Study suggests increased atmospheric CO2 created a 30% growth in plant photosynthesis during last two centuries

From the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA – MERCED and the “CO2 is plant food, but, it’s still terrible department” (see text)

Composite image showing the global distribution of photosynthesis, including both oceanic phytoplankton and terrestrial vegetation. Dark red and blue-green indicate regions of high photosynthetic activity in the ocean and on land, respectively. Image: NASA SEAWIFS

Research shows global photosynthesis on the rise

Plant photosynthesis was stable for hundreds of years before the industrial revolution, but grew rapidly in the 20th century, according to new research published today in Nature.

“Virtually all life on our planet depends on photosynthesis,” said UC Merced Professor Elliott Campbell, who led the research. “Keeping tabs on global plant growth should be a central goal for the human race.”

Photosynthesis is the process through which plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbohydrates to fuel their growth and other activities.

Yet, researchers lack a clear picture of global trends in photosynthesis over the past few centuries. Some human activities might have stimulated plant growth, while others might have hampered photosynthesis. Conflicting results from different experiments have stoked scientific debate for years.

But maybe not for long. Campbell and an interdisciplinary, international team of scientists discovered a chemical record of global photosynthesis spanning hundreds of years.

“Previous studies covered small physical areas or short periods of time,” Campbell said. “We set out to find a long-term record for the whole planet.”

The researchers estimate that the sum of all plant photosynthesis on Earth grew by 30 percent over the 200-year record they captured.

“Studies have already demonstrated unprecedented changes in climate and greenhouse gases during the industrial era,” Campbell said. “Now we have evidence that there is also a fundamental shift in the Earth’s plants.”

The Net Effect

The research did not identify the cause of the increased photosynthesis, but computer models have shown several processes that could, together, create such a large change in global plant growth.

The leading candidates are rising atmospheric CO2 levels, a result of emissions from human activities; longer growing seasons, a result of climate change caused by CO2 emissions; and nitrogen pollution, another result of fossil fuel combustion and agriculture.

The human activities that underlie the growth in photosynthesis have both positive and negative consequences.

“The rising CO2 level stimulates crops yields,” said Campbell, who’s with the School of Engineering and the Sierra Nevada Research Institute. “But it also benefits weeds and invasive species. Most importantly, CO2 emissions cause climate change, which will increase flooding of coastal cities, extreme weather and ocean acidification.”

Another effect of the rise in photosynthesis is that it can cause plants to remove CO2 from the air and store it in ecosystems. Unfortunately, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning overwhelm any uptake by plants.

“The increase in photosynthesis has not been large enough to compensate for the burning of fossil fuels,” said paper co-author Joe Berry, from the Carnegie Institution for Science. “Nature’s brakes have already been overwhelmed. So now it’s up to us to figure out how to reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.”

Secrets in the Snow

The researchers discovered the record of global photosynthesis by analyzing Antarctic snow data captured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Gases trapped in different layers of Antarctic snow allow scientists to study global atmospheres of the past. The key was finding a gas stored in the ice that provides a record of the Earth’s plant growth.

Previous studies have found that carbonyl sulfide (COS) serves this function. COS is a cousin of CO2, and plants remove COS from the air through a process that is related to the way they uptake CO2.

While photosynthesis is closely related to the atmospheric COS level, other processes in oceans, ecosystems and industry can change COS level also.

To account for all these processes, Campbell coordinated analysis between members of the research team, including Ulli Seibt from UCLA; Steve Smith of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Steve Montzka of NOAA; Thomas Launois of Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique; Sauveur Belviso of Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement; Laurent Bopp of Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique; and Marko Laine of the Finnish Meteorological Institute. Their work was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, NOAA, the Academy of Finland, H2020 and the European Research Council.

Future research, the researchers said, will include studying current changes in photosynthesis using the ongoing COS measurements made by NOAA.

“Part of predicting the future state of our atmosphere depends on understanding natural mechanisms and how they are changing over time,” said Montzka, a research chemist with NOAA. “We are making measurements and observations, and if we don’t continue to do that, we won’t have the fundamental information needed to answer important questions related to future atmospheric changes.”

Chris Field, a climate scientist at Stanford University who was not involved in the study, said the new results “provide another line of evidence confirming the dynamic nature of Earth’s ecosystems and the large magnitude of the changes caused by human actions.”

###

Large historical growth in global terrestrial gross primary production

J. E. Campbell, J. A. Berry, U. Seibt, S. J. Smith, S. A. Montzka, T. Launois, S. Belviso, L. Bopp & M. Laine

Growth in terrestrial gross primary production (GPP)—the amount of carbon dioxide that is ‘fixed’ into organic material through the photosynthesis of land plants—may provide a negative feedback for climate change1, 2. It remains uncertain, however, to what extent biogeochemical processes can suppress global GPP growth3. As a consequence, modelling estimates of terrestrial carbon storage, and of feedbacks between the carbon cycle and climate, remain poorly constrained4. Here we present a global, measurement-based estimate of GPP growth during the twentieth century that is based on long-term atmospheric carbonyl sulfide (COS) records, derived from ice-core, firn and ambient air samples5. We interpret these records using a model that simulates changes in COS concentration according to changes in its sources and sinks—including a large sink that is related to GPP. We find that the observation-based COS record is most consistent with simulations of climate and the carbon cycle that assume large GPP growth during the twentieth century (31% ± 5% growth; mean ± 95% confidence interval). Although this COS analysis does not directly constrain models of future GPP growth, it does provide a global-scale benchmark for historical carbon-cycle simulations.

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v544/n7648/full/nature22030.html

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163 thoughts on “Study suggests increased atmospheric CO2 created a 30% growth in plant photosynthesis during last two centuries

  1. Looks like a valid procedure for measuring, or inferring, global photosynthesis.

    More plant food in the air is good for children and other living things.

    • Not sure I would reach that conclusion quite so quickly. They say that “other processes in oceans, ecosystems and industry can change COS level also” and that to deal with this problem they “coordinated analysis between members of the research team“. Sounds to me a bit like using an ensemble of climate models when any one model gives a useless result.

      Maybe instead of using an ensemble of researchers, they would have been better off using some lateral thinking. Well, actually just thinking: They say “The leading candidates are rising atmospheric CO2 levels, a result of emissions from human activities; longer growing seasons, a result of climate change caused by CO2 emissions; and nitrogen pollution, another result of fossil fuel combustion and agriculture.“, yet they have not considered the possibility that rising temperatures since the LIA might have had something to do with it. Maybe they weren’t paying attention during primary school when the other pupils learned that a warming ocean emits CO2.

      • The world has been warming up since the LIA. This would have resulted in an increased growing season.
        Have the “compensated” for that?

    • “But it also benefits weeds and invasive species.”

      I guess the benefit is only valid when applies to “preferred” plants.

      • There is a perhaps not surprisingly large literature on the relative benefit for crop plants v. weeds from more CO2. But most of it is from turn of the century, because it’s so obvious that CO2-fertilizing weeds is trivial compared to the advantages of more food and fiber. Trees are seldom considered.

        It can get complicated because you have to test C4 crops v. C3 weeds, C3 crops v. C4 weeds, and throw CAM into the mix, then test the effect of more water left in the soil thanks to more CO2, etc.

        Grazing and browsing animals often don’t distinguish between weeds and crops. Weeds present no problem that new seed varieties and fossil fuel-based cultivation practices and herbicides can’t handle easily. As an early adopter of no-till wheat farming, I’m qualified to comment on this topic.

