AGW Gatekeepers Censor The CO2-Climate Debate By Refusing To Publish Author’s Response To Criticism

A 2017 peer-reviewed paper authored by physicist Dr. Hermann Harde drew considerable response upon its publication in the journal Global and Planetary Change.  Harde’s conclusion that less than 15% of the increase in CO2 concentration since the 19th century could be attributed to anthropogenic emissions was deemed unacceptable by gatekeepers of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) viewpoint.  A critical reply to the paper was consequently published, but it included assumptive errors and misrepresentations of the original points.  Harde’s exhaustive reply to the criticism has been refused publication, which has effectively silenced scientific debate on this salient topic.

We have yet another example of AGW advocates like Gavin Schmidt running away from real scientific debates with skeptics.

After receiving appeal-to-authority pressure from Gavin Schmidt and other activists at, the overseers of the Elsevier journal Global and Planetary Change have refused to allow the public to read the exhaustive response to criticisms levied against a peer-reviewed paper they originally agreed to publish.

Image Source: Harde, 2017

Critiquing Via Misrepresentation and Models

Within months after the Harde paper was published, Köhler et al. (2017), was quickly cobbled together and published in Global and Planetary Change in an attempt to “refute” the conclusions of the Harde (2017) paper.

The problem was, Köhler et al. (2017) did not accurately critique the actual points made in the original paper, but instead they devised alternative or erroneous versions of Harde’s positions and then critiqued those instead. In other words, they used the straw man argumenttactic in their “rebuttal” paper.

In an unpublished response to the Köhler “critque” paper, Harde contends that Köhler et al. also employ “ad hoc”argumentation, “circular reasoning”, the “failure of logic” inherent in the practice of “validation by consensus”, and an overall reliance on models and assumptions rather than observation.

Excerpts from the unpublished response to Köhler et al. (2017):

Full story at No Tricks Zone

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August 27, 2018 1:34 pm

Chinese style debate

R. Shearer
Reply to  ResourceGuy
August 27, 2018 2:31 pm

Leaves you feeling hungry after its consumption?

John Harmsworth
Reply to  R. Shearer
August 27, 2018 3:42 pm

They put a bag over your head when it’s your turn to speak and interpret for you!

Reply to  John Harmsworth
August 28, 2018 5:31 am

Use emotive, alarmist terms like gatekeeper and censor.

Reply to  RyanS
August 28, 2018 7:16 am

Care to actually refute the claims, or is whining that you don’t like the language once again the limits of your abilities?

Tom Halla
August 27, 2018 1:40 pm

The green blob is getting a bit obvious.

Reply to  Tom Halla
August 27, 2018 2:36 pm

Rise in the CO2 concentration has been beneficial for the rise in the greening of the globe and augmenting food production, and if for some as yet unproven fact it has contributed to the global warming, then the increase in CO2 (natural or anthropogenic) has been doubly beneficial to humanity and should be celebrated by all well meaning ‘homo sapiens’ (wise men).

August 27, 2018 1:44 pm

Professor Klaus-Martin Schulte has suggested the foundation of a new Journal of Corrections that would provide a home for serious science rejected by the totalitarian establishment. Professor Harde’s paper is a most interesting and meticulous examination of the radiative forcing question, and I know that eminent scientists such as Professor Will Happer are full of admiration for it.

It is a shame that the public investigating authorities are so reluctant to investigate and prosecute those aspects of the misconduct of climate-extremist pseudo-scientists that constitute misrepresentation with intent both to deceive and to inflict loss by way of the deception.

Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
August 27, 2018 2:42 pm


Another case in point but slightly off topic was a paper on “The case for colonialism” by
Bruce Gilley (Bruce Gilley (2017): The case for colonialism, Third World Quarterly, DOI:

It examined the benefits of colonialism to the countries colonised instead of simply accepting the concept that colonists were simply ruthless exploiters.

It was peer reviewed and about to be published but the editor of the journal received death threats so Bruce Gilley withdrew it from publication.

This is science as we know it today and to me as a layman, it is unacceptable. I believe it is the function of scientists to inform me and my fellow ignoramuses in order that we can learn.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  HotScot
August 27, 2018 3:45 pm

I wouldn’t call a discussion and analysis of colonialism “science” as there are to many value judgements involved but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of discussion. My list of of inappropriate topics is pretty short. It is, after all, only discussion.

Eamon Butler
Reply to  Monckton of Brenchley
August 28, 2018 3:28 am

Indeed, climate- extremist pseudo-scientists, irrational alarmists, should be removed from office. They are a hindrance to the the advances of science. Only those willing to promote open debate and discussion should hold such positions.

Killer Marmot
August 27, 2018 1:51 pm

The journal editors have their knickers in a knot over the fact that this paper got published in the first place:

The publication of the paper by Harde (2017) in Global and Planetary Change has
concerned many researchers and experts in the field. We, the authors of this
Commentary, all being members of the Editorial Board of Global and Planetary
Change share these concerns and see our personal reputations and the reputation
of the journal at risk. The acceptance of this paper has exposed potential weaknesses
in the implementation of the peer review system, and quality control mechanisms
have failed in this particular case.

Reply to  Killer Marmot
August 27, 2018 2:02 pm

Having never heard of this journal I wonder at exactly what sort of reputation they wish to preserve or believe has been tainted by association with actual science.

Reply to  Killer Marmot
August 27, 2018 2:06 pm

That is profoundly hilarious! The Editorial Board is NOT saying Harde (2017) is WRONG, they are saying they were/are blind to so called (but unnamed?) “researchers and experts in the field” giving them blowback because Harde (2017 shows/proves(?) the “researchers and experts in the field” are WRONG! What a bunch of idiots! They blame THEIR blunder (so called) on “the system” they created. Wish I had a subscription to Global and Planetary Change so I could cancel it….

Pat Frank
Reply to  MilwaukeeBob
August 27, 2018 3:53 pm

It’s all just moral and intellectual cowardice, MB. Nothing but.

William A Hoffman
Reply to  MilwaukeeBob
August 28, 2018 7:22 pm is the supposed site for the “journal”, open-source though it may be.
Elsevier says on the site that the product is unavailable, and offers a link to a “sister site”

Nothing near it there either…seems yet another AGW scam. This time “bait and switch’…an old story.

MilwaukeeBob, you said “Wish I had a subscription to Global and Planetary Change so I could cancel it….” I liked your comment so much, I thought I’d get you one just to learn about your canceling it! LOL! (Would’a bought one myself, just so two cancellations showed up)

Alas, it’s only a picture with no substance on the Elsevier web page. In the old days of programming, this was known as “vaporware”.

John Endicott
Reply to  Killer Marmot
August 28, 2018 10:54 am

The acceptance of this paper has exposed potential weaknesses
in the implementation of the peer review system, and quality control mechanisms
have failed in this particular case.

Translation: Somehow this paper got past our gatekeeping efforts.

Reply to  John Endicott
August 28, 2018 12:15 pm

No, just read it straight. They’re saying it’s a crappy paper that should never have been published.

August 27, 2018 1:51 pm

There may be legal redress. If Harde’s position was misrepresented, he may have the right to reply. Otherwise, he has been professionally harmed. The Max Planck Institute sued Wiley over similar facts. link That was a while ago and should have been resolved by now but I haven’t been able to find the details.

Pat Frank
Reply to  commieBob
August 27, 2018 3:58 pm

Interesting point, cBob. If a journal censors for reasons of narrative bias, it becomes a political venue. One wonders whether one could sue for fraud under its representational banner.

A journal that invites publication under a standard of objective merit but engages in partisan censorship would seem guilty of bait-and-switch.

Alan Tomalty
Reply to  Pat Frank
August 27, 2018 9:30 pm

Unfortunately bait and switch is not a universal crime but fraud certainly is. Furthermore in the jurisdictions where bait and switch is a crime, there are specific points of the law that have to be met in order to qualify as a bait and switch tactic. The designers of the bait and switch laws did not mean for them to be applied in a case like the above article and the courts would have no legal direction as to what to do under a bait and switch claim. A prosecutor would never file a case like this under the bait and switch laws.

The problem with prosecuting for fraud is that there has to be some proof of economic damage and the plaintiff or prosecutor has to prove an intent. Printing a falsehood for publication is not fraud per se unless you can prove monetary harm. Furthermore, there is no crime against lying, except under oath. This particular case and others like it need court cases to establish the limits that each side can go. Obviously each side would like to rebuttal until hell freezes over in order to have the last word. About the only thing that Dr. Harde could do is to sue in a civil action for economic damages but the journal always has the defence of who decides which rebuttal is the last word? I am sure that Dr. Harde is getting legal opinion but the case looks very flimsy on the surface even though we all know that the journal has acted malevolently against Dr. Harde. Unfortunately the law cannot offer redress to every injustice in society.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Alan Tomalty
August 29, 2018 8:12 am

Looks like you know a lot about the legal issue, Alan. I can’t dispute your points.

I wonder, though, whether a monetary injury can be found in the taxes that have been consciously and cynically diverted into the pockets of climate scamsters such as Elon Musk, the Solyndra crowd, every single “sustainable energy” tax farmer, and the environmental NGOs.

Perhaps a class action suit is possible, representing tax-payers as a class of financially injured parties.

Perhaps participation in the Climate Action Network can be seen as a RICO conspiracy.

Tom in Florida
August 27, 2018 2:04 pm

Why does this surprise anyone.

August 27, 2018 2:13 pm

Of course it is not fair to refuse a reaction of the author of an article, but I also had a lot of critique on his work when it was published. Also on the two points yellowed in the introduction:

– The fraction of anthro CO2 is currently about 10%, based on the observed 13C/12C ratio.
– Human contribution to the total mass increase is about 90%, not 15%.

Dr. Harde made three fundamental errors in his original work:

– Using the residence time, or even the decay rate of the 14C bomb tests excess, doesn’t say anything about the time needed to reduce an extra bulk CO2 injection – whatever the source – above the temperature controlled steady state of the oceans with the atmosphere.

– Using the total concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere as base implies a steady state of zero CO2 in the atmosphere, which is not realistic.

– Using only natural emissions without taking into account the natural sinks violates the mass balance.

Besides that, the “temperature fits almost all” solution violates about every single observation in the atmosphere, oceans and vegetation, while the human cause fits them all. Like the mass balance, the decline of δ13C level (in atmosphere, ocean surface and vegetation), the pre-1950 change in 14C, the changes of pH and DIC in the ocean surface, the change in oxygen balance and last but not least Henry’s law for the solubility of CO2 in seawater.

A more complete, illustrated critique of mine on Dr. Harde’s work is here:

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 2:29 pm


Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 3:47 pm

Ferdinand, I’m not giving you a thumbs down because I haven’t read the paper. Yet. However, from a different perspective of the data, I reached a similar conclusion. I only used the assumptions on co2 to find flaws in the narrative on co2 and temperature, and the amount that actually ended up in the atmosphere by weight. ( or molecular mole ).
Do you consider 60 years to be short term ? CO2 anomaly certainly follows the temperature anomaly over the last 60 years. However, even in years before 1958, temperature, solar cycle and cosmic ray activity are evident.
You also said,
” Besides that, the “temperature fits almost all” solution violates about every single observation in the atmosphere, oceans and vegetation, while the human cause fits them all. ”
I don’t see that at all. I see ” temperature fits almost all “…. ALSO. The rest of the all is probably cosmic rays.
Explain to me how you see solar cycles and cosmic rays influencing co2 amounts. If you say, ‘ not at all’, you’re wrong.

Reply to  rishrac
August 27, 2018 4:35 pm


Over the past 800,000 years, CO2 followed temperature with 8 ppmv/K in ice cores as that is mainly for Antarctic temperatures, the global ratio is about 16 ppmv/K. Not by coincidence the solubility change for CO2 in seawater. Most of these temperature/CO2 changes were the result of earth’s turning around the sun and extra-terrestrial causes.

Since about 1850, CO2 levels increased beyond that equilibrium in ratio to what humans emitted. That is NOT caused by temperature, as that violates the solubility of CO2 in seawater, as the current equilibrium between ocean surface temperature and atmosphere would be 290 ppmv, not 410 ppmv.

See further:

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 4:51 am

I’m sure you are familiar with the co2 record going back for the last 600 years that includes the MWP and the LIA. In those they show that co2 levels didn’t change much.

So the question becomes,
How many ppm/v does it take to raise the temperature 1 C?

I am trying all sorts of ways to show that you are wrong. If the temperature difference was only 1 C difference between the LIA and MWP, then the co2 levels would have been on the order of what they are today. There would have been a swing of at least 125 ppm/v. From every other source the temps were higher and lower than today’s. There is no record that co2 levels exceeded +/- today’s levels during those times. I contend that the record was flattened out so they wouldn’t have contradictory evidence that showed co2 levels were both higher and lower. Where did the co2 come from, and where did it go ? And how much during those times was anthro co2? This was not a slow process that took 1000’s of years. If I’m wrong temperatures went up and down without regard to co2 at all. However, that is not what the current record ( last 60 years) is showing. Then it becomes incumbent on AGW to show how those changes in temperature didn’t affect the co2 levels.

