Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3: "It’s difficult to describe all the ways this is stupid."

Guest Op-ed of an Op-ed by David Middleton

A really stupid Op-ed by John Timmer of ARS Technica…

 NO OBSERVATIONS, PLEASE —

Op-ed: The story behind the satellite that Trump wants dead

It’s difficult to describe all the ways this is stupid.

JOHN TIMMER – 2/13/2018

There were plenty of striking things about Monday’s budget news, given that it contained lots of draconian cuts that were simultaneously restored because Congress had boosted spending the week before. But perhaps the most striking among them was an item in the proposed budget for NASA: Trump wants to block the follow on to a highly successful NASA mission.

To truly appreciate just how awful this is, you have to understand the history of that satellite and what it means to the scientific community as a whole. So let’s step back and take a look at why the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (or OCO) exists in the first place. It turns out it was built specifically to handle some outstanding questions of the sort that people in the administration say are important, and killing its successor would mean the existing mission never lives up to its full potential.

Real uncertainty

The Orbiting Carbon Observatory’s primary job is to see what’s happening to the carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere. You may think that’s a solved issue: we’re emitting a lot, and levels are going up. And that’s true to a point. But once you pass that point, you enter a world where there are lots of details, and many of them matter.

[…]

Although the carbon cycle is complex, we have a relatively good idea of how it works. And, plus or minus a few gigatonnes here and there, we know the volume of carbon dioxide handled by most of the sources and sinks.

That said, this is still an area where there are significant uncertainties. People make a big deal about false uncertainties in climate science—we know the temperature’s rising, and we know human carbon emissions are the primary driver, but people keep trying to pretend there’s uncertainty there.

But the carbon cycle is a case where the uncertainties are real, and scientists will tell you as much. We don’t have as good a handle on some of the sources and sinks as we’d like. And, more importantly, these things are dynamic and change with time. To give one example, water dissolves more gas when it’s cold. We’re warming the oceans, which means they will be able to dissolve less carbon dioxide. Are the oceans starting to weaken as a sink? We don’t really know at this point.

[…]

Trump wants NASA uninvolved

Yet this is precisely the point where Trump wants NASA to blind itself. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory is just starting to reduce some of our uncertainties about carbon fluxes, but is already closing in on double the originally planned mission lifetime. A lot of hardware lives well beyond its planned lifetime, but we can’t expect OCO to go on indefinitely, and NASA was appropriately planning on having something ready to replace it.

Yet the Trump budget plan refers to the successor as a “lower-priority science [mission] that cannot be accommodated under constrained budgets” and suggests that the data could be gathered by other satellites, although it doesn’t name any of them.

It’s hard to overstate the ways in which this is stupid. The cost of NASA missions is nearly entirely in the construction and launch of the hardware—something that’s already been done twice in this case.

[…]

By trying to kill this program, people in the administration are sending two messages. One is that everything they’ve been saying when they try to explain why they’re taking no actions on climate change is a sham—they don’t actually believe any of it. And the second message is they’d abandon a project that cost millions of taxpayers’ dollars than gather data that could possibly tell us we need to act.

Correction: the original editorial was based on shutting down the existing OCO 2 rather than cancelling its successor. The editorial has been corrected to reflect this. 

ARS Technica

JOHN TIMMER

John became Ars Technica’s science editor in 2007 after spending 15 years doing biology research at places like Berkeley and Cornell

I really recommend following the link and reading the full Op-ed.  It’s a hoot!

It really is difficult to describe all the ways this Op-ed is stupid.

Mr. Timmer starts out writing an editorial wailing about President Trump killing the current Orbiting Carbon Observatory mission (OCO-2), then realizes OCO-2 is not about to face the budget-cutting ax.  Well, clearly Trump Derangement Syndrome wouldn’t permit the lack of facts to get in the way of an unfinished Trump-bashing Op-ed.  So, he moves on to President Trump killing the successor mission, OCO-3 by categorizing it as a “lower-priority science [mission] that cannot be accommodated under constrained budgets”… Which it clearly is; even if the recently announced budget isn’t particularly constrained.

While a detailed understanding of the natural carbon cycle would be a really neat thing, OCO-2 hasn’t really told us much that we didn’t already know… But the mission website does provide links to an advertisement for OCO-3 and a place to purchase OCO-2 apparel:

I may have to order one of these to go with my STS-104 sweatshirt!

OCO_Hats

I kind of dig the DayGlo yellow Port Authority Safety Cap… But I really wish they had one with “scrambled eggs” on the bill.

Back to Mr. Timmer’s nonsense…

It’s hard to overstate the ways in which this is stupid. The cost of NASA missions is nearly entirely in the construction and launch of the hardware—something that’s already been done twice in this case.

Yes.  It really is hard to overstate the ways in which this is stupid.  It has already been done twice and the result was one lower-priority science mission.

Neither OCO-2, OCO-3, nor OCO-∞ will alter the Warmunist view that all of the recent warming is the result of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions and that Gorebal Warming is an existential threat to the planet.  Nor would they blunt their thirst for economic growth-killing regulations

On the flip-side, no number of OCO missions will alter the wise words of Dr. Roy Spencer:

Folks, this is nothing like fixing the stratospheric ozone problem by developing other refrigerants to replace Freon. CO2 is produced by nearly all sources of energy. CO2 is a part of nature; Freon was a manmade chemical. While replacements for Freon were already developed by the time Freon was banned, we have no large-scale replacements for fossil fuels we can switch to in the near future.

This issue is at least as important as our recent global financial crisis – probably more so in the long run. It has been said that regulating carbon dioxide emissions will make the United States the cleanest Third World country on Earth. And whoever controls carbon dioxide emissions will control the world.

Finally, you can expect that the threat of the EPA regulating CO2 will cause many politicians and pundits to advocate congressional cap-and-trade legislation as a more palatable alternative. But the choice will be like deciding whether you want to die quickly or slowly. Either one will be lethal.

Dr. Roy Spencer, April 19th, 2009

The OCO-2 mission has yielded some pretty cool maps of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and vegetation.  Quite a few papers have been written based on OCO-2 data.  It has all of the hallmarks of a lower-priority science mission.  That said, there is a clear reason for killing OCO-3…

The main points for the mission are:

Message One: The burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are currently adding more than 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year, producing an unprecedented buildup in this important greenhouse gas. OCO-2 provides a new tool for understanding the sources of carbon dioxide emissions and how they are changing over time.

Message Two: Less than half of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities stays there. The location and identity of the natural “sinks” that are absorbing the rest of this carbon dioxide are currently not well understood. OCO-2 will help solve this critical scientific puzzle.

Sub-message: Knowing what parts of Earth are helping remove carbon from the atmosphere will help us understand if they will keep doing so in the future. OCO-2 measurements will help scientists construct better models to predict how much carbon dioxide these sinks will be able to absorb in the future.

Message Three: The innovative technologies incorporated into OCO-2 will enable space-based measurements of carbon dioxide with the sensitivity, resolution and coverage needed to understand human and natural sources of carbon dioxide emissions and the natural sinks that control its buildup, at regional scales, everywhere on Earth.

Sub-message: To control carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, we need to be able to measure it. We can only manage what we can measure.

Message Four: OCO-2 will help assess the usefulness of space-based measurements of carbon dioxide for managing emissions of this important greenhouse gas.

Regarding Message Four: Mission accomplished.

Regarding Message One:

cen_co2_zps49992aaf

The current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide doesn’t even break out of the Cenozoic noise level (older is to the left). Oh Noes!!! “Crocodiles and Palm Trees in the Arctic? New Report Suggests Yes.”

geoco2

Phanerozoic Eon atmospheric CO2 (older is to the right). A Brief History of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Record-Breaking.