      • For hundreds of millions of years, Mother Nature has been doing her best to sequester atmospheric CO2. She’s put it into oil fields, coal seams, peat bogs, and even chalk deposits. Now some folks are telling us that releasing this sequestered carbon is a good thing. Why is going against Mother Nature a good thing?

      • Hospitals aren’t the ones doing the sequestering, it’s the undertakers that are burying the carbon.

      • Can alarmists and ill-informed journalists be considered “weeds and invasive species”? CO2 has benefited them mightily.

      • Humans are an invasive species, and every damn thing that we have, we got by going up against Mother Nature; who is NOT MY Mother Gaia. And we intend to do everything we can do, to prevent that other MN from deciding we are just the latest thing in her experiment to see which species are the most deserving of elimination, in the furtherance of diversity.

        Going against the ” I don’t give a sh** ” attitude of Mother Nature, is the best thing that ever happened on this planet; and probably in the whole Universe. She makes stuff, then destroys it at a whim.

        G

    • “Plant photosynthesis was stable for hundreds of years before the industrial revolution, but grew rapidly in the 20th century,”

      First line, first lie. Atmospheric CO2 has NOT been constant for the last 200 years until the 1950s when it is claimed that it started to rise. 80,000 direct chemical bottle CO2 readings show that CO2 goes up and down over the years, high during two periods in the 1800s and the 1940s, following the 1938 temperature peak and much higher than now.

      These people may have done some otherwise good science, but when they take AGW-related data on faith, they are bound to make food of themselves.

      • Does anyone have access to or know of any sites that display regular actual daily or hourly monitored CO2 levels ? For all the fuss and panic the sites that show atmospheric concentrations of various thingsdon’t show CO2> I’m not interested in Mauna Loa, nor smoothed modeled data, just raw actual measured values .. I’d have imagined there’d be dozens of websites with this sort of information but I’m finding it oddly difficult to locate any.

      • oops, I meant to ask ..’ know of any sites that display regular actual daily or hourly monitored CO2 levels in select locations like specific cities, towns or so forth?’

        Again I’m not seeking broad sweeping amalgamations, just any individual station data. I’d measured CO2 levels around a town (and in a body of water) every hour 20 years back but don’t have that data any more but I’d love to have any real data I can lay my hands to plot against temperature to demonstrate to a few green friends that there’s no correlation whatsoever between CO2 and temp. water temperature and dissolved gasses though, sure – a strong one too ;) Many friends I’ve spoken to who believe the AGW guff actually think CO2 around them exists at a specific value (400ppm) and have no idea at all how much those levels bounce around .

      • Karl re CO2 data: Try http://co2.utah.edu/index.html

        Used to be easily available, now seems to be more difficult to access.

        When I last looked at the Salt Lake City data, it showed an overwhelmingly natural signature of photosynthesis starting in the morning, and plant respiration taking over at night. Rush hours were not noticeable. It would appear that excess CO2 from rush hour was gobbled up close to the source,

      • In their study, they show increased plant photosynthesis, presumably from their listed drivers. Then they go off topic and out of the the areas studied to speculate on future global warming.

      • You mean Champagne bottles from 1938? :) I bet that that their CO2 content will be little bit higher….

      • higley7,

        Many of the historical CO2 data were measured in the middle of forests, towns, growing plants and have zero value to know what the real CO2 levels were in the bulk (95%) of the atmosphere. I have had years of discussion with the late Ernst Beck about these data, specifically the 1942 “peak”, as he used all the data, whatever the source, to compile his historical CO2 graph.

        The problem is that you can find any CO2 level in the first few hundred meters over land, depending of the time of the day and wind speed. His 1942 “peak” doesn’t exist in high resolution (less than a decade) ice cores, plant stomata data or coralline sponges (the ocean surface closely follows the atmosphere in CO2 and isotope ratio). Moreover, it implies enormous sources and sinks: both about 1/3 of all vegetation destroyed and regrown in less than 5 years… Neither the oceans nor vegetation can be the source/sink of such a quantity as that would give an enormous change in 13C/12C ratio, which isn’t observed.

        See further my take on the historical data at:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html

        Several stations over land in Germany can be found here:
        http://www.hlnug.de/messwerte/luft/recherche.html
        That includes Linden/Giessen where currently CO2 (and other gases) are continuously measured. The modern station is at a few km from the place where the longest series of CO2 data were taken (at 3 times a day). Still a semi-rural place, but of course with increased traffic. Be it that the largest change over a day is by photosynthesis, especially on windstill days under inversion…

      • Karl April 5, 2017 at 10:39 pm
        “Does anyone have access to or know of any sites that display regular actual daily or hourly monitored CO2 levels ?”

        Karl,
        Lots of historical data for lots of individual locations can be found on this Ameriflux website: http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/programs/ameriflux/data_system/aamer.html

        Select a location such as Florida Everglades Taylor Slough, select the variable CO2 concentration 3.3m above soil surface, and the time period and get a graph like this: http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/cgi-bin/broker?_PROGRAM=prog.gplot_amersite.sas&_SERVICE=default&param=CO2&dataset=EVER_SHORT_MARSH&sitename=Florida+Everglades+Taylor+Slough+Short+Hydroperiod+Marsh&libname=DATA3&mindate=01%2F01%2F2008&maxdate=12%2F31%2F2015

        Shows the huge dynamics of natural CO2 exchange, and that CO2 concentrations regularly vary between 200ppm and 1,000ppm.

    • 200 years ago, there wasn’t ANY excess CO2 either natural or man made. It was exactly 280 ppm and that’s all that is needed.

      So what are these people talking about ??

      g

      • George e.
        Might your keyboard – perchance – be missing s, a, r & c?

        Auto, thinking that, perhaps, it was!

    • These “scientists” should look back at the study done in Australia in 1954, where they instrumented a corn field and figured out that on a windless day, the field used up the available CO2 by noon and quit growing till more was moved in by wind. The idea that plants are sucking up this fertilizer as fast as they can seems escape their consciousness.

  2. The crew with this study felt a need to genuflect to the global warming is bad theme, despite any evidence.

    • Indeed;
      “Unfortunately, CO2 emissions from fossil fuel burning overwhelm any uptake by plants.”

      Lets see, every crop in the planet grows ( excluding other factors increasing plant growth) about 20 percent more food on the SAME land mass with NO ADDITIONAL water required. Plants are also more drought and heat resistant. Growing acerage increases. And this increase in productivity will continue to increase as CO2 continues to grow. Why is this unfortunate???

      • Their statement just shows human impatience. Given time, the plants will eat up the excess. Besides, when the SSTs drop cyclically there will be less outgassing and even absorption of CO2. We might find that our emissions don’t count for much when the oceans decide to cool down.

      • David A April 5, 2017 at 7:24 pm
        Lets see, every crop in the planet grows ( excluding other factors increasing plant growth) about 20 percent more food on the SAME land mass with NO ADDITIONAL water required.

        Not correct, photosynthesis requires an equal amount of water (net) as CO2 so if you produce 20% more ‘food’ you must have used 20% more water. (Technically you’d actually require 40% more from the soil since initially photosynthesis uses 2 moles of H2O from the soil for every mole of CO2 and releases one mole to the atmosphere).

      • @Phil. April 6, 2017 at 6:42 am

        Your chemistry is correct but your biology is faulty.
        When plants produce O2 from the CO2 of the atmosphere they absorb the CO2 from the stomata (pores in the leaves). With higher CO2 in the atmosphere they don’t need to open the stomata as much.
        Why is this important? because while the stomata are open a process called transpiration occurs by which water evaporates from the plant and escapes to the atmosphere.

