Using the Orbiting Carbon Observatory for something useful: monitoring potential volcanic eruptions

From MICHIGAN TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY

Is it gonna blow? Measuring volcanic emissions from space

Late last month, a stratovolcano in Bali named Mount Agung began to smoke. Little earthquakes trembled beneath the mountain. Officials have since evacuated thousands of people to prevent what happened when Agung erupted in 1963, killing more than 1,000 people.

Before volcanoes erupt, there are often warning signs. Tiny earthquakes rarely felt by humans but sensed by seismographs emanate from the volcano. Plumes of water vapor rise from the crater. When the volcano begins to emit gases like carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, eruption may be imminent.

But getting close to the top of a volcano is dangerous work. Using remote sensing to detect rising carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide emissions without endangering people or equipment would greatly increase human understanding of volcanoes. Remote sensing emissions could prevent humanitarian disasters–and false alarms.

Mount Agung hasn’t erupted yet (at the time this article was written), but seismic activity remains intense. Balinese officials are beginning to wonder if an eruption truly is imminent; the people who were evacuated from the area want to return to their homes and tourism is down.

Researchers including Michigan Technological University volcanologist Simon Carn have published a collection of papers including “Spaceborne detection of localized carbon dioxide sources” in the journal Science; the article details the first-known measurement of localized anthropogenic and natural carbon dioxide sources from a satellite in low-Earth orbit.

The five papers in the OCO-2 Science Special Collection showcase the abilities of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite; measurements from the satellite’s sensors provide insights into how carbon links everything on Earth. The research is supported by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Monitoring CO2 Emissions From Space

The OCO-2 satellite. Artist rendering. Credit: NASA

The paper Carn co-authored discusses how the research team has taken high-resolution, sensitive spaceborne measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide at the kilometer scale. This data reveals that the satellite’s sensors are able to pinpoint localized sources of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere–a difficult task considering the sheer amount of background carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to begin with.

 

The satellite uses spectrometry; the sensors onboard the satellite measure reflected sunlight–radiation–in high-spectral resolution using wavelengths undetectable to the human eye. When light passes through carbon dioxide, some is absorbed by the gas. The remaining light bounces off the ocean and the Earth. The OCO-2 sensors measure the light that bounces back to quantify what was absorbed by carbon dioxide, allowing scientists to isolate emission sources, whether human or natural.

This figure shows carbon dioxide measurements at Yasur volcano in Vanuatu on May 30, 2015. Yasur is a very active volcano and among the strongest sources of volcanic gas emissions on Earth. The OCO-2 data (left panel) show a small CO2 enhancement downwind (northwest) of the volcano. The middle panel shows the OCO-2 data rescaled to show the excess carbon dioxide concentration in the volcanic plume above the background concentration in the region. The figure shows that the volcanic signal is very small – only 1 percent above the background atmospheric carbon. This demonstrates why extremely sensitive satellite sensors like OCO-2 are needed to detect localized CO2 sources. The right panel shows the actual carbon dioxide concentrations highlighting the measurement pixels considered part of the volcanic plume. CREDIT Image Credit: NASA JPL

“The main focus of the article is detecting localized, point-source emissions of carbon dioxide as opposed to measuring the broad-scale concentration in the atmosphere,” says Carn, an associate professor in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. “Volcanoes can be strong, localized sources of carbon dioxide. But on a global basis, all available evidence indicates that human activities are emitting much more carbon dioxide than volcanoes.”

The OCO-2 satellite’s spatial resolution–2.25 kilometers–is high enough that chemical signals are not diluted. However, while OCO-2’s measurements are unprecedented, the satellite cannot be used as a routine volcano monitoring tool because it does not pass over the same place on the Earth frequently enough.

“This is a demonstration that the technique does work, but we need better sensors before it becomes a routine monitoring tool, especially for volcanoes where we expect rapid changes in gas emissions,” Carn says. “If we could measure volcanic carbon dioxide from space routinely, it would be a very powerful addition to the techniques we use. That kind of observation would be useful (for Agung) right now.”

Carn combed through satellite data to find detectable spaceborne carbon dioxide measurements from three volcanoes in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu. One of these, Mount Yasur, has been erupting since at least the 1700s, and on the day of the OCO-2 measurement was emitting carbon dioxide about 3.4 parts per million above background atmospheric levels, equal to about 42 kilotons of emissions. In comparison, human emissions average 100,000 kilotons a day.

OCO-2’s sensors also measured carbon dioxide emissions over the Los Angeles basin, detecting a sort of carbon dioxide “dome”. Urban areas account for more than 70 percent of anthropogenic emissions.

“Natural processes on Earth are currently able to absorb about half of human fossil fuel emissions,” says Annmarie Eldering, OCO-2 deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and lead author of an overview paper in Science on the state of OCO-2 science. “If those natural processes falter, slowing down the helpful removal of carbon dioxide, greenhouse-gas-induced warming would accelerate and intensify. These data begin to give us a better view of how climate affects the carbon cycle, reducing the huge uncertainty around how both might change in the future.”

The OCO-2 measurements across Los Angeles were detailed enough to capture differences in concentrations within the city resulting from localized sources. They also tracked diminishing carbon dioxide concentrations as the spacecraft passed from over the crowded city to the suburbs and out to the sparsely populated desert to the north.

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Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsibl

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147 thoughts on “Using the Orbiting Carbon Observatory for something useful: monitoring potential volcanic eruptions

  1. “The main focus of the article is detecting localized, point-source emissions of carbon dioxide as opposed to measuring the broad-scale concentration in the atmosphere,”

    What an incredible waste of time and money.

  2. ” Balinese officials are beginning to wonder if an eruption truly is imminent”…

    Modern science has evolved to the point of hyper-realism…every potential ‘disaster’ is over hyped
    ….they are going out of their way to create a real disaster one day…when no one listens to them

    • The common problem seems to be advanced instrumentation.

      Before the satellite age we just couldn’t see things like this so we have no idea how to interpret the new information objectively, instead we apply the ruling paradigm (Change is Bad) and declare an emergency with every new observation. The “coral bleaching” crisis is a great example, before 1950 no one new much about coral. Now we have all these sport divers looking at thing you just couldn’t look at before and if anything changes it’s a crisis.

      You see it everywhere when you start looking for it.

  3. So large urban populations emit more CO2…? But aren’t they the homes of the vast majorities of Eco Warriors? Impossible. Obviously the data are flawed and we need a consensus. Please send the necessary millions of dollars to my account (for my sciencish study) as I couldn’t live with myself if this continues.

  4. Whoa! There is nothing wrong with improving our chances of detecting potentially very dangerous volcanic eruptions before they rage over heavily populated areas. What we don’t have to buy is the tacking on of comments about half the warming is down to us, which just seems to be the usual alarmist drivel bereft of anything like evidence.
    I wouldn’t like to live on the slopes of a stratovolcano and it seems to me NASA is doing a useful job here. It could save a lot of lives genuinely in danger.

    • Yes, satellite monitoring of volcanoes does seem to be a use for CO2 monitoring devices. The problem seems to be that the device only works well in low earth orbit, thus the lack of sufficient coverage.

    • Seismometers were placed in the past to measure earthquakes. Somebody noticed that they can be useful also for monitoring volcanoes.
      Whatever the reason this satellite was launched, it’s up there. Somebody noticed it might be useful for monitoring volcanoes.
      Data led to an hypothesis.
      The former (seismometers) are not a foolproof indication of a pending eruptions.
      If the CO2 emissions hypothesis holds up as a possible indication, perhaps combining both indicators will help give more reliable warnings?
      The thing is already up there.

  5. “Natural processes on Earth are currently able to absorb about half of human fossil fuel emissions. If those natural processes falter, slowing down the helpful removal of carbon dioxide, greenhouse-gas-induced warming would accelerate and intensify.”

    I see only 3 items of fake news in this statement:

    1. Natural carbon dioxide absorbing processes might falter. Is the ocean going to stop absorbing CO2? Are sea creatures going to stop forming calcium carbonate? Are plants going to stop photosynthesising? These are preposterous ideas.

    2. Removing CO2 (from the atmosphere) is helpful. How is it helpful to remove CO2 from the atmosphere? Do we want to slow down plant growth? This idea is just ignorant.

    3. Greenhouse-gas-induced warming would intensify. Increasing from 1 degree warming per century to 2 degrees per century is bad? In what way? A highly presumptive idea.