Regarding Message Three’s Sub-message: “To control carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, we need to be able to measure it.”  We can measure and do measure it… And since most of us don’t want to live in “the cleanest Third World country on Earth,” we aren’t urgently concerned controlling with carbon dioxide emissions, much less the carbon dioxide that’s already in the atmosphere.

For some reason, the tale of OCO-1, OCO-2 and OCO-3 made me think of this Monty Python bit…

 

NOTE: Carbon cycle is the correct terminology.  It is not the carbon dioxide cycle.

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125 thoughts on “Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3: "It’s difficult to describe all the ways this is stupid."

  1. “we know the temperature’s rising, and we know human carbon emissions are the primary driver”
    Please show us the scientific evidence supporting this statement.

  2. On average since CO2 only makes up ~400 ppm by volume and ~600ppm by mass how could that possibly be of any use in warming by itself if H2O makes up ~20000 ppm by volume and has a daily change of much larger than the amount of CO2. Dont forget that they have an about equal capacity to absorb IR radiation. The math does not add up.

    • Alarm/Fear x CO2 = (the largest dollar sign in the known universe)
      That’s the only math they know or need.
      Now we all must stop setting fire to stuff and crawl back into our caves.
      This has been a public service announcement from those people who are so affluent that they don’t need to do what you do, think what you think or worry about what you worry about.

    • “Dont forget that they have an about equal capacity to absorb IR radiation”
      I believe that H2O vapor has a much greater absorption capacity than CO2.

    • Their capacity to absorb IR is not close to being equal. Water vapour only has a few gaps in the spectrum. It is quite difficult to determine the water vapour concentration of a sample using IR technology such as an NDIR cell because of the broad spectrum to which it responds. Using FTIR is possible, but very expensive computationally. A lot of the time the atmosphere is functionally black in the IR range, for both absorption and emission. Adding a trace of CO2 does almost nothing to anything except plant growth.

      • Not to mention the very likely huge negative feedback provided by circulation of water vapour to altitude. The ridiculous nightmares these guys conjure defy logic and physics relentlessly.

    • Alan, don’t forget that absorption is logarithmic, and water’s absorption bad is already nearly saturated. 2% or 10%doesn’t really matter as far as H2O is concerned. Realistically, that can be held constant. It’s a logical path that really doesn’t hold up as it doesn’t impact the effect of CO2 in any way.

      • Ben of Houston – February 14, 2018 at 7:56 am

        Alan, don’t forget that (CO2) absorption is logarithmic, and water’s absorption ba[n]d is already nearly saturated.

        Ben of H, obviously this is the “logarithmic” thingy you speak of, …… RIGHT?

        The Logarithmic Effect of Carbon Dioxide
        The pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 ppm. So roughly, if the heating effect was a linear relationship, each 100 ppm contributes 1° C. With the atmospheric concentration rising by 2 ppm annually, it would go up by 100 ppm every 50 years and we would all fry as per the IPCC predictions.
        But the relationship isn’t linear, it is logarithmic. Lo and behold, the first 20 ppm accounts for over half of the heating effect to the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, by which time carbon dioxide is tuckered out as a greenhouse gas.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/08/the-logarithmic-effect-of-carbon-dioxide/

        “DUH”, …… just because the pre-industrial 280 ppm of atmospheric CO2 is “all tuckered out as a greenhouse gas”, …… just what sort of PFM automatically caused the post-industrial 120 ppm of atmospheric CO2 to also be “all tuckered out as a greenhouse gas” even before it was emitted into the atmosphere and subjected to any IR radiation?
        And “DUH”, …… iffen that logarithmic “thingy” of “more = less” applies whenever additional CO2 is dumped into the atmosphere, …….. why doesn’t it apply whenever additional C6H12O6 is dumped into a cup of coffee?

      • ==>Samuel C Cogar February 14, 2018 at 12:05 pm
        According to the IPCC that“thingy”can now only contribute another 13% to the total warming*. Due to the logarithmic nature of the forcing itself, 87% was reached at 400ppm.
        *No matter how much more C02 we pump into the atmosphere from now on!

      • Off the rails illogical, BoH.
        Water, H2O, is an angular molecule. An angular molecule that is very infrared active across a wide breadth of the IR light spectrum.
        H2O, is infrared active and light interactive in all three states, vapor, aqueous, solid; all three states can be found in the atmosphere at any time. H2O’s atmospheric abundance is stated in percentages, with significant digits generally well above 1%.
        While CO2’s atmospheric percentage is around 0.04%, plus or minus a few thousandths.
        Considered this way, CO2’s entire atmospheric increase over the last hundred plus years is 0.012%.
        CO2 is a straight molecule, greatly limiting CO2’s infrared activity. Technically, CO2 only has one very small IR frequency band where H2O is not already dominant.
        BoH, explain this fetish you have that H2O’s IR interactivity is logarithmic? Include proof.
        Remember, you not only must prove the physics and math surrounding atmospheric water vapor, but also fully explain liquid and solid water atmospheric contributions.
        Then there are the points regarding H2O’s transitions between states that successfully move heat throughout the atmosphere.
        CO2 is a miniscule flea compared to H2O’s pod of whales.

      • Scott Wilmot Bennett – February 14, 2018 at 5:06 pm, response to posting by ==>Samuel C Cogar

        According to the IPCC that “thingy” can now only contribute another 13% to the total warming*. Due to the logarithmic nature of the forcing itself, 87% was reached at 400ppm.
        *No matter how much more C02 we pump into the atmosphere from now on!

        Thanks for posting that little “beauty”, ….. Scott W, ….. and my best and only response to the context of your post is to quote the author of the above posted commentary of what he injected (RED-BOLDFACED TYPE) at the beginning of his “quoted” Op-ed story, …… to wit:

        It’s difficult to describe all the ways this is stupid.

      • ATheoK – February 14, 2018 at 6:12 pm

        Off the rails illogical, BoH.
        Water, H2O, is an angular molecule. An angular molecule that is very infrared active across a wide breadth of the IR light spectrum.
        [snip]
        CO2 is a straight molecule, greatly limiting CO2’s infrared activity. Technically, CO2 only has one very small IR frequency band where H2O is not already dominant.

        To wit:
        https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/Atmospheric_Transmission.png
        See all of those white areas on the above graph? Those are frequencies at which the gases are physically unable to absorb thermal radiation.
        And any of the dark areas on the above graph that “overlap” one another, ……. no one has a frigging clue which of the gas molecules is the “absorber” and/or which one is the “emitter” of that energy frequency.
        ATheoK, the “truth” you speak is far stranger than “fiction” to most every proponent (believer) of AGW or CAGW, ……. as well as many, many, many “deniers” (non-believers) of AGW or CAGW.
        Most everyone on both sides of the AGW “fence” claims a factual belief that H2O, in all of its forms, is both the most powerful and important of all designated “greenhouse gases”, ….. yet they avert their eyes and their mind to their own actual factual scientific belief ….. whenever the subject of “atmospheric CO2 and near-surface air temperatures” are being discussed or arbitrated.
        Anytime that one INTENTIONALLY averts their eyes and their mind to what they “religiously” believe, can only be described as, to wit:

        It’s difficult to describe all the ways this is stupid.

