# Antarctic Refrigerator Effect, Climate Sensitivity & Déformation professionnelle: Lessons from Past Climate Change – Part 2

Guest essay by Jim Steele

Director emeritus Sierra Nevada Field Campus, San Francisco State University and author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

For the past 55 million years the global surface temperature has declined by more than 10°C from a “hot house” condition into an “ice house” with increasing temperature variability as depicted in Figure 1 (Mya = millions of years ago). During the Cretaceous and Early Cenozoic, glaciers and ice caps were absent from both Antarctica and Greenland. Antarctica was covered in para-tropical vegetation and Greenland was home to crocodiles. More importantly for millions of years the oceans had been storing enormous amounts of heat. In contrast to near freezing temperatures today, Antarctic bottom waters averaged about 11°C, suggesting Antarctic coastal temperatures never dropped below 11°C even during the long polar nights. Amazingly the equator to pole surface temperature difference averaged just 10°C compared to the 30°C gradient measured today. Of particular interest, changes in carbon dioxide fail to explain the greatest proportion of these ancient temperatures.

For decades the consensus had been that ocean heat transport had ultimately maintained the polar regions’ ancient tropical conditions. Models had demonstrated without heat transport from the tropics, the poles would be 110°C colder than the tropics (Gill 1982, Lozier 2012). It was commonly believed, and is still believed by most, that as plate tectonics rearranged the continents, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) formed and strengthened. Models now simulate that as drifting continents opened “gateways” and allowed for uninterrupted circumpolar flow, surface temperatures began cooling significantly (Bijl 2013). A strengthening ACC created a barrier inhibiting intrusions of warm tropical waters and minimizing both oceanic and atmospheric heat transport resulting in the Refrigerator Effect. The Refrigeration Effect radically cooled the southern ocean and altered the vertical temperature structure of all the earth’s oceans. (As discussed here, the ACC barrier to ocean heat transport is a major reason why Antarctic sea ice has currently increased in contrast to decreasing Arctic sea ice.)

However a few climate modelers began arguing CO2, not heat transport, was the ultimate climate control knob. They argued that high CO2 concentrations explained the polar warmth and the decline in CO2 explained the advent of polar ice caps and the 55 million year trend towards our icehouse climate. This debate between heat transport and greenhouse effects not only reveals a lack of climate consensus; it also reveals the subjectivity that influences how climate sensitivity is estimated. Proxy evidence increasingly suggests that ancient CO2 levels were far lower than what climate models require to simulate ancient warmth. In stark contrast to current research that is increasingly suggesting lower climate sensitivity to CO2 (i.e. Lewis & Curry 2014, and a growing list here and here), paleoclimate researchers who argue CO2 controls climate change, are forced to suggest climate sensitivity must have been much, much greater than anyone currently believes.

In contrast, researchers examining the Paleocene‑Eocene maximum temperatures concluded, “At accepted values for the climate sensitivity to a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration, this rise in CO2 can explain only between 1 and 3.5°C of the [5-9°C] warming inferred from proxy records. We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Once these processes have been identified, their potential effect on future climate change needs to be taken into account.” [Emphasis added] Zeebe (2009).

However if “unknown feedbacks” and other forcings can explain an even greater proportion of past temperature changes, then researchers would be forced to suggest climate sensitivity to CO2 is much lower. The Antarctic Refrigerator Effect is such an effect and parsimoniously explains Cenozoic global cooling without invoking a CO2 contribution.

The Case Against a CO2 Climate “Control Knob

By creating a well‑mixed global “blanket”, the carbon dioxide greenhouse effect should act on a global scale. However as illustrated in Figure 1, initiation of Antarctic glaciation happened 35 million years ago, more than 30 millions years before Arctic glaciation ever began. Clearly Antarctic glaciation was not part of a global event, but a regional one. Although this gross time difference does not rule out a limited contribution from diminishing CO2 concentrations, the evidence most assuredly demands a different and more regional explanation for the drivers of Antarctica’s observed climate change.

Furthermore, in order for a CO2 greenhouse effect to have created the near‑tropical conditions observed in Antarctica’s fossil evidence, it requires CO2 concentrations far greater than what the growing number of paleo‑proxies are suggesting. Huber (2011) argued that their models could simulate tropical warmth in polar regions if CO2 reached 4480 ppm, an 11‑fold increase above today’s concentrations. However Huber 2011 also admitted their estimate of CO2 concentrations should not be taken literally. Instead it was his approach “equivalent to “tuning” climate sensitivity to a higher value, but is much simpler in practice.” They argued that the “4480 ppm CO2 concentration used here should not be construed literally: it is merely a means to increase global mean warmth.”

Huber 2011 was wise to admit CO2 concentrations of 4480 are unrealistic. Based on growing proxy evidence, CO2 concentrations during the past 350 million years have not exceeded 1000 ppm (Franks 2014). However Huber 2011’s suggestion of greater CO2 climate sensitivity proves to be equally inappropriate and most likely a case of déformation professionnelle.

Deformation professionnelle is a French term referencing how one’s profession narrows and distorts one’s viewpoint and thus biases conclusions. For example if researchers whose funding and status has been driven by a paradigm that CO2 drives all climate change, any contrary evidence will be reinterpreted to maintain that viewpoint.

One major avenue of research strives to determine climate sensitivity by comparing varying CO2 concentrations with past climate change. Although Franks 2014 determined past CO2 variations only accounted for 20% of what Huber’s models required, they too felt obligated to suggest there must be a much greater climate sensitivity to the smaller changes in CO2. But they obviously ignore much more parsimonious inferences. Very simply, there are other dynamics that drive climate change, and current models driven by CO2 have failed to incorporate additional and alternative explanations. Similarly CO2 variations are insufficient to explain the Dansgaard‑Oeschger extreme warming events of the last Ice Age. But as discussed here, changes in ocean heat storage and ventilation offer a superior explanation. Likewise Antarctica’s Refrigerator Effect completely altered ocean heat storage and ventilation and can parsimoniously accounts for Cenozoic global cooling.

Unfortunately evaluations of CO2 climate sensitivity typically only compare varying CO2 concentrations with other estimated radiative effects to explain fluctuations in global mean surface temperatures (GMST). However there are other powerful non-radiative effects that also contribute to a varying GMST as well as the increasing equator to pole temperature gradient. For example examining changes in Cenozoic climate Thomas (2014) concluded, “Stronger vertical mixing within the oceans potentially reconciles several long-standing greenhouse paleoclimate problems. Stronger vertical mixing invigorates the MOC [Meridonal Overturning Circulation] by an order of magnitude, increases ocean heat transport by 50–100%, reduces the zonal mean equator-to-pole temperature gradients by up to 6°C, lowers tropical peak terrestrial temperatures by up to 6°C, and warms high-latitude oceans by up to 10°C.”

Given that just the upper 3.5 meters of the oceans hold more heat than our entire atmosphere. And that average depth of the oceans is an order of 3 magnitudes greater, about 3600 meters; changes in ocean heat storage and ventilation have humongous impacts on global climate. Research that ignores contributions to GMST from ocean heat storage, ventilation and vertical mixing, CO2, will greatly exaggerate climate sensitivity to CO2. Today we witness global warming from heat ventilation during an El Nino and global cooling due to increased upwelling of cooler waters during La Ninas. On time scales varying from a few years to millions of years, storage and ventilation of ocean heat has been the earth’s true climate control knob.

The Antarctic Refrigeration Effect

Our modern freezer and refrigerator appliances are all based on 2 simple principles. 1) A compressor‑refrigerant apparatus pumps heat out of the refrigerator’s interior. 2) The refrigerator is insulated to minimize any heat transfer into the refrigerator from the outside.

The Antarctic analogy to a refrigerant/compressor apparatus has been ever present. Due to the earth’s spherical shape and orbital effects, annual incoming solar radiation at the poles is so low, polar regions always radiate more heat back to space than is ever absorbed locally. Without a constant flow of heat from the tropics, polar regions would naturally descend into permanent ice house climates. Forcing by CO2 is not a significant factor, if a factor at all. Thus variations in Antarctica’s climate are governed by changes in heat transport versus the steady radiation of heat back to space. Although Antarctica sat over the South Pole for hundreds of millions of years, it remained ice free for most of the Mesozoic and early Cenozoic because the “refrigerator door” was left open. However as continents began to shift and opened “ocean gateways”, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) formed and intensified. The ACC closed the refrigerator door and resisted poleward heat transport from the tropics. The ACC also generated more intense westerly winds and invigorated upwelling that increased vertical mixing. Most importantly as the ACC shut the refrigerator door, sea ice began forming in the southern seas. That initiated deep ocean cooling and a total reconfiguration of the global ocean’s vertical heat structure.

Before the ACC formed, Antarctic bottom waters were about 11°C. Bottom waters formed from competing regions. In shallow seas that dominated subtropical regions, warm salty water became dense enough to sink to the bottom. Elsewhere warm salty subtropical waters that were transported poleward cooled and sank. In contrast, once the Antarctic refrigerator was established, cold salty brine was now extruded during sea ice formation. The sinking of cold brine either penetrated to the abyss forming near freezing bottom water, or slowly cooled the subsurface waters as the brine was turbulently mixed with its surroundings. Thus global oceans began a 35 million year cooling trend starting from the ocean abyss and working its way to the surface.

In Figure 13 below (from Kennett 1990), the bottom frame labeled Proteus, illustrates a simplified vertical structure of the Atlantic Ocean around 60 million years ago. Warm Salty Deep Water (WSDW) dominated the ocean depths. Much of that warm bottom water is believed to have been generated in shallow equatorial seas, like the Tethys, where evaporation exceeded precipitation. Our modern Mediterranean Sea is a remnant of the Tethys, and still contributes warm salty water to the Atlantic.

The surface waters around Antarctica were much fresher because cooler polar regions experience greater precipitation relative to evaporation. Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) forms as upwelling bottom waters mixed with fresher surface waters. Subsequently, climate change has been greatly affected as Antarctic Intermediate Water have cooled and exerted a tremendous effect on tropical sea surface temperatures for millions of years via “ocean tunneling”.

The middle frame of Figure 13, labeled Proto-Oceanus, illustrates how the ocean’s vertical structure evolved over the next 10+ million years after the formation of a strong Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Due to the refrigerator effect, cold saline Antarctic Bottom Water (proto‑AABW) began to dominate the ocean floor. Contributions of Warm Saline Deep Water (WSDW) diminished, and the influential Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW) was increasingly cooled by much colder Antarctic Bottom Water. As the colder AAIW flows back towards the equator it modulates the global temperature by cooling subsurface waters that would potentially reach tropical surfaces via upwelling.

The upper frame labeled Oceanus, represents a simplified illustration of the Atlantic’s modern vertical structure. Due to the Antarctic Refrigerator Effect, the deep oceans continued to cool, and the thermocline that separates warm surface water from cooler deep waters became increasingly more shallow.

