Finally: visualized OCO2 satellite data showing global carbon dioxide concentrations

From the “if the government won’t visualize it, a climate skeptic will” department.

Guest essay by Erik Swenson

In July of 2014, NASA launched its most advanced carbon dioxide monitoring satellite, The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2). The first OCO burned up on launch. There has been a lot of anticipation regarding the data from this instrument. However, over a year after it launch, there has been little public information presented about its results. The only data made available by NASA has been images showing CO2 from an AGU14 session.

These images are shown below.


Figure 1: NASA-provided OCO-2 data for Oct 1 – Nov 11, 2014


Figure 2 NASA-provided OCO-2 data for Nov 21 – Dec 27, 2014


Back in May 2015, there was a release of some visualized data showing mixing ratios of CO2 over the oceans:


For some reason, NASA has not chosen to publish any recent updates of the OCO-2 satellite data. Many people are interested in the data from OCO-2, but have not been able to access the information. NASA has now provided access to the raw data from OCO-2, but the data is in the HDF file format. No common commercial programs such as Excel can access this data in this form.

I have created a program to parse this data, and attempt to graph it in a form that closely matches the output of the NASA images. The data is available from 9/20/2014 – 9/22/2015 as of this writing. I have generated the plots in approximately 6 week intervals. It takes about that much data to cover most of the globe with observational data. You can see how the orbit path is from this NASA visualization story:


From NASA: “It takes 16 days and 233 orbits for the satellite to produce a complete global picture of carbon dioxide.”

A few implementation notes.

The data from each sample is put into an array. Each point is added to the array as a circular blob. The center point of the circle has a weight of 1 for the averaging function. The remaining points in the circle are weighted in a decreasing manner from the center. This choice is based on the images from NASA which show circular artifacts.

All of the images use the same min/max scale of 380 – 415 ppm. This does not give the best dynamic range for each image, but it does present a good range over all of the images.

The NASA images are chopped beyond 60 degrees N and S latitude. I have chosen to show whatever data is there.

All data points are plotted from the OCO-2-Lite files regardless of warn_level. Warn_level is used to judge the quality of the sample. The OCO-2-Lite files say they are the “high-quality” samples, so I chose to use them all.

The data used for these images is from the OCO-2-Lite v7 data set. It can be accessed here:

Finished visualizations

The data here is presented without comment. I will leave it to others to decide what this data means. So, without further ado – here is the data I have processed.


Figure 3: Processed data from Oct 1 – Nov 11, 2014

Figure 3 is an attempt to match the first NASA image from Oct 1 – Nov 11, 2014 to see how closely my algorithm matches. Note that NASA has adjusted the data set multiple times since the release of the NASA image. The current version is v7. I am not sure what changes have been made in the data.


Figure 4 : Processed data from Nov 16 – Dec 31, 2014


Figure 5 : Processed data from Jan 1 – Feb 15, 2015


Figure 6 : Processed data from Feb 16 – Mar 31, 2015


Figure 7 : Processed data from Apr 1 – May 15, 2015


Figure 8 : Processed data from May 16 – Jun 30, 2015


Figure 9 : Processed data from Jul 1 – Aug 15, 2015


Figure 10 : Processed data from Aug 16- Sep 12, 2015

UPDATE: Eric Swenson provides this map in comments showing CO2 over the entire year from From September 2014 to October 2015 – Anthony


Also, reader “edimbukvarevic” provides this map of anthropogenic CO2 emissions for comparison:



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“NASA has now provided access to the raw data from OCO-2, but the data is in the HDF file format. No common commercial programs such as Excel can access this data in this form.”
HDF can be processed with free software. I’ve pointed to the resources a few times
for folks who prefer scripting like approaches gdal works, just gdal_translate to geotiff
if you just want to visualize
if you want it in R takes a few minutes using raster gdal and gdalUtilities.
If you home brewed it, then you better check that you did it correctly.

Yes, home brewed stuff should always be checked for accuracy. For example, the “BEST” data is homebrewed, and it was put out on the web, [sent to media as PR,] and paraded before Congress without any peer review.
Statistician, heal thyself.


+ 10


Any part of that you didn’t understand ?

1. The data is not home brewed. The data is taken directly from ftp sites.
2. Glass houses much
3. You had no problem with Christy promoting your results that you had to retract
4. The method is not even home brewed. We used Kriging as Skeptics suggested.

Retract? I think not Mr. Mosher.
Pretty much everything in BEST was “home brewed” as are a lot of things in climate science. Mann’s methodology for example. Taking raw data from the FTP site and applying custom adjustments that may or may not be valid in the eyes of real statisticians for example. GISS does it, HAdCRU does it, BEST does it. Each tries to justify it’s own “home brew” method, each is different.
[added: UAH and RSS are also “home brewed” methods. Like all the above, the method didn’t exist until the group created it at their “home” institution]
The real issue here in the lack of integrity of Richard Muller. For example I gave him data for the express purpose of a publication. We had an agreement. Two weeks later he parading it and his no-peer reviewed, non journal published “home brewed” data [in front of Congress]. You seem OK with that sort of agreement breaking behavior though. It says a lot.

And anyway, arguments over the surface data are off topic, the topic is OCO2 data. So I’ll say let’s get back on topic and leave this arguments for the appropriate thread.


And with a click of the mouse you can do that but please dont. Your readers need to see how vulnerable their efforts are to attackers. Practice here before you go on to a nastier audience.
The very nature of science is to expose the weakness (uncertainty) of a theory. In a room where there is nothing at stake other than the achievement of a more fact based conclusion it is fun.
Science has allowed itself to be corrupted by those who are willing to pay them for their opinions. If you want to rescue science, first realize this fact. Once that occurred, it became obvious that the very uncertainty that science wished to root out became the tool with which you are muzzled, mocked.
In order for science to survive and revive itself, it has to offer a validated and above economic benefit approach. Until then, every attempt to further define uncertainty will be mocked and used against the profession.

B.E.S.T. seems to have ignored incovenient data:comment image

Let’s leave BEST and surface data for an appropriate thread, the topic is OCO2 data. My bad for starting it in response to his “home brew” comment.


Yep. it is only the future of mankind, but gotta keep it PC.


Steven, thanks for a hint.
Additionally there is no point in using Excel in the first place. Proper tools are not that difficult to learn. I’ll throw a challenge for myself to learn some R.

So I downloaded and unzipped Panoply. Went to JPL to download OCO, said I needed Python. Downloaded Python. Proceeded to download OCO. Result was two Python files and a bunch of NC4 files. Panoply will not read the NC4’s and does not recognize the Python.
Plan B: use Python script in Arcmap. Python files riddled with “handshake errors” and will not read.

David L. Hagen

Fred Haynie graphs CO2 variations, trends and uncertainties in Quantifying the anthroprogenic contribution to atmospheric CO2 at Climate Etc.

Thank you very much! Great images, most as expected (interesting behaviour of the Sahara desert though).
But why couldn’t the OCO project provide ths summary?

The Sahara is always low. There is some interesting seasonality in the rest of the world. I didn’t think we would see the highest global CO2 numbers in August/September in the far southern latitudes. Generally, I think this shows greater seasonality around the globe than was previously understood.

Bryan A

Looks like levels build up over time during the winter season, when heating fires are burning strong, then slowly dissipate during the summer months


decaying biomass is the better explanation than anthro-fossil fuel burning. For ex: examine seasonality of West Africa. See for example sparsely populated Northern Canada versus the lower US 48 (fig 7 & 8).
with CO2 sources and sinks, kinetics are what matter, i.e. d([CO2])/dt.

Joel nope, there is simply not enough decaying biomass to explain the rise


If you note the inverse relationship in the Southern hemisphere, I think outgassing of the oceans is the much more likely source.

Olaf Koenders

As is now proven, CO2 doesn’t have a 100, 200 or 1000 year life in the atmosphere, it dissipates pretty quick into local and global sinks. If it didn’t there might not be life on Earth.


“Hans Erren
October 4, 2015 at 12:55 pm
Joel nope, there is simply not enough decaying biomass to explain the rise”
No need for decaying biomass, simply living creatures, such as termites, are enough to produce more methane than all of human activity put together, which quickly oxidises to CO2.

Even termites need food, which was first produced by plants which did take the same CO2 out of the atmosphere weeks to decades before the termites put it back into the atmosphere. If balanced, that doesn’t change the CO2 levels in the atmosphere, but currently the biosphere as a whole is a net sink for CO2…
Even if that was not the case, the observed 110 ppmv increase would need burning/decaying of about 1/3rd of all land vegetation (without ocean sinks)…


yeah thats what I noticed
when its cold up nth youve got heaps
when its cold down sth we have a little bit showing but its in both cases closer to the poles?
so? where did that HUGE? mass of co2 go as it warmed?
cos its not really showing up is it?


Hans, the secular annual rise of 2.1 ppm/year is a combination of ocean degassing and anthro sourced, the net result after the seasonal sources and sink kinetics have played out.
Interpreting the M-L record and known kinetics from tall tower measurements, the seasonal NH 8.3 ppm rise (October – April) is mostly biomass decay, with 6.2 ppm decrease due to the intense sink kinetics of photosynthesis from NH forests, grasslands, agro crops, and wetlands growth.

There is no contribution of the oceans to the increase: first its 13C/12C ratio is too high and should increase the ratio in the atmosphere, while we see a firm decrease in ratio to human emissions. Second, regular ocean measurements show that the oceans are a net sink for CO2:


In the event of the oceans outgassing CO2 it is difficult to see how the pH could be falling because of more atmospheric CO2. There seems to be a bit of a problem here.

Samuel C. Cogar

Your statement claiming that …. “the seasonal NH 8.3 ppm rise (October – April) is mostly biomass decay, with 6.2 ppm decrease due to the intense sink kinetics of photosynthesis from NH forests” ….. is DIRECTLY CONTRARY to the biological activity of decay causing bacteria, yeast and molds. Biomass does not easily rot or decay when kept refrigerated or dry, … such as is the fall and winter months (October – March) in the NH. On the contrary, biological activity causing the rotting and/or decay of dead biomass is at it greatest during the “warm n’ wet” spring and summer months (October – March) in the NH.
And the USDA agrees with me …. and not you, to wit:

United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety
Refrigeration slows bacterial growth. They are in the soil, air, water, and the foods we eat. When they have nutrients (food), moisture, and favorable temperatures, they grow rapidly, ….. Bacteria grow most rapidly in the range of temperatures between 40 and 140 °F,

Samuel C. Cogar

OOPS ….. correction , ….. my ending statement above should have stated …. “during the “warm n’ wet” spring and summer months (April – August) in the NH.”.

The oceans are not contributing to the 2.1 ppm/year rise – they are a net sink, otherwise the 2.1 ppm/year figure would be higher.

We have been there before, but under a pile of snow, rotting bacteria thrive even under -20°C in the outside air of Alaska, as was measured (unfortunately I lost the reference). Further, while there is less bacterial decay in winter, not everywhere it is freezing in the NH after the leaves were falling down. The NH growth and wane is dominated by vegetation, as can be seen in the opposite CO2 and δ13C records over the seasons…

Samuel C. Cogar

We have been there before, but under a pile of snow, rotting bacteria thrive even under -20°C in the outside air of Alaska,

Shur nuff, ….. and when those -20°C Alaska surface air temperatures increase to >0°C in the Springtime (April – June) ….. causing that big pile of snow to melt ….. then all of that sequestered CO2 that was produced during the Wintertime will be outgassed into the atmosphere in one (1) big “burp”.
It is both oxymoronic and silly for you to be claiming that horrendous amounts of CO2 is being outgassed into the atmosphere through the frozen wintertime snowpack of the northern latitudes …… while at the same time you are claiming that the “ice core” CO2 proxies is positive proof of past atmospheric CO2 ppm quantities. Eating your cake and keeping it too, ….. HUH?
Me thinks you should learn for “yourself” how the “original” Swiss Cheese was produced and the actual “cause” that it is full of “holes” ….. to wit:comment image

Humans made shelters from snow/ice to keep themselves warm. Mice survive the coldest Alaskan winters under snow and bacteria simply go on to break down biomass under snow, be it at a lower speed than in summer.
Here an article in the New York Times that describes the research I was referring to:
With such gems like:
Up to a third of yearly CO2 emissions from northern soils can occur in winter, driven by microbes.
…even at several degrees below freezing, soil bacteria are dividing and reproducing, often at rates equal to warmer-weather processes.
As you may know, snow is porous. Migration of CO2 in snow/firn goes on to 70 meter depth and beyond on Antarctic glaciers, until the pores are too small.
Ice is not porous, and CO2 migration in ice cores is from extremely small in “warm” coastal Antarctic cores to none existent in the much colder inland ice like Vostok and Dome C.
Thus please, if the facts change, will you change your opinion, Sir?

Thanks for that comment. Your link reports on NH microbes emitting a large part of the measured CO2.
What is your opinion re: ocean organism CO2 emissions and sinks? The 71% of the planet that is water is teeming with life, from virus size organisms to whales. I suspect that the smaller organisms far outweigh the largest, just as termites far outweigh humans.
So is it not likely that the oceans are the source (and sink) for most CO2 fluctuations?

The CO2 production / use in the ocean surface has two opposite processes: at one side increasing bio-life with increasing temperatures (given sufficient nutrients, which is limited in the tropics), on the other side increasing pCO2 of the ocean surface due to the higher temperatures. For Bermuda and Hawaii, the longer time series show that temperature wins the battle and while in winter the oceans near these places are net sinks for CO2, in summer they are net sources of CO2, despite higher biological activity.
To the NE Atlantic, near the ice edge, ocean waters are biologically very active, despite the colder temperatures, due to the mixing of surface and deep ocean waters by strong winds which gives lots of extra nutrients. The cold temperature also helps in pulling a lot of CO2 out of the atmosphere, which then is removed down into the deep with the sinking waters of the THC (thermohaline circulation).
On the other side of the THC chain, the upwelling in the equatorial Pacific Ocean near the coast of Peru and Chile releases a lot of CO2, although there is a lot of biological activity thanks to the extra nutrients from the deep ocean minerals.
All together, the effect is seasonal more release in summer and uptake in winter, thus temperature is the main driver above bio-life, but net over a full seasonal cycle there is an about 0.5 GtC/year increase of C in the ocean surface waters and about 3 GtC/year is stored into the deep oceans.

Samuel C. Cogar

The following was excerpted from your cited New York Times article so that you could directly focus on my “bold faced” verbiage without being distracted by the intermixed t&p commentary, to wit:
Using trapped pockets of salty water and creating their own antifreeze, bugs are stubborn survivalists.
Up to a third (1/3) of yearly CO2 emissions from northern soils can occur in winter, driven by microbes.
…. previous notions that bacteria in frozen soils …..
Work by Schimel, ———- found that even at several degrees below freezing, soil bacteria are dividing and reproducing, often at rates equal to warmer-weather processes.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that frozen soils (permafrost), long known to store vast reserves of ancient carbon,
And while much of that carbon would only decompose at sustained temperatures above freezing, it is clear that a move from even negative 8 to negative 4 degrees Celsius will spur some decomposition

“Junk science” commentary such as your cited article, irritates the hell out of me, especially when it discredits itself from one (1) paragraph to the next one.
The 2nd excerpted comment above, … all by itself, ….. negates and discredits the CAGW claim that wintertime biological decomposition of dead biomass is directly responsible for the bi-yearly 7/8 ppm average increase in atmospheric CO2 that pretty much occurs each and every year between October 1st and mid-May. DUH, iffen 1/3 of the yearly total equals a 7/8 ppm increase in wintertime atmospheric CO2 …… then the other 2/3 would equal a 14/16 ppm increase in summertime atmospheric CO2.
You can not honestly or intelligently be CLAIMING that the frozen soil is outgassing humongous quantities of CO2 …… but the permafrost is NOT outgassing humongous quantities of CO2.

