An Engineer’s Ice-Core Thought Experiment #2 – the Follow-Up

Guest essay by Ronald Voisin

(for the near perfect ice-core recordation enthusiasts)

This essay is a promised follow-up to a 1/25/2015 WUWT posting (here).

Some of the WUWT commenters from the initial posting questioned the validity of a 200 yearlong 100% spike in atmospheric CO2. So I’ll begin this follow-up with a defense of that supposition.

It is quite clear that Natural CO2 emission (and atmospheric spiking) is stimulated by any global temperature increase no matter the cause of that increase. The ~1.5oC global temperature rise, since the Little Ice-Age, can reasonably be estimated to stimulate an increase in several of the natural CO2 sources by as much as 2X (in particular the biologic natural sources). See Table 1 below.


Table 1

Here are the primary sources of natural CO2 release in decreasing order of quantity of carbon emitted: oceanic release, microbial decay, insect activity, frozen terrestrial release; volcanic release; forest fire and then mammalia exhalations and emissions – summing to a total of ~325-485 petagrams. Then there is our ~2.0% anthropogenic release at ~8-9 petagrams. (Based on terrestrial sources alone, without oceans, anthropogenic release is ~3-4% of the natural flux. Some argue that the oceans are net absorbers and ignore the oceanic release estimate below. However, according to the argument presented herein the oceans are net emitters as indicated below when warmed by ~0.5oC per century).

image

Notes: Interglacial estimates come from my notes of IPCC, NASA and NOAA web-sites of 2005 and 2006, when these sites carried detailed analysis of natural CO2 emission sources. Terrestrial estimates of CO2 emission place the anthropogenic contribution at ~3-4%. The annual oceanic release estimate above is modeled (from laboratory experiment by NOAA) and would arise only if and when the oceans begin to follow a 0.5oC per century temperature rise profile (as they most likely have been). Thermal modulations to all non-human emission can be expected to be quite large (up to 2X and more at the extremes of global temp). The only value that can be estimated with high accuracy is the anthropogenic contribution which is far less than both the uncertainty and, most importantly, the variability of many of the natural emission sources.

These natural sources all correlate to global temperature, including, at the least, terrestrial volcanism (as recently verified). When the Earth gets warm, for whatever reason, these natural sources all kick-in together to contribute vast quantities of CO2; and to produce the observed habitual atmospheric CO2 spikes upward. Conversely, when the Earth gets cold, for whatever reason, they all go into remission together; naturally and (generally) coherently to produce a consequential reduction in atmospheric CO2. Each spike or dip in CO2 follows temperature with a lag time averaging 800 years, but proportional to the level and magnitude at which the temperature swings take place.


If one then goes on to recognize that short term (less than a few hundred years) net natural CO2 flux (sourcing and sinking) is dominated by these biological processes. And that natural biologic CO2 sinking is a trailing function of atmospheric CO2.increases (i.e. CO2 sourcing has to go up before CO2 sinking is stimulated to increase). And then assume that Total Earthly Photosynthetic Activity 1850-to-today grows at compounded rate of a mere ~0.35%/year owing to temperature/CO2 stimulation you get a picture that looks like the following.


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About the mirrored inflection points graphically shone above:

A) The tiny negative inflection to the larger microbial / insect contribution is far too small to resolve in the immense summation.

B) The large positive inflection to the tiny anthropogenic contribution is also far too small to resolve in the summation at Mauna Loa.

C) Net human activity (apposing at ~2% each) is entirely irrelevant within our limits of current global CO2 detection and evaluation.

D) A geologically instantaneous substitution of approximately equal CO2 emission has taken place between Earth life forms (i.e. anthropogenic agricultural limitation to microbial and insect emission is roughly equal to, but possibly greater than, anthropogenic CO2 emission itself).

We humans have chosen to systematically limit the proliferation of micro-organisms and insects in the lands we use for cultivation and occupation – which represents about 1/3rd of all land. And in the other 2/3rds of all land, microbes and insects are each estimated to emit ~10 times our anthropogenic emission (insects alone outnumber humans >>10,000,000,000:1 – enough to fill 10’s of large dumpsters per person on Earth).

The relative contribution from microbe and insect emissions would have gone up significantly if we were never here (by a very rough factor of up to 1.5*). They would have filled our void geometrically, unlike our anthropogenic contribution. When we humans get rich, we uniquely self-limit our proliferation, by deciding to have fewer children. And our human emission pales in comparison to the emission from these astronomically vast numbers of other organisms. So if we were never here, greatly enhanced populations of microbes and insects would be emitting more than our anthropogenic emission from the very land that we systematically exclude them from.

*Certainly our limitation to the proliferation of microbes and insects has not been 100% within the lands we cultivate and occupy. However, this limitation need only be an easily accepted value of ~10% or greater for the assertion to be true: we have reason to believe that the current spike would be as large, or larger, than now observed, if we humans were never here at all. i.e. Humanity’s “carbon footprint” may be a neutral to net negative contribution, and probably is. And the currently observed atmospheric CO2 spiking is essentially all natural.


With the above said, I assert with confidence that atmospheric CO2 spiking results from every global temperature rise. And further that the spiking becomes most acute at or just following the inflection from rising to falling global temperature (with smaller dips associated with the reverse inflection).

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Now the question becomes: Why is it that we don’t see these temperature inflection induced spikes in the ice-core record when a myriad of such temperature inflections have occurred throughout the Holocene.

And the answer is: These high-frequency (short duration) spikes are generally not recordable in the ice-cores due to insufficient duration. Why?… Let’s move on to the ice-core recordation process and examine ideal vs. realistic portrayals for an answer.

Let’s assume that the following atmospheric perturbation is to be recorded in the ice (see Figure 1). At some point in time t0, atmospheric CO2 rises from a background concentration of 300ppm, at 3ppm/year, for 100 years. It peaks at 600ppm representing a 100% spike from the original background concentration and then falls in a similar fashion during the ensuing 100 years. The amplitude and duration of the perturbation are arbitrary but, I think, potentially representative of prior real-world events (and possibly we are just now 60 years into recording the beginning of a somewhat similar event at Mauna Loa currently). So how might this atmospheric perturbation be captured (recorded) in Antarctica ice, both ideally and realistically?

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First let’s describe the initial conditions for the recording media, at t0 and prior, which might be typically found at a drill site in Antarctica (see Figure 2). On the surface there are a couple meters of loose snow blowing around. Under that there is ~100 meters of firn – partially compacted snow that has been left over nominally in layers from previous seasons of snow. The seasonal age of the bottom of the firn is typically 40 years. Under that there is glacial ice going down to great distance formed from the weight pressure of the firn. This glacial ice represents past seasons, nominally in layers, from 40 years to as many as 800,000 years. Atmospheric CO2 is initially at 300ppm.

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In Figure 3 we have a snapshot of the “ideal” atmospheric CO2 recordation at t0 plus 50 years. During these 50 years the atmospheric CO2 concentration has grown from 300ppm to 450ppm at 3ppm/year. The latter 40 years of the 50 are recorded in the firn while the first 10 years have now progressed into the glacial ice.

However, in Figure 3A we see that owing to diffusion a more realistic portrayal has a steeper slope but nominally a similar profile.

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In Figure 4 another 50 years of ideal recordation have occurred. At t0 plus 100 years, atmospheric CO2 is now peaked at 600ppm. Again the latter 40 years are recorded in the firn while the initial 60 years have now progressed into the glacial ice.

However, in Figure 4A we see again that owing to diffusion a more realistic portrayal has a steeper slope but nominally a similar profile.

During these initial periods of ever increasing atmospheric CO2 we find that the realistic profile maps quite well on to the ideal profile. But that is about to change.

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In “ideal” Figure 5 we are now on the downside of the atmospheric perturbation to be recorded. Atmospheric CO2 has now fallen from a 600ppm peak back down to 450ppm. As before the most recent 40 years are in the firn; and 110 years of recordation have progressed into the glacial ice; including the atmospheric peak at 600ppm.

But now in Figure 5A we see that diffusion back to the atmosphere has produced a very different realistic portrayal of the true recordation process. And this difference will continue to become more pronounced.

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In “ideal” Figure 6 at 200 years the atmospheric concentration has dropped back to the initial condition while the firn continues to pass the remainder of the perturbation to the glacial ice.

However, in Figure 6A we see that the realistic recordation bears little resemblance to the ideal. The realistic recordation has retained only ~25% of the ideal amplitude at this point. And it gets worse.

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In figure 7 the “ideal” glacial ice recordation is complete. But in Figure 7A only ~7% of the original perturbation is realistically retained.

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In Figure 8 we see how this recordation might ideally move another 250 years further into the glacial ice while Figure 8A reveals that only ~5% of the original perturbation has been actually recorded.

And this single source of attenuating distortion is occurring at the initial outset of ice-core recordation process (first few hundred years) notwithstanding an array of big-deal in situ and subsequent recordation distortions – each and every one of which specifically and selectively diminishes “peak CO2” recordation…selectively.

It doesn’t take much mental machination to realize that if the perturbation duration is fixed at 200 years, the results would be similar to what is shown for any amplitude of perturbation – only ~5% would be retained at the initial outset of recordation.

So now it becomes clear why these temperature inflection induced spikes are not revealed in the ice-cores. Many (most) of the Holocene perturbations would involve durations shorter than 200 years such that the ice-core recordation would be basically lost in its entirety regardless of the perturbation amplitude.

It might also be reasonably presumed that temperature/CO2 induced stimulated photosynthetic sinking would generally not allow the spiking amplitude to become greater than 100%; at least not in the absence of a photosynthetic sinking saturation event.

So one good question is: Since the ice-cores do reveal 50%’ish CO2 spikes at the major deglaciations, what minimum perturbation duration would be required such that 50 percentage points of a 100% amplitude perturbation would survive the initial attenuation of recordation? My estimate is something North of 500 years would be required.

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One last issue regards the history of thousands of atmospheric CO2 measurements that were carried out by competent metrologists using chemical analysis. These scientists were not dufus. They may not have had accurate techniques but they certainly had precise techniques or they would never have carried their measurements on for years. And it is inconceivable that they all made independent but systematic measurement mistakes (for years), getting erroneously high values, but only during the years following temperature transitions of warming-to-cooling. Chemical analysis clearly reveals atmospheric CO2 spikes, as great or greater than todays, during the 1820’s, mid-1850’s and early 1940’s – in each case following an Earth temperature inflection from rising to falling. And the fact that these same events are absent from the ice-core record is well explained above.

Finally, CAGW isn’t just wrong…it’s entirely and antithetically wrong. Rather than climatic poison, elevated atmospheric CO2 is the elixir of all life on Earth. And misinterpretation/misunderstanding of the ice-cores has contributed greatly to our ongoing confusion. For more info see (here).


 

Ronald D Voisin is a retired engineer. He spent 27 years in the Semiconductor Lithography Equipment industry mostly in California’s Silicon Valley. Since retiring in 2007, he has made a hobby of studying climate change. Ron received a BSEE degree from the Univ. of Michigan – Ann Arbor in 1978 and has held various management positions at both established semiconductor equipment companies and start-ups he helped initiate. Ron has authored/co-authored 31 patent applications, 27 of which have issued.

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300 thoughts on “An Engineer’s Ice-Core Thought Experiment #2 – the Follow-Up

  1. “Notes: Interglacial estimates come from my notes of IPCC, NASA and NOAA web-sites of 2005 and 2006, when these sites carried detailed analysis of natural CO2 emission sources.”
    Interesting.

  2. Of course CO2 is a magic elixir, and our little aliquot of Anthropogenic has been miraculously supplied, the Human Carbon Cornucopia.
    Instead of climate reparations, the developed nations should be praised for leading the way to a greener and warmer world.
    ================

  3. Ronald Voisin,

    With the above said, I assert with confidence that atmospheric CO2 spiking results from every global temperature rise. And further that the spiking becomes most acute at or just following the inflection from rising to falling global temperature (with smaller dips associated with the reverse inflection).
    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/clip_image004_thumb1.png

    I have two problems with your confident assertion:
    1) I don’t see that you’ve proposed a plausible mechanism for how the system “knows” it has reached or passed an inflection point.
    2) The driving signal (Milankovitch orbital forcing) is sinusoidal, the responsive temperature and CO2 curves are not — they’re both saw toothed.
    That second point really ought to stick out like a sore thumb to an engineer.

    Now the question becomes: Why is it that we don’t see these temperature inflection induced spikes in the ice-core record when a myriad of such temperature inflections have occurred throughout the Holocene.

    Ice cores are not the only evidence available:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL048538/pdf
    One paper of many discussing isotope ratios a la the Seuss effect.

      • Sure. And a high-school chemistry student should be able to tell you what the combustion reaction products are.

      • Yes. Money in my pocket, food on the table, and a hot shower when I want one. For those in Rio Linda, that’s known as ‘civilization’.

      • One of the hottest showers I ever took was solar-heated. We here in Berkeley call that “innovation”.

      • Brandon, solar heated showers is not a “Berkeley innovation.” They’ve done this for centuries in middle eastern countries, just using direct solar heat instead of solar panels. You should travel the world more.

      • I’d ask if Indonesia counts, but oddly enough, they’re not terribly fond of hot showers. More like tepid, which is about the same temperature as the precipitation if not a little cooler.

      • Brandon sez:

        One of the hottest showers I ever took was solar-heated. We here in Berkeley call that “innovation”.

        Well, that explains alot….

      • Brandon Gates
        April 4, 2015 at 7:31 pm
        One of the hottest showers I ever took was solar-heated. We here in Berkeley call that “innovation”.
        ———————————————————————————————————————————–
        I’d call it “malfunctioning temperature control”.

    • Milankovich is perhaps better thought of as a ‘trigger’ than as a driver, IMO. And likely not the only one, if at all. The Antarctic and Greenland ice cores (Vostok, Gisp2) show ‘abrupt’ warming over perhaps 10-15 millennia, a bit of ‘stability’ (Holocene) then slower and more irregular cooling for perhaps 100-120 millennia. In terms of a two lobed Lorenz strange attractor to the chaotic (nonlinear dynamic) climate system, the warm lobe is approached rapidly, the cold lobe slowly. This suggests different dynamic processes at work driving climate toward those attractors. One possibility for the warm lobe is ocean currents that at some point get ‘suddenly’ fundamentally changed as sea level draws down enough. For example, the Sundra Strait is dry land at glacial maxima. (Much of southeast asias archipelagos become continuous land). That might have massive impact on the Pacific circulation. Growing NH ice sheet albedo has to be a ‘positive’ cooling feedback toward the cold lobe. And so on. The largest near surface thermal mass is the oceans, which we have only begun to understand.

      • ristvan,

        Milankovich is perhaps better thought of as a ‘trigger’ than as a driver, IMO.

        I’ve seen it described that way in “consensus” literature as well, and I don’t personally like it. To me “trigger” invokes images of a one-time impulse causing a chain-reaction response and eventually equilibration at a different level. There’s no way I can read Berger (1978) and look at it that way:
        http://www.whoi.edu/science/GG/paleoseminar/pdf/berger78.pdf
        When three well-constrained and predictable oscillations combine into one signal which explains so much of the observed timing and amplitude of the responsive parameters, “driver” is the most obvious thing to call it. But that’s just me.

        And likely not the only one, if at all.

        Surely not the only one, but not a factor at all is a major stretch which borders on “sorcerers” are doing it. I cannot rationally reject such an elegant explanation that also has so much robust observational evidence supporting it. To do reject Milankovitch, I’d need a more compelling explanation which explains the extant observational data — which explanation is notably absent.

        In terms of a two lobed Lorenz strange attractor to the chaotic (nonlinear dynamic) climate system, the warm lobe is approached rapidly, the cold lobe slowly. This suggests different dynamic processes at work driving climate toward those attractors.

        Indeed, that’s a point I’ve made many times. The rest of your argument speaks things which happen near minima and maxima. The way I’ve looked at this for a long time now is to mentally edit out the chaotic high-frequency “noise” …
        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/53/MilankovitchCyclesOrbitandCores.png
        … and note what goes on in between the extremes. It’s really obvious to me looking at the near vertical glacial terminations that the system is far more disposed to warming than cooling through the entire transit from low to high. Ice albedo is part of that. Sunda Strait … well Sunda Shelf, yes? … being equatorial, not so compelling but also not something to ignore either. Surely there are scads of other factors to consider but ruling out atmospheric radiative effects in favour of them — especially the speculative ones — is such an anti-obvious thing to do it makes me want to weep.
        Especially when I look at what generally happens after a big 100 kyr deglaciation … more or less a gradual falloff. It screams to me atmospherically retarded loss of heat because energy has to get through that layer to get out.
        The only real question I have is magnitude of that effect, and I note that lots of people are working on it — obviously it’s not an easy one to nail down.

      • The Bering Strait is key to Pacific/Arctic circulation during sea level rise/fall. And the Sea of Okhotsk ice extent is probably showing us a linkage between Siberian temperatures and northern Pacific circulation. Lots of moving parts in this model.

      • I like your thought of the Milankovitch cycle as being a “trigger” event. To my mind it sets the stage for the cold drivers to unleash the initial winter cold wave that the following summer can not dissipate entirely. The cold gradually gains the upper hand from there. Note the strong warming outbreaks which take place as if the whole system is about to shake off the cold gloom. Yet those warm outbreaks can never muster the energy to defeat the next sequence of cold drivers which push temperatures down again. All this while the tilt progresses towards the turn around point and back again, until the tilt can no longer reinforce the cold drivers to hold back the warming phase. From there the warming progresses rapidly, and nowhere on that graph can a break in the warming be seen until the peak is reached. Maybe a better description for Milankovitch would be as a vehicle from which the cold drivers can gain supremacy over the warming drivers.

      • The ice cores reveal an ‘anti-spike’ the opposite of the plot shown. I thought that was common knowledge. CO2 still lags temperature but there is a spike at the inflection points both top and bottom. Have a look at the ice core plots. It is pretty obvious. I have no idea why it does that.

      • Flashman, not sure that was directed at me, but if so: me too (somewhat) and thank you (very kindly).

        • @Brandon Gates – it was directed at you. This was taking too much out of me for too little return. On the other hand, I think you’re smarter than me so maybe you’ll get some traction.

      • Flashman, again thanks … for the perseverance part. I know I’m smart and definitely don’t mind compliments along those lines … but smartER I have difficulty accepting. I think you more than hold your own and I always enjoy reading your posts. You’re also not alone in wondering about returns. Cheers.

      • I view Gates as a chihuahua nipping at my heels. He hasn’t made a single convert to his weird belief system in all his thousands of comments here.
        If you think he’s smart, that is only a sad reflection on you. You’re far too easily impressed.

      • dbstealey,
        Being elevated to chihuahua is an improvement, but I doubt I can take credit for that minor victory. One does wonder when you achieved omnipotence, however, and why you’re not putting that to better use.

      • @ Brandon Gates…my thoughts were similar to dbstealey’s before I even got to his comment. Your interchange immediately made me think of right hand meets left hand. Whether the thought was right or wrong, it certainly appeared that way to me.

      • goldminor,
        lol, well now I’m completely confused. Left hand/right hand takes me to the New Testament idiom, and I’m not sure how that applies here.

    • Ice cores are not the only evidence available:

      Brandon Gates,
      Your paper indicates that CO2 levels have risen (A) and the isotope ratio is consistent with the current cause being due to burning of fossil fuels (B).
      (A) is not disputed. Observations are a sceptics friend.
      (B) is not relevant. The current rise in CO2 needs to be unprecedented to be important. If this is just a another spike that has happened many times before – and will again – then who cares? The planet can’t tell if its anthropogenic, volcanic or due to insects, the Oceans or flatulent cats.
      Stomata don’t agree with the ice-core record.
      Direct measurements in the 19th century don’t agree with the ice-core record.
      And logic, as shown here, doesn’t agree with the ice-core record.

      • MCourtney,

        Your paper indicates that CO2 levels have risen (A) and the isotope ratio is consistent with the current cause being due to burning of fossil fuels (B).
        (A) is not disputed. Observations are a sceptics friend.
        (B) is not relevant.

        (C) Special pleadings are a “skeptic’s” friend … (B) is an observation. Well several really. We know that sequestered carbon has a different isotope ratio since we’ve tested it. And we know that we burn the stuff. We’ve a fairly good idea of how much of it we burn:
        http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/graphics/global.total.jpg
        To look at that and compare it to this ….
        http://climexp.knmi.nl/data/ico2_monthly.png
        … then trot out an argument from ignorance in the face of pretty basic hydrocarbon chemistry is the epitome of protesting too much. The isotopes are most useful for tracking the rest of carbon cycle … I see it as overkill to even go there for purposes of it dawning on me that we’re responsible for most of the observed rise since 1850.

        The current rise in CO2 needs to be unprecedented to be important.

        Why?

        If this is just a another spike that has happened many times before – and will again – then who cares?

        “If” is a “skeptic’s” BEST friend. You’ve gone straight from argument by fiat into argument by speculation. So now you’re two degrees removed from a discussion based on inference from empirical evidence. “Maybe” it’s pixies wot diddit is the next step. Please, for the love of all that is rational, knock it off before we get there.

        The planet can’t tell if its anthropogenic, volcanic or due to insects, the Oceans or flatulent cats.

        There you and I agree, however the royal “we” can tell the difference between car farts and termites breaking wind.

        Stomata don’t agree with the ice-core record.

        Figured the elder Courtney would raise that one if he were afoot, I almost mentioned it for that very reason. Short answer: ice cores = direct gas detection. Stomata = models. Niether are easy, but ice is more robust, and in better agreement with other proxies.

        Direct measurements in the 19th century don’t agree with the ice-core record.

        Default answer: of course not. That’s the thing about paleo data — it’s neither as precise nor accurate as instrumental data. A more substantive response requires a substantive citation.

        And logic, as shown here, doesn’t agree with the ice-core record.

        Logic started going bye-bye at “(B) is not relevant” and now you’re right off the rails. I haven’t the faintest idea what you mean here.

      • @ Brandon Gates April 5, 2015 at 12:58 am
        Do you also figgure da cause of the Roman Warm Period was a direct result of all the concrete they were pouring.

      • Gates says, Especially when I look at what generally happens after a big 100 kyr deglaciation … more or less a gradual falloff. It screams to me atmospherically retarded loss of heat because energy has to get through that layer to get out.”
        ====================================
        I am not certain of your point here. The ratio between conducted heat to the atmosphere, and radiated heat varies, partially dependent on the amount of atmospheric GHG. Your statement would be just as accurate to say, It screams to me atmospherically retarded loss of heat because energy has to get TO that layer to get out.”
        I think we know to little about disparate surface insolation, and the residence time of said energy entering the oceans, as well as endless other factors, to determine that the atmospheric loss or retention of radiation is wagging the dog.

      • MCourtney – I find this debate very interesting. Your last three sentences (stomata, measurement, logic) are potentially very compelling (“potentially” meaning that I need further reasons to accept them as contradicting the ice core record). But I can’t accept your comment on the isotope ratio – that the CO2 rise has to be unprecedented for the isotope ratio to be relevant. To my mind, the isotope ratio is interesting data which potentially can tell us more about the sources, movement and sinks of CO2. Again “potentially” because I need further reasons to accept them too. [Does it matter whether I accept these things? Of course not, except to me.]