Between 2 and 3 million years ago the cooling of the deep oceans reached a tipping point, and modern upwelling regions ogf cold deep water off the coast of Peru, California and the west coast of Africa were established. There had always been upwelling along those coasts along with the associated increases in marine productivity. But now upwelled subsurface waters were cooler by 4 to 9°C. (Dekens 2007), corresponding to the cooling by Antarctic Bottom waters and its effect on subsurface waters. Analogous to the drop in global temperatures during La Nina events caused by upwelling of colder waters, upwelling of colder waters 2 to 3 million years ago also cooled global temperature to the point it initiated Arctic ice cap and glacier formation. The cooler Arctic then promoted formation of North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW in the upper frame of Figure 13) as salty Atlantic waters transported poleward cooled and brine rejection increased as more Arctic sea ice formed.

Declining CO2: A Result Not A Cause.

The Cretaceous Period (145 to 65 million years ago) was named for huge widespread chalk deposits that developed during that time period, especially in the Tethys Sea. Those chalk deposits were the result of sinking plankton that produced calcium carbonate shells like foraminifera and coccolithophorids, As discussed in Natural Cycles of Ocean Acidification, the creation of calcium carbonate shells pumps alkalinity to depth but produces CO2 at the surface thus adding to higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2. More enlightening and contrary to catastrophic CO2 assertions that rising CO2 will decimate calcium carbonate shell producers, the greatest proliferation of calcium carbonate shell producers occurred during this period with the high temperatures and high concentrations of atmospheric CO2. Quite likely, high CO2 concentrations did not produce detrimental acidification, and were the result of coccolithophorids and foraminifera pumping CO2 to the surface.

The development of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current forever altered the carbon biological pump by increasing upwelling in the southern oceans, and later along continental west coasts by cooling upwelled waters. When the ACC caused upwelling in southern oceans to intensify, a more reliable supply of nutrients supported the evolution and proliferation of diatoms. As discussed in Natural Cycles of Ocean Acidification, diatoms are large, produce siliceous shells, and more rapidly shuttle CO2 from the surface to ocean depths. As evolving diatom populations expanded, a more efficient biological pump buried more CO2 at depth that is now detected as siliceous ooze or as biogenic opal deposits. In contrast CO2 emitting coccolithophorid populations and their chalk deposits dwindled. Changes in the biological pump contributed to observed declines in atmospheric CO2. Diatoms are also associated with explosive increases in ocean productivity, so it should be no surprise that the earliest appearance and evolution of whales also coincides with increased ACC upwelling and the evolution of diatoms.

In summary, due to continental drift, the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current blocked intrusions of warm tropical waters that warmed Antarctic and initiated the Antarctic Refrigerator Effect. Cold polar regions are a natural result of inadequate solar radiation. Reduced forcing from diminished levels of CO2 is not required to explain global cooling. The resulting formation of Antarctic sea ice expelled colder, salty waters that filled the abyss and began cooling the deep oceans. After 30+ million years of cooling, 2 to 3 million years ago, colder ocean waters eventually upwelled in the mid latitudes along the west coasts of major continents as well as along the equator. The resulting global cooling, allowed the growth of Arctic ice caps, glaciers and sea ice. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current also increased global upwelling and the efficiency of the biological pump. Decreases in atmospheric CO2 are associated with reductions in populations of CO2 producing coccolithophorids along with increasing populations of diatoms that pumped CO2 to depth. If the Antarctic Refrigeration Effect can account for the changes in global temperatures, it suggests the global sensitivity to varying levels of CO2 is relatively insignificant.

Jim Steele is author of Landscapes & Cycles: An Environmentalist’s Journey to Climate Skepticism

## 155 thoughts on “Antarctic Refrigerator Effect, Climate Sensitivity & Déformation professionnelle: Lessons from Past Climate Change – Part 2”

1. MCourtney says:

While I agree with this over the long-term,

If the Antarctic Refrigeration Effect can account for the changes in global temperatures, it suggests the global sensitivity to varying levels of CO2 is relatively insignificant.

It does rely on,

due to continental drift

Which isn’t operating on the timescales that anyone is worried about in the first place.

2. It only relies on continental drift as the trigger for the Cenozoic cooling trend. For current timescales the point is storage and ventilation of ocean heat are the control knobs driving climate change, and more ice in the Arctic is not dependent on CO2 forcing, but small changes in iinsolation and heat transport into the Arctic

• Taz1999 says:

I’m confusing myself here. Seemingly without the acc warm water could more easily get to the poles for cooling so I’m having trouble seeing where the buildup of heat came from. Maybe decreased albedo and presumably increased water vapor at the poles? Did I miss it in the report?
Certainly it would be interesting to observed the polar weather back then

• Tazz, maybe thinking about where Antarctica was at the time helps. It was not at the South Pole 70MYA (or mostly not) and was not much separated from Australia. All the major land masses had big gaps between them and the oceans were deeper as the water was not locked up in Ice Caps, so the circulation of warm water was fairly easy. However, once Antarctica drifs far enough down and away from Australia, the ACC develops and starts to insulate the continent, cooling in Winter and never warming up again in Summer.
I came up with my “saucepan” analogy. When I’m cooking in a large flat pan, if I stir it with a spoon (Think circulation) it is all uniformly heated even though the heat source is only applied to a small area (the Tropics). If I stop stirring (isolate the edge of the pan), the sauce directly over the gas flame can boil, even when the rest of the sauce is cooler (the current situation).

• Tazz,
Without the ACC warmer water approaches the poles adding warmth and preventing freeezing temperatures. In the Arctic intruding warm Atlantic waters circulate beneath the Arctic Ocean between 100 and 900 meters and can accumulate until ventilated in interglacials and D-O events or similar warm spikes of the 20th century.
If you are asking how did the oceans warm before the ACC formed, it was due to the sinking of warm salty waters that were free from competition with cold polar water and brine extrusions. Without near freezing waters and brine, the most dense water capable of sining to the bottom was warm salty water, and that is what accumulated during the Cretaceous.

• Taz1999 says:

Thanks. I think I’m stuck on how different cretaceous weather was compared to current. Hard to imagine reasonably warm weather when the sun doesn’t come up for weeks.

3. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/16/antarctic-refrigerator-effect-climate-sensitivity-dformation-professionnelle-lessons-from-past-climate-change-part-2/
Thank you Jim.
You say in your above section “Declining CO2: A Result Not A Cause:”
“As discussed in Natural Cycles of Ocean Acidification, the creation of calcium carbonate shells pumps alkalinity to depth but produces CO2 at the surface thus adding to higher concentrations of atmospheric CO2.”
I demonstrated in 2008 that dCO2/dt varies almost contemporaneously with global temperature T (Surface Temperature ST and Lower Troposphere Temperature LT) and the integral atmospheric CO2 concentration lags temperature by about 9 months in the modern data record. I believe this short-term “CO2 lags T” relationship is primarily driven by terrestrial biological activity that is dominated by the larger Northern Hemispheric landmass.
http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/carbon_dioxide_in_not_the_primary_cause_of_global_warming_the_future_can_no/
However, this relationship probably does not adequately explain the ~2ppm annual increase in atmospheric CO2. I suspect this 2ppm/year is caused by other sources, whether humanmade or natural (such as oceanic upwelling effects).
There is a reported ~800 year lag of CO2 after Temperature in the ice core record.
So my question for you is “What is your best guess as to the cause of the 2ppm/year upward trend in atmospheric CO2?”
Regards, Allan

• Allan,
Not seeing a significant correlation between regional or historical temperatures and CO2, I have not bothered to analyze its rise. I just assume it is a combination of human emissions, loss of vegetation, upwelling and of course an increase in the proportion flatulent prone elderly.

• you gotta account for the old farts!

• C’mon Jim.
You can do better than that. Time to man-up! (Not Mann-up.)
I agree the question is not that critical because temperature is INsensitive to atmospheric CO2, but the question is of considerable scientific interest.
Best, Allan 🙂

• Hi Jim,
There is considerable discussion of my question on the following thread. I tried to maintain an agnostic position because I believe the issue is NOT critical to the global warming question, since it is obvious by now that global temperature is highly INsensitive to CO2. Others had very strong opinions, and some even insisted that I must take a stand.
My reason for asking you the question is that you have apparently given it considerable thought, as evidenced your book. If you want to sit on the fence (like me) you can do so. I suspect that new CO2 data from satellites will tell us a very different story from the current contention that fossil fuel combustion is the primary driver of increasing atmospheric CO2. I suspect a combination of natural and humanmade causes, and would not be surprised if fossil fuels are a minor component…
Regards, Allan
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/13/presentation-of-evidence-suggesting-temperature-drives-atmospheric-co2-more-than-co2-drives-temperature/#comment-1963448
Hi Shane – suggest you show your students this beautiful animation (below) and see what they think of it.
Oceans are a factor, but Northern Hemisphere terrestrial life dominates the water cycle and the CO2 cycle.
Best, Allan
[Excerpt from my 2015 paper]
The natural seasonal amplitude in atmospheric CO2 ranges up to ~16ppm in the far North (at Barrow Alaska) to ~1ppm at the South Pole, whereas the annual increase in atmospheric CO2 is only ~2ppm. This seasonal “CO2 sawtooth” is primarily driven by the Northern Hemisphere landmass, which has a much greater land area than the Southern Hemisphere. CO2 falls during the Northern Hemisphere summer, due primarily to land-based photosynthesis, and rises in the late fall, winter and early spring as biomass decomposes.
Significant temperature-driven CO2 solution and exsolution from the oceans also occurs.
See the beautiful animation at
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4
In this enormous CO2 equation, the only signal that is apparent is that dCO2/dt varies approximately contemporaneously with temperature, and CO2 clearly lags temperature.
CO2 also lags temperature by about 800 years in the ice core record, on a longer time scale.
I suggest with confidence that the future cannot cause the past.
I suggest that temperature drives CO2 much more than CO2 drives temperature. This does not preclude other drivers of CO2 such as fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, etc.
**************************

4. MarkW says:

Both Antarctica and Greenland were further from there respective poles 55million years ago.
The circumpolar current around Antarctica didn’t exist 55 million years ago.
Panama was still underwater so ocean currents were dramatically different 55 million years ago.
There are many, many differences between the world of 55million years ago and today.

• DD More says:

“There are many, many differences between the world of 55 million years ago and today.”
We conclude that in addition to direct CO2 forcing, other processes and/or feedbacks that are hitherto unknown must have caused a substantial portion of the warming during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. Once these processes have been identified, their potential effect on future climate change needs to be taken into account.”
Also might one of the processes have been When a continent breaks apart, as Greenland and Northwest Europe did 55 million years ago, it is sometimes accompanied by a massive outburst of volcanic activity due to a ‘hot spot’ in the mantle that lies beneath the 55 mile thick outer skin of the earth. When the North Atlantic broke open, it produced 1-2 million cubic miles (5-10 million cubic kilometres) of molten rock which extended across 300,000 square miles (one million square kilometres). – See more at: http://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/under-the-sea#sthash.LLR1IIV5.dpuf
Molten rock can vary between 700 and 1,200 degrees C (1,300 to 2,200 F). So 8,000,000 Km^2 of 1,000 C rock in one of the most important ocean circulation areas or back-radiation of CO2? Which might have the most affect?

• DD I agree there contributions from volcanic activity contributed. It is interesting to note the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum occurred when submarine volcanic activity along the Mid Atlantic Ridge was very high causing the Atlantic to spread. At the same time there was an anoxic event the spread from the North Atlantic south, along with extinction of benthic foraminifera and the dissolution of carbonate sediments.