You are hopeless restricted to only believe your own theory, no matter the arguments show the opposite.
If even in frozen ground some bacteria not only survive, but still reproduce and release CO2, how much CO2 will be released in all those NH forests in fall/winter/early spring where the temperatures are far higher, like where I live with only a few days to weeks of frost?
That 1/3rd is only for parts of the world with a lot of freezing like Alaska / North Canada and North Scandinavia/Russia. The rest of the NH forests simply remain bacterial emitters near all winter, be it at a slower page than at the height of summer. But once photosynthesis gets fully in, it gets dominant for all the summer months, because it must capture at least as much CO2 as the bacteria release over a full year. That is called conservation of mass…

Samuel C. Cogar

how much CO2 will be released in all those NH forests in fall/winter/early spring where the temperatures are far higher, like where I live with only a few days to weeks of frost?

90+% of the NH does NOT enjoy the “warming” benefits of the Gulf Stream such as you do. And your delusional beliefs about “far higher temperatures” can be rectified iffen you can find someone to explain to you the significance of these “plant hardiness” temperature maps, to wit:
And you can extrapolate that “-30F / -20F” zone clear across Russia, northern China, etc.

But once photosynthesis gets fully in, it gets dominant for all the summer months,

So sayith your “fuzzy math” calculations. But the biology of the NH proves your calculated results are 100% wrong.
And ps, you be sure to send an E-mail to all the hundreds of millions of people who own a refrigerator or freezer and tell them that those appliances “do not prevent their food from spoiling” ….. so they might as well get rid of them.

… because it must capture at least as much CO2 as the bacteria release over a full year. That is called conservation of mass…

Ignorance can be fixed, …… but intentional ignorance is pretty much impossible to alter simply because it is driven by passionate religious beliefs and/or funded intere$ts of the person in question. And ps, Mother Nature does not care one “twit” about your “conservation of mass” thingy. Maybe the Flying Spaghetti Monster cares, ….. but I wouldn’t know.

Am I reading this right:
The hemisphere that is enjoying summer shows less overall CO2 level?

Yes, that’s called photosynthesis.

I almost never “LOL” on blogs, but that earns a hearty one!

I never would have expected it to show up so well, knowing that CO2 is such a “well mixed” gas.


Easy buddy, they might not know much about photosynthesis, but they might know where to aim to hit a deer at 250 yards with a 10 mph crosswind, and put food on the table.


But the highest readings over the northern hemisphere were between FEB and MAY when oceanic spring bloom occurr. and when deciduous trees are bringing their leaves back.


At crucilandia,
“But the highest readings over the northern hemisphere were between FEB and MAY “,
I wonder if the spring thaw contributes? the exposure of soils and rotting leaves etc from the fall after been covered for 4-6 months with ice and snow. ( Hey there gotta be a grant in that, “Ice and snow melt in Spring causes increase of C02 and contributes to Climate Change”)


Given that everything is more complicated than we think, it’s worth noting that between a third and two thirds of the CO2 that is absorbed each day by plants is quickly returned to the air through respiration.
The percentage of photoassimilate devoted to structural growth as compared to respiration varies considerably according to the developmental stage of the plant, and storage (in roots and seeds etc) of photosynthates is generally more efficient than is vegetative growth.
Perhaps, that might result in patterns of atmospheric CO2 that are influenced by things like the preponderance of annual crops, as opposed to scrub or forest, and who knows what else?
Temperatures above a certain range for different species are thought to influence the photosynthesis/respiration ratio towards reduced efficiency.


Anthony Watts
October 4, 2015 at 8:31 am
“Yes, that’s called photosynthesis.”
Sorry Anthony, But from my point of view and my understanding the above has a high chance of being not correct.
The “Lion share” either in sinking or emissions of CO2, as far as I know, remains with the oceans, especially in short term and seasonal term.
The actual relation between the variation of sinking and emissions decides the outcome of concentration.
Still the main player is the oceans behavior, which in turn generally is “dictated” by the state of the ocean/atmosphere coupling energy balance.
In this kind of view angle, oceans are bound to emit more energy towards the atmosphere during the winter than the summer as the atmosphere much cooler during the winter, especially in regard to ocean/atmosphere energy balance coupling. Therefor emitting more CO2 too towards the atmosphere during the winter, or during the colder period of the year.
Also, contemplating that the variation of the CO2 sinking as a significant force towards the outcome of CO2 concentration can be assumed, but is no where to be shown or proved by the data, as far as I can tell, that is.
But in the case of the variation of the emissions as a forcing towards the CO2 concentration variation is considered as an indisputable fact, as far as I can tell.
Maybe I am wrong but I can’t see, for the best of me, how the photosynthesis can have such a significant impact on the atmospheric CO2 concentrations under any given circumstances…..
Hope you do not mind my reply to you, in this particular point.

Don’t underestimate the quantities involved…
The seasonal changes can be estimated and the attribution of the changes between ocean surface and biosphere can be done by following the O2 and δ13C patterns. That shows that some 50 GtC (~25 ppmv) is going in and out the ocean surface layer and some 60 GtC (~30 ppmv) is going out and in the fast growth and wane of the biosphere. As the CO2 fluxes for ocean surface and biosphere are opposite for the same temperature changes, the difference of ~10 GtC (~5 ppmv global) is what you see as direct result of the seasonal changes (~1°C global) where the NH extra-tropical forests dominate the scene.
Does that influence the long-term CO2 levels? Hardly. Despite the huge increase of ~70 ppmv, the seasonal CO2 amplitude only slightly increased over the past 55 years:
Even less for the opposite δ13C changes over the seasons (which proves that the changes are dominated by the biosphere, not by the oceans):
Note that the times scales for δ13C are shorter than for CO2, as systematic δ13C measurements started much later than CO2 measurements…
The increase (CO2) / decrease (δ13C) at the end of the seasonal cycle is caused by a low-13C source independent of the cycle and only is additive. As the biosphere as a whole is a net sink for CO2 over time (the earth is greening) and preferentially 12CO2, that leaves relative more 13CO2 in the atmosphere, thus can’t be the source of the low-13C addition. Neither can the oceans, as the δ13C of the oceans is too high…

Samuel C. Cogar

Maybe I am wrong but I can’t see, for the best of me, how the photosynthesis can have such a significant impact on the atmospheric CO2 concentrations under any given circumstances…..

You are not wrong.
The fact is, it is biologically impossible for the NH spring and summer CO2 absorbing photosynthesis activity …. to greatly outpace … the CO2 emitting microbial decomposition of dead biomass.
Both processes are highly dependent upon warm temperatures and moist conditions …. but the photosynthesis activity is highly dependent upon the solar irradiance (Sunshine) … whereas the microbial decomposition activity is not. Thus the latter activity can function 24 hours/day …. whereas the former activity can not.
And another fact is, “springtime” microbial decomposition activity will always begin one (1) to three (3) weeks earlier than the photosynthesis activity.

The fact is, it is biologically impossible for the NH spring and summer CO2 absorbing photosynthesis activity …. to greatly outpace … the CO2 emitting microbial decomposition of dead biomass.
Samuel, as the bacteria only can decompose what was formed in the previous year(s), I think that the spring/summer/autumn photosynthesis must store as much or more CO2 than the bacteria can decompose over a full year…

G. Karst

I am amazed at the speed plants suck down the CO2. Whatever the absolute resident time of CO2, it’s effective or biological resident time is obviously short. GK

Knowing what NASA, NOAA and James Hansen have done with sea level and temperature releases can we really trust the data they release as far as CO2 measurements have not been “corrected”?


Certainly a lot of effort into this by you and thanks for publishing it.
The only problem I have is trust in the data. Is it actually the “raw” data or is it “adjusted raw data”?
You would expect the seasonal changes as vegetation grows and dies, but are the numbers actually the numbers or are the higher than actual?
We spend billions each year on gathering data and billions more discrediting it.


I agree, Mr Swensen deserves a big vote of thanks. I tried to work my way through all of the official files regarding OCO-2 and found making sense of the data files a bit overwhelming. Now I need to look at these data maps for a while and try and understand what is going on.
Yes indeed JohnWho, “well mixed” doesn’t seem very appropriate does it.


I second that vote of thanks and greatly appreciate the effort in “Visualizing” it. About 25 years ago I tried to take the CIA World map database and have it draw the globe (flat) mostly because of the 8086 processor it took over a month mostly because to get it to work. Could never get what I would call a commercial grade display, but I learned a lot.

And that “well mixed” doesn’t seem very appropriate does it is in 2D, which really makes me wonder how much more clumpiness would be seen if we could resolve the data in 3 dimensions. I’d be surprised if the GCMs didn’t assume CO2 density fell off gradually with altitude, If OCO2 data doesn’t support well mixed in 2 dimensions, then well mixed in 3D is suspect as well.

Paul Jackson
Besides the seasonal changes and the SH lag after the NH increases, one can find about the same CO2 levels between zero and 30 km over the oceans and above a few hundred meters and 30 km over land. The main variability is in the first few hundred meters over land where the fastest huge sources and sinks are (250-500 ppmv day/night changes under inversion, mainly due to vegetation). See e.g. the flight measurements from a few valleys in the Rockies:
The measurements above some 600 m are within a few ppmv from the measurements at Mauna Loa at 6000 km distance…

Erik Swenson

That is difficult to say. There is a pretty sophisticated model used to derive the co2 from the data. I made no attempt to understand what was going on there. The data I presented is the official processed data from NASA. This is from the “LITE” data set where they have thrown out data they don’t trust. These are the “best” quality data points.
I tried to process the full data set, but it is 600GB or something like that.

michael hart

Keep a copy of that 600GB, Erik. Just in case….
Seirously, many thanks for making the effort to do this. Plenty to think about.

Charles Samuels

After looking at the plots, it is understandable why NASA did not publish. I eagerly wait for someone to make sense of this.


From what I can see, Canada and Australia show very low Co2 emissions. They were supposed to be two of the most evil, vile, earth destroying, carbon emitting nations on the planet.
This is hilarious.

The takeaways is obvious:
The UN/IPCC must immediately launch an attack with all its divisions, including armor and air power, against China and Africa. Those evil places are poisoning the air!

G. Karst

LOL The oil sands seem to have disappeared from the map. GK

Gerald Machnee

RE Klem:
If you refer to per capita emissions, Canada is high but the absolute total compared to China is low.


I still don’t see how Australia can be the”most evil, earth destroying, carbon [dioxide] emitting nation on the planet. I can only think that someone in calculating our emissions has added in the coal that we export for China and Japan as part of our CO2 emissions, but omitted it in respect of coal fr9om Brazil and oil from the Gulf states. It is not as if we have much manufacturing industry any longer (the Carbon Tax and union intransigence plus a high dollar is killing our car industry, which is to shut down in 2017).
Interesting to note in one of the figures a ‘hot spot’ in Iceland – what this when a volcano was erupting? And China shows up as a ‘hot spot’ in almost all figures. Not surprising – I think it has been said that China’s extra CO2 emissions each year are more than Australia’s total emissions.

Thanks for these great images, Anthony. There is undoubtedly a close corellation between convective cloud formation and high CO2-values. In images 5 and 6 we see that the highest values occur in the Intertropical Convergent Zone (Africa) and also along the NH westerlies, along the Polar warm and cold fronts. These are locations where large masses of air rises upwards. The stationary anicyclones (high-pressure regions) appear as low-CO2- zones. This is because the air masses move in the opposite direction: from high elevation to lower elevation ( e.g., compression). No CO2 is gained in such atmospheric conditions.

Pamela Gray

In the context of human sourced causes, that are supposed to be nearly continuous in terms of fossil fuel use, these graphs make little sense when compared to driving, heating, cooling, or industrial patterns. In the context of global “greening” patterns where flora and fauna contexts are considered, these graphs make more sense.

A C Osborn

Pamela, you have to remember what percentage Human CO2 represents compared to natural CO2.
Termites put out more CO2 that tne whole of humanity.

Yes, but the whole biosphere, including termites, is a net sink for CO2, the earth is greening…
The point is that the total seasonal cycle is a net sink, both for the biosphere as for the oceans, while human emissions are one-way additional…

And yet, it has been assumed that, that natural production balances out over time, and a very long term accumulation of human inputs explains the rise. This, when a fraction of natural imbalance can easily overwhelm the human contribution.
We are a small boy peeing in a river, and taking credit for its increased flow.

And, Ferdinand weighs in again with the absolutely ridiculous faux mass balance argument, which has been completely discredited time and time again.


Way to throw in the distraction bomb. Mass who ? The pope just had a major mass. Seemed weighty.
As long as you try to diffuse a social justice warrior with increasingly rabbit hole lines of debate (even if valid) you are losing.
Aim higher. Between the eyes is a good start.
How about ….
“Ya know, I hear ya. This CO2 debate has fallen off the rails. I’m not even sure you will get a better life if CO2 taxes are applied. I get that you want a better life. The question becomes HOW do we do that.”
You opponent will be stunned for a moment that you recognize his suffering and you may actually get past the CO2 nonsense. For a little while at least until the money changers realize you are messing with their current cash cow.


The mass of the Carbon on the earth must be balanced. PERIOD, unless you can explain to me how significant amounts of additional Carbon can be added to the earth. e.g. Fission, fusion, ????

Use your brain. You cannot perform a true mass balance unless you account for every reservoir and assign its proper sources and sinks. The faux mass balance purveyors are guilty of an egregious misattribution of natural sink activity, and a stunningly inept conclusion from a simplistic premise.

See discussion of faux mass balance argument below.

Ferdinand says:
…the earth is greening…
And it’s largely due to the CO2 added by human activity. So when Ferdinand writes:
…human emissions are one-way additional.
I say, Good! Even though we didn’t know for sure at first if the added CO2 was a net benefit or a net negative that would result in global harm, the answer is now becoming very clear: more CO2 is a net benefit. The planet is measurably greening concurrenly with the rise in CO2.
And so far, no one has been able to identify any global harm from the rise in CO2, which anyway has risen from only 3 parts in 10,000 to 4 parts in 10,000, over a century or so.
Thus, we can confidently say that the added CO2 is ‘harmless’.
If Ferdinand or anyone else can produce verifiable evidence of global harm due to higher CO2 levels, I will reconsider, and change my mind if warrented. That is the primary difference between skeptics of the global warming scare, and climate alarmists. The second group will never change its mind, no matter how much evidence is presented.


I am in no way an expert, but I have to agree with dbstealey. I have seen far too many pictures of state and national parks taken 100 years ago [they are old daguerreotype and the early antique (<1900) stereoscope photos]. There are now twice and probably three times as many trees in these national preserves. Look at the old photos and Currier and Ives prints of the west – same – few trees on the mountains back then – now they are covered. And every few months I read another paper about how this or that country is greener.


To usurbrain, yes there are a lot more trees in national lands than there were 100 years ago. That is because the NPS, BLM and Forest Service have instituted a disastrous fire policy of putting out every fire that occurs on the lands that they control. I spoke to a NPS ranger at Bryce Canyon and he said that the number of trees in the forest there were 10 to 20 times higher than they would be if left to natural fire control. Frequent small fires were what we had until Teddy Roosevelt’s administration. Allowing the forests to be overgrown means we now have catastrophic fires that sterilize the land rather than small fires that the trees were evolved to exist with.

I didn’t use the words “mass balance” anywhere. That the earth is greening is confirmed by satellites and that the oceans are net sinks for CO2 is confirmed by over 3 million samples… Your “mass balance” which should include a 4-fold increase in natural circulation lacks even one observation to be confirmed…


The point is that the total seasonal cycle is a net sink, both for the biosphere as for the oceans, while human emissions are one-way additional
in other words, without humans the world will run out of CO2. Photosynthesis will come to an end, and all plants and animals will become extinct.
If nature is a net sink, then life is not sustainable.

The world would not go out of CO2, but may go to dangerous low levels, depending of temperature. During glacial periods, we were at 180 ppmv, which is at the edge of survival for C3 plants. Fortunately the average CO2 levels over land in the first few hundred meters are higher than background, due to plant decay by bacteria.
That nature is a current sink is only because we are way higher in CO2 level than (historically) “normal” for the current (ocean surface) temperature. As long as that is the case, nature will remain a sink in ratio to the increase with a e-fold decay rate of ~50 years.

