and outwash sands and gravels from the glaciers make up much more than half of this thickness and it is largely barren of organic material. Indeed most permafrost is in solid rock. The so called active layer makes up perhaps as much as 20% from which any carbon has essentially already escaped. Here is a typical look at northern Canada terrain – the Lac de Gras area in Northwest Territories (diamond mining area). Go to link and scroll to page 4 showing an overburden thickness map of the region:
    http://dmec.ca/ex07-dvd/E07/pdfs/97.pdf
    So now take the Livermore “data” with all its other unknown warts, take an average of permafrost thickness, 200-300m(?) and subtract 98% from their findings and we get 0.2 to 1.6t petagrams (I guess this helps me understand why these clowns choose such stupid units) CO2 from the remaining cigarette smokers on the globe. Can I conclude by saying I’m am totally pizzed off with this kind of stuff.

    • Interesting paper! (Modelling overburden thickness in glaciated terrain:
      Lac de Gras, Northwest Territories, Canada
      ) Quick read, tidy wrap-up, no synthetic mind-altering substances.
      The overburden map around Lac de Gras is awesome.

    • I agree that they probably over-estimated the amount of frozen soil available to thaw and emit CO2. On the other hand I don’t see where they claim a thickness of 200 – 300m.

      We use a vertical grid with 30 levels that has a high-resolution exponential grid in the interval 0 – 0.5 m
      and fixed 20-cm layer thickness in the range of 0.5 – 3.5 m to maintain resolution through the base of the active layer and upper permafrost, and reverts to exponentially increasing layer thickness in the range 3.5 – 45 m to allow for large thermal inertia at depth.

      It looks to me like they consider everything below 3.5m as a thermal mass rather than a potential source of CO2.

      • I once bothered to calculate the amount of biomass that would need to grow per sq m to sop up the emerging CO2/methane from melting permafrost. During that investigation I read some interesting research done on melting permafrost in estuaries on the North Slope of Alaska. LiCor now makes instruments for measuring such emissions from the ground.
        Anyway, the answer was surprisingly small. I won’t bore you with it. Tundra doesn’t have much biomass on the surface. Even the lodge pole forests south of Hudson’s Bay easily have enough mass to absorb what is below the ground (that could come out) plus a lot more, and forests put Carbon underground – lots of it.
        A ‘warm Arctic’ would vastly increase the area of the world’s forest cover, by millions of sq km. Freezing it solid again would drive most of the above-ground biomass into the atmosphere as CO2 and methane. That is how we got to our present conditions.
        The conclusion fails conceptually. They should rather concern themselves with clathrates. Or chocolate:
        http://www.biostat.jhsph.edu/courses/bio621/misc/Chocolate%20consumption%20cognitive%20function%20and%20nobel%20laurates%20(NEJM).pdf

      • Commie Bob Ive been at this kind of work for over 50 years and I hope you didn’t move a lot of people on with your comments by your misunderstanding of their paper. Here is a link for Siberia permafrost thickness. It is known to be as deep as 1.4km.
        http://www.rusnature.info/geo/06_1.htm

      • Gary Pearse March 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm
        … your misunderstanding of their paper …

        Kindly use references to the paper to show how I have misunderstood it. I still I don’t see where they claim a thickness of 200 – 300m.
        Note that I’m not making any claims about how deep any permafrost may be. I’m only referring to what I can find in the paper.

      • They are talking about a vertical grid that, once they get below the active layer, they exponentially increase the layer thickness (of the grid) in the range 3.5 to 45m to allow for thermal inertia….Presumably the 45m thick layers of the GRID is the maximum starting at the depth below the incremental stuff above. They apparently don’t say how far they continue this, but inference from the graphic showing disappearance of permafrost and warming of the ground over 300 years suggests they mean it will go to the bottom.
        No matter if there is confusion on this, two things are the giants here. 1) the active layer 0.5 to 3.5m has already ‘lost its carbon’ and the average depth to bedrock is 3-4m beyond which depth it is frozen inert rock. Indeed if you look at the map of the region in NWT Canada I showed, you can see that most of the area has bedrock at or above the active layer. A considerable part of the surface IS bedrock. They don’t even need the grid to go down further than ~8m and up to a third of that is the active layer.