        This is widelly known and proven by hundreds of experiments with most crops and many other plants under all sorts of enviromental stress conditions. check http://www.co2science.org/ for detail information

      • Phildot says:
        Not correct, photosynthesis requires an equal amount of water (net) as CO2 so if you produce 20% more ‘food’ you must have used 20% more water.

        Technically correct, but you forgot that most of the water absorbed by the plant is wasted — evaporated into the air by stomata opened by the amount necessary to absorb CO2. More CO2, less opening required and less wasted water.

      • sebmagee April 6, 2017 at 8:12 am
        @Phil. April 6, 2017 at 6:42 am

        Your chemistry is correct but your biology is faulty.
        When plants produce O2 from the CO2 of the atmosphere they absorb the CO2 from the stomata (pores in the leaves).

        Plants don’t produce O2 from CO2 they produce it from water! That’s the point, more consumption of CO2 necessarily means more consumption of H2O.

        With higher CO2 in the atmosphere they don’t need to open the stomata as much.
        Why is this important? because while the stomata are open a process called transpiration occurs by which water evaporates from the plant and escapes to the atmosphere.

        Although they will also need to expel more O2.

  3. The ending of the LIA and replenishment of depleted CO2 made plants grow better. Whodda thunk.

  4. The heading says:
    “Study suggests increased atmospheric CO2 created a 30% growth in plant photosynthesis”
    But the text says:

    The research did not identify the cause of the increased photosynthesis, but computer models have shown several processes that could, together, create such a large change in global plant growth.

    The leading candidates are rising atmospheric CO2 levels, a result of emissions from human activities; longer growing seasons, a result of climate change caused by CO2 emissions; and nitrogen pollution, another result of fossil fuel combustion and agriculture.

    • Nick,

      Two of those possibilities result from people burning fossil fuels and releasing CO2 into the air, while the third is nitrogen also produced by fossil fuel combustion.

      You are aware are you not that more CO2 in the air means more photosynthesis, with lowered water demand?

      • Point? I made it. The heading says “Study suggests increased atmospheric CO2 created…”, and it doesn’t. The text says, correctly, that “The research did not identify the cause…”. And that is literally true. It is a purely observation paper, based on measuring COS to estimate CPP. There is nothing in the paper at all about what caused a rise in CPP.

      • Nick,
        What is that second word in your quoted statement?
        I’ll give you a hint
        SUGGESTS
        A similar word to the AGW proponents choices
        May
        Might
        Could
        Strong Correlation
        So where’s the problem?

      • Oh, Jesus Christ, Nobody have heard of Michaelis-Menten kinetics around here, or about chemical kinetics for that matter?

        Photosynthesis is a chemical reaction, or more properly, a chain of chemical reactions. The chain starts with the enzyme RuBisCO, trapping a molecule of Ribulose (5 carbons) and waiting until a molecule of CO2 hits the enzyme in the active spot and with the correct orientation. When that happens ribulose (5 carbons) and CO2 (1 carbon) fuse and a 6 carbon molecule is formed (which later breaks down into two 3 carbon molecules)

        Now, if CO2 concentration is raised for whatever causes from 280 ppm to 400 ppm. the probability of a CO2 molecule hitting the active spot of the enzyme and capturing the CO2 increases (400 ppm – 280 ppm) / 400 ppm = 30%

        The higher the concentration of CO2, the more CO2 molecules are per unit of volume, the more chances of one of those molecules hitting the active spot, the sooner one molecule hits the active spot the faster the photosynthesis will go. It is really that simple (when you do not take saturation into account like Michaelis-Menten kinetics does.)

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RuBisCO

      • Not quite sure why your reply is in this little subthread urederra, or why you have taken the Lord’s name in vain.

        Some people here know quite a bit about photosynthesis.

    • Ah, Nick Stokes is cherry picking again, ignoring this:

      “The leading candidates are rising atmospheric CO2 levels, a result of emissions from human activities; longer growing seasons, a result of climate change caused by CO2 emissions”

      Leading candidate…that’s a suggestion, tough noogies if you don’t agree with it, but I think the researchers are like you; they don’t like to look at positive aspects of CO2 enrichment of the atmosphere…its just all bad, all the time, hence the other language.

      • “The leading candidates are rising atmospheric CO2 levels, a result of emissions from human activities; longer growing seasons, a result of climate change caused by CO2 emissions”

        Longer growing seasons? Where are those occurring?

      • @ TA “Longer growing seasons? Where are those occurring?

        You must have nodded off during the lecture. Here it is:
        Where and when a season is longer — it is counted.
        If shorter — don’t count it.

        [Example: a few years ago we had a hundred pounds of green tomatoes and only a few pounds of red ones. I did not give any to friends and neighbors.
        Two years ago we had about 200 pounds of tomatoes and other nice fruit. Lots given away.
        So we count that year and try to forget the other.
        Growers call this weather. “Climate scientists” call it global warming, climate change, or climate weirding.]

      • Our local songbirds are fledging chicks twice a year now on a regular basis with some nesting and fledging three times a year. It isn’t unusual to see nestling groups of 6 – 8 fledglings in flight school, flitting around the shrubbery

      • Nick and Anthony

        “…rising atmospheric CO2 levels, a result of emissions from human activities…”

        Well the bias is showing right there. Only a part of the rise in CO2 is attributed, or even attributable to human activities. The CO2 started rising about 150 years before any meaningful human contribution (1950). So the temperature rose and the CO2 rose and then we added to the CO2. That is the position of the IPCC and it is reasonable.

        Attributing all CO2 increase to humans is a howler right at the get-go. Who is claiming that? These authors? Why? Don’t they keep up with the science of the matter?

        With such bias shown in the paper on a fact so trivial to check, what other ‘stuffing’ is in this turkey?

        Regarding weeds: if weeds grow a lot more, then they will add to the biomass sequestered in the soil, either as standing plants or turned under on farms. Added biomass just doesn’t have a downside.

        The authors are appealing to a public (a demographic) that is willing to accept all sorts of alarmist and enviro-guilt memes misrepresenting the CO2 rise, the contribution by Man, the scary weed scenario, the ‘we are breaking the climate’ reminder and God only knows what else.

        If they had just rather talked about their investigation, the techniques and the concentration, it would have served us better as a community. In short, drop the climate porn and leave us with new knowledge.

      • Nick, in the introduction of their paper the authors state very explicitly:

        Climate change can be accelerated or dampened by feedbacks with terrestrial ecosystems6. The largest and most uncertain of these ecosystem feedbacks is enhanced photosynthetic CO2 uptake resulting from increasing atmospheric CO2 levels.

        So what is all this fuss about ?

      • Thanks for the link, Gloateus.

        “Let’s start with Portland, ME. Why? Because today (the 25th [of Oct 2014]) is the latest they’ve ever had to wait for the thermometer to read 32º (with records dating to 1941).”

        Well, 1941 isn’t that long ago, so I don’t know how excited I would get over this record.

        I would love to see something showing if this is widespread or not. Locally, I haven’t noticed any difference in first and last frost. They always vary by a little bit depending on the local weather.

        Now I’m going to have to go study the “National Climate Assessment” :).

    • Nitrogen pollution? You mean I’ve been disking Anhydrous Ammonia into my corn fields when there’s already too much? Here I’ve been thankful for the cloud to cloud lightning thinking my crops might get some extra Nitrogen and all I had to do was burn some fossils. Go Figger. By the way, I had to amend soil Sulfur deficiency even though I live largely downwind (east) of a 1GW scrubbed coal power plant for over thirty years.