There are plenty of references supporting the theory that more CO2 is causing a greening of the planet. As a direct result, food costs are being held down. Agricultural productivity is rising in lockstep with rising CO2.
Some folks think that a plant grows from dirt. It doesn’t. When you plant a seed in a pot, the plant grows almost entirely from the CO2 in the air (there are a few trace minerals the plant takes from the soil).
If the plant used the dirt in the pot, the soil level would decline. It doesn’t. Just about all of the plant is built from airborne CO2. That applies from microscopic plankton to giant Sequoias. They have built their starches, sugars, cellulose, etc. from CO2 in the air.
So it is not surprising that more CO2 is greening the biosphere. There is solid, measurable evidence of that. Here are a few peer reviewed papers explaining it:

CO2 fertilisation has increased maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments. Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. …Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5% to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analysed to remove the effect of variations in rainfall, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%.
A Global Assessment of Long-Term Greening and Browning Trends in Pasture Lands Using the GIMMS LAI3g Dataset
Our results suggest that degradation of pasture lands is not a globally widespread phenomenon and, consistent with much of the terrestrial biosphere, there have been widespread increases in pasture productivity over the last 30 years.
Analysis of trends in fused AVHRR and MODIS NDVI data for 1982–2006: Indication for a CO2 fertilization effect in global vegetation… The effect of climate variations and CO2 fertilization on the land CO2 sink, as manifested in the RVI, is explored with the Carnegie Ames Stanford Assimilation (CASA) model. Climate (temperature and precipitation) and CO2 fertilization each explain approximately 40% of the observed global trend in NDVI for 1982–2006…
…However, this study hypothesizes that the increase in CO2 might be responsible for the increase in greening and rainfall observed. This can be explained by an increased aerial fertilization effect of CO2 that triggers plant productivity and water management efficiency through reduced transpiration. Also, the increase greening can be attributed to rural–urban migration which reduces the pressure of the population on the land.
doi: 10.1007/s10113-013-0473-z
“…the increase in gross primary productivity (GPP) in response to a doubling of CO2 from preindustrial values is very likely (90% confidence) to exceed 20%, with a most likely value of 40–60%…”

The rise in CO2 has been, and continues to be, a net benefit to the biosphere. There has been no global damage or harm as a result of the rise in that beneficial trace gas, which has been up to 20X higher in the geologic past — without ever causing runaway global warming.
Conclusion: the climate alarmist crowd began with a wrong premise; that CO2 is a problem. They went so far as to get it classified as “pollution”. But they were wrong.
More CO2 is a good thing. It remains a tiny trace gas, measured in parts per million. But it is as essential to life on earth as H2O.
Honest scientists admit it when their premise is disproved. The ones who keep arguing in support of the CO2=CAGW conjecture have traded honesty for financial benefits.
What else is there to say?


“Honest scientists admit it when their premise is disproved. The ones who keep arguing in support of the CO2=CAGW conjecture have traded honesty for financial benefits.
What else is there to say?”
Your a good writer DB, but you slipped up at the end. Good science goes off and has a theory which it then goes and tries to test, prove if you will.
What happenned here is that a preemptive strike took place where CAGW was theorized, then corrupted without validation by the 97% and codified via CO2. I remember when it was proposed in the USA. It was a big deal and bam, Healthcare stole the attention. CO2 proposals dwaddled on behind the scenes. Masterful execution as CO2 passed with a relative whisper … the populace exhausted by the Healthcare drama.
Good science was left mouth gaping at the hinges in disbelief. They were then baited to disprove it. A near impossible task because the period of observation is over decades into the future. There will always be some degree of uncertainty which will represent unacceptable risk. Got ya by the short hairs.
I normally don’t post and did alot during the past week. I primarily wanted to understand why a brilliant collection of thinkers was struggling with making the facts rise. I enjoyed reading your writings and will look for them in the future.
The next steps in the blitzkreig will be increasing skill at measuring the CO2 bogeyman, fines for the violators and “free” market trades in carbon tax. Spoils for the victors.
Somewhere along the line, a country will rebel, refuse to pay, get hit with escalating sanctions and there will be war.
Down the line, the climate will change to a likely colder norm and CO2=CAGW will be debunked. We will wonder why we killed each other over such drivel, promise to create a truly independent science foundation and do well for awhile. In many ways the separation of politics/profit and science will remind people of the separation of church and state.
The opponent has accomplished an impressive blitzkrieg. They are stronger. Most battles with stronger opponents get won by dragging out submission and making it expensive for the stronger one.
I hope it cold quicker than the speed of escalating conflict.
This is going to get ugly before it gets better.
Obama is right but for the wrong reasons. This is the greatest threat to mankind at the moment.


@Bartemis I am no faux mass balance purveyor just don’t see 4% 0f 0.04% doing much of anything to the climate. Other than killing all life once it goes below about 180 and by Greening the Earth like it was many million years ago> Back when soil that was essentially volcanic rock, water and CO2 covered the planet which then sequestered 95% of the Earths CO2 into the ground and is now the coal that we are burning – So just how is burning less than 2 -4% of that coal upsetting the faux mass balance? And again my original question “Where is any NEW carbon coming from?” Looks like your mind is closed.
Might want to look into the thousands of coal fires that are burning underground. It also makes CO2, adding to the global CO2 inventory why no effort to extinguish those fires?

It surprises me that CO2 peaks in the Spring and swings back to lows in late Summer. Does Summer vegetation completely consume the CO2 or is it merely dissipating?

It is dissipating, see eg the mauna loa curve
Below animation has been around for some years, which is what we see in the global oco observations

Louis Hunt

“Dissipate” means to disperse or scatter. Why would dissipation be seasonal? Surely your graph is showing the affects of photosynthesis during the summer season as Anthony said. If not, please explain how you think CO2 “dissipates” during summer months only.

Well clearly part of the NH peak dissipates (spreads out) over the globe, and part is taken up by by vegetation.

Stan Vinson,
Yes, CO2 is largely consumed by living organisms. Not just on land; it is estimated that there are several million organisms (including viruses) per cc of ocean surface water (the number diminishes with depth). That’s a lot of mouths hungry for CO2, and that’s just the oceans.
Prof Freeman Dyson wrote that a cornfield will stop growing without CO2 in the air, and that the ambient CO2 is entirely consumed within five minutes. If it were not for breezes, corn would take years to mature.
Except for engineers, most folks just don’t grasp the concept of how important that 0.0004 of the air is. Even though CO2 is only 0.04% of the air, it is so essential that if it droped below 0.02%, animals would have nothing to eat.
Conversely, if CO2 increased to 0.08% (extremely unlikely, given the availability of easily extracted fossil fuels), it would be a net benefit to the biosphere. All plants grow using CO2 to build thieir cellulose, sugars and starches. Ag productivity would explode with 800 ppm CO2.
Further, there is no evidence whatever that the current rise in CO2 has been harmful in any way. If it weren’t for very sensitive instruments, no one would know if CO2 was 200 ppm, 500 ppm, or 1200 ppm. Only the plants would know.

@Hans Erren
The number I’ve most often seen as the threshold of cessation of most terrestrial plants being able to photosynthesize is 170 ppm CO2. dbstealey apparently rounded that up to .02%.
Thank you for your chart. It shows quite clearly that we have experienced the lower limit of plant viability all too often.
Thankfully, we are experiencing a CO2 rebound.
Certainly, you would not want to see terrestrial plants no longer able to photosynthesize?
(It’s not my name, it’s just a nym.)

Correction, my reply is to Christopher Keating, not Hans Erren.
(First post, sorry about the confusion.)

Bill Treuren

The undiscussed but most significant force is the oceans they outgas CO2 when heated but also “fix” CO2 through photosynthesis and more so when warm and sunny.
Fe seeding is the big story 70% of the world would be plenty to fix this problem.
The problem with Fe seeding is that its a capitalist solution and this is not a debate about the “green” world its about the “red” world.


>>is it merely dissipating?
I don’t see it dissipating much. Look at the sub-Saharan hotspot. It remains a hotspot from November to May. Now the surface winds would disperse any block of atmosphere over Africa within a week or two, and spread it all over the oceans and beyond.
But the hotspot does not spread, it remains over Africa. Which means these maps must be showing almost instantaneous production of CO2, rather than a historic build-up over several months.


But the hotspot does not spread, it remains over Africa. Which means these maps must be showing almost instantaneous production of CO2, rather than a historic build-up over several months.”
In a very general sense, wouldn’t the heating of the air in such a region cause it to rise, and so create a general influx of air from surrounding areas to take it’s place, which might then appear as if showing almost instantaneous production of CO2, during the times when the surrounding areas have a hi8gh CO2 level?

Midst the hotspot is Nigeria, an oil producing land with lots of gas flares, oil leaks (mostly sabotage), and lots of illegal oil distilleries (from the “leaks”). The strange part is that it is less pronounced than the neighbors in the full year plot.
I wonder in how far the CO2 levels measured are from such hotspots, but driven away with wind and measured at a distance from the real source by the satellite…

Samuel C. Cogar

It surprises me that CO2 peaks in the Spring and swings back to lows in late Summer.

It is not so surprising if one considers the FACT that it has been doing that “steadily and consistent” cycling each and every year for the past 57 years, …. as per the Keeling Curve data proves, ….. and was surely doing likewise during the previous 100 years (pre-1958) … and will surely continue doing the same for the foreseeable future.
And the other “surprises” is the fact that the CO2 most always peaks within ten (10) days of mid-May of each year ….. and most always decreases to its low point within ten (10) days after the Autumnal equinox on September 23rd of each year.
The highly variable hotosynthesis activity …. and/or biomass decay activity in the Northern Hemisphere …. DOES NOT adequately explain that steadily and consistent bi-yearly cycling of atmospheric CO2.

The opposite CO2 and δ13C changes show that it is vegetation growth and decay which is the dominant cause of the seasonal variability:
Be it that both the seasonal ocean surface fluxes (~50 GtC in and out) and the biosphere fluxes (~60 GtC out and in) are both huge, but opposite to each other. Therefore the ~10 GtC excess from the biosphere dominates and the measured change in the atmosphere is rather modest.

Samuel C. Cogar

Keep your little finger off of your Mass Balance scales whenever you are weighing those ocean and biosphere “fluxes”.
Fer shame, fer shame, ….. insuring you get the “correct” quantities to justify your claims.

In this case it is not that difficult to make a balance: increasing photosynthesis uses CO2 and produces O2 (and increases δ13C). O2 changes can be measured. After accounting for O2 use from fossil fuel burning and O2 degassing from the oceans with higher temperatures. The difference with what is measured as increase in the atmosphere is captured by the oceans, as all other sinks are either too small or too slow. That can be plotted for the period 1990-2000:

Forgot to add the reference:
The full text is free after registration…

Well done Australia for being a carbon sink all year around.


Bully for you, Australia!

Louis Hunt

GOSAT data from a Japanese satellite also showed Australia to be one of the world’s biggest carbon sinks.

Michael Jankowski

At first glance, I am struck by the differences from month-to-month. Do the readings at Mauna Loa concur with the data over Hawaii?
Why do they lop-off the data near the poles?

Bubba Cow

here’s access to the CO2 data: (Mauna Loa and others)

Bubba Cow

Data loss around the poles probably relates to our magnetic field but my question is seeing that it takes 19 days and 233 orbits how many times do they measure the same C02 molecule, or is there a formula for that?


sorry 16 days, me bad.

The satellite measures CO2 in daylight, not available halve the year near the poles.
Probably not the same molecules, but similar concentrations, as that doesn’t change that fast…


I hear there is a plan in the works to issue each molecule a national ID card, so this will soon eliminate this as a cause for concern.
They will run, but not be able to hide.


Yes yes !!
I try to steer clear of satire because it leads to a pile of pithy meaningless comments typically expressing residual anger. This one was awesome. Maybe Harvard is already beginning the undergraduate course design for molecule auditors.
Can you see how easy it is to bait the natural uncertainty that exists in the pursuit of science ?
Science by its very nature is nothing more than a pursuit of reducing uncertainty. That pursuit is being turned against you.
I can hear it now
“I don’t want any of that nasty excess CO2 in my breathing zone. It is holding me back from achieving the lifestyle you already have. If you can’t keep it at bay you need to pay me for that injustice.”

Erik Swenson

I “eyeballed” it. It at least follows the right seasonal trends. That is one method I used to make sure my program was rendering correctly. I did not compare the exact amounts though.

Well done!
I wrote JPL in August asking when they would be releasing more data and imagery, and got a reply in September from their media relations contact. I guess it’s okay to share:

Thank you for your message, and my apologies for the delayed response. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) mission team has been delivering science products to the community at large since the beginning of the calendar year, as planned.  The team has used some of the fastest computers on Earth to update and make available as complete a data set as possible, one that begins September of last year and continues to grow each day.  Scientists from around the world have been downloading this data. Our team is now working with these scientists to validate those products against other, internationally-recognized standards.  This is a necessary and time-consuming process. Our objective is to complete that process by the time that we have the data needed to describe a full annual cycle. The science community will then have enough data to start looking for the large, regional-scale sources (emitters) and sinks (absorbers) of CO2.  At least one full annual cycle is needed for this, because most components of the natural carbon cycle absorb CO2 during some seasons (spring and fall in the northern hemisphere) and release comparable amounts of CO2 in other seasons.
Over the next couple of months, we will be releasing a number of new OCO-2 visual products to the public. Stay tuned! And thanks for your interest in the mission.

I could have done without the back-patting about the fastest computers on Earth (last I checked, the fastest one is in China), because I doubt that’s necessary for going from raw data to data points. Nor did I see any good reason for holding off releasing data until a year’s worth is available other than reducing the handwaving and speculation that goes along with incomplete results.
Heck, the New Horizons folks at have been releasing photos from Pluto as soon as they come in and everyone has survived the speculation over the early low resolution photos just fine.
Thank you very, very much for this effort and also for posting it on WUWT.

b fagan

On the OCO-2 mission site they include a link to their science validation plan. In there they mention the following “Data Characterization” phase of validation using a year’s worth of real data prior to releasing to the public. So they are on schedule. Better to validate before release than after. Looking forward to good science from this project.
“The final step of data testing is the Data Characterization phase, which uses a large percentage of
the full data set (approximately one year of data). The metrics and plots are similar to the
previous steps of testing. Examining the effects of atmospheric properties such as aerosols,
clouds, humidity and temperature to provide insight into their effects on bias and data quality are
a key component of this round of testing. There will be a large amount of data available to
improve the data screening criteria and provide this information to the data users.”


JPL wants to release some stuff after COP21 of course. They don’t want any distractions from The Script, worst of all inconvenient but measured data.

Global, atmospheric or tropospheric CO2? Or never mind, it’s unevenly mixed.


In these plots CO2 varies mostly by a few percent from 400ppm, maximum plus or minus 3.75%. So I would say it is ‘well-mixed’, especially compared to water vapor which averages around 5000ppm but can vary from zero to 50000ppm, depending on altitude, temperature and the weather/climate.
I think the vivid contrast of the plots, designed to accentuate small changes, makes it look more ‘unmixed’.


That dark red and black looks quite alarming.


Pastels and earth tones would be much more soothing. Perhaps a nice khaki for the high side, and a pistachio for the low?

George E. Smith

Sorry. 3.75% of earth’s real Temperature and its variations, is huge compared with the way les than 1% that it is suppose to have changed in the last 150 years.
To me, the OCO-2 maps show CO2 isn’t even approximately well mixed.


Must you use NASA’s color spectrum?
0-402.5 ppm is not covered by the spectrum, rather ~385-~415 ppm. Bright red to yellow represents about a 5 ppm difference, which I doubt has any significance.



Yes, it is a well-mixed gas. The differences are small. But there is no reason to use a color scheme which does not show clearly what differences there are. If you want a monochrome picture, there is no need to do the calculation.

Erik Swenson

If the range is broadened to that extent, everything will wash out. The significance of small deltas is probably not important as you say, but this is a visualization tool. If the whole image is green, it does not tell you much.


I don’t think there is much to tell.