    • Well, there is more overburden in Alaska and Northeastern Siberia where the lowlands have never been glaciated. However the permafrost is also much deeper, since these areas haven’t been covered by a heat-retaining (yes!) layer of ice.

      • Fair enough, but subtract the exposed mountains and see what averages you get. I would argue that not much organic material was accumulated in the valleys which are buried by mass wasting of the mountain slopes (plant barren talus), too.

  41. If I recall AGW theory predicted that in response to global warming the NAO/AO would be more positive which would result in warming up the lower to mid latitudes of the N.H.
    Which would happen if the NAO/AO were to be positive.
    As Ulric pointed out a +AO/NAO would result in a colder Arctic, while at the same time the lower latitudes would warm in response to this type of atmospheric circulation.
    As usual AGW prediction of a +AO/NAO has been wrong. Both the NAO/AO trending more negative and this can be tied into prolonged solar minimum activity which will influence the ozone distributions in the atmosphere which result in the NAO/AO being more negative.
    The result being a weak and more expansive polar vortex which does allow more cold out breaks to reach the lower latitudes while the Arctic is on the warm side.

    • Thanks, and bravo for not getting cognitive dissonance over it. The increase in negative NAO since the mid 1990’s shifted the AMO strongly to its warm mode and has in fact accelerated the rise in global mean surface temperature from 1995 to ~2005. The negative feedback effect has a large overshoot, effectively an amplified negative feedback. It’s a far cry from the flat Earth where natural variability is internal, and mean surface temperature change is directly proportional to forcings.

  42. That’s equivalent to between two years and 16 years of human-induced CO2 emissions.

    Oh, so you mean less than a “hiatus”-worth of CO2…

  43. Now that we seem to be heading for weaker solar cycles, should the study focus on what happens when permafrost comes back, and what it will be like as we head back toward an ice age?

    • Permafrost grows back down into the ground pretty good. It kills forests; we can age-map timber stands and detect large expanses of ‘first-growth’, following the Little Ice Age die-off.
      An Ice Age, though, requires accumulation of perennial snow, becoming ice. That we can stop, by dusting unwanted snow-coverage in the early spring. Although we could see the climate cool, Canada, Russia, Scandinavia and Alaska could put a halt to the growth of perennial snow & ice. ‘Not in our house!’

  44. At one time Earth was like Venus is now, ish. Perhaps because of our distance from the sun, we managed to get liquid water on the surface (look up graphs on triple point of water). The moment you have liquid water on the surface, Henry’s Law kicks in. You get an incredible production of carbonates. This results in a large reduction of CO2 in the atmosphere over a period of time. In other words sequestration of CO2.
    All things that have ever lived, that have had an exo/endo skeleton have sequestered CO2. All in the form of a carbonate. Skeletal content from fish, mammals to turtles of carbonates ranges from 5 -12 %. Ask a chemist about how much energy you need to break up a carbonate. Don’t bother asking a chemist ask a cement plant why they need to run at over 1000 degrees C.
    Another point that may be interesting. It has been proposed by some that the only reason you had those giant flying lizards 70 million years ago was that the air density was about twice what is now. That probably would mean that there was greater solubility of gases in the ocean.
    From Venus like atmosphere to the atmosphere we have now. I am sure some statistician can have an orgasm. There is probably a bigger chance we will run out of air to breath before the temperature of the planet increases by 1 degree.
    The whiskey, paracetamol after the root canal treatment on 2 teeth has kicked in . I bid all you good folk a goodnight.

  45. Lazy clowns. They’ll be the end of us all.
    Agriculture with grazing animals is already releasing 10kg+ per square metre per year. Arable using nitrogen fertiliser probably 3 or 4 times that much.
    Anyone with a cheap CO2 meter, a dustbin and a stopwatch can go out and measure that.
    Have these people done that? I ain’t holding my breath for the answer.