Using co2 records to prove temperature in the past, is not valid when using the same method for the present as a proof. The isotopic bonding in long lived trees, which clearly encompasses those times, the written records, and geologic evidence paint the same picture on temperature, while the co2 record does not

The effect of one outweighs the balance of the other. They are not, all things considered, equal. One is major, the other minor. Solubility depends on STP ( standard temperature and pressure). CO2 is a trace gas, anthro co2… and over time, even smaller input…. Temperature affects both the pressure gradient and the solubility of co2. Pressure also affects temperature and solubility, however the increased pressure from the anthro extra co2 is extremely small. Which pretty much says says it all, temperatures were increasing before co2. Otherwise the anthro co2 between 1850 and 1910 would have disappeared and not have been in the record at all.

So how many ppm/v does it take to raise or lower temps by 1 C? A direct question.

I can do multi variate calculus. So does it take more co2, less co2, or is it lineaer? I’ve pretty much ruled out linear and less co2 as raising the temp by 1 C. Of course other people will argue about other aspects, like saturation and absorption bands. The result solves those issues. Because one will be right and the other wrong

On the one hand, AGW is a distraction from the original mission to find out how and why an ice age occurs or even downturns in temps. On the other, the examination of critical concepts keeps us from being complacent and drawing the wrong conclusions.

What I think you are describing Ferdinand is a mechanism to keep co2 levels from falling below a level where all plant life dies.

Reply to  rishrac
August 28, 2018 10:56 am


Ice cores show a one-way correlation and causation of CO2 following T. There may be an influence of CO2 on T, but that is modest and according to Modtran, about 1 K for a CO2 doubling (that is 560 ppmv) without positive or negative feebacks. Not really impressive.

The opposite is about 16 ppmv/K temperature increase. That can be seen in the high resolution Law Dome DSS core as a dip of about 6 ppmv 50 years after the dip into the LIA of about 0.8 K:

Over the past 800,000 years, there is a good correlation between CO2 and T changes with a variable, long lag for CO2. That correlation is completely gone over the past 165 years. For the current average ocean temperature, the CO2 level in the atmosphere at equilibrium would be 290 ppmv, not 400 ppmv. The extra 110 ppmv is caused by human which emitted over 200 ppmv over the same period…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 4:03 pm

What Harde ignores is the quite large exchange rate of 14C and human CO2 introduced into the atmosphere with C in oceans and plants-soil, which have (mostly) low values of each.
Further, as 14C and human CO2 moves into these other C reservoirs, their concentration there will increase and thus increase the amount of each returning to the atmosphere. Because the exchange times of these reservoirs differ (e.g. plants rather short, deep ocean quite long), and so long as human CO2 is increasingly added, 14C and human CO2 in the atmosphere will not reach an equilibrium.

Paul Milenkovic
Reply to  donb
August 27, 2018 8:53 pm

You are invoking the Suess effect (after Revelle and Suess’s 1957 paper to explain my bomb testing was confounding radiocarbon dating). As you pollute the reservoirs with C14, the baseline shifts and this confounds accurate measurements of the time-constant of the extinction curve.

But there is much more to it than that — see my comments above about Revelle’s law (or the Revelle buffer as it is also called).

The long exchange times are also misleading — a large buffer can have a long exchange time while absorbing an enormous amount of flux.

Reply to  Paul Milenkovic
August 28, 2018 6:09 am


The problem with the 14C decay rate as tracer, used by Dr. Harde, to show that 12CO2 has much faster decay rates (than anyway in the Bern model) is not in the ocean surface or vegetation, as these are simply diluting the 14C mass, but exchange most of it wtihin a year. The problem is in the deep oceans, where high 14C levels go in, but the old levels of 1,000 years ago come out: 14C levels are completely isolated from the atmosphere in length of time.
That makes that the decay rate of any 14CO2 peak is much shorter than for any 12CO2 peak, where most 12CO2 mass returns the same year as is absorbed.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 4:12 pm

Claims of changes in ocean pH (0.02 units/decade) are not analytically credible, Ferdinand.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 28, 2018 6:46 am

Pat Frank,

Direct CO2 measurements by glass electrodes are not suitable at all, but modern colorimetric methods are better than 0.01 pH unit. Further, one can calculate the pH out of other – more accurate – measurements (DIC and TA). That was done e.g. for the series in Hawaii, where both methods overlap (Fig. 1):

Pat Frank
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 3:02 pm

Thanks for the PNAS article Ferdinand. Agreed that the spectroscopic method is more accurate.

One suspects, though, that organic materials in the sea water may complex the pH indicators, bringing systematic error into the method.

One could determine this by looking for changes in the extinction coefficient or wavelength maximum of the indicator. So far as I know, this possibility has not been evaluated.

I was glad to see the distinction between precision and accuracy in the methodological paper. Accuracy is about an order of magnitude less than precision, but is till good enough to resolve 0.01 pH unit.

In the PNAS paper, the phase relation between wet air CO2 and surface pH is interesting, and I’m looking into that a bit.

However that turns out, the certainty expressed in opening comment that, “Over the past 250 years, the mean pH of the surface global ocean has decreased from ≈8.2 to 8.1, which is roughly equivalent to a 30% increase in [H] (1–3).” is misleading.

The pH of sea water 250 years ago through 50 years ago is unknown. The seawater pH at any location to an accuracy of 0.1 unit is unavailable until the first application of the spectroscopic method, which would be after 1993.

Mean global SS pH has about the same meaning as mean global surface air temperature, by the way. It’s not a thermodynamic quantity, and it obscures the impact of naturally-caused local variations.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 29, 2018 7:43 am


Indeed, I haven’t seen any reference to organics when measuring pH or titration of TA and DIC if the pH is calculated from these two. I don’t think that has much influence, or it should be organic acids…

For the pre-spectroscopic pH, one can calculate the pH from TA and DIC. That method is as accurate as direct spectroscopic measurements, as the overlap in Hawaii shows. TA and DIC measurements were far more taken in the past, even in the 1930’s by several cruises of a German research vessel over the Atlantic.

Unfortunately Ernst Beck’s web pages are not available anymore where the report of the data was.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 29, 2018 8:17 am

The organic interactions need not be acids, Ferdinand. van der Waals attraction is sufficient when water gets excluded from the organic association.

I’d look very carefully at the accuracy of field measurements of DIC and TA from past studies. They were all wet methods.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Pat Frank
August 30, 2018 7:12 am

Ferdinand, I downloaded atmospheric CO2, local SST, and surface (0-10 meter) DIC from the Mauna Loa site.

As expected, the annual oscillations of SST and CO2 were highly correlated.

However, DIC did not oscillate with annual CO2 or SST. The overall decadal movement of DIC seemed to track the large-scale (decadal) movements in SST.

DIC rose and fell over decades with significant amplitude. It’s clear that instantaneous DIC and ocean pH are not good measures of the impact of CO2. Only long-term trends will have bearing on the question of so-called acidification.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 30, 2018 8:38 am

Pat, the explanation given in the above paper is that in Hawaii there are changes in the depth of the mixed layer, that means that more deep ocean waters with lower pH and higher DIC are mixed in.
There is a report of 7 stations (including Hawaii) with longer sampling which show the variability over seasons and increase in DIC and decline of pH over decades:

Pat Frank
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 30, 2018 5:28 pm

Thanks Ferdinand. It’s a nice looking paper. Too bad they genuflect to the Anthropocene, though. Rather too trendy for a scientific society.

Anyway, the HOT DIC plot in Figure 3 of Bates doesn’t look anything like the DIC time series data I downloaded from the HOT Mauna Loa site.

Obtained here.

Dissolved Inorganic Carbon; January 1, 1988 through December 1, 2016; 0-10 meters

Maybe DIC varies strongly per station, even locally. This would make interpretation complicated.

As you say, upwelling may mix cold high DIC water into the surface layers. One would need to know for a fact whether this is happening in real time when data are collected, to properly account for this effect.


Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 8:38 pm

You remarked about, “… the changes of pH and DIC in the ocean surface…” As I understand the situation, all of the historical pH records were rejected as being unsuitable, and a computer model was used to estimate a pre-industrial pH. The current open ocean pH, as measured in the Pacific, was then stated as the probable decline. Incidentally, I believe the computer model only used the carbonate/bicarbonate buffering and ignored borate buffering. That is pretty thin ice to skate on!

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 28, 2018 7:10 am


Agreed that the old pH measurements with glass electrodes were unsuitable, but modern direct measurements and calculated pH from DIC and TA can do the job.

There are six series at fixed places which all show the same pH decline with increasing DIC over the past decade(s). If the pH drop was from inside the oceans (volcanoes everywhere…), then DIC would drop with a lower pH. If CO2 is pressured into the oceans from the atmosphere, DIC will increase (at a bout 10% of the atmospheric increase) and pH will drop.
See Fig. 7 in:

The TA (total alkalinity) titration includes borates, thus pH calculation from DIC and TA should be accurate enough.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 11:57 am


I think you misunderstand. I think that the older pH measurements should have been retained and used. I’m against discarding data if it can be used in any way. After all, old temperature data is used even though we know there are deficiencies in the data set. Without using the historical measurements, we have nothing to validate the computer model against. So, while we might be legitimately documenting a minuscule decline in pH over recent decades (0.01/decade?), what can we say about the last 100 years when we rely on an unvalidated computer model? You didn’t contradict my claim that the model didn’t take into account borate buffering.

The link you provide above states, “At present, the global ocean remains generally mildly alkaline, with a pH of surface waters typically in the range of 8.1 to 8.2.” Note that the stated range is virtually the same as the claimed decline in pH over the last century. That is, the claimed decline appears to be indistinguishable from the typical variation. That isn’t compelling evidence supporting the claimed decline in pH!

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 28, 2018 12:47 pm


The older pH measurements still are available, but don’t have much value for any trend of the past: simply too unreliable. There are lots more DIC and TA measurements of the past, which gives a far more accurate calculated pH.

You need to make a differentiation between the pH range over the globe, which differs from place to place (and its local variability) and the trend in pH at a fixed place in the oceans, which slightly drops everywhere if measured over longer periods. Only exceptions: upwelling zones and zones near estuaria.

The computer model is validated on thousands of seawater samples for single measurements and by the overlap between direct accurate measurements and calculated values in recent times.

pH is calculated from DIC and TA. The latter is by titration to pH 4.5 and includes borates.
See the calculator by Nick Stokes:
Which includes:
The other is Total Alkalinity (TA) TA=[HCO3-]+2*[CO3–] This can be determined by acid titration with an indicator that changes about pH=4.5, which removes almost all bicarb and carb. The titration also picks up borate

Paul Milenkovic
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 8:48 pm

The bulk ocean-water sink of CO2 doesn’t follow Henry’s law — if it did, the 14C bomb test decay rate would be the same as the decay rate of an “extra bulk CO2 injection.”

What slows the decay of a bulk CO2 injection in relation to the isotope dilution is Revelle’s law where a 10-fold increase in bulk atmospheric CO2 concentration results in only a 1-fold increase in ocean water bulk concentration. The reasoning beyond that is that chemical equilibria involving multiple reagents (CO2 and the chain of inorganic carbonates it forms in ocean water) follow non-linear power laws. Khan Academy has a good video explaining chemical equilibria and the resulting power exponent values.

As the ocean has over 50 times the CO2 capacity as the atmosphere, Revelle’s law too doesn’t explain why any bulk CO2 injection doesn’t get swallowed up into the oceans as noted by the 1957 paper by Revelle and Suess. You have to invoke a “compartmental model” between the surface and deep ocean and introduce a rate of exchange between the two systems, although claims that these waters “turn over only every 500 years” is misleading because one has to account for the enormous capacity of the deep ocean in relation to the CO2 flux to come up with that number.

This explains what Salby and it appears Harde, who invoke linear models of CO2 exchange, get wrong.

But . . .

There is the Wood for Trees site showing the large fluctuation in the rate of CO2 increase to consider, large in relation to the putative anthropogenic trend, which correlates with temperature. So there is evidence that increased temperature stimulated natural CO2 emission, presumably from soil but perhaps as the result of turn-over and upwelling ocean currents. That the absorption of CO2 can increase with atmospheric concentration is suggested by the “greening” or putative increases in terrestrial vegetation.

Pieter Tans as quoted by our esteemed friend Ferdinand Engelbeen reasons that the temperature fluctuation only correlates with CO2 rate-of-increase only short term. This indicates rapid exchange with a small reservoir — leaf litter in the tropical rain forests is proposed, which means the hypothesis that most of the 20th century CO2 increase is human-caused hold up.

Others have measurements of decadal-term temperature stimulation of CO2 emissions from temperate-zone soils whereas, yes, Salby argues that the correlations between temperature and increase in CO2 occur “at all time scales” in contradiction of Tans’ claims.

The fraction of CO2 increase to blame on us humans hinges on the size of the reservoir and hence the time scale of the temperature-stimulated emission, for which there needs to be a countervailing increase in absorption (plant uptake because the ocean water system won’t do this) to explain the Keeling curve. Depending on this time scale, I can model a carbon system that matches the Keeling curve, the bomb-test and other isotope curves along with the recorded fluctuations in the CO2 increase, which accounts for anywhere from most of the CO2 increase being human caused to only about half of it. The shorter time scale where most of the CO2 increase from humans has a absorption time constant of about the 50-60 year range claimed by Ferdinand Engelbeen whereas the longer time scale of temperature-stimulated emission suggested by recent temperate-zone soil studies give half this value. Both ends of this range are well below the often cited Bern model.