While we are on the subject of CO2 levels – yet again, maybe some-one could clarify the following for me. Pre-industrial levels of CO2 were 270 ish ppm and now we are approaching 400ppm. but I’ve also read that human generated CO2 is only 3 – 4 % of the total. Has our 4% generated the whole 130ppm increase on its own or am I being thick? Also has anyone done any calculations/guesstimates on how much extra CO2 is in the atmosphere due to:the decrease in greenery caused by deforestation, urban sprawl, etc, Just this week in the UK there were complaints that the green belt around our cities was being rapidly eroded due to more than ever planning permission being given to more buildings.

Pamela Gray

Actually the globe has been greening up.

Thanks for the link, Pamela Grey.
Donohue et al. conclude:
The increase in water use efficiency of photosynthesis with rising Ca has long been anticipated to lead to increased foliage cover in warm, arid environments and both satellite and ground observations from the world’s range lands reveal widespread changes toward more densely vegetated and woodier landscapes. Our results suggest that Ca has played an important role in this greening trend and that, where water is the dominant limit to growth, cover has increased in direct proportion to the CO2-driven rise in Wp. This CO2 fertilization cover effect warrants consideration as an important land surface process.
The results reported here for warm, arid regions do not simply translate to other environments where alternative resource limitations (e.g., light, nutrients, temperature) might dominate, although the underlying theory remains valid (equations (1)–(3)). The remaining challenges are to develop a more general understanding of how the increase in Ca is shared between Al and El
in environments that are not warm and arid and to develop capacity to quantify the multiple potential flow-on effects of fertilization in these environments, such as widespread changes in surface albedo, an increase in fire fuel loads for a given P, and possible reductions in stream
flows due to enhanced rooting systems.
Overall, our results confirm that the direct biochemical impact of the rapid increase in Ca over the last 30 years on terrestrial vegetation is an influential and observable land surface process


According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the flux into the atmosphere resulting from fossil fuel burning constitutes 2.5% of the total flux only. If you include deforestation, this adds to 3.27%. These numbers are estimates though, not measured numbers. The goal of OCO-2 and GOSAT (Japan) is to measure it, also to investigate the natural flow of CO2 through the whole system. According to [2], nature absorbs 83% of human emissions, which would leave 17% of the 3.27% unabsorbed, which is 0.55% of the total flux. This is also an estimate, to be verified (or otherwise) by OCO-2 and GOSAT measurements. If the atmospheric residence of CO2 in the atmosphere is only between 5 and 15 years, human activities would have contributed little to the atmospheric CO2 today, most of it being due to soil and ocean outgassing.
[1] Amy Kaleita, “Sense and Sequestration: the Carbon Cycle Explained,” Pacific Research Institute, November 2006
[2] doi:10.5194/essdd-7-521-2014
[3] doi:10.1021/ef800581r

The residence time of CO2 has nothing to do with the decay rate of an extra shot of CO2 above equilibrium for the current temperature. The e-fold decay rate for the current 110 ppmv extra is a net sink rate of ~2.15 ppmv. That gives an e-fold decay time of ~50 years.
The residence time only shows the average time that any CO2 molecule, whatever the source, remains in the atmosphere before swapped with a CO2 molecule from another reservoir. That says nothing about the total quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere. Only the difference after a full seasonal cycle does influence the amounts…
Both the biosphere as a whole and the oceans are net sinks for CO2, not sources.

George E. Smith

At the north pole, CO2 drops by about 18-20 ppm in about five months That yields a time constant that is more like 35 months. And the 99% decay time would be 15 years tops.
200 years is baloney.
But in any case both CO2 and H2O are permanent components of earth’s atmosphere.

Different processes at work…
The seasonal sinks and sources are 100% caused by temperature and that are very fast processes like the release and uptake by the ocean’s surface and the growth and decay of leaves, but their contribution to the net sink of any extra CO2 is near zero: there is hardly any change in the seasonal amplitude between 55 years ago and today. All what happens is that some 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere is swapped with CO2 from other reservoirs. That gives the (molecular) residence time of ~5 years.
The real sink capacity is directly proportional to the extra CO2 pressure in the atmosphere and that is a much slower process: the CO2 that sinks into the deep oceans and doesn’t return in the foreseeable future and the buildup of biomass by vegetation. That process has an e-fold decay of slightly over 50 years or a half life of some 40 years.

The 4% is one-way additional each year to the full natural seasonal cycle (which is largely dominated by the NH vegetation as the images show). The net result of the natural cycle is that about halve the human emissions are removed in oceans and vegetation, resp. some 3.5 and 1 GtC/year, while humans currently emit ~9 GtC/year. Thus yes, humans are responsible for almost all of the increase since the start of the industrial revolution, despite that in each year the emissions are only a small part of the natural cycle…
See further:


Thanks for the info
Harrow Sceptic


October 4, 2015 at 8:52 am
…..Also has anyone done any calculations/guesstimates on how much extra CO2 is in the atmosphere due to:the decrease in greenery caused by deforestation, urban sprawl, etc,…..

Deforestation V greening of the biosphere. See what the peer review says here.
By Dr. James Hansen – 31 March 2013 – HuffPo


Nice work. Pretty pictures.
Will it help me locate which houses I can buy and rent to the disenfranchised ?
I’m counting on that CO2 tax model when I do my ROR.
Why is it that scientists are so easily abused by people who want to take advantage of them ? Did you go into the trade because the politics of human behavoir were beneath your intellect ? Are you so weak that you feel victimized ?
You are paying the price right here, right now if that was your reason.
Get mad bro.

Yeah. Evenly mixed horizontally all right. How about vertically?

Once about a few hundred meters above ground, there is little difference in CO2 levels up to some 30 km height…

I am sure NASA will release the graphs closer to the Greenpeace / WWF aka IPCC meeting in December, so there will be no time to figure out how they adjusted it to make it looks like: “We are to blame”!


I am sure you are correct. What a waste of money the so-called scientists are.

Jeremy Poynton

To be precise, “What a waste of OUR money the so-called scientists are.”


We can expect nothing less … given the egregious delay in generating imagery (as in they’ve actually published next to b****r-all). This effort is simply brilliant and NASA political maneuverings simply reek.


Yes, Australia is a net CO2 sequestering continent. This is discussed in detail in [1], the data based on the Japanese GOSAT results. South America is a net CO2 sequestering continent too. This is mentioned in [1] as well.
A question regarding the graphics above. Are they all scaled to the same scale? If not, meaningful comparisons are hard to make.
Observe the role of the ocean, e.g., in figures 7, 8, 9 and 10. Also, observe how little CO2 emission there is in the US, EU and China in summer, in spite of all the travel (car and air), air conditioning and general industrial activity (figures 9 and 10). This pretty much exonerates human activity as being the CO2 culprit.
[1] doi:10.1260/0958-305X.26.3.457

I am also curious as to why the polar data is missing. It would seem the data would be most dense for the pole.
As for the presented data, I don’t see how rising global temperatures would be a bad thing. The warmer the Northern Hemisphere gets, the longer the plants remain green and the more CO2 they can absorb, thus reducing the greenhouse effect over a greater duration during the year. Long cold winters are the real problem as far as increasing CO2. But obviously, there is a natural balance between them.

I am not sure, but the OCO-2 satellite only measures the CO2 radiation levels at the height of the day. As the poles are half of the year in the dark, it may not make sense to measure them…


If OCO-2 only measures when the sun is high in the sky… that never happens near the poles.


The spectrometer geometry at the poles is no good – it’s all explained in the documentation.


…then that settles it
There’s entirely too many plants.


Interesting mappings. Shows nicely what nature is doing but probably not so much what people are emitting. If, as I understand it, people are only responsible for about 4% of total CO2 emissions, therefore man made emissions would be hard to see on this world view. Does that make sense?

Indeed, the human emissions are small, so it will be a hell of a job to measure them within the large natural ins and outs. The OCO-2 satellite has some possibilities to concentrate on “hot spots” during a longer time, must be possible to focus on industrial/urbanization areas…

Bubba Cow

they hope to run data acquisition in “target mode” which can focus on a location – “In Target Mode, the Observatory will lock its view onto a specific surface location, and will retain that view while flying overhead. A target track pass can last for up to 9 minutes. Over that time period, the Observatory can acquire as many as 12,960 samples at local zenith angles that vary between 0° and 85°”.
That works out to 24 samples/second for what they state is a 3km2 spatial resolution


Could there be measurements of radiation in and radiation out of the earth upper atmosphere over targeted areas to see if there is a difference that would be possibly related to the CO2 levels?

Nick Stokes

Yes. Every year a lot of CO2 comes out of the sea when it warms, goes back when it cools. And more is absorbed by plants in the summer, and then returns by more gradual processes of resoiration and decay (and fire). That’s what will dominate the picture.

All it takes is a tiny fraction of that input remaining to completely overwhelm human inputs. The notion that the natural fluxes always balance is a way out conjecture that has not in any way been confirmed.

The net natural variability is not more than +/- 1 ppmv/year over the past 55 years, not much overwhelming over the 4.5 ppmv/year human emissions…

Circular logic, Ferdinand.

No Bart,
Observations, observations and observations…

No Ferdinand.
Emissions – Estimated, very estimated
Atmospheric increase – Estimated, spot measurements and assumptions
Net sinks – Imagined! Very imagined.
Now about honest observations, got any? I emphasize that ‘any’ as Mauna Loa is a miniscule spot observation near an active volcanic chain.
Now that we allegedly have satellite observations, even with adjusted six times data, let’s hope that science can finally put observed to gross emissions. Satellite CO2 studies currently look to be very low resolution; kind of like a Monet version of CO2

Emissions are based on inventories, which are based in sales (taxes!). In the best case accurate, worst case underestimated by under the counter sales. Although China seems to have joked the other way out… Anyway not so far off and way better than simple estimates.
CO2 levels differ less than 4 ppmv for yearly averages from Barrow near the North Pole to the South Pole and some 70 other stations in between, where most of the difference is caused by the lag between SH and NH. These are very accurate measurements (+/- 0.11 ppmv over yearly averages), some of the most reliable you can get. Mauna Loa is not even used for “global” CO2 levels, only sea-level stations are used.
OCO-2 is not better, even if that strikes most of the surface.
The net sinks are simply the difference between human emissions and CO2 measurements in the atmosphere. Its accuracy is mainly influenced by the emissions inventory.

“…Emissions are based on inventories…”

No Ferdinand, they are not.
Human emissions are estimates based on very rough inventories. With the assumption that if someone bought it, they burned it for 100% CO2 emissions. Wood and biomass inventories are fully imagined based on someone’s ‘out of the butt’ number guesses.
Validation – zero
Verification – zero
Comparison and analysis of various source estimates – zero; one chooses the best suited for one’s purpose. Also known as confirmation bias.
Volcanic emissions – nada; unless more ‘out of the rectum’ number guesses count.
Ocean emissions/absorption – nada; unless more ‘out of the rectum’ number guesses count.
Any ‘lag time’ values for oceanic emissions/absorption are also butt guessed from miniscule tests.
Freshwater emissions/absorption – same as Oceanic with less information.
Biologic emissions/absorption – same as freshwater
“…CO2 levels differ less than 4 ppmv for yearly averages from Barrow near the North Pole to the South Pole and some 70 other stations in between…
Pinprick measurements for an infinitesimal period of time!
There is less observation here than is necessary to decide conditions, let alone Earth shaking decisions.
The OCO-2 is still in it’s maiden voyage!
When geological, paleological and archaeological estimates match within a rational percentage and modern day measurements have the scale and scope of satellite for at least several generations.
let us how what direction CO2 is trending in relation to actual history!
So your view of net sinks is simple accounting Ferdinand? Mores the fool for such narrow belief. Bad data coupled with bad information and bad estimates is not of use to anyone.
This whole discussion falls back to the precision/accuracy shell game. Where the best precision has zero accuracy. But for silly purposes we’re supposed to accept the numbers because they are the best precision fools can devise.
It isn’t science. It is not accounting. It is not mathematics. It may be statistics, but in any honest statistical sense. It really is/are foolish daydreams masquerading as something useful until someone else’s best guess comes along.

“…but in any honest statistical sense…”

Should be,
“…but not in any honest statistical sense…”

Samuel C. Cogar

@ ATheoK – October 5, 2015 at 1:17 pm
I concur 99 44/100% with your stated commentary.
Estimates, guesstimates, conjecture and “fuzzy math” calculated percentages should not be tollerated by the Science of the Natural World.


The 97% concensus refuses to hear you.
Get mad bro.

ATheoK ,
Human emissions are estimates based on very rough inventories.
Not according the Tyndall centre:
The error around the estimate is about ±5 % for a ± 1 sigma confidence level.
Or about +/- 0.5 GtC/year.
See further the detailed inventory at:
and its notes how the inventory is calculated:
BTW, in the early days that was done by the statistics teams of the different Ministries of Finances, due to the huge tax revenues involved. I am pretty sure they didn’t like to miss a dime in return…
But of course, you are entitled to your own opinion. My opinion is that the error is more like -0.5 to +1 GtC/year, due to under the counter sales…
Wood and biomass inventories
Have no place in the emissions, as what is emitted was captured some limited time before, out of the same atmosphere where it is released today with zero effect on longer periods.
Volcanic emissions
Estimated maximum 1% of human emissions, simply negligible. Based on field measurements around very active volcanoes like Etna (Italy). Even the largest eruption last century, the 1991 Pinatubo did only drop the increase in CO2, due to more effect of increased light scattering on photosynthesis than the extra CO2 released…
The rest of your natural emissions/sinks are not of the slightest interest, only the net result of all these emissions is of interest and that we have: the difference between human emissions and the measured increase in the atmosphere.
Any knowledge of any individual natural CO2 in or out flux is only of academic interest, all you need is the sum of them all, no matter if vegetation turned from a net sink into a net source or the natural carbon cycle doubled or halved from one year to the next.
That is the beautiful part of what is called the conservation of matter…
Pinprick measurements for an infinitesimal period of time!
Sorry, the CO2 data are the best data available over the past 55 years, with extreme accuracy, compared to anything else in natural sciences. They prove that CO2 is a readily mixed gas in the atmosphere and that the global levels are increasing at about 50% of human emissions. If you don’t accept them, then you can’t accept any data at all. Which makes any further discussion fruitless…

“Ferdinand Engelbeen October 6, 2015 at 11:13 am

ATheoK ,
Human emissions are estimates based on very rough inventories.

Not according the Tyndall centre:
The error around the estimate is about ±5 % for a ± 1 sigma confidence level.
Or about +/- 0.5 GtC/year.
See further the detailed inventory at:
and its notes how the inventory is calculated:
BTW, in the early days that was done by the statistics teams of the different Ministries of Finances, due to the huge tax revenues involved. I am pretty sure they didn’t like to miss a dime in return…
But of course, you are entitled to your own opinion. My opinion is that the error is more like -0.5 to +1 GtC/year, due to under the counter sales…”

Summing it up Ferdinand, you believe. You do not know!
You only claim to know, no matter what your rational or irrational are, you believe.
That is not science. There is no knowledge gained. It is irrational. Whatever one group claims in their estimates can be reversed by others accepting different estimate limits.
Tyndall cent has zero ability to suggest an error or confidence level. Tyndall is without any means to certify, verify or validate their estimates, error or confidence levels.
Your other ‘valuations’ regarding CO2 emissions or sinks are worth less than the Tyndall nonsense; e.g. Pinatubo reduced CO2 levels. There is no legitimate estimate of Pinatubo CO2 emissions; the aerosol nonsense is just that, nonsense someone came up with to justify their CO2 alarmism.
Good Lord, these are very dreary monotonous and useless arguments without honest science to back it up.
So you believe, have fun with your belief, barren as it is.

Of course, if you don’t believe any inventory or measurement that you haven’t done yourself, then it is difficult to have a conversation about the result of inventories or measurements…
I have read the way the accurate CO2 measurements were started and maintained by Keeling and all what I can say is if someone can be trusted for the quality of the data, it is him and his successors (like Pieter Tans from NOAA).
And you may be suspicious about the emissions inventories (I am too), but if the different countries follow the rules, then the data are not far off. Knowing human nature to avoid taxis, they may be even underestimated.
Giving both points, that means that humans are responsible for the bulk of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere, as can be seen in every single observation series taken over the earth…

Samuel C. Cogar

@ Ferdinand Engelbeen – October 9, 2015 at 12:03 pm

And you may be suspicious about the emissions inventories (I am too), but if the different countries follow the rules, then the data are not far off.