    • Here is an earth shaking idea. Go out and take real samples from selected areas and maintain a database to track this dev. You could even motivate volunteers. Anthony W. examined, photographed and analyzed every climate thermometer site in the USA to the undying gratitude of Climate science practitioners everywhere. I’m sure his name has been put forward for a Nobel Prize and all sorts of awards.

      Canada’s 10,000,000km^2 terrain was geologically mapped by geologists on foot and by canoe in about a century. We could do it now in about 20 years.

    • Nick, shouldn’t all that extra plant growth just be a zero sum ? It decays and adds back all the co2 taken out.
      I’m starting to have serious doubts about this phrase that is used extensively ” rising atmospheric co2 levels, a result of emmisions from human activities; ” . I’m not so sure how much can be attributed to human emmisions. To use a word from climate science, may or might, .. anthropogenic co2 might not have had anything to do with the rise in atmospheric co2 . In fact, there is a strong Correlation that co2 is just following the 800 year lag time in temperature.

      • rishrac,

        plant growth and decay was more or less in equilibrium up to the 1990’s, since then the biosphere as a whole is a small but growing sink for CO2. That is deduced from the oxygen balance: plant growth produces oxygen, plant decay/digestion uses oxygen. See:
        http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/287/5462/2467.pdf
        and
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

        The oceans are net sinks too, thanks to the extra pressure in the atmosphere (~400 ppmv) above steady state for the current ocean surface temperature (which would be ~290 ppmv). That makes that humans are responsible for almost all the increase:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_origin.html

      • In short, the plants aren’t having anything to do with it. Ok, maybe a little. Not enough to make a difference. And no, humans aren’t responsible for almost all of it. I don’t know how many times I have to say this, there were no negative numbers during the 19th century

      • rishrac,

        Have a look at the Law Dome DSS ice core CO2 levels over the past 1,000 years:

        That core has a resolution of ~20 years, more than sharp enough to show the result of the drop in CO2 of ~6 ppmv between the MWP and the depth of the cooler LIA.
        If we may assume that the MWP aound 1200 was at least as warm as today, we should be at 285 ppmv now, not 400 ppmv. That is about 115 ppmv above the steady state for the current average ocean surface temperature per Henry’s law for the solubility of CO2 in seawater.

        Humans emitted about 200 ppmv of CO2 since ~1850, the main start of the industrial revolution. That is near twice the observed increase in the atmosphere. There is zero support for any alternative explanation for the observed increase if that was not caused by humans, while at the same time explaining where the human contribution has gone…

      • Same banana, different monkey. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. You remember how AGW tell when co2 was produced ? Why they could track it down to the model t . You remember the hundreds of years co2 lasted in the atmosphere? You remember something no one even mentions any more. Why we can tell which is natural co2 and anthropogenic co2 just by the isotopes.
        Umm, no we don’t know how what the ratio of natural and how much is anthropogenic. And no, we don’t know where the co2 is going. As a rule of thumb, it takes about 6 BMT to add 1ppm of co2. It takes about 12 BMT because about half of that is absorbed. I reference 1998 because that matches the amount produced with the amount that ended up in the atmosphere. The amount missing over and above what was estimated to have been sunk is n (n+1)/2. That the total increase in co2 produced since 1998. In fact, it’s worse than that since at least 8 of those years were 1 ppm below what should have been that for an additional 48 BMT.
        There is something definitely wrong with analysis when it is put out there that all of the increase is due to anthropogenic increase. The sinks didn’t change. They should have shrunk. We can do the math on that. When you quote Henry’s law, it has already been factored in. It took 30 years to produce as much co2 as we produce in one year. You are trying to tell me that the increase in co2 was entirely man made. The environment would have laughed at that amount. I refer to Pinatubo for a reason, co2 levels didn’t increase from from one of the largest eruptions in the last 30 years. In fact co2 ppm fell by half. Do you think we produced less co2 the next year ? No. What did change was the temperature. Additionally, the temperature didn’t fall in line with that stated 0.66 w/m^2 by the IPCC, temperatures fell in line with what is considered to be the forcing at 0.15 w/m^2.
        Consider that the amount in 1850 was so small as not to be factor, do you really think the carbon cycle was in such a fine balance that tiny amount was detected ?
        I am alarmed by the data from the last 60 years, not the teasing of bubbles out of ice cores. There is no control to see what was going on at that time.
        The rise in temperature is so slight that anything that we are unaware of could wipe that out much faster that it took to raise the temperature. You should be alarmed too. I’m not joking here. Your adherence to the AGW line is perplexing.

      • rishrac,

        There is no law in the real world that says that the increase in the atmosphere must be always half of human emissions. The only law that is involved is Henry’s law which says that the atmosphere and the ocean surface have a dynamic equilibrium for CO2 that currently is at around 290 ppmv for the current area weighted average ocean surface temperature. That is all.
        That equilibrium shifts with about 16 ppmv/K, confirmed by 800,000 years of ice core measurements of the past atmosphere and over 3 million direct measurements of the ocean surface waters in the past decades.

        The net source/sink rate of CO2 from/to the oceans is in direct ratio to the CO2 partial pressure difference between the atmosphere and the ocean surface. Confirmed by near 60 years accurate direct measurements and fossil fuel use inventories: an e-fold decay rate of ~51 years or a half life time of ~35 years. If humans would halve their emissions, the increase in CO2 level in the atmosphere would be zero, as emissions and sinks are equal.

        Thus depending of how high the extra CO2 pressure above the equilibrium is, the sinks in the oceans (and vegetation) react quite linear in ratio. Temperature and volcanic dust also plays a role, but that is limited in time (1-3 years for ENSO and Pinatubo) and amplitude: 4-5 ppmv/K or maximum +/- 1.5 ppmv around the trend of 90 ppmv in the past 60 years. Thus the current temperature or past temperature of 800 years ago are not responsible for the bulk of the current increase in CO2. Neither is there any indication of increased emissions or circulation from the oceans or vegetation, to the contrary: both are increasing sinks…

        I am not alarmed by the effect of CO2 on temperature, as all indications of the past and present show that the effect is small and that the extra CO2 is far more beneficial than harmful. But I am alarmed by the rejection of real observations by some sceptics, as that gives all sceptics a bad name…

      • I’m alarmed that based on the amount that is being produced and the amount disappearing. We would have negative numbers without anthropogenic co2. There is no way of knowing how much has been natural.
        According to my temperature chart, 800 years ago we were in a warm period. In fact the current rise of co2 matches the rise in temperature 800 years. I’m not using the graph that the IPCC flatten. Mine shows the isotopic changes in long lived tree back to the Henson Horizon.
        It is unknown whether the current warming is part of this longer interglacial interrupted by external events that caused cooling.

      • You’re missing the point. Temperature drives co2. There are a couple of choices, 1) the entire increase in total co2 is entirely anthropogenic, which I seriously doubt. 2) a mixture of anthropogenic and natural and 3) entirely natural.
        I’m trying to show the errors in the current thinking of co2. Going back 16 years 2 things were a certainty, co2 lasted hundreds of years in the atmosphere and they could tell the anthropogenic co2 from the natural. Both were/are wrong. The complete carbon cycle is missing a few variables. You’re quoting ice core data. I’m looking at supply and demand in a dynamic system.
        Henry’s law shouldn’t mean anything if the system is in balance. Consider, that a natural co2 emmision of only 0.5 ppm increase in one year, first it would again lower the value of how much we are actually contributing to the system, and 2 it would only take 3 BMT to do so. Last year, 2016, either the co2 recorded amounts were wrong, or we have very serious problem. It didn’t change but by a few one hundreds from 1998. The reasons it should have been higher : solar cycle and cosmic ray levels, el nino, warmest year on record alledegedly, an increase in the production of co2 that has added 1 BMT each year since 1998, the saturation level in the environment.
        With the current information, I can’t predict the level of what of co2 should be. This is the basis of systems analysis. The whole is more than the sum of its parts.
        The only thing I have is the temperature chart that shows that 800 years ago the temperature had reached a plateau and started down. That’s the only thing I have to explain this. Who knew, or why didn’t they know that plants would uptick in the consumption of co2. Co2 has been used in greenhouses since at least 1970. This really shouldn’t be news.
        There were no negative numbers. No anthropogenic co2 should have survived a year in 1850, or 1860, or almost any year up to 1900.