  46. This entry shows the CO2 and temperature record going back several hundred thousand years
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/04/11/does-co2-correlate-with-temperature-history-a-look-at-multiple-timescales-in-the-context-of-the-shakun-et-al-paper/
    The temperature spikes seem to cause CO2 increases. But once the temperature reaches the typical interglacial increase (similar to today´s temperature), an additional spike or increase of 2 to 3 degrees C doesn´t increase CO2 levels more than 10 ppm, This means the highest increase we should see is from say 500 ppm to 510 ppm (or from 600 ppm to 610 ppm if you wish to use a higher range. This is hardly earth shaking, because the CO2 effect is supposed to be the natural logarithm of the CO2 ratio.

  47. I’m still waiting for conclusive evidence that any serious wide spread thawing is even occurring. Most of the claims I’ve examined have ended up being red herrings such as road cuts, foundation excavations, disruptions due to oil / gas / mining, local UHI effects, etc.

  48. the simulations found that between 21 petagrams and 164 petagrams of carbon will be released to the atmosphere

    I see. As Hydrogen in permafrost melts at −259.16°C, the temperature quickly reaches 3642°C, the sublimation point of Carbon, at which stage it is released to the atmosphere. Horrendous, is it?

  49. Reading the paper they use scenario RCP 8.5 in their models. That is the IPCC scenario that incorporates the highest radiative forcing and hence has the greatest discrepancy with observed temperatures. Looking at their outputs the Mean result turns from carbon negative (storage) to carbon positive right around where RCP 8.5 starts to get aggressively geometric in its projection. It would be interesting to see what their outcomes would have been had they used RCP 2.5 which is closer to observations. My guess is it would strongly favor carbon storage. Just guessing of course

  50. OMG they just proved the first law of thermodynamics wrong with their model!
    The source of all the frozen methane hydrate in the Arctic is from thermogenic gas from decaying plants in peat bogs while the climate was warmer, such as 1000 years ago. So it’s a very safe assumption that during these climate optimums there is net sequestration of carbon into the soil, otherwise the soil would have net carbon emissions during these warm periods and the organic matter wouldn’t be there for the thermogenic gas in the first place.
    To the contrary they are saying that during a climate optimum there will be a net carbon output from these soils and therefore the soil will loose organic matter. We know that carbon isn’t being sequestered during climate minimums because the soil is permanently frozen and little photosynthesis takes place, so how do they suppose the carbon was sequestered in the first place? The only explanation is that they believe that organic matter is spontaneously generating within Arctic soils or they are blinded by bias.
    Perhaps they should have run these broken models for the past 12,000 years. Maybe someone on the team would have realized that if warm climates periods had a net subtraction of carbon from the soils off and on for the past 12,000 years then the carbon wouldn’t be frozen in the soil as observed today.

  51. “Turns out the result will be lopsided. There will be a lot more carbon released from thawing permafrost than the amount taken in by more Arctic vegetation, according to new computer simulations conducted by scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).”
    What rubbish!!
    Where do they think the ‘carbon’ came from in the first place?! How did it get there? Giants? Goblins?
    This is so stupid I don’t know where to begin. Look to the southern edge of the permafrost and what do you see? Forests! Duh! What do forests do? They pull CO2 out of the air and push it underground where it accumulates until the next ice age whereupon it is frozen into the ground. There it awaits the next global warming alarmist modeller who insists that underground biomass could not possibly have got there by natural means so thawing it will never lead to enough forest growth to replace or maintain it.
    Do you know how many trees there are in Canada south of the permafrost line?
    Oh wait! There are lots of trees growing ON the permafrost right now. Go to Inuvik. There are 40 ft trees growing on top of permafrost that is no more than 2 feet down. Go east 20 km. There are no trees. It is too cold there and the permafrost grips everything all year.
    Oh wait! Most of those plants growing on the tundra are stunted trees trying to reach the sky. If that darn permafrost would just melt they would grow into the giants that exist upriver at Arctic Red. Now they will regrow 30% faster because of CO2 fertilisation. Cool fires create charcoal that is not released into the atmosphere. Lots of it. The fundamental claim of the article is unbelievable.
    What burns hotter than tundra?
    A forest fire.
    What burns hotter than a forest fire?
    An alarmist model of the future on this planet.
    What burns hotter than an alarmist model of the future on this planet?
    The stupid that ignores the fundamentals of the biome.