• Gary you may be correct but… the literature and common usage often uses coccolithophoridas a noun as does the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. I have seen both forms used as nouns in the literature and honestly can’t say which is “correct’. Because family names of animals end in the suffix “idae” and family members are referred to felids for cats or canids for dogs, I adopted the “id” ending even though coccolithophore is not a family but a class categorization.
http://www.mbari.org/staff/conn/botany/phytoplankton/phytoplankton_coccolithophorids.htm

5. MarkW says:

” there must be a much greater climate sensitivity to the smaller changes in CO2. ”
Isn’t this one of those Duhhh statements, given the fact that the effect of CO2 is logarithmic. By the time you reach say 1000ppm, some 98% of the warming CO2 is capable of producing is already being felt, all further increases are just chasing after that last 2%.

• rgbatduke says:

Time for some math review.
Log functions are not the same thing as saturating exponential functions. For one thing, they do not approach an asymptote: $log(\infty) = \infty$. While the Earth would have an asymptote so that the currently expected log greenhouse behavior would not persist to indefinitely high concentration — pure CO_2 at otherwise identical pressure, or the transformation of all of the free oxygen into CO_2 as you prefer — we are still in the log growth regime, and can expect it to persist for at least a few doublings. Finally, since the total contribution of CO_2 cannot be greater than the 33 K or thereabouts total “greenhouse” boost relative to the greybody temperature, and since climate sensitivity to CO2 is reasonably estimated to be around 1 K per doubling, just a single doubling of CO2 at or around current concentrations produces a fair bit more than 2% of all the warming CO2 is capable of having produced so far — if we attribute 100% of that warming to CO2 only.
If we imagine going from the current 0.4% through five doublings to 32×0.4% = 12.8%, that is an increase of (no feedback, estimate only) 5 degrees K which is well over 10% of the current total greenhouse warming. It is even more of the greenhouse warming that can reasonably be attributed to CO2, as roughly 90% of the greenhouse effect warming is due to water vapor as the stronger and far more prevalent greenhouse gas, especially in the comparatively humid tropics and over the oceans.
If we assume separability (probably not reasonable) and apportion the 33 degrees as being 90% due to water vapor and 10% due to all other greenhouse gases put together, then CO2 is responsible for only a few degrees, order 3 or 4 K of the total greenhouse contribution, and a single doubling corresponds to an increase in as much as 33% of the realized warming, and an increase of 12+ degrees due to five successive doublings would correspond to an increase of around 300 to 400%.
Note well that this is probably not reasonable, as I said. The warming due to CO2 most likely has a complex nonlinear relationship with H2O based warming. At low CO2 concentrations it is very likely critical to keeping the mean temperature high enough to maintain enough humidity for water vapor to provide the rest and block a negative feedback spiral to (permanent) snowball Earth. At the current medium low concentrations (low indeed relative to historical levels over almost the entire Phanerozoic — the last 600 million years) we are probably on a cusp where increasing it produces very little positive feedback from water vapor and may even produce negative feedback from cloud albedo. At still higher concentrations, water vapor positive feedback will almost certainly saturate at some point (if it hasn’t already) and turn into negative feedback as it already is in the tropics, holding the tropics at a very nearly constant temperature and preventing a positive feedback catastrophe, Hansen’s mythical “boiling oceans”.
Finally, note that this is treating the planet as a single layer model with only two greenhouse components, and it completely ignores self-organized heat transport that produces long term warming or cooling not by modulating the atmosphere’s radiative properties but by increasing and sharpening the temperature differential between equator and the poles. Because radiative loss per unit area scales like $T^4$, it is possible to maintain a constant global average temperature while total passive radiated power is not at all constant and varies according to the details of the distribution of temperatures on the surface. A general rule is that the smaller the variation in surface temperatures (for any given average) the smaller the net radiated heat is corresponding to that average. The larger the variation, the larger the radiated heat. [A parenthetical remark is that the entire discussion of climate would be vastly simplified if $T_4 = ()^{1/4}$, the quarter root of the spatially averaged mean of the fourth power of the absolute temperature, were used as a “global average temperature” instead of $latex$. For one thing, it would instantly allow one to at least estimate whether or not there is likely to be a failure of annualized detailed balance, some sort of “missing heat”. Of course this is impossible — we can’t even compute $T_1 =$ to within a whole degree K!]
That’s the fundamental origin of the refrigeration effect discussed above. With adequate mixing of tropical and polar temperatures (with lots of heat transport between equator and poles) a higher average temperature is required to balance a given insolation. With less mixing, the tropics actually warm as the poles cool, but because of the $T^4$ one can balance exactly the same insolation, given exactly the same atmospheric chemistry, at a lower average temperature.
A very simple model of this could be an “Earth” where half the surface area is between plus and minus 30 degrees (latitude, not K) of the equator, the other half in the two separated polar regions. Ignoring all constants (choosing units where they are all unity):
$P_0 = T_0^4$
is the rate power is radiated when the whole sphere is at a single (average) temperature. Then:
$P(\Delta T) = 0.5*(T_0 - \Delta T)^4 + 0.5(T_0 + \Delta T)^4$
To keep life simple, assume $T_0 = 300K$. Then $P_0 = 8.100\times 10^9$ power units. Now assume that $\Delta T = 10K$. Now $P = 8.154\times 10^9$. This is around 2% increased outgoing power, all things being equal.
The freezing of Antarctica was stable and caused global cooling because as it got colder (due to reduced heat transport) the tropics got warmer, and the Earth actually radiated away 1-2% more heat than it was receiving, which resulted in equilibribum at a lower absolute temperature.
This is why it really wouldn’t take much to trigger a burst of global cooling even now. The Holocene (all of the interglacials) are clearly balanced on the edge of a knife. During the interglacial, there is sufficient mixing and perhaps enough general insolation to maintain detailed balance with a comparatively uniform global temperature, but even a small reduction in transport, augmented with any sort of positive feedback from e.g. ice albedo, can lead to rapid, catastrophic cooling as the Earth suddenly changes modes, warms the tropics relative to the poles and loses energy much more efficiently at constant insolation.
rgb

• MarkW says:

CO2 is a bit better than 95% of the way to saturation.
The belief that there is a positive relationship between CO2 and H2O is much speculated on, but never proven.
In fact the science goes the other way, that there is a negative relationship between CO2 and H2O.

• Javier says:

rgb,

but even a small reduction in transport, augmented with any sort of positive feedback from e.g. ice albedo, can lead to rapid, catastrophic cooling as the Earth suddenly changes modes

A cursory look at paleoclimate quickly leads to the conclusion that while rapid (decades) abrupt warming from glacial conditions is very common (about 30 times in the last 100,000 years), the cooling, specially from interglacial conditions takes much longer (centuries to millennia). Looks like the feedbacks are not symmetrical.

• Javier, indeed transitions between glacials and interglacials as well as Dansgaard-Oeschger events all have the same shape of abrupt warming and slow to start but then rapid cooling. That’s why I suggest the Arctic Iris effect best explains the abrupt warming as a result of sudden ventilation of stored heat. It takes a while for Arctic ocean heat to ventilate before t descends more rapidly into full glacial conditions. http://landscapesandcycles.net/arctic-iris-effect-and-dansgaard-oeschger-event.html
The tremendous variation in temperatures beginning the last 5 millions also appears consistent with the refrigeration effect cooling global temperatures to a tipping point where the Arctic can easily freeze over but is periodically interrupted with warm events when the oceans ventilate accumulated tropical heat.

• rgbatduke says:

CO2 is a bit better than 95% of the way to saturation.

I’m not even sure what this means. I tried to be clear above. Show me a single place in the physics literature that states that the current log concentration behavior of increasing CO2 when it is a very low concentration gas is some sort of transient towards a saturation point. I also tried to be clear about the simple arithmetic associated with the GHG. Even if you attributed 100% of the temperature difference between the Earth’s average temperature and the greybody temperature to CO2 based warming — and it is not — 5% of 33 degrees is 1.65 degrees. That is on the order of the no-feedback warming expected from a single doubling of CO2. If (as one might reasonably expect) the 33 degree increase on greybody is due to a mix of many things, the fraction that can reasonably be attributed to CO2 is much smaller, so any reasonable estimate of climate sensitivity for CO2-only warming would be a much larger fraction of its total.
If you think otherwise, feel free to post references or an actual algebraic argument. In the meantime, I can see no basis whatsoever for a bald statement that it is within 2%, or 5%, or really any fixed and computable percentage, from a mythical “saturation” value at some presumed CO2-only 1atm at the bottom atmosphere. Because of the mechanism for GHG warming in the saturation regime (which is where we are — CO2 warming is already saturated in the sense that the atmosphere is optically thick compared to the mean free path of LWIR photons in the CO2 absorber bands, but not in terms of warming potential) increasing CO2 concentration pushes the radiation height from the CO2 coupled band higher in the troposphere. Perhaps it could be pushed over into the stratosphere, but I suspect that if one increased it to where it reached the stratosphere, the increase would be accompanied by a lift in the height of the tropopause itself that would delay if not prevent an inversion in the emission height. Either way, we are pretty far from the point where the emission height is likely to be above the existing tropopause.
rgb

• commieBob says:

… holding the tropics at a very nearly constant temperature and preventing a positive feedback catastrophe, Hansen’s mythical “boiling oceans”.

The ultraviolet catastrophe was a problem that highlighted the shortcomings of classical physics. “Hansen’s Catastrophe” … it has a certain ring to it. 🙂

… the quarter root of the spatially averaged mean of the fourth power of the absolute temperature, were used as a “global average temperature” …

If the planet had no atmosphere and all radiation were from the surface I would agree. There is a figure, earth’s “radiation temperature” which, I suspect, could be calculated as you suggest by using toa measurements.

• Erik Magnuson says:

Nice to see someone making the distinction between a saturating exponential and a log function.
I suspect that the physics of the CO2 lines would lead to something a bit more complicated than a simple saturating exponential – as the CO2 concentration increases, the “wings” of the absorption lines will have a significant effect. Something similar happens in nuclear reactors, the negative temperature coefficient of reactivity is partly due to Dopler broadening of the resonance absorption lines in U and Pu.

• ” the negative temperature coefficient of reactivity is partly due to Dopler broadening of the resonance absorption lines in U and Pu.”
Neutron absorption?

• Saturation is not really a good word for it but what it means in this context is that all the light has been gobbled up by the resonating gas such that a plane with a spectrometer flying at the tropopause records no transmission in certain wavelengths. Below is HITRAN data for CO2.
https://geosciencebigpicture.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/rte-lbl-15layer-200mb-280vs560ppm.png
There is zero transmission in the 15 micron/667 wavenumber “Q branch” of CO2 electron states. This central branch accounts for about half of the radiative potential of CO2. It continues to resonate in these wave lengths but additional gas does not produce any additional radiation in this branch. The “wings”, roughly the P and R branches, continue to produce additional radiation from additional CO2.
A better statement might be CO2 is about 50% saturated.

• Rainer Bensch says:

0.4% CO₂? Aren’t you off by an order of magnitude?