It is utterly ridiculous for you or anyone else to: 1) assume different countries follow the rules; 2) convert fossil fuel (crude oil & NG) inventory quantities to CO2 emissions ….. but if that is what you are compelled to do to justify your “funded interest” claims and/or to protect and preserve your job status/career, then so be it.
Ferdinand, you need to take a “look-see” at these fossil fuel (crude oil) based products (144 of 6000 items) that are manufactured from said “oil inventories” which can not be included in your “CO2 emission conversion scheme”, …. to wit:

A partial list of products made from Petroleum (144 of 6000 items)
One 42-gallon barrel of oil creates 19.4 gallons of gasoline. The rest (over half) is used to make things like:

Ferdinand, did you note that it stated that over half of the US crude oil inventory is used for manufacturing consumer products. DUH, and other countries produce similar products.
And Ferdinand, you also need to take a “look-see” at these fossil fuel (Natural Gas) based products that are manufactured from said “NG inventories” which can not be included in your “CO2 emission conversion scheme”, …. to wit:

Natural Gas Does More than Heat Our Homes
Oil and gas companies obtain other products from natural gas that help improve our lives. Natural gas contains compounds that are removed before the gas is sent to customers. Three important chemicals are obtained from natural gas: ethane, propane, and butane. Ethane is a raw material in the petrochemical industry. Ethane is processed to make ethylene that is used to manufacture polyethylene. Polyethylene is a plastic that is used in a variety of products including house wares, insulation, packaging films, and toys. Ethylene is used to manufacture ethylene oxide which is a raw material to make ethylene glycol or anti-freeze for car and truck radiators. Ethylene oxide is used to prepare polyester fibers, film and latex paints. Ethylene is combined with chlorine to make vinyl chloride. Vinyl chloride is used to make polyvinyl chloride or PVC for pipes. Ethylene is a raw material to manufacture vinyl acetate for paints and adhesives. Polystyrene manufactured from ethylene is used to make resins for rubber. Ethanol is also produced from ethylene.
Propane and butane from natural are blended to produce LPG for cooking and heating. Propane and butane are also used to manufacture the chemical building blocks: propylene and butylene. Propylene oxide produced from propylene is used to sterilize medical and food products and to manufacture surfactants. Propylene glycol, made from propylene, is used as a moisturizer in skin care lotions and cream. Propylene glycol is used as industrial antifreeze and as hydraulic and brake fluid. Butylene is an important chemical used in manufacturing products that improve the quality of gasoline. LPG is also being used in transportation.
Natural gas is a raw material to make ammonia for agricultural fertilizer. Carbon black, which is used to reinforce rubber and make ink and batteries, comes from natural gas. Paints use lamp black formed from natural gas for tinting. Sulfur impurities contained in natural gas are removed to obtain raw materials for agricultural chemicals.

And Ferdinand, the absolute necessity for the use of refrigeration for food preservation to insure the survival of a major portion of the world’s population ….. completely discredits the CAGW claim of “natural” wintertime CO2 emissions in the NH.


The increased levels in northern Australia for November-December will be a result of farmers burning off the grass before The Wet.

Bill Treuren

I would be surprised to know that fire over a percent or two of Australia can overwhelm the flux of normal grasslands.

James Allison

Yes indeed, but mostly lightning strikes from ‘dry’ pre-monsoonal thunderstorms creating massive annual uncontrolled burning of the tinder dry prairie grass.

Erik, very nice work!
Do you have a possibility to combine and plot the data over a full year? That would show the net emitters and sinks over a full seasonal cycle…

Erik Swenson

Thank you
CO2 high concentration over the most northern parts of the Atlantic Ocean (Iceland to Svalbard) and beyond, despite the low ocean temperatures could be due to the sea floor volcanic activity.

Thanks a lot!
Some surprising results: the NE Atlantic is here a net source, but in all other plots it is the main sink for CO2, as that has the lowest oceanic CO2 pressure and is the main sink place of the THC.
Further lots of CO2 emissions over the Canadian forests and little over the tropical oceans (with and emerging El Niño!) is also not very conform other observed data…

Thank you. Looks like the boreal forests around the world show what some have suspected for a while – they are net emiitters of CO2 along with certain spots in the ocean. Biologic processes.


Erik, many thanks! You were wise to resist commenting on the interpretation, and I will do same. Apart from to say that I doubt the situation in the far-N Atlantic / Norwegian Sea has anything to do with mid ocean ridge volcanism.
There are some first order observations to make; 1) much of the map is green, 2) high latitudes N and S are blue to dark blue and 3) there is some interesting stuff going on over Russia, Canada, China, Japan and tropical W Africa N of the Equator.
Tremendous work! Anthony should lift this figure to the top of the post.

Erik, thank you! It’s very interesting!

Lewis P Buckingham

Ferdinand Engelbeen
October 4, 2015 at 11:53 am ‘little over the tropical oceans (with and emerging El Niño!) is also not very conform other observed data…’
Good point. If the Pacific SST’ are undergoing a big rise due to the predicted ‘super El Nino’ why has this not shown up in the August September 2015 CO2 out gassing of CO2 from the Pacific?
As another commentator pointed out above, this is the time to make sure that the science is right;
to make sure that the data is not amended or homogenised away so as not to be useable,
to make sure that all reasons for algorithms are published as well as the models themselves that lead to ‘predictions’ of CO2 atmospheric concentration levels;
to not have enquiries that seem to go no where, eg in the case of those who tweak the BOM figures on temperature;
Red is the sign for danger.
The red areas for CO2 are well represented in the Northern Hemisphere.
As a PR stunt this could improve the narrative that CO2 is really dangerous, particularly when released before the next climate conference.

Here is a map with anthropogenic CO2 emissions:

Nice map, I am happy to see that I live in the black(list)ed area of highest CO2 emissions per grid cell (Belgium, half Netherlands, and the German Ruhr area), indeed with one of the highest densities of population and (chemical) industry of the world…
If that doesn’t give a trigger to impose a CO2 tax per area emission density… But I am relieved it doesn’t show up in the OCO_2 data…

Ferdinand, starting to have doubts?

George E. Smith

Sea ice formation disgorges mucho CO2 which is excluded from the solid phase because of the segregation coefficient; much like the salt is excluded from the solid phase. The saltiness of some sea ice is due to entrapped brine; very salty liquid water.
Since the cold sea water is already Henry’s Law saturated with CO2, the CO2 rejected by freezing sea ice is immediately vented to the atmosphere (Henry’s Law).
When the sea ice next melts, the fresh water diluting the sea water, is CO2 deficient, so it immediately starts soaking up CO2 from the atmosphere, t reach HL balance.

David L. Hagen

Comparing CO2 concentrations with anthroprogenic emissions shows that natural CO2 emissions dominate anthroprogenic emissions. That supports Murry Salby’s 2015 findings and models.


Erik Swenson:
Very many sincere thanks for your excellent work generating the concentration plots.
And additional thanks for your provision of a plot in response to Ferdinand’s request which asked you

Do you have a possibility to combine and plot the data over a full year? That would show the net emitters and sinks over a full seasonal cycle…

Obviously, the requested plot shows that sub-Saharan countries of West Africa are as severe “net emitters” as Western Europe.
This confirms the indication of the system dynamics that the “sinks” can – and do – easily sequester all the trivial additional emissions from anthropogenic sources.
I now anticipate Ferdinand jumping in with a post hoc explanation of how and why the plot does not “show the net emitters and sinks over a full seasonal cycle”.

Dominate how? If you have 148 GtC natural CO2 input into the atmosphere and 152 GtC natural output how does that dominate 9 GtC one-way human emissions input?
Dr. Salby is wrong on several points, including the attribution of the full increase to temperature. The correlation between temperature and the CO2 rate of change is in the variability (+/- 1 ppmv) not in the trend (70 ppmv, of which maximum 10 ppmv from the temperature increase).

See my response here

BTW, these Sub Saharan countries in West-Africa is mainly Nigeria, one of the large oil exporting countries, notorious for its gas flares and oil leaks (mostly sabotage) and lots of illegal oil distilleries from the “leaks”. Some real human contribution detected?

David L. Hagen

Ferdinand Visually there are high concentrations of CO2 that do NOT correlate with high anthropogenic emissions. High anthropogenic emissions show weak CO2 concentrations with only moderate correlation in in east China. etc. Salby shows that natural changes are modeled by temperature and moisture, not anthroprogenic trends.
We know very little about the drivers and magnitude of the very large natural sources and sinks and consequently know little about how anthropogenic compares to natural trends in the net co2 increase. Back to the scientific method on what can be predicted and then validated. Currently anthropogenic models are “only” off 400% too high for 35 year predictions by CMIP5 models from 1979 to 2014 for the tropospheric tropical temperatures. Don’t know what “science” you studied, but that ranks as invalidated in my books. See Richard Feynman Cargo Cult Science.

The only “model” I used is simple calculations:
Increase in the atmosphere = human emissions + natural sources – natural sinks.
Roughly for last year:
4.5 GtC = 9 GtC + X – Y
X – Y = -4.5 GtC
In the past 55 years, the natural sinks were always larger than the natural sources. That makes that there was zero, nada contribution from nature to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. Except for a small contribution by the increase in temperature, which added maximum 10 ppmv to the 110 ppmv above long term equilibrium per Henry’s law for the oceans.
It doesn’t matter what X and Y are or were or how they changed over time. The net result is all what counts. They may have been:
10 GtC in and 14.5 GtC out
100 GtC in and 104.5 GtC out
1000 GtC in and 1004.5 GtC out.
They may have doubled or halved since the previous year, but the net result is always 4.5 GtC more sink than source for last year.
Estimates, based on CO2 changes together with O2, δ13C, 14C decay measurements and residence time estimates find that some 150 GtC goes in and out the atmosphere within a year. That are not models, but again based on observations and calculations.
That the OCO-2 findings don’t correlate with the emissions is a matter of resolution. As said before, human emissions are about 0.01 ppmv/day, even as that is concentrated in about 10% of the surface area, it will be a hell of a job to find that back in the huge natural sources and sinks. Which doesn’t imply that the natural sources and sinks are the cause of the increase.
Salby shows that natural changes are modeled by temperature and moisture, not anthroprogenic trends.
If you have two input variables: one with a huge variability caused by temperature variability but hardly any trend and the other with near zero variability and a huge trend, then you will always find a huge correlation between temperature and the first variable, even if that is not responsible for the bulk of the trend.
What Salby didn’t know was that the effect of temperature variability (and humidity) on CO2 variability zeroes out after 1-3 years. He made the mistake to attribute both variability + trend to temperature (by integrating the full temperature anomaly over time), while the correlation was exclusively with the variability and the trend was largely from the second variable.
I was a practical chemical engineer in the early days, upscaling processes from laboratory to 17-tons batches, solving all the (theoretical and practical) problems involved. Later turned to process automation of the same (and continuous processes).
I have a broad interest in everything scientific and specific climate since about 40 years ago. I have not the slightest confidence in climate models as any simple unknown factor in a model may give complete wrong results (own experience), let it be for climate full of unknown factors…
The above is based on my experience in problem solving by eliminating the impossibilities which in general leaves the (only) possibility/ies. And the law of conservation of mass and all known observations in the atmosphere:

David L. Hagen

Ferdinand – Yes that’s a first order approximation – but which presumes constant natural sinks and sources AND that CO2 sources are balanced by sinks. Assuming a net of 15 controls out of flows of 440 and 260 both in and out is an enormous assumption, ignoring the huge uncertainties involved in very large very poorly understand nonlinear exponentially varying processes. e.g., An undetectable 0.2% difference in natural trends per year would give 20% change in 100 years – of the order of 40 – strongly dominating anthropogenic increases. We already have 50% of the anthroprogenic contribution being absorbed by natural sinks. e.g. see CO2 fertilization of a 63% increase with 300 ppm CO2 increase and 213% increase with 600 ppm CO2 increase. I find a linear approximation is woefully insufficient in face of such large nonlinear variations.

David L. Hagen

Ferdinand. See major non-linear trends in CO2 and natural vs anthroprogenic portions graphed by Fred Haynie in Quantifying the anthroprogenic contribution to atmospheric CO2 at Climate Etc.


See my refutation of your “response” here and my addition following your “response”.


I didn’t assume any equality in the natural inputs and outputs. I only looked at the net result of all these in and out fluxes, which shows a surprisingly small variability (for such huge seasonal fluxes): less that +/- 1 ppmv over the full 55 years of accurate measurements, where the largest variability is with extremes like the 1991 Pinatubo and the 1998 super El Niño (see the graph here).
We already have 50% of the anthroprogenic contribution being absorbed by natural sinks.
That is a step too far: the sink rate is independent of the momentary anthro contribution, it only depends of the excess CO2 pressure above long-term (dynamic) equilibrium per Henry’s law for the oceans, whatever the source of the increase. That it still is about 50% of the human contribution is mere coincidence, because human emissions increased slightly quadratic over time and so did the increase in the atmosphere and so did the net sink rate…
Anyway, whatever the changes in the natural cycle(s), the net result was always negative. Even if some natural input increased over time with 4 GtC/year extra and the sinks didn’t increase, the net result would be an increase of 8.5 GtC/year, still 100% caused by the human emissions of 9 GtC/year. Only if the natural balance was positive, the net result would be larger than from the human emissions alone and then the increase was partially natural, partially human.
BTW, the current net increase in biomass uptake is ~1 GtC/year due to the extra CO2 pressure in the atmosphere. That is included in the ~4.5 GtC/year sink capacity, which includes biomass, ocean surface (~0.5 GtC/year) and deep oceans (~3 GtC/year).
Despite the lots of non-linearity’s in natural releases and uptakes, the response of nature to the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere is surprisingly linear. Figures of 1988 give about the same e-fold decay time (~55 years) as the current (~51 years) removal rate in ratio to the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere above steady state…
Fred Haynie’s analysis makes a fundamental error: the human “fingerprint” (the low 13C/12C ratio) is diluted by the ocean’s CO2 cycle, to about 1/3rd of what can be expected if all human CO2 remained in the atmosphere. Thus according to Haynie, 1/3rd of the increase is from humans, 2/3rd from the oceans. But there is no contribution in CO2 mass from the oceans at all, as the oceans sink more CO2 than they release. The dilution is only from the passing by of ocean CO2: what is released is the isotopic composition of the deep oceans (some 1000 years old), what goes into the deep is the composition of today. That means that still with 100% human contribution in mass increase, only 1/3rd remains in the atmosphere as original “human” CO2 molecules. See my comment there and following comments…

Nick Stokes

OCO-2 is not the first attempt to visualize CO2. NOAA had a Carbon Tracker Project, which produced movie visualizations of both CO2 and CH4. It hasn’t had much publicity; it may be that the people who made it are unsure of its reliability. As with OCO-2, this effort is pushing the limits of feasibility. Anyway, you’ll find movies here. I’ll try to show 2010 CO2 below, though I’m not sure the animated GIF will display.

Nick Stokes

OK, it didn’t show, but clicking will bring it up. Here is the whole world projection.

Thanks Nick. Those animations are interesting showing the atmospheric circulation and mixing. Don’t know how accurate it is but it is intriguing.


Thanks, Nick. That animated gif is cool — saved to library.

Brett Keane

Nick, can you say what happened to the JAXA mapping? It was also informative, I think.


the first set of NASA released OCO-2 data plots pretty made the NASA carbon tracker animation a joke…. a bad joke of bad assumptions concerning preconceived ideas of non-anthro sources magnitudes.