    SR

    • Why is my reply in moderation? Including the reason in the announcement (of the delay in posting) would help me avoid provoking moderation.

      SR

      • Look at the words you used. If any could be considered to be derogatory in any way, omit them.

        Typical comment which will get through any moderation – “I don’t know anything about economics, but i do love dear little kittens’…

      • I only labeled ideas, not people. Each label was appropriate per its definition.

        Preposterous: completely contrary to nature, reason, or common sense

        Ignorant: lacking knowledge or comprehension of the thing specified

        Presumptive: an assumption, often not fully established, that is taken for granted in some piece of reasoning

        SR

      • Is Dodgy Geezer right? Is writing out the definition of a word preferred over the word? Is wordiness preferred over conciseness?

        SR

      • Perhaps you are being too sensitive.
        In 10 years, auto-moderation will improve (hope) to the point that okay comments will be recognized even though some trigger words are contained therein.
        By then I probably won’t care or even know what is going on.
        As I get older there are fewer trigger words — but “al gore” seems to be holding in there.
        It is a beautiful day here in Central Washington State, so I’m going outside and do a bit of yard work.
        It is relaxing compared to reading the news.

        I agree with your 10:34 comment. Well, except the going from 1 to 2 degrees. My guess would be lower.
        Cheers.
        John

      • John F. Hultquist October 14, 2017 at 11:51 am

        Nice to see a reply addressing the points of my post. I agree with your assessment of the actual likely amount of GHG induced warming. I was being overly generous because I was expecting to accused, by certain posters who actually do employ adhom attacks, of being disingenuous. I was pointing out even 2 degrees per century would not be a problem.

      • The algorithms used at this site only check words, not context.
        If you use a word that is in the naughty list (which changes daily) you will go straight to moderation.

      • MarkW October 14, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Note my reply at 10:37. I was asking that the note informing posters of moderation delay list the word invoking moderation so it could be avoided.

        SR

      • I’ve had at least 2 dozen comments put in moderation this year and it seems like many more in the last month or so then previously. There has never been 1 word edited out as I would never communicate in a manner that required that. I am an operational meteorologist that often taps into 35 years of observations/experience when commenting and even some of that stuff gets moderated.

        It may be frustrating to see what you believe to be a well thought out, non offending comment result in the moderation message and that some here with a long history of NOT offending may have earned posting with impunity until proven otherwise.

        However, don’t take it personal. It’s not you and it’s not me. Maybe there are ways to alter posts to make them less likely to get stuck briefly in moderation…….but what’s the big deal. Your last comment was outstanding exactly the way you stated it and you shouldn’t need to avoid certain words or change ways to communicate to push it through immediately vs getting it scrutinized by the moderating gate keeping system.

        I was just thinking earlier this week of how amazing this site actually is. Every day features new relevant scientific articles. Every article results in comments from readers(many far more educated than me in many fields) that share unique insights and often links to more information than the initial article provided.

        If many of my posts are getting moderated for a specific reason and that moderation process is creating extra work on the receiving end which can be avoided, I would be happy to adjust for that reason but need to know

      • Mike, thank you for your comment on the content of my 1st post.

        “If many of my posts are getting moderated for a specific reason and that moderation process is creating extra work on the receiving end which can be avoided, I would be happy to adjust for that reason but need to know”

        Your quoted comment is pretty close to my 2nd comment. My question therein has resulted in a lengthy sub-thread (some to follow) containing lots of speculation. I would rather that m0d(s) had responded to my question appropriately, so as to make the additional comments and speculation unnecessary and thus kept this off-topic thread short.

        SR

      • According to the timeline, your first post was in “moderation” for 3 minutes. It happens. It’s usually a trigger word problem, or maybe a suspicious link you added to a post. But it happens to everyone here. The computer doesn’t “know” you were referring to ideas rather than a person. Trigger words like “fake”, “ignorant” “preposterous” and “presumptive” could easily be part of a rant, and most likely will result in this post going to moderation as well. :)

        Anthony is tweaking things on the blog, and it’s his blog, so even if the resulting moderation WAS intentional and subjective, (which I doubt it is) it’s his choice. Breathe. Live. Return.

      • Aphan October 14, 2017 at 5:48 pm
        According to the timeline, your first post was in “moderation” for 3 minutes.

        Actually, when I asked at 3:37 why my post was “in moderation” my post of 3:34 was still in moderation. (If it had already appeared, I might have asked why it had been in moderation. I am very literal.) My 3:34 post appeared some time in the mid to late 3:40’s.

        Please note that I never complained about my post being in moderation. I only asked to be told what word(s) put my post in moderation, for future avoidance. Like you, some have speculated, but still no word from the powers that be on which word(s) did it. Perhaps only someone within WP knows.

        SR

    • Question to readers: Are others getting their posts put in moderation with no explanation, or is it just me?

      SR

      Stevan, as someone has quite rightly said a post is moderated (sometimes by me) with trigger words or phrases,
      that move the post to be moderated. Foul language, racist and sexist comments and adhom attacks
      are not tolerated and are deleted. (Mod)

      • None of my posts have contained any foul language, racist or sexist attacks, or adhom attacks. Are you saying a computer that does not understand grammar is taking certain words out of context, so I should disguise potentially misunderstandable words, or substitute their definition per my post at 11:22?

        SR

      • ..Is Dodgy Geezer right?….

        The Dodgy Geezer is ALWAYS right! It’s just that his answers are not necessarily correct…

        Moderation problems:

        1 – A huge stream of comments means you have to examine them automatically
        2 – Automatic checkers can’t tell the difference between a word being used to refer to the rulers of Germany between 1933-1945, or the same word being used because someone disagrees with someone else.
        3 – So you have to wait for the manual check…

        If it were up to me, I would have everything unmoderated, and only remove things I was informed about that looked illegal. I don’t mind a stream of bad language – it usually indicates to me that my opponent is losing…

      • Dodgy Geezer October 14, 2017 at 11:55 am

        I agree with your suggestion concerning how moderation should be applied. Or, since I have been put into moderation several times over the several years I have been posting to WUWT, without ever having anything snipped or determined to violate policy in any way, how about granting me status of non-moderation until such time as I actually violate policy?

        SR

      • I’ve had a couple of comments put into moderation recently where I didn’t know why and no explanation was given. Just yesterday that happened.
        The comment was there today.
        I’ve got no problem with that. I’m surprised sometimes but I don’t have a problem with it.
        When it’s an “auto” thing, how could an explanation be given? An “auto” thing doesn’t understand context.
        Often the mod on duty will pass it or explain why it was not passed.
        If they don’t explain, hey, this isn’t my blog.

        PS To “(Mod)” above, perhaps enclose what you say in “[” and “]”? That makes it easier for us readers to know who is saying what before we reach the end.

      • I think that there is sometimes a lag that may be due to how busy WordPress is. A throughput/processing issue, rather than a moderation one. I’ve had comments not post for a minute, two or longer, and then show up.

      • Gunga Din October 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        An “auto” thing could note the word triggering the auto thing. That was all I asked at 10:37.

        SR

      • I Came I Saw I Left October 14, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        I asked about moderation policy because I saw a message that my post was in moderation. I am just asking if words triggering auto moderation could be listed in the message. I went further, asking whether others were also going into moderation, when that first question went unanswered.

        SR

      • I certainly get stuck in moderation every so often, but it’s not something to get upset about, Stevan.
        I’ve learned from Janice Moore and others that if you use possible trigger words, misspell them or substitute characters, maybe leave out a vowel or two to get the message across “under the radar”.

      • I do agree that there should be some sort of “error code” attached to the notice of modding, with an explanatory link.

      • Stevan Reddish October 14, 2017 at 12:56 pm
        Gunga Din October 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm

        An “auto” thing could note the word triggering the auto thing. That was all I asked at 10:37.

        SR

        Keep in mind that (Moderation coming) Anthony uses WordPress, he didn’t design it.
        It, WP, may not offer the option of id-ing the trigger word for the commenter.
        Also, keep in mind, The ModSquad are volunteers.
        They do professional work despite the fact that their “Big Oil” checks always seem to get lost in the mail. 8-)

      • What bugs me is that occasionally comments seem to vaporize into to ether(net) without any messages. I guess that’s the spam bin. The odd part is that no trigger words can be isolated in the comment.

      • GD, I join you in saluting those who moderate this site. They are indeed selfless individuals who are acting save free humanity from a greater threat than CO2 could ever present.