      • A correction to the last part of my post rearranging B.G. sentence…
        “It screams to me atmospherically accelerated loss of heat because energy has to get TO that layer to get out.”

      • @BG

        “If” is a “skeptic’s” BEST friend.

        Well it has to be since most of climate science dire warnings and assertions are based on speculation and “IFs”. True a battle of the “IFs” can get tedious. The attempt at shifting the burden of proof more so.
        Disprove this statement, “If the models are correct catastrophic climate change is certain.” Argument by speculation along with circular argument are the cornerstones of “Climate Change” As far as pixies go, climate science has replaced “I don’t know” with “AGW” called it a day and said it’s settled. I am not sure when the scientifically sound principle of “I don’t know” was banned from climate science, I’ll cynically speculate it was around the time of the founding of the IPCC.
        We are currently adding about 80 million humans to the planet annually; we will be creating more CO2 regardless of to-fossil-fuel or not-to-fossil-fuel. CO2 is part of this chaotic eco-system we call earth. Your logic is since humans are creating more CO2 it is responsible for the increase in CO2 concentrations since ~1900 is simplistic and ego-centric. Kind of like believing the Sun revolves around the Earth. CO2 concentration is the result of a complex, chaotic, non-linear system we not understand well enough to assert (never mind prove) humans are controlling CO2 concentrations, earth’s temperature, climate, regional weather and who knows what else. We contribute to all of those things as every other living organism on the planet does, but historical evidence indicates humans are not the trigger, driver, controller, or whatever the latest speculative description of humanity being the center of climate change comes up with.
        Why does the current rise in CO2 need to be unprecedented to be important? Maybe because climate change claims unprecedented levels of CO2, unprecedented warming, unprecedented drought, unprecedented precipitation, unprecedented melting, unprecedented number of Polar bears, unprecedented blah blah blah…

      • MCourtney,
        I think that the isotopic ratio is quite relevant in this case: the increase in the atmosphere and the drop in 14C/12C ratio (pre-nuclear bomb tests) and 13C/12C ratio all parallels each other since the start of the industrial revolution. That can be measured in ice cores CO2, but also in the ocean surface in the deposit of aragonite in coralline sponges. These deposits have the same 13C/12C ratio as the surrounding surface waters, which are in close contact to the atmosphere:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.jpg
        The pCO2(atm) scale is the reciprocal of the δ13C scale and there is a near perfect correlation between the two.
        Stomata are calibrated to ice core records and direct measurements over the past century for the local CO2 bias (stomata are by definition measured in land plants), but nobody can predict the change of the local bias over the previous centuries due to land (use) changes in the main wind direction or even changes in the main wind direction itself in certain periods (MWP to LIA).
        Moreover: both stomata and ice core data reject the “peak” value around 1942 in the late Beck’s compilation of the historical wet chemical measurements…

      • Samuel C Cogar,

        Do you also figgure da cause of the Roman Warm Period was a direct result of all the concrete they were pouring.

        No, that would be silly. Anthropogenic forcings, internal variability and natural forcings are not mutually exclusive. Neither I, nor literature, nor the IPCC argue that all of the wiggles in the temperature time series post-1950 (or 1850, or 1750 … whatever arbitrary point of time one cares to choose) belong solely to us. The unfortunate “control knob” slogan does imply that is true when taken literally and interpreted very narrowly. However, a broad reading of literature doesn’t support the notion. The best I’ve seen it stated is along the lines of, “over long periods of time (multiple decades to centuries) anthro GHG forcings become dominant”.

      • David A,

        I am not certain of your point here.

        Conservation of energy, 1st law of thermodynamics. We’re absolutely sure about that. We know energy goes in and out via radiative transfers. And we have very good estimates of the optical depth of the atmosphere, by temperature and pressure, by spectral line for the relevant species. You know of the HITRAN database and line-by-line radiative transfer codes, yes?

        The ratio between conducted heat to the atmosphere, and radiated heat varies, partially dependent on the amount of atmospheric GHG.

        And convected. And latent heat transfers. Other than, “it’s (impossibly) complicated” I am not certain of your point here.

        Your statement would be just as accurate to say, “It screams to me atmospherically accelerated loss of heat because energy has to get TO that layer to get out.”

        That is not my perception. My actual perception could be grossly inaccurate and you raise an arguable point. Downwelling SW radiation penetrates to hundreds of meters whereas LW only travels in sea water on the order of microns. In that sense, the oceans ARE the ultimate “greenhouse” in the system. Bintanja, et al. (2008) is an interesting paper I’ve mentioned here before: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v454/n7206/abs/nature07158.html
        It’s a model study, the output data are here: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/paleocean/by_contributor/bintanja2008/
        If you download the spreadsheet (or import the text file, same data) and plot Tsurf and Tdo together on the same graph, you may note three things which I think are interesting:
        1) The ratio of surface temperature to deep ocean is about 5.
        2) Deep ocean temperature response lags the surface by about 2,000 years.
        3) After accounting for the lag, deep ocean temperature correlates with the surface extremely well.
        One study is not conclusive, certainly not one so heavily reliant on modelling.

        I think we know to little about disparate surface insolation, and the residence time of said energy entering the oceans, as well as endless other factors, to determine that the atmospheric loss or retention of radiation is wagging the dog.

        Multiple authors from multiple disciplines have produced multiple lines of evidence suggesting that the atmosphere, being both the first and last step in the full energy cycle has a non-negligible effect on the planet’s energy balance. Make your case for “it’s the oceans wot dunnit” if you must. You need a plausible causal mechanism and supporting evidence. “I think we just don’t know enough” just doesn’t cut it for me.

      • Alx says:
        (anthropogenic) …climate change claims unprecedented levels of CO2, unprecedented warming, unprecedented drought, unprecedented precipitation, unprecedented melting, unprecedented number of Polar bears, unprecedented blah blah blah…
        Yes, that is what they claim. But in fact, not one of those things is unprecedented. They have all happened before, and to a greater degree — and prior to human emissions being a factor.
        What is unprecedented is the extent of the lies being told by the alarmist crowd.
        Nothing being observed now is either unusual, or unprecedented. It has all happened before. But if the alarmist clique admitted that, they would lose their most compelling arguments.

      • “Multiple authors from multiple disciplines have produced multiple lines of evidence suggesting that the atmosphere, being both the first and last step in the full energy cycle has a non-negligible effect on the planet’s energy balance.”
        And, their projections indicated, with “high confidence”, that the Earth would be several points higher in temperature now than it is.
        What can I tell you? They were wrong. How obsequious and deferential to self-styled authorities do you have to be before you begin to question whether they really have a handle on things?

      • Samuel C Cogar,
        All hail the FSM!!!

        2) The driving signal (Milankovitch orbital forcing) is sinusoidal, the responsive temperature and CO2 curves are not — they’re both saw toothed.
        “perspective – the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship:”

        Ayup. And my perspective is that when the input signal is sinusoidal and the output signal is saw tooth there must be a causal mechanism. The system is unarguably complex, however it’s not a magical black box. You’ve not given me any additional perspective which might change my already stated beliefs, all you’ve done is raise the possibility that I’m wrong. Which I already knew.

      • Alx,

        Well it has to be since most of climate science dire warnings and assertions are based on speculation and “IFs”. True a battle of the “IFs” can get tedious. The attempt at shifting the burden of proof more so.

        When someone raises an “IF” they assume the burden of proof. It’s beyond tedious pointing that out to people who don’t accept that principle.

        Disprove this statement, “If the models are correct catastrophic climate change is certain.”

        I cannot, nor do I feel compelled to. It’s not my personal position.

        Argument by speculation along with circular argument are the cornerstones of “Climate Change” As far as pixies go, climate science has replaced “I don’t know” with “AGW” called it a day and said it’s settled.

        Your opinion is noted. Mine is different.

        I am not sure when the scientifically sound principle of “I don’t know” was banned from climate science, I’ll cynically speculate it was around the time of the founding of the IPCC.

        I’m not sure when you stopped reading IPCC ARs. They’re chock full of “we don’t know”.

        Your logic is since humans are creating more CO2 it is responsible for the increase in CO2 concentrations since ~1900 is simplistic and ego-centric.

        Irony. I’ve pointed to some of the literature with evidence based arguments supporting the proposition. You answer with speculations about my ego. Something is amiss here.

        CO2 concentration is the result of a complex, chaotic, non-linear system we not understand well enough to assert (never mind prove) humans are controlling CO2 concentrations, earth’s temperature, climate, regional weather and who knows what else. We contribute to all of those things as every other living organism on the planet does, but historical evidence indicates humans are not the trigger, driver, controller, or whatever the latest speculative description of humanity being the center of climate change comes up with.

        Um. How is it that the system is too complex to attribute anthropogenic contributions to CO2 concentrations, but not too complex to rule them out?

        Why does the current rise in CO2 need to be unprecedented to be important? Maybe because climate change claims unprecedented levels of CO2, unprecedented warming, unprecedented drought, unprecedented precipitation, unprecedented melting, unprecedented number of Polar bears, unprecedented blah blah blah…

        Ok sure. It confuses me when people subtly conflate two issues. I don’t think it makes much sense to have a debate on CO2’s putative climate effects until all parties in the debate roughly agree on what’s causing the rise in CO2 concentration.

      • Bart,

        How obsequious and deferential to self-styled authorities do you have to be before you begin to question whether they really have a handle on things?

        How much about thermal inertia and internal variability do you need to read about before the difference between century-length secular trends and annual/decadal variability sinks in? Go grab your first year physics text if you still have it. Most of what you need to figure it out can be found therein.

      • “How much about thermal inertia…”
        So weak. Apparently, you think inertia is a property that makes things stop. You really couldn’t be more wrong if you were trying. Perhaps you know what the word “flail” means? ‘Cause you’re flailing, laddie.

      • Bart,

        Apparently, you think inertia is a property that makes things stop.

        Apparently you’re a terrible mind-reader. Try again, this time doing the honest thing — which is not putting thoughts in my head I don’t have, nor words in my mouth that I’m not speaking. You can do it if you really try.

      • Gates says:
        When someone raises an “IF” they assume the burden of proof. It’s beyond tedious pointing that out to people who don’t accept that principle.
        That’s because it isn’t a principle at all. If it was, no one could go much beyond “No” in falsifying a conjecture.
        The basic conjecture in the entire “climate” debate is the claim that human CO2 emissions are the primary cause of global warming.
        So skeptics can’t question that, without ever using the word “if”??
        As if.
        IF that conjecture was true, there would be at least some measurements verifying MMGW. But there are none.
        The alarmist cult is constantly trying to paint skeptics into that corner. It won’t work, because it is the duty of skeptics to falsify all conjectures if they can (the MMGW conjecture was especially easy to falsify). There are no rules precluding the use of “if”. None at all. That “rule” is just more pointless nitpicking.

      • dbstealey,

        So skeptics can’t question that, without ever using the word “if”??

        I assert: If CO2 concentrations rise, a global average surface temperature rise will likely follow.
        Whose burden of proof, mine or yours?

      • Gates,
        Aside from changing the subject away from your original false assertion that when a skeptic uses “if”, he has created a new burden of proof…
        …your ‘burden of proof’ example would require a verifiable, testable measurement quantifying the fractional rise in global warming attributed to the specific rise in CO2.
        Wake me when you have that number. We will deconstruct from there. Easy peasy.

      • dbstealey,

        …your ‘burden of proof’ …

        Yes it is my burden of proof, for I made the assertion.
        MCourtney “asks”: If this is just a another spike that has happened many times before – and will again – then who cares?
        Whose burden of proof? Mine, or MCourntey’s?

      • @ Brandon Gates April 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm

        2) The driving signal (Milankovitch orbital forcing) is sinusoidal, the responsive temperature and CO2 curves are not — they’re both saw toothed.
        “perspective – the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship:”

        And my perspective is that when the input signal is sinusoidal and the output signal is saw tooth there must be a causal mechanism. The system is unarguably complex, however it’s not a magical black box. You’ve not given me any additional perspective which might change my already stated beliefs, all you’ve done is raise the possibility that I’m wrong. Which I already knew.

        And your perspective on the above is FUBAR ….. and that is what I was trying to tell you.
        First of all, your per se “driving signal (Milankovitch orbital forcing)” is the solar irradiance (thermal energy) measured at the earth’s surface ……. whereas your per se “responsive temperature and CO2 curves” are the product of the “driving signal” of the reflected, conducted and/or re-radiated thermal energy from the earth’s surface.
        The in-coming “driving signal” is sinusoidal ….. but the out-going “driving signal” is erratic, … primarily due to “axial forcing”.
        And secondly, the per se “responsive temperature and CO2” are plotted monthly/yearly averages …. and their plotted graphics only appear to be “saw toothed” in nature.
        Brandon, your lack of perspective is the ole “can’t see the forest for the trees” problem.
        And “Yes”, your per se “driving signal (Milankovitch orbital forcing)” is sinusoidal, … and the responsive change in temperature of the ocean waters is the result of said.
        And the plotted “saw toothed” signal of atmospheric CO2 is the responsive result of the bi-yearly increase/decrease in the temperature of the ocean waters, ….. whereas the multi-year plotted “curve” signal of atmospheric CO2 is the responsive result of the steady increase in the temperature of the ocean waters that have been “warming” up since the LIA ended.
        Brandon, the bi-yearly “cycling” of atmospheric CO2 has been steady & consistent, ….. within a 10 day “window” for the past 57 years as measured at Mauna Loa, …. and the only thing in the natural world that is that precisely “cyclic” are the Spring and Fall equinoxes of the earth’s orbital cycle.
        Neither climate, weather, surface temperatures, bio-mass greening, microbial decomposition or human activities are that precisely “cyclic” from one (1) year to the next, …. let alone 57 years in sequence.
        Perspective, perspective, perspective. As Yogi Bear might say, …. “Ya gotta look before you can see”.

    • @ Brandon Gates April 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      1) I don’t see that you’ve proposed a plausible mechanism for how the system “knows” it has reached or passed an inflection point.

      No problem, Brandon, the Flying Spaghetti Monster has been keeping an accurate Record of all inflection points.

      2) The driving signal (Milankovitch orbital forcing) is sinusoidal, the responsive temperature and CO2 curves are not — they’re both saw toothed.

      perspective – the faculty of seeing all the relevant data in a meaningful relationship:

    • The system doesn’t know anything (what a strange way to put the question.)
      The system has been increasing its output of CO2 due to the sources outputting more than the sinks. Then with temperature drop the sources start slowing but some of the sinks have also started decreasing so in the overlap there is a period where the CO2 will show a peak until the capacity of the sinks such as cooler oceans starts overtaking the sources as the sources decrease at a higher rate.

      • Ian W,

        The system doesn’t know anything (what a strange way to put the question.)

        Yes, that was deliberate.

        The system has been increasing its output of CO2 due to the sources outputting more than the sinks.

        Academic. That’s how equlibrium systems work.

        Then with temperature drop the sources start slowing but some of the sinks have also started decreasing so in the overlap there is a period where the CO2 will show a peak until the capacity of the sinks such as cooler oceans starts overtaking the sources as the sources decrease at a higher rate.

        That is the beginning of a hypothesis, not a conclusive argument. I’m challenging it because Ron’s sinusoidal plot …
        http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/clip_image004_thumb1.png
        … doesn’t look like the saw-tooth signal derived from observation:
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/CO2_history_500.jpg
        Not only that, there are spikes and dips all over the place, not just near inflection points.

  4. Would this be a good summary of your Thought Experiment #2”? –
    So are you saying in so many words that the 800,000 year ice cores do not show spikes in the atmospheric CO2 such as we have seen in the last 50 to 100 years?
    In other words are you saying that there have been spikes higher than 400 ppm in the last 800,000 years, but because of the way (method that) it is trapped in the ice, it doesn’t record these spikes (ie. spikes of less than 200 years)??:
    http://web.ncf.ca/jim/ref/inconvenientTruth/full/00_23_53.jpg
    and
    http://web.ncf.ca/jim/ref/inconvenientTruth/full/00_22_49.jpg

    • J. Philip Peterson,
      That’s more or less what I think he is arguing, and it’s a very common one. His variation of it specifically fails because for it to be true, the “actual” CO2 “spikes” and “dips” would not look like this …
      http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/clip_image004_thumb1.png
      … but rather would have something akin to a 1st order harmonic with >= 50% of the amplitude of the “smoothed” signal we see in the low-resolution ice core records — but probably less of a harmonic and more like “random” noise. Doesn’t matter to me either way; there’s simply too much other literature filling the gap he’s attempting to exploit.

  5. That is consistent with my comments here:
    http://www.newclimatemodel.com/evidence-that-oceans-not-man-control-co2-emissions/
    and the work of Murry Salby.
    In previous threads here I have suggested that the ice core record is too insensitive to atmospheric CO2 variations to be a helpful proxy on shorter timescales and in support of that both myself and others have directed readers to the more volatile stomata data.
    As for the isotope ratio objection proposed by Ferdinand Engelbeen I remain of the view that the assumptions made by him fail to take into account the effect of the ocean biosphere in altering the isotope characteristics of CO2 outgassing from the oceans.
    The other objection that Ferdinand makes is that Henry’s Law would require much warmer oceans to have the observed effect. I say that the outgassing is a regional feature involving sun warmed water beneath, primarily the subtropical high pressure cells so that substantial warming of the ocean bulk is not required.
    All that needs to happen is for less clouds in the tropics to lead to increased outgassing in the tropics such that the outgassing exceeds the absorption into colder waters nearer the poles.
    Decreasing global cloudiness causes emission to exceed absorption.
    Increasing global cloudiness causes absorption to exceed emission.
    Meanwhile, CO2 being heavier than air, our emissions are quickly absorbed by the regional biosphere around the centres of anthropogenic emission. That deals with the so called mass balance problem and explains why we do not see plumes of CO2 downwind of human population centres. We only see such plumes downwind of sun warmed ocean surfaces.
    Ronald Voisin has done good work here.

    • I think the CO2 ‘sudden spike’ at the peak of a warming cycle makes a lot of sense. We are at such an apex this last decade. The cooling has just begun and CO2 is spiking while temperatures are not rising.

    • For where there was more or less CO2 last October and early November, have a look at: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/12/20/agu14-nasas-orbiting-carbon-observatory-shows-surprising-co2-emissions-in-southern-hemisphere/
      The CO2 hotspots were primarily around southern hemisphere forests, and secondarily around major population centers.
      Note that CO2 at the Mauna Loa observatory has its annual peak in early-mid spring of the northern hemisphere, just before northern hemisphere forests go gangbusters with growth of plant biomass.

      • @ Donald L. Klipstein April 4, 2015 at 8:21 pm

        Note that CO2 at the Mauna Loa observatory has its annual peak in early-mid spring of the northern hemisphere, just before northern hemisphere forests go gangbusters with growth of plant biomass.

        The CO2 peak in mid-May of each and every year, steadily and consistently for the past 57 years as per Mauna Loa data, …. has nothing whatsoever to do with the NH forests going gangbusters with growth of plant biomass. So forget that “junk science” claim because there is no truth associated with it.
        1. All of the initial Spring “greening” and/or “growth” in the NH (plants, bushes, shrubs and trees) is produced via the stored sugars in the seeds and roots of the aforementioned …. and that “greening” has not advanced enough to start absorbing atmospheric CO2 until 2 to 3 weeks after the near-surface daytime temperatures have risen to 60+ F degrees.
        2. As soon as the near-surface temperatures have risen to 50/60+ F degrees the microbial decomposition of dead biomass gets going like gangbusters …. and thus are emitting far more CO2 into the atmosphere than any of the aforesaid “greening” is capable of absorbing ….. and those CO2 emissions begin weeks before any CO2 absorptions begin.
        The SH ocean is the culprit that causes the annual mid-May peak in CO2 …. as well as its decrease to its annual “low” at the end of September of each and every year ….. and its rise back to its peak again.

  6. Ronald – I think you have missed something in Table 1 relating to ocean sourcing.
    Every second of every day, new CO2 is being upwelled from the depths. This upwelling is due to CO2 that was placed in the THC pipeline ages ago, and there is little control over it. For all intents and purposes, it acts as an exogenous input to the surface system over timelines stretching hundreds of years.
    If the CO2 content of the oceans is to stay steady over any given timeline, then the cumulative amount downwelled over that timeline has to equal the amount that upwelled.
    A temperature rise not only produces greater outgassing to the atmosphere, it chokes down that downwelling, and so, all things being equal, CO2 in the oceans would begin to accumulate. The atmospheric concentration would then increase proportionately to that accumulation.

    • Bart,
      I proposed a long time ago that in view of the 800 year lag between atmospheric warmth and raised CO2 in the ice core record it may well be that we are currently being affected by CO2 from the warmth of the Mediaeval Warm Period resurfacing after travelling through the THC.
      Others have made the same point from time to time.
      During a warm period the richer global atmospheric CO2 content leads to greater absorption in colder, more poleward waters.
      AGW proponents try to tell us that on this occasion there is no lag because we have disrupted the natural process but so far as I am aware they have never ascertained any reason for the ‘natural’ 800 year lag.
      Lacking such a reason they have no scientific reason to assume that there is no lag on this occasion. Proposing the involvement of the THC explains both the lag and the current rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 if the oceans are the source.

      • Don’t be forgettin now ….. that it takes the ocean waters a lot longer to “warm up” than it does to “cool down”, …. subject to … but regardless of the time frame in question.

    • But what Bart always forgets is that when CO2 in the atmosphere increases, that will reduce the outgassing at the source and increase the sink speed at the sinks. Which gets a new equilibrium at some new CO2 level, which is 8 ppmv/K temperature change.
      For any increase in upwelling, a new equilibrium is reached when the increase in the atmosphere reaches a new level where halve of the original increase is distributed over the upwelling and halve over the sinks.
      BTW, any temperature increase at the sinks will reduce the CO2 uptake in first instance, not increase it.
      Last but not least, there is not the slightest indication of an increased upwelling, to the contrary…

      • No, Ferdinand, Bart doesn’t forget anything. But, Ferdinand makes unsubstantiated assertions that processes that are observed to be weak are somehow powerful.
        Then he throws out absurdly made up numbers like “8 ppmv/K” which does not even have the right units for the process which is observed. That sensitivity is in ppmv/K/unit-of-time.
        “BTW, any temperature increase at the sinks will reduce the CO2 uptake in first instance, not increase it.”
        Well, yeah. That’s what makes the CO2 accumulate in the surface system. That was kind of the point.