CarbonTracker (which is also easily accessed via the NOAA ESRL Greenhouse Gases page) is not a data product; it’s a combination of data plus estimates and modelling

For those who doubt the “well mixed” part: have a look at the scales: 15.5 ppmv of a 400 ppmv range. That is less than +/- 2% difference over full scale. As you know that some 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere is exchanged with other reservoirs (vegetation, oceans) over the seasons, I call that well mixed.
Well mixed doesn’t imply that any change at any point of the atmosphere is instantly distributed all over the earth… Only that that happens within a reasonable time frame…

David Riser

Its 8%, 35ppm over a 415ppm range. That s the fidelity of the data. well mixed would be much less than 8% and if it were so you would not see differentials from North to South of 8% which is what the visualizations show. This is also the lit version which is less than 10% of the data. I imagine that there are greater variations that are being tossed out as bad data. I have tried to pull down the full file but its a bit big for my resources.

Sorry, looked at the OCO-2 colors, not at what Erik produced.
Still the seasonal changes are 20% in and 20% out within a year, so a difference of +/- 4% over the same time frame seems quite rapid mixing. The difference between NH and SH is because the main source of the increase is in the NH (you know, humans…) and the ITCZ hinders the exchange with the SH, only some 10% of air masses is exchanged per year between the hemispheres. That gives a delay of up to 2 years between Barrow and the South Pole for yearly averages:


“the main source of the increase is in the NH ”
You mean because that’s where the vast majority of the world’s landmass is? Musn’t approach data with any bias, which you’ve been showing. Gotta step back and look at it for what it is only.
That huge Antarctica and its ocean just absorb away, and that takes up most of the southern hemisphere–hence the divergence from the north. but it’s weird that such a huge amount of CO2 sourcing is associated with the northern oceans, Dunno what drives that. And all the CO2 coming from arboreal forest land where no one lives.

The SH oceans are a main sink for CO2, but the largest sink is in the NE Atlantic where the Gulfstream / Thermohaline Circulation sinks into the deep to return some 1000 years later in the Pacific equator near Chile/Peru to the joy of the fishermen there…
Despite the ocean sinks, the main source of extra CO2 is in the NH, as that increases first. The divergence is in the NH, not only in CO2 but also in δ13C. Thus the source is in the NH and has a low δ13C level, which is the case for the human use of fossil fuels. The only main alternative with low δ13C is decaying vegetation, as the oceans have a higher δ13C than the atmosphere. But vegetation is currently a net sink for CO2…

David Riser

CO2 is not well mixed. The idea of well mixed from the modelers perspective was a way to simplify the CO2 input into the models. Anyone who is involved in atmospheric physics knows that CO2 is not well mixed. Well mixed is defined as a homogeneously mixed gas or the same everywhere. Since the Japanese satellite went up we now know that this is definitely not true. The only way a model could accurately reflect the contribution of CO2 is by using its actual quantity in any given computational cell. If CO2 had the impact that a 1+ degree impact from a doubling (or 2 or 3 as some suggest) then 8% would be a measureable difference in terms of effect, particularly if your claiming a .001 degree C resolution in temperature. Mixing is not even very fast if you consider that the changes occur over the course of months.

Come on David, well mixed doesn’t mean that levels are exactly the same everywhere even if there are large disturbances within months, as is the case for 20% of all CO2 in the atmosphere. It only means that huge changes at one point in the atmosphere are readily distributed all over the earth. That is the case for CO2, as it is for O2, as that shows the opposite seasonal changes as CO2, be it at a much lower percentage of the total CO2.
Even air is not well mixed in your definition, as the ITCZ only allows a 10% exchange between the NH and SH air masses per year…
The main changes are over land in the first few hundred meters as that is where the main fast sinks and sources are. Even if there was a sudden increase to 1000 ppmv in the first 1000 meter, the net radiation effect would give less than 0.1°C temperature increase at these spots compared to pre-industrial 280 ppmv, if sustained over a long time (per Modtran). 8% change simply is negligible, the more that that levels off to near zero over a full year.
And we all know that the 0.001°C temperature accuracy claim is complete bogus…
No model uses the actual CO2 levels at any place, all models use the average global CO2 increase as that is more than accurate enough to (theoretically) calculate the radiation effect at any area on earth. Anyway as far as that affects local/global temperatures within all the other constraints…

of the total CO2</I) of course must be of the total O2 in the atmosphere.

David Riser

Ferdinand, lol, that is all I am going to say.

richard verney

Doesn’t all this exchange and seasonal variability go to show that the residency time for CO2 is not large.
It is actually be turned over very quickly.
I find it difficult to understand how some can claim that the residency time is circa 100 years. This data suggests to me that it cannot be more than a sixth of that.

Residence time is how long any CO2 molecule of any origin resides in the atmosphere before being swapped with a CO2 molecule from another reservoir. That has nothing to do with the e-fold decay time of an extra amount of CO2 injected above the long term equilibrium between atmosphere, oceans and vegetation which is about 290 ppmv for the current temperature. The latter is about 50 years, much longer than the residence time, but a lot faster than the IPCC claims, without its saturation claims… See:

To find the definition of Well Mixed Green House Gas I checked the Glossary (Ref.: Contribution from Working Group I; on the physical science basis; to the fifth assessment report by IPCC) – hold your breath:
“Well-mixed greenhouse gas”: See “Greenhouse gas”
(The definition of Greenhouse gas just lists the various gases.)
I guess it isn´t well defined then – It probably doesn’t matter – I don’t know.

From :
The well-mixed greenhouse gases have lifetimes long enough to be relatively homogeneously mixed in the troposphere. In contrast, O3 (Section 6.5) and the NMHCs (Section 6.6) are gases with relatively short lifetimes and are therefore not homogeneously distributed in the troposphere.

The colour scale ranges from 380 to 415 ppm, that is, it spans 8.4% of the maximum. Eyeballing the various maps it seems the colour scale is more or less completely represented in each of them.

George E. Smith

I repeat what I said earlier Ferdinand; if +/- 2% over full scale is small enough to be negligible as regards the CO2 concentration, why the hell is way less than 1% over full scale of supposed Temperature increase (maybe 1/3rd %) for the earth, over the last 150 years considered a catastrophically big deal ??
Similarly for possible oceanic pH changes.

I don’t think that these items are comparable: a 4% CO2 change over a few months has a negligible effect on the radiation balance or temperature. A 0.5% global temperature change (that is about the seasonal global temperature effect – but roughly 10% in the mid-latitudes) is what brings bread in the basket – or not. It is a matter of effect for the same change in scale…
If a more permanent temperature increase is catastrophic? In my opinion not, but there will be losers and winners, be it – again in my own opinion – more winners in the High North than losers in the mid-latitudes…


It’s Volkswagen’s fault! Their automobiles have been faking (low-balling) emissions tests and over-poluting while on the road for decades!
Ha ha


Gee, why is it taking NASA so long to ” adjust ” their figures ????

George E. Smith

Gotta get ’em before you can adjust them. They are still busy spending their first round of budget money.


The high concentrations over the subtropical convergence zones are due to United Arib Emirates WWII diesel powered submarines and China’s coal powered submarines!
Ha ha


Ok somewhat funny, something that crossed my mind though is that in the ME oil zone there is a terrific amount of gas being burned of in the oil fields that is never used for anything. If the Iranians wanted to create electricity could they not use that to run steam turbines rather than spending billions ( returned to them recently) to build nuclear? just wondering.

Rick C PE

Very interesting graphics. I wonder if the high NH CO2 spring-early summer levels might be reflections of the very active 2015 forest fire season in the western US and Canada. I recall several weeks last spring when the Midwest was blanketed by a haze of smoke from Canadian wild fires (most started by lightening if I recall, so not “anthropogenic”).

Lynn Clark

You meant “lightning”. “lightening” would be “anthropogenic”, although I don’t know how wildfires could be caused by making things “lighter”. 😉

Anthony, many thanks for this. There is a lot going on! Mosher once advised me to hang up my spread sheet 🙁 But somehow a couple of years ago I managed to download a net.cdf file for NASA D2 clouds and make this nice pic using Panoply. There’s a lot going on here too.


I guess I should have said Erik many thanks for this. You are just short of 365 days cover. Is it possible to create a map that merges the output of your 8 maps to provide a picture of net sources and sinks? By for example extending the time slice to 365 days.

Erik Swenson

Thanks! I did put an image for that in response to another request. Perhaps Anthony can move that image up into the main article.

Erik, done.

Dodgy Geezer

I believe that ‘consensus’ is that CO2 variation is no more than 4-5ppm around the globe. These observations show variations of up to 35ppm – perhaps more.

The scales are 380-415 ppmv or roughly +/- 2% of full scale at any moment of the year. For a 20% in/out of CO2 over the seasons between the different reservoirs, that is well mixed. Yearly averages are far smaller and show a lag with altitude and between SH and NH…

Sorry, of course +/- 4% of full scale…

Dodgy Geezer

‘Well-mixed’ could mean anything. My understanding, up to now, was that there should be no more than 5ppm difference.

richard verney

If CO2 is so well mixed why did the IPCC disregard the Beck chemical analysis of CO2?
Was the old chemical analysis of CO2 dismissed on the basis that CO2 is not well mixed, that there is way too much seasonal variability etc to accept the careful analytic results of CO2 direct measurements?

The yearly averages between Barrow and the South Pole are not more than 4 ppmv different, despites ~20% (that is 80 ppmv CO2) going in and out over the seasons and the lag between SH and NH due to the only 10% exchange of air masses by the ITCZ.

Besides the accuracy of the old methods (+/- 10 ppmv), the main reason that Beck’s compilation doesn’t show “global” CO2 levels is that many of the data were taken over land near huge CO2 sources and sinks. Over land one can find hundreds of ppmv difference within 15 minutes if measured over fresh cut grass or huge diurnal differences in forests with nightly inversion or inside towns… That was the reason that Keeling Sr. looked at spots far away from vegetation and other sinks/sources like the South Pole (which was first) and Mauna Loa, where most of the time the trade winds blow in…

Erik Swenson

Hey Ferdinand – I made a mistake on the scale in the images. It should have been 389-406. Last minute change in the graphics to make them look “pretty”. Duh
I am working with Anthony to see how he wants to propagate the update. Everything is correct in the graphics, just the scale is off.

Hi Erik,
Was already taken into account, but the same scales makes a comparison easier. Again thanks for all the work done.
Remains quite a lot of questions to be solved by the OCO-2 people, like the lack of CO2 release from warming oceans in the Pacific…
I have the impression that they didn’t use the possibility of focusing on hot spots until now, probably because they still have a lot of work for calibrating the regular measurements…

Thank you SO much for this effort.



Pat Frank

Staring at those plots, the greatest sources of CO2 seem to be the winter-time Gulf of Alaska, the Canadian, Nordic, and Siberian Arctic, tropical Africa, and China all year-round.
The US north-east (New England) and continental Europe show moderate outputs during the dead of winter, presumably from urban heating. But that’s it. It seems the Arctic land masses (except Alaska), and the north Pacific are by far the greatest annual sources of atmospheric CO2.
North American and European industrialized areas, the American south-west (home to much electricity generation) seem only modest overall contributors.
Japan, which is located downstream from both China and the Siberian Arctic, gets a real CO2 dowsing during Winter. Wonder if their cherry trees have become unaccountably more beautiful since 1950.

Peter Sable

, and China all year-round.

Who woulda thought that increasing energy prices in first world countries would cause world manufacturing to all move to China powered by coal?
Ever item you import, you are importing C02 emissions, more than if you’d just made the item locally…

Wrong. Exporting CO2 emissions. Importing a lot of cheap junk.

It is very clear that, at the very least in the modern era, CO2 is essentially governed by a temperature modulated process, and human inputs are not temperature modulated. The rate of change of atmospheric CO2 concentration is essentially proportional to properly baselined temperature anomaly
The match with the satellite temperatures is best, but for a longer term, there is a pretty good match with Southern hemisphere temperatures
But, that is no surprise since SH temperatures match the satellite record fairly well, with the NH temperatures after 2000 diverging
For over 100 years, NH and SH track closely. Then, suddenly, vroom, they diverge. Circumstantial evidence, at least, that the NH temperatures have suffered from dubious and arbitrary “adjustments”.
Getting back to the SH temperature record and the match with the rate of change of atmospheric CO2: it is here, in the rate domain, that the fingerprints of the culprit can be discerned. Attempting to match temperature to CO2 directly in the modern era is a low value exercise – you can match any low order polynomial sequence to it.
It is here, in the rate domain, where the variations can be matched 1:1 with the temperature record. The arrow of causality is obviously from temperature to CO2, as supposing temperatures are related to the rate of change of CO2 leads to the absurd proposition that CO2 could rise arbitrarily high, but once it stopped rising, temperatures would revert to what they were initially.
When you match those variations with an appropriate scale factor, you also match the trend. Human emissions also have a trend. There is little to no room for them which is not already explained by the temperature relationship. Ergo, they have negligible effect.
I suspect the reason that there is an integral relationship is that there is a continuous stream of CO2 into and out of the oceans via upwelling and downwelling. Any temperature induced net imbalance between those flows leads to a persistent accumulation in the surface oceans, and thence to the atmosphere.

As usual…
The variability in rate of change is caused by the influence of temperature changes (Pinatubo, ENSO) on tropical vegetation, which is mainly in the Amazon which is mainly in the SH. Therefore the match between temperature and CO2 rate of change variability matches best with SH data.
The trend is not caused by vegetation, as that is a proven sink by the oxygen balance and the extra CO2 source is in the NH, not in the SH, which has more land than oceans. Your theory doesn’t hold up against the observations…

There is no separation of the trend and the variability. There is no phase distortion. The trend and the variability are part and parcel of the same aggregate process.
The temperature trend explains the trend in CO2. Human sources also have a trend. As it is already completely, or at least overwhelmingly. accounted for by the temperature relationship, human inputs cannot have a significant influence.

Brett Keane

@ Ferdinand Engelbeen
October 4, 2015 at 10:43 am : The hard work of Murry Salby shows trends more in line with Bart’s ideas. The people who have shown enmity to Murry, tend to stink to high heaven. We should know why.

If there is solid proof that the variability is from one (temperature driven) process and the trend is certainly not from the same process, then there is no reason at all to combine these two.
There is no phase distortion if you combine two independent processes, even if both have a common cause (temperature), but large differences in response time, as is the case for vegetation and oceans…
You are attributing the increase to temperature, but you have no proof whatever that this is the case except for an arbitrary match of two slopes, which even is opposite for 35 of the 55 years trend.
To the contrary, all observations show that your theory fails…

Brett Keane,
I have followed the different lectures of prof. Salby in detail and was in London last year for his speech in the Parliament. While in my opinion he was unfairly threatened by his employer, I disagree with several of his points (like the theoretical diffusion of CO2 in ice cores, not repeated in his latest lecture).
The main point in this case is that Salby makes the same error as Bart: he attributes the full CO2 increase to temperature (by integrating the temperature slope + variability), while that is only the case for the variability and a small offset, not the bulk of the trend.


Australian climate loons will go into mourning.


NASA (Goddard ) does have a year long simulation on their OCO website, although the data is apparently from pre-OCO 2006.
You got to tip your hat to them for their graphics and blood red colors. A lot of the presentation, especially the May part of it, appears to indicate imminent doom for all of us in the Northern Hemisphere! I don’t know how anyone can possibly survive under that sea of blood! I’m certain that effect is entirely accidental though 😉

There is absolutely no logical reason to trust climate data coming from NASA.
The people in charge are biased, and could lose their jobs if they reported anything contradicting the CO2 IS THE CLIMATE CONTROLLER fantasy.
Anyone who trusts NASA, NOAA, and the Obama Administration in general, to be honest and unbiased on the subject of climate change, is a fool.
Oh, by the way, 2014 was the hottest year on record by +0.02 degree C., with a margin of error of +/- 0.1 degrees C. …… if that’s the “science” they INCLUDE in their press releases, can you imagine what they DON’T show us, and how much they “adjust” data to match the climate models?
You must judge the character of Obama, NASA and NOAA before deciding to trust them.
All three have a track record of lying and misleading on the subject of climate change, in an attempt to scare people, and seize more political power over their lives and businesses.