• Micro – Yes neutron absorption. Attenuation of IR by CO2 reminds me a lot of neutron absorption in the “resonance absorption” regions.
Gymnosperm – that’s pretty much what I had in mind about the “wings” of the IR absorption cross section of CO2. Another applicable term might be “skirts”.

• rgbatduke says:

Mod help with the broken equation? I was trying to do “a quarter power of the average of T to the fourth power” with latex, but the html interpreter fought with the latex converter and apparently won. I shouldn’t have tried to use the customary brackets for average, I suppose. Sigh.
rgb

6. MarkW says:

“ventilation have humongous impacts on global climate. ”
Humongous? Is that a scientific term?

• dennis dunton says:
7. Peta in Cumbria says:

Meanwhile here and now in sunny (I kid ye not today) Cumbria, air temp is 15degC, soil temp at 60cm depth is 17degC and CO2 is reading 395
This morning just before sunrise, soil temp was (still) 17, air temp was 6 and CO2 was 505ppm.
2 hours after sunrise CO2 was 470ppm and temp was 10degC.
Great stuff this CO2 How’s the back-radiation coming on?
In other business, my 10 day old glass of Club Soda has reached a pH of exactly 7.0, despite starting at 4.5 and measured CO2 in its vicinity (on a shelf in my kitchen) has always been 600ppm+
The fresh clean 2 day old water in my bathtub is still 1 degC cooler than the air in there, it gets even cooler when I leave the window and door open.
Isn’t science great, shame more people don’t do it.

8. Robert of Ottawa says:

I am sure the closing of the American isthmus (great word for someone with a listhp), or Darian Cap, had something to do with it.

• Sturgis Hooper says:

The closure of the Inter-American Seaway did clearly have a climatic effect. This event roughly coincides with the onset of extensive NH glaciation, although there is some question as to how closely.
The main exchange of animal species between the Americas didn’t occur until 3 Ma, but there is some evidence the part at least of Panama was already attached to Colombia by 4.5 Ma. When the rest of Panama arose to connect with an emergent Central America is not well constrained, but the Seaway was open during the Miocene, however growing more shallow.

• Sturgis Hooper says:

Should read, “that part of Panama”.

• The time of the closing of the Central American Seaway about 2.5 million years ago, coincides with increased upwelling of colder subsurface waters. It also affected the Arctic Iris Effect directing Gulf stream waters into the Arctic, while contributing to the freshwater and sea level differences between the Atlantic and Pacific. Evaporation in the Atlantic contributed to its greater salinity while the trades carried the precipitation to the Pacific making Pacific sea level higher and waters fresher. That sea level difference drives the flow of Pacific water into the Arctic through the Bering Strait delivering a layer of fresher water that separates the warmer Atlantic water from sea ice.

• sturgishooper says:

Jim,
Good explanation, for which IMO there is good evidence.

9. Steve McIntyre says:

Jim, interesting article.
Richard Lindzen has suggested that the equator-pole gradient at higher altitudes at present is surprisingly similar to the corresponding gradient in the Eocene i.e. that the increase in gradients at surface is related to the development of polar inversions. This would be consistent with your viewpoint and might enhance it.
Also, William Kininmonth has similarly argued in the past that Eocene oceans were warm at depth. You might wish to correspond with him about your ideas.

• Thanks Steve, Do you have a link to the Lindzen paper? And I will ask William Kininmonth for a critique.

10. Antarctic sea ice has about 1.7 times the effect on the earth’s heat budget than the Arctic sea ice does. This is because – although both have about the same area areas, the Antarctic sea ice is much closer to the equator (cycling between 58-59 degrees south latitude and 68 south latitude, vs the arctic’s 81-82 north latitude and 71-72 north latitude) at all times of the year.
Now the Arctic LAND ice is more important for exactly the same reason. Chicago, for example, at 45 north latitude, was covered by glacier ice several thousand feet thick. To get that far from the south pole, you’d have to have permanent, year-round sea ice as far north as Tasmania, New Zealand, and be halfway towards Buenos Aires.

11. Don K says:

Nice essay. I’ve long suspected that most of the proxies used in “climate science” — and especially CO2 proxies — are probably wildly inaccurate. One thing though. Your essay although well thought out and skillfully presented is every bit as speculative as the unending stream of Climate-Crap we are subjected to by climate alarmists. You don’t, I think, claim otherwise, but it might be interesting to include a statement of how much faith you have in your hypothesis.

12. emsnews says:

In general, the past was warmer than the present. The earth is pretty old. As time passes, the heat that was part of the creation of the earth is going down, not up. The interior of the planet isn’t anywhere near as hot as when the planet first formed.
The evolution of life has been towards creatures who have warm bodies and fur to keep the cold out, compared to say, all amphibians who once dominated the earth and grew to be as big as crocodiles, for example, while being amphibians.
Reptiles generally live today at only the warmer parts of the planet in great numbers. Once, they ruled the entire planet and were immense in size with no fur. We are on a cooling planet.

• Sturgis Hooper says:

However during the generally balmy Mesozoic, mammals did evolve fur, some dinosaurs feathers and pterosaurs a hair-like integument, for various reasons.

• MarkW says:

No fur, but apparently they had feathers.

• Sturgis Hooper says:

No true reptile has ever had fur. Birds and feathery dinosaurs are reptiles, but mammals diverged from the reptile line way back in Carboniferous. Reptiles and mammals are however both amniotes.
The old term “mammal-like reptiles” for the therapsid ancestors of mammals is a misnomer.

13. James at 48 says:

Hyperbole and incorrect attribution to CO2 aside, “The Global Superstorm” / “The Day After Tomorrow” did get one thing right. Ocean circulation is the key to the puzzle.

• I disagree. The movie promotes an incorrect conveyor belt theory and the nonsense that it slows down during global warming to cause freezing. The movie has done much more harm than good and is used by schizophrenic alarmists to argue Co2 can cause both catastrophic warming and catastrophic cooling.

• David A says:

…despite the clear fact that in the past 12,000 years the earth has been considerably warmer then now and SL were higher then they currently are. (Many centuries higher at current very low SL rise rates)

14. Surface air temps changes regionally.
Regional Graphs
Regional annual averaged daily differences.
(Tmin day-1)-(Tmin d-0)=Daily Min Temp Anomaly= MnDiff
(Tmax day-1)-(Tmax d-0)=Daily Max Temp Anomaly= MxDiff
Global Average
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/global.png
US +24.950 to +49.410 Lat: -67 to -124.8 Lon
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/us.png
Tropics -23.433 to +23.433 Lat
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/tr.png
Southpole -66.562 to -90 Lat
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/sp.png
Southern Hemisphere -23.433 to -66.562 Lat
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/sh.png
South America -23.433 to -66.562 Lat: -30 to +180 Lon
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/sa.png
Northpole +66.562 to +90 Lat
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/np.png
Northern Hemisphere +23.433 to +66.562 Lat
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/nh.png
Eurasia +24.950 to +49.410 Lat: -08 to +180 Lon
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/ea.png
Australia -23.433 to -66.562 Lat: -100 to -180 Lon
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/au.png
Africa -23.433 to -66.562 Lat: -100 to -30 Lon
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/03/af.png

• rgbatduke says:

A serious question I’d like to see answered as well. The greenhouse effect due to increased CO2 concentration should show up as a direct effect with no feedback above deserts. The absolute best place to look for a direct effect is in the temperature cycling between daytime and nighttime temperatures in mid-Sahara, or the Namib, or (as you say) Antarctica. The direct effect expected from CO2 would be a narrowing of the range from daytime high to nighttime low, produced by little to no interference with SW solar warming but an inhibition of nighttime cooling. It would take a decade or two of patient work (since unfortunately no warmist will accept UAH as a proxy for surface temperature because if they did, it would be clear evidence of nonphysical bias in the surface temperature record as the two do not agree) but simple thermometers on an array of carefully sited, mid-desert stations, with care taken to correct for locally measured ambient humidity and so on — should allow the direct no-feedback effect to be directly measured over time to a high resolution.
rgb

• The reason there has been no measurable rise in global T from rising CO2 is because the effect is not linear. This chart shows it clearly:
https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/heating_effect_of_co2.png
Almost all the global warming from CO2 took place within the first few dozen ppm. At the current ≈400 ppm, any warming from CO2 is simply too tiny to measure.
In fact, if CO2 increased by 20%, 30%, 40%, or more from current levels, any resulting warming would still be too small to measure. Just look at the temperature axis, and extrapolate out to 500 ppm, 600 ppm, etc. Any warming from even a big rise in CO2 would only be a minuscule fraction of a degree. CO2 would still remain a tiny trace gas.
AGW is a baseless scare. I think AGW exists. But even if CO2 doubled (very unlikely), it is a complete non-problem. It is only being used to scare the population into agreeing to ‘carbon’ taxes — which would be a really huge problem.

• I can provide you all the stations north and south of 66.562 lat back to the 40’s, number of stations, where the stations are located (antarctic has a pretty poor history), north pole is mostly coastal, and there aren’t many in the various deserts, but I can and will create you the reports you want, most of which I’ve already done in one fashion or another, and they don’t show any sign of Co2. They do show regional swings due to the jet stream (where appropriate), @N41,W81 we get both tropical and Canadian air, with a 10-12F swing in temps.

• dbstealey September 16, 2015 at 10:27 am
I had factored the Beer-Lambert Law neutering effect into the thought processes behind my question, and there should be some CO2 effect, but there clearly isn’t. In the absence of other explanations, your graph may be wrong and everything should be shifted leftwards such that the doubling effect starts at lower ppms CO2 or, alternatively, any CO2 warming is so low that the effect cannot climb out of the noise (if error bars were to be included on the UAH South Polar graph). If it’s the former, then that should also apply globally and the Antarctic empirical data should be a guide for our modelers (a climate sensitivity of zero, or close to zero might allow for more accuracy). Funnily enough, it was thinking about your graph that also got me thinking about asking this question. I was just waiting for an Antarctica thread to pick my spot.
Otherwise – Ozone ? Antarctic high altitude (CO2 cooling effect) ? Do way below freezing temperatures affect radiation effects/absorption in some way ?

• David A says:

…an interesting question. We should have such stations available in the data set. Nevada may have such records away from major cities.
However clearly the troposphere record precludes CO2 as being responsible for whatever warming actually exists at the surface. CAGW theory demands a greater rate of warming in the troposphere.

• Chris Hanley says:

“The absolute best place to look for a direct effect is in the temperature cycling between daytime and nighttime temperatures in mid-Sahara, or the Namib, or (as you say) Antarctica …”.
===============================
Great idea but how could you ensure that the data collected were fiddle-free?
That’s the real problem.

• 1sky1 says:

The diurnal range at several well-tended stations in the Sahel was examined informally, as I recall, back in the 1990’s by various West African meteorologists. There was no consistent narrowing of the diurnal range, apart from what would be an UHI effect at some larger towns. Clear-cut evidence of any measurable CO2 effect upon surface temperatures remains elusive, despite much academic speculation about never-demonstrated “feedbacks” in the climate system.