      • Bart, the 8 ppmv/K is what is observed over the past 800,000 years. It is straight forward solubility of CO2 in seawater with changing temperatures, no matter if that is static (in a Coke bottle at 3 bar) or dynamic in an atmosphere at 0.0004 bar CO2 pressure. The average ocean temperature determines the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, no matter the time it costs to reach that equilibrium. Your ppmv/K/unit-of-time is absurd: it changes every moment for every period in time, it is even negative for the period 1959-1975 and extremely small for the glacial-interglacial transitions and back. In all cases the equilibrium endpoint is the same.
        Of course, the equilibrium is not instantaneously reached: the atmosphere is in fast equilibrium with the ocean surface (1-3 years), but it takes centuries to reach a new equilibrium with the deep oceans, no matter if the change is in the oceans (a change in temperature or concentration or pH or total upwelling) or in the atmosphere (human emissions).
        Sorry, I misunderstood your downwelling point. Anyway, the increase in the atmosphere levels off when the new equilibrium with the surface is reached, that is when the pressure in the atmosphere equals the increase in pCO2 of the ocean surface, where the inputs and outputs of the oceans are equal:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/upwelling_temp.jpg

      • A) There is no guarantee that the ice core measurements are not corrupted by underappreciated or unknown effects
        B) There is no guarantee that the proxy temperature measurements are accurate
        C) There is no guarantee that sink or source activity were identical to today.
        These are just three obvious ways in which your assumptions could be mistaken. There are assuredly others. But, we do not need to know what was happening 800,000 years ago to know what is happening today. Today, CO2 in the atmosphere changes according to
        dCO2/dt = k*(T – T0)
        There is no doubt about it. There is no room for argument.

      • Bart,
        Your formula simply is impossible: that means that if you warm a bottle of Coke with 1°C, CO2 starts to leave the liquid until the bottle explodes as there is not the slightest effect of the increase of CO2 above the liquid.
        For every temperature there is an equilibrium between CO2 pressure in the liquid and the atmosphere above it. No matter if that is a static or dynamic equilibrium: increasing CO2 pressure in the atmosphere will reduce the CO2 emissions of the oceans and increase the uptake of CO2 at the sink places. The effect of the increased pressure is a feedback which is nowhere in your formula.
        A) is highly unlikely as such an effect would be the same in different cores with extreme differences in accumulation rate and average temperature…
        B) is possible, but only changes the T/CO2 ratio.
        C) is possible, but has – within reasonable limits – no effect on the equilibrium level.

      • Bart,
        I applaud your effort. It may well be hopeless. New paradigms can take time to digest.
        Ferdi,
        My subtitle was, in fact, written with you specifically in mind: (for the near perfect ice-core recordation enthusiasts).
        However, your enthusiasm for the perfection of the ice-cores is utterly remarkable.
        They certainly do not represent the actual ancient atmospheric composition and are, at best, indicative
        with enormous high frequency attenuation.

      • Ron,
        I was aware of the bait, but I still see no in-depth analyses from your side of the different resolutions in different ice cores.
        CO2 measurements in ice cores nowadays are extremely accurate. The deepest parts of the 800,000 years Dome C core were measured with the sublimation technique: wherever CO2 may hide (in clathrates), it would be measured, including its isotopic ratio.
        Thus please, show me why a 110 ppmv increase over 160 years time – even if it would drop to zero in the 161th year – would not be detected in the Dome C (560 years resolution) ice core as an at least 15 ppmv peak value if that happened say 750,000 years ago… Or a 80 ppmv peak in the Taylor Dome (40 years resolution) ice core, if that happened between 1,000 and 150,000 years ago.

      • “Your formula simply is impossible: that means that if you warm a bottle of Coke…”
        No, it doesn’t mean that at all. The Earth’s atmosphere is not already at the pressure inside a Coke bottle, and the diffusive time lags are long. Moreover, there is not a continuous flow of new CO2 into and out of the Coke bottle.
        “For every temperature there is an equilibrium between CO2 pressure in the liquid and the atmosphere above it.”
        Yes, but equilibrium is not generally instantaneous. It can take a very long time.
        “The effect of the increased pressure is a feedback which is nowhere in your formula.”
        If the feedback is weak over the given time interval, then it may be disregarded for near term solution.

      • Bart,
        No, it doesn’t mean that at all. The Earth’s atmosphere is not already at the pressure inside a Coke bottle, and the diffusive time lags are long. Moreover, there is not a continuous flow of new CO2 into and out of the Coke bottle.
        It doesn’t matter if the equilibrium is reached by a static or a dynamic process. Your formula should work for both and an increase in temperature at equilibrium would start a flux from the Coke liquid into the (100% CO2) atmosphere above it. As good as the current CO2 pressure in the atmosphere is average 7 μatm above the average pCO2 of the oceans. Thus the net flux of CO2 is from the atmosphere into the oceans, not from the oceans into the atmosphere. See:
        http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml
        Even if it was opposite, any temperature increase of the oceans will increase the influx of CO2 into the atmosphere (and decrease the outflux), until a new equilibrium is reached at ~8 ppmv/K in the atmosphere (4 to 17 ppmv/K in the literature). There is no continuous increase of CO2 in the atmosphere for a sustained temperature offset without negative feedback from the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere.
        If the feedback is weak over the given time interval, then it may be disregarded for near term solution.
        The influence of any change of CO2 in the atmosphere is instantaneous on the ocean CO2 fluxes and opposite. The atmospheric pressure simply follows all in/out fluxes and influences some of them quite fast.
        The effect from a temperature increase/decrease on CO2 levels is a matter of months (seasonal processes) years (vegetation, ocean surface) to centuries (deep oceans). The fast responses are in the order of 4-5 ppmv/K the slowest response is around 8 ppmv/K.
        The decay rate for any disturbance of the equilibrium is in the order of 50 years, not fast enough to respond to the fast processes and fully respond to the human contribution, but fast enough to respond to a small increase of 0.01°C/year (~0.08 ppmv/year) over the past 55 years and by far fast enough for glacial-interglacial transitions of 5,000 years and more.

      • Ferdinand… it very much does matter if there is a continuous transport of CO2 into and out of the system. It very much does matter how long it takes the oceans to equilibrate to the diffusion of upwelling waters in the tropics versus the transport of CO2 out of the system with downwelling at the poles. These are very complicated processes with very long timelines.

      • Bart,
        The upwelling/sinks exchange speed does matter for the total time needed to reach a new equilibrium, but that doesn’t change the equilibrium itself. The very long time equilibrium is around 8 ppmv/K, which includes the deep oceans, no matter how long it takes (hundreds of years) to reach it with or without lags…
        Indeed that is a very slow process, as the exchange rate between atmosphere and deep oceans is very limited, but it is not a complicated process: the exchange rate is directly proportional to the pCO2 difference between oceans and atmosphere and a (quadratic) function of wind (mixing) speed, as direct diffusion of CO2 in water is very slow, see Fig. 4 and Table 1 in:
        http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml

  7. We have something new now: Modern human-caused transfer of carbon from the lithosphere to the atmosphere. It should be expectable that the hydrosphere and biosphere would absorb some of this carbon in form of CO2, although humans are interfering with the biosphere. The hydrosphere is soaking up close to half the CO2 that humans are emitting into the atmosphere from lithospheric carbon.
    This is different from the pre-industrial situation, when the sum of carbon in the atmosphere, biosphere and hydrosphere was more constant. Then, atmospheric CO2 was a positive feedback for warming which would lag global temperature change while reinforcing it, as opposed to nowadays also being a root cause.

    • Donald,
      Without having an explanation for the ‘natural’ 800 year lag shown in the ice core record you cannot reasonably pronounce that it is any different this time.
      It could well be that ALL our emissions are absorbed locally or regionally by the biosphere and that ALL the increase is from the oceans.
      800 years ago we were in the Mediaeval Warm Period when there would have been more CO2 entering the THC.
      It would indeed by coming out about now even if there were no human emissions.
      How do you propose to exclude the possibility that we are experiencing the natural rise in atmospheric CO2 that is to be expected from a warm period 800 years ago which is exactly what your ice cores tell us to expect ?
      You also have a logical inconsistency when you say:
      “Then, atmospheric CO2 was a positive feedback for warming which would lag global temperature change while reinforcing it, as opposed to nowadays also being a root cause.”
      In light of that please explain why temperature falls always begin when CO2 is at a peak ?
      By your account, ice ages would not be possible because the positive feedback would have long ago suppressed the thermal effect of the Milankovitch Cycles.

      • Mr. House,
        Which specific cause (not going to follow suit and use the loaded word “excuse”) would you cite for explaining the warmer temperatures that, as you mention, have occurred in the past, despite a lack of anthropogenic CO2 during those times?

      • Cooling started when CO2 was high in the pre-industrial era because back then, CO2 lagged temperature. And the positive feedback worked both ways. Warming periods were amplified by increasing CO2, and cooling periods were amplified by decreasing CO2.

      • How would the Milankovitch cycle be the answer for the warming during the Medieval and Roman warm periods? I believe that was what Menicholas was inferring.

      • The 800 year lag is the average lag. Any explanation for the variability around this average?
        =========

      • Yes, as Ferdinand calls it below in the thread, it is spirits from the vasty deep.
        ==============

      • The problem with the 800 year lag idea is that the ice core record clearly shows it was much warmer in the past than it is today, yet nowhere in the ice core record, over the course of several glaciations, do we see CO2 reaching 400 ppm.
        Why is that a “problem”?
        Yes, it was much warmer than now at times before and during the Holocene. And yes, CO2 remained below 400 ppm as the planet warmed. What can we conclude from those facts?
        The first thing that should be obvious is that CO2 does not cause any measurable global warming. That happens without CO2 rising. So the planet must warm and cool for reasons other than changes in atmospheric CO2.
        It is also obvious that ∆CO2 follows ∆T. That cause and effect relationship is found at all time scales, while evidence of the reverse relationship (that T causes ∆CO2) cannot be found anywhere.
        The only real ‘problem’ is that the proponents of the CO2=AGW conjecture have no physical evidence to show that they are right — and there is plenty of evidence showing they are wrong.
        Maybe the total absence of any empirical evidence supporting the CO2=global warming conjecture does not absolutely falsify it beyond any possible doubt. But who in their right mind would argue that something exists, when there is no evidence or measurments to support it — and plenty of evidence and measurements that strongly question the conjecture?
        The “carbon” scare is still standing for only one reason: the piles of money that are constantly being poured into supporting that evidence-free conjecture. Take away the money, and the man-made gloobal warming scare would fold like a cheap card table.

        • Thanks Ron.
          I’m still awaiting any real world observations that do not fit. None so far.
          Indeed, there appears to be some predictive ability developing.

    • Aliens? Who knows. The point of the essay is to examine the system response, not to model any real-world scenario. One could have investigated any number of input/output pairs. This was just one of the simplest. The next step would be to investigate the expected system response for diffusivity profiles in the firn and glacial ice and put some numbers on the beast.

  8. I have a followup on my comment of CO2 from human transfer of carbon from the lithosphere to the atmosphere: The way I see it, this is not as bad as it sounds. Climate alarmists have liked to say that warming oceans have reduced solubility of CO2, and would gas-out CO2 as a result of warming, because solubility of a gas over a liquid varies inversely with temperature.
    The reason why things are not that bad is because solubility of a gas over a liquid varies directly, usually roughly proportionately, with the concentration (expressable as pressure or “partial pressure”) of the gas above the liquid. This means that even if atmospheric CO2 is doubled and the oceans warm by a few degrees C, the oceans will continue being a sink of anthropogenic atmospheric CO2.

    • Donald,
      You do not need warming of the bulk oceans. You only need more sunlight into the top layer of oceans beneath the subtropical high pressure cells in order to cause ocean emissions in the tropics to rise above ocean absorption towards the poles.
      That leads to a ‘backing up’ of CO2 in the atmosphere which is probably what is now happening.
      The Earthshine project shows us that global cloudiness reduced during the recent warming spell.
      What we have is an oceanic/atmospheric balancing act as global cloudiness waxes (LIA) and wanes (MWP) as a result of solar influences on the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere and in particular the gradient of tropopause height between equator and poles which leads to variations in the jet stream tracks and positions of the permanent climate zones.

      • I largely agree with the thing about solar variation affecting weather patterns. As for gradient of tropopause height with latitude – this a natural item that seems to have been in existence for at least hundreds of millions of years, and can probably be found on other plants with atmospheres and tropopauses.
        Meanwhile, atmospheric CO2 is about 400 PPMV, as part of an increase that is showing up in ice cores. Thankfully, the carbon budget published by the Tyndall Centre is showing oceans absorbig CO2 instead of gassing-out CO2 despite the warming.

      • There are other factors in addition. If you graph the instrumental record and compare NH to SH, one frequently finds that one is increasing in temperature while the other is falling. IIRC, there was a fairly major uptick in NH temps in the 1930’s to 1940’s, but there was a corresponding fall in temps in the SH, which “smoothed” out the global temperature variation. So, increased out gassing over that period of time in the NH may well have been off set by increased absorption in the SH. How would spikes and counterspikes in that context translate to a) global CO2 levels and b) what the ice cores recorded at any given time?
        Above my pay grade.

      • Until an hypothesis has been verified end-to-end in a closed-loop fashion, it remains speculative. And, until we can verify ice core measurements in this fashion, which may take a few thousand years at least, it remains speculative.

      • Bart,
        Ice cores have proven themselves in theory (firn densification models, migration estimates) and confirmed in practice by measuring the atmospheric composition top down from surface to bubble closing depth and following tracers like CH4, CFC’s and the atomic bomb tests 14C in firn and ice cores.
        Further, ice core CO2 from extremely different cores in accumulation rate, temperature, salt/dust inclusions,… all show the same (+/- 5 ppmv) CO2 levels for the same average gas age, including a 20 year overlap (1960-1980) with atmospheric measurements and overlapping periods with each other from 150 years to 420,000 years back in time.
        As far as one can be sure of any measurement, ice core CO2 is a quite accurate, be it averaged, direct measurement, not a proxy.

      • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 5, 2015 at 6:02 am

        Except that ice core CO2 is not a “proxy”, but a direct measurement of ancient atmospheres, be it from a mixture of years ranging from 10 to 600 years…

        Oh good grief, …… what planet are you from, …. Pluto?

        In the study of past climates, known as paleoclimatology,[1] climate proxies are preserved physical characteristics of the past that stand in for direct measurements (as statistical proxies), to enable scientists to reconstruct the climatic conditions that prevailed during much of the Earth’s history. As reliable modern records of climate only began in the 1880s, proxies provide a means for scientists to determine climatic patterns before record-keeping began. Examples of proxies include ice cores, tree rings, sub-fossil pollen, boreholes, corals, lake and ocean sediments, and carbonate speleothems. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proxy_(climate

      • Until it has been verified in controlled experiments, you really do not know, Ferdinand.
        I have a lot of lab experience. People who have never been through the verification process really do not realize how pernicious nature can be.

      • Samuel,
        Ice cores are proxies for temperature, as they use δD and δ18O to deduce the temperature of the SH oceans, because there were no thermometers then. They are not proxies for CO2, as they measure CO2 directly in the ancient atmosphere. That is not a “stand in for direct measurements”.

      • Bart,
        I agree that one can have a lot of surprises when studying natural behavior. In the case of ice cores, that was e.g. the fractionation of the lightest molecules (Ar, O2) at bubble closing time or the (still theoretical) migration of CO2 in relative “warm” coastal ice cores.
        But the verification of the closing process in ice cores was done in 1996, including a 20 year overlap with direct measurements at the South Pole. The confidence only did grow over time with the overlapping periods of CO2 levels in completely different ice cores, thousands of kilometers apart under extreme different circumstances of temperature and accumulation rate.

    • “But the verification of the closing process in ice cores was done in 1996, including a 20 year overlap with direct measurements at the South Pole. “
      20 years is not enough to validate 800,000.
      “The confidence only did grow over time with the overlapping periods of CO2 levels in completely different ice cores, thousands of kilometers apart under extreme different circumstances of temperature and accumulation rate.”
      Sure, over time. A very long time. We’re not yet even close to the point where I consider your expressed level of confidence to be justified.

      • 20 years overlap is enough to validate a 150 year record (Law Dome DE08 and DE08-2 cores)
        150 years overlap is enough to validate a 1000 year record (direct measurements + Law Dome DE08 and DE08-2 vs, Law Dome DSS core)
        1000 years overlap is enough to validate a 10,000 year record (Law Dome DSS vs. Taylor Dome[Holocene] and other cores)
        10,000 years overlap is enough to validate a 60,000 year record (Taylor Dome[Holocene] vs, Taylor Dome full core, with several intermediate other cores)
        60,000 years is enough to validate a 420,000 years record (Taylor Dome full core vs. Vostok)
        420,000 years is enough to validate an 800,000 years record (Vostok vs. Dome C)

  9. As for natural sources and sinks of CO2: They have a great tendency to balance out worldwide over a year. The world’s forests alternately source and sink over a year more CO2 than humans produce in a year, especially forests in the extratropical northern hemisphere. This causes the annual-period squiggly pattern of atmospheric CO2 concentration as measured at Mauna Loa.

  10. As for sources and sinks of atmospheric CO2, on a year-by-year basis: There is the carbon budget from the Tyndall Centre. Although they may be on the alarmist side, their carbon budget figures seem to stand up to scrutiny.
    Waxing and waning of insect population blooms are mere noise in the annual cycle of rise and fall of atmospheric CO2 due to the land part of the biosphere being disproportionately in the northern hemisphere, and much of that has seasons.
    As for carbon budget data from the Tyndall Centre:
    http://www.tyndall.ac.uk/global-carbon-budget-2010
    Certainly, the oceans are not nowadays gassing-out CO2 in response to warming. Instead, the oceans appear to be a negative feedback mechanism – absorbing manmade CO2 from fossil fuels, despite increasing temperatures.

    • “Certainly, the oceans are not nowadays gassing-out CO2 in response to warming”
      As someone downwind of a chunk of ocean that is often warm, with facilities for monitoring CO2 levels, I disagree. There are discernible spikes on summer late afternoons, no sources other than natural, and not confused with the natural surge in CO2 that occurs with photosynthesis shutdown after sunset.
      Monitoring by satellite and at Mauna Loa could be supplemented by monitoring at locations where “carbon pipes” might be expected.

      • Donald is alluding to the average over the oceans: the surface is a net sink of ~0.5 GtC/year, very fast in equilibrium with the atmosphere (1-3 years), but with a limited capacity. The deep oceans have a near unlimited capacity, but the exchange rate with the atmosphere is limited. Currently the deep oceans are a net sink of ~3 GtC/year.
        Most of the ocean surface acts as sink in winter and source in summer, where the in/out flux is around 50 GtC over the seasons. The net uptake is a direct matter of CO2 pressure in the atmosphere and ocean carbon chemistry (the Revelle/buffer factor).
        Upwelling zones in the warm equatorial oceans continuously emit CO2 (some 40 GtC/year), while sinks near the poles continuously absorb CO2 and take it down to the deep (some 43 GtC/year nowadays), only coming back to the surface some 1000 years later…
        The in/out fluxes of the oceans were measured by lots of sea ship cruises in the past and current (but still sparse compared to the full ocean surface). A compilation of the available data was made by Feely e.a. at:
        http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml
        with the graphics at:
        http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/maps.shtml
        The temperature at which the ocean surface switches from source to sink is heavily influenced by bio-life and total carbon content (DIC: CO2 + bicarbonate + carbonate), thus is different from place to place…

      • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 5, 2015 at 6:25 am

        Most of the ocean surface acts as sink in winter and source in summer, where the in/out flux is around 50 GtC over the seasons.

        Glad to see that you FINALLY admitted that FACT about sink n’ source.
        Now all you have to do is ADMIT that the ocean surface in the SH is greater than the ocean surface in the NH ….. and thus the southern oceans “control” the bi-yearly cycling of atmospheric CO2.
        But your “around” quantity for the in/out CO2 flux is little more than a hypothetical guesstimate …. to justify other mathematically calculated in/out flux quantities for the sources and sinks denoted in “junk science” claims being touted as “factual evidence”.

      • Samuel,
        Where did I ever say that the ocean surfaces aren’t a sink in winter and a source in summer?
        But again, you are completely wrong about the dominancy of the oceans: vegetation is the dominant cause of the seasonal variation.
        Ocean surfaces are good for 50 GtC moving into the atmosphere in summer and out in winter, mainly in the SH.
        The biosphere is good for 60 GtC moving into the atmosphere in winter and out in summer, mainly in the NH.
        The net result: a huge change in CO2 and opposite δ13C over the seasons in the NH and a small change in the SH over the seasons. By far the extra-tropical forests in the NH are the main cause of the large seasonal swings, not the SH oceans:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/seasonal_CO2_d13C_MLO_BRW.jpg
        and here the seasonal CO2 swings of Mauna Loa compared to the South Pole:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/month_2002_2004.jpg
        Even at the South Pole, CO2 levels are highest in SH winter/early spring and lowest in summer/fall.
        Thus definitively: vegetation in both hemispheres is the dominant factor in seasonal variations, not the oceans.

        • Ferdinand,
          I suspect that biosphere activity within the oceans affects the isotope ratio of CO2 released by the oceans and such activity in the southern oceans might well match or even exceed the biosphere effects from the northern land masses.
          Please do bear in mind that your various assumptions upon which you build an inverted pyramid of ‘conclusions’ remain open to proof or disproof.
          The data provided by Ronald suggests that you are on unsafe ground.

      • Stephen,
        Biological activity is probably similar in NH and SH oceans for the same temperature and upwelling. Despite the much larger surface (and extra upwelling) in the SH, the CO2 and 13C/12C ratio changes over the seasons in the SH are much smaller than in the NH, which shows that land plants are the dominant cause of the seasonal swings, not sea life…
        I have seen a lot of assumptions by Ronald, like a doubling of the natural CO2 cycle since 1850, for which I have not seen any evidence and the assumption that ice cores can’t detect a change of 110 ppmv in 160 years, while all ice cores can detect that…
        But all my remarks can and should be verified…

      • The biosphere is good for 60 GtC moving into the atmosphere in winter and out in summer, mainly in the NH.

        Ferdinand,
        and you are “sticking” to that story simply because 58 GtC … or 63 GtC ….. would mess up your “mass balance” thingy by throwing it completely outta kilter, right?
        Reverse-mathematics always works to get the “answer” you’re looking for.

      • Samuel,
        One has measured the 13C/12C ratio and CO2 levels at a lot of places in and above oceans and within and above vegetation with tall towers, measuring levels and in/out fluxes, with satellites, etc. One has measured oxygen changes in the atmosphere and one has made a lot of estimates of the residence time for any CO2 molecule, whatever its origin, in the atmosphere.
        The net results are:
        – the residence time of any CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is around 5 years.
        – the carbon content as CO2 in the atmosphere is around 800 GtC (and growing).
        – that makes that the total in/out of CO2 is about 150 GtC/year.
        – the dilution of the fossil fuel emissions 13C/12C ratio and of the 14C nuclear bomb tests spike gives an exchange rate of ~40 GtC between deep oceans and the atmosphere.
        – the seasonal oxygen and 13C/12C changes show a ~60 GtC exchange between the biosphere and the atmosphere.
        – that balance makes that the ocean surface is good for ~50 GtC exchange rate with the atmosphere over the seasons (backed up by lots of pCO2 measurements in the oceans).
        – the oxygen balance shows that the biosphere as a hole is a net absorber of ~1 GtC/year of CO2.
        – the DIC measurements show that the ocean surface is a net absorber of ~0.5 GtC/year of CO2.
        – the balance makes that the deep oceans are a net absorber of ~3 GtC/year. All other possible sinks either too small or too slow.
        It doesn’t matter at all for the mass balance if the partitioning in fluxes between the different reservoirs would be reverse, but the above figures are what the data say +/- 20% as error margin.
        It doesn’t matter if the partitioning in sink rate between the different reservoirs was reverse, but the above figures are what the data say +/- 30% as error margin.
        All what counts for the mass balance is the net result at the end of a year: nature is more sink than source, which makes that humans are responsible for the bulk of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

      • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 7, 2015 at 12:06 pm

        ….. one has made a lot of estimates of the residence time for any CO2 molecule, whatever its origin, in the atmosphere.
        The net results are:
        – the residence time of any CO2 molecule in the atmosphere is around 5 years.