      • Pop Piasa October 14, 2017 at 1:07 pm

        I was hoping to find out actual trigger word(s) used. The “possible” trigger word list is long.

        SR

      • I never worry about moderation at WUWT.
        Either the comment will be approved, or it will appear with a note from the mod.

        Nor is that wait ever terribly long. I’ve been to other places on the web, where moderation takes days and longer.
        It all depends upon the free time of the moderator.
        No free time, moderation takes awhile.

        Even moderators have a life to live.

        The only comments I worry about are the ones that vanish oddly with the web page resetting completely bringing the user back to the beginning of the article. I suspect those comments have entered some version of a WordPress negative vortex.
        With luck, the mods find a copy in the spam bucket.
        Without luck, the comment vanishes into the ether.

        Whines turned into pseudo comments just waste everyone’s time; especially the writers’.

      • Like many things in WordPress, their software’s decision on what to put in moderation works in mysterious ways.

        The comments that just disappear when you post them are especially annoying. I suspect that may be a “race condition” in WP code where two comments get posted nearly simultaneously and their database gets confused and loses one. Purely speculation on my part….

        If you want, you can visit https://wattsupwiththat.com/test/ and try playing with your post that got moved to purgatory. You might be able to find what triggered it. Then again, mysterious ways.

        We have very little influence on how WordPress runs their systems. OTOH, we’re getting what we paid for.

      • Mark S Johnson – Feel free to set me straight. How do you explain the occasional post that simply disappears when people click “Post Comment,” never to be seen again, not even in the moderation queue?

        And I am one of those software engineers who visit this site (and keep it running). I go back to keypunch days. And beyond….

      • Nine times out of ten, when this happens, you’d best ask the client if they are running Windows, cause it’s IP stack is prone to do drop the connection during a “POST.”

      • Windows? I can’t remember the last time I posted a comment here from Windows. This system is running Linux Mint on a box that has never had a Windows license sticker on it. My previous system was running a Linux distro that preserved Gnome V2, the previous system was on this box, but an old motherboard and other guts.

        Sorry, it’s pretty definitely a WP problem.

        When it happens to me, the response from WP is pretty quick, perhaps quicker than normal, and my comment isn’t on the screen, and isn’t in moderation (I have access to them).

        WordPress works in mysterious ways. And its database too. :-)

      • Mark S Johnson missed this bit in his rush to establish his authority.

        Purely speculation on my part….

      • Mark might be a bit pained to hear that I work for one of the global database vendors. However, I work on the cluster file system, something that lets multiple systems, each with access to the physical storage, share a file system.

        So, most of my database experience has been with MySQL on my local (Linux) systems for various weather and WUWT information. It is a bit embarrassing to have spent the last ten years working there without delving into the core database.

        I was sort of hoping Mark would give me some insights as to how big database servers are designed and how WP can drop comments. It seems he doesn’t have a clue. My speculation is better than his. Windows, indeed!

  6. Monitoring CO2 emissions from volcanic activity from Iceland is worthwhile. Then extrapolate the amount of CO2 being emitted from some 5000 miles of essentially the same geology all the way down the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
    Where did the stuff originally come from? From the rocks and it still is.
    Interesting to have a reasonably reliable estimate.

    • Thank you Bob. My thoughts too. Looks like carbon dioxide emissions from the lithosphere are pinned on human fossil fuel emissions.

      • In theory isotope analysis can differentiate between biospheric and lithospheric carbon. But what’s the difference between “human fossil fuel” and other lithospheric carbon (e.g. outgassing from the warming oceans)? The claims of “human fossil fuel emissions” depend on it.

  7. “but on a global basis, all available evidence indicates that human activities are emitting much more carbon dioxide than volcanoes.”
    “However, while OCO-2’s measurements are unprecedented, the satellite cannot be used as a routine volcano monitoring tool because it does not pass over the same place on the Earth frequently enough.”
    Same kind of certainty the “Concerned Ones” are so fond of, like the shill on the weather channel who assures us “Climate Change is real and happening”.
    But the human component cannot be measured…
    One has to love the Emperors New Clothes, such fine weave, such colours so soft…
    Damn shame no one can see them.
    That stated, nice to see some useful information gained from this expensive toy.
    Appears to be some real scientists plugging away in the bowels of these grant seeking organizations.

    • “Volcanoes can be strong, localized sources of carbon dioxide. But on a global basis, all available evidence indicates that human activities are emitting much more carbon dioxide than volcanoes.”

      Why was it necessary for the author to include that factoid? It’s entirely off-topic. Note that the paper shows no measurements of the “plume” directly above the volcano cone itself, at least none that have been shown here. The nearest reading is a full five kilometers downwind. Six, if you correct for the fact that the dotted line passes through the abscissa at minus 1 instead of zero. I strongly suspect that volcanic CO2 is more than an order of magnitude greater than climatasters are admitting.

  8. Cost of a satellite – high.
    Maintenance work on a satellite – impossible.

    Cost of a drone – peanuts…..

      • The work done on the Hubble Space Telescope was made “possible” by using a space shuttle.
        No more space shuttles=impossible again.

      • Several folks have estimated the cost of repairing the Hubble in orbit exceeded the cost of building and launching it by almost a factor of 10, in other words we could have launched quite a few replacements for much less than the cost of the manned orbital repair missions.

      • Bartleby
        It’s been rumored that NASA used the Hubble (it’s value to science and exploration) as an excuse to finance and drive the Space Shuttle program. The Shuttles were freakishly expensive and dangerous (known failures of various parts in every mission) but costs and human lives didn’t seem to matter as much to the NASA powers-that-were at the time as they did to US government officials that controlled the budget.

        It took a new director took at NASA, and a second shuttle explosion to ground the program, and since the Hubble’s life expectancy has already exceeded all expectations, the plan is to let it die and ditch it in the ocean before it’s decaying orbit brings it into our atmosphere and it breaks up over land on its own and hurts someone.

      • My involvement with the Shuttle ended with STS-1, I was a member of the IRIS (Infra-Red Imaging of the Shuttle) program so I can say with great confidence that, contrary to the statements made under later administrations, we were always aware of the possibility the Shuttle’s shield might fail and “zipper”, killing everyone aboard, as happened twenty years later.

        NASA has always justified itself as being better at safety because it lacks a profit motive. This is, unfortunately, something that works against the institution in all dimensions. It has no reason to be especially efficient in its operations of the directions of inquiry it takes, and it is ruthlessly involved in defending it funding.

        NASA is in fact the worst of all possible worlds, something that is true of any organization involved in the applied sciences that’s also funded by the public.

      • LOL @ Aphan.
        ….
        You denigrate the cleverness of both Russian and American aeronautical engineers. If push comes to shove, the Soyuz could fly to the Hubble, and service the gyroscopic stabilizers. Remember, they converted the Apollo 13 LEM into a “lifeboat” on short notice.

      • And you denigrate your own species by not grasping the physics of space travel and logistics, as well as the technical differences between the NASA components and the Russian ones. The space shuttles were the ONLY vehicles that could reach the 560 KM height the HTS orbits in, and perform the maintenance and repairs required. The ISS is at a lower height, and at a different orbit angle than the Hubble.

        Soyuz aren’t built for navigation in space. They launch up, and down. They cannot be “flown”. They don’t contain the necessary payload space to carry replacement parts, let alone those parts AND enough astronauts to do the repairs. They are not “space walk” capable. They DO not have, nor can carry, the necessary capture arms, docking mounts, or tools necessary to perform repairs on the HTS. They cannot carry the necessary fuel, oxygen, and supplies to keep astronauts alive during the DAYS it takes to make repairs.

        Read Mike Massomino’s book about the technicalities required to do some of the repairs on the Hubble. They were so incredibly delicate, and unplanned for, that they werent even SURE they could pull them off. You’ll learn why un-manned or drone repairs on the Hubble are physically impossible.

        Oh, and NASA stopped making the necessary replacement parts for the Hubble with no way to execute repairs after ending the shuttle program.

        Your childish insinuations that astronauts on the ISS could use a Soyuz “to fly over” to the Hubble and make repairs, or that a Soyuz is even in the same class as the Apollo LEM, are embarrassing to me…let alone every aeronautical engineer in Russia and the US.

      • Mark S Johnson writes: October 14, 2017 at 7:59 pm

        Bartleby: “exceeded the cost of building and launching it”

        That’s been thought of , and taken care of”

        Johnson? Don’t try teaching your grandfather to suck eggs. You can go back to playing video games now. Thanks.