      • “Samuel C Cogar February 15, 2018 at 6:22 am”

        And quite a few other comments by Samuel.
        I am in complete agreement with your comments!
        Your graph at the bottom showing individual GHG is another incredible example of your final sentence.
        The alarmist claims that methane is a far more powerful GHG than CO2 is based on methane’s angular molecule and number of atoms. i.e. Those molecular angles and their responsive changes allowing infrared absorption and emission are what enables a molecule to be infrared active.
        Methane molecules have multiple angles where each hydrogen bonds to carbon.
        A molecule responds to absorbed energy by changes to the molecule:
        http://wag.caltech.edu/home/jang/genchem/ir_img3.gif
        “A simple infrared “selection rule” states that for a particular vibrational mode to be observed (active) in the infrared spectrum, the mode must involve a change in the dipole moment of the molecule”
        Starting with a linear molecule, CO2:
        Figure 4 Vibrations of CO2
        http://science.widener.edu/svb/ftir/co2a.gif
        Asymmetric Stretch: Infrared active at 2349cm-1 (4.26 µm)
        http://science.widener.edu/svb/ftir/co2a.gif
        Symmetric Stretch (not IR active)
        http://science.widener.edu/svb/ftir/co2c.gif
        Vertical Bend: Infrared active at 667cm-1 (15.00 µm)
        http://science.widener.edu/svb/ftir/co2b.gif
        Horizontal Bend (A degenerate mode with same motion as above but rotated by 90°) Infrared active at 667cm-1 (15.00 µm)
        http://science.widener.edu/svb/ftir/co2d.gif
        http://chemistry.elmhurst.edu/vchembook/images/irCO2.JPEG
        Moving to H2O’s simple nonlinear molecule:
        “In the case of water, we know that the O-H covalent bond is polar, due to the different electro-negativities of hydrogen and oxygen. Since there are two O-H bonds in water, their bond dipoles will interact and may result in a molecular dipole which can be measured. The following diagram shows four possible orientations of the O-H bonds.”
        https://www2.chemistry.msu.edu/faculty/reusch/VirtTxtJml/Images/h2odipol.gif
        Note: H2O’s wide variations of possible angles are what allow H2O to be so reactive across a very wide infrared spectrum.
        “The bond dipoles are colored magenta and the resulting molecular dipole is colored blue. In the linear configuration (bond angle 180º) the bond dipoles cancel, and the molecular dipole is zero. For other bond angles (120 to 90º) the molecular dipole would vary in size, being largest for the 90º configuration. In a similar manner the configurations of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) may be deduced from their zero molecular dipole moments. Since the bond dipoles have canceled, the configurations of these molecules must be tetrahedral (or square-planar) and linear respectively.
        The case of methane provides insight to other arguments that have been used to confirm its tetrahedral configuration. For purposes of discussion we shall consider three other configurations for CH4, square-planar, square-pyramidal and triangular-pyramidal.”
        Progressing to CH4, methane:
        Methane has a greater number of atoms. Possible IR interactive modes are calculated from the type of molecule, linear or nonlinear, and the number of atoms.
        “Degrees of Freedom
        3N where N represents the number of nuclei present in the molecule is the total number of coordinates needed to describe the location of a molecule in 3D-space.
        3N is most often referred to as the total number of degrees of freedom of the molecule being investigated. The total number of degrees of freedom, can be divided into:
        • •3 coordinates to describe the translational motion around the center of mass; these coordinates are called the translational degrees of freedom
        • •3 coordinates to describe the rotational motion in non-linear molecules; for linear molecules only 2 coordinates are required; these coordinates are called the rotational degrees of freedom
        • •the remaining coordinates are used to describe vibrational motion;
        a non-linear molecule has 3N – 6 vibrational degrees of freedom
        whereas a linear molecule has 3N -5 degrees of freedom.”
        H2O is nonlinear and is represented by the formula: 3N-6 = 3 modes of freedom.
        CO2 is linear and represented by the formula 3N-5 = 4 modes of freedom.
        CH4 is nonlinear and represented by the formula 3N−6=3(5)−6=9 modes of freedom.
        Obviously, methane, CH4 is far more complex than H2O or CO2; only CH4 and CO2’s symmetry restricts their molecular flexibility, which restricts IR activity. CH4’s larger modes of freedom amount does not mean a greater number of dipole movements or IR interactive molecule.
        As confirmed here.
        From “GREENHOUSE MOLECULES, THEIR SPECTRA AND FUNCTION IN THE ATMOSPHERE” Page 1040, Figure 6:
        https://www.dropbox.com/s/jvr40l74naavrf9/GHG%20IR%20activity%20absorption.JPG?dl=0

      • ==> Samuel C Cogar – February 15, 2018 at 5:04 am
        Good work, *snip* You slander me and provide no reason for your offensive remarks! Honestly, I thought I was quoting the IPCC rather than my own position! But you come along and attack me rather than the argument. Fine, I can handle it but I what I can’t deal with, is not knowing what the *snip* you are talking about!
        lose the profanity, not allowed here – Mod

      • ATheoK, thank you for your kind response …… and I enjoyed reading your included commentary even though most of it was far above my “pay grade”, …… HA.
        Anyway, when discussing the potency of the three (3), per se, “greenhouse gases”, H2O vapor, CO2 and CH4, …… I rank their potency according to their atmospheric ppm quantities times their Specific Heat Capacity (SHC), ….. to wit:
        Atmospheric concentrations and heat trapping ability of “greenhouse” gases
        Carbon dioxide (CO2) 400 ppm — 0.0400% —– SHC – 0.844 kJ/kg K
        Water vapor (H2O) 20K-40K ppm – 2.0%-4.0% – SHC – 1.930 kJ/kg K
        Methane —— (CH4) 1.745 ppm – 0.0001745% — SHC – 2.220 kJ/kg K
        CH4 is the most SHC potent but has the least atmospheric ppm quantity. H2O vapor has 2.3X the SHC potency of CO2 and upwards of 100X greater atmospheric ppm quantity.

        Specific Heat Capacity
        The specific heat is the amount of heat per unit mass required to raise the temperature by one degree Celsius. The relationship between heat and temperature change is usually expressed in the form shown below where c is the specific heat. The relationship does not apply if a phase change is encountered, because the heat added or removed during a phase change does not change the temperature.
        ” Source: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/spht.html

      • Scott Wilmot Bennett – February 16, 2018 at 3:35 am

        ==> Samuel C Cogar – February 15, 2018 at 5:04 am
        Good work, *snip* You slander me and provide no reason for your offensive remarks! Honestly, I thought I was quoting the IPCC rather than my own position! But you come along and attack me rather than the argument. Fine, I can handle it but I what I can’t deal with, is not knowing what the *snip* you are talking about!

        Scott Wilmot Bennett, me absolutely sure that you have a serious “reading comprehension” problem …. and an even more serious problem involving emotionally driven ….. “dyslexia confusing memory recall”. Or maybe it is just a serious case of miseducation and immaturity.
        First of all, I posted no response that was specifically addressed to your attention, that included a [snip] designation.
        Secondly, it is a common practice to inject a [snip] designation in quoted text to signify that irrelevant verbiage within said quoted text was “cut” or deleted because it was of no value to the present conversation.
        To wit, the “non-snipped” and the “snipped” quote:

        Off the rails illogical, BoH.
        Water, H2O, is an angular molecule. An angular molecule that is very infrared active across a wide breadth of the IR light spectrum.
        H2O, is infrared active and light interactive in all three states, vapor, aqueous, solid; all three states can be found in the atmosphere at any time. H2O’s atmospheric abundance is stated in percentages, with significant digits generally well above 1%.
        While CO2’s atmospheric percentage is around 0.04%, plus or minus a few thousandths.
        Considered this way, CO2’s entire atmospheric increase over the last hundred plus years is 0.012%.
        CO2 is a straight molecule, greatly limiting CO2’s infrared activity. Technically, CO2 only has one very small IR frequency band where H2O is not already dominant.