        Ferdinand,
        I just made an estimate of the residence time for any Wildebeest , whatever its origin, on a 1,000 acre plot in the middle of the African savannah.
        My net results are:
        – the residence time of any Wildebeest on a 1,000 acre plot in the middle of the African savannah is around 27 hours and 43 minutes.
        Ferdinand, should I submit my findings for a Peer Review and/or a possible Nobel Prize?
        And if not, …. WHY NOT, ….. because it is just as “scientifically valuable” (ZERO, ZILCH, NADA) as is the afore stated ….. “estimates of the residence time for any CO2 molecule in the atmosphere

    • @ Donald L

      Certainly, the oceans are not nowadays gassing-out CO2 in response to warming.

      Are you actually asserting that the temperature of the ocean waters are as COLD or COLDER nowdays ….. than they were during the LIA?

  11. J. Philip Peterson says:
    …are you saying that there have been spikes higher than 400 ppm in the last 800,000 years…
    I’m not sure myself. But I am pretty sure that CO2 has been up to twenty times higher in the past. Selecting a time frame like ‘800,000 years’ reeks of cherry-picking.
    Empirical evidence shows that CO2 is simply not a problem. In fact, the rise in CO2 has been entirely beneficial. No downside has ever been shown. More CO2 is better, at current and projected concentrations.
    Furthermore, real world evidence shows that CO2 does not have the claimed warming effect. What little warming it causes is too small to even measure.
    If the alarmist crowd was honest, they would acknowledge those facts. But they never do — which says plenty about them, none of it good.
    *****
    “Demagogue: One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots.”
    – H.L.Mencken

  12. This is potentially a very interesting article, but it is so poorly and carelessly written and expressed that it is almost impossible to comprehend. I encourage the author to try again.

  13. Thank you for confirming my post. Whan ice core records only go back that far, it doesn’t mean geologic history began then. There are other records, and other proxies.
    CO2 has been up to 20X higher in the past. Why is that a problem for you?

    • db, you can’t compare the CO2 levels of 60-120 million years ago with the CO2 levels today. Most of the CO2 of that time can be found back as the white cliffs of Dover and chalk layers in all parts of the world.
      The past 800,000 years show a rather stable ratio between temperature and CO2 levels in ice cores of about 8 ppmv/K, with CO2 lagging temperature some 800 years for up going temperature and several thousands of years for down going temperature. Except for the past 160 years… The latter cause is the question.

      • I believe the argument boils down to: “Is CO2 the thermostat for the atmosphere, or is it not the thermostat for the atmosphere.”
        If one claims that it is, then it seems logical that one should demonstrate why this is only true during one particular period of the Earth’s history.
        If it is true now, why was it not true then?
        That chalk and limestone deposits are a major sink for atmospheric CO2 over long periods of geologic time affect the claim how?

      • Menicholas,
        I don’t think that CO2 the thermostat of the atmosphere is, it is mainly reverse, as the lag of CO2 after temperature changes in ice cores shows. Which doesn’t prove that there is no effect, but the effect anyway is far less than the climate models want us to believe…
        The discussion is that ice cores are quite reliable for CO2 measurements, be it with a resolution which gets worse further back in time. But even the worst resolution ice core would detect a 110 ppmv spike over 160 years as we have now over the past 800,000 years…
        The Cretaceous was warmer than today with much higher CO2 levels, thus some may use that as argument that CO2 has a high influence, but the place of the continents, ocean currents, etc. was quite different. That is hardly comparable to the current period…

      • Ferdinand,
        There is no empirical evidence showing that the recent rise in CO2 has been globally harmful.
        Yes? No?
        If no, please quantify the ‘harm’, and compare it with the clear benefits of increased agricultural productivity from the rise in CO2.
        If yes, thank you. I wish you would say it more often. You used to, you know.
        Also, congratulations on your long marriage. Forget CO2 for a day or two. Have some fun. Your wife will no doubt appreciate it. ☺

      • Thank you, Ferdinand.
        Since there is no evidence of global harm from the rise in CO2, that puts to rest the “ocean acidification” scare.

      • This is the Great Hoax. Was the last 2 deg C temp rise beneficial or harmful? Does paleontology show any episode of warming that is net harmful and does paleontology show any episode of cooling that is net beneficial?
        Perspective is what is needed, and there is only a very slim possibility that any warming man can do will be net harmful.
        It’s really just that simple, folks.
        =================

      • Ferdinand, the last 800 KY are about equivalent in climate (temperature and CO2 levels) to the terminal Permian immediately prior to the biggest extinction event the planet ever experienced. Plotted over time Geocarb III shows a fairly steady decline in atmospheric CO2 since about the end of the Triassic. So, pessimistically we could be knocking on the door of another Permian-level event and human CO2 contributions could be the only thing delaying it.
        One of the effects of plotting lagged phenomena is that there are cross-over points where inflections in the leading indicator (temperature in this case) invert relative to the lagged phenomonon. In that case the lagged effect (atmospheric CO2) would continue to respond to the past history of the leading indicator. We should be seeing a repsonse to the Medieval Warm Period right about now based on the empirical evidence. It happens to coincide with the recovery from the LIA, and with the industrial revolution. Arguing causality is probably pointless since sorting all those out would be impossible. All we can say with certainty is that we have altered the carbon isotope balance, especially if CO2 is well mixed. Primary productivity is strongly influenced by CO2 so any “increase” we may have generated could very well be lost in the response of the sinks. However, given the well-mixed argument, we would still see the effect of our use of petrochemicals and coal in the isotopic composition.

      • Careful, or Bart will criticize your units:
        “Then he throws out absurdly made up numbers like “8 ppmv/K” which does not even have the right units for the process which is observed. That sensitivity is in ppmv/K/unit-of-time.”
        Although time only enters in if you are assuming non-equilibrium conditions. If the measurements are made at equlibrium ppmv/K is valid, or the change in partial pressureCO2/K. If the measurement is non-equilibrium then both are wrong, the correct units would be mass/unit-of-time.

      • Duster,
        The change in temperature between the MWP and LIA is clearly visible in the 1000 year long Law Dome DSS core:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_1000yr.jpg
        That shows the same ~8 ppmv/K as over the past 800,000 years: a drop of ~6 ppmv in CO2 for a drop of ~0.8 K in temperature (and a lag of ~50 years). The drop in temperature depends of which reconstruction you prefer, 0.8 K is what Esper e.a. and Moberg e.a. show as largest drop. Mann e,a (1998,1999) only shows a 0.2 K drop, but I don’t think that anyone here prefers that one..
        As the MWP probably was as warm or warmer than today, the whole warming since the LIA is good for 6 ppmv increase. That is all.
        Humans have emitted over 200 ppmv (370 GtC) CO2 since the industrial revolution, the increase in the atmosphere is around 110 ppmv (230 GtC), the sinks thus absorbed ~140 GtC under the increased pressure. Not fast enough to remove all human CO2 in short time…
        The 13C/12C ratio (and pre-bomb tests 14C/12C ratio) drop caused by fossil fuel burning is clearly visible in the atmosphere and the ocean surface layer, be it diluted to 1/3rd of the theoretical one, if all human CO2 remained in the atmosphere… That is because of the huge CO2 exchanges with the other CO2 reservoirs, the 13C/12C “fingerprint” is diluted by high-13C CO2 from mainly the deep oceans, which is ~1000 years older in composition than the current atmosphere…

      • Phil Cartier @ April 5, 2015 at 7:10 pm
        “Although time only enters in if you are assuming non-equilibrium conditions.”
        No, time enters when you are dealing with a dynamic flow problem. Of which, this is one. Ferdinand’s reliance on ancient proxy data which cannot be verified is not only a leap of faith, but it is inconsistent with what we see today, and what we see today is what matters to us.

  14. There is a serious limitation to the ice cores that never seems to be discussed. The time series is progressively decimated. As you go back in time the data are separated by ever greater time periods. Toward the oldest Vostok core the separation is in thousands of years. To point to an ice core and say recent warming is unprecedented or to attempt to extract 200 year period signal from 1,000 year sampled data is (to say the least) problematic.

    • Steve,
      The resolution of the different ice cores depends of the snow accumulation rate at the place where the ice core originated. The more snow, the thicker the yearly layer of ice and the shorter the resolution, but the shorter the time span of the core before reaching bedrock.
      For the past 150 years (Law Dome) the resolution is better than a decade. For Vostok it is about 600 years over the past 420,000 years and for the longest (until now), Dome C, it is 560 years for the past 800,000 years. That gives overlapping resolutions for ice cores of quite different places (coastal, high altitude inland), sea salt/dust inclusions, accumulation and average temperature. Despite that, for the same average gas age, the CO2 levels don’t differ more than 5 ppmv. For multiple samples of the same part of an ice core, the repeatability of the samples is 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma).
      Some literature about ice cores and CO2 averaging by diffusion in the still open pores of firn:
      http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf

    • @ Steve I have a similar problem but mine is the fact that as far as I know over the time period discussed I was under the belief that these glaciers are always on the move. Does that not change the density and the composition of the layers over all those thousands years if not longer? And do those rates of movement do not vary from century to century? Just asking. ( I just read Ferdinands explanations but they do seem to take that into account and I might be wrong there))

      • Congrats Ferdinand I’ll wait till tomorrow and btw you are 5 years ahead of me and my spouse! Zalig Pasen))

      • Asybot,
        Most ice cores were taken at the summit of ice domes where there is hardly any movement of the ice. Exceptions are Vostok and one of the Law Dome ice cores, which were taken downslope. That makes that determination of the ice age and even worse the average gas age is more problematic than for ice cores taken at the summits.
        Different ways for determination of the ice age are used: simple counting (if the layers are relative huge as is the case for the 110,000 years of the Greenland cores), conductivity (winter and summer snow/ice have a different density and conductivity), sound, radar,… Inclusion of dust from known historical volcanic events,… It gets more and more difficult as the bottom layers get smaller and smaller with the increased pressure of the ice above them.
        The average gas age is even more difficult to determine: most is based on a firn densification model, which is confirmed on recent firn/ice core measurements on CO2 and several tracers, but snow accumulation has firmly changed between glacial and interglacial periods, thus the average gas age is far more prone to errors and updates than the ice age.
        Thanks for the wishes!

  15. Ronald,
    I expected to have a nice weekend with the daughters and their husbands, celebrating the 45 years marriage of my wife and me, but you just spoiled it…
    I see if I can make a comprehensive answer tomorrow, as it is getting quite late now…

  16. Ronald,
    Before getting some sleep: where is the list of the estimates of the natural sinks? You list only the natural sources, not the sinks.
    Take e.g. bacteria, insects, animals: they emit a lot more during interglacials, but that is only possible because plant life also flourishes when it gets warmer. The net effect probably is that more CO2 gets into plants than is emitted by the rest of the biosphere and mainly in more stable carbon (humus, peat, browncoal)… As far as I know the Carboniferous times, which result we are burning today, were a lot warmer than now…

  17. Not directed at anyone in particular, but when is the next installment of OCO-2 coming out, I wonder?

  18. See: http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.ca/2015/03/a-recent-seminar-presentation-by.html

    A recent seminar presentation by atmospheric physicist & professor Murry Salby in Germany strikes another huge blow to climate alarm, demonstrating:
    The man-made share of CO2 in the atmosphere is only a maximum of 30% (0-30%). The remainder is related to temperature changes, natural outgassing from the oceans, and to humidity.

    I know we will see more from Ferdinand Engelbeen later, however it should be noted that with Salby’s range of 0-30% for the man-made share of CO2, he concedes Engelbeen could be right.

    • The oceans are gaining CO2 from the atmosphere. Solubility of a gas in a liquid under the gas is the ratio of concentration of the gas over the liquid, to the concentration of gas dissolved in the liquid, when the two are in equilibrium. If the concentration of gas over the liquid is changed, then the concentration of gas in the liquid changes roughly proportionally, if everything else is equal.
      The Tyndall Centre, even though they seem to be on the alarmist side, publishes carbon budget numbers that seem to fairly withstand scrutiny. The oceans are removing CO2 from the atmosphere, at nearly half the rate that fossil fuel combustion is adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

    • Werner,
      Even Salby underestimates the human contribution. According to Henry’s law, the (static or dynamic, doesn’t matter) equilibrium between ocean surface and atmosphere changes with ~8 ppmv/°C. That can be seen in the medium resolution (~20 years) DSS ice core of Law Dome as a dip of ~6 ppmv for a temperature dip of ~0.8°C during the Little Ice Age.
      That means that the contribution of temperature to the current CO2 increase is maximum 6 ppmv, assuming that the MWP was at least as warm as today. The rest of the 110 ppmv increase is from human emissions…

      • I have done a lot of work on the available data for CO2 sources and sinks, Henrys Law, etc. As far as I can tell, the data supports Ferdinand’s statement.

      • dbstealey – I reckon the subject is very interesting in its own right. If it doesn’t affect climate ….. well it’s still interesting.

      • The warming that man can bring about will have a net benefit, and Oh, my Gaia, the greening.
        ==============

      • The best, most accurate, most modern, and most verifiable data tell us that CO2 sensitivity is about 2-3 ppmv/°C/year, and this means that human inputs have little overall contribution to atmospheric CO2.

      • Mike Jonas,
        I’ll be happy to concede the point. The science is interesting.
        The problem is that the (harmless) rise in (beneficial) CO2 has been hijacked by the alarmist crowd, who try to get the public to run around in circles clucking that the sky is falling.
        So every time the rise in CO2 is brought up, skeptics have to counter the alarmism that always goes along with a harmless event.

      • Bart,
        The best, most accurate, most modern, and most verifiable data tell us that CO2 sensitivity is about 2-3 ppmv/°C/year…
        The 2-3 ppmv/°C/year is mostly up and down for temperature. When the new equilibrium in the atmosphere is reached at 8 ppmv/°C, there is no driving force anymore from the temperature increase and the net effect gets zero ppmv/year. Any increase above the 8 ppmv/°C will reverse the fluxes, pushing more CO2 into the oceans (and plant stomata) than they release.

      • “When the new equilibrium in the atmosphere is reached at 8 ppmv/°C, there is no driving force anymore from the temperature increase and the net effect gets zero ppmv/year. Any increase above the 8 ppmv/°C will reverse the fluxes, pushing more CO2 into the oceans (and plant stomata) than they release.”
        No, Ferdinand. Every second of every day, new CO2 is being pumped into the surface system. It is slowly diffusing from the tropics throughout the global surface oceans. Then, it is being carried back down again near the poles, where the amount carried down is very sensitive to temperature and salinity.
        Any net imbalance between the amount coming up and the amount going down will accumulate in the surface waters, and cause an ineluctable increase in the atmosphere.
        This is a dynamic problem. You are treating it as static. It does not work that way.

      • Bart,
        As long as there is no extra supply from the deep oceans themselves, any increase in global ocean temperature would momentarily increase the influx of CO2 from the upwelling places near the equator and momentarily decrease the outflux at the poles. The imbalance gives an increase of CO2 level (and thus pressure) in the atmosphere. The partial pressure of CO2 in the ocean surface at upwelling and downwelling areas alike increases with 8 μatm/°C.
        Any increase of CO2 pressure in the atmosphere will momentarily decrease the influx of CO2 from the upwelling places and increase the outflux at the poles. The reverse of the initial disturbance.
        The original in/out fluxes are restored at a new equilibrium CO2 level in the atmosphere which is for 8 ppmv/°C (1 ppmv = ~1 μatm), the same as for a static equilibrium and thus the increase in the atmosphere stops.
        ———————————
        If there is an extra supply from the deep oceans, with or without an extra temperature increase, the levels in the atmosphere will get higher accordingly, reaching a new equilibrium at halve the effect of the extra input plus 8 ppmv/°C.

      • 8 ppmv/°C is wrong. The sensitivity is in ppmv/K/unit-of-time.
        You are basing your number on ancient proxy measurements which cannot be validated, and which in any case reflect the long ago past. It is very clear from the most modern, most accurate, verified data that, since at least 1958, atmospheric CO2 evolves according to
        dCO2/dt = k*(T – T0)

      • Atmospheric CO2 increased from 280 to 400 PPM, despite the oceans removing CO2 from the atmosphere due to the manmade disturbance of the global equilibrium between atmospheric and oceanic CO2. So, the manmade increase accounts for 30% of the total.

      • Bart,
        If you believe Salby… human contribution accounts for 30% of the growth. According to you near 0%, according to me 95%, temperature is good for some 5%…
        It doesn’t matter if the uptake is 5% or 95% of the human emissions, as long as it is more than 0% all increase is from the human emissions, except for a small part that is caused by temperature changes (up and down)…

      • Good grief. I gave you guys the calculation. This isn’t a matter for debate. If anthro is responsible for 30% of the rise, then only 15% is remaining in the atmosphere.
        Salby put this as an upper bound, not a lower. Personally, I think other indicators demonstrate it is smaller, but at least it is moving in the right direction.

  19. Bart Tali
    April 4, 2015 at 2:11 pm
    What happens that causes the spike to end?
    ===
    exactly…
    Until someone can answer that question everything else is just lips moving
    The whole premise of global warming is that a little extra CO2 is supposed to cause run-away global warming.
    ….those blown up temperature graphs, in 10th and 100th degrees, makes people think CO2 is more powerful than it is…
    Blow off the smoke and mirrors people and get your feet back on the ground………

  20. What happens that causes the spike to end?
    I find this to be a strange question. The global temperature inflection from warming to cooling causes the reversal of the spike. It was the rising temp. that caused the spike and the falling temp. that demised the spike.

      • In the pre-industrial era, during the surges and ebbings of the ice ages, cooling did remove CO2 from the atmosphere, just as warming added CO2 to the atmosphere.
        Now, humans are adding CO2 to the atmosphere, and despite the warming, the oceans are removing some of it because atmospheric CO2 became out of balance with CO2 dissolved in the oceans.

      • The NH biosphere, principally the deciduous forests of North America and Siberia- Northern Europe are the actice sinks that draw down pCO2 from mid – May to Mid September. Leaves fall, photosynthesis is done for the season, and leaves begin to rot & release their CO2. A respiration cycle for the Northern Hemisphere, while the Southern hemisphere simply tracks the upward secular (at least since March 1958). The carbon year for the climate effectively ends around 21 Sept, and the new carbon year begins. Steady northward expansion of the NH boreal deciduous forests has a clear capacity to continually increase NH summer sink kinetics, completely offsetting the winter source kinetics, I.e reverse the secular trend at somepoint as tree lines advance northward.
        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/globalview/images/gvco2_lg_movie.gif

      • I understand the carbon cycle. But it looks like there is a tipping point and CO2 suddenly decreases to end the spike. The forests weren’t able to soak it up before when the spike goes up. What happens to make it go down suddenly to end the spike? Is it because Greenland melts and becomes a forest?

      • @ joelobryan April 4, 2015 at 9:02 pm

        The NH biosphere, principally the deciduous forests of North America and Siberia- Northern Europe are the actice sinks that draw down pCO2 from mid – May to Mid September. Leaves fall, photosynthesis is done for the season, and leaves begin to rot & release their CO2. A respiration cycle for the Northern Hemisphere, while the Southern hemisphere simply tracks the upward secular (at least since March 1958).t

        joelobryan,
        You really need to acquire a much better understanding of the biological processes of which you speak.
        Especially about your assertion concerning said end-of-the-summer-season of… “leaves falling, beginning to rot and releasing their CO2”.
        That assertion is directly contrary to the …. Refrigerator-Freezer Law of Biological Decomposition of Dead Biomass.
        And ps, … there is no way in ell that the “active CO2 sinks” associated with the Springtime “greening” of the Northern Hemisphere can outpace the “active CO2 sources” associated with the microbial decomposition (rotting) of the dead biomass ….. simply because the “rotting” begins long before the ”greening” does.
        Just ask yourself why you get more “food storage” use out of your refrigerator/freezer during the Summer months than you do during the Winter months.
        Cheers

      • Samuel, we have seldom real freezing temperatures here. last winter included, but between fall and spring the heap of fallen leaves, cut grass, etc. is at least 70% reduced in size.
        There were tests in Alaska where they measured CO2 releases from under a layer of snow and outside hard freezing: rotting bacteria were still at work… The rotting process is an exothermic process and snow is a good insulator, which is why small rodents can survive in normally deadly temperatures…

      • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 7, 2015 at 12:40 pm

        Samuel, we have seldom real freezing temperatures here. last winter included, but between fall and spring the heap of fallen leaves, cut grass, etc. is at least 70% reduced in size..

        Ferdinand, I seriously doubt that your wife has real freezing temperatures inside of her refrigerator …… but I’m sure it is cool/cold enough to prevent her stored “biomass” from getting all rotten, slimely and smelly.
        And as far as your … “heap of fallen leaves, cut grass, etc” and its “70% reduction” goes, … maybe you have never heard of “compaction” ….. and/or all of the following “forces” directly responsible for said: …. rain, …. snow, … air pressure … and mass weight of the “heap” itself. All a function of gravity, …. which you should familiarize yourself about.

        There were tests in Alaska where they measured CO2 releases from under a layer of snow and

        But, …… but, ….., but, ….., Ferdinand, …. your above statement is directly contradictive to your afore stated CLAIMS pertaining to “CO2 retention” in the Greenland and Antarctica snow-pack …. that formed the Glacial Ice from which the Ice Cores were removed …. and your “direct ACTUAL measurements” of centuries old atmospheric CO2 ppm was extracted.
        You must surely like ….. “Eating your cake and having it too”. Your obsession to prove your “conjecture” is dastardly harmful to …. the teaching and learning of Science.

      • Samuel,
        If you don’t want to understand the difference between a heap of deteriorating organics, where the CO2 outflux was measured at deep freeze temperatures under a snow layer and the CO2 bubbles in ice cores where the theoretical CO2 migration is negligible, then further discussion is just a waste of my time…

      • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 8, 2015 at 11:06 am

        Samuel,
        If you don’t want to understand the difference between a heap of … yada, yada …

        Ferdinand,
        Your “weazelworded” conjoining of your three (3) separate and distinct “claims of fact”, to wit:
        1. CO2 outgassing from underneath and thru Alaska snow-pack
        2. Wintertime “compression” of your heaped upped pile of dead biomass
        3. non-CO2 outgassing from underneath and/or through Antarctica snow-pack
        And replying with a single “inclusive” statement to CYA …. was hilariously absurd to say the least.
        And Ferdinand, this was an utterly preposterous, lack of common sense statement …. by anyone claiming to be knowledgeable of the natural world, to wit:

        a heap of deteriorating organics, where the CO2 outflux was measured at deep freeze temperatures under a snow layer

        Now Ferdinand, you can have:
        A) a heap of deteriorating organics underneath a snow-pack .. w/deep freeze temperatures within and/or above said snow-pack ….. or around or below said organics.
        B) a comphy n’ warm Beaver family underneath a snow-pack.. w/deep freeze temperatures above and/or within said snow-pack
        C) a large ball of milk curd deteriorating within a heap of deteriorating organics underneath a snow-pack .. w/deep freeze temperatures within and/or above said snow-pack ….. or around or below said organics
        But Ferdinand, it is impossible to have … a heap of actively deteriorating organics (biomass) if the temperature of said organics (biomass) is at or below 32F (0C) degrees.
        And if you are personally committed to parroting that which you have been told is “pseudo-science beliefs”, ….. then so be it.