    • Could / should / would / whatever / but no ” did “.

      It’s only the three letter words that matter.

      g

    • Tony,

      Have you really not read any of the at least tens of thousands of comments on this blog about the benefits of more CO2 in the air? How could you have missed them?

      • Thankyou for drawing my attention to the “tens of thousands of comments on this blog about the benefits of more CO2 in the air” and thus to the far more telling total absence about downsides.

      • Tony McLeod says:
        far more telling total absence about downsides.

        You mean “downsides” like these tired, fake examples given by the authors?
        “But it also benefits weeds and invasive species. Most importantly, CO2 emissions cause climate change, which will increase flooding of coastal cities, extreme weather and ocean acidification.”

        LMAO. Maybe you can come up w/real downsides?

      • When the facts change Tony or fresh empirical evidence contradicts previous science.

        But then I was never one who thought that CO2 didn’t have any affect. You see I’ve known what happens when you vary the reactants in photosynthesis for some time.

        How about you?

      • Forrest, it looks like McClod is getting bitter.
        Must be the result of watching his dreams fall apart.

      • Forrest Gardner:

        In reply to Tony McLeods comment “Always happy to rethink things Forrest, aren’t you?” you wrote “When facts change Tony or fresh empirical evidence contradicts previous science”

        Did you not read the “changed facts and fresh empirical evidence” that I linked you to?

        I see no evidence that you have in any way changed your mind.

      • Well Burl, what can I say. I haven’t got around to doing the google search you recommended. Time just slips away sometimes.

        What is it that you were expecting me to change my mind about?

      • Forrest:

        You indicated that you could change your mind if “changed facts and fresh empirical evidence contradicts previous science ”

        Which is what I offered: That man made climate change is real, but has nothing to do with CO2, or other “greenhouse gasses”. It is actually being caused by regulations of the EPA and similar agencies abroad that reduce Sulfur Dioxide aerosol emissions.

        Check the link. I think you will be convinced.

      • @Burl
        Are you claiming you did that in this thread? ‘Cause as of my post, your complaint is the only thing you’ve apparently authored.

    • There’s your mistake, thinking that you were thinking.

      One constant with you warmistas, you always lie about what others believe.
      One, the claim that CO2 has no impact on climate does not rule out the possibility that CO2 has an affect on plants.
      Two, there are only a small handful of people who claim that CO2 has absolutely no affect on climate.

  5. COS molecules only last a short time, I doubt they could get a decent reading from Ice cores…

    …but what they are saying is they found something else, that without mans intervention, would become depleting/limiting

    • I’m not aware that ice core analysis has been validated by controls which would attempt to simulate natural processes. In the early 80’s and before, CO2 measurements often showed more than 400 ppm and sometimes even higher than 1000 ppm. They eventually adjusted their methods to give the results they wanted. And you’re right in that COS is more difficult to measure.

      • R. Shearer,

        The early CO2 measurements in ice cores had two main problems: drilling was not that sofisticated and sometimes drilling fluid was found in cracks and at that point higher CO2 levels were found in the old days when huge amounts were needed for the measurement. Renewed measurements at the same ice from the same depths show no increase when they carefully used only uncontaminated small samples of ice.
        Second problem is with Greenland cores: in all ice cores some sea salt dust is included. That is no problem for Antarctic ice, but as Greenland also has frequent highly acid dust deposits from nearby Icelandic volcanoes, that makes in situ CO2 in the ice from the sea salt carbonates. The more with the old method of melting all ice and measuring CO2 in the vapor under vacuum: the longer one measured, the more CO2 was coming out… Thus CO2 levels from Greenland ice cores are unreliable, but still other gases like CH4 can be measured.

        Since the 1990’s with the work of Etheridge e.a. on three ice cores at Law Dome, the methods are much better and the repeatability is around 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma) for the same core and maximum 5 ppmv difference for ice cores with extreme differences in accumulation rate and average temperature for the same average gas age. There is even a 20 year overlap (1960-1980) between the Law Dome ice core CO2 levels and direct measurements at the South Pole.

  6. Last year an article by the DOE attributed the pause in co2 from plants taking up more co2. That presents a problem in the mantra that co2 lasts for hundreds of years in the atmosphere. And since it is being shown that increasing levels of co2 increase the uptake of co2 by plants, how is it certain that the co2 levels in ice were the right levels ?
    It is not at all clear to me that the increasing co2 in the atmosphere is entirely anthro or at a rate that could be considered the majority.
    I look at as the temperature paused and so did the rise in the co2 ppm per year. Im sure they’ve looked at the co2 record ppm per year for the last 60 and the temperature anomolies per year as well. The article …https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/11/08/study-earths-vegetation-is-causing-a-global-pause-in-co2-growth/
    It’s a response of some sort. I think it’s a lot more serious than they think.

    • rishrac,

      Indeed plants are taking more CO2 away, but that is not sufficient to take all emissions away in the same year as emitted, neither are the oceans or both combined. In average about half of human emissions are captured by oceans and vegetation, with huge year by year variations, due to El Niño and Pinatubo and other large events:

      Thus in every year since the accurate measurements at Mauna Loa, humans emitted more CO2 than nature has captured. Besides that fact (the mass balance…), human emissions fit every single observation, while every alternative explanation I have heard of violates one or more or even all observations…

      That humans are responsible for almost all CO2 increase (and a small addition from warmer ocean surface waters) doesn’t say anything about the (mostly beneficial) effects of more CO2 in the atmosphere, where the negative effects are only found in failing computer models…

      • Pinatubo actually caused the co2 level ppm for that year to fall by half from the previous year. It didn’t add any co2.
        I strongly disagree that humans are responsible for almost all the co2 increase.

  7. Please keep research money flowing so we can continue to prove well known CO2 fertilization. Please, because it is poorly constrained. Please, because we said was not bad (a walk back). Pretty please. More research money, pretty please.

  8. Note how they fail to even consider a lag between CO2 emissions and full uptake of CO2 by the biosphere. It takes time for the biosphere to adjust and expand. As it does it will take up more and more CO2 until equilibrium is reached. Why do they ignore something this simple?

    • Yes, while carbon sinks are still rising at an increasingly rate, the claim “Nature’s brakes have already been overwhelmed” is making a great leap of faith. They were a bit closer to the honest truth when they said the models are “poorly constrained”, which translates as “We just don’t know. That’s why the models are so bad”.

    • I guess this is from the: It’s good news, but..our funding was on condition we affirmed climate change and this is as positive about CO2 as our careers are worth…department.

      Or so professors assure me the system works at my alma mater

  9. Nitrogen pollution? 78% of the earth’s atmosphere and now it is pollution?

    Let’s see CO2 = pollution. N2 = pollution. All we need now is for diHydrogen Monoxide and for sunlight to be pollution and we have a matching set.

    And it’s important to develop a proxy to measure photosynthesis over the planet’s history because … ?

    • Excellent point! How can the major component of the atmosphere be a pollutant of the atmosphere?