    • Ah give them a break Crispin. Its possible they have never been outside of a lab in California. I did sewer and water work in Inuvik and Fort McPherson. My company built runways and services for the forward operating bases for the CF18’s up north. Huge variety of vegetation, overburden, rock, and muskeg; and a LOT of water from Alaska to Labrador. Inuvik and Fort McPherson are on the Mackenzie Delta. Anyone can use Google Earth and Panoramio to see the trees and other vegetation. Maybe they accounted for that, but is sure doesn’t look like it when they actually show expansion of permafrost in the forested areas south east of Churchill. On the other hand, their models do reflect some of the river systems in Russia and the Mackenzie river in the NWT. Lots of barren land in the eastern arctic, but also lots of trees around the lakes. Great sources of tree expansion should the climate warm.
      From an old paper: http://pubs.aina.ucalgary.ca/arctic/Arctic20-1-21.pdf (This paper says Fort McPherson is Tundra – but the when I worked there over 25 years ago there were lots of trees as current photos show.)
      “Barring a climatic change, a channel shift, or lake formation to provide a heat source, computations using Neumann’s solu- tion for formationof ice (Ingersoll, et al. I 954, pp. I 90-4) modified for soils show that permafrost should continue to aggrade downwards for hundreds of years.”
      The permafrost in this study was said to be -4C to -6C generally. Now if we assume a 4 degrees C increase in temperature in the arctic, there will be an impact on the active layer depth, but is mid winter whether it is 36 below zero, or 32 below zero isn’t going to change the fact that the active layer will re-freeze. If I remember correctly, The Northern Utilities Manual that was developed in cooperation with several countries in the late 70’s/early 80’s had some excellent formulae for calculated the active zone and expected annual temperature/depth temperature profiles.
      It would take a huge change to melt the permafrost. I suspect you would have to use a number of “worst case scenarios” to create the change shown in the Berkley model.

    • Basically what I said in my post above. I know what you mean by “This is so stupid I don’t know where to begin.” I suspect that the team did not include a pedologist.

  52. Yes RWturner. Yes to Crispin. Yes to others that may have said the same general stuff but I didn’t read it.
    When it is warm the northern realms turn into a sink … it is not an efficient carbon sink but it a sink. Anyone can convince me that I am wrong by explaining how, otherwise, all that scary sequestered carbon got there before it froze. I am waiting….
    … if anyone can come up with anything better than the Giants or Goblins (and their remnant on site sewer systems) as an alternative, please let me know.

  53. Anymore, published climate research based on models is more like “Let’s Make A Deal!” Except what we get behind each of the 3 doors has already been revealed as a truck load of frozen Mellorine behind door #1, 100 years worth of Cheese Product Wiz behind door #2, and 50 years worth of cough cough gag Avacado Dip behind door #3. All fake, and none of it even smells good, let alone tastes good.

  54. Some proposals for WUWT reader consideration:
    Here’s in the Earth’s Carbon respiration cycle:
    http://i61.tinypic.com/x3flns.jpg
    Note: NH sinks and sources are far from saturated.
    – The Earth’s Carbon Year begins on annually on 21 September (equinox).
    Why you ask?
    (Red vertical lines are approx 21 September)
    http://i58.tinypic.com/6poprp.png
    It will only take about 21 days (10 days or so in spring & 10 days in fall) of increasing Northern Hemisphere (NH) CO2 absorption (CO2 sink activity related to NH growing season) to offset the elevated CO2 source that operates now.

    • @ joelobryan March 19, 2015 at 9:49 pm

      – The Earth’s Carbon Year begins on annually on 21 September (equinox).

      “NO”, …. the Earth’s Carbon Year begins 5 to 10 days AFTER the annual 20/21 September (equinox) ….. and has been doing said “steady and consistently” for the past 57 years..
      So, “YUP”, the Red vertical lines on your cited graph are approximately 21 September.

      It will only take about 21 days (10 days or so in spring & 10 days in fall) of increasing Northern Hemisphere (NH) CO2 absorption (CO2 sink activity related to NH growing season) to offset the elevated CO2 source that operates now.