  21. Not sure anyone else has noticed, but there is some interesting goings-on with Daily and weekly data on the Mauna Loa CO2 data.
    The weekly data file (.txt file) is normally updated with averaged daily readings for the week at the end of every week. Right now last data was for prio to 22 March. Two weeks missing now.
    The last week of march thru April is normally the peak source kinetics (increase) for the Northern hemisphere. Lots of CO2 bouncing around the past 3 months.
    If the world’s ocean temps have actually been decreasing for the past 7-8 years, is CO2 starting to reflect by lots of hysteresis????
    Normally with El Ninos in process (as now), the ML pCO2 typically accelerates upward (faster kijetics). So I would actually expect ML pCO2 to top out at 404.1 +/- 0.2 ppm by May 25 before reversing. If this had been an ENSO neutral year, I would expect pCO2 to peak around 403.7 +/-0.2 ppm..
    M-L weekly pCO2 bears watching until 1 June.

  22. You lost me pretty early with the standard warmist bunk that the anthropogenic contribution to CO2 rise is mostly fossil fuels. It is mostly life-killing agriculture and secondly dam construction.
    We are carbon-based life forms. We learned that in school. Land-based life comes from photosynthesis: CO2 + H2O –> sugar, from which the plant makes the rest of its tissues. CO2 is the basis of life, so to complain about it is monstrous. It is a very beneficial nutrient for animals as well, at levels up to at least 3X atmosphere.
    Modern chemical fertilizers and pesticide agriculture have reduced soil organisms from billions per teaspoon to near-sterile. As these died, their carbon returned to the atmosphere, stimulating forests and crops. That increase was wholly beneficial–but sterilizing our soil will not be.
    The November release of NASA’s first satellite carbon dioxide observatory revealed high CO2 over the Amazon and Turkey–both of which have new, destructive dams.. The rotting life forms release methane, CH4, which becomes CO2 and H2O in our 20% oxygen atmosphere.

    • The OCO-2 initial data release showed high higher CO2 over several open ocean expanses. Maybe volcanic, but you should be careful about jumping to conclusions about those higher spots over Amazon and Turkey. Simply may be seasonal occurring.
      Jumping to mechanistic-causal conclusions when revolutionary new observing technique data becomes available is too easy. Jumping to conclusions likely led to bad Antarctic Ozone hole- chlorofluoro carbon (CFC) conclusions in the 80’s. Very costly mistake that will take NASA and the UN several more decades of inconvenient data to admit their mistake.
      Let the OCO-2 data speak after at least a decade to fully understand what it is telling us.

      • IIRC, lithospheric carbon is fossil hydrocarbons burned by man, volcanic CO2 outgassing, and subterranean magma intrusions into carbonate deposits = Carbon from sources buried long, long ago.

      • Joel,
        Fossil carbon is average -24 per mil δ13C.
        Oceans, carbonate rock, subduction volcanoes are around zero per mil δ13C
        Deep magma volcanoes are around -6 per mil δ13C
        The atmosphere was at -6.4 +/- 0.2 per mil from 1400 to 1850, rapidly sinking to – 8 per mil nowadays in complete lockstep with human emissions…

  23. NEITHER Ice Cores nor data, excuse me readings, from Mauna Loa CO2 data CAN be used by serious scientists as anything in regards to CO2 worldwide nor temperature mean!
    Some calling themselves scientists have forgotten that CO2-data on Mauna Loa is equal to placing the fox as watchman of the chickenhouse! Remember this?When the fox count the chickens
    Also forgotten is the first things a young pupil learns about H2O and water: Raindrops falls down, so do snow. Every stage in water cycle is depending on that water in every form always tries to reach lowest point and that sun resp. erosion always occurs. Problem with Ice Cores is that no matter IF you take an Ice Core in Arctic or in Antarctic the Ice in your core-example NEVER been on same GPS place over the years.
    For Arctic please ReadDon’t forget that ice-cores drilled down from surface in Arctic never ever show the situation on same spot, longitude and latitude, ten years ago let alone 50 or more.
    The ice in Arctic is never still but moves around, due to centrifugal force as well as the water cycle, as all forms of water do, including the glaciers and icesheets. All form of water including ice moves to reach the lowest possible level, to sea level.
    Non-Scientific research work

    • Supposedly this is the reason for drilling the samples at ice domes where the pressures would be evenly exerted, though, I’m not involved in any of the painstaking work by any means.
      It seems that significant anomalies between Greenland and Vostok can be explained by a time lag, a measurement error, or polar asymmetry, though, it’s more likely than not, that I am neither correct nor incorrect on this topic.

    • norah,
      Sometimes it helps if you read some scientific literature before commenting. CO2 is rather evenly distributed all over the earth, within 2% of full scale, even if the seasonal in/out fluxes are 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere. You will find exactly the same CO2 trends at Barrow, near the North Pole and the South Pole as at Mauna Loa:
      http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/iadv/
      Ice cores CO2 of Greenland are not reliable, as sea salt dust is frequently mixed with highly acidic volcanic dust from nearby Icelandic volcanoes, which produce CO2 in situ and during measurement time with the old method of melting the samples and collecting CO2 under vacuum (now abandoned). Antarctic ice cores show the same CO2 levels from cores taken thousands of kilometers apart with extreme differences of salt /dust inclusions and average snow deposit and local temperature:
      http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_010kyr.jpg

      • Well as a wise king in Sparta said: Start at home.
        I guess I have read and passed more Theories of Science courses than most of you reading this. In seven subjects at academic levels!
        So don’t try that one on me!
        Start reading and reading = trying to understand what you read yourself BEFORE picking on other

      • Norah, I retract my remark about your reading, but then where is your opinion based on that Mauna Loa CO2 levels or Antarctic ice core levels are not representing (current and historical) global CO2 levels (small variations excluded)?

  24. Reblogged this on Norah4you's Weblog and commented:
    When ever “map” and “reality” show different views – Reality rules. BUT and that’s also important to tell directly:
    * Consensus is a political term with no connection what so ever to Theories of Science.
    * Appealing to fear is a fallacy when used combined with Ad Hoc/Ad Hominem. Ad Hoc/Ad Hominem with or without “computer model”-views NEVER EVER CAN BE USED AS VALID ARGUMENT

  25. This chart:
    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/mwallacefigure1.png
    Suggests that the oceans become more alkaline during warmer spells and not more acidic.
    That supports the proposition that inceased sunlight drives CO2 out of ocean surface waters so that there is less CO2 in the water and more in the air.
    That is the opposite of AGW theory which proposes that more ion the air then finds its way into the oceans to make them more acidic.

    • Stephen,
      That graph is completely debunked at the previous discussion: based on inadequate sampling and glass electrode pH measurements which can’t measure the faint change in pH which should be only 0.1 pH unit since 1850, based on established ocean chemistry…

  26. Ronald,
    Here my response:
    1. The carbon cycle.
    Natural carbon releases, besides volcanic, are mostly part of a cycle: what goes into the atmosphere goes out in near equal quantities.
    The current estimates are (all “in” is into the atmosphere):
    Ocean surface (mainly seasonal): 50 GtC in, 50.5 GtC out.
    Deep oceans (continuously between equator and poles, back via the deep): 40 GtC in, 43 GtC out.
    Biosphere (mainly seasonal): 60 GtC in, 61 GtC out.
    Besides natural releases/sinks, the human contribution is 9 GtC in, 0 GtC out.
    First to notice is that human emissions are one-way addition, while the main natural additions are a part of two-way cycles with slightly more sink than source.
    That makes, whatever the natural cycle in reality is (10 GtC in/out or 150 GtC in/out or 1500 GtC in/out), the net contribution of nature to the increase in the atmosphere is zero, nada, null… Nature is a net sink, at least over the past 55 years:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em2.jpg
    2. Thermal modulations to all non-human emission can be expected to be quite large (up to 2X and more at the extremes of global temp).
    2.a. Temperature influence on the ocean releases:

    Sorry, the 2x is a misconception. Ocean releases don’t simply double for a temperature rise, they increase with the pressure difference between ocean pCO2 and the pCO2 in the atmosphere. If the difference is increasing, the flux (in or out) increases proportional with the difference. When the pCO2’s are equal, the net flux is zero.
    Take the effect of 1°C global temperature rise:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/upwelling_temp.jpg
    Initially the very high pCO2 (around 700 μatm) at the equatorial oceans increases with 8 μatm due to 1°C warmer local ocean temperatures (the graph is for 16 μatm extra, as that was the maximum I found in the literature, 8 μatm/K is the average over glacial-interglacial periods). That gives an extra flux into the atmosphere of a few percent (308 vs. 300 pCO2 difference oceans-atmosphere). As the polar sink side also warms, the uptake there is reduced with a few percent, due to 8 μatm more pCO2 pressure in the ocean surface.
    Net result: more release than sink and the CO2 levels (and thus pCO2) in the atmosphere increases.
    As the atmospheric pCO2 increases, the pressure difference at the equator decreases and the pressure difference at the poles increases with as net result that the influxes are reduced and the outfluxes increase until the pressure differences and the in/out fluxes are back to what they were before the temperature increase. That is when the atmosphere is at 8 μatm (~ppmv) higher than before the temperature increase: The dynamic atmosphere – deep oceans cycle (and to a lesser extent the seasonal ocean surface CO2 cycle) simply follows the same rules as for a static seawater – atmosphere exchange per Henry’s law.
    Thus the whole warming of the oceans since 1850 (~0.8°C) is good for some 6 ppmv CO2 increase in the atmosphere, while the observed increase is 110 ppmv (of which the largest part after 1960). That means that we are now far above the temperature controlled equilibrium of the oceans and the oceans are net sinks for CO2.
    2.b. Temperature influence on the biosphere.
    Again, you expect a near doubling of the natural carbon cycle in the atmosphere. Again that is not what nature shows: the ~1°C since 1850 doesn’t double the net primary production of photosynthesis. It has some influence, but for every type of plant, there is an optimum growth temperature.
    What you are saying is that plant growth doubles for every 500 km nearer the equator, while the real change again is only a few percent per °C.
    Here too, the increased biosphere may show some increase in carbon cycle (Mauna Loa shows some increase in winter-summer CO2 amplitude over the years), but that doesn’t say anything about net absorption or release of CO2. The latter can be deduced from the oxygen balance: the biosphere as a whole is a net, growing absorber of ~1 GtC/year of CO2. See:
    http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf
    2.c. The total carbon cycle.
    What goes in and out the atmosphere over a year influences the residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere. The current estimate is that some 150 GtC goes in and out over a year, while the CO2 content is around 800 GtC. That makes that the residence time is 800/150 (content/throughput) or slightly over 5 years.
    There are different estimates of the residence time made over the years. If you split them in two bins, the estimates over the earlier years give a shorter residence time than the later estimates. That points to a rather stable CO2 throughput in an increasing CO2 content of the atmosphere.
    If the carbon cycle nearly doubled, the residence time should have halved, for which is not the slightest indication, to the contrary.
    2.d. Preliminary conclusion.
    Your whole reasoning is based on a near doubling of the natural carbon cycle. While a cycle says nothing about the net difference over a full cycle, which is what only counts, your estimates are way out of reality compared to real world data…
    More to follow…

    • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 5, 2015 at 2:18 am

      The current estimates are (all “in” is into the atmosphere):
      Ocean surface (mainly seasonal): 50 GtC in, 50.5 GtC out.
      Deep oceans (continuously between equator and poles, back via the deep): 40 GtC in, 43 GtC out.
      Biosphere (mainly seasonal): 60 GtC in, 61 GtC out.
      Besides natural releases/sinks, the human contribution is 9 GtC in, 0 GtC out.

      Ferdinand,
      Like they usta say in Engineering design, …..
      GEEEEZE, your estimates really worked out quite nicely for proving your foregone conclusion, …. didn’t they?

      • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 7, 2015 at 12:57 pm

        Samuel,
        All based on measurements

        All ESTIMATED measurements, …. right?
        Ferdinand, …. “close” only counts in the game of Horseshoes.
        Just tell me one (1) thing, Ferdinand, ….. were the estimated results of all your stated “measurements” of CO2 sources and sinks determined …. before or after …… the monthly/yearly average atmospheric CO2 ppm “cycling quantities” were being measured and recorded by the Mauna Loa Observatory?
        In other words, were any of the aforesaid CO2 ppm “cycling quantities” ever used as a “basis” or ”reference” …… for determining the aforesaid “estimated measurements”?
        And don’t be fibbing to me … because most everyone knows/realizes that most every “claim” pertaining to atmospheric CO2 ppm quantities is “rooted” in/on the Mauna Loa Record and/or on the pre-1958 extrapolation of that Record.
        Reverse-mathematical calculations (extrapolations) will only get you a “consensus of opinions” but nothing actual or factual.

      • Samuel,
        Human emissions are based on fossil fuel sales (taxes!) and burning efficiency.
        Mauna Loa is not even used as “global” average, but that is the average of several near sea level stations.
        The difference is what nature absorbs.
        In the past 55 years nature was a net sink for CO2, thus contributed zero, nada, nothing to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, that is all caused by humans…

      • Ferdinand,
        If you are personally committed to parroting that which you have been told is “pseudo-science beliefs”, ….. then so be it.
        Its an act of futility on my part to continue reiterating the actual, factual science in response to your “committed” postings.

    • Guys, aren’t you missing to more important points?
      In a static, near equilibrium Earth situation, you would stop a very important thread of my essay cold with your simple question: If atmospheric CO2 would be even higher than it is today if we hadn’t disrupted microbes and insects from doing their thing, where would that carbon have come from? i.e. In this 1:1 pairing (sources to sinks), perfectly and harmoniously balanced benevolent Ma-nature guided pretend world our CO2 would singularly be causing disruption and singularly be responsible atmospheric increase; while microbes and insects harmoniously and harmlessly returned recently sequestered carbon in 1:1 perfect balance with ongoing vegetative sinking. However, in the disequilibrium of the +1.5C / 150year recent Earthly history all sources are growing rapidly stimulating rapidly increased vegetative sinking (global greening). Microbial emission is going up, insect emission is going up and ours is going up (as is oceanic, volcanic, forest fire and mammalia emission). And our inhibiting microbial/insect growth yields a real substitution of ours for theirs. If magically our emission stopped tomorrow, the slope of the CO2 trajectory growth at Mauna Loa would decline by ~2% (as removal of our 2% emission would also remove 2% from the stimulation of vegetative sinking). And since our Mauna Loa observations wiggle by 2%, we wouldn’t know the change from natural noise. Our emission removal would yield a largely indistinguishable change.
      Let me make an obvious prediction predicated on the prediction that the Earth has recently begun to cool and assuming that some appreciable level of cooling (0.1-0.3 degree C) takes place over the next several years (maybe decades). Atmospheric CO2 is going to spike hard in the coming years. And before it stops spiking it will likely attain an annual contribution level appreciably larger than the then-current anthropogenic emission. Why? Mauna Loa annual variation makes clear that majority CO2 sinks respond significantly to a temperature drop with a very short lag-time measured in only months or even weeks. Natural CO2 sources, however, respond more slowly (a few years) to the same thermal perturbation (the oceans in particular of course are slow responders). Pronounced CO2 spiking attends the thermal inflection from warming to cooling.

      • @ Engineer Ron April 8, 2015 at 11:17 am

        Let me make an obvious prediction predicated on the prediction that the Earth has recently begun to cool and assuming that some appreciable level of cooling (0.1-0.3 degree C) takes place over the next several years (maybe decades).

        Engineer Ron,
        I just placed my $100 bet …. that your “prediction” will be 99 44/100% correct.

  27. Ferdinand-
    “Ocean surface (mainly seasonal): 50 GtC in, 50.5 GtC out.
    Deep oceans (continuously between equator and poles, back via the deep): 40 GtC in, 43 GtC out.
    Biosphere (mainly seasonal): 60 GtC in, 61 GtC out.
    Besides natural releases/sinks, the human contribution is 9 GtC in, 0 GtC out.
    First to notice is that human emissions are one-way addition, while the main natural additions are a part of two-way cycles with slightly more sink than source.
    That makes, whatever the natural cycle in reality is (10 GtC in/out or 150 GtC in/out or 1500 GtC in/out), the net contribution of nature to the increase in the atmosphere is zero, nada, null…”
    I have accepted you as my guide on these matters and as a result have rather discounted Salby’s contribution, and similarly your confidence in the ice-core work has also led me to accept the relative stability, prior to human influence, of CO2 concentration. So I’m not especially impressed with Engineer Voisin’s presentation, there being way to many estimates and assumptions. But I have to take issue with your statement above. That’s an engineer talking! Why would you think that anthro CO2 is separate from the natural carbon cycle? Of course it isn’t. It just adds a bit to one side of the balance, and the real question is: is that bit, a relatively small bit, sufficient to destabilise that cycle? I don’t know the answer to that, but I know that few biologists would have much time at all for the ‘mass balance’ idea. You say “human emissions are a one-way addition, while the main natural additions are part of two-way cycles”. That’s just not what biological systems are like!
    I’ve gone back to being agnostic on this issue.

    • mothcatcher – No the anthro CO2 doesn’t destabilise the cycle. The anthro CO2 is simply added into the mix. The majority of the natural sources and sinks are cyclical, whereas anthro is net source only. The natural cycles continue, but the end result is necessarily affected by the anthro. Ferdinand is correct in that CO2 flux at the ocean surface is driven by the pco2 difference between ocean and atmosphere. The consequence of this is that while an increasing ocean temperature would normally result in CO2 being released into the atmosphere, the anthro CO2 has actually increased the atmosphere’s pco2 by more so that over each annual cycle there is a net absorption by the ocean – but just a bit less than it would have been if the ocean had not warmed. Ferdinand’s explanation of the pco2s at the tropics and Poles is also, I am sure, accurate; that is just how the pco2s behave.

      • “The majority of the natural sources and sinks are cyclical, whereas anthro is net source only.”
        That is not so. This is a feedback system. Natural sinks expand in response to both natural and anthropogenic input. That means the sink activity with anthropogenic input is greater than it would be without anthropogenic input.
        That means a portion of natural sink activity is, in fact, induced artificial activity. It represents, for all intents and purposes, artificial sinks, and a two way flow of artificial origin both ways.

      • Bart,
        Depends of what you think what the response does.
        In your theory, the response is very fast. That gives:
        150 GtC natural + 9 GtC human in, 154.5 GtC out.
        Human input then is 6% of the total input and 6% of the output and thus 6% of the increase in the atmosphere. All figures in mass as cause, not original molecules.
        In that case there are several problems that need an explanation:
        – Why are the sinks not equal to the sum of the sources, if the response of the sinks is that fast.
        – Human emissions increased a 4-fold in the past 55 years. So did the increase rate in the atmosphere. As the sinks don’t make a differentiation between natural and human CO2, the 4-fold increase rate in the atmosphere with a fast response of the sinks is only possible if the natural emissions also increased a 4-fold in the past 55 years. That means a 4-fold decrease in residence time for which is not the slightest indication.
        In my (and the mainstream) opinion, the response is rather slow (e-fold decay rate for excess CO2 ~50 years). And humans are responsible for near all increase in the atmosphere, That gives:
        150 GtC + 9 GtC human in, 154.5 GtC out.
        Human input is 6% of the total, 3% of the output and 95% of the increase.
        – Sinks respond to the total increase in the atmosphere above equilibrium, not the momentary input.
        – Explains the 4-fold increase rate in the atmosphere by a 4-fold increase in sink rate caused by a 4-fold increase of CO2 above the equilibrium.
        – Fits all observations, including a small increase in residence time: a rather stable exchange rate in an increasing CO2 content of the atmosphere.

      • “– Why are the sinks not equal to the sum of the sources, if the response of the sinks is that fast.”
        It is a matter of scale. Natural flows are at least 50X aritficial flows.
        “– Human emissions increased a 4-fold in the past 55 years. So did the increase rate in the atmosphere.”
        Atmospheric increase was less than half the virtual accumulation of human emissions.
        “As the sinks don’t make a differentiation between natural and human CO2, the 4-fold increase rate in the atmosphere with a fast response of the sinks is only possible if the natural emissions also increased a 4-fold in the past 55 years.”
        No, it is possible if human emissions were effectively removed completely, and the net difference between natural sink and source was enough to drive the system where it is.
        “And humans are responsible for near all increase in the atmosphere…”
        It is simply not possible. Nature has a trend in temperatures. That trend appears in the CO2 record, as well as an excellent fit to all the variations. Human emissions also have a trend. There is little to no room for it.
        “Fits all observations…”
        Obviously, from the above, your model does not. You cannot explain the recent lull in rate of change of CO2 in the atmosphere at a time when emissions were accelerating.

      • Bart,
        No, it is possible if human emissions were effectively removed completely, and the net difference between natural sink and source was enough to drive the system where it is.
        Here you are violating the equality principle of CO2, whatever its origin.
        Nature does not discriminate between human CO2 or natural CO2 (besides a small difference in isotopic ratio), it doesn’t selectively sink human CO2 first (and there wouldn’t be any change in 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere and ocean surface).
        If the increase rate of CO2 in the atmosphere is a fourfold, the sinks accommodated to the total increase in the atmosphere, which is a fourfold too since 1960, not to the increase of human CO2 alone. Thus if humans are not responsible for the increase, the natural emissions must have increased a fourfold too.
        It is simply not possible. Nature has a trend in temperatures. That trend appears in the CO2 record, as well as an excellent fit to all the variations.
        The recent trend in temperature is good for a few ppmv increase. That is all, according to the solubility of CO2 in seawater. Temperature is responsible for most of the variability around the trend, which is not more than +/- 1 ppmv over the past 55 years, while the slope is 70 ppmv. Variability and trend have nothing in common, they are caused by different, independent processes. Any two straight lines can be fit by choosing the right factor and offset. The fit of the amplitude in variability or slopes (hardly both) is just coincidence.
        You cannot explain the recent lull in rate of change of CO2 in the atmosphere at a time when emissions were accelerating.
        Simply natural variability: the sink rate for whatever reason increased in the past decade, as happened before in other periods. There is no law that says that the sink rate must be 50% every year. As long as the sink rate is less than human emissions, human emissions are fully responsible for the increase.

      • “Here you are violating the equality principle of CO2, whatever its origin.”
        Not in the least. There are control frameworks in which the effects of exogenous disturbances are precisely zeroed out (e.g., integral control) while the system tracks the controlling input. I expect there is something of that type of dynamic in operation here.
        “The recent trend in temperature is good for a few ppmv increase.”
        No, it is an integrating response. The sensitivity is in ppmv/K/unit-of-time. It is a dynamic process, in which new CO2 is continually flowing in, and old CO2 is being taken out. Such a continuous flow dynamic naturally leads to such time sensitivity.
        “…the sink rate for whatever reason increased in the past decade…”
        And, the planetary orbits evolved in epicycles about the Earth at their center.
        “As long as the sink rate is less than human emissions, human emissions are fully responsible for the increase.”
        Again with the completely discredited “mass balance” argument. This is painfully naive.