    • It is interesting just how little info is coming from this satellite. They are going out of their way to produce basically nothing except cartoons. Makes one wonder what the problem is. Faults or inconvenient results?

    • “Cost of a satellite – high.
      Maintenance work on a satellite – impossible.”

      Value as a tool of propaganda – priceless.

  9. Sorry missed the point, that first sentence;
    “but on a global basis, all available evidence indicates that human activities are emitting much more carbon dioxide than volcanoes.”
    This is a work of art, “all available evidence indicates….”
    In an article that states we are NOT monitoring the worlds volcanoes closely enough to have accurate evidence…

  10. From the article: “Mount Yasur, has been erupting since at least the 1700s, and on the day of the OCO-2 measurement was emitting carbon dioxide about 3.4 parts per million above background atmospheric levels, equal to about 42 kilotons of emissions. In comparison, human emissions average 100,000 kilotons a day.”

    Assuming that Mount Yasur is typical, it would take about 2400 similar volcanos to match human emissions. And, they don’t have to be actively erupting because we know that at places like Long Valley Caldera (Calif.), CO2 is being emitted in quantities sufficient to be of concern to human health, i.e. much greater than 3.4 ppmv.

    The website http://www.volcanolive.com/world.html lists over 2000 volcanos that have erupted on land in the last 10,000 years. Is it likely that they have all been monitored for CO2 emissions? Besides those 2000+, there are probably even more vents underwater in spreading centers, contributing CO2 to the ocean water, which can then release it through outgassing when the water upwells.

    Once again, I’m left with the impression that the situation isn’t as well-studied and characterized as claimed by many.

    • I read recently an estimation that upwards of 1 million underwater volcanoes could be active on Earth. ONE MILLION.

    • Yasur is very atypical. The last three yars it has been a VEI 0, meaning no ejecta of any sort left the eruption inverted cone at its top.

    • All volcanic chains, hot spots, rifts (which include vents), tectonic boundaries, hot springs, magma sources, etc. emit CO2; Much of those sources emit CO2 and SO2 near constantly.

    • Wait wait wait.

      From an article in livescience in 2013 on the amount of YEARLY CO2 outgassing from volcanoes:

      “The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades.”

      https://www.livescience.com/40451-volcanic-co2-levels-are-staggering.html

      “Even more incredibly, it even seems that some volcanoes which are considered inactive, in terms of their potential to ooze new land, can still make some serious additions to the atmosphere through diffuse CO2 release. Residual magma beneath dormant craters, though it might never reach the surface, can still ‘erupt’ gases from a distance. Amazingly, from what little scientists have measured, it looks like this process might give off as much as half the CO2 put out by fully active volcanoes.

      If these additional ‘carbon-active’ volcanoes are included, the number of degassing peaks skyrockets to more than 500. Of which we’ve measured a grand total of nine percent. You can probably fill it in by now — we need to climb more mountains.”

      We’ve measured a whopping 9% of the “degassing” peaks. No wonder they can say that “measured volcanic CO2 is insignificant” with a straight face!!! It’s the UNmeasured volcanic CO2 they DO NOT talk about that is the problem.

  11. Some basic facts and back of the envelope math refutes the AGW part of this paper.
    ‘All available evidence says anthro>>volcano emissions’ and ‘anthropogenic emissions ~ 100000 kilotons per day’. That is 3.65 E^10 tons per year.
    Preindustrial CO2 is generally taken to be ~280ppm. Molar mass of CO2 is ~44g/m. Air is ~29g/m. NCAR says total mass of atmosphere is ~5.15E^18 kg, or ~5.15E^15 tons. That works out to be ~2.2E^12 tons of continuously resident preindustrial CO2.
    Now to a first order approximation, half of anthropogenic emissions are biologically sequestered. Taking a 2-3 century frame of reference most organic sequestration washes out via growth then decay. The minor exception is marine snow into anoxic bottom waters (Black Sea). Ignore it. The main CO2 sequestration is marine calcification into inorganic carbonates, by far the most prolific being from coccoliths and forams. These single celled marine creatures form marine snow carbonates that become thick limestone and dolomite beds provided ocean bottom is less than ~4000 meters deep to survive calcium disassociation . The only way those continuously forming sedimentary rocks get recycled is via eventual subduction zone volcanism.
    So if sequestation via carbonate formation is ~50%, then volcanos have to be producing ~4.4E^12 tons annually to maintain 280ppm. That is 4.4E^12/3.65E^10 = 1.2E^2 =>120x MORE from volvanoes than from man. I call BS.
    Now look up Vanuatu’s Mount Yasur featured in the comparison because they happened to measure it with OCO-2. It is tiny, a cinder cone ~1000 feet high with a ‘normal’ continuous eruption allowing tourists to reach the summit rim and look down into the eruption. I call BS twice.

    • Right on!

      The contribution to resident CO2 of human emissions can be estimated to a large ballpark by making reasonable assumptions about dwell time. Natural sources have been underestimated, as indeed have been the sinks.

      Our effects are fading even further into negligibility with continuing examination of the consensus conjecture.

    • More data supporting the back of envelope calculations calling BS on the anthro>>volvano assertion.
      Smithsonian Global Volcanism Program (available online) defines volcano explosive index (VEI) and has catgorized over 7700 eruptions (about 75% of all for the last 10000 years). Average number of eruptions /yr =66. Median eruption (49%) VEI 2. Yasur was emitting 42kilotons/ day when observed as a VEI 0 (cause anybody on the rim would be dead otherwise). That is 4.2E^4 tons/day, or 1.5E^7/year. VEI is logarithmic, so scaled to the median eruption this would be ~1.5E^9 tons/year. But half the eruptions are more powerful than the median, contributing more CO2. 10% are >VEI 4, adding >E^3 more each. That puts the observational total total in the E^12 ballpark. So volcano observations (assuming CO2 goes with VEI) are smack in the general ballpark estimated from 280ppm and calcification sinks. Note these volcano observations do NOT include any underwater eruptions, strictly terrestrial.
      Again confirming the paper’s anthro>>volcano CO2 claim is unscientific BS.

      • Ristvan,

        The Pinatubo was VEI 5. Its effect on the CO2 increase in the following years was negative: more CO2 sequestered… The extra emitted CO2 was more that compensated by a small drop in temperature and enhanced photosynthesis: leaves which were part of the day in the shadow of other leaves received more scattered sunlight from the sulphate drops/debris in the stratosphere…

      • Rud says: “VEI is logarithmic, so scaled to the median eruption this would be ~1.5E^9 tons/year.”

        You’ve made a very bad assumption, in that the VEI is in any way related to the output of CO2. No such relationship is known to exist. Nice try, maybe if HLS enhanced their curriculum to include math and science, your envelope calcs would have borne some semblance to reality.

      • MSJ, I correctly noted my assumption. The Smithsonian website does not provide any information on gasses. In general, andesic eruptions are relatively high in CO2 (from subducted then ‘cooked’ limestone) while basaltic eruptions are high in SO2. So there is no info saying I am wrong, either.
        You made a second wrong assumption in your rather peeved post. My undergraduate summa was in econometrics, with a broader concentration in mathematical modeling of all sorts of systems. Wrote a paper converting the predator prey partial differential equations in ecology into a stocastic Markov chain model yielding the same oscillating results.
        You don’t like my math, provide some of your own. Or at least reseach the IPCC carbon cycle cartoons.

      • FE, just checked again. According to both GVP and NGCD.NOAA.gov Pinatubo was VEI 6, not 5. E^4 more ejecta than the median VEI 2. Ten thousand fold more. What mattered more was the force, as Pinatubo shot substanialmash and aerosols deep into the stratosphere, where they linger for years. Wrote about it specificly in essay Blowing Smoke in ebook of same name.

      • “So there is no info saying I am wrong, either.”

        Excellent, I like it when you admit your assumption has no evidence it is correct, and that there is no evidence that it is incorrect.

        You lack imagination.

        For example, if a “small” volcano (i.e. VEI 1) were to erupt beneath the Powder River Basin, or underneath the Athabasca tar sands, the CO2 output would be vastly different from a “large” (i.e. VEI 4) volcano beneath an area devoid of carbon, or hydrocarbons. You see, you don’t need math to understand this simple concept. In fact, an overabundance of math classes contributes to your inability to grasp the simple things that comprise our earth.

      • ” Wrote a paper converting the predator prey partial differential equations in ecology into a stocastic Markov chain model ”
        ..