    • They mean N containing fertilizers (ammonia, urea, ammonium nitrate, etc.) and their runoff from fields and formation of nitrous oxide by soil bacteria, etc.

      • I’m a bit old fashioned R, but when people write Nitrogen unless they say otherwise I read it as Nitrogen.

        The old adage is to say what they mean and mean what they say.

      • Ah, so they were just abbreviating in a secret code way but fortunately for us, YOU have the decoder ring?

        Sloppiness should be severely punished in all government funded science. Anyone that tends toward it should lose their funding immediately. Because how are we to know whether or not we’re paying for just wasteful imprecise uselessness, or if we’re actually paying people to intentionally propagandize us?

      • I agree with Forrester.
        It’s on the same line as the lefties talking about Carbon pollution when referring to CO2. It is a deliberate intention to manipulate opinion and obfuscate data.

    • Nitrogen pollution is shorthand for NO, NO2 and N2O. None of these are beneficial to animals but can be used by plants.

    • “Nitrogen pollution? 78% of the earth’s atmosphere and now it is pollution?”

      I wondered about that, too. I guess they are reclassifying the gases in the atmosphere. Oxygen’s next, I suppose. Pretty soon we won’t have anything to inhale that’s not polluted. We are in big trouble.

      • They mean nitrate/nitrogen oxide pollution, it’s like carbon dioxide which has morphed into “carbon”.
        Chemistry is not a warmist strong point.

  10. As the earth continues to warm overall from the last Mini Ice Age, we know through Congressional testimony that a previous warming period existed during the Viking age and had a higher tree line in the Sierra Mountains. I had this from 42 years of watching Florida change under the lack of Sunspot Activity and the Blessing of much Sunspot Activity. I add the following:

    Contrary to my critics, I forecasted the present drought years ago and sent my work to our Florida governors and state natural resource offices.  You may notice that the chain of lakes is being kept at max levels.  This drought will last until 2035.

    A final note on my critics, unless someone studies the ice age science books, they are pretty much lost on the topic of climate change.  They think the Eskimos fires stopped the ice age. We are halfway between the last one and the next ice age that begins in 10,000 to 16,000 years. 

    To explain a drought is simple .  A large count sunspot cycle produces upper level (Dr. Watt’s article a few years ago) atmosphere moisture and, in turn, more rain and hurricanes.  A lower count cycle, as we are in will reduce the upper atmosphere moisture and less rain and hurricanes. 

    I am beginning to think that our green muck problem, that is also happening in Lake Erie, ( See the March 2017 issue of The Rotarian) and Rotarua, New Zealand, North Island is not only due to run off and lost of habitat boundary, but is also due to drought.

    When I stood in Saddam’s palace, I asked myself a question as to, is this where the Garden of Eden was?  One has to study the ice ages to learn that answer.  The Med Sea was a desert 5 million years ago.

    What would our lakes look like if not damned up during this drought?

    Notice Little Lake Ariana, across the street of Kersey Funeral Home, Auburndale, Crooked Lake, Babson Park, and a home on Thomson Nursery near an unnamed lake with a retaining wall high above its respected lake.  The lakes are all low or would be if not damned up.

    Years ago, the controllers of the lakes would just let them drain away or dry up and one could about walk across the lakes.  Now, they understand my research on sunspot numbers. 

    Not bragging.  I prayed for something to do during my X wife’s deadly illness so as to keep my mind clear of the worst possibilities.  Be careful what you ask for.  When I found Sir James Jean’s book Through Space and Time in a library on the furthest end of the Island of Kauai, Hawaii and spotted Sir Gregory’s work, it all clicked for I was looking for an answer that bugged me for nearly 45 years.   Not a bad buy for a quarter.

    My curiosity about climate began in 1972 when I began studies at Warner Southern College, now Warner University.  The college buildings are now Bok Academy.  I use to swim in lake behind the college where they kept a beach open. 

    Each year the lake continued to recede.  There seemed to be enough rain just to bring it almost to where it was the year before and again it would recede further until the lake broke into three parts.  I had to drag a canoe I borrowed from the college to cross the sandbar to finish my little adventure to Webber College. 

    I returned to Warner in 1995 as the Public Relations and Alumni Director.  The place had been hit by a major hurricane.  There was a major change in the growth of the forest around the college.  I was amazed how green everything was.

    I recalled back 20 years that seldom heard of a hurricane. It was dryer.  Under-brush seemed less, dry looking and white sand was more present in 1972-76.  Also, it was colder, and students made extra cash keep fires going all night and day sometimes in the groves to prevent the orange trees from freezing. It was a flay sunspot cycle that I give credit to.

    I went in 1995, to the South Lake Wales Water Company to have them turn on the water at the house I was renting.  On the wall, was a series of pictures, which I copied, and the pictures showed that the Florida climate is always shifting.

    They showed the main canal where the old yacht club sat next to Bok Academy in the 1950s. 
    The personal docks on the canal were standing 10 to 15 feet out of the water.  The retaining walls were about the same. 

    People talked about the causes, but in the 1950s and 1976 something significantly was happening climate wise and by man.  The State of Florida had the mines start filling in their diggings for it was effecting lake levels. 

    Growers had to find better ways to irrigate and the growing number of homes in Central Florida, set a policy controlling days of irrigating lawns. 

    However, in 1996, that wasn’t a problem.  The bigger problem was Crooked Lake now had recovered and crossed over to the west side of State Route 27 via a cattle tunnel about a mile south of Bok Academy.  The county has a map of Crooked Lake’s potential boundaries.  Many of my friends were sandbagging the doors and garage doors of their homes in South Lake Wales.

    Now, the lake has receded again as I have predicted to three or four Rotary clubs here in Central Florida beginning around 2007 and state offices covering our natural resources.  Can it still be blamed on phosphate mining and irrigation?  No.

    My critics would say so, but doubt if turned a page in my web site: sunspotshurricanesandglaciers.com.  Look at the 3rd Annual International Conference on Hurricanes. Use the side panel to pull up slide shows.  However, I have already converted scientists off the consensus list.

    They probably don’t read the two Farmer’s Almanacs that come out each year.

    A friend of mine who was a professor of philosophy explained it this way.  Plato believed that we are all seated like in an auditorium which is really a cave.  They don’t look back at the sunlight coming from the opening in the cave.  They keep facing down into the darkness.  From time to time someone comes along and taps them on the shoulder and says look at the light coming into the cave.  Some walk out and others turn back to the darkness.

    Again, Thank you Editor of the Lakeland Ledger for publishing my thoughts, research and writings.

    Paul Pierett

  11. …It really seems that these lunatics on the left will not be happy until we are in the middle of the next Little Ice Age….Then, of course, they will be complaining about how cold it is and how it’s all man’s fault !!! D’OH !

    • All of Climate Change rhetoric can be summed up in 4 simple sentences;
      1) CO2 will increase to double or triple current levels.
      2) There are no political or technical realities to prevent this.
      3) Climate Change has nothing to do with climate but rather social control.
      4) Humans will adapt to whatever comes along.,

      • I hope that CO2 will double to 800 ppm or triple to 1200 ppm, which would be ideal for C3 plants, but doubt that even burning all available fossil fuels over the coming centuries could achieve those laudable goals. Regrettably, we’ll probably max out around 600 ppm.