      • There are control frameworks in which the effects of exogenous disturbances are precisely zeroed out
        Sorry Bart, but the sinks don’t know which CO2 is natural and which is human. In this case the disturbance is almost completely mixed into the bulk of the atmosphere before reaching the sinks, thus any sink rate change is based on total CO2, not on what humans emitted.
        As the increase in the atmosphere was a fourfold over the past 55 years, either the natural emissions also increased a fourfold like human emissions did or they are not responsible for the increase.
        No, it is an integrating response. The sensitivity is in ppmv/K/unit-of-time. It is a dynamic process, in which new CO2 is continually flowing in, and old CO2 is being taken out.
        And here you are violating Henry’s law. Indeed it is a dynamic process and indeed CO2 is continuously coming in at the upwelling side and going out at the sink side. But that only is in disequilibrium until the average pCO2 difference between oceans and atmosphere is zero. Then the input and output fluxes are equal and the levels in the atmosphere don’t change anymore. That new equilibrium is at ~8 ppmv/°C, no matter how fast that happens with your ppmv/°C/unit-of-time.
        Again with the completely discredited “mass balance” argument. This is painfully naïve.
        Less naïve than expecting that temperature is responsible for an over 100 ppmv/°C rise in the recent past, violating all observations and without any shred of evidence, except the arbitrary match of two straight lines…

      • “Sorry Bart, but the sinks don’t know which CO2 is natural and which is human.”
        You miss my meaning. The natural flows are part of a feedback network. While inputs are treated equally by the sinks based on the present state of the system, the present state of the system is dependent on the natural flows. I don’t know if I can make it any clearer for you right now. Will have to think of an example or something…
        “That new equilibrium is at ~8 ppmv/°C, no matter how fast that happens with your ppmv/°C/unit-of-time.”
        No, it isn’t. If the outward flows are stopped up, then CO2 accumulates in the ocean waters. It cannot, not accumulate. Every second of every day, more is coming in.
        You are assuming a constant pCO2 of the oceans, when it is not constant.
        “Less naïve than …”
        It is honestly not possible to be less naive. The “mass-balance” argument is just plain wrong, and you cannot be wronger than wrong.

      • Ferdinand – re the decay rate of (atmos) CO2. My calculations indicate a process with two main phases : a relatively fast absorption by the ocean surface layer with a half-life around 12 years, ie, to the point where half the pco2 difference between ocean surface and atmosphere has been taken up. In this process, the two pco2s move towards each other, thus opening up a pco2 difference between the ocean surface layer and the deeper ocean. The second major phase, which is much slower (I can’t put a figure on it), moves the C into the deeper ocean. I say C rather than CO2 because of all the chemical reactions going on. I think you will find in the two phases why in the few decades of anthro CO2 the ocean has only taken up ~50% when full equilibrium requires ~100%.

      • @ Mike Jonas April 5, 2015 at 3:52 am

        …. whereas anthro (CO2) is net source only.

        OH my garsh … and GOOD GRIEF, ……. humans sequester billions of tons of CO2 each and every year in the form of …. infrastructure, housing, furniture, clothing, paper products, plastics, etc., etc.
        Said “sequestering” is directly proportiional to the increase in populations.

      • Bart,
        You miss my meaning. The natural flows are part of a feedback network. While inputs are treated equally by the sinks based on the present state of the system, the present state of the system is dependent on the natural flows.
        The bulk of the natural flows are seasonal: 50 GtC in/out of the ocean surface, 60 GtC in/out of the biosphere. A 1°C step temperature increase will give a step of extra CO2 release in one year, but hardly change the seasonal fluxes in the following years, as it is the much larger seasonal temperature change which drives the in/out fluxes. The dynamic of the seasonal fluxes is hardly influenced by a small temperature increase, the resulting sink rate even less. The current sink rate is around 1.5 GtC/year in ocean surface and biosphere, of which the bulk is caused by the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.
        Rests the equatorial – polar continuous exchange and human emissions. The latter’s increase is certain, an increase in the former is speculative and not confirmed by any observation.
        The process that drives the equatorial/polar in/out fluxes is largely caused by CO2 pressure differences. A 1°C step temperature increase will change the pCO2 of the oceans with 8 μatm.
        Human emissions are already near 20% of the non-seasonal CO2 inputs and count for an addition of 4.2 ppmv/year nowadays. Even if halve that shows up as increase in the atmosphere, no matter the cause, the pCO2 increase in the atmosphere in only four years is higher than the pCO2 increase in the oceans caused by 1°C step temperature increase. Human emissions even exceed it in less than 2 years…
        It seems to me that you have a lot to explain, how that the small temperature increase and not human emissions can be the cause of the current CO2 increase…
        No, it isn’t. If the outward flows are stopped up, then CO2 accumulates in the ocean waters. It cannot, not accumulate. Every second of every day, more is coming in.
        You are assuming a constant pCO2 of the oceans, when it is not constant.

        Every second of every day, more CO2 is going out at the sink places near the Poles. That is not an argument as good as the reverse is not an argument. Only the balance between the two counts.
        That is a matter of CO2 pressure difference: as long as there is a pressure difference, there is a flux. How much flux depends of the height of the pressure difference. If the ocean water influx and its CO2 concentration didn’t change, then the CO2 influx will go up a few % with a temperature increase, somewhat extra depleting the upwelling waters. As that does increase the pCO2 of the atmosphere, the CO2 influx will go down and the net result of the new equilibrium still is an 8 μatm higher CO2 pressure of the ocean waters at the upwelling places, but with the same residual CO2 (DIC) level in the oceans as before the warming.
        Thus no matter if there was previous accumulation or not, there is no difference in fluxes and residual concentration of the oceans before and after the warming, from the moment on that the atmospheric CO2 pressure reached an 8 ppmv higher level.
        BTW, most upwelling equatorial waters flow back to the poles and reverse from CO2 sources to CO2 sinks due to bio-life and cooling…
        About the mass balance argument: that is valid for every moment and every process. It simply shows that without evidence of an enormous increase in natural CO2 input (for which is no indication), humans are the main cause of the increase.

      • “The bulk of the natural flows are seasonal”
        We are not concerned with seasonal flows here.
        “It seems to me that you have a lot to explain, how that the small temperature increase and not human emissions can be the cause of the current CO2 increase…”
        It accumulates over time. You err because you fail to appreciate the dynamic nature of the problem, and you keep trying to apply static methods to it.
        “Every second of every day, more CO2 is going out at the sink places near the Poles.”
        But, that egress is, among other things, temperature dependent. The influx isn’t.
        “About the mass balance argument: that is valid for every moment and every process.”
        The “mass-balance” argument as commonly proffered is not a true mass balance. It is a really stupid argument.
        You are getting wrapped up in details, and confusing yourself because you keep trying to apply static analysis to a dynamic system. The plain and simple fact of the matter is that, in the modern era
        dCO2/dt = k*(T – T0)
        The slope in T causes the slope in dCO2/dt. And, that disqualifies human input as being the main driver of atmospheric CO2.

      • It accumulates over time. You err because you fail to appreciate the dynamic nature of the problem, and you keep trying to apply static methods to it.
        and
        But, that egress is, among other things, temperature dependent. The influx isn’t.
        Both input and output fluxes are largely pressure difference dependent: if there is no pressure difference, there is no influx or outflux, whatever the upwelling or sinking waters are in volume or CO2 (DIC) content.
        There is nothing magical about a dynamic process: it follows Henry’s law as good as for a static equilibrium.
        If the ocean surface temperature increases with 1°C, the ocean surface pCO2 increases with ~8 μatm both at the sources as at the sinks. That gives some 3% extra pCO2 difference at the source places and thus a ~3% extra influx and a small extra depletion of CO2 (DIC) at the upwelling places.
        Thus your alleged “accumulation” of CO2 in the upwelling waters is less with increased temperatures than without.
        Something similar, but reverse, happens at the sink places: a ~3% reduction of pCO2 difference and thus a ~3% reduction in outflux.
        The net result is that the CO2 level in the atmosphere starts to increase.
        The moment that the increase in the atmosphere reaches 8 ppmv (~8 μatm), the pressure differences at upwelling and sink places are the same as they were before the warming, thus the in/out fluxes are restored to what they were before the warming (including the residual DIC levels in the ocean upwelling) and no further increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere from the temperature increase will take place.
        Thus at the end the resulting increase in the atmosphere is exactly the same for a dynamic as for a static process…

      • Some addition:
        The sensitivity is in ppmv/K/unit-of-time. It is a dynamic process, in which new CO2 is continually flowing in, and old CO2 is being taken out.
        If it was a static process, thus without fresh supply from the deep oceans, the CO2 flux from the warm tropical oceans would drop to zero, as the high pCO2 caused by temperature and high concentration (from upwelled deep ocean waters) would drop to 400 μatm, the same as in the atmosphere as the concentration in the waters drop with the influx into the atmosphere.
        At a constant supply and temperature and CO2 level in the atmosphere, the influx will get constant, as CO2/DIC levels are continuously refreshed in the surface waters and the supply from the deep and the loss to the atmosphere get into equilibrium.
        If for any reason the supply to the surface or the temperature of the surface changes, the influx will accommodate to the new situation and the levels in the atmosphere (and the sinks) will accommodate to the changed influx, until a new equilibrium between influxes and sinks is reached.
        For a temperature increase of 1°C that is at 8 ppmv extra in the atmosphere, whatever the time needed to reach that new equilibrium.
        For an extra supply from the deep oceans, that is at halve the atmospheric pressure of the increase in pCO2(oceans) caused by the extra supply.
        In all cases, the initial changed influx will get a new equilibrium with the outflux at a new atmospheric pressure. The “unit of time” only determines the time needed to reach the new equilibrium, it doesn’t influence the equilibrium itself.

    • Mothcatcher,
      There was little influence from the small first anthro contributions, most of it simply was distributed over all reservoirs, where natural year by year variability would mask any human contribution.
      As the human contribution increased over time, not all human CO2 was fast enough distributed over oceans and vegetation and about halve the contribution (as mass, not the original molecules) remained in the atmosphere. That gives an increase of CO2 pressure (pCO2) compared to the oceans pCO2 for equal temperature.
      As Mike Jonas already explained, the pressure increase in the atmosphere slightly reduces the input from the warm (equatorial) oceans and increases the output into the cold (polar) oceans. The increase in CO2 pressure in the atmosphere is far higher than caused by the temperature increase since the Little Ice Age. The current difference between releases and uptake is some 3 GtC that goes extra into the deep oceans, above the total cycle which is about 40 GtC/year between atmosphere and deep oceans. Thus while the main cycle didn’t change much, it is the total increase in the atmosphere above temperature induced equilibrium which makes that more CO2 is pushed into the oceans. The equilibrium for the current temperature would be around 290 ppmv.
      The same happens with vegetation: the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere gives more CO2 in the plant stomata and increases plant growth (where other limiting factors may play a more important role). That gives an increase of CO2 uptake in plants of around 1 GtC/year above a natural cycle of ~60 GtC/year.

      • That’s a very good answer if you are happy that bottom-up estimates of the CO2 inputs and outputs, based on the physics, are accurate and provide a good description of what is happening in the biosphere. I’m not so sure that we have a proper handle on what is happening in the plant and microbial world. In a way we have the same dichotomy in this argument, as we have in the matter of trying to derive a sensitivity of temperature to CO2 doubling. If there really is an inherently stable CO2 of around 290ppm, and we now have 400ppm, then you are likely right, which is why establishing beyond reasonable doubt that ice core values are reliable, is so very important to the argument. But I’ll not be fully convinced while we know so little about the influence of living things, which in my experience invariably have a very large and complex set of feedbacks with the environment, in which CO2 is massively involved. Looking at those satellite images of CO2 concentration over the next year or two is going to be very interesting.

      • Mothcatcher,
        There is plenty of research done to have some idea of what happens in the biosphere with CO2 exchanges, but I agree that is still a few % of all the reactions which happen in nature…
        Fortunately, we don’t need to do the math bottom up: all we need is the overall balance: the sum of all biological ins and outs. That is provided by the oxygen balance: growing plants produce oxygen when using CO2 while dying plants, bacteria, molds, insects and animals use oxygen to decay or get energy from the plants.
        Fossil fuel burning also needs oxygen, but that can be calculated from fossil fuel sales and burning efficiency.
        The net result since ~1990 is that the biosphere as a whole is a net, increasing sink for CO2, nowadays around 1 GtC/year due to the 110 ppmv increase in the atmosphere. See:
        http://www.sciencemag.org/content/287/5462/2467.short
        and
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

      • @ mothcatcher April 5, 2015 at 10:43 am

        … then you (Ferdinand) are likely right, which is why establishing beyond reasonable doubt that ice core values are reliable, is so very important to the argument.

        Well now, …. you can forget that noise ….. because Ferdinand has already stated that the Ice Core CO2 values are ….. highly unreliable.
        And he stated said on …. April 7, 2015 at 12:40 pm
        @ to wit: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/04/04/an-engineers-ice-core-thought-experiment-2-the-follow-up-2/#comment-1899970
        Wherein he explicitly stated, to wit:

        There were tests in Alaska where they measured CO2 releases from under a layer of snow

      • Samuel,
        Snow is 10% ice, 90% open air.
        Glacier ice is 99.7% ice, 0.3% isolated air bubbles.
        Do you understand the difference or should I send a few pictures taken by a microscope?

      • Samuel,
        Snow is 10% ice, 90% open air.
        Glacier ice is 99.7% ice, 0.3% isolated air bubbles.

        Ferdinand,
        And my Bud Light beer is 6.2% alcohol …. regardless of whether it is liquid, slush icy or frozen semi-solid in the can.
        So, what is your point?
        Or was your posted obfuscation …… “your point”?

      • Samuel,
        My point:
        The snow is porous and CO2 can pass it from the heap of organics in full decay below the snow to the open atmosphere.
        In contrast, the CO2 in air bubbles in ice can’t escape, because these are surrounded by solid ice.
        Thus telling us that CO2 in ice cores is highly unreliable because CO2 can pass fresh snow is not really smart…
        BTW, as there is near zero vegetation in Antarctica, the air in the snow and firn down to where the bubbles are fully closed has practically the same composition as in the atmosphere above the surface.
        That is the reason that the figures 4-7 in the above Thought Experiment article are overblown…

      • @April 10, 2015 at 7:28 am

        In contrast, the CO2 in air bubbles in ice can’t escape, because these are surrounded by solid ice.

        Ferdinand,
        Mammoths trapped in ice can’t escape either. Nor can “Ships of Fools”.

        Thus telling us that CO2 in ice cores is highly unreliable because CO2 can pass fresh snow is not really smart…

        Do you actually comprehend how “un-smart” it was for what you stated in your above comment?

        the air in the snow and firn down to where the bubbles are fully closed has practically the same composition as in the atmosphere above the surface.

        Ferdinand, ….. I dun went and tolt ya a couple times, …. that “close” (or practically the same ) only counts in the Game of Horseshoes.

    • Mothcatcher wrote: “Why would you think that anthro CO2 is separate from the natural carbon cycle? Of course it isn’t. It just adds a bit to one side of the balance, and the real question is: is that bit, a relatively small bit, sufficient to destabilise that cycle?”
      I think the simple answer to that is: We have the data. The cycle was quite stable for thousands of years and now it has been destabilized, in proportion to the CO2 we have added.
      Of course, it is always nice to have an explanation. In a linear system, changing one input a bit should produce a proportionate change in outputs, But this is not a linear system. For example, under Henry’s Law (linear) a 10% increase in gas phase partial pressure would produce a 10% increase in the equilibrium concentration in solution. But for CO2, the reactions in solution cause non-linear behavior, so that a 10% increase in equilibrium partial pressure increases the solution concentration by only something like 1.5%. Similarly, an increase in atmospheric CO2 causes more uptake by plants, but that leads eventually to more dead organic matter and more CO2 release by decomposition. So a priori it is very hard to predict what the response to anthropogenic CO2 should be.
      But as I said, we have the data.

      • We have some data, from which certain conclusions have been leapt to. However, the data do not admit to a unique interpretation, and the conclusions are speculative at best.
        In fact, we now have a long record of temperature and CO2 data which show, unequivocally, that atmospheric CO2 is fully explained as a temperature dependent process, in which the rate of change is essentially an affine function of temperature. This relationship fully describes the evolution of atmospheric CO2 in our time.
        Human inputs are superfluous. They are not needed to be able to predict atmospheric CO2 given the temperature set. And, indeed, given the temperature dependence readily apparent, there is little to no room for human inputs to contribute additionally.
        This is normal for a feedback regulatory system – small perturbations are strongly attenuated, and the system tracks the level imposed by the boundary conditions. There is no doubt about it – humans are not the driving force in setting atmospheric levels of CO2 and, indeed, the rate of change of CO2 has been steady for over a decade now, a time in which human emissions have continued accelerating.
        http://i1136.photobucket.com/albums/n488/Bartemis/CO2_zps330ee8fa.jpg

      • Can you cite that 1.5% increase of CO2 dissolved in water that is in equilibrium with air whose CO2 concentration was increased by 10%?
        There are two equilibria in play here. One is between atmospheric CO2 and dissolved CO2, and the other is between dissolved CO2 and the sum of hydrogen ions and bicarbonate ions. If the latter equilibrium is completely dominant here and also not affected by pH buffering mechanisms in the ocean, then dissolved CO2 in equilibrium with atmospheric CO2 increases 4.9% for a 10% increase of atmospheric CO2. Otherwise, a 10% increase of atmospheric CO2 is in equilibrium with an increase of oceanic CO2 that is more than 4.9%, except as affected by temperature. I don’t remember the name of this rule, but I was taught it in advanced high school chemistry, comparable to college freshman chemistry.
        Even with IPCC “center track” of 3 degrees C per doubling of CO2, or .41 degree C for a 10% increase of CO2, I don’t see global temperature change as a result of change of CO2 making a huge decrease from 4.9-plus % increase of oceanic CO2 from a 10% increase of atmospheric CO2.

      • Donald L. Klipstein;
        “Can you cite that 1.5% increase of CO2 dissolved in water that is in equilibrium with air whose CO2 concentration was increased by 10%?”
        This would apply specifically to seawater. It is called the Revelle factor. You should be able to find it treated in pretty much any book on seawater chemistry or the greenhouse effect. I know there is a detailed description of it in Daniel Jacob’s book on Atmospheric Chemistry.
        “There are two equilibria in play here. One is between atmospheric CO2 and dissolved CO2, and the other is between dissolved CO2 and the sum of hydrogen ions and bicarbonate ions. If the latter equilibrium is completely dominant here and also not affected by pH buffering mechanisms in the ocean.”
        It is actually the equilibrium with bicarbonate and carbonate that matters. So the buffering is very important.
        “then dissolved CO2 in equilibrium with atmospheric CO2 increases 4.9% for a 10% increase of atmospheric CO2.”
        I think you are thinking of CO2 in pure water, so that [H+] = [HCO3-] and both are proportional to the square root of [CO2]. But that is not the case in seawater since there is a lot of HCO3- and a fair bit of carbonate.
        “I don’t remember the name of this rule, but I was taught it in advanced high school chemistry, comparable to college freshman chemistry.”
        I never teach such rules since it is so easy to remember the rule and forget when it is applicable. For a case like this you need a detailed (and messy) calculation.

      • Bart,
        As usual… There is not the slightest connection between the year by year variability in CO2 rate of change and the trend in rate of change. The first is caused by the influence of temperature variations and mainly ENSO on (tropical) vegetation, the latter is certainly NOT from vegetation, as vegetation is a growing sink with increasing CO2.
        Ocean temperature increase is good for a few ppmv. That is all. The rest is from human emissions…
        And as usual, your graph is highly misleading by using different units and an offset in one of the scales. If you plot both emissions and increase with the same units on the same scale, it is clear that the emissions are average twice the increase in the atmosphere and that there is a long period between 1975 and 2000 that the CO2 rate of change is even negative for increasing temperatures. The current flat increase rate is thus not unprecedented:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em4.jpg
        where the red line is the calculated increase in the atmosphere based on the pCO2 in the atmosphere above the equilibrium for the temperature at each year.

      • “There is not the slightest connection between the year by year variability in CO2 rate of change and the trend in rate of change.”
        As usual, you make this assertion without any proof. There is no phase distortion. It is a smooth response across all frequencies. If the variation is from temperature, then the trend in temperature has to be responsible for the trend in CO2 rate of change. There is no way around it.
        Your graph is misleading. You have scaled things so there is a superficial match, but you cannot hide the fact that atmospheric concentration has fallen to a steady rate at the same time emissions have been accelerating.

      • Bart,
        If the variation is from temperature, then the trend in temperature has to be responsible for the trend in CO2 rate of change.
        As the variation is certainly caused by the influence of temperature variability on vegetation and vegetation is NOT the cause of the trend (it is a net, increasing sink), there is no reason at all to expect that the trend is caused by temperature. There is no phase distortion of the temperature caused CO2 variability if the trend is caused by human emissions which are not temperature dependent and show hardly any variability.
        Your graph is misleading. You have scaled things…
        Come on Bart, I haven’t scaled anything, I used the same units for similar variables on the same scale. It is you who did use different scales and an offset for one of them, which gives a false impression of a problem which isn’t a problem at all: the theoretical increase in the atmosphere is widely within natural variability…

      • “As the variation is certainly caused by the influence of temperature variability on vegetation…”
        This is merely assertion. And, it would mean that there would be phase distortion at the frequencies separating the difference responses. There isn’t any.
        “There is no phase distortion of the temperature caused CO2 variability if the trend is caused by human emissions…”
        There would necessarily be phase distortion if the trend in temperatures did not cause a similar trend in CO2 rate of change. There is no phase distortion. The trend in CO2 rate of change is thereby necessarily a response to the trend in temperatures.
        “…I haven’t scaled anything…”
        Of course you did. The scale factor of 0.53 is in your legend.