        LOL

        As a freshman engineering student, I successfully dropped an egg from the third story window of the classroom building without it breaking (using only items available within said building housing the college of engineering,)

        (Mark, you are showing signs of stalking) MOD

    • Ristvan,

      Before the industrial era, the main equilibrium of CO2 was between the (deep) oceans and the atmosphere. Just a matter of ocean temperature at the surface and solubility of CO2 in seawater for fast exchanges with the atmospere and a much slower exchange between the deep oceans and the atmosphere.
      The pre-industrial atmosphere was ~680 GtC as CO2, the ocean surface ~1000 GtC and the deep oceans about 37,000 GtC. The latter is what provides the long-term CO2 for the atmospheric – ocean equilibrium. Ultimately, almost all human emissions until now (~370 GtC) will end in the deep oceans as some 1% increase…

      Compared to the simple process of solubility of CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans, the sequestering of CO2 via carbonate deposits is a slow process and needs millions of years, the same for the opposite: the wonderfull caves in carbonate rock, made by CO2 dissolved in rainwater…

      Volcanoes have little effect on the atmosphere-ocean equilibrium. They are about 1% of human emissions, based on measurements on and around one of the largest and most active subduction volcanoes on earth: Mount Etna, Sicily, Italy. Deep Magma volcanoes like Iceland and Hawaii emit 10 times less:
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v351/n6325/abs/351387a0.html
      Other volcanoes and volcanic fields, including Mammoth Lakes and Yellowstone and sudden events were monitored too:
      http://www.bgs.ac.uk/downloads/start.cfm?id=432

      • FE, I agree that on an 800 year time horizon the oceans are the main CO2 modulator via Henry’s law. But given constant marine calcification/CO2 sequestration, subduction zone volcanism is what keeps photosynthesis going. Somewhere I archived a paper a few years back estimating that without subduction zone volcanism, because of ongoing marine calcificarion, Earth would literally die from photosynthesis failure in about 2.2 million years. Dunno if that estimate is correct time wise, but cannot be argued logically wrong.

      • Ferdinand. In empirical sciences “simple” means the study environment has been proven constant – the exact opposite of presumed constant. If the ring of fire spews carbon dioxide into the ocean, it will outgas similarly to an opened bottle of sparkling water i.e. ignoring any atmosphere-ocean equilibrium and sequestration constructs. Henry foresaw it in the definition of his own law.

        Carbon is a common chemical element in the Solar System. It’s estimated the fourth. There is much more to lithospheric (non-biological) CO2 emissions than “human fossil fuel”, outside air volcanos and carbonate rock forming in wonderful caves alone.

        For these reasons it’s doubtful the sources of inorganic carbon have even been qualified, let alone quantified.

      • In other words: unless atmospheric CO2 partial pressure has been conclusively proven to drive lithospheric CO2 emissions (such as oceanic ring of fire eruptions), I’m calling BS on cAGW atmosphere-ocean equilibrium, sequestration and quantification constructs.

      • Jaakko,

        At the temperature and pressure of the deep oceans, seawater at depth is undersaturated in CO2. Thus any CO2 from deep ocean volcanoes will dissolve in the huge mass of water and add to the enormous quantity of CO2 and derivatives already present there. Except if the quantities are that huge that the CO2 reaches the atmosphere faster than its dissolvation (Bermuda triangle disappearances anyone?).

        I agree that a lot of unknowns in the carbon cycle still are left, but the overall balance is known: more or less in equilibrium with temperature over the past 800,000 years (at ~16 ppmv/K) and with the current +110 ppmv above steady state nature is more sink than source…

      • Ristvan,

        Agreed that over the past 60 million years, CO2 levels decreased to the pre-industrial levels thanks to coccoliths e.a.
        Over the past about 2 million years (foramins) and 800,000 years (ice cores), there seems to be a new equilibrium between CO2 sequestering and release in the natural carbon cycle: no measurable change in the CO2/T ratio between interglacial and glacial periods. Maybe because plant growth is already on its limits and/or volcanic emissions and calcite deposits are about equal.

        Anyway, the uptake of CO2 out of the atmosphere by coccoliths and return by volcanoes and carbonate rock dissolution is small (each around 1-2%) compared to human emissions…

      • Jaakko,

        the study environment has been proven constant

        The ice cores CO2/T ratio is proven constant at ~8 ppmv/K in Antarctica or ~16 ppmv/K global over the past 800,000 years, where CO2 follows T with a (long) lag. Thus CO2 is mostly driven by T, not by volcanoes, or other non temperature dependent processes. Except over the past 170 or so years…

        As even the Pinatubo eruption at VEI 6 did not show a measurable increase of CO2 rate of change – even the opposite, the effect of all VEI 1-5 emissions together probably is negligible.

        If the ring of fire spews carbon dioxide into the ocean

        At the temperature and pressure of the deep oceans, the waters are undersaturated in CO2: any CO2 emitted by volcanoes will be dissolved in the huge water mass and may influence the enormous mass of CO2 and derivatives there, but hardly measurable. Only with huge eruptions smoke and CO2 may reach the atmosphere.

      • We seem to agree submarine volcanic emissions are huge, unmeasurable and don’t disappear into Bermuda triangle. They are also recently discovered, largely unknown and unstudied.
        video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/west-mata-submarine-volcano-vin

        Earth as a whole isn’t a precision laboratory under constant temperature and pressure. It’s a dynamic system. The same applies to glaciers during millennia. Glacier gas content/composition is more likely to change as a function of pressure rather than time.

    • For CO2 at 400 ppm by volume. Ratio of CO2 molecular weight ratio to air is 44/29 which equals 1.5
      400ppm times 1.5 gives 600 ppm CO2 by mass.
      5.15E15 tonnes is 5150000 gigatonnes
      0.0006 times 5150000 equals 3090 gigatonnes CO2 in the atmosphere.
      Annual exchange of CO2 to surface hydrosphere and biosphere is 1/4 of 3090 which equals 775 gigatonnes.
      Annual anthroCO2 about 33 gigatonnes. Which is 33/775 or .042
      So, anthroCO2 has become about 4 percent of the annual CO2 gas flux between air and surface.
      The anthroCO2 proportion of total flux is .042 times 400 ppm or about 17 ppm.
      That excludes the unknown and probably huge amounts of CO2 entering the deep oceans via geological sources that become part of upwelling CO2 seen in the OCO2 data.

      CO2 flows through the atmosphere like water flows in a river.
      Eg. When adding 4 percent dyed water to the flow of a river the amount of the dye downstream never exceeds 4 percent of the volume of the river.
      AnthroCO2 does not “accumulate” in the atmosphere relative to natural CO2.

      • bw,

        Measured “human” CO2 in the atmosphere is currently around 9% (based on the drop in δ13C), thus there’s something wrong in your reasoning…

        Current emissions are about 6% of the influxes, but as only half the emisisons (as mass) are removed by the sinks, human CO2 accumulates in the atmosphere, both as mass as in concentration:

        Where FA is the fraction of human CO2 in the atmosphere, FL in the ocean surface, tCA the calculated increase in CO2 abd tCA obs, what is observed.

      • .09 times 400 ppm is 36 ppm. Stable isotope ratios also change naturally during interglacials.
        Geological CO2 pools are thousands of times larger than atmospheric. Even small shifts in fluxes associated with those pools over millenia greatly exceed a few recent gigatonnes of anthroCO2. Deep geological CO2 sources/upwelling vary on many time scales, and are starting to come into account.
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0012821X16305015

        Why do global sinks remove 100 percent of natural CO2 and only 50 percent of AnthroCO2?? Oceans and biology have little magic wands that can discriminate one CO2 molecule from another??
        Human CO2 never “accumulates” relative to natural CO2. It will always disperse uniformly into the vast global biogeochemical carbon cycle. This is obvious in the 14C bomb curve which is a perfect test for CO2 fate.

        Only 16 to 20 ppm of atmosphere CO2 is fossil fuel derived. The remaining atmospheric CO2 increase is due to the natural thermal recovery from the little ice age, some from massive burning of tropical forests, some geological.

      • bw,

        You need to take into consideration the time constants of the different processes and the sensitivity of the same processes to temperature and pressure.