Is this the Richard Greene of the “32 Strategies of Warfare” ?
You are spot on. The way to approach this truth is to elevate a truly independent NGO.
When your opponent has exposed his weakness, it’s best not to bang him in the head with it but to offer a better alternative. Doing it this way will steal his power and he won’t even see it coming.

Michael Jankowski

So what CO2 levels are in the GCMs? Global average? Lol

Why not? CO2 radiation levels hardly change over a year for any spot on earth, so taking the global average CO2 levels will not change much in temperature effect, as far as that is accurate midst a lot of (seldom) positive and (lots of) negative feedbacks…

William Astley

The planet is about to abruptly cool (there is now observational evidence of the start of the cooling mechanisms which are latitudinal and regional specific). When the planet cools atmospheric CO2 levels will abruptly fall. The increase in atmospheric CO2 has not the cause of the warming in the last 150 years and the increase in atmospheric CO2 in the last 75 years has not due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
There are dozens of different peer reviewed papers which all support the assertion that the majority of the increase in atmospheric CO2 in the last 75 years is due to warming of the oceans and a mechanism that increases low C13 emission from the deep earth (CH4, ‘natural gas’ has C13 levels three to four times lower than atmospheric CO2 and CO2 in biological sequestered material. There is no biological mechanism to explain where the super low C13 CH4 comes from based on the late veneer theory of the atmosphere), not due to anthropogenic CO2 emissions.
There is in the paleo record unexplained cyclic changes in C13. There are also massive deposits of ultra low C13. Both of these observations support the assertion that there is an enormous deep earth source of low C13. A large continual input of new CH4 into the biosphere requires there to be large continual sinks of CO2.
C13 Paradox
Changes in atmospheric C13 levels in the southern hemisphere do not support the assertion that the rise recent rise in atmospheric CO2 is due anthropogenic CO2 emission.C13 in the Southern Hemisphere remains the same for long periods (5 or 6 years) and then suddenly increases. As anthropogenic CO2 emission is constant C13 should if anthropogenic CO2 emission was the cause of the increase in atmospheric C2 increases gradually. That is not what is observed.

Sources and sinks of CO2 Tom Quirk
… The results suggest that El Nino and the Southern Oscillation events produce major changes in the carbon isotope ratio in the atmosphere. This does not favour the continuous increase of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels as the source of isotope ratio changes. The constancy of seasonal variations in CO2 and the lack of time delays between the hemispheres suggest that fossil fuel derived CO2 is almost totally absorbed locally in the year it is emitted. This implies that natural variability of the climate is the prime cause of increasing CO2, not the emissions of CO2 from the use of fossil fuels. ….

See Figure 3. Monthly variations in 13C at the South Pole from SIO14 which clearly shows there are periods of up to 6 years where there are no changes in C13.
The correlation of changes in δ13C with ENSO events and the comparison with a simple model of a series of cascades suggest that the changes in δ13C in the atmosphere have little to do with the input of CO2 emissions from the continuous use of fossil fuels.

What is the missing sink of CO2? Why is the missing sink growing in size?

In a paper recently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels, Dr. Robert H. Essenhigh (2009), Professor of Energy Conversion at The Ohio State University, addresses the residence time (RT) of anthropogenic CO2 in the air. He finds that the RT for bulk atmospheric CO2, the molecule 12CO2, is ~5 years, in good agreement with other cited sources (Segalstad, 1998), while the RT for the trace molecule 14CO2 is ~16 years. Both of these residence times are much shorter than what is claimed by the IPCC. The rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 in the last century is not consistent with supply from anthropogenic sources. Such anthropogenic sources account for less than 5% of the present atmosphere, compared to the major input/output from natural sources (~95%). Hence, anthropogenic CO2 is too small to be a significant or relevant factor in the global warming process, particularly when comparing with the far more potent greenhouse gas water vapor. The rising atmospheric CO2 is the outcome of rising temperature rather than vice versa. Correspondingly, Dr. Essenhigh concludes that the politically driven target of capture and sequestration of carbon from combustion sources would be a major and pointless waste of physical and financial resources.

So why is the correct estimate of the atmospheric residence time of CO2 so important? The IPCC has constructed an artificial model where they claim that the natural CO2 input/output is in static balance, and that all CO2 additions from anthropogenic carbon combustion being added to the atmospheric pool will stay there almost indefinitely. This means that with an anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 residence time of 50 – 200 years (Houghton, 1990) or near infinite (Solomon et al., 2009), there is still a 50% error (nicknamed the “missing sink”) in the IPCC’s model, because the measured rise in the atmospheric CO2 level is just half of that expected from the amount of anthropogenic CO2 supplied to the atmosphere; and carbon isotope measurements invalidate the IPCC’s model (Segalstad, 1992; Segalstad, 1998).

The correct evaluation of the CO2 residence time — giving values of about 5 years for the bulk of the atmospheric CO2 molecules, as per Essenhigh’s (2009) reasoning and numerous measurements with different methods — tells us that the real world’s CO2 is part of a dynamic (i.e. non-static) system, where about one fifth of the atmospheric CO2 pool is exchanged every year between different sources and sinks, due to relatively fast equilibria and temperature-dependent CO2 partitioning governed by the chemical Henry’s Law (Segalstad 1992; Segalstad, 1996; Segalstad, 1998).

Reconsideration of atmospheric CO2 lifetime: potential mechanism for
explaining CO2 missing sink
(William: The explanation for the missing sink of CO2 is that the resident time for CO2 in the atmosphere is five years rather than the Bern model assumption of up to 200 years and portion of CO2 sticking around for centuries.)
Carbon cycle data (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1996) indicate that fossil fuel use accounts for emissions to the atmosphere of 5.5 +/- 0.5 GtC (Gigatons of carbon) annually. Other important processes in the global CO2 budget are tropical deforestation, estimated to generate about 1.6 1.0 GtC/yr; absorption by the oceans, removing about 2.0 +/- 0.8 GtC/yr; and regrowth of northern forests, taking up about 0.5 GtC/yr. However, accurate measurements of CO2 show that the atmosphere is accumulating only about 3.3 +/-0.2 GtC/yr. The imbalance of about 1.3 to 1.5 GtC/yr, termed the “missing sink”, represents the difference between the estimated sources and the estimated sinks of CO2; that is, we do not know where all of the anthropogenic CO2 is going.
(William: Note the anthropogenic CO2 emissions are now 9 GtC and the missing sink is roughly 5 GtC/yr. The missing sink is growing in size, weird!)
We will explore this question of the missing sink in atmospheric CO2 residence time. Radioactive and stable carbon isotopes (13-C/12-C) show the real CO2 lifetime is about 5 years; i.e. CO2 is quickly taken out of the atmospheric reservoir. There is a theoretical possibility that the given fast CO2 flux (short lifetime) is greater than 5.5 +/- 0.5 GtC of fossil fuel CO2 contributed annually to the atmosphere. However, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (1996) reports that the CO2 lifetime residence time) in the atmosphere is 50 to 200 years. This long probably creates the inexplicable “missing sink” of 1.3 1.5 GtC/yr in carbon cycle budget.

Thanks, William. Yes, the claim of increasing sink activity is an epicyclic attempt to rescue a failing hypothesis, that humans are the driving force behind the observed rise in CO2.
The sinks haven’t really changed. In fact, human generated CO2 is removed from the atmosphere just about as quickly as it is added, now and previously. The divergence between human additions and observed concentration is simply because the two are essentially unrelated. Temperatures have simply paused, and as a result, atmospheric CO2 is increasing less rapidly.

Bart, be careful who you choose as companion in your zeal. I had lots of pages of discussion with William. Not the company I would choose to convince others of my rightness…

Crispin in Waterloo

William: My compliments. Thoroughly documented and logically consistent. There is a gaping hole in the AGW hypothesis..

Crispin, sorry but what William writes is many times refuted in the past. He simply repeats it again and again, without any acceptance of any argument that refutes what he says…

richard verney

If the planet does start to cool, it will be interesting to consider how CO2 levels respond. Does CO2 continue to rise at present rates, or does it increase but at a slower rate, or does CO2 levels actually fall.
Much might be learnt from the manner in which Co2 behaves in a cooling world (always assuming that you are right and the world does begin to cool as you suggest).


CO2 rates will decelerate in the face of declining temperatures. It would take an almost 0.7 degC fall to reduce the rate to zero, and then a little more for it to start falling.
I doubt temperatures will fall that much. I hope temperatures drop enough to decelerate the rise sufficient to discredit epicyclic hypotheses of increasing sink activity.

The historical influence of temperature on CO2 levels is about 16 ppmv/K, which is right in the ball park of Henry’s law for seawater (4-17 ppmv/k in the literature). Thus you need some 0.12 K decrease per year (!) to stop the current ~2 ppmv/year increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. There is already some 18 years of no temperature increase, while CO2 levels continue to rise.
Bart’s assumption is that there is a continuous increase of CO2 for a fixed temperature offset. That is impossible, as that doesn’t take into account the influence of the increasing CO2 pressure in the atmosphere to the ocean releases (in the tropics) and uptakes (near the poles).

You are repeating a lot of nonsense that was already refused years ago.
– Tom Quirk was completely wrong with his SH source: the δ13C changes show that the variability is from tropical (SH) vegetation, but the main source is in the NH, not in the SH.
– Essenhigh and many others confuse residence time, which doesn’t remove any gram of CO2 out of the atmosphere with the necessary e-fold decay time of an extra amount of CO2 above equilibrium. And a missing sink? Where? We are 2015, not 1996 anymore…

At some point in this debate, on the part of those who want humans to be in the driver’s seat, you will encounter the faux “mass balance” argument. This argument goes as follows.
We have natural inputs N, natural sink activity S, and human inputs H. The rate of change of atmospheric level L is then
L = N + H – S
It is observed that L is approximately 1/2 of H, hence
N – S := -0.5*H
Since natural sources are less than natural sinks, nature cannot be the driving force.
Tommy rot. Sink activity is a dynamic feedback response. As such, there is a portion of the sinks which responds to natural forcing, call it SN, and a portion that responds to human inputs, call it SH. We have
N – SN := -0.5*H + SH
SH can be any value between 0.5*H and total H. If it is greater than 0.5*H, then nature on its own is a net source.
People invested in the naive, stupid, and jejune “mass balance” argument have a mental block. They ask, how is it possible for the rise to be natural if nature in its entirety is a net drain? After all, you cannot increase a quantity if you are always subtracting away from it.
The answer is that this is a problem in dynamic flows. There is a consistent flow into the system, and a consistent flow out. When you have such a flow regime, there are two ways that you can increase the amount in the reservoir: 1) put more flow in, 2) take less flow out. Nature then can be seen as the source of the rise if it is taking less out than it otherwise would be, i.e., if N – S is less negative than it would be if nature on its own were not a net source.
The temperature relationship above establishes unequivocally that the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 is essentially entirely a natural process. Facile arguments like the faux mass balance above are rationalizations using flawed logic to establish original sin in the CO2 religious canon.

The crux is in
N – S := -0.5*H
That is a false assumption, as N-S can be any value from -20*H to +20*H or beyond.
Sinks don’t discriminate between N and H and both are equally fast or slow removed, depending of the total pressure beyond the dynamic equilibrium for the current temperature.
Further N and S are the result of many processes, each with their own source/sink rate, depending of temperature for the seasonal processes and for the year by year variability. The seasonal swings are good for ~110 GtC in and out (ocean surface and fast growth and wane processes in vegetation) with little change over the past 55 years. There is also a ~40 GtC continuous exchange between equatorial upwelling zones and the polar sinks, again with little change over the past 55 years.
The fast variability is +/- 2 GtC/year and is the effect of temperature changes on tropical vegetation.
Human emissions are currently ~9 GtC/year, dwarfing the fast variability in sink rate, which is indeed around 50% of the human emissions, or about 4.5 GtC/year, but that is no “must”.
Human emissions are independent of temperature and so is the overall sink rate which is mainly pressure dependent, only slightly temperature dependent.
The historical CO2 levels for the current weighted average ocean temperature are around 290 ppmv (also per Henry’s law and confirmed by several million seawater samples). Any increase in the CO2 pressure in the atmosphere above that level will push more CO2 in the oceans per Henry’s law. No matter if that is static or dynamic. Your theory of piling up CO2 from the deep ocean upwelling is completely bogus and violates Henry’s law and about all other observations.
The current 400 ppmv is 110 ppmv above the dynamic equilibrium. That pushes some 2.15 ppmv/year into the various sinks. That gives an e-fold decay time of the current CO2 levels to equilibrium of 110/2.15 = 51.2 years. Fast enough to follow (Little) Ice Ages, but not fast enough to remove all human emissions in each year that they are emitted. Thus that continues to pile up in the atmosphere.
The net sink rate is surprisingly linear with the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere above steady state as the calculation of Peter Dietze with 1988 figures show an e-fold decay rate of 55 years, see:
Thus the sinks expand as simple linear feedback to the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere above steady state. That is the most simple feedback one can find in nature…
The only reason that N-S still is about half the human emissions is that human emissions increased somewhat quadratic, a fourfold increase in the past 55 years. So did the increase in the atmosphere and so did the net sink rate. The latter only depends of total CO2 above steady state, not the momentary natural or human input.
If some natural source was the cause of the increase, dwarfing human emissions (with the help of extremely fast responding sinks), that source MUST have increased a fourfold since 1960, or there can’t be a fourfold increase in the CO2 rate of change or a fourfold increase in net sink rate. For which is not the slightest indication (which should include a fourfold reduction in residence time…).

Quinn the Eskimo

It seems the atmosphere in the high latitudes north and south is loaded with CO2 in preparation for Spring, and that both marine and terrestrial photosynthetic organisms draw it down.

We try to survive the Winter. We draw on carbon sources to do so. A squirrel may consume the acorns it has stored releasing CO2. Once Spring arrives, CO2 starts being put back into plants.

Quinn the Eskimo

Figures 9 & 10 show elevated CO2 in Southern high latitude winter waters where there are no people. Figure 5 shows the opposite in the Southern high latitude summer.

““NASA has now provided access to the raw data from OCO-2, but the data is in the HDF file format. No common commercial programs such as Excel can access this data in this form.”
hmmm not so sure about that..
If you go to the JPL site it looks like you may be able to can retrieve the data in CSV.
Just walk through the menus
Start here
Select the “customize page”
Go through the menus and select the variable you want
You are given a choice
csv. hdf, netcdf
Then you will get a confirmation mail
Your job has been submitted: you can monitor your job at:
Job parameters:
Longitude: min=-180.0 max=180.0 delta=10.0
Latitude: min=-90.0 max=90.0 delta=10.0
Time: min=2014-09-05T00:00:00 max=2015-09-28T23:59:59 delta=full
Warning level=0 bias correction=True
Requested processing level=L2, format: CSV
Looks pretty slow.. we will see, maybe maybe not

Well there you go, Mr. Mosher discovered something useful just now and presented it. Too bad NASA hasn’t made this clear on their own web page. It would save people a lot of trouble if NASA made such thing clearly available to the public in addition to the HDF format.

Bubba Cow

I wonder too why NASA didn’t do the graphics work that Erik Swenson has kindly provided us?
I mean, they did it before on first release.


Would it surprise you to know that many public servants all over the world might fear retribution for speaking out of line ? It certainly exists in the corporate world. Why wouldn’t that same fear exist in public servants ? Surely you realize this. Have you ever been afraid for your job ?
The creative health of any institution can be measured by how it encourages dissenting opinion and trial and error approaches to fixing problems.
Want to figure out how to blow the doors off this CO2 ruse ?
Figure out how to create safe haven for dissenters.