      • Bart,
        This is merely assertion. And, it would mean that there would be phase distortion at the frequencies separating the difference responses. There isn’t any.
        That the short term variation is from (tropical) vegetation is as solid as any observation can be. It is as solid as the CO2 measurements and more solid than the temperature measurements where your theory is based on. If you don’t accept that, then your theory is just a waste of time…
        I don’t see any reason why there would be any phase distortion: temperature changes gives CO2 changes with a pi/2 lag at every frequency, as only one (fast) process is involved only the amplitude reduces with increasing frequency.
        There would necessarily be phase distortion if the trend in temperatures did not cause a similar trend in CO2 rate of change.
        The temperature variability is +/- 0.1°C around the trend from year to year. The CO2 variability is +/- 1 ppmv around the trend from year to year. The temperature trend is 0.01°C/year. The influence of the temperature trend on the CO2 variability is negligible at 0.08 ppmv/year.
        Of course you did. The scale factor of 0.53 is in your legend.
        Come on Bart, I have explained that several times to you: the 53% is the average “airborne fraction” over the past 55/100 years, which is by coincidence within the natural variability. Although the “coincidence” in this case is caused by the slightly quadratic increase of human emissions and increase in the atmosphere (and sink rates). It is interesting but not important at all.
        The red line is what is important: that is the calculated CO2 increase based on the emissions and the calculated sink rate for the pCO2 difference atmosphere – equilibrium pCO2 at the temperature of that year.
        That line is widely within the natural variability of the observations…

      • “That the short term variation is from (tropical) vegetation is as solid as any observation can be.”
        It is not an observation. It is your narrative. There is no proof of it whatsoever.
        This isn’t the yearly variation we are talking about. That has been filtered out with the 12 month filter. In what is left, the variation is caused by a temperature dependent process. And, that temperature dependent process is also responsible for the trend in dCO2/dt/
        “I don’t see any reason why there would be any phase distortion…”
        Because if the variations in temperature affect the rate of change of CO2 but the trend in temperature does not, then there has to be a process which filters out the influence of that trend, and that filtering operation must leave telltale signs of phase distortion. There is no phase distortion. Ergo, the trend in temperature is causing the trend in CO2 rate of change.
        “…the 53% is the average “airborne fraction” over the past 55/100 years…”
        This is a made up number. It is chosen to make your series lie as close as possible to the observations. And, it still cannot obscure the fact that emissions have been accelerating for over a decade, and atmospheric CO2 has not.

      • Bart, it is hard to discuss with someone who rejects all observations which he doesn’t like…
        The seasonal variability is proven from vegetation:
        – CO2 goes down with higher temperatures by growing leaves and up with leave decay when temperatures drop.
        – δ13C goes opposite as growing leaves prefer 12C over 13C, that reverses with leave decay
        – The opposite CO2-δ13C moves prove that vegetation is the dominant factor over the seasons, not the oceans. If the oceans were the main cause, CO2 and δ13C would parallel each other.
        This isn’t the yearly variation we are talking about. That has been filtered out with the 12 month filter. In what is left, the variation is caused by a temperature dependent process. And, that temperature dependent process is also responsible for the trend in dCO2/dt
        I wasn’t talking about seasonal changes, I was talking about the 2-3 year variability. Indeed the variation is caused by a temperature dependent process. As I said the influence of mainly seawater temperature on temperature and precipitation (drought) of tropical forests:
        – CO2 goes up with higher temperatures as growth stalls and more decay gets in (opposite to seasonal!)
        – δ13C goes opposite to the CO2 changes.
        – the opposite δ13C move proves that the higher rate of change is caused by vegetation, not by the oceans as can be seen in the variability since 1990:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/temp_dco2_d13C_mlo.jpg
        As the variability around the trend is caused by vegetation but vegetation is a proven net sink for CO2 (from the oxygen balance and satellites: the earth is greening), it is proven beyond doubt that the variability and the trend are not caused by the same process, no matter if the trend is temperature caused or not.
        Because if the variations in temperature affect the rate of change of CO2 but the trend in temperature does not, then there has to be a process which filters out the influence of that trend, and that filtering operation must leave telltale signs of phase distortion.
        As I said before, the year by year temperature variability is an order of magnitude larger than the yearly temperature trend. I don’t see how that small increase (0.01°C per year, maximum 0.08 ppmv/year) may give any measurable phase distortion even without any filtering.
        Human emissions can cause most of the increase in the atmosphere while temperature variations can cause most of the variability, as that are completely independent processes and the sink rate is slow enough to give hardly any phase distortion…
        This is a made up number. It is chosen to make your series lie as close as possible to the observations..
        The 53% is not “chosen” it IS the average ratio between increase in the atmosphere and the emissions over the past 55/100 years, and because the variability (+/- 1 ppmv) around the trend (+70 ppmv) is small and the trend is linear in the derivative, the series lies close to the observations all the time.
        But as said before: that is not important at all. Important is that the calculated increase in the atmosphere based on emissions, equilibrium pressure and pressure difference fits the observations even better.
        And, it still cannot obscure the fact that emissions have been accelerating for over a decade, and atmospheric CO2 has not.
        So what? The period 1976-1996 even shows a slight decrease in rate of change with increasing temperatures and accelerating CO2 emissions, while the last 15 years show a flat rate of change for a flat temperature trend. That is the natural variability of the sinks, which from year to year can vary from 5% to 95% of human emissions…

      • “The seasonal variability is proven from vegetation:”
        Again, it is not seasonal variability that I am concerned with.
        δ13C is a very thin reed upon which to hang your argument. It is merely consistent with your narrative, but your narrative is not unique to it.
        “– the opposite δ13C move proves that the higher rate of change is caused by vegetation, not by the oceans as can be seen in the variability since 1990:”
        Impossible. dCO2/dt lags dT/dt. The lags matter. It is 90 degrees of phase. That means that you must have an integral relationship between temperature and CO2.
        “…it is proven beyond doubt that the variability and the trend are not caused by the same process…”
        Nonsense. It is proven beyond a doubt that they are.
        “Human emissions can cause most of the increase in the atmosphere while temperature variations can cause most of the variability…”
        No. There would be phase distortion. Your narrative is quite impossible.
        “The period 1976-1996 even shows a slight decrease in rate of change with increasing temperatures and accelerating CO2 emissions…”
        Nonsense.

      • Bart:
        δ13C is a very thin reed upon which to hang your argument. It is merely consistent with your narrative, but your narrative is not unique to it.
        As I said, it is difficult to discuss things out with someone who dismisses everything he doesn’t like.
        δ13C measurements are as accurate (even better) than CO2 measurements where your theory is based on, not to mention temperature trends.
        Opposite δ13C/CO2 movements are caused by biological carbon (fossil or not), parallel δ13C/CO2 movements are caused by inorganic carbon (oceans, carbonate rock, volcanoes,…). That is rock solid science.
        Impossible. dCO2/dt lags dT/dt. The lags matter. It is 90 degrees of phase. That means that you must have an integral relationship between temperature and CO2.
        Have a better look: I was talking about opposite δ13C/CO2 movements as can be seen for the green and blue lines, which are moving exactly opposite to each other with a perfect timing. That proves beyond doubt that the biosphere is the cause of the variability in CO2 rate of change, not the oceans.
        And of course, the variability of the derivative of CO2 follows the derivative of temperature with a 90 deg. lag, as CO2 changes need time to follow temperature changes. If you integrate dT/dt, which has zero trend, that gives a small temperature increase and a near zero change in the CO2 rate of change trend…
        As vegetation is a net sink for CO2 over periods larger than a few years, it is proven beyond doubt that the variability and the trend are not caused by the same process…
        No. There would be phase distortion. Your narrative is quite impossible.
        Good, a challenge: plot two independent inputs: a sinusoid with different frequencies as the variable input of nature around zero, and a steady increasing linear input as human contribution, which both enter a container. The level of the container is maintained by a PI controller with a fixed setpoint, but its action only removes about halve the human input. Show me that there is any phase distortion for any frequency.
        “The period 1976-1996 even shows a slight decrease in rate of change with increasing temperatures and accelerating CO2 emissions…”
        Nonsense.
        Nonsense? Have a look at period 1977-1996: 20 years of increasing temperatures and CO2 emissions and a decreasing CO2 rate of change??? You can add 1976 to the trend (an outlier, makes it worse) or cut at 1991, just before the Pinatubo or lengthen to 1998, the other side outlier: all show a negative to flat (1998) rate of change trend with increasing temperatures and increasing CO2 emissions over a period up to 23 years… And you make a fuss about the recent flat period of only 15 years?

      • “As I said, it is difficult to discuss things out with someone who dismisses everything he doesn’t like.”
        Isn’t it, though? The evidence that
        dCO2/dt = k*(T – T0)
        is conclusive. You don’t want to believe it, and throw about flimsy excuses to disregard it. But, it cannot be gotten around.
        “…plot two independent inputs: a sinusoid with different frequencies as the variable input of nature around zero, and a steady increasing linear input as human contribution, which both enter a container. “
        No. You cannot separate them. The trend in temperatures is coming into the same system response as the variation. The variation in temperature undoubtedly causes the variation in CO2. For the trend in temperatures not to cause the trend in dCO2/dt, it has to be filtered out. That filtering process would produce observable phase distortion, of which there isn’t any.
        The trend in temperatures caused the trend in dCO2/dt. There is no way around it.
        “Have a look at period 1977-1996: 20 years of increasing temperatures and CO2 emissions and a decreasing CO2 rate of change??? “
        Chery picking an interval of a particular temperature set does not advance your position. In fact, is smacks of desperation. The higher accuracy satellite data show no such deviation.
        I must leave on travel. Will pick up again another time.

      • Bart:
        Isn’t it, though? The evidence that
        dCO2/dt = k*(T – T0)
        is conclusive.

        Pure nonsense: it is the result of trying to match two straight lines with an arbitrary factor and offset, where the result shows that either the slope fits, but the amplitude of the variability doesn’t or reverse. As is the case if one tries to match two completely independent processes…
        No. You cannot separate them. The trend in temperatures is coming into the same system response as the variation. The variation in temperature undoubtedly causes the variation in CO2. For the trend in temperatures not to cause the trend in dCO2/dt, it has to be filtered out.
        There is not the slightest reason for filtering: if the variability is around zero (per year an order of magnitude smaller than the variability in this case) and all increase is caused by a non-temperature dependent process, there is no phase distortion if the sink rate is slow enough. Just plot it…
        Cherry picking an interval of a particular temperature set does not advance your position. In fact, is smacks of desperation.
        Says the man who cherry picks a particular temperature set to show the best “fit” and the last period to “prove” that there is a “problem” with the sink rate, while the sink rate still is widely within natural variability…
        Even using a different set doesn’t help you: the UAH temperature trend 1979-1996 is less steep, but still positive, while the CO2 rate of change trend is negative with increasing CO2 emissions…

      • @ Ferdinand Engelbeen April 6, 2015 at 4:40 am

        Ocean temperature increase is good for a few ppmv. That is all. The rest is from human emissions…

        Ferdinand,
        If you are personally committed to parroting that which is little more than your “pseudo-science beliefs”, ….. then so be it.
        But said repetitive obfuscations are highly irritating to knowledgeable people.

      • “…but the amplitude of the variability doesn’t or reverse.”
        Nonsense. They match quite well.
        “There is not the slightest reason for filtering:”
        The trend in the temperature anomaly series must produce a trend in dCO2/dt unless it is filtered out by some natural filtering process. But, there can be no such filtering process, because it would leave signs of phase distortion, and there are no signs of phase distortion. Therefore, the trend in dCO2/dt is caused by the trend in temperature anomaly. And, that disqualifies human inputs as being the driving force in atmospheric CO2.
        “Says the man who cherry picks a particular temperature set to show the best “fit” and the…”
        You would have a point, if I did not have a better explanation which does fit throughout the period in question. But, the temperature series continues to track very well.
        “…while the CO2 rate of change trend is negative…”
        This is ridiculous, Ferdinand. The trend is short over this interval, so you are just fitting noise. The absolute difference in OLS slope is not statistically significant (especially when you properly apply the 12 month average to the OLS fitted data series).
        It is abundantly clear that the series match one another to an astounding degree of fidelity for as long as high quality measurements are available. The temperature data and dCO2/dt match extraordinarily well with the satellite data since 1979 to now. The match is quite good, too, with the surface temperature data, particularly Southern Hemisphere data, back to 1958 when high fidelity CO2 measurements became available.
        The trend slopes over this time line match very well while the variation also matches very well. The trend in temperature causes the trend in dCO2/dt. There is no doubt about it.

  28. Next part…
    3. spikes are generally not recordable in the ice-cores due to insufficient duration.
    Two underestimations:
    – Different ice cores have different resolutions. That goes for less than a decade over the past 150 years (Law Dome), via ~20 years for the past 1000 years and Holocene (Law Dome DSS core, Siple Dome), ~40 years for the past 150,000 years (Taylor Dome) to 560 years for the past 800,000 years (Dome C).
    – The diffusion speed makes that the spike trend is much steeper at the bottom of the firn than your graphics show. That gives that the average CO2 level at bubble closing depth is only 7 years younger than in the atmosphere, thus spikes are much better preserved than you estimate.
    The diffusion speed can be calculated, based on a firn densification model (the higher the density, the smaller the pores and the slower the diffusion speed). The model was confirmed already in 1996 by Etheridge e.a. who measured CO2 levels in firn top down until bubble closing depth.
    According to Fig. 11 in http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf
    A 100 ppmv spike would give a 10 ppmv spike in the Law Dome ice cores with a resolution of ~10 years. The accuracy of ice cores CO2 measurements is +/- 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma), thus any “spike” of 2 ppmv or more would be noticed in any ice core. That is the case for e.g. a 6 ppmv drop between MWP and LIA in the Law Dome DSS core (~20 year resolution).
    The table of minimum spike level and duration thus is quite different of what you expect:
    A 20 ppmv spike of 1 year duration or a 2 ppmv increase sustained over 20 years is sufficient to be measurable over the Holocene in the medium-resolution ice cores.
    A 110 ppmv spike increasing over 160 years is sufficient to be measured in all ice cores over the past 800,000 years, including as a 15 ppmv spike in the 560 years resolution of Dome C.
    So I am confident that the current increase of 110 ppmv over the past 160 years is unprecedented over the past 800,000 years…
    4. history of thousands of atmospheric CO2 measurements that were carried out by competent metrologists using chemical analysis
    Sorry, but while most historical methods may have been more or less accurate (+/- 10 ppmv), the main problem was where was measured. A lot of measurements were done in the middle of towns (Paris, Philadelphia), semi-rural places, etc… over land. Huge diurnal variability is measured over land, thus the sporadic measurements (1-3 times a day) for most series show enormous variability. The main series that makes the 1942 “spike” in the data is from a 2.5 years long series taken at Giessen, West-Germany, which has a variability of 68 ppmv (1 sigma) for 3 samples a day. The current nearby modern station already halves the variability and Mauna Loa has a 4 ppmv variability, including the seasonal amplitude. Any resemblance of the historical measurements with temperature thus is pure coincidence.
    In contrast, historical measurements made over the oceans or coastal with wind from the sea give CO2 levels around the ice core measurements…
    See further: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html
    Conclusion
    You largely overestimated the influence of temperature on the natural carbon cycle and have not shown what the influence of such an increase is on the source/sink balance. The cycle is not important at all, the difference in net sink or source is all what counts.
    You largely underestimated the ability of the ice cores to detect spikes of CO2 release/uptake, especially over the Holocene. The current spike would be easily detected in all ice cores back to 800,000 years ago.

  29. Ronald Voisin – Thanks for an interesting article. I think there’s quite a lot that you got wrong, or at least oversimplified a bit, but much of that is being picked up in comments. There is one item that I find hard to accept, though you have accepted it, namely the 800-year lag between temperature and CO2. CO2 is right now demonstrably reacting much more quickly than that to ocean temperature. As far as I know, no convincing explanation for an 800-year lag has been put forward. Without a mechanism, I find it difficult to accept. The alternative is that the ice-core chronology is inaccurate, and maybe that is difficult to accept too. Any ideas? [I expect that Ferdinand will have something to say here!]

    • The 800 year figure for the lag is average lag. The mechanisms underlying the great variability around the average probably vary for every lag. It will be difficult to sort out the forcings.
      ==================

    • I expect that the 800-year lag is a matter of warming/cooling/circulation of the deep oceans. Vegetation and ocean surface respond within years to changing temperatures, but the deep oceans need a lot of time, as there is a limited exchange in heat and CO2 between ocean surface/atmosphere and the deep oceans.
      The fact that CH4 (mostly land based response) shows no measurable lag, but CO2 (mostly ocean based response) shows a variable lag: “faster” (~800 years) for warming periods and much slower (thousands of years) for cooling periods points to changes in deep ocean circulation and the resulting heat distribution.
      Nevertheless, the CO2 lag still is subject to more research and a lot of speculation…

    • Dear Mike Jones,
      Here’s what I think: There are different dominating processes on different time scales. If we speak broadly, short term variable CO2 (few hundred years) is dominated by fast acting biological processes (and ocean surface issues). And these fast-acting flux deltas produce substantial spikes at temperature inflections – ones that are too fast to be ice-core captured. Long term these processes are overwritten by far more powerful bulk oceanic effects. The 800 year lag is the response time of the oceanic bulk. And the ice-cores capture these long duration events but with significant attenuation.
      Thanx for the question.

      • Ron,
        One can see the difference between CO2 changes caused by oceans and caused by the biosphere by looking at the 13C/12C ratio: if the biosphere is the cause, the CO2 levels and 13C/12C ratio levels are opposite to each other and the 13C/12C ratio change is quite huge. If the change is from the oceans, both changes parallel each other and the 13C/12C ratio change is small.
        Of course, the seasonal and year by year (2-3 years) changes can’t be measured in even the high resolution ice cores (less than a decade). But larger changes like the MWP-LIA cooling are clearly visible in the Law Dome DSS ice core with a lag of ~50 years after the main cooling and a resolution of ~20 years of the ice core:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_1000yr.jpg
        As the duration of the LIA was a few hundred years, there is no problem for the Law Dome ice core to record that event.

    • Mike Jonas asks:
      Any ideas?
      I’d like to reply to your comment, Mike, where you write:
      …one item that I find hard to accept… namely the 800-year lag between temperature and CO2. CO2 is right now demonstrably reacting much more quickly than that to ocean temperature.
      But as stated earlier in this thread, we can’t resolve such a short time span in the ice core record. There could have been events in which CO2 rose or fell as quickly as now, but those would have been smoothed out, if I understand the process. We can’t see a very short term spike in the record.
      Next:
      As far as I know, no convincing explanation for an 800-year lag has been put forward. Without a mechanism, I find it difficult to accept.
      Maybe this will help. It proposes a mechanism.

  30. Regarding the 800 year lag, a few points that explain it well enough.
    There is a semi-natural level of CO2 in the atmosphere during an interglacial of about 275 ppm to 280 ppm). The Earth has been at the level for about the last 24 million years (and 180 ppm during the coldest parts of the ice ages) ever since the evolution of C4 grasses in the few million years leading up to that time.
    This natural CO2 level depends entirely on the temperature of the planet/oceans and the amount of Carbon cycling in the vegetation. When it is reasonably warm and wet, the vegetation balance on the planet keeps CO2 right around that 280 ppm. When it goes lower, the C3 trees become less productive and CO2 goes back up. When CO2 goes over 280 ppm, the C3 trees become more productive and the CO2 levels decline.
    During the ice ages, temperatures fall, the ocean absorbs more CO2, rainfall declines and the C3 plants die back to extremely small pockets at the equator where there is enough rainfall. The Amazon declines by two-thirds, equatorial Africa rainforests die-back to almost nothing. The US southeast and Indonesia, by contrast, seem to hang onto to their trees, probably because rainfall does not decline as much.
    The remainder of the land surface during an ice age becomes ice, grassland, desert and tundra. Grassland also sinks lots of CO2 so that adds an extra decline in the level. Think of humans during the ice ages seeing nothing but open prairie and desert everywhere they go. They obviously hunkered down wherever the last remaining tree stands were in river valleys etc but were still hunting the large grass herbivores on the near-by vast open prairies/deserts.
    Once temperatures rise as the ice age ends, the oceans slowly release some of that CO2 and, most importantly, the C3 trees, bushes and plants come back. The Carbon Cycle becomes more vigorous and there is a higher level of natural Carbon / CO2 in the atmosphere.
    It takes 800 years for the ocean to complete a normal deep ocean cycle and it takes 800 years for the C3 trees to die-back and/or recover.
    ——–
    Now that CO2 levels have risen, the C3 plants, trees and bushes are growing faster and they are absorbing an extra amount of CO2. The vegetation cycle is trying to get back to the 280 ppm that is the natural equilibrium (or has been for the past 24 million years).
    The Net Natural Absorption rate has risen to 1.7% per year of the Excess CO2 there is the atmosphere. This rate appears to be slowly rising. It will take about 60 years to get back to 285 ppm at this rate if we stopped adding CO2 to the atmosphere today.

    • Bill,
      While I can agree to most of what you say, some remarks:
      While it is true that vegetation follows temperature, the change in 13C/12C ratio over glacials and interglacials is very small (a few tenths of a per mil), which points to (deep) oceans as the main factor in the CO2 change, not vegetation. If vegetation was dominant, the 13C/12C ratio changes would be much larger.
      The 13C/12C amplitude change over the NH seasons is already 0.3 per mil, more than the total change over a glacial-interglacial transition…
      The 60 years is the e-fold decay rate (I do get around 50 years, with a 40-year half life time), not the time to reach the end result, you need 40 years to halve the excess, 80 years to get a quarter, 120 years to reach 12.5%,…

      • Sorry, I screwed up typing the “60” years, it is really 160 years (I was remembering the “70” from this chart but it is really 2170, not 2070.
        http://s29.postimg.org/x7rjvexuv/CO2_Residency_Time_1750_2170.png
        CO2 levels for the past 40 million years.
        http://s10.postimg.org/pc7ggoc6h/CO2_Last_40_Mys.png
        Net Absorption by natural processes of the Excess CO2 above the 280 ppm equilibrium level.
        http://s29.postimg.org/3s31k2iuf/Net_Excess_CO2_Absorption_1750_2014.png
        More of a fluke in the values, but the net natural absorption rate is also about 50% of current human emissions (but was actually higher than our emissions in the 1940s and, before 1900, the natural processes completely dwarfed any human emissions).
        http://s29.postimg.org/rlmap0mp3/Net_Human_CO2_Absorption_1900_2014.png

      • The rising percentage of net natural absorption intrigues me immensely. But why shouldn’t we expect recruitment of previously unknown, most probably biotic, negative feedback mechanisms to the rise in CO2?
        ==============

      • Just another interesting point about the ice ages. With almost no C3 trees, bushes and plants, that means that a “hunter/gatherer” becomes a “hunter” only.
        It was a waste of time to do any “gathering” because there was no berries, fruit, nuts or roots to be had anyway (well, almost none or let’s say it was very limited for most of the ice ages when CO2 and rainfall was lower).
        Why did the Neanderthals eat meat almost exclusively (according to the analysis of almost all fossil teeth)? Well, that was all there was and, given how much grassland there was, there was an unlimited supply of grass herbivores anyway. Tell that to your vegetarian friends.
        In the last 2.2 million years since Homo Habilis started the human line down its hunter path, temperatures have been more than 1.0C colder for 75% of that time and CO2 has been below 220 ppm (virtually no C3 trees and plans) for 33% of that time. At 250 ppm (31% of the time), gathering would have been worthwhile.

      • Interesting as always, Bill. Just a thought, and of course only a regional aspect, but most of the massive deforestation in the east US occurred in the 1920s-30s, so reforestation there was in full swing ~1940 and presumably at maximum carbon sequestration.

      • @ Bill, a stupid question, ? What has the capability of agriculture that has gone from one measly ( if any) harvest per year a mere 80 years ago or less has now in lots of places gone to two, three crops per year and even manages to have a crop ready in spring? ( although mostly used for “green” manure), thanks, btw personally I think as little as I think CO2 has.