        The main fluxes in the carbon cycle are seasonal and near completely temperature driven: vegetation growth in spring-summer. decay all year long, but going on in fall-winter. Ocean surface: CO2 release in spring-summer, uptake in fall-winter. Over the past 60 years, there is little influence of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere on the seasonal amplitude.
        The overall seasonal fluxes are ~110 GtC in and out, but as oceans and vegetation act countercurrent against temperature, the measured global amplitude is only +/- 10 GtC or +/- 5 ppmv.
        These fluxes give the residence time of ~5 years for any CO2 molecule in the atmosphere.
        That doesn’t change the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere with one gram, as long as inputs and outputs are equal. Only a difference in ins and outs does that, but that is more pressure related than temperature related.

        There is a more or less constant 40 GtC CO2 flux between equatorial upwelling waters and polar sinking waters. That is a matter of temperature difference between equator and poles. The temperature difference doesn’t change much, but even so, small changes in temperature have little effect on that flux.
        An increase of CO2 pressure in the atmosphere has some effect: if the CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) in the atmosphere goes up, more CO2 is pushed into the sinks and less is emitted at the upwelling. The observed overall sink rate is about 2% of the extra CO2 pressure in the atmosphere above dynamic equilibrium for the average temperature of the ocean surface.

        The time constant for the response of the deep oceans (+ long term storage in vegetation) is around 50 years, quite linear over the past 60 years. As the net sink rate is currently about half human emissions, about half human emissions (as total mass, not the original human CO2 molecules) remain in the atmosphere.

        Human emissions are dispersed in the total atmosphere, while ocean emissions are largely compensated by vegetation sinks or opposite thus at any moment in time, extra human emissions (at 9 GtC) are about equal to larger than extra natural emissions (at +10 GtC) down to extra natural sinks (at -10 GtC) seasonal or -4.5 GtC sinks at the end of the year.

        Indeed the sinks don’t discriminate between natural and human CO2, they only react on the total extra pressure of CO2 above steady state, not the human CO2 emissions of one year. As that is a relative slow process, currently each year less CO2 is removed than is emitted by humans and both CO2 mass and human CO2 concentration increase.

        If humans would halve their emissions, CO2 levels in the atmosphere would remain at the current level. If humans would stop all emissions, the sinks would remain in ratio to the extra pressure in the atmosphere, until equilibrium is reached again…

        BTW, the 14C curve is much faster than the removal of an extra CO2 mass, as not only 14CO2 was removed as mass, but also because the 14CO2 that gets into the oceans was at the concentration of the moment, while what returned was the 14CO2 concentration of ~1000 years ago, long before the bomb tests, thus at a much lower concentration…

    • Great comment and calculation!
      But a tiny quibble or two ristvan, not criticisms!

      “The main CO2 sequestration is marine calcification into inorganic carbonates, by far the most prolific being from coccoliths and forams. These single celled marine creatures form marine snow carbonates that become thick limestone and dolomite beds provided ocean bottom is less than ~4000 meters deep to survive calcium disassociation.”

      Yes, the thick dolostone, and limestone beds are major reservoirs of carbonates from life; along with their metamorphosed descendants, marble, both pure and dolomite.

      Along with all sedimentary basins that accumulate deposits after life began on Earth; e.g. shale & slate. The carbonates may not be conveniently enclosed in marine skeletons, but deposits of carbonaceous material anyway.

      The ocean’s sheer scale in size and depth produces the largest and deepest carbon reservoirs of carbon sedimentation. The rest of Earth’s surface is still quite productive for carbon deposits.

      Yes, the matter is very poorly studied.
      Quantifying a few surface exposures of carbonates into a worldwide claim of known carbon deposits ignores millions of cubic miles of buried sedimentation.
      Quantifying ocean deposits by speculating that blue surface water is near sterile that provides minimal sedimentation, ignores the rest of the ocean water column; often miles deep. That entire water column produces sediment.

      The sterile blue water argument is confusing when one considers all those beautiful blue water beaches so loved as vacation, yet have significant marl bottoms composed of coccoliths, forams, corals, mussels, clams, oysters, etc.
      But not so confusing when one realizes that all of those filter feeders are why the water appears sterile and clear blue in color.

      There have been estimates, that in the Chesapeake bay, oysters filtered the entire bay’s water once every 15 hours to 3 days.
      One does wonder what the other Mollusca and filter feeders consumed after oysters cleansed the water? Filter feeders in Chesapeake Bay includes the Menhaden, alewife, herring, mullet along with the bottom dwellers.

      • ATheoK,

        That entire water column produces sediment.

        As far as I remember, most life in the oceans is concentrated in the ocean surface in the zone where light gives photosynthesis, thus most sediment is produced there?

      • “Ferdinand Engelbeen October 15, 2017 at 6:02 am
        ATheoK,

        That entire water column produces sediment.

        As far as I remember, most life in the oceans is concentrated in the ocean surface in the zone where light gives photosynthesis, thus most sediment is produced there?”

        Handwaving Ferdinand, all hand waving. It’s called gross assumption based on no evidence.
        Plus, it sounds like a typical wiki stuff and nonsense opinion masquerading as fact.

        Explain why trawlers set their trawls for the bottom, across any portion of the ocean they can fish?
        Where do the longliners set their lines?
        Why do crabbers and lobstermen drops traps to the bottom, even far out on blue water?
        Where do Mollusca fishers catch their prey?
        Where are crustacea caught?

        Most ocean prey sought by man is ocean structure based; at all depths.

        When fishing deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, which is 240 fathoms and deeper, We dropped our lines for snapper and grouper all the way to the bottom.
        That surface Gulf of Mexico water is clear blue water of stunning clarity. Bathtub clear is a common phrase.
        Visibility was many yards or meters deep.

        Yet the entire Gulf bottom is thriving with life.
        A fisher drops their rig to the bottom and then reels back in sufficient line to be 5ft, 10ft, 25ft, etc. above the bottom.
        One raises or lowers their rig, until one finds where preferred fish species are primarily resting, hunting, feeding or swimming.
        It is all too easy to catch a limit of one fish at one depth. So a change in depth and rigging is necessary to catch other species and often filling a different species limit.

        Videos taken from multiple deep water vehicles indicate a constant rain of detritus falling to the bottom. Substantial portions of that detritus is life and carbon based.

        Meanwhile, wiki opinions from people who make the sunlight claim, obviously never rigorously tested an entire column of ocean water before making gross assumptions.

        Yes, all life begins with plants and most plants depend upon photosynthesis which restrict the depth of those plants.
        But once those plants are eaten, break apart or decompose; that chain of life continues wherever there is water.
        Researchers who fill a test tube, beaker, glass, bucket, plastic tube or pull a tiny trawl through a tiny fraction of water, are not in any position to make assumptions regarding that entire water column.

        The final evidence against the specious “sunlit water” claim are the, literally continents whose composition includes of sedimentary basins, plateaus, piedmont, and mountains of sedimentary material.
        All sediment formed since life began contains carbon from that life; from low carbon concentration siltstone through very high concentration limestone, chalk and marl.

        What is known about surface deposits pales to what exists below the surface. Nor can a deskbound fool tallying estimates of known “fossil fuel” deposits understand the immensity of all carbon and carbonate formations, visible and invisible.

        Sedimentation is an ongoing carbon detainment process. That includes all water bodies, swamps, streams and rivers.
        Sedimentation involves the weathering process worldwide, where life based carbon material is captured within the erosion.
        For over 3 billion years, sediment containing carbon has been forming constantly, worldwide.

      • ATheoK,

        Not directly my best knowledge, therefore the question mark at the end…

        What wonders me is that all photosynthesis is done where light goes through the water, which is not more than a few hundred meters. All other creatures feed directly or indirectly up in the food chain from this plankton and higher plants and even if that drops out to deeper layers, I would expect most life at the surface (or at least part of the day or night).