• Check out Steve Goddard on Parker Arizona

• The absolute best place to look for a direct effect is in the temperature cycling between daytime and nighttime temperatures in mid-Sahara, or the Namib

This is a chart of the annual average of day to day surface station change in min temp for N37-49,W104-120 the US Southwest deserts.
(Tmin day-1)-(Tmin d-0)=Daily Min Temp Anomaly= MnDiff = Difference
For charts with MxDiff it is equal = (Tmax day-1)-(Tmax d-0)=Daily Max Temp Anomaly= MxDiff
MnDiff is also the same as
(Tmax day-1) – (Tmin day-1) = Rising
(Tmax day-1) – (Tmin day-0) = Falling
Rising-Falling = MnDiff
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/us-sw-mnmx.png
Average daily rising temps
(Tmax day-1) – (Tmin day-1) = Rising
(Tmax day-1) – (Tmin day-0) = Falling
https://micro6500blog.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/us-sw-risingfalling.png

• richardscourtney says:

rgbatduke:
I think the issues are covered by Idso’s eight ‘natural experiments’ especially his experiments numbered 2.1 and 2.2.
My link goes to the entire paper that was published in Climate Research (9 April 1998). Its abstract says

ABSTRACT: Over the course of the past 2 decades, I have analyzed a number of natural phenomena that reveal how Earth’s near-surface air temperature responds to surface radiative perturbations. These studies all suggest that a 300 to 600 ppm doubling of the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration could raise the planet’s mean surface air temperature by only about 0.4°C. Even this modicum of warming may never be realized, however, for it could be negated by a number of planetary cooling forces that are intensified by warmer temperatures and by the strengthening of biological processes that are enhanced by the same rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration that drives the warming. Several of these cooling forces have individually been estimated to be of equivalent magnitude, but of opposite sign, to the typically predicted greenhouse effect of a doubling of the air’s CO2 content, which suggests to me that little net temperature change will ultimately result from the ongoing buildup of CO2 in Earth’s
atmosphere. Consequently, I am skeptical of the predictions of significant CO2-induced global warming that are being made by state-of-the-art climate models and believe that much more work on a wide variety of research fronts will be required to properly resolve the issue.

The suggested “much more work” has not been undertaken and I failed in my attempts to obtain funding for some of it to be conducted.
Richard

• Sorry, I’m not following that – care to expand please?

• Seems like Lewis is just sniping. Due to the minimal contributions from water vapor, Antarctica should be the one place that highlight the impacts of CO2. Your graph is just more evidence of low climate sensitivity to CO2, if there’s any at all.

• Yes exactly. I was hoping that my question might attract well reasoned answers, as these observations are capable of blowing up the AGW conjecture completely.

• Yeah DB, my point wasn’t that the chart is wrong in principle, but there may be something wrong with the quantitation. For example if, in reality, the x-axis data was actually over to the left a bit, then out at between say 320 and 400 ppm CO2, the effect would be even more minuscule – and a minuscule effect would beget a minuscule temperature increase, as is observed.
This is a good experiment of nature – very little to zero water vapor, a vast, vast expanse of land and ice (missing 5 degrees at the south pole duly noted), and no measurable warming.

• Lewis P Buckingham

Mr ~mod……just for the record, RSS does not provide data above 82.5N or below 82.5S.
..
There is a reason for that. Both RSS and UAH omit the poles for a very good reason.

But the “missing area” (the area not surveyed between 82.5 north (or south) latitude) and the poles is only 2.2 Mkm^2.
Area of the earth = 510 Mkm^2, so that little bit not surveyed by the satellites means … What? (In your opinion.)
(510 – 2x 2.2 Mkm^2) /510 = 99.13 IS covered very adequately; and much more accurately than by tampered land-based weathered boxes next to buildings and asphalt pavement and jet engine exhausts.

Correct me if wrong, as I don’t have the data, but hasn’t the South Pole station shown little or no warming since continuous record-keeping began there? Yet with such low H2O in the air there, that is precisely where CO2 should have the greatest warming effect.

• Lewis P Buckingham

The microwave sounding units on board the spacecraft don’t do very well in the polar latitudes.

???
The last degrees of the poles are not covered by the satellite orbit BECAUSE the satellite rotate from pole-to-pole, but their orbit is not exactly over either pole: They “fly” south from the north pole towards the south pole as the earth’s surface appears to rotate under them from west to east. Thus, since they don’t fly exactly over the pole, that little area around the pole is covered differently than the rest of the earth, and so is not scanned the same and is not included in the original mapped data. The sensors work just fine, but they are not passing over the final degrees of the arctic surface like they do over the rest of the planet.

I should have said greatest direct effect from CO2, since there would be no feedback from increased water vapor.
High summer (January) temperature at the South Pole is −25.9° C. In mid-winter the average temperature is around −58° C.

• Although, back radiation from IR, it would seem to me have to come from up welling IR from the surface, and the Arctic and Antarctic because of how cold they are will have the lowest up welling IR from the surface.

• Chris Hanley says:

“Considering that UAH does not measure north of 85 degrees latitude, nor south of 85 degrees, I’d say your graphic is worthless …”.
=====================================
The surface station anomaly since records began similarly shows no significant long-term trend:
http://www.climate4you.com/images/70-90N%20MonthlyAnomaly%20Since1920.gif

• David A says:

Lewis P Buckingham
September 16, 2015 at 1:17 pm
RACook. says: “and much more accurately than by tampered land-based weathered boxes ”

Nope

Satellite MSU’s don’t measure surface temperatures.
===========================================
What does that have to do with RA Cook’s statement? He is asserting that the satellites measurement of the troposphere is more accurate then the surface stations measurement of the surface, and he is correct.
It is also true that CAGW IPCC physics do not allow the surface to warmer faster then the troposphere, which are actually in a slight cooling trend, showing 1998 to be BY FAR the warmest year.

• Gloria Swansong says:

Found this from 2012 on South Pole temperature trend:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169809512002256
Fifty-year Amundsen–Scott South Pole station surface climatology
Lazzara, et al
“The analysis found slight decreases in the temperature and pressure over the 1957–2010 time period that are not statistically significant. The wind speed, however, does show a significant downward trend of 0.28 m s− 1 decade− 1 over the same period.”
Don’t know how “adjusted” the observations have been.

• Gloria Swansong

“The analysis found slight decreases in the temperature and pressure over the 1957–2010 time period that are not statistically significant. The wind speed, however, does show a significant downward trend of 0.28 m s− 1 decade− 1 over the same period.”

Ooopsie. And here have been told all along that the ever-greater Antarctic sea ice areas that have been increasing since 1992 have been CAUSED BY the greater Antarctic winds blowing new sea away from the continent land areas!

• Gloria Swansong says:

How can that be, if the hypothesis of man-made global warming has any validity at all?
Over the South Pole, a presumed increase in CO2 since 1915 of almost 100 ppm, with very low H2O in the air, should show at least some warming, with nearly no feedback.

• Lewis P Buckingham says:
Satellite MSU’s don’t measure surface temperatures.
Neither do surface stations.
Satellite data is certainly the most accurate global temperature trend data, and the flat temperature trend is corroborated by thousands of radiosonde balloon measurements.
I don’t think skeptics have the same mind-set as the climate alarmist crowd. Speaking for myself, if the global temperature trend was accelerating upward in step with rising CO2 as predicted, I would change my mind.
If the trend and the corellation was decisive enough, and if it lasted for long enough, I would begin to accept that human CO2 emissions were the primary cause of the global warming. Because knowledge is what’s important, not the politics that fuels the AGW debate.
But that hasn’t happened; global warming certainly hasn’t accelerated. In fact, global warming stopped rising a long time ago. The predictions of accelerating warming were wrong. All of them.
Per the Scientific Method, honest scientists should now go back, and try to figure out why their CO2=AGW conjecture has been such a spectacular failure. Skeptical scientists would be happy to assist them in that investigation.
But rather than admit their conjecture has been falsified by Planet Earth, most alarmists refuse to admit those predictions were wrong. How can good science be conducted with that attitude? The answer is: it can’t. Basic honesty is required. That’s what is missing.
Too much money, power, prestige, politics, religious belief, and the fear of being seen to climbdown has poisoned the well. The Real World is showing that the climate alarmists were wrong. But they cannot admit it. They just can’t.

• Gloria Swansong says:

RA,
Yup. Real science hits CAGW with a double whammy!
Lewis,
DB is right for a number of reasons. One is that the supposed sea surface temperatures are not in fact measured at the surface. They used to come from buckets hauled up from various depths, and now come from not well distributed, subsurface floats. The land temperatures are alleged to come from a standard elevation above local level, but often don’t.
But other problems with the so-called “surface data” are even more serious, such as that they are total fabrications.

• Gloria Swansong says:

PS:
RA,
Would be interesting to see actual wind data from the periphery of Antarctica. I’d be surprised if katabatic winds have actually increased in our supposedly warming world, or not.

• Gloria Swansong

PS:
RA,
Would be interesting to see actual wind data from the periphery of Antarctica. I’d be surprised if katabatic winds have actually increased in our supposedly warming world, or not.

I have never seen any historical data for antarctic off-coast winds, and have never been given (nor linked to any) trend data showing why (or by how much) any such winds have changed during the many years of antarctic sea ice increase, nor across all of the distances from the coast required to “blow” sea ice away from the coastline. Only hand-waving claims, with no evidence.

• richardscourtney says:

Lewis P Buckingham:

Stealey says:

“Neither do surface stations.”

….
Yup, Stealey says surface stations don’t measure surface temperature. Reminds me of the New Scientist graph he posted of the global temperatures for the past 4 billion years. Thanks for the laughs.

PS, I agree with you that satellites accurately measure microwave brightness, so you really are not correct when you say, “Satellite data is certainly the most accurate global temperature trend data” BECAUSE THEY DON’T MEASURE TEMPERATURE.

I tried to discover a way for you to be more wrong than you are in the post I have quoted, but I have failed in the attempt.
So I write to correct the errors in your post.

Surface stations don’t measure surface temperature: they measure air temperature a few feet above the surface. Since you say you are not aware of this I provide you with this link so you will have no excuse for posting such silly nonsense again.
And I don’t understand how dbstealey’s correct point can remind you of a proxy study of “global temperatures for the past 4 billion years”: the present discussion is of attempted direct measurements which have only been made over recent decades.
Of course the microwave sounding units mounted on satellites do indicate temperature because they measure a brightness that indicates temperature. Similarly, mercury-in-glass thermometers also indicate temperature because they measure differential expansions of glass and mercury which indicate temperature. Unless, of course, you want to claim that mercury-in-glass thermometers don’t measure temperature?
And you have provided no laughs so there is nothing of any kind which you have provided that deserves thanks. However, your misleading posts merit disdain so I offer it.
Richard

• beng135 says:

Phil, it may be that Antarctic inversions cause the CO2 radiating level to be the same or even warmer than the surface, causing an anti-greenhouse effect. If inversions cover half of Antarctica, the net CO2 effect would be nullified. My SWAG.

• From the “many a true word is spoken in jest” department, a couple of years ago, on this subject, I speculated that perhaps the issue was that CO2 is upside down in the Southern Hemisphere.
If you’re correct, I may have been closer than I thought !!