As to the certainty the people have, which in part motivates the suppression of Harde’s response, my perspective was a simple method to measure the energy savings of reducing air infiltration into a dwelling that was proposed by a DOE publication. You reduce the indoor humidity using an air conditioner or a dehumidifier in relation to the outside humidity. Measuring indoor and outdoor temperature and humidity, measuring the water condensed by the air conditioner or dehumidifier and some tables of the properties of water vapor, and voila, a measure of air exchange and a rating of the dwellings energy efficiency.

Were that this were so simple, and I have been “beating my head against the wall” trying to get consistent results with this method for the past 30 years. Like the carbon cycle, the measurement is simple enough and also like the carbon cycle, that you are condensing water to create a humidity gradient is evidence that air is leaking in and out of the dwelling. But how much? There are reservoirs — gypsum wallboard used in interior walls as a paintable surface is highly hygroscopic. And there is absorption and emission in those reservoirs resulting from temperature cycling — the temperature stimulated emission of water vapor from gypsum wallboard is what gives it fire resistance.

This simple system is hard to quantify and people think the global carbon cycle is certain?

John Dilks
Reply to  Paul Milenkovic
August 27, 2018 10:55 pm

While the question about who causes the increase in CO2 is interesting, it is irrelevant. CO2 has nothing to do with temperature swings.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 1:10 am

Thanks, Ferdinand,
The bomb decay shows a fast CO2 path from air to elsewhere.
Why should “some” CO2 decide to take a slow path, shown in the Bern model?
There is no doubt that some CO2 reacts slowly with silicates, but this cannot be the rate limiting step for CO2, from air to elsewhere.
What do you think the bomb rate is telling us? That we can ignore it? Geoff.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 28, 2018 3:12 am

“Why should “some” CO2 decide to take a slow path, shown in the Bern model?”
If CO2 were simply being absorbed into the surface layer, it would decline exponentially to a raised level, reflecting the greater total to be shared between phases. The slow process is the gradual diffusion of CO2 to great depths, and the slow consequent dissolution of CaCO3, both of which allow more CO2 to dissolve, and to eventually approach the original level.

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 28, 2018 3:48 am

It’s not a matter of fast or slow paths. When we burn fossil fuels, we are moving carbon out of geologic sequestration, primarily in the form of CO2, into the active carbon cycle. This has a cumulative effect on carbon sources. While some CO2 is rapidly returned to geologic sequestration in the form of lime mud formation, most of it takes 100’s of years to be removed by oceanic circulation.

Greening and soil absorption don’t remove it from the active cycle.

The only area in which I think Ferdinand is on the wrong track is in using Antarctic ice cores to calculate the temperature-driven carbon flux. Temperature is far better resolved in ice cores than atmospheric gases are.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2018 5:52 am


The ice cores give a ratio of about 8 ppmv/K for the temperature – CO2 equilibrium in the past 800,000 years. As the temperature is mostly from where the water vapor freezes to snow, the translation to global temperature changes is about 16 ppmv/K.

Seawater samples show a T-CO2 equilibrium curve of 4- 17 ppmv/K in the literature and for T corrections of automated equipment measuring the pCO2 of seawater, they use about 16 ppmv/K. Seems that ice cores are not that bad…

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 28, 2018 5:45 am


The 14C bomb spike decay would have been a good tracer to see what happens with any CO2, if there was no delay between sinks and sources.
The problem is that what did sink near the poles was the isotopic composition of 1960 – at the 14C peak of the bomb tests, but the upwelling had the isotopic composition of ~1000 years ago. That makes that about 45% of the peak in 14C mass returned the same year, but that still 97.5% of 12CO2 mass returned the same year:

Therefore the decay rate of the 14C bomb spike is only about 14 years, while for a 12CO2 spike it is about 50 years.

About the Bern model: Indeed there are several pathways that simultaneous remove any extra CO2 out of the atmosphere. The fastest is the ocean surface: an exchange rate of less than a year. Problem is that the buffer in the oceans is limited and that the exchange is saturated at about 10% of the change in the atmosphere. So far the Bern model is right. Where they are not (yet) right is the application of saturation to the deep oceans and vegetation, these are – for the moment – not giving any sign of saturation and probably not in the (near or far) future…

Paul Milenkovic
Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 28, 2018 5:46 pm

The thing a lot of people (me too) have a hard time “wrapping their heads around” is reaction-rate chemistry.

You have a high rate of exchange between C14 enriched CO2 in the air on account of the hydrogen bomb tests and the lower-C14 CO2 in ocean water — this accounts for the rapid decay of C14 in the atmosphere.

You have a slower equalization of “partial pressure” (bulk CO2 concentration) between the air and the ocean because CO2 is sequestered in ocean water by a chain of chemical reactions. The isotope ratios can equalize more quickly because you have flows of individual molecules bouncing around in each direction, but for the bulk concentrations to equalize, they have to “drive” the chemical equilibrium equations, which in the case of the Revelle’s ocean “buffer”, follow a 10th power law.

Were the ocean CO2 sink to follow Henry’s law, you would have a 1st power law (i.e. a linear relation), which would indeed mean that bulk CO2 absorption would follow the same time curve as the isotope concentration extinction. But if a chain of chemical reactions is involved, it can take a large buildup of partial pressure on one side to shift the chemical reaction to a bulk transfer of a chemical species to the other side, in this case the sides of the air/ocean interface. An example of this is the Haber process for making ammonia used in the manufacture of many things including explosives and plant fertilizers. It takes a very high pressure to “drive” the reaction towards ammonia rather than simply the constituent gases used to make ammonia — see

I am reasoning that there is evidence that even with this “throttle” on the ocean sink, there is the possibility that far from all of the increase in atmospheric CO2 can be blamed on humans. My calculations of gas exchange, bulk concentrations and isotope ratios suggest that the human contribution to CO2 increase is midway between Salby and Harde’s claims and what Ferdinand is claiming. Does that make me a “luke-gasser”? My model is based on “CO2 emission increase with temperature, CO2 absorption increases with concentration” to which I credit Salby and WUWT for making Salby known to WUWT readers, but I account for the Revelle buffer that has slower absorption of bulk CO2 — in the ocean — than the extinction of C14.

This is also important to the question of whether the CO2 has a “greenhouse effect” or not because it suggests that warming is, in part, driving the CO2 increase rather than the other way around. That warming is already stimulating CO2 emission is also evidence against Catastrophic Warming because there must be a countervailing increase in CO2 absorption with increased atmospheric concentration, otherwise the CO2 levels and warming would have already “run away” upwards from the Keeling Curve measurements.

Reply to  Paul Milenkovic
August 29, 2018 9:03 am


Nice reasoning…

A few remarks:

– Temperature increase indeed inceases outgassing (and decreases absorption).
– That increases the CO2 pressure in the atmosphere.
– An increasing pressure in the atmosphere decreases outgassing and increases absorption.
– The feedback of the increased pressure on the fluxes ends when inputs and outputs are again at equilibrium (or at the same disequilibrium as before the temperature rise).
– The new steady state is reached when the change in CO2 solubilty for the average ocean surface temperature is reached (about 16 ppmv/K):

You are right about the saturation of the ocean surface, where the uptake of CO2 is limited to about 10% of the change in the atmosphere (the Revelle/buffer factor).

That is not applicable for the polar sink places, where the ocean surface is largely undersaturated (pCO2 oceans around 150 μatm vs. 400 μatm in the atmosphere), then the sink rate is directly proportional to the pCO2 difference. Once in the deep, the waters are isolated from the atmosphere and the buffer factor doesn’t play any role, until upwelling some 1000 years later in the reverse sense.

That is also the main problem for the 14C decay from the bomb tests: what goes into the deep were the amounts of 1960 at the 14C peak, what returns the same year is the composition of ~1000 years ago: 45% of the peak.
Result: much faster decay rate dan for a bulk 12CO2 injection.
Same problem exists for the 13C/12C ratio…

Temperature only has a small effect on CO2 levels. If we may assume 1 K temperature increase since the LIA, that is good for maximum 16 ppmv (probably over millennia – on shorter periods it is 4-5 ppmv/K). The rest of the 110 ppmv increase is from human emissions…

Jim Ross
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 30, 2018 2:48 am


Could you please provide your source for the pCO2 in the polar oceans being around 150 μatm. Based on recent observations in the Gulf of Alaska and northern North Atlantic, this looks more like a summer minimum than an annual average. Is that correct? Plus, we now have observations from around the Antarctic that indicate outgassing of CO2 in winter!

Reply to  Jim Ross
August 30, 2018 8:59 am

Jim Ross:

The 150-750 μatm range is from: and are the outer borders.
Figures over the seasons are at:
These observations point out that the ΔpCO2 in high-latitude oceans is governed primarily by deepwater upwelling in winter and biological uptake in spring and summer
Global overview at:

Besides the net 2.2 GtC/year CO2 uptake by the oceans (1995), there is a continuous CO2 flux of about 40 GtC between upwelling in the warm waters of the equator and the sink places near the poles. That is based on the “dilution” of the 13C/12C ratio decrease caused by human emissions and a similar faster decay of the 14C bomb test peak.

Jim Ross
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 30, 2018 9:19 am

So my assumption was correct … the 150 μatm was the summer minimum and not an annual average value. Some readers here may not appreciate that the annual variation of pCO2 in oceanic surface waters is much larger than the annual variation in the atmosphere. See here, for example:
or here:
(Note: be patient and wait for plots to show up.)

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 2:32 am


While I don’t agree with all of your conclusions, you are correct in your methods. Residence time isn’t relevant. Individual molecules of CO2 don’t stay in the atmosphere very long (5-15 years, at most); however humans have moved a significant volume of carbon from geologic sequestration into the active carbon cycle. It will likely take the Earth at least 500 years to return most anthropogenic CO2 emissions to geologic sequestration.

It’s not possible for more than 50% of the industrial era rise in atmospheric CO2 to be non-anthropogenic… In other words, humans are responsible for at least half of the rise.

For the record, I gave you +1. Nothing you posted merited -1’s.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2018 5:25 am


Fortunately, the deep oceans (and vegetation) are faster sinks than you think. The observed sink rate is about 1/50 of the extra CO2 pressure in the atmosphere above equilibrium (290 ppmv for the current average sea surface temperature), or a half life time of about 35 years. That is remarkable linear over the past 60 years.

Thus if humans stopped today with CO2 emissions, the 110 ppmv extra would get 55 ppmv after 35 year, 27,5 after 70 years etc. For 5 half life times -175 years – most extra CO2 would be gone. There is nothing that points to a saturation of the sinks, as is supposed in the IPCC’s Bern model.

If we may assume that most of that extra CO2 is mixed into the deep oceans, the 400 GtC emitted by humans since 1750 is good for 1% increase in inorganic carbon species of the deep oceans. In equilibrium with the atmosphere, that represents 3 ppmv extra CO2: 293 ppmv i.s.o. 290 ppmv. The 3 ppmv extra may cost hundreds of years to be removed into sediments, but is of no importance at all…

I already wondered why I received so many -1’s… Seems that a lot of readers at WUWT don’t like the message I bring but have no arguments against what I say, therefore “punish” the messenger…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 5:56 am

Ultimately, the anthropogenic CO2 is of very little importance, however long it takes to be geologically sequestered.

Reply to  David Middleton
August 28, 2018 7:12 am


Pat Frank
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 3:14 pm

Don’t assign the blog audiences as the source for +/- 1’s Ferdinand. The internet has become filled with partisan dishonesty.

William A Hoffman
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 8:30 pm

Ferdinand Engelbeen
It is amusing to hear about the contretemps over the relative values, since by now they are muddied beyond redemption. Decomposing vegetation from growth in 2010, eg, will provide isotope ratios of exactly the conditions in which they were grown, and if CO2 was anthropogenic in 2010, it will be 2010 redux even with no new CO2 from human industry for all of that resulting CO2 return. I suggest the hypothetical “retention” is largely due to that factor, not to any nefarious persistence of CO2 itself.

But I reserve my best laugh for the bother implied in doing such a study, since it is completely worthless when CO2 has so little impact regardless of source. The US Standard Atmosphere demonstrates with solid, well-documented physics, that the Earth’s average temperature is well accounted for by the conversion of incoming energy to work (vaporization of water can be seen as PV work, and expansion of air/wv mix which lowers density and causes the adiabatic rise of the bolus (also PV work) is the major conversion that traps the equivalent of heat and allows wide distribution via thermal transfer by classical convection etc., and makes our planet a habitable 288 K instead of the BB 256 K of a bare planet. CO2 does nothing to speak of, it is not a significant factor and neither are the other trace gases. Indeed, it is the condensing gas, water vapor, that does all the work. The US Standard Atmosphere has 3 editions; this is the 1976 (latest)

We see nothing but an ordinary fluctuation within limits of our ability to measure it of a planet this size, this far from the energy of our star, with this much water and atmosphere by which to distribute the energy.

A good estimate of CO2’s effect (or of any gaseous component of the atmosphere) is that the ability to retain heat is directly proportional to the heat capacity, and the mass. Using this relationship, the impact of a 0.05 wt% (400 ppmv) material with heat capacity (Cp) of CO2 in out atmosphere is a contribution to the 288 K average of 0.014 K, below the limits of accuracy of the averaging.