        Ehux, responsible for most of the thick carbonate layers on earth, is living solely in the sunlit ocean surface and only when it dies, its carbonate shell and organics drop to the ocean floor, if not eaten by zooplankton and fish or mollusks alive…
        From the very nice and informative Ehux pages at:
        http://www.soes.soton.ac.uk/staff/tt/

        The total phytoplankton biomass outweighs that of all the marine animals (zooplankton, fish, whales) put together

        My main point always was and is that there still are lots of unknowns in many detailed natural CO2 fluxes, but that is not of the slightest interest, as the overall sum is known with sufficient accuracy: at least in the past 60 years in every year more sink than source…

        From ice cores we know that there was a relative stable ratio between CO2 and temperature over the past 800,000 years. In the past 167 years that ratio is exceeded with over 30%. That is not possible by warming oceans, volcanoes, increased dieoff of plankton or land plants, increased dissolution of carbonate deposits or any other part of the natural carbon cycle.
        The increase in the atmosphere simply follows the difference between human emissions and the increased uptake by oceans and vegetation, due to the increased pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere above the mentioned CO2/T ratio.
        Year by year natural CO2 variability is surprisingly small (+/- 1.5 ppmv around a 90 ppmv trend), despite the huge (seasonal) fluxes involved…

      • “Ferdinand Engelbeen October 16, 2017 at 7:42 am

        My main point always was and is that there still are lots of unknowns in many detailed natural CO2 fluxes, but that is not of the slightest interest, as the overall sum is known with sufficient accuracy: at least in the past 60 years in every year more sink than source…”

        More specious claims Ferdinand. All based on pitiful estimate attempts.

        “Ferdinand Engelbeen October 16, 2017 at 7:42 am
        From ice cores we know that there was a relative stable ratio between CO2 and temperature over the past 800,000 years. In the past 167 years that ratio is exceeded with over 30%.”

        Ice cores tell you all that? Including the CO2 temperature ratio?

        Starting 1850 the CO2/Temperature ratio is exceeded by over 30%.
        Exactly what does that mean?

        Then explain why the CO2/Temperature ratio means more than squat?
        The Earth is over 4.5 billion years old.
        We know from geology that CO2 levels have been much higher, and life thrived.

        Now Earth is suffering a series of glaciations with extremely short interglacial. Geologically proven.

        Pitiful carbon sink estimate attempts without verification are not erased by hand waving ice core claims.

  12. The only image I have ever seen regarding OCO2 measurements over the world is dated November 11, 2014. It shows high land emissions along the equator in South America, in southern Africa, the Philippines and a big blob in China and high ocean emissions in many areas. It does not show high emissions over the US or Europe.

    Are there any more such images? Perhaps the November 11, 2014 image missed the script by so much that no more have been released.

    • Here is a post from 2009, in the continuing debate between my friends about the global carbon cycle. This information predates the OCO-2 satellite, which I hoped would lend some greater clarity.

      It is clear that the natural seasonal CO2 cycle dwarfs the human influence on C02, but that does not necessarily mean that the human influence is insignificant. The amplitude of seasonal CO2 variation is about 16ppm at Barrow AK and about 8 ppm at Mauna Loa, whereas the ALLEGED human influence is about 2 ppm/year.

      Before anyone picks apart this post from 2009, kindly realize that I may have modified my views since then and am NOT interested in parsing every word, as some of you are often wont to do.

      Finally, note the PPS below – we’ve known this reality for decades, – and trillions of dollars of scarce global resources continue to be squandered on CO2 abatement foolishness:

      “ON THE MORE PRESSING SCIENTIFIC AND POLITICAL QUESTION, IT HAS LONG BEEN OBVIOUS THAT THE RECENT INCREASE IN ATMOSPHERIC CO2 IS AN INSIGNIFICANT DRIVER OF GLOBAL TEMPERATURE, AND THAT CARBON DIOXIDE ABATEMENT SCHEMES SUCH AS THE KYOTO PROTOCOL ARE A CRIMINAL WASTE OF SCARCE GLOBAL RESOURCES.”

      Regards, Allan

      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/24/study-hemispheric-co2-timing-suggests-that-annual-increases-may-be-coming-from-a-global-or-equatorial-source/#comments

      Hi Ferdinand,

      Please take a big step back and examine the big picture.

      CO2 in Vostok ice core data lags temperature by ~~600 years.

      CO2 in modern measurements lags temperature by ~9 months.

      The above are natural cycles, each with its own period and its own delay.

      There could be other such cycles as well, with their own periods and delays – for example a cycle intermediate between the above two, perhaps with a period of ~~60-90 years and a delay of ~~10 years.

      Annualized Mauna Loa dCO2/dt has “gone negative” a few times in recent decades, specifically for 12-month intervals ending in:
      1959-8
      1963-9
      1964-5
      1965-1
      1965-5
      1965-6
      1971-4
      1974-6
      1974-8
      1974-9

      Has this not happened recently because of increased humanmade CO2 emissions, or because the world has, until recently, been getting warmer?

      Frankly, I don’t think we yet know the answer to that question.

      While I am officially, as you should know by now, an agnostic on this specific scientific question, most or all the evidence points to CO2 lagging temperature at all known time scales.

      This does not preclude a human influence on atmospheric CO2 due to fossil fuel burning, but other possible causes do exist that are largely natural.

      I suspect Richard (Courtney) is correct, insofar as “there is no conclusive evidence that any of the 20th century increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is or is not due to the burning of fossil fuels”.

      Best regards, Allan

      P.S.

      Please examine the 15fps AIRS data animation of global CO2 at
      [video src="http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/a003500/a003562/carbonDioxideSequence2002_2008_at15fps.mp4" /]

      It is difficult to see the impact of humanity in this impressive display of nature’s power.

      In the animation, does anyone see the impact of industrialization? USA? Europe? India? China? Anything related to humanity? I don’t.

      The animation does make it look like we Canadians and the Russians have lots of heavy industry emitting megatonnes of deadly CO2 in the far northern Arctic. Not so – it’s all natural!

      P.P.S.

      On the more pressing scientific and political question, it has long been obvious that the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 is an insignificant driver of global temperature, and that carbon dioxide abatement schemes such as the Kyoto Protocol are a criminal waste of scarce global resources.

      • Allan,

        That discussion was already many years ago. Jack Barrett and I wrote a rebuttal on the article of Tom Quirk in E&E that was published there too. See my responses in parts in that discussion.

        The main problem is that Tom Quirk used the CO2 variability in the derivative to “prove” that the CO2 releases were from the equatorial oceans, because of the “lag” in seasonal CO2 ups and downs. What he forgot is that in the derivatives, there is no difference in lags if you take the CO2 variations of one year or one year later or two years later…
        The real lags were with altitude (Mauna Loa at 3400 m after ground level) and latitude (SH after NH)…

        The same for your 9 months short term lag: that is only for the year by year variability (Pinatubo, El Niño) which levels off to near zero after 1-3 years. That is a variability of maximum +/- 1.5 ppmv around a trend of +80 ppmv. Again such a lag doesn’t give you any clue about the leads or lags of the (meanwhile 110 ppmv since 1850) CO2 increase itself…
        Here the enlarged graph of trends and variability with CO2 = 4 ppmv/K to show the extremes:

      • Ferdinand you wrote:
        “The main problem is that Tom Quirk used the CO2 variability in the derivative to “prove” that the CO2 releases were from the equatorial oceans…”

        AS you should well well know by now Ferdinand, this is NOT my argument, it has been the argument of others that temperature change is the sole or primary driver of increasing atmospheric CO2.

        I even wrote in this 2009 post this clear disclaimer:
        “This does not preclude a human influence on atmospheric CO2 due to fossil fuel burning, but other possible causes do exist that are largely natural.”
        So you are again setting up a straw man argument that I did NOT make, and then shooting it down.

        I also wrote in this 2017 post, which you managed to ignore:
        “Before anyone picks apart this post from 2009, kindly realize that I may have modified my views since then and am NOT interested in parsing every word, as some of you are often wont to do.”

        For the record, some of your scientific statements I can easily agree with, but others are just incomprehensible.

    • I searched for |oco-2 werme| in the WUWT search box and it reported https://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/04/oco-2-orbiting-carbon-observatory-2-the-mission-has-released-an-animation/ That has links to a couple 2015 time lapse videos with 2015 data. If you leave me out of the search box, you’ll see a couple more recent articles, e.g. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/05/12/surprising-nasas-global-visualization-in-3d-of-carbon-dioxide-in-earths-atmosphere/

      I don’t know offhand (i.e. I haven’t looked) if there are more recent images and videos. I’ve been thinking it’s about time to prod the OCO-2 PR people again, but have been distracted with lesser tasks.

      The New Horizons folks did a much, much better job keeping Pluto’s fans informed about their photos and findings.

      Folks, that little search box in the right hand nav bar is very useful. Please use it! Very little escapes WUWT’s attention and it’s a great tool to find WUWT’s posts on a huge range of subjects. Caveat: it doesn’t appear to search the comments, just the main post. Most of the time that’s a feature.

    • DHR et al, This image is probably the one which I have seen, with a large plume over the Amazon region with a comment that the jungle generated the CO2. It may have, but it is also possible that the plume came from volcanic activity along the Andes.