        —————————

        Off the rails illogical, BoH.
        Water, H2O, is an angular molecule. An angular molecule that is very infrared active across a wide breadth of the IR light spectrum.
        [snip]
        CO2 is a straight molecule, greatly limiting CO2’s infrared activity. Technically, CO2 only has one very small IR frequency band where H2O is not already dominant.”

        Now, Scott Wilmot Bennett, you can disappear to somewhere and recuperate from your mental anguish.

    • …..And, how much additional greenhouse warming physical capability does about 120 ppm additional CO2 add to aggregate total atmospheric greenhouse physical capability.
      Something of a change of topic: In the “spaghetti” diagrams depicting the results of more than twenty global temperature models, there is one outlier that appears to be doing a credible job of depicting the actual satellite and weather balloon temp. measurements. I understand the outlier comes from somewhere in Russia. What is this modeler doing differently that seems to provide a level of accuracy that is not being provided by other models?

    • CO2 only absorbs 15MM , which would be relevant to this discussion, and H2O also absorbs 15MM, so about 95% of 15MM is absorbed, thusly any increase in CO2 is not a problem even if 15MM absorption is a climate driver

    • Not stupid, but very educated. Can spell craniofacial backwards. Ill-informed, opinions from a leftie techie bubble, from people who don’t get their hands dirty. They eat veggie, march for equality, have friends who study sociology at the diver.. university. What is not more joyful life. It is just that thy never question their gossipers.
      It is easy to get surrounded by a bubble. The bubble people I know are often so aggressive that it is no point telling them about their aggression. They’d burst if I told they based their opinion on an hostile account. It is not hostile, it’s true, they shout. TDS. Tribality, as Curry says.

    • You run out of undeformed ice to go back more than 800,000 years in Antarctica. However, there’s an even bigger problem with images like this:
      https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/24_co2-graph-021116-768px.jpg
      The modern spike in CO2 is at least partially due to resolution differences in the data. This is how the image would look at the resolution of the 800,000 yr record:
      https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/130-smooth.png
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/03/28/breaking-hockey-sticks-antarctic-ice-core-edition/

      • Unfortunately David,
        At the resolution you have indicated it would be an even greater spike as your redline ends at 314.5 instead of 409. at the resolution of the chart you inserted, current CO2 would be off the chart.

        • I’m referring to the resolution of the ice cores. Longer record length ice cores, like Vostok, have very low resolution; but can measure CO2 400,000-800,000 years into the past. These cores cannot resolve century-scale shifts in CO2. High resolution cores, like Law Dome, might be able to resolve decadal scale shifts, but have short record lengths. Resolution and record length are dictated by snow accumulation rates.
          If you just splice the Law Dome core into the lower resolution data, you get this:
          https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/no-smooth.png
          At the Vostok resolution, the Law Dome core would look like this:
          https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/130-smooth.png
          The instrumental record would be a single data point at the Vostok resolution.

      • Brian A, if you click on the 2017/03/28 link, you’ll see that the issue is the resolution of the ice data, not how thin a pencil you can draw on the graph paper with. If atmospheric CO2 hops up to 409 ppm in five years, then drops back down in five years, it probably won’t show up in the ice core data. So from the ice cores, we don’t know whether 400 ppm was briefly reached in the past.

      • Anonymoose
        The way I was understanding David’s post, particularly this part of it

        The modern spike in CO2 is at least partially due to resolution differences in the data. This is how the image would look at the resolution of the 800,000 yr record:

        was that the “Modern Spike” renders more accurate in His second graphic as compared to the first or the one used by Peter (the Thief) Gleick. It was my understanding that he was strictly referring to the “Modern Spike”. But the Spike ends at 314ppm in his second graphic.
        Again, I thought it was the “Spike” relative to the remainder of the chart he was referring to.

        • Basic signal theory: Loss of high frequency content attenuates amplitude response:
          https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/sinevery-10.png
          High accumulation ice cores have a short record length (can’t see very far back in time), but have high resolution (can see decadal scale shifts in CO2). Low accumulation rate ice cores have a long record length (can see farther back in time), but low resolution (can’t see century scale CO2 shifts).
          https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/gas-age-dist.png
          1,000 meters of ice with 1 meter/yr average snowfall rate, has a 1,000 yr record length and probably 10-yr resolution.
          1,000 meters of ice a 10 mm/yr accumulation rate has a 100,000 year record length, but a resolution no better than 100 years, probably worse.

      • David,
        I have missed that discussion in the past, but you re right that ice cores have a worse resolution the smaller the local snowfall rates are, but the advantage is that one can look further into the past before reaching bedrock (or disturbed ice).
        The resolution of the two DE08 Law Dome summit cores is less than a decade, including a 20-year overlap with direct measurements at the South Pole. But only goes back some 150 years. The third DSS core, taken more downslope has a resolution of about 20 years and goes back som 1000 years. Taylor Dome still has a good resolution of ~40 years for over 100,000 years.
        For the past 10,000 years the result is clear:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/antarctic_cores_010kyr.jpg
        With the best resolutions of 10-40 years over the full period, there is zero chance that a 400 ppmv peak would be missed: the reproducibility of the measurements is about 1.2 ppmv – 1 sigma for any ice core, deviations between ice cores with extreme differences in temperature and accumulation rate maximum +/- 5 ppmv. Even a peak of 400 ppmv only lasting 1 year would be detected as a peak of 10 ppm in a 40-year resolution ice core or a step change of 2 ppmv sustained over 40 years would be detected…
        So what is the probability that a 400 ppmv peak like the current one would be missed 800,000 years ago?
        The current +110 ppmv peak did build up over a period of near 170 years, more at the end than in the beginning, let’s say average 50 ppmv in the past 100 years.
        If we stop all emissions today, the observed half life time of about 35 years probably would remain the same as it was over the past 60 years. 3 halve life times forward give us average 50 ppmv in the next 100 years.
        All together an average 50 ppmv sustained over a period of 200 years as should be mixed into low-resolution ice cores.
        In the 560 years resolution of the 800,000 years long Dome C record, that still would be noticed as a 18 ppmv peak, or some 20% of the glacial-interglacial transition.
        Conclusion:
        As CO2 near exactly follows temperatures with a variable lag (short after warming, long at cooling), there was no similar peak as the current one in the past 800,000 years.

      • David,
        CO2 in ice cores has no negative levels, certainly not during the long glacial periods or no life on earth was left. The “frequency” is from one-sided changes (like the current one) and would still be visible, despite frequencies below the resolution as the average CO2 level should go up.
        Further, CO2 in the atmosphere follows its solubility into the (deep) oceans in exact ratio for thousands of years with the Antarctic temperature at about 8 ppmv/K or 16 ppmv/K global temperature, which is the change in Henry’s constant with temperature. Seems difficult to me that there were any sudden CO2 peaks or completely impossible for a fast removal of these peaks, as it takes 10,000 years to remove the 100 ppmv extra after an interglacial…

      • “Ferdinand Engelbeen February 14, 2018 at 3:00 pm
        David,
        I have missed that discussion in the past, but you re right that ice cores have a worse resolution the smaller the local snowfall rates are, but the advantage is that one can look further into the past before reaching bedrock (or disturbed ice).
        The resolution of the two DE08 Law Dome summit cores is less than a decade, including a 20-year overlap with direct measurements at the South Pole. But only goes back some 150 years. The third DSS core, taken more downslope has a resolution of about 20 years and goes back som 1000 years…”

        Bait and switch:
        Ferdinand fails to prove a resolution equaling yesterday’s CO2, Last year’s CO2, etc.
        Then Ferdinand claims a 20 year overlap, i.e. two decade level resolution points, proves something…
        Not that a few recent extremely terrible glacial periods during Earth’s over 500 million plus years of support for life, set any barriers against life proliferating under greater CO2 atmospheric levels.
        Mankind’s line existed for millions of years, and rather obviously developed during much warmer periods.
        Plants, insects, animals. fish, arthropods, mollusks, etc. etc. have ancestry lines many millions of years longer.
        So much for panic in the streets over CO2 postulations, assumptions and quite a lot of imaginary doom predictions.