• richardscourtney is correct about Bucky’s misleading comments. Mr. Buckingham started posting here a couple of years ago, and his comments have become increasingly bizarre. He looks to be fairly new to this subject, and he has clearly arrived at his conclusions without having enough information to make those conclusions.
Now all Buckingham does is look for confirmation bias factoids like his MSU comment, while he constantly denigrates and insults those whose facts and evidence destroy his arguments. The misinformation he posts, and his obvious ignorance that surface stations do not measure surface temperatures, shows that he’s just here to argue, not to learn.
Mr. Courtney made a perfect analogy: that satellites do not directly measure temperature — but neither do thermometers, which simply measure the expansion of a fluid. But we rely on both, and accept both as being accurate when properly calibrated.
Satellites record the most accurate global temperature data, and they cover the planet better — much better — than any other system. That is agreed by all sides of the debate (with a few exceptions, but those exceptions never compare satellite data with GISS’s massaged fabrications, for instance). Even the IPCC admits that temperatures have “paused” for many years.
The government would not pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to launch and maintain satellites if their data was not accurate. Satellite data is corroborated by many thousands of radiosonde balloon measurements, taken from all over the planet year round. The two systems are in agreement, unlike GISS and many others.
Further, exact temperature measurements, while done best by satellites, are not as important as measuring the temperature trend. The trend shows us that global warming stopped many years ago, because the trend is flat to declining (depending on the time frame). That fact decisively falsifies the ‘dangerous AGW’ argument — the basic contention of the entire alarmist crowd. They were wrong in their predictions: rising CO2 has not caused the predicted runaway global warming — or any meaningful global warming, for that matter.
In any other of the hard sciences, that would be the end of it. The scientists and organizations that made those falsified predictions would have to go back and try to find out why their conjecture was so wrong.
But in ‘climate science’, that doesn’t happen. The Scientific Method is ignored. The “dangerous man-made global warming” hoax is now 100% political on the side of the alarmist crowd, and now they have entered the denial stage: they are lying outright when they claim that the ‘pause’ never happened.
Their few enablers here are head-nodding in agreement with that disingenuous prevarication, because some folks simply cannot ever admit that they were wrong — no matter what the data shows.

• Richard Courtney,
Bucky says: you have the problem of the fact that satellites don’t take measurements FROM THE SURFACE, whereas thermometers do.
What we have here is a thoroughly confused individual who still does not understand that surface stations do not measure surface temperatures. They measure air temperatures, as satellites do. The air circulates. Each measuring device does it slightly differently. Radiosonde balloons also use thermometer equivalents to measure air temperature.
Bucky is just tap-dancing now, trying to re-frame his argument, to claim that surface station thermometers measure the ground. They don’t. They measure air temperatures like all the other land and satellite systems.
So as usual, Bucky is wrong. No need to explain more to him, he wouldn’t get it anyway.

• Bucky sez:
…you can continue to pick the dataset that supports your positions, but alas, that is just another case of cherry picking on your part.
LOLOL!! That comment is pure psychological projection, as Bucky shamelessly cherry-picks <a href=http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/from:2011/plot/rss/from:2011/trend a few short years out of the trend, beginning in 2011, when he knows temps were at the low end of the 2011 – 2015 range.
Could Bucky be any more hypocritical, and disingenuous?
Global warming stopped in the late ’90’s:
Even the IPCC admits to that fact.
So go argue with them, Bunky. You’re in over your head here.

• richardscourtney says:

dbstealey:

So as usual, Bucky is wrong. No need to explain more to him, he wouldn’t get it anyway.

Thankyou. I will accept your advice because it is obviously true. For example I gave a link that explains Stevenson Screens saying to him

Surface stations don’t measure surface temperature: they measure air temperature a few feet above the surface. Since you say you are not aware of this I provide you with this link so you will have no excuse for posting such silly nonsense again.

and he has replied

If you assume that satellite readings and thermometers are a proxy for temperature measurement, you have the problem of the fact that satellites don’t take measurements FROM THE SURFACE, whereas thermometers do.

Clearly, either Lewis P Buckingham cannot read or he chooses to not read corrections to his silly mistakes.
And I note that each and every statement he has made in this thread is a silly mistake.
Richard

• Matt G says:

Lewis,
So you agree that Arctic ice extent measured is worthless too? We don’t have to worry about sea ice because it’s not measured from the surface.
Surface temperatures are not recorded 85N+ in GISS or HADRCUT3/4 so how does that make satellite worthless compared?
The coverage of up to 85S is by far more than GISS or HADCRUT and shows Antarctica slightly cooling from 1979.
http://i772.photobucket.com/albums/yy8/SciMattG/UAH_AntarcticOceanTemps_zpsyk6tsbmm.png
The purpose is to observe whether the planet gains or loses energy over a period of time and the satellite covers far more of the atmosphere than isolated pockets on the surface will ever do. The surface being 4 ft off the ground, not the ground temperature.
How does RSS look now from 1979?
You do realize to cause a linear trend to become flat from 1979 requires the same amount of cooling as warming in the first place. When it has reached this point global temperatures must have already cooled equally for a significant time, almost the same as the warming in the first place. Hence, you are denying a significant decrease in the rate of temperature change.

Lewis, DB is right for a number of reasons…
Lady G, Lewis lives in his own alternate universe. He is wrong when he says that satellites don’t take measurements FROM THE SURFACE, whereas thermometers do.
We have repeatedly tried to explain to him that none of the systems discussed are measuring anything other than air temperatures. But he keeps digging his hole deeper.
So I give up. Bucky is convinced that thermometers measure the temperature of the earth’s surface, and nothing can penetrate his Belief. Certainly not logic, or clear, rational explanations. Buckingham probably saw the words “Surface Stations”, and decided that they mean what he wants them to mean: thermometers measure the temperature of the ground.
For new readers who may wonder, ‘surface stations’ measure air temperatures, from about six feet above the surface. They are located on the surface instead of in balloons or on satellites, that’s all.
Mr. Bucky is also incorrect here:
Stealey says: “The trend shows us that global warming stopped many years ago”

The longer the observed trend, the more information it contains, and thus the more accurate it is. Lewis B makes the same deliberate error that the great John Daly wrote about here.
Ben Santer tried to pull a fast one, by posting the chart below in the journal Nature, deviously attempting to show “human influence” in global warming:
http://www.john-daly.com/stats1.gif
But Santer deliberately removed important data. Here is the full chart:
http://www.john-daly.com/stats2.gif
We see that Santer cut off years of data, and began his chart at a time that appeared to show steadily rising temperatures. That is exactly what Lewis B did with his truncated RSS chart.
As John Daly wrote:
When the full available time period of radiosonde data is shown we see that the warming indicated in Santer’s version is just a product of the dates chosen.
L. Buckingham did exactly the same thing; he chose dates that appear to show global warming, just like Santer did.
Dr. Santer was refuted by both American and German scientists. His lack of probity was publicized when …’Nature’ published two rebuttals from other climate scientists, exposing the faulty science employed by Santer et al. (Vol.384, 12 Dec 1996).
The Latin proverb:
Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus applies to both Santer and Buckingham.
The proof is in the Nature rebuttal, and in the highly selective, cherry-picked chart fabricated by Lewis Buckingham.

15. Once again Jim I am in agreement with all the points you are making.

16. Jim ,I think all of these factors going forward will lead to global cooling not warming.
I think Milankovich Cycles, the Initial State of the Climate or Mean State of the Climate , State of Earth’s Magnetic Field set the background for long run climate change and how effective given solar variability will be when it changes when combined with those items. Nevertheless I think solar variability within itself will always be able to exert some kind of an influence on the climate regardless if , and that is my hurdle IF the solar variability is great enough in magnitude and duration of time. Sometimes solar variability acting in concert with factors setting the long term climatic trend while at other times acting in opposition.
THE CRITERIA
Solar Flux avg. sub 90
Solar Wind avg. sub 350 km/sec
AP index avg. sub 5.0
Cosmic ray counts north of 6500 counts per minute
Total Solar Irradiance off .15% or more
EUV light average 0-105 nm sub 100 units (or off 100% or more) and longer UV light emissions around 300 nm off by several percent.
IMF around 4.0 nt or lower.
The above solar parameter averages following several years of sub solar activity in general which commenced in year 2005. The key is duration of time because although sunspot activity can diminish it takes a much longer time for coronal holes to dissipate which can keep the solar wind elevated which was the case during the recent solar lull of 2008-2010 ,which in turn keep solar climatic effects more at bay. Duration of time therefore being key.
If , these average solar parameters are the rule going forward for the remainder of this decade expect global average temperatures to fall by -.5C, with the largest global temperature declines occurring over the high latitudes of N.H. land areas.
The decline in temperatures should begin to start to take place within six months after the ending of the maximum of solar cycle 24,if sub- solar conditions have been in place for 10 years + which we have now had. Again the solar wind will be needed to get to an average of below 350km/sec. which takes time because not only do the sunspots have to dissipate but also the coronal holes. In other words a long period of very low sunspots will be need to accomplish this. It will be a gradual wind down..
Secondary Effects With Prolonged Minimum Solar Activity. A Brief Overview. Even if one or two should turn out to be true it would be enough to accomplish the solar /climatic connection.
A Greater Meridional Atmospheric Circulation- due to less UV Light Lower Ozone in Lower Stratosphere.
Increase In Low Clouds- due to an increase in Galactic Cosmic Rays.
Greater Snow-Ice Cover- associated with a Meridional Atmospheric Circulation/an Increase In Clouds.
Greater Snow-Ice Cover probably resulting over time to a more Zonal Atmospheric Circulation. This Circulation increasing the Aridity over the Ice Sheets eventually. Dust probably increasing into the atmosphere over time.
Increase in Volcanic Activity – Since 1600 AD, data shows 85 % approximately of all major Volcanic eruptions have been associated with Prolonged Solar Minimum Conditions. Data from the Space and Science Center headed by Dr. Casey.
Volcanic Activity -acting as a cooling agent for the climate,(SO2) and enhancing Aerosols possibly aiding in greater Cloud formation.
Decrease In Ocean Heat Content/Sea Surface Temperature -due to a decline in Visible Light and Near UV light.
This in turn should diminish the Greenhouse Gas Effect over time, while promoting a slow drying out of the atmosphere over time. This may be part of the reason why Aridity is very common with glacial periods.
In addition sea surface temperature distribution changes should come about ,which probably results in different oceanic current patterns.
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/09/01/the-arctic-iris-effect-dansgaard-oeschger-events-and-climate-model-shortcomings-lesson-from-climate-past-part-1/
The above accounts for abrupt climatic changes within a glacial or inter- glacial period.

• SalvatoreDel Prete says “all of these factors going forward will lead to global cooling not warming”…
“I think solar variability within itself will always be able to exert some kind of an influence on the climate regardless”
I agree. In part 3 I will discuss how I see the contributions from solar variability.

• emsnews says:

I just bought a new, bigger snow plow truck and new snow plow even though the jeep and plow still works. Preparing for nasty weather in winter in the Northeast in the future…. 🙁

17. Sturgis Hooper says:

The Cretaceous has always been a problem for GCMs. Even when Cretaceous CO2 was thought to be around 2000 ppm or more, the models needed ECS of at least six degrees C to reproduce the great warmth of its climate and how equable it was from equator to poles, as shown by all proxies.
This failure may be due to the models’ ignoring the effect of clouds or lack thereof.