This is so stark a challenge to the received wisdom that even many here continue to believe, that I feel it useful to add other related facts to back it up:
1. The global average of 400 ppmv (or 420 ppmv…heck of 450 ppmv for the real acolytes) is not anything to be used for serious calculations. There are many places with >600 ppmv, and they do not show sudden sharp increases in average temperatures when sufficient records are available. Paris France had such levels in the 1920s and temperature records for a hundred years before. Other cities had industrial processes nearby and showed no higher average temperatures in matched cities without industry. It might be interesting to get the historical records for Detroit for the last hundred years.

2. The experiments shown elsewhere by Nye and rerun by Watts do not represent at all how the open atmosphere behaves. They are not even good models of greenhouses themselves, but better in approximation for that purpose than for modeling the atmosphere. Many here labor under the misapprehension that at least the core belief of GHE is real, as shown by Fourier in 1827. It is not, by Fourier’s own words, however Mann wishes to ignore those words as he goes about hawking his alarmism. Read “The Shattered Greenhouse” by Timothy Casey who gathered Fourier’s and Arrhenius’ writings in translation. From Casey’s article, the greater shame is Arrhenius’, but I don’t want to digress too far and recommend Casey’s article be read. Fourier is quoted “… in order for the atmosphere to be anything like the glass of a hotbox, such as the experimental aparatus [sic] of de Saussure (1779), the air would have to solidify while conserving its optical properties (Fourier, 1827, p. 586; Fourier, 1824, translated by Burgess, 1837, pp. 11-12).

3. Mars’ atmosphere is 95% CO2, a number so high there is more there than there is in Earth’s atmosphere. It is also much further away than Earth, so its BB temperature is much lower. According to NASA’s Factsheet, the actual temperature average on Mars is 210 K, while its BB temperature is 209.8, essentially the same number, and despite the heavy concentration of CO2 no global warming. There is no water of significance there (210 ppmv).

Killer Marmot
August 27, 2018 2:17 pm

Whether publishing this paper was a blunder or not, the editors should have let Harde rebut criticisms. If this paper is so terribly wrong, surely an open debate would reveal that fact. By refusing to publish the rebuttal, the editors look like they are afraid that Harde might hold his own.

Reply to  Killer Marmot
August 27, 2018 3:01 pm

The usual suspects will point to the lack of rebuttal as evidence that the criticisms were correct.

steve case
August 27, 2018 2:22 pm

How many people that post here on WattsUpWithThat
have been banned from posting on left wing sites?


Skeptical Science
Tamino’s Open Mind
Scientific American
National Geographic
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Maybe three or four more sites that I don’t remember the name of.

Reply to  steve case
August 27, 2018 2:50 pm

steve case

the guardian. ~spit~

Reply to  HotScot
August 27, 2018 3:03 pm

I was moderated all the time (even though always polite). Never mind that I was the one being attacked (insults are OK, facts are not). I was then given ‘pre-moderation’ status. Now I can no longer log in. I have been unpersonned!

Reply to  Sylvia
August 28, 2018 2:11 am

Standard operating procedure across all manner of platforms when they have no effective comeback. Only this morning I’ve been moderated down the rabbit hole of another blog, purely for speaking the unspeakable. Freedom of speech my eye.

Reply to  CheshireRed
August 28, 2018 9:05 am

Freedom of speech is not a very-widely held concept. The US Constitution prohibits the Congress from making any law interfering with free speech. But it inly prohibits such interference by the Congress. How about in other countries – is there a constitutional protection, of some sort, of freedom of speech? Can the UK Government still impose D Notices?

Note that I am note criticizing any other country, or even the US – just pointing out that Freedom of Speech is very thinly protected.

And the, of course, we can talk about academic freedom, and its protections.

Reply to  HotScot
August 27, 2018 3:06 pm


Reply to  Graemethecat
August 27, 2018 5:29 pm


socialism at work. We could fake it with bogus email addresses, as I did once, but only to say goodbye to the good guys who still plod away.

The graun lost 3 more readers. No matter how critical we were, they needed our indulgence, but they bit the hands that fed them.

RIP guardian. You won’t be missed.

Reply to  steve case
August 27, 2018 3:31 pm

Oh yes I long ago lost count of the places that have banned my ideas from appearing. I must have a Dangerous Mind, as do you.

I think I was banned on ABC’s website for scoffing at the idea that anyone could be any gender they wanted. Silly me, I thought that chromosomes had something to do with it, no matter how much someone surgically mutilated themselves.

Reply to  wws
August 27, 2018 4:54 pm

Oh the good old days. When if someone were suffering from a delusion we put them in a hospital where they could be helped (such as the levels of psychiatry allowed). Now we actually encourage their delusions. We live in an upside down world. Any one just see a white rabbit hop by?

Reply to  wws
August 27, 2018 5:37 pm
Not wanting to take the discussion off topic. ….But as a transgender, climate sceptic, libertarian, engineer; I can attest that gender is far more complicated than is generally appreciated. And, thankfully, I did not come out when I was young and in a religious environment or I would have been forced to follow the path that JClarke outlines below.

Reply to  Monica
August 27, 2018 6:10 pm

was did say that chromosome often had something to do with it. This is definitely the case with Klinefelter.

Reply to  Bill_W_1984
August 27, 2018 6:10 pm

WWS, not was

Reply to  Bill_W_1984
August 27, 2018 6:26 pm

Not sure that was the sentiment of the comment…..TBH.

Reply to  Monica
August 27, 2018 6:29 pm

Everything bad is caused either by CO2 or religion.

Reply to  MarkW
August 27, 2018 6:32 pm

I’ll not find fault with that comment 🙂

Reply to  Monica
August 28, 2018 7:20 am

Nice to have you admit to being both an idiot and a bigot.

Reply to  MarkW
August 30, 2018 5:47 pm

Sorry, I was being ironic, as I assumed you were in the original posting.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 28, 2018 3:44 pm

So, maybe you were exposed to excessive estrogen/progesterone in utero, Monica, and suffered from some developmental skewing.

That doesn’t mean gender itself is more complicated than is appreciated. And it certainly does not mean that gender is socially determined. It means that nature screws some people out of their gene-determined gender.

Nature screws all sorts of people out of all sorts of their rightful powers by way of developmental problems. Does the existence of Down’s Syndrome, for example, mean that intelligence is more complicated than is appreciated? Or does it mean that Nature has screwed someone over?

You’re lucky. Humans can now offer a fix, no matter if still crude (surgery), to the particular developmental problem that impacted you. Others are not so lucky.

But your state does not vitiate the validity of the biological category of gender, which is gene-determined. It just shows that the secondary traits of the category — psychological coherence — can be somatically violated.

And let’s face it. There is no way to objectively (falsifiably) verify or validate someone’s anecdotal insistence of gender identity. People may decide on this or that identity for all sorts of reasons, none of them subject to verification/validation.

Hence the post-modern attack on objective knowledge and science. Remove those latter, and anyone’s personal opinion becomes fact. The progressive rationales for oppression can then be moralized as “social justice.”

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 29, 2018 12:05 am

Thank you for your very thoughtful response Pat. I appreciate the effort you have taken. I totally agree about the derailing of science by post modern thought and I hope, as we rightfully attack some of these ideas, we do not ourselves fall into another fallacy – that of the man with a hammer!

The whole gender/sex thing is a minefield. (What is the difference between gender and sex anyway!). There are a number of areas of knowledge/data/information coming together in this seemingly simple attribution – scientific, social, cultural and personal….and all of these may only have a partial answer. In science we can classify sex as XX, or XY or, as we have seen in Klinefelter XXY or even XXXY. So, how many sexes do we have? In the social sphere, we do not even have words for non XX or non XY – well I supposed we do use Intersexed…but that is not a term in common usage.

So, socially, to take a number we all relate to (wink! wink!), 97% of people agree that sex is bipolar based on their experience and observation. What about the rest of us? What about women with hyperandrogenism – are these women or men …or something in between? What of me whose sex and gender (in my observation – sex is between the legs: gender between the ears) are different – what am I…apart from being an idiot and a bigot, as MarkW so kindly pointed out….and some in the 97% would classify me as mentally ill (who decides who is mentally ill….consensus?) This dichotomy has been my personal experience (and the experience of many like me in the 3%) since I was 5!

Having lived at both poles, I can definitely attest to gender being cultural….but then again the minefield….how do we define gender, how do we define cultural. It is complicated and science has not even figured it all out yet. Why are our (3%) brains more akin to those of the sex that we identify with rather than our born sex?

All I am saying, in short, is that knee jerk reactions by “our” side against all that the liberals or the post normal science push is a danger to our rigorous approach.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 29, 2018 8:33 am

Both Sex and gender are determined by gene expression, Monica. All the rest is accidents of nature violating those categories.

Gender is not culturally determined. Were that so, you could just move to a different culture and revise your views of yourself.

If your self-perception is independent of culture — if you would identify the same way in Nairobi as you would in Nanking — then your self-identity is not culturally defined.

If you’re XY and feel female, then Nature has violated your sex/gender by way of some somatic insult. Likewise your hyper-androgenic XX woman.

It’s not a categorical minefield. The biology is simple: XX female, XY male, and some low-percentage somatic mistakes.

The minefield is cultural, and is created by people with a despicable political agenda abusing human biological variants to delegitimize their society.

In effect, people such as yourself are being cynically used to attack the West.

The progressive technique is to use language to cloud, to confuse, and to inflame to their political benefit. The only way to defeat them is to stay conscious and stay focused; especially to stay focused on science.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 29, 2018 1:37 pm

Where is the proof (other than your say so) that both sex and gender are determined by gene expression?

Reply to  Monica
August 29, 2018 2:50 pm

If the term mental illness distresses you then call it a delusional break from the reality of your situation. I can believe that I’m a little green man from Mars but that does not make it so. There are lots of people walking around who think they are Jesus. I don’t think too many of them can walk on water.

Reply to  JClarke
August 29, 2018 3:02 pm

The definition of mental illness changes with science…being gay used to be a mental illness as did being an atheist. I have no problem with the term mental illness…It is a scientific fact that it exists…it is a cultural decision how you apply it. That your experience of gender (as part of the 97% majority) is the only and definitive experience of gender is patronising and unscientific. I object to that; but your delusion is your right…we all do not have to agree with it.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 29, 2018 8:58 pm

Any freshman biology text book will lay it out for you, Monica.

Here is an interesting paper for you at PubMed, discussing the impact of abnormal hormone exposure on developing XX and XY fetuses.

Sex and gender are undifferentiated terms except for those who are, or who have been seduced by, social determinists.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 29, 2018 10:17 pm

Sure it will Pat, it will say a lot about sex….but little about gender; unless the writer is as blindly obdurate as you are in seeing the difference . This paper is not new to me Pat, I have read it before. I am an engineer, do you think I have not pondered and delved into the very bowels of this condition. The paper says nothing about sex and gender being undifferentiated terms. You are getting bogged down in semantics and your dogmatic world view again.

Let me lay it out so that even those who do not agree with me will at least understand…it is your right not to agree.

Lets take the male – all fetuses are female to start off with. At around the 11th week (from memory) there is a hormonal wash from the mother which changes the gonads to male from female. In some cases this fails and we get inter-sexed children … those with a combination of male and female genitals. This happens is about 1 in 1500 births.

A few weeks later there is a second hormonal wash. This wash changes the brain to sync with the gonads. In some cases this wash fails and we get a difference between the brain and the gonads. This happens in about 3% of cases. This is how we get transgender children, of which I was one. This is why we say that there is a difference between sex and gender. Sex is determined by the chromosomes. Gender is not. Our brains show up on MRI scans as being closer to the female brain than the male brain (talking here about transgender women).

If sex is determined by chromosomes then we have at least 4 sexes. XX, XY, XXY ad XXXY…and there may be more…unless the science really is settled…and calling a dog’s tail a leg does not mean it has 5 legs.

I don’t need you folk to point out that I cannot change my sex. I know that. Don’t patronise me suggesting that I labour under the illusion that I am a woman. I know I am not a genetic woman. I am a transgender woman. My brain gender and my gonadal sex are not in sync. For the 97% of you this is not the case….but don’t belittle and patronise the rest of us!

Pat is wrong! If he had said that I cannot have a different sex in New York and Hong Kong…then he would have been right and I would agree. I cannot change that. However, having lived in two genders, I can be a different gender in NY and HK. ..and in fact I have been. Gender is about the social signals and signs that are assumed (by outsiders) to line up with your sex….and for most of you they do. For me no! Society does not look inside your pants or your chromosomes to determine your gender. I am not trying or pretending to be a genetic woman. I am very happy being a transgender woman, I would prefer to be a genetic woman….but that is life…you make the best of what you got. Just like there are more sexes than 2; there are more genders than 2 and, unlike sex, gender is not immutable.

Having lived in both genders, I can honestly say that my current gender suits me best. If that makes me mentally ill, or deluded, or a dupe of whoever…then so be it. I am happier and that is all that counts…and if you want to twist all this to fit your rigid world view…then be my guest.

Anyway, who determines what a woman or a man is anyway….and if you know which is which, then the International Olympic Committee need to speak to you…because they are having a hell of a problem.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 29, 2018 9:27 pm

So Pat, as far as sex and gender are concerned “the science is settled”…so no further discussion necessary then….wait! where have we heard this before?….and all contrary information is hand waved away with sophistry…oh! wait, where have we seen this strategy before?