      • ATheoK,
        Each sample in the Law Dome high resolution ice cores is the average of less than 10 years atmospheric mixing. With a repeatability of +/- 1.2 ppmv. one can detect any one-year lasting peak of 20 ppmv or a sustained drop or step of 2 ppmv over 10 years. There were about 10 multi samples taken over the overlapping period 1958-1978, which each were compared to the direct measurements at the South Pole for the same average gas age. These data match within the detection limits of the ice cores:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/law_dome_sp_co2.jpg
        The correction for gravity in the ice cores has to do with the fact that heavier molecules and isotopes tend to increase at the bottom of stagnant air, which is the case for a large part of the firn before the pores are fully closed. The correction is based on the changes in the 15N/14N ratio in the air bubbles and is less than 1% of the CO2 levels.
        With that resolution and the time needed to remove extra CO2 in the atmosphere, it is impossible that there were sustained CO2 peaks of more than a few ppmv over the entire 150 year period beyond the ice cores, more than 10 ppmv over the past 1000 years and more than 20 ppmv over the Holocene.
        I do agree that warmer periods and higher CO2 are better than colder or less CO2 for fauna and flora, but that doesn’t imply that you should dismiss ice core CO2 data…

    • “human-caused climate change” – wow, that’s a truly bodacious assumption by Gleick isn’t it?
      A few small campfires in the middle of a glacial maximum to roast meat to make it easier to digest (thank you, H. Erectus) and we’ve doomed the planet????
      I want to know what Gleick is smoking. It must be pretty good.

    • “This is human-caused #climatechange.”
      B.S. At best, your graph show human-caused CO2 changes, and that’s giving your short window of data a LOT of latitude.

  3. Ars is no longer what it was.
    Just about every forum now has a stream of abusive comments regarding Trump and other members of the administration. Some descend into outright threats, hate speech, desires to see them killed and tortured and humiliated in various unspeakable ways.
    Astonishingly enough, the owner, the publisher of Vanity Fair and a main stream media owner, seems to see nothing wrong or financially imprudent about this, and the staff writers and moderators intervene actively to encourage it.
    Time to do something.

      • There’s one difference here. Those that are the objects of such abject hate have the ability to defend themselves.

    • michel,
      You said, “Ars is no longer what it was.” Unfortunately, that appears to be true of most of the formerly prestigious journals and organizations. The younger generation lacks the historical perspective to make the comparison and see what has happened.

      • Anyone old enough to remember when RSS was alarmists’ favorite dataset is probably not welcome on an alarmist forum.
        Or anyone old enough to know that the “pause” was fake and non existent and made up by fossil fuel paid “contrarians” is probably not welcome when the 50+ “single cause” of the pause are discussed. But only old enough to have heard of the 50+ “single cause” of the pause isn’t welcome when “a study” shows that the pause is gone and never was.

    • Ars Technica has been garbage for a long time actually; and not just about asbestos, CO2, climate…
      Not only moderators who made statements of facts about the discussion (like who brought up what subject) which were in fact wrong, but you couldn’t point that out, because that would be contradicting a mod. (Mods are semi gods of badly run forums. They can make assertions of fact and can’t accept other POV.)
      The technical level was extremely low, limited to some well known facts (same level as “passwords from a dictionary are weak”). In the forum, the posters would apply it where in the most ridiculous case; f.ex. where a password can only be used from a particular desktop computer, the password gives access to a device (a silly Tor physical proxy) whose purpose is limited to the case where that desktop computer is compromised… oups. The password would only be used on computer that has to be assumed possibly compromised to justify the need for another device.
      Summary: The password would be compromised in the only case where the device was needed. It would not protect anything. No poster noticed that.
      Ars posters aren’t very technical and not very bright.

  4. The author also appears to indulge in the sunk cost fallacy – we’ve already spent money so we should spend more.
    More to the point, i just don’t understand why we need to keep spending money on the science? Or at least, any real money. Governments are taking action, what more do they want? It’s not as if more science is going to change the mind of a single Alarmist, so what’s the point?

    • The costs of OCO-3 aren’t sunk. I think this is an artifact of his first version of the Op-ed which assumed OCO-2 was on the chopping block.

      • The first time I read the editorial I thought it had said that OCO3 had already been built.
        I read it again and saw that my first interpretation was wrong.

      • David,
        According to the article I link to below, “SpaceNews reported last year that in 2018 NASA had planned to spend…$9.5 million for OCO-3…OCO-3 also would have been installed on the space station; the mission would measure carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere and was slated to launch this year.” This suggests that the hardware has been built and the $9.5 million would have secured a place on the ISS and perhaps some data processing.

        • The big cost is the launch. OCO-3 is just a grating spectrometer that was going to be assembled from spare parts from OCO-2…

          ABOUT THE MISSION
          The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, or OCO-3, is a future space instrument designed to investigate important questions about the distribution of carbon dioxide on Earth as it relates to growing urban populations and changing patterns of fossil fuel combustion.
          NASA plans to develop and assemble the instrument using spare materials from the successful development and launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 in 2014 and host the instrument on the International Space Station or another space-based platform.

          https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/orbiting-carbon-observatory-3-oco-3/
          Each SpaceX Falcon-9 launch costs about $62 million.
          https://oco3.jpl.nasa.gov/payload/launchvehicle/
          OCO-3 would have occupied payload space on an ISS resupply mission. It appears that a lot of “lower-priority science” missions have been scratched from the launch schedule.

  5. So, the concern here is about spending $500 million to launch a satellite that might possibly provide useful and valuabe information, but probably won’t.
    How about European governments spending more than $10 billion dollars on the Large Hadron Collider, which we KNOW will never produce any useful or valuable information. And wait, now the LHC needs to be upgraded and maybe even replaced with a collider three times as big – and those horribly expensive changes will also never produce any useful or valuable information.
    Is this really any better use of the world’s tax dollars?

    • The LHC actually yields useful data. OCO-2 yields useful data. Almost all science projects yield useful data.
      When it comes to spending tax dollars, priorities have to be set.
      When we’re trying to decide how much to spend on reprocessing seismic data or well evaluation tools, we always ask this question: “Will the additional data alter our decision whether or not to drill a well or to complete a well that’s just been drilled?” If the answer is “no,” we usually don’t spend the money even if the data would have been useful.

      • I’m going to guess that BillW is comparing the max collision energy possible with the LHC to some speculative musings of physicists with regard to the energy thresholds necessary to search for the next class of particles.

      • I was thinking that he was one of those who believes that unless the data can immediately result in commercially viable products, it isn’t useful.

    • The difference between peering into the deepest mysteries of the high energy universe and endlessly boggling at minute changes to a trace atmospheric compound because Globalist politics appears to be entirely lost on BillW. That’s kinda sad I have to say.