18. Retired Engineer Jim says:

Please include a citation to the source of all text, and, especially, graphics used in articles and comments. If, of course, the graphic is of the author’s own creation, then reference the data source.
I find that when discussing “climate change” with friends, they just won’t accept WUWT as a reliable source. (Sorry, Anthony – you have a reputation. But living as you and I do, within a short distance of Sillywood, I guess any publicity is good publicity.)
Also, when I was in engineering school, failure to reference a source would result in mark-downs. Since we aspire to science here, let’s try to follow the discipline.

• Except for what the graph of the Cenozoic cooling that I thought was a generic illustration, there are links to all the other the texts and graph.

19. Javier says:

Continental disposition due to plate tectonics and corresponding oceanic currents disposition might explain why this Quaternary Ice Age is much colder than the previous one, but it does not explain why there is a Quaternary Ice Age in the first place, as ice ages are a feature of the Earth that take place every 150 million years. In about 10 million years our ice age should peter out, although Homo sapiens is not expected to last that long. As we are unlucky to be a species born in the 1% of the coldest times of Earth, we are all oh so lucky to have been born during the 10% of the warmest times of this ice age, and we are all going to die within that period also, so we shouldn’t be very concerned about the climate as individuals.
Primary CO2 production comes from the mantle through volcanic activity. As the Earth cools down volcanic activity is inexorably reducing despite important but occasional outbursts from volcanic traps. Thus CO2 levels, that have reached almost plant starvation levels prior to mankind release of fossil carbon, are expected to continue reducing in the future, reducing atmospheric density and ultimately oxygen levels, since oxygen proceeds mainly from CO2. Lower oxygen and atmospheric density has important biological consequences. Already we have nothing bigger than a condor capable of flying in our atmosphere, while Argentavis, with over 3 meters of wingspan, flew prior to current ice age and Quetzalcoatlus, with a wingspan of 11 meters flew in the CO2 rich Cretaceous. Also animal size has been going down with time, and very large mammals like Indricotherium, Deinotherium and Mammoth do no longer exist. The future belongs to mice.

• The biggest animals to ever roam the earth are the Blue Whales and whales began evolving along with DIatoms and the ACC

• Javier says:

Whales play a different league. Their metabolism is much lower per unit of mass than any land mammal. When beached they suffocate shortly due to their own weight. But they are proof that there are always animals that grow to maximum size allowed by physical constraints when food is not a problem. Today’s physical constrains on land and air are much lower than previously. Two meter wingspan dragonflies are simply impossible, when they were not previously.

whales began evolving along with Diatoms and the ACC

I disagree. The diatom take-over is controversial and placed between the Cretaceous and the Cenozoic. Nobody really knows when the ACC formed. It is all speculation as oceanic currents do not fossilize well. Baleen whale size evolution is tied to krill abundance. Krill abundance is tied to ocean productivity. Ocean productivity is higher the drier (and colder) conditions are on land so dust production is increased and fertilizes the oceans. Cetaceans shoot their maximal size starting about 15-20 million years ago, when the planet got colder and Antarctica started to have a permanent ice sheet. These are facts.

• Gloria Swansong says:

An old reference on the evolution of modern whale types in the Oligocene and Miocene, but still IMO useful. More recent advances in knowledge of whale evolution are earlier, during the Paleocene and Eocene Epochs.
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0031018280900243
Whale evolution and Oligocene southern ocean environments
Fordyce
Abstract
Many odontocetes [modern toothed whales, Early Oligocene (35 Ma) — Recent] utilise high-frequency echolocation to facilitate predation, while mysticetes (baleen whales, Early Oligocene—Recent) possess a filter-feeding system which allows cropping of plankton. These adaptations are reflected in the unique skull structure of each group. Skulls of archaeocetes [primitive toothed whales, the ancestors of odontocetes and mysticetes, Middle Eocene—Late Oligocene (45 to 25 Ma)] indicate that they possessed neither baleen nor the capacity for echolocation. Studies on Northern Hemisphere Cetacea (whales and dolphins) have suggested a paucity of Oligocene Cetacea but also have stressed that the Oligocene was an important time in cetacean evolution. The observation of some authors that cetacean diversity declined in the Oligocene has been difficult to reconcile with the origins then of odontocetes and mysticetes. Hypotheses have stressed that the “decline” reflects decreased oceanic thermal gradients, upwelling, plankton diversity and thus fewer cetacean niches. The Austral Oligocene fauna allows alternative explanations. The earliest known mysticetes and odontocetes are New Zealand Early Oligocene forms. Their appearance probably was triggered by the initiation of the psychrosphere and concomitant Austral increases in upwelling and productivity. Austral cetacean radiations in the Middle Oligocene are attributable to the influence of the Circum-Antarctic Current on regional productivity and the creation of more new niches. The decline of archaeocetes, further radiations of odontocetes and mysticetes, and the development of a cosmopolitan cetacean fauna in the Late Oligocene (25 Ma) foreshadowed the radiation of modern cetacean stocks with the establishment of major “modern” ocean patterns in the Miocene (22-5 Ma).

• Javier to say “Nobody really knows when the ACC formed” is a tad inaccurate. There is indeed debate on the exact timing and the strength but it is pretty clear that it was close to full strength by the time Antarctic glaciation began. And the current does leave fossil. Organisms restricted to the Pacific before the Drakes Passage gateway opened and then suddenly show up in the Atlantic suggesting the time when the ACC was beginning. Similar evidence for the Tasmanian Gateway.
From the Bijl paper I linked to in the essay, “Dinoflagellate biogeography and sea surface temperature
paleothermometry reveal that the earliest throughflow of a westbound Antarctic Counter Current began ∼49–50 Ma through a southern opening of the Tasmanian Gateway. This early opening occurs in conjunction with the simultaneous onset of regional surface water and continental cooling (2–4 °C), evidenced by biomarker- and pollen-based paleothermometry”

20. ferd berple says:

contrary to catastrophic CO2 assertions that rising CO2 will decimate calcium carbonate shell producers, the greatest proliferation of calcium carbonate shell producers occurred during this period with the high temperatures and high concentrations of atmospheric CO2.
=====================
O2 + 2Ca + 2CO2 === 2CaCO3
adding more CO2 on the left will not reduce the amount of CaCO3 (shell) on the right. this is basic chemistry.
The fallacy in “ocean acidification” comes from treating the oceans as acidic. Since acids dissolve CaCO3 , ocean acidification must reduce shell. But of course ocean acidification does not make the oceans acidic, which means adding CO2 will not reduce shell. it will increase the raw materials for building shell.

21. Thanks, Dr. Steele.
This is a good article. Funny how nature is denying the warmista narrative.

22. Don K says:

so it should be no surprise that the earliest appearance and evolution of whales also coincides with increased ACC upwelling …

Could be. But IIRC, prior to the KT extinction event mammals were small, terrestrial, and probably not very common. It was only after the disappearance of most terrestrial reptiles 64 million years ago that mammals started to expand in size and diversity. I think many (most?) vertebrate paleontologists might regard the development of diverse marine, mammalian carnivores starting in the Early Eocene as an expansion by mammals into largely empty ecological niches formerly occupied by mosasaurs.

• No doubt that vacant niche played a role.

That might explain why toothed whales evolved from seal-like coastal artiodactyls, but the biggest whales are baleen and feed primarily on krill, with some fish.

23. ferd berple says:

Why doesn’t saltwater erode limestone?
Best Answer: All elements and compounds dissolve into water up to a certain point called the saturation point. The amount that can be dissolved is dependent on temperature, usually the hot the water the higher the amount that can be dissolved goes up (sugar in coffee for example).
But there are exceptions and calcium (limestone) is one of them Salt water already holds a lot of dissolved limestone. Its maximum solubility occurs at about 2 degrees above 0 centigrade. As sea water temperature goes up above 2 degrees the solubility of CaCO3 goes down, it starts to precipitate. So, in brief, limestone can not dissolve in seawater because the sea water is already holding the maximum amount of it.
This, by the way, is why coral reefs thrive in warm tropical oceans, and is a good indicator in the fossil record of shallow warm seas.

• ferd berple says:

As sea water temperature goes up above 2 degrees the solubility of CaCO3 goes down, it starts to precipitate
===============
so warming of the oceans will increase coral and other shell formation, not decrease it.

• Gloria Swansong says:

Good point.
More CO2 in warmer water, thus yet again we see that Mother Earth is self-regulating.

24. Dawtgtomis says:

Dr. Steele, does it make sense to state that CO2 changes could not precede temperature changes, because most of the organisms which produce CO2 have a survival expectancy which increases with global temperature? It also appears to me that natural processes that produce CO2 are similar.
Therefore, it should take a significant drop in temps to reduce the CO2, if there is not some sudden acceleration of the CO2 sinks.
Am I way off, here?

• I would hesitate to state cooling must precede CO2 reduction, even though cooler temperatures clearly contribute by increasing the solubility pump. Less upwelling can decrease CO2. An enhanced biological pump can reduce atmospheric CO2. increased weathering of granite type rocks reduce CO2, as well as increased vegetation. Reduce ventilation of CO2 from volcanic activity and cause a net reduction.
But all those factors contribute to the observation that CO2 variability lags temperature change.

• Dawtgtomis says:

Thanks, that is a widening of my perspective!

• Dawtgtomis says:

Doc, if you’re still here, you’ve only addressed CO2 reduction, what about the biological influences on the production of CO2 due to warming of the planet?

There are those who think that Cretaceous heat and low gradient from low latitude to high might have a biological basis.
The idea is that tropical Cretaceous seas were so hot that biological productivity was low, leading to a dearth of CCNs, hence fewer clouds, making for even more heat in a vicious or virtuous circle, depending upon how you feel about hot tub temperature oceans, in which large marine reptiles are happy, happy, happy!

• FYI Dawg – a post from (cold) 2009:
http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/01/11/mauna-loa-co2-record-posts-smallest-yearly-gain-in-its-history/#comment-72540
Allan M R MacRae (04:01:04) :
Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt averaged ~1ppm/year from 1958 to ~1978, then ~1.5 ppm/year from ~1978 to ~2001, then >2ppm/year from ~2001 to ~2006, and since then has dropped below 2ppm/year (consistent with strong global cooling since January 2007).
However humanmade CO2 emissions have continued to increase over the past few years, as they have every year over the past century or more. Why then is atmospheric dCO2/dt not also increasing?
Mauna Loa (and global) dCO2/dt correlates well with the Lower Troposphere temperature anomaly, but as I noted in my January 2008 paper*, CO2 lags temperature by ~9 months.
The impact of global temperature on atmospheric CO2 concentrations is apparent.
The impact of atmospheric CO2 concentration on global temperature is much more difficult to demonstrate, probably because it is insignificant.
Regards, Allan
_________________________
Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt has “gone negative” a few times in the past (calculating dCO2/dt from monthly data, by taking CO2MonthX (year n+1) minus CO2MonthX (year n) to minimize the seasonal CO2 “sawtooth”.)
These 12-month periods are (Year-Month ending):
1959-8
1963-9
1964-5
1965-1
1965-5
1965-6
1971-4
1974-6
1974-8
1974-9
[end of excerpt]

25. Dawtgtomis says:

Is the CO2 level merely a [biological] response to global temperature?