Ah, there’s the dilemma. How do we make it safe for scientists to voice their honest scientific opinions without retribution?
I don’t know the answer. Or rather, I can give an easy solution. But they won’t do it for the simple reason that the “carbon” scare is politics, backed by propaganda and oodles of grant money. They do not tolerate any other points of view discussed, except their own.
Scientists, especially those employed by universities and government agencies, have much to fear by giving their honest opinion. It’s not necessarily that they will lose their job (but it’s always possible — look at the despicable treatment of Dr. Murry Salby). They also fear not getting their next pay raise, or their next promotion, or a coveted job they’ve been working toward.
Those are real concerns for scientists employed by government supported organizations. And ‘.edu’ rent-seeking schools, and gov’t bureaucracies are becoming very, very political. Scientists are no different from the rest of us. They have families, reputations, and bills to pay. So most keep silent, rather than poke the snoozing rattlesnake with a stick.
Instead, we get the truth mostly from retired scientists. Many of them speak out, labeling the ‘climate change’ scare what it is: a hoax intended to get carbon taxes passed.
Unfortunately, the only media (with a few exceptions) that speaks the truth is online. This site is one; WUWT encourages all scientific points of view. Readers can then decide what sounds credible, and what sounds like posturing.
I don’t have the answer to how we can get real free speech back. Maybe an agreement signed by the .edu establishment schools, and government bureaucracies, stating they will not retaliate against those with a scientific point of view that conflicts with the organization’s?
Well, maybe. But personally, I think that battle is lost. $Billions annually in federal grant money buys the Party line.
It’s very frustrating. But it could get even worse: there are moves afoot to control free speech on the internet. And based on the way this Administration loves crises, I can easily imagine them pointing to one article out of thousands, and saying, “Aha! Look at that! We can’t have that kind of rabble-rousing and (fill in the blank _____.) These websites are engaging in hate speech! For the good of all, they must be silenced. Therefore, I am issuing an Executive Order…”
Twenty or thirty years ago that would have sounded preposterous. Now, not so much, eh?


First of all. Thanks for taking the time to understand my perspective. Secondly, thanks for turning me onto the Salby link. Utterly disgusting and one of many I’m sure.
You are right. The system is broken, misused and abused. There is a screaming need for a new independent peer review forum. The rules to good science; replicable, known rate of error, experiment designed without bias to a conclusion are known principles that worked for a long time. They gave us the Frye Test and then Daubert Principles.
Bring them back.
Who ?
Perhaps retired scientists who can’t be bought with other retired scientists who are responsible for auditing the integrity of the peer review process.
An NGO perhaps.
Union of Retired Scientists for Scientific Integrity.
Court cases would eventually elevate their importance because the Daubert principles have not changed. Build it and they will come because there is a market for such independence.
That’s one prong of the attack.
The second is a harder fix. As the rich got richer, too many boats were left behind. That’s a problem. It allows opportunistic organizers the opportunity to fill the void with their own nefarious purposes.
Yes, an independent review organization can be had easy enough. Leading the disenfranchised members of society to a better future is harder and will take longer. Though deserving a conversation more than a simple blog, I’d argue that the same people who became extra rich off the scam can be enticed to lead towards a better world for the disenfranchised if there is profit for them.
This time there needs to be rigorous separation between the new independent reviewers and the money changers.

Erik Swenson

Could be that I missed that. Thanks for the input. I did see that when you choose the “custom” data product, some items are not there. For instance, the “warn_level” field, which is a measure of the quality of the point, is not available in the custom data set. In any event, it is pretty tough to visualize in Excel or something since it is a multi-dimensional data set.
It would be great if someone else could do the same exercise and see if they get the same results. I went to great pains to try to get my graphics to match the NASA images. The raw data looks pretty lousy if you just graph it. The circular averaging method really made the images pop.


Imagine if you will all the people on WUWT pouring over the latest data that shows CAGW was ruse. Imagine you are all in a room and the world awaits you outside.
You draw straws and select a spokesman. He comes out and describes the latest scientific analysis of the data and that it demonstrates CO2 concerns were all a bunch a hooey.
For a moment there is silence.
The Social Justice Warriors Foundation for the Forgotten People are in attendance and claim your analysis is skewed and fraught with uncertainty. Until you can prove that the poor are not going to suffer because of your uncertainty they will continue to push for the cash for CO2 program.
And the money changers will probably be paying them to make that position loudly and proudly.
They are too institutionally entrenched at this point. If you are going to try to kill the CO2 ruse you have to offer a new solution for both the disenfranchised and the money changers.
And if you tell me that you are a scientist and not a public policy maker, you truly have not learned how you are being abused.

Report at once to Peoples’ Re-Education Camp #14. ☺


Impressively low and consistent CO2 levels over Australia, apparently the result of their stringent global warming policies. I can only imagine how warm it would be if they had not taken the actions they did. The world should thank them for the sacrifices they made for the rest of us. (sarc)


While sarcastically delivered you can bet your bottom dollar that this reply is already being sculpted. So what should a skeptics answer be ?
“CO2 was never scientifically validated as a precursor to warming so we are not surprised”
The warmista will trot out the corrupt arm of science that says it was. See what happens when you go all science on them ?
How about ..
“Geeesh, ya know, it appears things are cooling down but does that really matter ? What matters is you want a better life so how can we achieve that.”

richard verney

If I was Australian, I would be wanting reparation from the net carbon emitters.
Interesting, of course, that their has been a change in leadership just at a time when Paris is coming up, and Paris is supposed to be dealing with reparation. Oh, I am just being cynical but I suspect that the OCO-2 data would have been welcomed by Abbott and reinforced his views.


“For some reason, NASA has not chosen to publish any recent updates of the OCO-2 satellite data. ”
I can tell you the reason… it doesn’t conform to what they want it to produce so they are busy trying figure out how to spin it. If the author of this post really wants to make nasa’s hate list you could compare the fantasy computer model that claims the US and so forth are evil vs the real world data. I’ve done a little bit and its clear the model is a compete joke.
direct youtube video from story

If I understand this video, someone needs to record thIs later usage before NASA takes it down or revises it. It’s NASA’s model of annual CO2 worldwide. My sense is that this model, and some of the key ‘factual’ statements made by the NASA climate scientist about CO2 worldwide behavior and emitters will be proven otherwise with some of this OCO2 data. It’s early, and one more AGW model failure is possible here, but I wouldn’t rely on the Wayback machine to preserve this gem and it’s transcript. Drip, drip drip…


I’m not so worried about it disappearing until they figure out how to spin the CO2 data… mainly because when OCO-2 and dropped the first set of data which i think was sep 12- nov 24, I went over and looked at it. Compared it to the model and saw that the model basically invented reality. So alot of cultists where having cult parties to celebrate the data…. and lets just say I crashed about 30 of those parties and posted this info. They were none to happy.
My probably is that I can’t easily translate the data but if they author can match and color scheme up and make an adjusted to scale them together(video is scaled at 377-395 a diff of 18 vs the data which a 380-415 a diff of 35) you can then combine each data into a gif which could be run side by side with the video to show just how bad the model is.
But that aside just have a short frame showing of aug 15-sep 12 shows massive CO2 along a south band of the world. The model shows nothing of the sort. So basically for about a month the model is completely invented from reality.


Hmmm — I went to that URL about hdf files. On that page, I went to link that says: “Get more information or download view_hdf” The link URL is
When I click the link, my browser says:
Redirect Loop
“Redirection limit for this URL exceeded. Unable to load the requested page. This may be caused by cookies that are blocked.
The browser has stopped trying to retrieve the requested item. The site is redirecting the request in a way that will never complete.
Have you disabled or blocked cookies required by this site?
NOTE: If accepting the site’s cookies does not resolve the problem, it is likely a server configuration issue and not your computer.”
I am not blocking cookies.

It looks like that page is redirecting to itself:

$ wget
--2015-10-04 15:15:22--
Resolving (, 2001:4d0:2340:4001::3086
Connecting to (||:80... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 302 Found
Location: [following]
--2015-10-04 15:15:22--
Connecting to (||:443... connected.
HTTP request sent, awaiting response... 302 Found
Location: [following]
Location: [following]
20 redirections exceeded.

There are a few broken pages lurking at NASA…

Erik Swenson

You can get an HDF viewer from here:
You can visualize the ‘xco2’ variable in there, but it won’t (I could not see it anyway) graph it against lat/lon, so it is pretty useless.
I used the HDF library to parse the HDF files directly. That part is marginally interesting. As I said above, it is the visualization code that is the interesting (and fun!) part. I used an OpenGL shader to render the color map. Since it is in OpenGL, I can easily render it on a sphere as well. Pretty, but less useful.

Most interesting – thanks for this post and the work behind it.
Those looking for the origins of excess CO2 are going to have a hard time drawing firm conclusions just yet, but there are some very intriguing things about it.
What is going on in equatorial West Africa? Why the ‘lumps’ of CO2 in the middle of the ocean.?
Nobody has discussed the effect of trade winds on the longitudinal patterns we see. Anybody volunteer to integrate those winds? Or does CO2 mix/dissipate so quickly for the wind patterns to be relatively unimportant?


Wait doesn’t this need to be adjusted up like everything else they do?


It will be, just give it time.

richard verney

This data graphically demonstrates the extent of seasonal variability to CO2 and to what extent it is a well mixed gas.
Many claim (such as Ferdinand) that CO2 is a well mixed gas, and that seasonal variability in absolute terms is small. Well this depends of course upon how one defines ‘well mixed’ and what extent of variation should fall within the definition small.
But this begs the question why did the IPCC dismiss empirical evidence for CO2 levels in the latter half of the 19th century, and through to the mid 20th century which were obtained by very carefully conducted sampling and chemical analysis. I am of course referring to the chemical analyses that are the subject of the Beck paper. Indeed sometime back WUWT had an article on Beck:
Now my understanding is that the IPCC dismissed these analyses essentially on the basis that they were not representative due to seasonal conditions and locations in which the samples were taken. If that argument is sound, the IPCC is essentially contending that CO2 is not well mixed and it is this variance that has distorted the results of the chemical analysis and render the analysis unsound.
Well now we can see the annual variations. Beck should correlate the OCO-2 data with the various chemical analyses undertaken (location, time of year of sampling, seasonal variance at that location at that time of year when the sample in question was taken).
But if the variance is in the order of only a few percent, as the OCO-2 data suggests, then why is the result of the chemical analysis out by more than a few percent?
I think that it is time that the 19th and 20th century chemical analyses were revisted. Perhaps the actual experiment should be replicated, ie., a sample taken in 2015 or 2016 at the same location and at the same time of year and then re-analysed using the same equipment and methodology to see what results are now obtained.
Of course, it may be that the location is now fundamentally different due to urbanisation, or deforestation, or agriculture, but that will not impact upon all of the numerous chemical analyses that were undertaken in the 19th & 20th Century.
my guess is that with the results from OCO-2 it will now be more difficult to dismiss the old chemical analyses. .

The main problem is that CO2 is well mixed within a few ppmv above the oceans and above a few hundred meters over land. It is very badly mixed in the first few hundred meters over land, due to a lot of fast sources and sinks, mainly vegetation and little vertical mixing at low wind speeds.
That is exactly where most of the 1942 “peak” in the late Beck’s compilation is based on. One of the main stations was at Giessen, semi-rural, mid-west Germany, where the longest series was based. Fortunately we have a modern station that takes half hour CO2 samples, not far from the original point, at Linden-Giessen which still is a semi-rural place. Here a few days in summer from Linden-Giessen under nightly inversion, compared to Mauna Loa, Barrow and the South Pole for the same days (all raw data):
The historical data were taken three times a day, of which two at the flanks of the peaks… That alone gives a bias of +40 ppmv. The historical variability (that is a sure sign of local contamination) was 68 ppmv (one sigma), the modern station is around 20 ppmv and Mauna Loa at 6 ppmv, including all outliers and seasonal changes…
I suppose that OCO-2 takes the CO2 column data, thus averaging the local peaks over a larger column, which gives less variation.

3 times a day at I think it was 4 heights was the long run data over 18 months. Kreutz also measured every 3 hrs for week periods. You only extract information at suits your purpose. Further, Beck and a Prof from France looked at correction using wind data to determine a corrected background CO2 level.


Pretty shocking these huge variations at ground level over different day timings. Lots of options for “play” with data processing. How reliable are those pre-Moana Loa, pre-hourly measured data?

Indeed it was three times a day at 4 heights, see: in English translation. In particular look at the CO2 variability at Fig. 3 (Abb. 3) showing daily averages (Tagesmittel) between roughly 200 and 700 ppmv (marked as 0.020 to 0.070%) for the 14-meter intake. Not really suitable to have any idea what the “background” CO2 levels were in that period.
The height of the intake doesn’t make much difference: the variability is as high and the lower levels have some positive bias (soil bacteria?).
Even the high sampling every 1.5 hour during 4 days (Abb. 1 – Fig. 1) shows values below 400 ppmv to over 700 ppmv…
The “French” professor who worked with Beck on the influence of wind on the averages is actually from Luxembourg, professor Massen, who made a lot of CO2 and other meteorological observations in Diekirch, Luxembourg, see:
If the wind speed is over 4 m/s the mixing with higher air layers (the bulk of the atmosphere) gets better and if you have enough data, one can calculate the theoretical “background” CO2 level from that period.
Unfortunately, there are too few data from Giessen with high wind speed and even these have a high scattering, as is clear in the report of Kreuz.
As you can see in the map, Linden is a suburb of Giessen and the modern station is at the edge of Linden, only a few km from the historical site.

The better measurements were accurate to about +/- 10 ppmv, if taken with a lot of care, skill, fresh chemicals etc… Current measurements (NDIR and GC) are better than 0.2 ppmv…
But the main problem of the historical measurements is where was measured: the local variation at many places over land are enormous, especially within forests, agriculture and towns…
The historical measurements taken over the oceans or coastal with wind from the sea are all around the ice core CO2 data for the same periods. Unfortunately there are no ocean area data in the period after 1935.

Gary Pearse

The greening of the planet has been noted, but what is not expressed is that this new green should accelerate the sinking of CO2. Little green plants become bigger plants and the shade, etc retains more moisture giving rise to expansion and densification of the greening. Most attention to this phenomenon is given to Sahel, Australian Outback, etc., but existing forests’ trees are also growing in girth (Harvard’s research forest in NE USA, IIRC) and presumably increasing plankton populations….I believe I have been given the green light propound a brand new hypothesis: The Pearse hypothesis of CO2 trending to equilibrium with its sinks.
The biosphere will, over time, expand in mass to balance the increased flux in CO2. Any reviewers out there?

Gary Pearse

Of course, ocean uptake through dissolution according with increased partial pressure of CO2 will be a contributer as well. Indeed, partial pressure is probably a mechanism in the biosphere sinks as well. Well, it is a new hypothesis, so it needs patching!!

Gary – not as outrageous as you yourself probably think!
I have great respect for Ferdinand Engelbeen’s sensible overviews but I’ve never been remotely impressed by what is called the ‘mass balance’ argument. CO2 is, as you infer, very likely in a complex dynamic equilibrium with the biosphere and, though I’m happy to see temperature playing a part in this, I don’t see the cause-and-effect relationship in the way it is usually portrayed. There’s a lot more to be discovered here.

As you wish:
The calculations of the net uptake/release from the biosphere as a whole is based on its O2 use or release, after accounting for the O2 use by burning fossil fuels…
BTW, you are a little late in the equilibrium play, the e-fold decay rate of the excess CO2 in the atmosphere was calculated time ago by Peter Dietze:
Nothing changed much since that time, as the current net sink rate (oceans + biosphere) still is slightly above 50 years…


Of course.
Once you realise that atmospheric CO2 has been at pretty much base plant survival levels for hundreds of thousands of years… its not at all surprising that plant life will gradually expand to gobble up as much CO2 as we can give it.


“Of course.
Once you realise that atmospheric CO2 has been at pretty much base plant survival levels for hundreds of thousands of years… its not at all surprising that plant life will gradually expand to gobble up as much CO2 as we can give it.”
Wow .. just for a moment listen to yourselves.
“WE” are controlling the amount of plant life on earth by the amount of CO2 we give it.
You wonder why people are just tired of listening to scientists when at the same time you pound the table about climate change being a natural phenom.
Pheeeew, I’m glad I still have cherry picked hockey sticks to scoff at and looooong term temperature ice cores to marvel at.
Scientists literally can set themselves up for getting hammerred. No wonder you guys have such a hard time even when you are right.
Easy prey.
Stop overcomplicating the facts.
Your desire to understand increasing levels of minutia is your worst enemy.