Thank you Pat for patronisingly mansplaining to me how I am a dupe of those Oil Companies, AltRighists, Trump supporters, capitalists, socialists (please enter as appropriate) who are plotting to bring down Western Civilisation, Democracy, The Family, Socialism, Communist, Mother Earth, Gaia (please enter as appropriate)…oh! wait..this is not a new idea either.

In the light of this discussion it might be an idea to reflect on how the approach (not to mention solipsism) that you have exhibited here might have led to the rise of post modern science…and how your attitudes and sentiments might have inadvertently been a good recruiting sergeant for them.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 30, 2018 7:31 am

Monica, your reply takes its force from your use of pejoratives. Contemptuous dismissal and personal attack is the tactic of the loser of a debate.

Sex is determined by the genes carried in by the sperm. All fetuses do not start as female.

The state of nature under evolutionary selection defines our sexual standing. XX female, XY male, plus small percentages of variants due to an imperfect process and faults that can occur at weak points in the production line.

As an engineer, I’m sure you understand that.

It’s quite clear that you are re-defining gender to suit yourself.

Your position is equivalent to re-defining a fault as a feature. Among engineers, doing so is dishonest.

Among feminists and cultural warriors, doing so is a conscious attempt to wreck categorical meaning and impose their tyranny of choice.

C. Paul Pierett
Reply to  Pat Frank
August 30, 2018 7:42 am

Pat Frank, as you well know, in the field of genetics, an organism may carry a gene, but that gene may never be expressed. So if the genetic machinery of a human fetus fails to express the sex determining genes, what sex is it?

Pat Frank
Reply to  C. Paul Pierett
August 30, 2018 5:42 pm

Evolutionary selection is the key, C. Paul. Show me where XX and XY genes avoid selective pressure.

Evolutionary selection removes gene sets that do not successfully reproduce.

Unexpressed genes are typically unconserved, and are lost through random mutation.

Ambiguous genitalia do not confer alternative gender. Developmental failures are just that. They do not produce an alternative gender. They merely mark a process fault. I covered that in a prior post.

Some people are born with one burden, others with another. Such burdens do not produce human variants. We’re all human, and deserve respect on those grounds. Meet the fault-induced burden and get on with your life.

Fostering an internal grievance fixes nothing. The grievance itself becomes the point of it all, as a source of gratifying self-righteousness.

Feminists and cultural warriors live for that alone. The grievances are merely their port of entry to the high life of offended morality.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 30, 2018 7:22 pm

OK, lets leave gender aside for a moment…as we disagree on that. So, I think I now understand where you are coming from on sex. If we define sex as chromosomes (XX) (XY) then in the evolutionary LONG TERM we have two successful sexes so far. However, in between time, we produce other sexes (which you call manufacturing hiccups – but, by definition are still sexes) but, SO FAR, these sexes have not been viable long term. Is this the kernel of your argument? If so then I totally agree (that is the hard science bit). However, I would argue that (by definition) we have SHORT TERM produced other sexes – whether they are viable or not is irrelevant and who is to say if they will be or not in the future. And, forcing somebody who is neither XX nor XY into an XX or YY box to satisfy the social majority, to which they do not feel they belong, is a form of coercion and an abuse of their rights as a human being (that is human/cultural/social bit).

Now if you are saying that in the evolutionary LONG TERM gender and sex equate then I would agree also. Can I as a transgender (different gender to my sex) woman produce other transgender people? No I cannot…so looked at from an EVOLUTIONARY perspective, I am a dead end as as far as propagating TG people is concerned (though why anybody would want to propagate TG people is beyond me…next time around can I have an easier gender please!). However that does not help me in day to day life. As there is a difference between my brain and my genitals I don’t think it is right for the XX’s to force me to be one of them. Mentally, I am different from the XXs into which I was born and should not be shamed or coerced to join a sex box to which I feel (gender) I do not belong. So, while I might take your point that in the evolutionary LONG TERM, gender and sex are equal; I feel you do not give adequate understanding to those of us who have this difference and have to live in the SHORT TERM.

I am sure if were discussing face to face instead of remotely, we would have come to a more agreeable solution a lot earlier.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 31, 2018 11:07 am

I prefer written conversations to spoken, Monica.

Words spoken disappear into the air and cannot be re-referenced. Misunderstandings happen readily.

One can be thought to have said something that one did not, and there is no way to check.

Written conversations are much more coherent, much more thoughtful and considered, and much safer when the topic is controversial.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 31, 2018 7:02 pm

In human sexuality there are 3 components: sex, gender and orientation. One of the elements can be considered to be hardware (sex) and the other two are software. In a binary world sex would have two attributes Mn & W – Man and Woman, commonly recognised by chromosome pairs XY and XX. Similarly gender would have two attributes Ml (male) and F (female) and so for orientation G(gay) and S(straight). In the evolutionary world the 3 components need to line up for there to be reproduction i.e. only Mn:Ml:S and W:F:S can reliably reproduce themselves.

We know that in reality these components are not binary but are in fact part of a spectrum. In reproduction, errors are introduced so that we may end up non viable (from an evolutionary perspective) combinations – such as my own of Mn:F:S….and we happily accept that we are evolutionary dead ends as far as replicating our set of components goes.

We know there is a spectrum and not a binary as we have XX and XY at opposite poles and XXY, XXXY etc in between. In orientation, we know we have bisexual etc between G and S and in gender we know that we have queer and other such non-binary folk in between Ml and F.

Now, as orientation fits the same pattern as gender (i.e a software issue), lets look at Pat’s statements on gender and replace the word/idea gender with the word/idea sexual orientation. This should a layer of illumination.

“That doesn’t mean ‘sexual orientation’ itself is more complicated than is appreciated. And it certainly does not mean that ‘sexual orientation’ is socially determined. It means that nature screws some people out of their gene-determined ‘sexual orientation.”….seems pretty reasonable

“And let’s face it. There is no way to objectively (falsifiably) verify or validate someone’s anecdotal insistence of ‘sexual orientation’ identity. People may decide on this or that ‘sexual orientation’ for all sorts of reasons, none of them subject to verification/validation.”…..hmmmm, but lets run with it.

“If you’re XY and feel ‘gay,’ then Nature has violated your sex/’orientation’ by way of some somatic insult”. …hmmm OK!

“The minefield is cultural, and is created by people with a despicable political agenda abusing human biological variants to delegitimize their society. In effect, people such as ‘gay folk’ are being cynically used to attack the West.”…..not sure too many would agree with that.

“It’s quite clear that you are re-defining “sexual orientation’ to suit yourself. Your position is equivalent to re-defining a fault as a feature. Among engineers, doing so is dishonest.Among feminists and cultural warriors, doing so is a conscious attempt to wreck categorical meaning and impose their tyranny of choice.”….now when that statement is looked upon from a sexual orientation perspective it is seen for the total nonsense that it is.

“Nature is cruel. Get over it and just live the life you’ve got, without trying to force everyone to bow to an illusory re-categorizations.”…I guess we need to get rid of the word gay and lesbian then as descriptions of our orientation!

“Did you modify yourself to have as normal a life as possible, or just to use the transition as a highway to harass everyone with your righteous indignation.”…I guess coming out as gay and insisting on being recognised as such is out of the question then!

“I have ankylosing spondylitis. My entire spine is fused. That gives me no right to redefine stiff-spined as a new brand of normal…..I live with it, without requiring anyone to fracture meaning so that I can view myself as “normal.”….I guess that goes for all LGBTQI+ then. That kind of gives a whiff of LGBTQIA+phobia to me. That might be the tree he is barking up.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
September 1, 2018 8:26 pm

You’re just constructing straw men, Monica, and assigning them to me. Nothing I wrote implies a phobia.

It should be obvious that my position is live and let-live.

But neither you nor anyone else get to impose new biological categories, or social categories, by way of personal insistence.

And that’s really all it is, your imposition: insistence.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 30, 2018 2:03 pm

Thank you Pat for enlightening us, how could we have been so blind! We have now seen the light.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 30, 2018 5:45 pm

Get over it, Monica.

Did you modify yourself to have as normal a life as possible, or just to use the transition as a highway to harass everyone with your righteous indignation.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 30, 2018 5:54 pm

Contemptuous dismissal and personal attack is the tactic of the loser of a debate.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 31, 2018 10:53 am

Thank-you for agreeing with me, Monica. Neither of those tactics grace any of my replies to you.

Thank-you also for agreeing with the biology and the evolutionary perspective. It seems to me your description of your personal situation strengthens my case.

I must presume from your name and your transgender status, that you were born XY, but felt yourself to be female. If the opposite is the case, please forgive me. But in either case, we can presume this is because of some very early in-utero developmental fault.

XX and XY people who identify otherwise because of a developmental fault were reproductively viable as XX and XY sexes. It would be interesting to know whether their offspring were (are) subject to the same in-utero developmental impact as their parents were. That is, if the in-utero somatic modification were in fact gene-orchestrated.

If your situation and its analogue were evolutionarily propagated, then there could be a biophysical case for a third and fourth gender.

From your story, I surmise that as an adult, you chose physical modification to live life in conformance to your identity. But you write that your choice to be (I presume) XX was incomplete because of the persistence of your XY traits of mind.

So, you find yourself in some intermediate zone of being. Neither fish nor fowl, as is said.

We can all accept that. You get to live your life as you see fit.

My only objection is the politically-driven manufacture of a false biological category (see below for more on this).

I detest Progressivism. It has destroyed everything it has touched. And the Progressives’ imposition of fake gender categories is part of its general strategy to discredit and destroy the humane culture of individual freedom and individual rights.

Sorry to say, Monica, for your own reasons you have aligned yourself with the strategy of collectivist tyrants.

I think it’s a big mistake.

If Progressives succeed, they’ll eventually come for you, too, when they find that you demand for yourself the freedom of personal moral authority.

So, your *local* tactic of socially-determined gender re-normalization is a *long-term* strategy of self-defeat. It succors those of malignant intent, including towards you. In supporting collectivist tyrants your tactic undermines your own personal and individual standing as a free individual.

If work shows that gender dysphoria (the technical term for internal non-identity with one’s biological sex) is evolutionarily transmitted, then you have an objective case to modify language and categories. But not before.

Each supposed gender category would require the work to establish its evolutionary case. I understand there are now 56 varieties.

There we are : 56 lovely evolutionary research programs. And no legitimacy to the categories until the work shows they are objectively justified.

Reply to  Monica
August 29, 2018 2:29 pm

What has religion got to do with mental illness? We’re not talking about a preference in who you like to sleep with. Gender is not “far more complicated than is generally appreciated”. Gender is defined by chromosomes, not what ever delusion that you are laboring under. I suppose you can pretend to be whatever you like but it will not change the reality of how you were born.

Reply to  JClarke
August 29, 2018 2:38 pm

Sex is defined by chromosomes; gender is not. If you cannot grasp the difference then you are stuck in a dogma.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 29, 2018 9:10 pm

No one is denying you the right to be who you are Monica, JClarke notwithstanding. No one is denying or degrading your humanity.

Nature was cruel to you. That does not give you the right to re-define normal to make yourself feel better.

I have ankylosing spondylitis. My entire spine is fused. That gives me no right to redefine stiff-spined as a new brand of normal.

Nature is cruel. Get over it and just live the life you’ve got, without trying to force everyone to bow to an illusory re-categorizations.

As to dogma, be careful that it’s not yours. There are no objective grounds for a distinction between sex and gender.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 29, 2018 10:23 pm

Who is redefining normal….I am normal…I am normal of the 3%..I am a normal transgender woman…and you are the one saying that I am not…you are normal of the 97%…that does not mean that your normal is the only normal.

“There are no objective grounds for a distinction between sex and gender.” says you as a member of the 97% who have never experienced anything different!

Nature was not cruel to me….nature is dispassionate to both of us!

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 30, 2018 7:40 am

I’m not speaking from personal experience, Monica. Personal experience makes no contribution to the content of my argument.

Your personal experience — anecdote — has nothing to add to a knowledge-based debate about sex and gender.

You don’t like “cruel.” Fine. Nature dispassionately screwed you over.

Me, too. I live with it, without requiring anyone to fracture meaning so that I can view myself as “normal.”

I have an illness, and I get on with my life as a human with a chronic disease.

You get to be a human with a chronic problem as well. So, get on with your life, and leave meaning alone.

Living aggrieved will drive you crazy, Monica. Literally.

Reply to  Pat Frank
August 30, 2018 2:05 pm

There is zero point in continuing this debate. You have your firmly entrenched ideas and I have mine. Lets quit while we are still on good terms and go our separate ways. Thanks for the discussion, I have learned a lot indeed!

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
August 30, 2018 5:47 pm

I can justify my position with the better data, Monica.

Reply to  JClarke
August 29, 2018 9:11 pm

“What has religion got to do with mental illness? ” You might want to ask that of the victims of the paedophile priests…I am sure they will have an answer.

Pat Frank
Reply to  Monica
September 2, 2018 1:18 pm

Under your rubric of gender fluidity, Monica, why aren’t paedophilic priests merely a different gender? To be understood and accepted?

And those boys who willingly have sex with them, why not merely a different gender?

Redefine things along your lines of logic and where’s the crime?

That’s where your mode of opportunistic redefinition leads, Monica. When categorical barriers are dissolved away to suit one’s fancy, ethical judgments become impossible.