  6. The Orbiting CO2 Observatory attempts to use a passive measurement of O2 opacity, and combine it with the active measurement of the tops of CO2 (ordinary air) columns, to arrive at a concentration ppv: http://www.atmos-meas-tech.net/10/59/2017/amt-10-59-2017.pdf
    Thus, the component CO2 and O2 measurements are spacially unrelated, giving rise to the colorful maps based on this dubious artifact.
    Prime example of our tax dollars being used to fund fraudulent activity.

  7. What’d like to see is NASA get back to doing Aeronautics and Space stuff. If NOAA wants to build a satellite and contract NASA to launch it, fine, let it be in their budget. But to have all of this overlapping responsibilities only enables more waste.

  8. I propose an Orbiting Myoclonic Jerk Observatory (“myoclonic jerk” is a hiccup, … or is it the sort of jerk that calls CO2 simply by the name, “carbon”).
    Anyhow, the purpose would be to observe patterns in the hiccup behavior of all people on Earth. I’m sure that we could figure out how to relate this to CO2 and draw some cool looking graphs.

  9. From what I Have seen of the OCO observations, they only confirm ground station observations. My analysis suggests that natural sinks (Arctic Ocean and the cold waters around Antarctica) are absorbing all emissions (both anthropogenic and natural). There is no accumulation of anthro’s (e-fold fudge factor). The rise in concentration is because natural emission rates have been increasing as a result of sea surface temperatures increasing. They are able to locate anthro hot spots such as China, Northern Europe, and possibly North Carolina. Ground stations have observed these spots as well. Natural emissions are at least 20 times anthropogenic emissions.

    • Fred,
      According to your reasoning, the oceans remove all natural CO2 + all human CO2 and the same oceans emit more CO2 that causes the increase.
      How do the oceans know which CO2 to be removed is emitted by humans?
      The observed net sink rate (natural + humans) is ~2.15 ppmv/year, humans emit ~4.5 ppmv/year…
      BTW, there are near impossible results from OCO-2 like the highest CO2 levels above the N.E. Atlantic where the largest (THC) CO2 sink is (150 μatm pCO2 in the waters, 400+ μatm in the atmosphere). Seems that they still have to make a lot of (re)calibrations…

      • Cold water filled with phytoplankton doesn’t know the difference between man made and natural CO2. It absorbs all that reaches the surface. If it absorbs 95 to 100% of natural emissions (which are at least 20 times greater than anthros) it will not be possible for it to only absorb 50% of anthros as you claim. Natural emission rates only need to increase 5% to account for observed increase in concentration. This is a flow system with CO2 flowing with the jet streams from the tropics to the poles.

      • Fred,
        Phytoplankton uses a few % of the bicarbonate in the upper ocean layer. That lowers the pCO2 of the waters and either reduces the natural emissions (near the equator) or increases the uptake (near the poles). The equator to poles carbon cycle is about 40 GtC/year, and is in fact CO2 neutral as long as CO2 in the atmosphere and in the oceans is in dynamic equilibrium. For the current (weighted) average ocean surface temperature, that is about 290 ppmv.
        As the current partial pressure of CO2 (pCO2) in the atmosphere is over 400 ppmv, that reduces natural emissions in the equatorial upwelling zones and increases the uptake in the polar sink zones. The current yearly uptake by the oceans is about 0.5 GtC (surface) and 3 GtC (deep oceans). Additional the biosphere takes about 1 GtC/year extra, thus in total 4.5 GtC as CO2 out of the total atmosphere, whatever the origin of that CO2. Humans add about 9 GtC/year CO2, spreading into the atmosphere, thus the total CO2 mass in the atmosphere increases with about 4.5 GtC/year, mostly due to human emissions.
        The temperature increase since the LIA is good for some 13 ppmv extra in the atmosphere, the rest is man-made (as mass, not as original molecules, as these are rapidly exchanged with CO2 from other reservoirs).

    • I agree, Fred, except I think it is less about a rise in natural emission rates than it is a decline in natural absorption. My model can be found here.

      • Ferd,
        “The equator to poles carbon cycle is about 40 GtC/year, and is in fact CO2 neutral as long as CO2 in the atmosphere and in the oceans is in dynamic equilibrium.” That 40 GtC/year is not a constant and the earth’s tilt (seasonal changes) and daily rotation preclude the concept of “dynamic equilibrium” Forty GTC/year is not a constant and it is not a fact that CO2 is neutral. My calculations indicate that the Arctic ocean is absorbing 26.5 times anthropogenic emissions. Even your 40/9 indicates that no more than about 24% of anthro’s could possibly contribute to the rise in CO2 concentration.

      • Fred,
        Before humans added more and more CO2, there was a dynamic equilibrium between oceans, biosphere and atmosphere (other reservoirs have much smaller exchanges). The only main factor influencing the atmospheric CO2 content was temperature: about 8 ppmv/K for Antarctic temperatures, about 16 ppmv/K for global temperatures.
        That means that whatever the seasonal or permanent sources and sinks: all natural sources together and all natural sinks together were about equal with the “fastest” change some 100 ppmv in 5,000 years during a glacial-intergacial transition, or 0.02 ppmv/year. The (deep) oceans were leading the dance, as can be seen in the small change of δ13C with increasing CO2. If the biosphere was dominant, δ13C would show huge changes in opposite direction.
        With modern high resolution measurements the natural fluxes are roughly calculated at about 150 GtC in and out, of which 60 GtC seasonal from the biosphere, 50 GtC seasonal from the ocean surface (countercurrent with the biosphere) and 40 GtC/year permanently from the deep oceans between equatorial upwelling and polar sinks.
        The net effect of that 150 GtC is a seasonal amplitude of about 10 GtC (~5 ppmv), mainly in the NH where the larger biosphere wins the contest, with ultimately slightly more sink than source (-1.5 GtC/year) plus more sink than source from the permanent flux between equator and poles (-3 GtC/year). Humans emit about 9 GtC/year, thus are the main source of the increase.
        It doesn’t make any sense to compare human emissions with any natural flux in or out, as the only item to compare with is the net effect at the end of a full seasonal cycle, which is more natural sink than source.
        As the net effect of the natural cycle is known, it doesn’t matter at all what the exact natural fluxes are:
        50 GtC in, observed net effect -4.5 GtC, 54.5 GtC out.
        150 GtC in, observed net effect -4.5 GtC, 154.5 GtC out.
        1000 GtC in, observed net effect -4.5 GtC, 1004.5 GtC out.

        • Ferd,
          “It doesn’t make any sense to compare human emissions with any natural flux in or out, as the only item to compare with is the net effect at the end of a full seasonal cycle, which is more natural sink than source.”
          It makes perfect sense. If natural emissions are rising,the sink rates must rise proportionately to absorb all the natural. If it can absorb all the natural it certainly can absorb all the anthropogenic. Sinks can’t tell the difference. The “net” long term increase in concentration isn’t accumulation. It is the result of the long-term increase in total emissions. Since anthropogenics are only a small part of the total, they only contribute a small part to the increase. .

      • Fred,
        The sinks don’t directly increase if there are more emissions (natural ot human) within a year, they increase because the CO2 partial pressure (pCO2) in the atmosphere increases. Over the past 60 years, quite linear with the increase in pCO2. Currently that is about 2.15 GtC for 110 μatm (:= ppmv) above steady state.
        Humans increased their emissions about a fourfold over the past 60 years, So did the increase in the atmosphere and the net sink rate:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/dco2_em2.jpg
        As the sinks don’t make any differentiation between human and natural CO2, the natural cycle should have been either unchanged or also increased a fourfold over the same period to give that result.
        There is zero evidence that the natural cycle increased a fourfold, to the contrary: more recent estimates of the residence time of any CO2 molecule in the atmosphere show longer times (over 5 years) than older estimates, which point to a rather constant carbon cycle in an increasing CO2 mass of the atmosphere.