  12. Interesting! After ignoring the matter for years (or seeking to minimize its importance), I’m curious as to why so many studies about the effects of CO2 on plant life around the planet are starting to appear, albeit laced with the usual CAGW poison pills and caveats. I’m beginning to wonder if there’s a pattern here. Are they hedging their bets? Is it because the Earth is becoming so undeniably greener even in satellite imagery that they can no longer deny the benefit of increasing CO2 levels. Or are they just desperate to try to find some negative effects of CO2 that they can “spin” into their ongoing alarmist fantasies? I was surprised to see this story on another study measuring CO2 uptake in forests on the BBC…..

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-39472425

    • “Or are they just desperate to try to find some negative effects of CO2 that they can “spin” into their ongoing alarmist fantasies?”

      I think what the alarmists want to do is to conflate the greening effect of CO2 with the theoretical atmospheric warming effect of CO2. They will say human-caused CO2 is having a global greening effect that can be legitimately demonstrated, and it also has a global warming effect, which they would want you to infer can also be demonstrated.

      They are trying to use the greening effect of CO2 as confirmation of the global warming effect of CO2.

      • TA, in a balanced carbon cycle, shouldn’t all that decaying plant material be adding back the co2 that is taken out ? Isn’t that a key component of AGW? The people who support CAGW keep leaving critical information out. If they modeled this correctly, then that plant matter wouldn’t be subtracting co2, it’d be a balance. There shouldn’t be a pause in the co2 level ppm per year. There have been no negative numbers. Plants in the 19th century couldn’t handle a very slight increase in co2 ? The sinks were smaller then ? I don’t think so.

        While the CAGW people are alarmed at the total, I’m alarmed at, if anthropogenic co2 is the sole component of the the increase, about the relationship between what is being produced and what is ending up in the atmosphere. The official reporting people like NOAA and the EEC say that co2 production has leveled off or actually decreased. Do they think I believe that ? I see it as a desperate way of hiding something in order to further their political agenda. What ? They haven’t told stories before?

  13. Still they cling desperately to the misguided notion than CO2 has a significant effect on climate.

    What is meant by the statement that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a greenhouse gas (ghg)? If by that you mean CO2 absorbs electromagnetic radiation with a wave length of 15 microns (including +/- a micron or so due to pressure broadening, etc. at low altitude), well, that was demonstrated in the lab a long time ago and remains true. But if by that you mean CO2 significantly contributes to global warming, there is multiple compelling evidence, some listed at http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com, that it does not.

    How can that be?

    For openers, all terrestrial infrared radiation absorbed by CO2 molecules (and all other ghg molecules) is immediately thermalized, i.e. shared with surrounding molecules by thermal conduction. This is because it takes about 6 micro seconds for a CO2 molecule to emit a photon after it absorbs one but only about 0.0002 micro seconds until it starts bouncing off other molecules losing part of the absorbed energy with each contact. Thermal conduction is one of the results of molecules bouncing off each other. Note that the ghg molecule can absorb/emit only photons with a certain quantum of energy, but the energy itself is not quantized. There are no forbidden wavelengths of photons. But only photons at about 15 microns can be absorbed by CO2.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that water vapor molecules are much more numerous than CO2 molecules and each water vapor molecule has many absorption lines in the range of terrestrial radiation. On average, at low altitude, there are about 35 times as many water vapor molecules and each water vapor molecule has over 170 times as many absorption lines as CO2 in the terrestrial wave length range compared to only one for CO2. Thus there are over 5000 times more ‘opportunities’ for water vapor molecules to absorb photons than CO2 molecules.

    Next, imagery of the activity of molecules in the atmosphere is helpful. Wikipedia, in the article on kinetic theory of gases, has a pretty good 2-D animation of the 3-D activity. It shows simulated molecules bouncing elastically off each other and the walls of the container. At any point in time, the speed (and energy) of the molecules varies from zero to high values with the highest probability being towards the low end. The speed/energy distribution for the molecules, determined probabilistically, is identified as Maxwell-Boltzmann. Graphs of the curve shape are shown in the Wikipedia article on Maxwell-Boltzmann. Molecules jostled to high enough energy for long enough time can emit a photon. This is called, for lack of a better term, reverse-thermalization. The Maxwell-Boltzmann distribution is more populace at lower energy levels resulting in biasing the Planck spectrum radiation emitted by the surface to lower energies favored according to Maxwell-Boltzmann. This also results in the energy absorbed by the CO2 being biased to the water vapor molecules.

    At very high altitudes, molecule spacing and time between collisions increases to where reverse-thermalization to CO2 molecules becomes significant as does radiation from them to space.

    • At what elevation is that “0.0002 micro seconds until it starts bouncing off other molecules” measured?
      Sea level?
      I would presume that as you go up in the atmosphere, that time would increase.

    • Dan Pangburn April 5, 2017 at 8:08 pm
      For openers, all terrestrial infrared radiation absorbed by CO2 molecules (and all other ghg molecules) is immediately thermalized, i.e. shared with surrounding molecules by thermal conduction. This is because it takes about 6 micro seconds for a CO2 molecule to emit a photon after it absorbs one but only about 0.0002 micro seconds until it starts bouncing off other molecules losing part of the absorbed energy with each contact. Thermal conduction is one of the results of molecules bouncing off each other. Note that the ghg molecule can absorb/emit only photons with a certain quantum of energy, but the energy itself is not quantized. There are no forbidden wavelengths of photons. But only photons at about 15 microns can be absorbed by CO2.

      The mean time for emission is actually significantly more than 6 microsecs, more like millisecs. The absorption band of CO2 is wider than you state (13-18).

      Another thing to keep in mind is that water vapor molecules are much more numerous than CO2 molecules and each water vapor molecule has many absorption lines in the range of terrestrial radiation. On average, at low altitude, there are about 35 times as many water vapor molecules and each water vapor molecule has over 170 times as many absorption lines as CO2 in the terrestrial wave length range compared to only one for CO2. Thus there are over 5000 times more ‘opportunities’ for water vapor molecules to absorb photons than CO2 molecules.

      Between 5 and 25 micron wavelengths CO2 has about 130,000 lines, water only ~20,000, also the CO2 lines are concentrated near the peak of the Earth’s emission spectrum.

      • phil – I provide 3 links in the reference list; One says 6 microsec, another says 7.1 microsec (in the pure gas) and the third says 10 microsec. The lower one is more conservative for the assessment and was used in this post.

        The energy absorbed by CO2 wider than “+/- a micron or so” is insignificant.

        CO2 molecules have only the one vibrational mode while H2O molecules have more than 170 spin modes. I would like to see the reference source for what you assert.

        The analysis lists 6 compelling observations which demonstrate CO2 has no significant effect on climate in addition to the realization absorbed energy is thermalized as discussed above.

      • Dan Pangburn April 6, 2017 at 3:01 pm
        phil – I provide 3 links in the reference list; One says 6 microsec, another says 7.1 microsec (in the pure gas) and the third says 10 microsec. The lower one is more conservative for the assessment and was used in this post.

        The references I have seen are of the order of millisecs and above.

        CO2 molecules have only the one vibrational mode while H2O molecules have more than 170 spin modes. I would like to see the reference source for what you assert.

        Both molecules are triatomics and therefore have the same number of degrees of freedom, both have 3 translational modes, H2O has 3 rotational modes and 3 vibrational modes whereas CO2 has 2 rotational modes and 4 vibrational modes.
        See here for example: http://chemistry.illinoisstate.edu/standard/che362/handouts/362molvibs.pdf

        As for the number of lines the numbers I gave are from HITRAN2012.

      • Phil – We are discussing GAS molecules in the range of SIGNIFICANT TERRESTRIAL radiation. Only two of the 4 modes for CO2 are IR active (non zero dipole) and in the range of significant terrestrial radiation which is about 100/cm to 1500/cm. They are both 670/cm so produce only one absorption band. That excludes two of the vibrational modes for CO2 and it has no rotational modes. Your reference source works for CO2.