• Dawtgtomis says:

Make that biological and I have slapped my right hand for that

• Gloria Swansong says:

All us biological forms are going to boil!

• Dawtgtomis says:

Thanks mods, I will gladly pay you on Tuesday…

26. Phlogiston says:

Jim
Thanks, a wonderfully refreshing cool upwelling of climate sanity. From the oceans – where else?

So, it is time to stop putting taxpayers money into so called ‘universities’.

• Dawtgtomis says:

…or maybe time to stop putting taxpayers money into so called “human caused climate change” research at public institutions. Many universities are privately funded, so they can take money from who they will, but research that the public pays for should not break the ethics of sound science.
If public funded higher ed ceases to exist, so does any opportunity for advancement for the middle and lower class.

• Gloria Swansong says:

Not to mention GISS and NCAR.

28. Dawtgtomis says:

Perhaps it’s all about great scientists having a small ego and a huge curiosity!

• Dawtgtomis says:

Or should i say a restrained ego and an unrestrained curiosity?

29. johndo says:

A query for Jim Steele if I may. To show people the continent positions around Gondwana over the last 200 M.y. I use “Antarctica Keystone of Gondwana By L.A. Lawver, I.W.D. Dalziel and L.M. Gahagan
(Copyright 1999), University of Texas Institute for Geophysics June 25, 1999”
which was available on the web.
Considering the piece by rgb showing the “With adequate mixing of tropical and polar temperatures (with lots of heat transport between equator and poles) a higher average temperature is required to balance a given insolation. With less mixing, the tropics actually warm as the poles cool, but because of the T(4thpower) one can balance exactly the same insolation, given exactly the same atmospheric chemistry, at a lower average temperature.” the mixing of heat into the Artic region is similarly important.
There warm water goes in past Iceland and Scandinavia with the Gulf Stream and cold comes out through the Bering Strait.
https://nsidc.org/sites/nsidc.org/files/images//arctic_map.gif
Do you know of a similar presentation showing the changes in continent positions for the Arctic region over the last 100+ M.y.?

• johndo says:

Thanks for the Cretaceous piece.
However the powerpoint I referenced abobe has the position changes for Gondwana in 1 M.y. steps.
The 200 M.y. is in 200 images and allows people to see the gradual changes over time.

But Gondwana isn’t the Arctic. The Antarctic is however part of Gondwanaland, along with South America, Africa, Madagascar, Indian, Australia and New Zealand.
Marsupialworld, if you will.

• Don K says:

Johndo. Continental drift is pretty slow. One million years resolution is probably overkill. And there are additional factors influencing Cretaceous climate such as a much narrower Atlantic and a continental sea that ran through North America from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic during the Cretaceous. The seaway covered the area from the Mississippi to the Eastern Great Basin. To further complicate things, we’re not always very certain where the shorelines were at any time in the past. There’s a series of paleo maps at http://www.scotese.com that show land and ocean areas, and another that shows climate estimates and marks the sites that were used to guess at climate.

• Johndo,
First, Gulf Stream water does not go out via the Bering Sea. Here is a good illustration from Woods Hole showing Arctic circulation. A lot of heat is ventilated as the north atlantic current crosses the shallow Barents while the remaining warm inflows will circulate at depth for about 15 years in the various basins finally returning back to the Atlantic at greater depth.
http://landscapesandcycles.net/image/108049954.gif
The only graphic I have of the paleo Arctic comes from the Higgins 2006 paper Beyond methane- Towards a theory for the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum. They show an illustration of the continental configuration 60 million years ago with a focus on the shallow epicontinental seas (light blue). The Arctic at that time only had 2 narrow connections to the forming Atlantic and the Tethys. Fossils of freshwater ferns suggest the Arctic at best was a estuary and maybe more of a freshwater lake. The Arctic still receives an disproportional inflow of continental freshwater relative to its size and a lot of that flows out to the Atlantic in the upper layers.
To the south the ACC has still not formed as the Tasmanian and Drakes Passage gateways have not opened yet.
http://landscapesandcycles.net/image/108049957.jpg

• johndo says:

Jim, a little surprised
“First, Gulf Stream water does not go out via the Bering Sea.” seems the opposite of the position of the 10 C isotherm extending to 50 degrees, the image above I linked from the wuwt reference pages. It would seem to be from cold water exiting the Bering Strait to the Bering Sea.
For DonK, thanks for the scotese site although the projection and time resolution is not sufficient to really see the Atlantic and Arctic Sea opening. The suggestion there would be the Atlantic opened to the south 80 M.y. ago and to the north around 25 to 30 M.y. ago (Miocene warm?).
I wonder if the spreading centre south of Svalbard only opened between Greenland and Sweden more recently?
The time series I refered to above showed the ACC only became fully possible around 3 M.y. ago.
Perhaps just coincidence that the recent series of ice ages and interglacials started around then?

• The winds do blow surface water out through the Bering Strait and the extent of winter sea ice is associated with the strength of southward winds. But the inflowing Atlantic water does not make a circuit from the Atlantic to the Pacific

• Johndo says, “The time series I refered to above showed the ACC only became fully possible around 3 M.y. ago.”
The weight of numerous recent studies all have the ACC gradually to fully opening between 55 and 35 million years ago.

30. Seasonal and tidal effects (both in the oceans and atmosphere) run on two external mutually incompatible clocks; variability in the velocity and trajectory of the ocean currents (responsible for energy transport) sets the climate’s nonlinear internal clock. It is no surprise that I have no idea what is going on, hopefully some of the ‘experts’ do.

31. Don K says:

> The suggestion there would be the Atlantic opened to the south 80 M.y. ago and to the north around 25 to 30 M.y. ago (Miocene warm?).
Maybe a bit earlier than 80 million years ago in the South and closer to 200 million years ago in the North. There are extensive “redbed” and shield lava flows from Newfoundland to Georgia (The “Newark Traps”) that are thought to be associated with a rift valley where the Atlantic started to open. Those deposits are pretty solidly dated to the latest Triassic and Early Jurassic.

32. Phlogiston says:

I’ll say it again, this is an excellent article. It sets out “climate 101” – the oceans are the true drivers of global climate including climate change. I’m a believer in the fractality of climate. What drives climate over tens of millions of years – ocean 3D circulation changes die to tectonic movement, also drives climate patterns on many shorter timescales due to other sources of ocean forcing such as the Milankovich orbital cycles and others including internal resonant and nonlinear oscillations.
Jim’s article makes a point that I have argued many times on this site: that changes in ocean deep vertical mixing, alone, can dominate climate both locally and globally, due to the very strong temperature stratification of the oceans, where tropical seas can be 30C at the surface and near zero a kilometre and more below. Jim has provided an excellent historical context for hpw this stratification has come about, essentially due to the deep chill of Antarctica that followed the establishment of the ACC – the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

33. Peterg says:

If Antarctica is analogous to a global refrigerator, one wonders if it could be ripping the guts out of the co2 – water vapour positive feedback loop by precipitating any extra water vapour that might be emitted. I do not think that the maths adds up though, that is the extra precipitation Antarctica has been experiencing v the theoretical increase in warming globally from Co2.

• Most of the planet acts as a dehumidifier at night. When the sun sets, and temps fall, the rel humidity goes up, when it gets up in the 80 and 90 % water is condensed out, while some reevaporates the next day, some is lost to the water table, this ultimately limits surface humidity.

34. Jim Powell says:

What causes the 100,000 year glacial cycle?

• 100,000 years is certainly long enough to be Solar System orbital around the galactic center, or tectonic.

• You’re right I was sloppy, I meant it’s long enough to have moved far enough around the center to not be basically in the same place in its orbit. Like the difference between a few hours in Earth’s orbit around the Sun and a week or two. If you watch the stars, one days hard to notice 5 days or see it starts to matter. As you can see what I meant was a much longer explanation than what I originally wrote.

• Phlogiston says:

Jim
The eccentricity Milankovich cycle – at least approximately. The classic view is that from 3 to 1 Mya the ~40k year timing of interglacials followed the obliquity 41 kyr Milankovich cycle; then followed the mid Pleistocene revolution (MPR) the timing of interglacials abruptly changed to 100 kyrs, corresponding to the eccentricity Milankovich cycle.
However this paper:
http://sp.lyellcollection.org/content/247/1/19.short
by Maslin and Ridgewell argues that the apparent 100 kyr timing post-MPR is a more complex mix of forcing by precession (22kyr) combined with “pacing” by eccentricity.
Overall the picture seems to indicate a transition at the MPR from strong to weak forcing of a periodically forced nonlinear oscillator. In the context of the gradually but steadily deepening glaciation of the Pleistocene – the last (Wisconsin) glacial maximum was the deepest yet. Thus 100 kyr pacing of interglacials will likely continue until the next transition which will be to permanent deep, possibly global glaciation.
Just saying…

• There is a great debate regards the causes and timing of glacial/interglacials. As the oceans cooled,and colder water was upwelled, about 2.5 million years ago the first glacial interglacials in the Arctic exhibited 41,000 year cycles. As the planet continued to cool the glacial/interglacial cycle exhibited a 100,000 year cycle. However no one believes it is due to the 100,000 eccentricity cycles as eccentricity does not asymmetrically affect the poles and globally only adds or subtracts about 2 W/m2. The debate is whether the new 100,000 cycle is driven by multiples of the ~23,000 precessional cycles or ~41,000 obliquity cycle. Those orbital cycles do not affect global insolation but can cause up to 60 W/m2 changes in seasonal insolation. Greater summer melt can thin the Arctic sea ice making ice loss and deglaciation more possible.
I suspect that the switch to 100,000 year cycles was driven by increasingly thicker Arctic ice that was more resistant to orbital driven summer melt. However as Arctic ice thickened sea level dropped which closes the Bernig Strait preventing fresher Pacific Water from entering the Arctic and thinning the freshwater barrier as discussed in the Arctic Iris Effect. Thicker ice required a greater accumulation of subsurface heat.
Once oceans cooled, about 2.5 million years ago the Arctic is balanced on a tipping point making the Arctic more sensitive to changes in insolation and heat transport that can flip the Arctic between ice and no ice.

• Phlogiston, I just read your post and I am in general agreement

35. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
Executive summary: Due to continental drift, the formation of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current blocked intrusions of warm tropical waters that warmed Antarctic and initiated the Antarctic Refrigerator Effect. Cold polar regions are a natural result of inadequate solar radiation. Reduced forcing from diminished levels of CO2 is not required to explain global cooling. The resulting formation of Antarctic sea ice expelled colder, salty waters that filled the abyss and began cooling the deep oceans. After 30+ million years of cooling, 2 to 3 million years ago, colder ocean waters eventually upwelled in the mid latitudes along the west coasts of major continents as well as along the equator. The resulting global cooling, allowed the growth of Arctic ice caps, glaciers and sea ice. The Antarctic Circumpolar Current also increased global upwelling and the efficiency of the biological pump. Decreases in atmospheric CO2 are associated with reductions in populations of CO2 producing coccolithophorids along with increasing populations of diatoms that pumped CO2 to depth. If the Antarctic Refrigeration Effect can account for the changes in global temperatures, it suggests the global sensitivity to varying levels of CO2 is relatively insignificant.