August 27, 2018 2:23 pm

Harde’s opponents are not acting as scientists, but as activists. Nothing should surprise us when dealing with activists who believe that the end justifies the means. There is no limit to the evil such people have done and will do. Lies and misrepresentation and fallacious arguments are only the beginning.

A regrettable precedent having been set for legal action in scientific matters, perhaps this case calls for similar action addressing the libelous use of straw-man arguments.

August 27, 2018 2:24 pm

Global and Planetary Change…a wholly owned subsidiary of Marvel Comics
..who the hell are these people….3 year olds….the name they chose says it all

Pop Piasa
August 27, 2018 2:38 pm

If you think Gavin will debate you on an even playing field, you don’t know Schmidt.

John Harmsworth
Reply to  Pop Piasa
August 27, 2018 3:49 pm

Ha,ha,ha! Made me laugh!

August 27, 2018 3:05 pm

I started wondering about the very same issue in Jan of 2015. That was just looking at the yearly temperature and co2 anomalies and the size of the sinks. Something is seriously wrong with the AGW story.
Who was it that I was arguing with at length about man made contribution of co2 just recently. Should we continue this discussion? JCalvertn(UK).
Why would I get a thumbs down on stating data? The co2 ppm/v wasn’t 2.93 or 2.75 in 1998?? , and somehow 1.5 ppm/v additional co2 magically appeared since we weren’t able to produce that much co2 in 1998? Or where did all the the additional co2 go that was being produced after 1998 go? In the warmest years ever no less.
Doesn’t fit your agenda or the models, so it must need correction?

Thanks Anthony, I had no idea that somebody was taking this issue seriously.

Reply to  rishrac
August 27, 2018 3:45 pm


Most of the huge CO2 exchanges in the natural cycles are temperature driven. At the end of the year, all these cycles end near zero change in the atmosphere.

Humans emit currently about 4.5 ppmv/year. That is one-way additional. As even 30% extra CO2 in the atmosphere has hardly any effect on the temperature driven seasonal cycle, the only way to remove that extra amount is by a pressure dependent process. That is e.g. by reducing the oceanic inputs (less CO2 pressure difference in the tropic upwelling zones) and increasing the oceanic outputs (more pressure difference at the polar sink zones).

The increase in the atmosphere is about 2 ppmv/year. Thus nature is a net sink of about 2.5 ppmv/year or about 50% of human CO2 – as mass.

As the removal is pressure driven and not temperature driven, it only slightly changes the balance between inputs and outputs: in a ratio of 1:50 per year for the extra pressure (~ppmv) in the atmosphere above equilibrium (currently about 110 ppmv).

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 4:03 pm

No, that explains nothing. That is a story. Not what the data says. The data says temperature.
It doesn’t explain a planet wide sink of 6 BMT in 1965, and a 19 BMT in 2014. Nor does it address the co2 anomaly levels that during years during the 1970’s,80, and 90’s exceeded the production levels nor the disappearance of co2 of anthro co2 since 1998. Nor does it explain how any year since didn’t produce more atmospheric co2 than 1998 until last year, which if calculations are correct, would have been a slightly less co2 anomaly than should have been.
( some years in the 30 year time span, yearly anomalies exceed years in the 2000’s for at least 5 or more years when co2 production was much higher. This is not a one off occurrence. It’s temperature driving the co2)
They are altering the numbers to fit the story.

Reply to  rishrac
August 27, 2018 4:23 pm


Temperature drives the cycles, but as vegetation is a sink at higher temperatures and the oceans a source, the net global effect in the atmosphere is not more that +/- 5 ppmv over the seasons, vegetation dominant: higher T, less CO2.

Temperature drives the year by year variability around the trend: tropical vegetation is an extra source at higher T, oceans too, but vegetation dominant. The net global effect is not more than +/- 1.5 ppmv around a 90 ppmv trend.

Thus vegetation is the dominant response to temperature and responsible for allmost all variability in CO2 rate of change, but vegetation is a net, increasing sink over the past 60 years, thus NOT the cause of the 90 ppmv trend.

Over the same 60 years, humans emitted about 180 ppmv CO2. That simply is the cause of the 90 ppmv increase. Not temperature (ocean surface equilibrium would be 290 ppmv today).


bit chilly
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 4:43 pm

ferdinand ,are you taking the role of phytoplankton into consideration ? warming oceans may well emit co2,but phytoplankton also consume co2. considering the biomass of all planktons is the largest on the planet it would appear to have a major role in the co2 cycle.

i have read that in warmer oceans primary production slows as the biomass of phytoplankton drops.could this lead to increases in atmospheric co2 in el nino years ?

Reply to  bit chilly
August 28, 2018 5:04 am

bit chilly,

In most cases the phytoplankton uptake is largely consumed by the rest of the food chain and/or dropout from the surface into the deep oceans.

Even in relative warm oceans like Bermuda, only a few months in summer pCO2 of the oceans is over the pCO2 in the atmosphere and then the oceans are a net source of CO2, while in all other months the oceans are a net sink for CO2.

Theoretically, any CO2 uptake/release from biolife in the oceans is taken into account by the oxygen balance: CO2 releases/uptake from the solubility of CO2 in the ocean surface is O2-neutral, while from the ocean’s biolife that releases/uses O2.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 3:16 am

“.. the net global effect in the atmosphere is not more that +/- 5 ppmv over the seasons, vegetation dominant: higher T, less CO2. ”

Last year it was 6.27 ppm/v
May of 2017, 409.65
Sept of 2017, 403.38

Reply to  rishrac
August 28, 2018 4:57 am


+/- 5 ppmv is a May-Sept amplitude of 10 ppmv. Even too large, as the global effect is about half of that: the SH has near1 ppmv amplitude and opposite to the NH.

David L. Hagen
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 4:56 pm

Ferdinand Engelbeen
I see your (paywalled) comment: “Comments on Sources & Sinks of Carbon Dioxide by Tom Quirk, E & E, 20, 103, (2009)”
Can you recommend any good reviews / articles on these issues and differences in temperature vs pressure driven CO2 fluxes?
How about the increase in biofixation from the increase in atmospheric CO2? vis some recent papers:

Mao, J., Ribes, A., Yan, B., Shi, X., Thornton, P.E., Séférian, R., Ciais, P., Myneni, R.B., Douville, H., Piao, S. and Zhu, Z., 2016. Human-induced greening of the northern extratropical land surface. Nature Climate Change, 6(10), p.959.

Zhao, L., Dai, A. and Dong, B., 2018. Changes in global vegetation activity and its driving factors during 1982–2013. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 249, pp.198-209.

Then Rud Istvan’s comments Is Murry Salby Right?

Reply to  David L. Hagen
August 28, 2018 7:59 am

David Hagen,

Unfortunately I don’t have access to all these paywalled articles, even not my own work (with Jack Barrett)…

I haven’t see any work (yet) that describes the different responses of different processes on temperature and/or pressure. Work for a future Ph.D. I suppose…

What is known is an about 5 ppmv/K global change over the seasons, due to the countercurrent ocean and vegetation changes, vegetation dominant and lower CO2 with higher T.
Little residual change after a full cycle compared to the massive CO2 fluxes (about 110 GtC in and out), about half human emissions.
There is hardly any influence of the 30% more CO2 in the atmosphere on the seasonal cycle: a slight increase in amplitude (due to more vegetation in the NH extra-tropics) and an increase in residual CO2 after a full cycle, which is the effect of increased human emissions, despite the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere.

What is known is a 3-5 ppmv/K global change year by year, due to parallel ocean and tropical vegetation changes, vegetation dominant and higher CO2 with higher T.
Little residual change after 1-3 years: about zero around the trend.
No effect of the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere is visible, the amplitude of the CO2 response on temperature (extremes like El Niño) remains about the same within an in average increasing rate of change of CO2.

What is known is an about 16 ppmv/K change over very long periods (millennia), mainly due to (deep) ocean – atmosphere exchanges. Oceans dominant and higher CO2 with higher T.

There is no knowledge of the current processes from the past as the current CO2 pressure increase is unique in the past 800,000 years. Over the past 60 years the net effect of the increase in the atmosphere above equilibrium is a sink of about 1/50 per year, highly linear over that period.

How that is distributed over the main sinks is still a matter of debate. Mostly based on oxygen and δ13C balances, but the global inventories are already old and I haven’t seen any recent updates. Only specific for regional areas like the references you gave.
Here are the old ones:

Reply to  David L. Hagen
August 28, 2018 9:26 am

About Dr. Salby…

Dr. Salby made an essential mistake: he compares the integral of temperature with the increase of CO2.

The integral of temperature is a non-physical parameter. All what temperature does is increasing or decreasing the (dynamic) equilibrium between atmosphere and oceans (and vegetation) on short and long term with 4 to 16 ppmv/K.

The T increase since the LIA may be good for 10-20 ppmv CO2 increase, but that is all. Far from the 110 ppmv increase as is measured…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 12:26 pm

This is gibberish. All it means is that the rate of production and or uptake changes with temperature.

Reply to  Bartemis
August 28, 2018 2:16 pm


Here we go again…

All it means is that the rate of production and or uptake changes with temperature.

Yes, until the feedback of the changed pressure in the atmosphere reaches the new dynamic equilibrium at a lower – or higher – ppmv in the atmosphere = per the solubility of CO2 in seawater with temperature at about 16 ppmv/K.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 29, 2018 10:52 am

No. This is not a static, shallow pool of water. This is a vast ocean with very long term turnover.

Reply to  Bartemis
August 30, 2018 9:09 am


The primary exchange is between the ocean surface layer and the atmosphere with a response time of less than a year. The temperature of the ocean surface layer determines the equilibrium.

The deep oceans don’t play much role on short term, as the change in temperature over a glacial – interglacial transition was some 10 degrees in 5,000 years and the corresponding CO2 change 100 ppmv in the same time span or 0.02 ppmv/year or some 3 ppmv over the past 165 years…

Loren Wilson
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 6:21 pm

Absorption and evolution of CO2 by sea water is governed by the temperature of the water and the partial pressure of the CO2 in contact with the water. Is this the pressure you are talking about? The other issue I have with this type of analysis is that it presupposes that the natural rate of CO2 production and absorption is constant. As the human-added CO2 is perhaps 5% of the total, even a small change in the natural rates will swamp any effect of the human-produced CO2. Until the natural sources and sinks have all been identified and quantified, the models are incomplete.

Reply to  Loren Wilson
August 28, 2018 4:43 am


In theory any small change in the natural balance can dwarf the relative small human contribution. In reality, there is very little change in the largest fluxes: the seasonal CO2 going in and out the atmosphere. Probably because the main cause: temperature changes has an opposite effect on oceans (+/- 50 GtC/season) and extra-tropical vegetation (-/+ 60 GtC/season). The measured global change then is about +/- 10 GtC (5 ppmv) over the seasons. Human emissions currently are around 9 GtC/year (4.5 ppmv/year).

The main variability after a full seasonal cycle is mainly the influence of temperature on tropical vegetation: +/- 3 GtC (+/- 1.5 ppmv) for extremes like Pinatubo and the strong 1998 and 2015/16 El Niño’s.
Human emissions are currently larger than that variability.

Further, one doesn’t need to know any of the natural fluxes: the net effect of all natural fluxes together is all you need to know and that is relative easy to obtain: with a reasonable accurate inventory of human emissions from fuel use and the very accurate CO2 measurements at a lot of stations far from huge CO2 sources and sinks. The difference is the total effect of natural in/out fluxes. That shows that over the past 60 years the natural balance was always negative:

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 12:30 pm

There’s that ridiculously bad pseudo-mass balance argument again. It shows nothing of the kind, because the sinks are dynamic, and respond to both natural and anthro inputs. That portion which expands in response to anthro inputs cannot be counted on the “natural” side of the ledger, because it would not have come into being without the anthro forcing.

Reply to  Bartemis
August 28, 2018 2:55 pm


As usual:
It doesn’t make any difference for the mass balance. That must be obeyed every second of time.

All units in GtC:
Start with 200 natural (N) in; 800 in the atmosphere (A); 200 sinks (S)

Year 1: no human input
200 N in; 200 S out; 800 A

Year 2: + 4 human (H)
804 A
composition A and S: 99.5 N, 0.5 H
200 N + 4 H in; 200,05 S out (*)
3.99 H remaining in the atmosphere, A gets 803.95

Year 3: + 4 H
807.95 A
composition A and S: 99 N, 1 H
200 + 4 H in; 200,1 S out (*)
3.98 H remaining in the atmosphere, A gets 807.85

In all cases the sinks expand only a fraction of the increase in the atmosphere above equilibrium, the sinks only remove a small part of human emissions and the entire increase is due to human emissions.

Of course the figures can be made more exact for the real emisions from 1750 or 1850 on…

(*) As most inputs and outputs are temperature driven, a slight increase in atmospheric pressure above dynamic equilibrium will only give a very slight increase in total outputs in ratio to the increase in pressure.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 29, 2018 10:53 am

Completely circular reasoning…

Reply to  Bartemis
August 30, 2018 9:20 am


Complete logical reasoning: what you add as extra to a process in dynamic equilibrium doesn’t disappear in space.
That influences the balance between inputs and outputs.
The total outputs are not in ratio to the ratio of the inputs, they are in ratio to what is in the atmosphere.
The disequilibrium beween inputs and outputs is not in ratio to the extra input, it is in ratio to the total amount (= pressure) above equilibrium.