  13. Urban areas account for more than 70 percent of anthropogenic emissions.

    and

    “Natural processes on Earth are currently able to absorb about half of human fossil fuel emissions,”

    Are they saying that ALL anthro CO2 in urban areas is from fossil fuels?

    If so, how do they separate the fossil fuel CO2 from the many CO2 processes going on in an urban area:
    – the large concentration of people breathing out 4%+ CO2 (even though they are breathing out the CO2 that is there already this will affect the concentration but further complicated by wind/air replacement timescales)
    – in my urban area there are many more trees/shrubs/plants/grass than was here prior to my and other housing estates being built plus human-introduced mulches/manures to help them survive.

    “Generally, about half of the caught carbon is released in respiration.” – http://hiilipuu.fi/articles/carbon-cycle)

    and (my bold)

    A new study published in the journal Environmental Pollution shows that urban soil can emit up to 72 percent as much CO2 as fossil fuels burned within a city and at a rate of up to twice that of rural soils. And this is important, the researchers note, because most climate action plans only account for anthropogenic sources of CO2 like cars and buildings, not the seemingly innocent biological sources like dirt.
    http://grist.org/science/urban-soil-emits-a-surprising-amount-of-co2/

    – and don’t forget those nasty fossil-fuels

    • OOPS! – last part re fossil fuels was mis-blockquoted.

      If only climate scientists were as fast to admit their errors

  14. When light passes through carbon dioxide, some is absorbed by the gas.

    Disclaimer – I am not any kind of scientist

    Isn’t the CAGW argument that light (energy) passing through the atmosphere and entering the ground is converted to LWIR (heat) that is re-radiated, absorbed by CO2 and forms a warming blanket that raises the air temperature?

    If, as they state, CO2 is absorbing energy from the light PRIOR to LWIR being present, can it also absorb the LWIR to increase the temperature?

    • John, there is a better way to think about the GHE. Atmosphere is mostly transparent to SWR except for albedo. Atmosphere is slightly opaque to LWR thanks to GHE. Thenconsequence is a reduced rate of LWR cooling. The lack of cooling results in the system warming from SWR.

      • ristvan,

        Thanks for the response and your description is how the GHE is usually explained (plus all of your other contributions).

        This is the first time I have seen a scientist state that CO2 absorbs non-LWR. I.e. “When light passes through carbon dioxide, some is absorbed by the gas.”

        the satellite measure reflected sunlight

        No mention of LWR.

        How do they measure the CO2 component of ‘reflected sunlight’ when there are so many other reflectors and absorbers of same? Is there some color of sunlight that is missing from the reflected portion purely due to CO2?

    • While the majority of the sun’s radiation is in the SWR band, it has quite a bit of LWIR light too, more than the Earth radiates in the same 1/2 degree angle (or better, 6.87×10^−5 steradians), if I understand all that. That’s just the sun not the rest of the clear sky which has essentially no LWIR from outside the atmosphere.

      So OCO-2 has to deal with, and capitalize on, the long wave radiation from the sun, and from the Earth, and how CO2 captures and reradiates it all.

  15. NASA plugged the OCO2 data into a flat earth model of atmospheric circulation to produce this laughable cartoon, uploaded December 2016:

  16. It’s obvious the data from OCO – 2 is detrimental to the AGW narrative or we would be hearing something, anything, about its’ intended mission regarding CO2. Some of the early CO2 concentration data that was released in graphic image form was quickly forgotten and not followed up and released for public consumption to my knowledge. The lack of information points to their inability to spin the data in favor of their ideology.

  17. From the article: ““If those natural processes falter, slowing down the helpful removal of carbon dioxide, greenhouse-gas-induced warming would accelerate and intensify.”

    Pure speculation.

    • A 3-way speculation – that natural processes absorbing CO2 might falter (a very big IF), that removing CO2 from the air is helpful, that the very little bit of warming due to GHG is harmful.

      SR

  18. One of the first useful things that the Orbiting Carbon Observatory did was to show us where the CO2 emissions were actually coming from and it wasn’t where the Alarmists had been telling us that they were coming from. Disappointingly for the warmistas the OCO showed high land emissions along the equator in South America, in southern Africa, in the Philippines and a big blob in China, but not where the factories are, and high ocean emissions in many areas. It did not show high emissions over the US or Europe which is what the Warmistas craved, so it was quickly sidelined, archived and forgotten..

    • Exactly. HUGE press releases and NASA announcements. Stunning first few maps did NOT show what the “warmist” camp was so certain they were going to. Then “technical problems” led to down time and it quietly went away. These days, the satellite that was DESIGNED to measure human CO2 emissions is suddenly not sensitive enough to do it, or can’t, or is demonstrating something OTHER than what they had hoped….and it’s being used to say “Hey….look….erupting volcano”. Which is something our OTHER satellites can already “see”.

      I have ZERO doubt that if OCO2 was producing the “evidence” that skeptics like me want to see in order to change our minds, it would be front page news and the science just MIGHT get settled. But it hasn’t appeared….surprise surprise.

  19. And P.S.
    If the best and brightest and most advanced piece of space software/hardware we just launched CANNOT find/measure/calculate the rate of human CO2 emissions accurately….why would I even remotely believe that our older, decaying, less advanced space equipment ever did???

  20. “The satellite uses spectrometry;
    the sensors onboard the satellite measure reflected sunlight–radiation–in high-spectral resolution using wavelengths undetectable to the human eye.”

    In other words a few infrared frequencies.
    Most of which frequencies are also absorbed by H2O.

    “When light passes through carbon dioxide, some is absorbed by the gas.
    The remaining light bounces off the ocean and the Earth.

    The OCO-2 sensors measure the light that bounces back to quantify what was absorbed by carbon dioxide, allowing scientists to isolate emission sources, whether human or natural.”

    Infra-red light “bounces” off of the Earth and Ocean?
    I assume this is gross oversimplification of albedo, yet…

    From the satellite’s height, infrared measurements are taken.
    Before and after the infra-red frequencies bounce?
    Say what!

    Even in low altitude orbit, there is a lot of atmosphere between the satellite and what it is attempting to measure.

  21. I went to the NASA web site because I thought surely NASA was too scientific to go along with the popular conflating of carbon with CO2 gas. Wrong!

    https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/oco2/overview

    “Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 will be NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from Space”

    And I see:

    “a global network of ground-based measurement sites has observed an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration by almost 20% over the past 50 years”

    I guess you could call Approx. 12% “almost 20%”

    On the home page there is a picture of hazy air in a city captioned “New, spaced-based view of human-made carbon dioxide. Is NASA also trying to equate visible smog with CO2?

    SR

    • From 320 ppm to 400 is a 25% increase. What numbers are you using?

      You didn’t cite places where that web site refers to carbon (which absorbs both LW and SW light quite well) where they should have referred to CO2.

      That smoggy photo is annoying, feel free to contact the OCO-2 folks about it, but don’t expect much. Like I note above, the New Horizons group did a much better job connecting with the public.

      • Ric Werme October 14, 2017 at 8:07 pm

        Well… I tried to reproduce my numbers, and I couldn’t do it. I was using 320 ppm to 395 ppm, or so I thought. But, in my haste to get to the dinner table, I input 350 into the calculator! I withdraw that charge.

        However, I did cite where the web site refers to carbon instead of carbon dioxide. Compare the name of the satellite with its purpose:

        “Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 will be NASA’s first dedicated Earth remote sensing satellite to study atmospheric carbon dioxide from Space”

        Now, do you feel as silly as I felt when I discovered my error? Welcome to the club.

        The charge of the NASA web site conflating CO2 with visible smog also still stands, of course.

        SR

      • Ah, Orbiting Carbon Observatory. The acronym is like O=C=O, a schematic form for CO2. If they called it the Orbiting Carbon Dioxide Observatory, then they’d have to work in a Deuterium atom into the schematic, and whatever CO2D is, it probably doesn’t warrant study!

  22. I like the paragraph:

    “OCO-2’s sensors also measured carbon dioxide emissions over the Los Angeles basin, detecting a sort of carbon dioxide “dome”.

    And a “dome” is just what it is, the geography and climate means that the Los Angeles Basin often has a temperature inversion as “roof” trapping whatever is emitted there. It has always been that way. The first spanish explorers named it “Baya de los Fumos”, The Bay of Smokes.

    Hmmm….perhaps L A is the only big city showing as satisfying CO2 foot-print?

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