        • Ferd,
          You seem to be using global averages when you should be using local values with respect vapor pressure differences. The open waters of the Arctic Ocean will absorb every CO2 molecule that reaches it’s surface because the vapor pressure differences are the highest on the globe .(up to around 410 ppm in the winter when most of it is covered with ice. When the ice melts and more area is available to absorb CO2 the atmospheric partial pressure drops rapidly. The rate at which it drops indicates the flux.

      • Fred,
        Doesn’t make any difference if you use local or averaged pCO2 differences: the local seawater pCO2 at the edge of the ice is at minimum around 150 μatm and near the upwelling at the equator at maximum 750 μatm (*). That is the driving force that moves 40 GtC/year CO2 from the equator to the poles. The sink place may move over winter and summer (and the fluxes may change somewhat too), but doesn’t stop absorbing, neither does the emissions near the equator stop, even if these are strongly influenced by El Niño.
        Even if the whole ocean surface increases in temperature with 1 K, that gives the same increase in CO2 in the atmosphere as for a single closed sample that is heated with 1 K, thus fully dynamic or static has exactly the same effect, about 16 ppmv/K:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/upwelling_temp.jpg
        (*) See: https://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml

        • The tropics are always a source and emission rates vary each day, each year, and longer periods. There is no static, or dynamic equilibrium. Those emissions are being rapidly transported to the poles where they are readily absorbed by the cold exposed waters. Looking at just the long-term changes and assuming the rise to be global accumulation has led you to your false conclusions. How can you say the sinks are absorbing all natural emissions but only absorbing half of anthropogenic emissions?

      • “It doesn’t make any sense to compare human emissions with any natural flux in or out, as the only item to compare with is the net effect at the end of a full seasonal cycle, which is more natural sink than source.”
        No, Ferdinand. This is your silly pseudo-mass balance argument again.
        You assume equilibrium as a given, and then further assume you can load arbitrary dynamics on top of it, entirely decoupled from the processes which establish the putative equilibrium. That is not physically valid.

  10. Isolating the Contribution of CO2 on Atmospheric Temperature
    In any serious scientific experiment, efforts are made to “control” for as many exogenous factors as possible. The whole purpose is to isolate the impact of the independent variable on the dependent variable. ΔWeightloss = ΔCaloric Intake + ΔExercise + error. To minimize the error of the model (maximize explanatory power), variables outside the model (exogenous factors), … Continue reading
    https://co2islife.wordpress.com/2018/02/14/isolating-the-contribution-of-co2-on-atmospheric-co2/

  11. Dr. Spencer writes: “we have no large-scale replacements for fossil fuels we can switch to in the near future.”
    Sure there are; nuclear. The fact that the Warmists want nothing to do with nuclear power just emphasizes how un-serious they are about the “problem” of carbon.
    After all, aren’t we all some of the “carbon units that are infesting” the Earth?

    • Natural gas to nuclear (N2N) is the fastest route to low carbon energy. However, cars won’t be running on Mr. Fusion machines any time in the near future.

        • The fact that we haven’t taken the shortest route, doesn’t prevent it from being the shortest route.
          The lack of urgency in taking the shortest route is one of the best clues that the Warmunists are more interested in control than they are in solving the problem – to the extent that Gorebal Warming is a problem.

  12. Anybody know where I can find the “colorful maps” I have only found one showing lots of CO2 coming from equatorial regions.

    • DHR,
      You could go directly to the OCO-2 website or search the archives here on WUWT, where both the initial press release at AGU was provided, as well as a subsequent animation that purportedly showed how CO2 varies with altitude. There was also a release of a series of maps showing how the CO2 concentrations vary with seasons. Most of these maps are very broad brush because, particularly in the southern oceans, it is so cloudy that it prevents acquiring good data. Even many of the monthly OCO-2 maps seem to have more missing data than data.

    • The OCO-2 is measuring the height of the columns of air above thunderstorms, not actually the CO2 ppv. Ordinary air and CO2 are well mixed, even up to the stratosphere. The colorful maps the OCO-2 produces are from an artifact created by a discrepancy between the O2 levels measure passively and the CO2 levels measured actively by radiosonde. Then, this mix of spacially unrelated data is adjusted to match ground level CO2 ppv readings. See http://www.atmos-meas-tech.net/10/59/2017/amt-10-59-2017.pdf

  13. OCO-2 didn’t provide the smoking gun data that the warmists wanted/expected so they are going for another try ….. undoubtedly with different sensors, parameters, and algorithms that will provide data to their biased satisfaction. I followed OCO-2 for a while until it was apparent no one was paying attention because it didn’t help the AGW narrative. What was learned from OCO-2 wasn’t given any press because it was benign.

  14. They know the bogeyman is there, and threatens all life on earth, but still don’t know what color his shoes are. That’s an uncertainty which can’t be tolerated.

    • Certainly, we are looking in the wrong place.
      Improving access to fresh water would be a place to start.

      • “Improving access to fresh water would be a place to start.”
        Or, lacking that, use fossil fuel driven pumps to move fresh water where it is needed (or, in the post fossil-fuel world, moving it to elite leftist swimming pools.)

  15. I was hopeful for some genuinely amazing data from OCO2. I read claims about a satellite that could show CO2 emissions at the resolution of a single factory or power station.
    It was oversold.
    But the data it did supply confirmed what I already suspected: The current understanding of the carbon cycle is also grossly oversold.

  16. I met David Crisp who heads OCO-2 at the NOAA ESRL conference in Boulder a couple of years ago . I found him most intelligent and honest . ( I may be biased because he’s among the few who also know APL . ) The work they do is technologically remarkable . ( I never knew there was an “A train” of satellites following each other so they can take correlated measurements . )
    In his presentations you can find online , he’s quite careful to separate the level of CO2 from any hypotheses about its effect on temperature . But the methods of auditing total human CO2 output seem quite sound and he raises the question where it’s going because at least half is being reabsorbed , ie : the rate of rise in atmospheric concentration is half or less than the amount we’re inputting .
    But again , he avoids any link between CO2 and observed temperature . He’s just interested in the measurement . And , as a number have commented , the OCO-2 data have , if anything , shown that human industrial CO2 has very little correlation with the distribution of global CO2 sources .
    The “A train” is in an orbit designed to cover most of the globe from pole to pole . The space station , a far narrower band of latitudes . ( Others here I’m sure know the ranges better . ) That alone would make instrumentation on it far less valuable for doing any sort of global inventory .

  17. “JOHN TIMMER – 2/13/2018
    By trying to kill this program, people in the administration are sending two messages. One is that everything they’ve been saying when they try to explain why they’re taking no actions on climate change is a sham—they don’t actually believe any of it. And the second message is they’d abandon a project that cost millions of taxpayers’ dollars than gather data that could possibly tell us we need to act”

    Yes, David Middleton, John Timmer is a frothing maniac in full TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) rant.
    That Timmer, keeps the same points when his first topic is false, speaks to how deranged is Timmer.
    Just another frothing alarmist looney in rant mode…
    One does wonder if there is any possible way to put such wasted efforts and energy towards positive functioning.
    Perhaps something short of giving them their own rocket and any destination past the second star on the left.

    • I think killing the OCO2 was admittedly fake news, and claiming the OCO3 being killed by Trump is most probably totally false. Note that a budget cut that causes reprioritizing existing projects is not Trump killing the project. It might lead to killing the project, but then the project just wasn’t a high priority one. Timmer really has a severe TDS, no doubt.