Simple reaction of a dymanic equilibrium to a disturbance of the equilibrium. Also known as Le Chatelier’s Principle.

August 27, 2018 3:09 pm

Who said, in a ‘discussion’ about climate change in front of Year 11 high school students…

“You can shove your free speech up your a**e and **ck off’?

Would that be an ’eminent’ Australian QC and human rights lawyer?

We are living in very dark times.

Michael in Dublin
August 27, 2018 3:18 pm

As a retired English language teacher who emphasized the importance of careful thinking and logical reasoning, I was thrilled when my son gave me a copy of George Polya’s book, “How to Solve It.” (© 1945). This extraordinary teacher and eminent Mathematician wrote: “In theoretical matters, the best of ideas is hurt by uncritical acceptance and thrives on critical examination.”

Anyone, who claims that climate science is settled and not open to critical examination, is undermining the very scientific enterprise he or she is busy with, while also ignoring the history of scientific enterprise. I do not have to be a climate scientist to be able to totally discredit climate scientists spouting this illogical and ideological dogmatism. I can expose them through their own words and flawed reasoning. I hope Dr Harde will find a forum where he can expose and shame them publicly.

David L. Hagen
August 27, 2018 3:23 pm

To submit polite letters addressing the need to uphold the foundations of science,
contact the Editorial Board, Global and Planetary Change

August 27, 2018 3:28 pm

I have read the published critique and started reading the unpublished response of Dr. Harde on that critique.

In the critique, many points are right, but far too messy, and wrong about their position about the time needed to remove any extra CO2 out of the atmosphere (the “relaxation time”). They take the Bern model for granted, but there is currently no proof at all that the Bern model is right: that includes a saturation of the sinks, which only is true for the ocean surface, not in sight for the next decades for the deep oceans and very far in the future for vegetation.

Until now the relaxation time for any extra CO2 above the temperature controlled equilibrioum is highly linear with a decay rate of ~51 years.

On the other hand, Dr. Harde in his response simply repeates his erronous points of view:

– Atmospheric CO2 is governed by the balance equation, the conservation law wherein the uptake of CO2 is proportional to the instantaneous concentration of CO2.

Which means at the end zero CO2 in the atmosphere, which is not what is observed…
The uptake or release of CO2 is proportional to the CO2 difference (pCO2) between atmosphere and ocean surface (or plant alveoles). The average ocean surface temperature is the driving force for the equilibrium with the atmosphere. That is 290 ppmv for the current temperature.

– The average residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere is only 4 years. Equivalent to the relaxation time following perturbation of CO2…

Sorry, if you don’t know the difference between residence time (almost completely -seasonal- temperature driven) and relaxation time (almost completely pressure difference driven), then it is a rather painful discussion…

Dr. Harde anyway is completely right about the Bern model…

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 8:55 pm

You remarked, ” (almost completely -seasonal- temperature driven).” it seems that you are overlooking the role of photosynthesis and bacterial decomposition of organic detritus. Both of those are influenced by temperature, but it is the biological activity that is the primary seasonal sink and source variation.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 28, 2018 10:16 am


I know, is is more complicated than I could say in a few sentences…

The seasonal fluxes are huge, but countercurrent between oceans and atmosphere and while photosynthesis is directly linked to temperature, decomposition is more evenly distributed over the year, more in summer, less in winter with a peak in fall when a lot of leaves fall down.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 28, 2018 12:40 pm

“Which means at the end zero CO2 in the atmosphere, which is not what is observed…”

It is what is observed. CO2 has been declining for millions of years.

comment image

In the short term, the balance is maintained by a persistent input balancing the output.

“The uptake or release of CO2 is proportional to the CO2 difference (pCO2) between atmosphere and ocean surface (or plant alveoles).”

These are very short term dynamics. Longer term, there are other processes unfolding.

Reply to  Bartemis
August 28, 2018 3:12 pm


You ar mixing what happened over unrelated geological times with what happened over the past few million years. Moreover completely misleading: you don’t plot the temperature changes with the CO2 changes, which are near completely unrelated over that time frame:
comment image

There are no inputs that adjust to balance outputs, inputs and outputs are balanced by the temperature of the ocean surface over the past few million years. If that equilibrium is disturbed by any extra CO2 input in the atmosphere, then the proportionality influences the balance to remove the disturbance.

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 29, 2018 1:19 am

The other variable missing from these graphs is insolation which increases at about 6% per billion years.

Reply to  RyanS
August 29, 2018 10:04 am


Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 29, 2018 10:56 am

“There are no inputs that adjust to balance outputs, inputs…”

A balance is achieved when inputs balance outputs. That does not make the inputs go away.

Reply to  Bartemis
August 30, 2018 10:43 am


Temperature does influence CO2 inputs and outputs.

CO2 pressure (pCO2) does influence CO2 inputs and outputs.

The balance between inputs and putputs is achieved when the pCO2 in the atmosphere is the same as the average pCO2 of the ocean surface waters.

That is at exaclty the same pCO2 (~ppmv) in the atmosphere as for a single static sample in a flask.

Jim Ross
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 30, 2018 12:13 pm

“the average pCO2 of the ocean surface waters”

So, Ferdinand, please tell me what this number is. And then tell me whether or not it includes the very recent discovery that the waters around Antarctica are outgassing CO2 in the winter, which was not previously recognised.

Jim Ross
Reply to  Bartemis
August 31, 2018 12:08 am


Sorry if my previous comment seemed a bit blunt. Not my intention.

Link for the Antarctic outgassing paper is here:

Reply to  Jim Ross
August 31, 2018 7:41 am

Jim Ross,

Global average SST over the 20th century was 16.4 degr.C, according to:

To be taken with a grain of salt, due to all different methods used to measure SST.
Since then SST may be somewhat higher.

Regional in/out CO2 fluxes are of academical interest, as they are part of the total throughput which is around 40 GtC/year, mostly between the equatorial upwelling and the polar sinks.
That is based on the “dilution” of the human 13C/12C ratio “fingerprint” and independently confirmed by the 14C bomb test decay.

The point is not the exact SST temperature, neither the height of the CO2 in/out fluxes, the point is that the change in CO2 level follows a change in global average SST with exactly the same rule as for a change in CO2 after a change in temperature for a single sample of seawater in a closed container.

In the case of the full oceans that is done by adjusting the balance in a transient response of the in and out fluxes:

Jim Ross
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 31, 2018 9:41 am

My question was about the “the average pCO2 of the ocean surface waters” not the global average SST over the 20th century. I have to thank you for giving me a LOL moment, however. The view that the average SST over the whole globe for the entire 20th century can be determined to one decimal place of a degree C is hilarious. A lot more than “a grain of salt” is required!

My question was about pCO2 because I was intrigued as to whether there was an observation-based estimate, which seemed rather unlikely given its variability both globally and annually.

You refer to a CO2 throughput of 40 GtC/year which is based on a model that tries to explain the “too slow”decline or “dilution” of the 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere. Oddly, another model which sets out to do the same thing appears to be based on 90 GtC/year (see Table 1 and Figure 5):
I am always very sceptical of models that do not provide all the input assumptions – can you provide details of these for the 40 GtC/year model (which I believe you generated) or at least speculate as to the reasons for the huge difference?

Reply to  Jim Ross
August 31, 2018 12:57 pm

Jim Ross,

The average pCO2 of the global ocean is about 7 µatm lower than the atmosphere, which is the primary driving force for uptake by the ocean (see Figure 6 in Karl et al., this issue)
Figure 6 is at:

As the ocean surface simply follows the changes in the atmosphere with a fast response time of less than a year, that doesn’t show what the pCO2 in water and atmosphere should be for the average ocean temperature.

The 90 GtC in/out is the seasonal exchange between ocean surface and atmosphere. The ocean surface is only a small sink for CO2, as the buffer factor only allows a 10% change of DIC (total inorganic carbon) of the change in the atmosphere (while still obeying Henri’s law for a 100% change in pure dissolved CO2, but that is only 1% of DIC). Thus for a 30% increase in the atmosphere, DIC increased about 3% over time. As the estimated quantity is about 1000 GtC in the ocean surface and measured 800 GtC in the atmosphere, uptake by the ocean surface is relative small.
Variability in the + and – 90 GtC/season is small too, as that is completely temperature driven and thus depends of the temperature amplitude over the seasons. The 90 GtC/season hardly changed with 30% more CO2 in the atmosphere.

The main exchange is via the deep oceans and that is about 40 GtC/year.
One can calculate the “dilution” of the 13C/12C ratio with different deep ocean – deep ocean throughputs:

The discrepancy in earlier years may be from vegetation that slowly changed from a neutral to small source into a small but increasing sink.

Jim Ross
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
September 1, 2018 10:07 am

Given the huge range in pCO2 in oceanic surface waters (you mentioned 150 – 750 µatm earlier), with major variations both annually and regionally, I do not see any value in an estimated difference of 7 µatm between ocean and atmopshere that is not accompanied by a full error analysis. Further, since we now have data from Antarctica that are clearly not reflected in the Feely et al database, I would suggest this value of 7 µatm should now be viewed as completely meaningless.

OK, so you disagree with the analysis of Randerson et al regarding the “dilution” of the 13C/12C ratio. Noted.

I also note that your “dilution” model has a “discrepancy”. Perhaps your model is actually invalid since it fails to match observations! You may recall that I showed you how to get a far better match with the observations, but your view was that this was a coincidence. Hey ho.

Notwithstanding any of the above, I do appreciate the extent of the work that you have done in the past and your patience in sharing your views.

Eric Stevens
August 27, 2018 3:30 pm

I note with interest that the heading notes that this is an “Invited research article”. Elsevier must have known what it was they were asking for and what it was they were going to get. Yet when the paper was crudely chopped down they refused to allow Harde to offer any defense. I wonder what it was that caused them to so quickly reverse direction. Effective pressure seems to have been brought to bear and that and the fact that they should so readily yield is worrying in itself.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Eric Stevens
August 27, 2018 3:38 pm

Perhaps that was the plan all along ? A setup ?

Eric Stevens
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
August 28, 2018 3:51 am

That has occurred to me too, since my original post. The editorial board is listed at . Do any of the names ring a bell?

August 27, 2018 3:37 pm

The published rebuttal (link to PDF above) is clearly strong and meritorous. The behaviors of various carbon sinks as applied in AWG computer models are falsified (if Harde is correct) by the known behavior (rate of decline) of the concentration of atmospheric C14 from nuclear testing.

CO2 persistence is overstated in the models by up to 2 orders of magnitude according to Harde (via falsification of the Bern model) . 100’s to 1000’s of years instead of the observed decades. This assertion was properly addressed (in the criticism) by a description of the misapplication of the formulaic manipulation of known data. They must do that IN ORDER TO DO A MINIMALLY DEFENSIBLE JOB in the review and they did not. Instead, they used Louisiana Lawyer speak to sidestep the issue.

There has to be a reasonable defense presented of the Bern model in the peer review.

This is clearly not the last word on the subject of the planet’s complicated carbon cycle. But when back of the envelope approximations using known isotopic concentration behaviors arrives at numbers so completely at odds with the AWG models, how do they get away with ?… Unless the entire scientific establishment has been corrupted.

Reply to  DocSiders
August 27, 2018 4:03 pm


The Bern model originally was intended for enormous carbon emissions by using all known reserves of oil and gas an lots of coal. Some 3.000 and 5.000 GtC if I remember well. That gives saturation of even the deep oceans and possibly land plants according to the model.
In reality the quantities released up to now are at about 400 GtC and neither the deep oceans or vegetation shows any sign of saturation.

The observed net sink rate in the past 60 years is highly linear with a response time of about 51 years. That is much faster than the Bern model but much slower than the residence time, which Dr. Harde used or even the 14C decay rate of the bomb tests.

The latter has a problem: what did sink in the 1960’s in the deep oceans was the compostion of the atmosphere, but what returned the same year was the compostion of ~1000 years ago, or about 45% of the bomb peak, while for 12CO2 some 97% returned the same year. That makes much shorter decay rates for the 14C bomb spike than for an extra shot 12CO2.


Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
August 27, 2018 9:01 pm

You said, ” but what returned the same year was the compostion of ~1000 years ago.” Not quite! The descending polar waters started with the CO2 from the atmosphere. However, during the millennium the waters spent moving towards the tropics, organic material rained down from the surface and was decomposed by bacteria, releasing CO2 into the cold, high-pressure water. What comes back up is enriched with CO2 above what the original surface waters contained.

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 28, 2018 10:19 am


Agreed, but the point was the difference between the 14CO2 peak decay rate and any 12CO2 peak decay rate. The 1,000 years has far more influence on the 14CO2 decay rate than on 12CO2…

August 27, 2018 3:45 pm

I was surprised it was published at all. He made the same mistake as Monckton did in a post a few years ago, having to do with the C13/C14 ratio. So, I guess peer review isn’t perfect…

Reply to  ReallySkeptical
August 27, 2018 4:13 pm

The 13C/12C ratio is different because one isotope or ratio is not produced in the atmosphere. Rather the 13C/12C fractionates every time there is a phase change. The problem is that different reservoirs (e.g., oceans, sediments, plants-soil, fossil fuel, etc.) have different ratios, making it difficult to assign atmospheric CO2 to any specific source.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  donb
August 27, 2018 6:14 pm

Difficult, or practically impossible?