        Your article does not discuss rotational modes for water vapor. Significant terrestrial IR absorption is essentially all involving rotational modes. A link to the reference source for water vapor is provided in my analysis.

        Modtran is designed for atmospheric propagation of electromagnetic radiation. Bands might have been a better word than lines.

      • Dan Pangburn April 7, 2017 at 4:54 am
        Phil – We are discussing GAS molecules in the range of SIGNIFICANT TERRESTRIAL radiation. Only two of the 4 modes for CO2 are IR active (non zero dipole) and in the range of significant terrestrial radiation which is about 100/cm to 1500/cm. They are both 670/cm so produce only one absorption band. That excludes two of the vibrational modes for CO2 and it has no rotational modes. Your reference source works for CO2.

        CO2 most certainly does have rotational modes, they show up as the rotational fine structure of the vibrational band, CO2 has a P, Q and R branch.

        Your article does not discuss rotational modes for water vapor. Significant terrestrial IR absorption is essentially all involving rotational modes. A link to the reference source for water vapor is provided in my analysis.

        Water also has rotational fine structure but the lines are further apart than CO2.

        Modtran is designed for atmospheric propagation of electromagnetic radiation. Bands might have been a better word than lines.
        So is HITRAN.

      • Phil – Your graph shows significant amplitude of the spikes from about 617/cm to about 717/cm. That is equivalent to 16.2 microns to 13.9 microns. i.e. 15 +/- a micron or so. Thanks for the verification.

      • Dan Pangburn April 9, 2017 at 9:53 pm
        Phil – Your graph shows significant amplitude of the spikes from about 617/cm to about 717/cm. That is equivalent to 16.2 microns to 13.9 microns. i.e. 15 +/- a micron or so. Thanks for the verification.

        Interesting that a graph extending from 640 to 700 cm-1 can do that!
        Especially when plotting the rotational spectrum of CO2 which you claimed to be nonexistent.
        Note that the absorption is shown for a path length of 1m, our atmosphere is rather thicker than that, you wouldn’t see much absorption by water in its main band (1400-1800 cm-1) over that path length either.

  14. Reblogged this on Climatism and commented:
    “Photosynthesis is the process through which plants use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide (CO2) into carbohydrates to fuel their growth and other activities”

    Carbon dioxide – the essential gas of life on earth, without which we’d all be dead.

    It is the very same gas that “Save The Planet” eco-zealots and sycophant climate-obsessed mainstream media refer to as “carbon pollution”.

    It is the same essential gas of life that Barack Obama had written in law, via the EPA, as a “Pollutant”!

    The demonisation of colourless, odourless, essential trace gas and plant food “CO2/Carbon Dioxide” – one of the great deceptions of the Climate Change scandal.

  15. The plant growth will be an exponential function with existing plant stocks, but raised to a higher power by expansion of greenery into presently arid nonproductive areas. CO2 is linearly growing, so my dear Carnegie institutioniants, CO2 growth will attenuate. This is a one time chance for creating a garden of Eden of the planet. Fossil fuels will peak all too soon and the not to distant future will see an end to this opportunity. The real emergency is to sequester a burgeoning cornucopia of stupidity in our scientists and politicians. If Trump succeeds, he will be remembered (in retrospect! ) as mankind’s most important historical figure.

  16. So our all singing-all dancing computer model showed that photosynthesis increased in the last two centuries by 31%, about the same as the increase in CO2. Not exactly what Karl Popper would have called a “risky” hypothesis.

    • The increase in CO2 is somewhat greater than that:
      CO2 increase from 1800 to 2001 was 89.5 ppmv (parts per million by volume). The atmospheric carbon dioxide level has now (through March, 2017) increased since 2001 by 34.47 ppmv (an amount equal to 38.5% of the increase that took place from 1800 to 2001) (1800, 281.6 ppmv; 2001, 371.13 ppmv; March, 2017, 405.6 ppmv).

  17. From the article: “climate change caused by CO2 emissions” – well, that is a theory. But, it has no supporting Laws, Axioms, Postulates, or formulas. It’s a vacuous theory with no science to apply.

    Contrast that with the known truths that Carbon Dioxide is:
    – the base of the food chain for all carbon based life forms
    – the only singular throttle in the Carbon Cycle of life
    – the source of all carbon in all organic material

  18. Well, whaddayaknow, areas in the Arctic ocean seeing less sea-ice are producing large amounts of chlorophyll…..

  19. The Mauna Loa CO2 data shows a yearly pattern, CO2 going down a bit during NH summer and back up during NH winter.
    If CO2 is increasing the total mass of plant life on planet, would this yearly drop and recovery increase in size?

    • MarkW,

      Indeed the near-ground seasonal amplitude it is increasing, mainly in the high latitudes, as that is where average growth season temperatures and thus seasonal plant growth increased most:

      Maybe even more if earlier years were compared. Here the data are from 1974 on, as from that year on regular δ13C measurements were taken, which show the opposite pattern as for CO2. That proves that the main seasonal changes are from vegetation, not from the oceans.

      On hemispheric (Mauna Loa) and global level the changes are too small in the graph, but still may be significant.

  20. Decades ago, when the earth was cooling some idiot should have suggested that we use geo-engineering to warm the planet. They might have suggested CO2 because not only would it warm the planet and prevent the next ice age, but it would also benefit plant growth.

    Now we have a great climate and plants are doing well and we are getting idiots wanting us to cool the planet and kill off plants by simulation the effect of massive volcanoe eruptions.

  21. What is not mentioned is that increasing CO2 promotes weed growth, particularly vines, over more desirable flora and that changes in plant chemistry due to increased CO2 decreases the nutritional content of many important food sources.

    • I didn’t think of that! Co2 is making Americans Fat? The expanding waist lines are directly proportional to the increase in co2. So that’s where the sinks are !!

    • Actually, the claim that weeds will benefit more was addressed.
      As to the claim about nutrition, that study was refuted over a decade ago.

    • Slipstick,

      As far as I remember, only leave vegetables did contain less nitrogen compounds (less proteins), but seeds, fruits,… didn’t change. With more nitrogen fertilisers the “problem” for feed/food even for leaves was over…

  22. My new shirt Motto:

    “Save Gaia’s Plant KingDom”

    “End the CO2 Drought!”

  23. it would be CRIMINAL to reduce CO2.
    Unless our liberal “friends” want to eat less themselves and so compensate for less food?

  24. “Plant photosynthesis was stable for hundreds of years before the industrial revolution, but grew rapidly in the 20th century,”

    So thanks to man-made CO2, those damned triffids are going to take over.

    We’re doomed.

  25. Although [ after 40 years climate modelling ] this COS analysis does not directly constrain models of future GPP growth, it does provide a global-scale benchmark for historical carbon-cycle simulations.

    There’s another 40 years. Next comes ‘ocean acidification’.

  26. venus says:
    April 6, 2017 at 12:48 pm

    it would be CRIMINAL to reduce CO2

    Exactly.
    From the article:
    The researchers estimate that the sum of all plant photosynthesis on Earth grew by 30 percent over the 200-year record they captured.

    The whole biosphere benefits from it, and from it humans.
    This would mean that about 1/3 of all food that we have comes from it, without the extra CO2 2 billion of people would starve.

  27. Researches estimate that the increase of photosynthesis lead to an increase of sexual activity across the 200-year record they captured.
    However, the increase of research in the field of climatology has offset the former increase, due to their preferrence to intellectual masturbation VS the real thing.
    /SARC

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