      • asybot,
        Agriculture gave humans certainty of food supply. In the 2.0 million years before the development of agriculture, the human species line regularly went hungry. Almost none of us today have been without food for 12 hours let alone for days at a time or even weeks at a time.
        But our ancestors did go without food for extended periods of time and this was a common event. I imagine fathers and mothers suffered more than we can even think about when the children were going to sleep without eating anything for the seventh day in a row.
        Agriculture was a blessing. From the first people in southern Turkey who started to harvest and store wild barley, the word of having a reliable food supply would have spread across the world in short order. In southern Turkey, wild barley and wild wheat just grows by itself in various places. I mean like really thick. Keep the barley dry, and it last for 20 years. (let it get a little wet, and then there is beer).
        Store up your barley, make beer, and civilization starts and people don’t go to bed hungry anymore. That was a blessing for the first peoples who started it. Southern Turkey, the fertile crescent, Peru, central America, it didn’t matter. It was the second greatest invention of all time (the hand-axe being first, fossil fuels being third).
        With more CO2 in the atmosphere today, barley and wheat are just growing even more productively. Barley is a C4 grass which means, even in the ice ages, it had a chance to grow. Wheat is a C3 grass which means it did not grow anywhere except at the equator until 12,000 years ago.
        With today’s CO2, everything is just going to grow better. Your C4 Barley, your C4 corn, your C4 front-yard grass, your C3 wheat, your C3 soybeans, your C3 peas, your C4 rice, your C4 bamboo (some day, bamboo will take over the entire land surface and be the dominant vegetation – millions of years from now).
        If it gets a little warmer because of increased CO2, there will also be more rainfall. Lush and tropical is what will happen.
        We are a species adapted to be more vigorous when it is too hot for basically all the other animals. We are adapted for HOT. We are a species recently adapted to grow vegetation on every single plot of land capable of growing plants. With more CO2 and more rainfall, that means just about everywhere where frost in the growing season is not a concern, there will be ever higher output. The higher CO2 gets, the more productive agriculture will become.

      • Bill sez:

        With today’s CO2, everything is just going to grow better. Your C4 Barley, your C4 corn, your C4 front-yard grass, your C3 wheat, your C3 soybeans, your C3 peas, your C4 rice, your C4 bamboo (some day, bamboo will take over the entire land surface and be the dominant vegetation – millions of years from now).

        Thanks for the info — sometimes wondered what the C3 & C4 crop plants were (too lazy to look it up). Planted evergreen bamboo copses stand out this time of year (vegetation is still leafless) and I’m quite surprised how much there is even in cold z6 western Md. The copses spread like crazy.
        Begin to see that Earth was at a near-crisis during glacials — CO2 starvation.

      • @ Bill Illis April 5, 2015 at 6:43 pm
        I loved your post.
        It requires the knowledge of a Biologist to insure that “sense and sensibility” is maintained in most all discussions involving the Natural World.
        In other words, ….. a knowledgeable Biologist and learned/experienced student in/of the natural world around us …. should be “looking-over-the-shoulder” of every Climate Scientist, wanna-be-Climate Scientist, geologists, paleontologist, archeologist, etc.

  31. “It is quite clear that Natural CO2 emission (and atmospheric spiking) is stimulated by any global temperature increase no matter the cause of that increase. The ~1.5oC global temperature rise, since the Little Ice-Age, can reasonably be estimated to stimulate an increase in several of the natural CO2 sources by as much as 2X (in particular the biologic natural sources).”
    I don’t think so. Even accepting a 1.5C global temperature rise since the LIA (which I don’t), the only way CO2 could increase so dramatically is if it got sequestered in the first place during the LIA – I think that unlikely. Also if the CO2 did get sequestered during the LIA it would be young carbon – isotope analysis has show the extra CO2 is from fossil carbon, not young carbon.

    • Harry – does carbon have to be fossilised to exhibit the telltale C12/C13 ratios, or does it only have be sieved through the biosphere? I think the ratio is not a function of age, but only of selective takeup. Anyone confirm that?

      • The main difference in 13C/12C ratio is between organic and inorganic carbon: organic carbon is always (much) lower in ratio than the (inorganic) standard, while inorganic carbon (oceans, carbonate rocks, volcanoes) are around the standard.
        There is no way to tell the difference between old and new organic carbon based on the 13C/12C ratio, but it is possible on the 14C count.
        As Donald said, old carbon is completely depleted of 14C, while any carbon of less than 60,000 years can be radio-dated as it contains detectable amounts of 14C. Thus medieval carbon still retains much of its 14C, while fossil carbon has about zero 14C. The latter did give problems for radiocarbon dating from 1870 on, as increasing fossil fuel burning diluted the natural 14C in the atmosphere so that they had to distribute correction tables for 14C dating.
        After 1960 there was a huge spike in 14C, caused by the above ground nuclear bomb tests. That again disturbed the radiocarbon dating…

  32. One thing I thought that would have been laid to rest by now is the contribution of CO2 in cement making. I trust Ferdinand Engelbeen, the apparent CO2 expert to know that concrete over time reabsorbs (reacts with) the portion of CO2 emitted in calcination. Of course the energy sourced CO2 is not so recovered. Similarly, lime, which is often lumped in with cement as a construction material requiring firing, also “recovers” its CO2 and becomes stronger with time. If we are doing the accounting properly, we should be include this self sequestration. Indeed, if it were possible to practically calcine cement with solar or wind, their would be no net CO2 produced in the process. References that grudgingly admit this say it takes 50yrs or more, but this is about the same as the regrowth of the hardwood from South Carolina that is “virtuously” being burned in the UK Drax power station.

    • Gary,
      Sorry, but I have not that much knowledge of the uptake of CO2 by cement…
      All what I remember from what I have read is that CO2 uptake is negative for its strength. If I remember well the strong negative impact goes from the surface to the inside with some 10 cm in 50 years and if it reaches the steel enforcement, it causes rust and structural damage (we call it “concrete rot” also accelerated by using CaCl2 to increase the hardening speed decades ago). Therefore more and more concrete structures are painted nowadays to prevent CO2 and humidity from entering the concrete…

  33. MCourtney
    April 4, 2015 at 10:59 pm
    Brandon Gates
    April 5, 2015 at 12:58 am
    By unprecedented CO2 levels, I read MC’s to mean that 400-500ppm is less than 10% of the “precedented” levels that did not send the world into incandescent burn out. Indeed, at 400ppm, we are only 30% or so more than the subsistence level below which plant life dies. I mentioned in comments on another thread the trouble with CAGW alarm is we are talking about small numbers.

    • Gary Pearse,

      By unprecedented CO2 levels, I read MC’s to mean that 400-500ppm is less than 10% of the “precedented” levels that did not send the world into incandescent burn out.

      My understanding is that anthropogenic “runaway” warming (a la Venus) is off the table because there’s not enough carbon in the ground to get us there. However …
      http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/76/Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png
      … that doesn’t necessarily mean that 7,000 ppmv is a fine and dandy idea. Everything in the present biosphere has adapted to levels nearly two orders of magnitude lower than that.

      Indeed, at 400ppm, we are only 30% or so more than the subsistence level below which plant life dies.

      A 30% increase to 400 ppmv would start at 308 ppmv. 70% of 400 is 280 ppmv. The last four glacials bottomed out around 160 ppmv.

      I mentioned in comments on another thread the trouble with CAGW alarm is we are talking about small numbers.

      The problem with talking about CAGW alarm is that not everyone is alarmed. The abbreviation I use is AGW. Appealing to “small” numbers is silly. I can often make any number as big or small as I wish simply by changing the order of magnitude of the units. A 2 K rise in temperature doesn’t sound “big” enough for you? Ok, try 2,000,000 µK. Too alarming for you? Ok, try 0.000002 MK. Problem solved, nothing to see here, move along.

  34. The comments section of WUWT articles always give me a clear indication when an article comes along that is probably over the CAGW target. There are a lot of graph scaling problems and circular arguments in this one. Thanks everyone.

    • I agree. Somewhere, someone has some seriously wrong assumptions.
      It cannot be emphasized enough the quote of Dr Richard Feynman, “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.”
      The problem of course is, “which experts are wrong.”

  35. I have a few issues with the paper. ” And in the other 2/3rds of all land, microbes and insects are each estimated to emit ~10 times our anthropogenic emission (insects alone outnumber humans >>10,000,000,000:1 – enough to fill 10’s of large dumpsters per person on Earth).”
    Insects are using the biomass that is there. Some insects eat the growing biomass or the dead biomass. Other insects eat them. But in an established forest (full growth), the insects have no net effect.
    Humans do have a net impact on CO2 – due to burning coal and hydrocarbons that have been sequestered in the earth’s crust. If humans were not around, that coal and hydrocarbons would have been more or less undisturbed for many millions of years.
    “So if we were never here, greatly enhanced populations of microbes and insects would be emitting more than our anthropogenic emission from the very land that we systematically exclude them from.”
    This is untrue due to the fact that were humans not there, after a few hundred years, the forests or other type of habitat i.e., a grassland would be established and insects and microbs would be net-net neutral.
    During the deglaciation, and a few hundred years after, the microbes and insects probably cause general increase in CO2 until they become net-net neutral as the habitat becomes established. As humans took over cultivation of the land, we don’t always plow back into the soil the same amount of bio-mass as is gradually degrading so that the soils become less organic and this causes a net CO2 increase.
    There is no good evidence for high feedback numbers from the warming of CO2. Therefore, I don’t believe CO2 causes much warming of the earth. The calculations of how much oil and coal is being burned by humans indicate that a good percent of the increase in CO2 over the last 50 years is from humans. However, I believe that this release of CO2 is overall good for the biosphere that has been somewhat CO2 poor for a long time.

  36. The isotope ratio C13/C12 of atmospheric CO2 has been measured over the last decades using mass spectrometry. From these data the fraction of fossil CO2 in atmospheric CO2 is straightforwardly calculated: 5.9 % (1981) and 8.5 % (2002). These results indicate that the amount of past fossil fuel and biogenic CO2 remaining in the atmosphere, though increasing with anthropogenic emissions, did not exceed in 2002 66 GtC, corresponding to a concentration of 31 ppm, that is 3 times less than the CO2 increase (88 ppm, 24 %) which occurred in the last century. This low concentration (31 ppm) of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere is consistent with a lifetime of t(1/2) = 5.4 years, that is the most reliable value among other in the range 2-13 years, obtained with different measurements and methods.
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2013/08/paper-finds-lifetime-of-co2-in.html
    The man-made share of CO2 in the atmosphere is only a maximum of 30% (0-30%). The remainder is related to temperature changes, natural outgassing from the oceans, and to humidity.
    The residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 4-7 years, not hundreds of years as falsely claimed by the IPCC Bern model.
    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2015/03/a-recent-seminar-presentation-by.html

    • Dr.,
      It seems one of the toughest problems on earth to explain the difference between residence time and excess decay time for any injection of CO2 – human or not…
      Residence time is content/throughput. The CO2 content in the atmosphere is about 800 GtC. The throughput is around 150 GtC/year in and out. Thus the residence time is 800 / 150 = 5.33 years.
      Simple as what…
      Does that show the human contribution? Not at all. As long as the inputs equal the outputs, nothing happens with the total quantity in the atmosphere, only a lot of CO2 exchanges between the atmosphere and oceans/vegetation. Even if the residence time doubled or halved, nothing happens with the CO2 level.
      The e-fold decay rate has a different definition: for a more or less linear process (which the CO2 level in the atmosphere surprisingly seems to be) the e-fold decay rate is defined as the driving force / resulting change. For the current 110 ppmv above equilibrium, the net sink rate is 2.15 ppmv/year which gives a linear e-fold decay rate of 110 / 2.15 = 51.2 years.
      Much slower than the residence time, much faster than the IPCC estimate, which is based on the Bern model, which includes the rapid saturation of the deep oceans, for which is no indication.
      Different rates for different items. You can see the residence time as the throughput of capital and goods through a factory, while the decay rate is the gain (or loss) of the same factory after a year…
      If one could give a one-shot injection of 100 GtC fossil CO2 in the atmosphere 160 years ago, near all “human” CO2 was gone after 50 years and replaced by “natural” CO2, but the CO2 level above equilibrium still would be halve the initial disturbance, completely caused by the initial “human” CO2 injection:
      http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_pulse.jpg
      where FA is the anthropogenic fraction of CO2 in the total CO2, FL in the ocean surface (not relevant here), tCA total carbon in the atmosphere and nCA natural carbon in the atmosphere.
      the human “fingerprint”, the amount of fossil fuel still in the atmosphere is mainly the result of the emissions and the exchange rate with the deep oceans (and to a lesser extent ocean surface and biosphere), but that says nothing about the cause of the increase in the atmosphere…

      • The 110 ppmv above equilibrium is arbitrary. What is equilibrium? Why is 280 ppmv chosen as equilibrium? Why not 400 or 560 ppmv? It is not scientific. It is a romantic notion among environmentalists that the pre-industrial level is ideal and anything above it is evil. Therefore, the pre-industrial level (280 ppmv) is arbitrarily chosen as “equilibrium” and we should strive to attain it.
        Residence time is more scientific. It is not based on any arbitrary romantic value. It is based on actual CO2 content and actual throughput. Moreover, it says something useful about human emissions. Keep human emissions constant for over 6 years and atmospheric CO2 will stop increasing. If not, either nature’s emissions increased or residence time increased.

      • Your example assumes sink rate is constant. Keeling showed it increased from 0.75 to 2.15 ppmv/yr in just 50 years. Again, constant sink rate and so on are the romantic notion that nature is in a perfect balance (equilibrium) then man came along and messed it up.

      • Dr. Strangelove,
        Even if the residence time increased a tenfold or decreased to a few months, so that all CO2 in the atmosphere exchanged 5 times a year with CO2 from the other reservoirs, that would not add or remove one gram of CO2 in/out the atmosphere at the end of the year.
        It says something about the fate of individual molecules emitted by humans. It says nothing about the cause or fate of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.
        The fact that humans add CO2 and not all that CO2 (as mass, not as individual molecules) is removed at once shows that there are sinks at work which remove some but not all of the extra CO2. No matter if that equilibrium is 100 or 200 or 388 ppmv for the current temperature. It can’t be 500 ppmv, as then the increase in the atmosphere would be larger than the human emissions.
        And the 290 ppmv for the current temperature is chosen because as I do expect that the current temperature is not higher than in the Medieval period when the CO2 level was about 290 ppmv in high resolution ice cores.
        In no way is that romantic, that is what is measured.
        I personally do prefer higher CO2 levels for my (small) organic garden, increased by mulching. As good as gardeners inject 1000 ppmv CO2 into their greenhouses…
        Your example assumes sink rate is constant. Keeling showed it increased from 0.75 to 2.15 ppmv/yr in just 50 years.
        The e-fold sink rate IS constant for a linear process which the CO2 cycle seems to be. The observed sink rate increased a fourfold in the past 55 years for the simple reason that human emissions increased a fourfold and so did the increase (= pressure) in the atmosphere and thus the sink rate.
        The same curve but now with human emissions as is estimated/inventoried over the past 160 years:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/fract_level_emiss.jpg
        The human fraction still in the atmosphere is around 9%, while humans are for 96% responsible for the 30%increase in the atmosphere, temperature for 4%…

      • “It says nothing about the cause or fate of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.”
        It does. Again, let’s say residence time is fixed at 6 years. Keep human emissions constant over 6 years. If atmospheric CO2 continues to increase, the cause is not human. It’s simple arithmetic.
        “It can’t be 500 ppmv, as then the increase in the atmosphere would be larger than the human emissions.”
        Are you saying we will never reach 500 ppm? What I’m saying is when we reach that level, we can arbitrarily assign 500 ppm as the equilibrium and compute e-fold decay rate. My point is the computation is no good because there are dozens of possible equilibria.
        “And the 290 ppmv for the current temperature is chosen because as I do expect that the current temperature is not higher than in the Medieval period”
        Do you expect temperature to remain constant equal to the Medieval period? When temperature changes, the equilibrium also changes. It’s a moving target. That’s why it’s arbitrary.
        “The e-fold sink rate IS constant for a linear process which the CO2 cycle seems to be.”
        Human emission is non-linear therefore sink rate is not constant. Residence time seems constant because sink rate proportionately follows human emission. It proves my point that residence time is a more useful metric than the arbitrary decay rate.

      • Dr. Strangelove,
        It seems that there are a lot of misunderstandings here are based on definitions.
        As said before the definition of residence time = content / throughput.
        The residence time slightly increased over the past decades, as the throughput was rather constant, but the CO2 content of the atmosphere increased.
        Residence time says next to nothing about the reason of any increase or decrease in the atmosphere, it can go up or down, while the residence time remains the same within small limits.
        The e-fold decay rate is how fast an injection of extra CO2 in the atmosphere is removed. The definition for a linear process is driving force / removal rate.
        According to Henry’s law for the solubility of CO2 in seawater, the current equilibrium for the current average seawater temperature would be around 290 ppmv. That can be calculated theoretically and is measured in laboratories and the oceans. Any change of temperature in average will give a change in equilibrium of about 8 ppmv/°C.
        Humans emit 9 GtC/year. That hardly changes the residence time which is mostly seasonal caused in/out fluxes at about 150 GtC/year. But human emissions increase the CO2 content of the atmosphere above the setpoint for the current temperature. That triggers a reaction of (ocean) sinks and sources, which try to re-establish the level towards the setpoint. The reaction speed is what defines the time needed to bring down the difference between increase and equilibrium setpoint. Residence time doesn’t have any role in this, as that is about total fluxes, while the reaction is about the difference in in/out fluxes.
        Thus you experiment of keeping human emissions constant during 6 years will show that CO2 still is going up, simply because the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is not removed fast enough, be it that the increase in the atmosphere will give a higher sink rate, which has nothing to do with the residence time.
        The current CO2 level is 400 ppmv. If the equilibrium CO2 level should be 500 ppmv, then more CO2 would be pushed into the atmosphere. That means that the increase per year would be higher than human emissions (which is not what is observed) and the 500 ppmv would be reached faster than with human emissions alone. As human emissions go on unabated, the levels can go beyond 500 ppmv and the oceans start to become a sink.
        All what the data say is that at this moment oceans (and vegetation) are net sinks for CO2 as the increase in the atmosphere is less than the human emissions, thus the equilibrium anyways is below 400 ppmv.
        The equilibrium changes with 8 ppmv/°C, that is established physics (Henry’s law) and ocean carbon buffer chemistry. That means that the 0.8°C temperature increase since the LIA is good for ~6 ppmv CO2 increase. Not the full 110 ppmv as measured.
        The e-fold factor is constant: if the increase in the atmosphere doubles, the sink rate doubles…

    • Lets assume that there is a huge release of CO2 – that increased the CO2 levels from 400 ppm to 600 ppm. Lets assume that 400 ppm is the prior equilibrium amount of CO2 in the atmosphere based on current conditions and temperature.
      Over the next few years after CO2 went from 400 to 600 ppm, assuming ocean temperatures stayed constant, and other conditions stayed constant, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would decrease and some of the CO2 would end up in the oceans as amount of CO2 in the oceans increased. The increase in CO2 from 400 to 600 ppm would cause plants to grow faster and algae and plankton to grow more quickly. This would increase the biomass on the earth. But it would also increase the amount of biomass slowly decaying. After a few years, the equilibrium amount of CO2 in the atmosphere would decrease again – but not to 400 ppm in the 4-7 years you gave. The time period would be much longer.
      If the residence period is defined as the amount of time the increase in CO2 takes to go back to the prior equilibrium (assuming conditions such as ocean water temperature stay flat), then that probably would be in 100s of years.

    • @ Dr. Strangelove April 5, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      The residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 4-7 years, not hundreds of years as falsely claimed by the IPCC Bern model.

      Just why are so many people “fixated” on, …. bedazzled, …. amazed … and/or alarmed about the … “residency time of a CO2 molecule in the earth’s atmosphere”?
      Is that not akin to ….. being “fixated” on “the residency time of a H2O molecule” in the Lake Mead impoundment behind the Hoover Dam in Nevada?
      What the ell makes any difference iffen a CO2 molecule evades getting “flushed” out of the atmosphere for 1,000 years …….. or it gets “flushed” out of the atmosphere 10 seconds after it was emitted there in?
      That CO2 “residency” thingy just hasta be one of the many “
      Distractions for Dummies” that are being touted to appease and/or confuse the science miseducated populace.

  37. Fear of co2 is the beginning of wisdom. The last few decades watching faith overtake science has been rather alarming. Over this time the public has been conditioned to care what scientists believe over what they can prove. Science is now debated as one might debate politics, or at times the way a lawyer can twist perspective to make a case rather then following all the data.
    The comments amaze me, especially the people perfectly able to be skeptical of anything a skeptic has made the case for who show the complete inability to do this with the massive obvious holes in the cagw claims. It leaves me wondering if it is their personal bias? perhaps they think the proposed goals of alarmist justify the means factual or in context or not? gasp, possibly even paid posters? the more data we get the liklihood of runaway warming just shrinks but a line was clearly drawn in the sand, cagw is real and dangerous we just need to figure out how it works… pffft. this isn’t science and likely long term is also horrible for environmentalism itself, not a step in the right direction as many think.

  38. “As Ferdinand informs Dr. S, there is no problem with adding more CO2 to the air. It is both harmless, and beneficial to the biosphere.”
    CO2 is good for plants and there is no evidence that it causes any kind of catastrophic warming or even much warming at all. On the other hand, skeptics trying to defend skepticism with information that is not correct are not helping.

  39. In a static, near equilibrium Earth situation, you would stop a very important thread of my essay cold with your simple question: If atmospheric CO2 would be even higher than it is today if we hadn’t disrupted microbes and insects from doing their thing, where would that carbon have come from? i.e. In this 1:1 pairing (sources to sinks), perfectly and harmoniously balanced benevolent Ma-nature guided pretend world our CO2 would singularly be causing disruption and singularly be responsible atmospheric increase; while microbes and insects harmoniously and harmlessly returned recently sequestered carbon in 1:1 perfect balance with ongoing vegetative sinking. However, in the disequilibrium of the +1.5C / 150year recent Earthly history all sources are growing rapidly stimulating rapidly increased vegetative sinking (global greening). Microbial emission is going up, insect emission is going up and ours is going up (as is oceanic, volcanic, forest fire and mammalia emission). And our inhibiting microbial/insect growth yields a real substitution of ours for theirs. If magically our emission stopped tomorrow, the slope of the CO2 trajectory growth at Mauna Loa would decline by ~2% (as removal of our 2% emission would also remove 2% from the stimulation of vegetative sinking). And since our Mauna Loa observations wiggle by 2%, we wouldn’t know the change from natural noise. Our emission removal would yield a largely indistinguishable change.
    Let me make an obvious prediction predicated on the prediction that the Earth has recently begun to cool and assuming that some appreciable level of cooling (0.1-0.3 degree C) takes place over the next several years (maybe decades). Atmospheric CO2 is going to spike hard in the coming years. And before it stops spiking it will likely attain an annual contribution level appreciably larger than the then-current anthropogenic emission. Why? Mauna Loa annual variation makes clear that majority CO2 sinks respond significantly to a temperature drop with a very short lag-time measured in only months or even weeks. Natural CO2 sources, however, respond more slowly (a few years) to the same thermal perturbation (the oceans in particular of course are slow responders). Pronounced CO2 spiking attends the thermal inflection from warming to cooling.

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