      “NO”, …. the Northern Hemisphere (NH) CO2 absorption-sink activity associated with the NH growing season …. has very little to no effect on the bi-yearly cycling of atmospheric CO2 as portrayed on your included graph of “3 years of Carbon Cycle”.
      And the primary reason is, …. the CO2 minimum yearly ppm as portrayed on your included graph always occurs 5 to 10 days AFTER the Autumnal equinox ….. and the CO2 maximum yearly ppm as portrayed on your included graph …. always occurs 60 days after the Vernal equinox, at + or – 5 or 6 days of mid-May of each calendar year ….. and both the min/max in CO2 ppm have been doing said “steady and consistently bi-yearly cycling” for the past 57 years as attested to by the Mauna Loa CO2 data.
      Also, the NH growing season always begins around the 1st of February ….. and progressively moves erratically northward thru the higher latitudes until mid to late June of each calendar year.
      And secondly, the increase in springtime temperatures that initiates the “start” of the growing season in the NH ….. also initiates the “start” of the outgassing of CO2 as a result of the rotting and/or decaying of the dead plant biomass …. which always begins prior to the “greening” of the live plant biomass …… as the aforesaid “growing season progressively moves erratically northward thru the higher latitudes”, …. thus outgassing as much or more CO2 than said “greening” is ingassing.
      To do otherwise would be in direct violation of my claimed ….. Refrigerator-Freezer Law that governs the microbial decomposition of dead biomass.
      Cheers

      • Refrigerator-Freezer Law…. do tell. Laws in Climate Science are always fun to debunk… like CAGW.

      • @ Joel O’Bryan March 20, 2015 at 9:39 pm

        Refrigerator-Freezer Law…. do tell. Laws in Climate Science are always fun to debunk … like CAGW.

        I agree with you about CAGW, …. but you had better not try “debunking” my afore stated Refrigerator-Freezer Law ….. because you will be biting off more than you want to chew on.
        But iffen you are intent on debunking my stated Law, ….. I suggest that you first talk it over with your wife or mother about the virtues of owning a refrigerator ….. and theen try your skills at “debunking” the following, to wit:

        USDA – Refrigeration and Food Safety
        Refrigeration slows bacterial growth. They are in the soil, air, water, and the foods we eat.
        When they have nutrients (food), moisture, and favorable temperatures, they grow rapidly, ….. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 °F, the “Danger Zone,” …..
        A refrigerator set at 40 °F or below will protect most foods.

        The above excerpted from, to wit:
        http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/934c2c81-2a3d-4d59-b6ce-c238fdd45582/Refrigeration_and_Food_Safety.pdf?MOD=AJPERES
        Joel O’Bryan, most species of bacteria are members of …. the Dead Biomass Decomposers Union …. and all of them refuse to work iffen the dead biomass is dried out, no moisture. You know, ….. like dried apples, dried fish, dried jerky, pemmican … and leaves n’ twigs and other ground clutter.
        And an overwhelming majority of said bacteria either slow-down or refuse to work whenever the temperature decreases below 60 F. And that slow-down continues to get “slower” as the temperature decreases to that magic number of “40 °F or below” and virtually stops @ 32 °F or below.
        Now Joel, please tell me, what is the terrestrial moisture conditions in the NH during the months of August thru October? They are pretty dry, most of the time, ….. right.. And that is what necessitates a “NO BURN – fire season”.
        And what is the average surface temperatures in the NH during the months of September thru October.
        Joel, do you truly think that the “temperature and moisture” conditions of the environment, following the Fall equinox of September 21, … are utterly fantastic “working conditions” for all those unionized bacterial “decomposing” laborers?
        I DON’T THINK SO, ….. and that is one reason that the “Fall time” hunters, trappers and vacationers “dig” themselves a “refrigerator” pit in the ground to preserve their food stuff ….. whenever they are out n’ about lolly-gagging around in the back woods or the wilderness.
        Cheers

  55. It’s an odd thing, but the paper appears to limit the consideration of CO2 absorption to the land covered by the permafrost. As a gas, CO2 will spread to all the corners of the globe and therefore be absorbed by all the plants. I was once told that it would only take one hundredth of an inch of extra topsoil to absorb all the extra CO2 humans had released in all of history.

  56. It is interesting to note that this model starts out with a large area of permafrost in Northern Scandinavia in 1900 that is all gone by 2040. It is actually much worse than that, because all that permafrost was already gone in 1900, and didn’t even leave any trace behind!

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