  18. “Just another frothing alarmist looney in rant mode”
    How easy it is to dismiss others and make them out to be fools when you are surrounded by others who think as you do!
    How easy it is to make up “scientific” narratives to suit one’s purposes, picking and choosing whatever ideas and evidence fit regardless of their merit!
    The relationship between stomatal density and CO2 levels is not a simple cause-and-effect; other factors can play a role in it. Using stomatal density as a proxy for CO2 levels has not been demonstrated well enough to be reliable.
    It’s an abomination and abuse of science when people pick whatever is suitable to show what they want to be true, without being aware of (or taking into account) the debates that go on in the literature and behind the scenes.
    “It may be useful to better understand how stomata respond to elevated CO2 levels while considering other key environmental factors and mechanisms, including molecular mechanism, biochemical processes, and ecophysiological regulation….Thus, considerable caution is required when using SD as an indicator of a stomatal adaptive process in response to elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration. ”
    https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2016.00657/full – this paper looks at some of the considerations and uncertainties – have you read it, David?
    I’d hazard an educated guess that any notable elevations in CO2 prior to the Industrial Revolution have something to do with forest clearing and burning.

    • You didn’t bother to answer me or Willis about the islets that disappeared at Pohnpei. The thing is, there an ultimately large number of small islands at the reefs, and they’re geologically very young – the speed at which they change is large enough that it is possible to document as they come and go.
      https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/02/09/remember-when-the-island-of-tuvalu-was-going-to-be-inundated-by-sea-level-rise-never-mind/comment-page-1/#comment-2741596

    • The response of stomatal density to other environmental variables is well-understood and controlled for in stomata-derived CO2 chronologies. Xu isn’t worth reading any further than this…

      The global surface temperature is projected to rise 2.6–4.8°C by the end of this century, according to RCP8.5 (IPCC, 2013), a more undisciplined management scenario.

      RCP8.5 is bad science fiction.
      Stomata-derived CO2 chronologies control for precipitation and other environmental changes that can influence stomatal density and/or the stomal index.

    • The only people fighting more observation are the skeptics who demanded more observational evidence.

      That’s funny given that the IPCC went out of their way to ignore the entire historic observational record of C02 in favour of proxy data on which they could tack an instrumental record*
      Yeah, forget some 90,000 direct measurements and use proxy data from low resolution ice cores instead!
      It is not the skeptics fighting more observations, it is the believers like you who are too frightened to look at the real world; because you might actually see something!
      *The Keeling Curve. It’s probably where M.Mann got his one inspirational idea.

      • Scott Wilmot Bennett,
        Yeah, forget some 90,000 direct measurements and use proxy data from low resolution ice cores instead!
        Except that 99% of these 90,000 direct measurements were taken in the middle of towns. forests, under, in between and over growing crops etc. Completely worthless for historical “background” CO2 data.
        Only the historical CO2 measurements taken on seaships and coastal with wind from the sea are of value and these are all around the ice core CO2 data. See further:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html
        There is no 1942 CO2 “peak” as in the historical data in any other proxy like stomata data, coralline sponges and direct measurements in high resolution ice cores…
        The Keeling curve is confirmed everywhere in 95% of the atmosphere away from fast sources and sinks:
        https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/
        It is one of the most rigid observations available. One can only hope that temperature measurements were taken with the same rigor.
        See e.g. the procedures at Mauna Loa:
        https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/about/co2_measurements.html

      • ==> Ferdinand Engelbeen
        CO2 concentration had been measured in the upper troposphere since the end of the 19th century by balloons and after WWII by rockets. That real data corroborates OCO data* – that show dynamic fluctuation in background concentrations of C02*.
        *At least the very first OCO published data that I looked at, that is!
        **This subject is most certainly the “Holy Grail” of AGW and I am aware of just how untouchable this vital precept is! Therefore, I know I won’t get any traction or support for taking this position, so lets agree to disagree and forget it! 😉

      • ==> Ferdinand Engelbeen
        Mean’t to say, I don’t doubt the instrumental record from Mauna Loa! I question the proxy data section of the curve. IMO it is Mann’s “trick” of flattening the dynamics of the past and taking on a steep instrumental record.

      • Scott Wilmot Bennett,
        I had lots of discussions with the late Ernst Beck about the historical data when he still was in good health. Problem was that he didn’t do any quality control: he lumped every measurement together: the good, the bad and the ugly. Even as you mention the high atmosphere data: it is impossible that they measured 600 ppmv in the high atmosphere in the same year that the “average” measurement at the surface was 380 ppmv.
        Further, he averaged 1 datapoint of 200 ppmv somewhere in the Mid West USA with hundreds of datapoints in Germany (where the stdev was 68 ppmv!), thus all weight was in Germany, no matter how good or bad these data measured over land were.
        Modern data show that all the “background” data up to 30 km height everywhere over the oceans and up from a few hundred meters over land are within +/- 2% of full scale, including the huge seasonal changes in the NH.
        It is theoretically possible to have a natural fast increase of 80 ppmv in the atmosphere (e.g. with a sudden enormous outburst of sulphur dioxyde – SO2 – from undersea volcanoes acidifying the oceans), but it is physically impossible to remove that peak (equivalent to 1/3 of all plant life on earth) in a few years, as what his compilation suggested. The observed half life time of any excess CO2 above the long time steady state for the ocean surface temperature over the past 60 years is about 35 years… That means that the 80 ppmv “peak” in 1942 still should be 40 ppmv in 1977, but his compilation shows no peak CO2 values anymore in the 1950s, just before the South Pole and Mauna Loa measurements started.

    • OCO-2 is still flying and observing. OCO-3 is composed of spare parts from OCO-2 and intended for installation on the ISS to replace OCO-2.
      OCO-3 is not only a “lower-priority science mission that cannot be accommodated under constrained budgets,” it is currently a redundant lower-priority science mission.

      ABOUT THE MISSION
      The Orbiting Carbon Observatory 3, or OCO-3, is a future space instrument designed to investigate important questions about the distribution of carbon dioxide on Earth as it relates to growing urban populations and changing patterns of fossil fuel combustion.
      NASA plans to develop and assemble the instrument using spare materials from the successful development and launch of the Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 in 2014 and host the instrument on the International Space Station or another space-based platform.
      Acronym: OCO-3
      Type: Instrument
      Status: Future
      Launch Date: To be determined
      Target: Earth

      https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/orbiting-carbon-observatory-3-oco-3/
      Target: Earth!!!

  19. I suspect that these satellites can be used to detect if China, India ad other large emitters are accurately reporting how much CO2 they are releasing.

  20. Let all those who fear the rise in CO2 fund these activities. Let the tax dollars be used to repair our infrastructure and make everyday life better for as many people as possible.

  21. “Although the carbon cycle is complex, we have a relatively good idea of how it works. And, plus or minus a few gigatonnes here and there, we know the volume of carbon dioxide handled by most of the sources and sinks.”
    The above statement gets the stupid award in my book. The Carbon cycle is very poorly constrained. My own efforts to balance it using isotopic constraints indicate that something is very seriously wrong with our current conception.
    I am highly in favor of continuing the OCO project. Just a few less yellow hats and photoshopped videos of CO2 flocking to the poles in a completely unphysical fashion…

  22. I essentially stopped visiting that website several years ago after I realized that they were deleting my posts on climate change in their “free speech” forums. Guess those left-wing ars snowflakes got tired of being triggered by discomforting facts.

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