August 27, 2018 3:55 pm

Several technically trained people (who should know better) confuse removal of 14C and human-produced CO2 from the atmosphere with total reduction of the amount of atmospheric CO2. What they fail to consider is that the exchange rate of atmospheric CO2 with other reservoirs (oceans and plants-soils) is very high. As 14C and human CO2 disappears it is replaced with CO2 low in 14C and low in human CO2, such that the atmospheric CO2 concentration remains the same, but actually increases as human CO2 increases.
This is well understood geochemistry.

Reply to  donb
August 27, 2018 4:42 pm

14CO2 added to the atmosphere from 1960 to 1963 by atom bomb tests is a perfect tracer for the fate of any CO2 in the atmosphere in 1963.
There is no chemical difference between 14CO2 and 12CO2.
The loss of 14CO2 is directly observed from the decline from 1964 to 1974 by 1/2 which translates to a tau of 18 years.
You are stating that AnthroCO2 is special, contradicting all isotope tracer studies ever published in the history of science.

Reply to  bwegher
August 27, 2018 6:35 pm

14C is a tracer only for those CO2 molecules containing 14C, not for the others. As 14C leaves the atmosphere, 12C from oceans, plants, soil replace it. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is not changed by this reservoir exchange. Has nothing to do with chemistry, but with equilibrium exchange. After a time, 14C in these non-atmosphere reservoirs builds up and 14C begins to return to atmosphere at a low rate. Same with human CO2. As it leaves the atmosphere, it is replaced with non-human CO2. Nothing is learned about how much total human CO2 has been added to atmosphere over time. Human CO2 added is the desired measurement. 14C does not give that. Neither does 13C/12C with any accuracy.

Reply to  donb
August 27, 2018 11:03 pm

How does the massive “equilibrium exchange” differentiate between 14CO2 and natural CO2 if the physical properties of the two molecules is identical?
Chemical properties of CO2 include all physical interactions with any surrounding molecules. “Equilibrium exchange” means the rate and degree of interaction of CO2 within any defined physical medium. The isotopic difference between 14CO2 and naturally occurring CO2 has no relevance to the physical or chemical interactions on any macro/real world scale. Henry’s law concerning the interaction of CO2 with water is not significantly changed by the atomic number of the carbon atom. The diffusion of 14CO2 into plant stomata is not significantly different from 12CO2, unless you have instrumentation that can measure quantities to the parts per thousand resolution.
The same can be said for the diffusion of 14CO2 into the ice caps from snow falling onto the ice surface.

As stated, the 14CO2 added to the atmosphere from atom bomb testing before the 1963 test ban is a perfect tracer for any CO2 that existed in the atmophere in one year required for the 14CO2 to distribute itself through the entire atmosphere. What happened 1000 years before or 1000 years from now has nothing to do with what happened from 1963 to 1974.
None of the Earth’s atmospheric CO2 remains (a few percent at most in 2018) from that in 1963. It’s all moved into deep surface sinks that are orders of magnitude larger than the atmosphere. Entirely replaced by deep sources, mostly biotic. Over long periods of time, the Earth’s atmosphere is entirely of biotic origin.

Reply to  bwegher
August 28, 2018 7:18 am

14C does fractionate from other C isotopes, just as 13C/`12C fractionate. But that is not important here. If one’s purpose is to use 14C leaving the atmosphere only to know that rate of egress, then the data show that. But some who invoke 14C use it to argue that human CO2 also leaves the atmosphere at a similar rate (possibly true), and thus human CO2 does not cause the atmospheric increase in CO2. This assumption is false. As human CO2 is added to atmosphere, it disturbs the reservoir exchange rates such that they are no longer in equilibrium. Further, although that human CO2 moves into other reservoirs, it is replaced in the atmosphere by this other CO2. To the extent that increased atmospheric CO2 produces warming, it is not important to the greenhouse effect whether that atmospheric CO2 molecule is human-produced or contains a 14C atom.

Reply to  donb
August 28, 2018 1:09 pm

One gram of 14CO2 from detonation of nuclear bombs in 1963 versus a different gram of CO2 from the exhaust of a petrol burning IC engine vehicle in 1963. Both grams in gas phase are freely mixed into the atmosphere and disperse into the same weather pattern.
The fate of each gram is identical. CO2 from one source is the same as CO2 from any source. Both grams are removed by the same physical sinks and at the same rate. In 1974 the quantity of 14CO2 is found to have declined by one half. Since both grams of CO2 are identical, the fate of the fossil fuel CO2 is identical. Law of causality.
Any and all grams of CO2 gas added to the atmosphere in 1963 have exactly the same fates as any other grams. It does not matter is the source of the CO2 is human, animal, coal, ocean or a comet falling from space. What happens in 1000 years has no relevance to what has already happened from 1963 to 1974, its over.

Reply to  bwegher
August 28, 2018 3:18 pm


The ways of absorbing 12CO2, 13CO2 and 14CO2 are identical, but the returning quantities in the same year as the absorptions are NOT identical.

That is where the 1000 years return time is extremely important, as well as for the 14C/12 C ratio as for the 13C/12C ratio decline in the atmosphere…

Reply to  bwegher
August 28, 2018 10:40 am


14CO2 doesn’t change the mass of total CO2, thus has no influence on the deep oceans balance between sinks and sources. A massive injection of 12CO2 in the atmosphere does change the in/out mass balance.

Besides the mass balance, the ratio 14CO2/12CO2 that sinks is more than twice the 14CO2/12CO2 that returns from the deep oceans.

That makes that the decay rate of an excess 14CO2 peak is much faster than of a total CO2 excess peak.

Reply to  donb
August 27, 2018 4:50 pm

“Several technically trained people (who should know better) confuse removal of 14C and human-produced CO2 from the atmosphere with total reduction of the amount of atmospheric CO2.”

Harde himself does exactly that. Here is his Fig 1 where he compares decay of C14, which represents carbon isotope exchange, with the Bern Model, which is a measure of total carbon in the atmosphere.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 27, 2018 6:36 pm

“Harde himself does exactly that.” YES

August 27, 2018 4:06 pm

I noticed that the commentary on the paper is NOT pay walled, while the actual paper IS pay walled. The editors want criticism AGAiNST the paper to be fully, publicly accessible for FREE, but the exact arguments being criticized are hidden and COST MONEY to see.

Crooks could not be more transparent. Even if there might be truth to the editors’ claims, they raise great suspicions by publishing ONLY their comments and NOT publishing the exact words upon which they are commenting.

My unfairometer is reading very high.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 27, 2018 4:31 pm
bit chilly
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 27, 2018 4:50 pm

this is the crux of the matter and it is typical of the shenanigans the community regularly indulges in. the veracity of the paper is neither here nor there.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 27, 2018 4:57 pm

“I noticed that the commentary on the paper is NOT pay walled”
It has exactly the same paywall status at the Journal site. The link in the article is to someone else’s site.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 28, 2018 8:14 am

Nick, the link in the article is precisely what I am referring to.

comment image

When you go to that site, you get a “Download PDF” link for “Commentary”, and a “Buy PDF” for the actual article on which the commentary is made. The download link location is the same domain-name prefix. Why would I be cued to go to another site, when the link offered is what cues me to click in the first place?

On the relevant website (the one in the article), then, the two do NOT have “exactly the same paywall status”. And why would “someone else’s site” offer a pay and no-pay option — they are just as guilty of unfairness as the journal that refuses transparency, and now this “someone else’s site” is a parasite, probably trying to capitalize off controversial actions.

It just increases the stink. It does NOT relieve the lack of transparency or buffer the offending journal in any way whatsoever.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 28, 2018 7:14 pm

“When you go to that site, you get a “Download PDF” link for “Commentary”, and a “Buy PDF” for the actual article on which the commentary is made.”
The ssciencedirect site is here. The article you circled and downloaded is not the scientific rebuttal, but a statement from the Journal about the issues involved. The scientific rebuttal is the one below, and as your image shows, requires you to purchase the pdf ($39.95). That is the rebuttal, not Harde’s original.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 28, 2018 8:26 am

The “Journal site” and the “someone else’s site” are BOTH parts of the same science-information-distribution conglomerate — Elsevier (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈɛlzəviːr]) is an information and analytics company and one of the world’s major providers of scientific, technical, and medical information.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 28, 2018 12:14 pm

This seems like an appropriate place to link to Harde’s full, unpublished reply:

“Offers nothing new”, the editors say? Well, publish the damn thing, and let readers be the judges, instead of just, Take our words for it.

Just looking at the format of the reply, I think it looks well organized and formatted well, indicating that Harde probably can hold his own, and the editors do NOT want others to see this. It has all the indications of “erase any shadow of a doubt by keeping it invisible, if possible” [which is NOT possible, because I just re-posted the link]

August 27, 2018 4:19 pm

Nothing new here. The ones I’ve interacted with automatically dismiss anything that refutes their position, and won’t even consider it.

August 27, 2018 4:40 pm

We were talking about this issue here a long time ago.
and subsequent discussion, original points made based on visual inspection of Bomb Spike curve.
Math describing 14C decay from Bomb spike, and half life
References for data sources

Thinking about this again, I’m confident the 12C dilution argument is effectively neutralized when realizing how big the atmosphere is, and how little CO2 humans inject in comparison. Do we see a depression of the baseline pre-1963 14C level? No. So there can’t be any significant influence of 12C injection on the exponential decay of 14C either.

Anthropogenic warming depends on CO2 being capable of trapping heat energy (more than water vapor and clouds????), but also CO2 persisting in the atmosphere for 30 to 50 years or longer. Clearly it doesn’t. 5 year half-life. That’s it.

Reply to  Hoser
August 27, 2018 5:01 pm

“5 year half-life. That’s it.”
No, it isn’t. The atoms in your body have an average half-life of a month or two. That has no effect on your life expectancy. Atoms are very mobile, but net mass flow is governed by other laws.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 27, 2018 5:48 pm

Straw man argument. Co2 in the atmosphere is not an atom in the body. Big difference.

Lewis P Buckingham
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 27, 2018 11:34 pm

Actually the body dynamic is analagous to the concept of sinks, stores, compartments and distribution.
Generally a drug is diminished to nothing in five half lives.
Tracers behave the same.
The problem for this paper is that C14 is not only the tracer from the A Bomb tests, its also part of the natural background radiation.
However the collapse of the atmospheric C14 injected by the A Bomb indicates massive sinks and compartmentalisation.
Paul Milenkovic, above, raises the question of these sinks.
As a tracer, why did not the C14 turn up in the other sinks?
Was it measured?
The obvious ones being the Australian land mass and the oceans supporting warm, heated planktonic life forms.
What are the error bars for the calculations?

Reply to  Lewis P Buckingham
August 28, 2018 10:34 am

I handled that in my differential equations. The natural background of 14C is constant and the decay from the Bomb Spike is treatable essentially on it’s own above the constant baseline.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 28, 2018 9:22 am

So, over the years I’ve seen:

(1) CO2 is like a glass roof, … okay maybe not a glass roof, but
(2) CO2 is like a blanket
(3) CO2 is like nerve gas
and now
(4) CO2 is like the human body.

Weak analogy much?

CO2 is like a bad dream.

William A Hoffman
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 30, 2018 7:53 am

Robert Kernodle… The puzzle to me is why so much discussion over what is essentially an “angels of the head of a pin” disagreement. CO2 has little impact on global temperature, far less than water vapor, somewhere in the second decimal place of a value of 288K.

Reply to  Hoser
August 27, 2018 6:56 pm

The atmosphere contains about 589 pico-grams of C and the ocean surface about 900 pg of C. The yearly C exchange between them is about 80 pg of C, but has increased because of increasing human C, which is about 9 pg per year. At this exchange rate, total exchange between atmosphere and ocean surface would take on the order of 10 years. Other reservoirs also exchange C with the atmosphere. Plants have 450-650 pg C and soils 1500-2400 pg C and exchange with the atmosphere at ~120 pg/yr. So total exchange of atmosphere C would require only a few years.

Lee Jones
Reply to  donb
August 27, 2018 7:54 pm

ummm sorry to be pedantic but pico is 10^-12 Peta is 10^12

Reply to  Lee Jones
August 28, 2018 1:13 pm

Peta is 10 to the 15th power.

August 27, 2018 6:40 pm

Within months after the Harde paper was published, Köhler et al. (2017), was quickly cobbled together and published in Global and Planetary Change in an attempt to “refute” the conclusions of the Harde (2017) paper.

This confirms my suspicions of how climate ‘science’ works. I believe we are seeing this same phenomena happening with CO2 and plant growth-earth greening and less nutrients and weaker wood from trees (and who knows what else they are currently ‘looking’ for to squash skeptics pointing out the benefit of extra plant and tree food in the air)…

August 27, 2018 9:38 pm

Harde does not understand the physics of a coffee filter.

Reply to  Hans Erren
August 28, 2018 9:24 am

Some would say that high-profiled, highly-degreed climate scientists do not understand the physics of a blanket.

Reply to  Hans Erren
August 28, 2018 12:41 pm

Yeah, it’s pretty amazing that this is under so much dispute. Thermodynamics long ago explained how the diffusion of a tracer like C-14 into a system generally works on different timescales than equilibration of bulk addition of CO2.

To put it another way: diffusion, which can swap two molecules between systems but leave the totals the same, is distinct from equilibration where one system gains total # of molecules and the other loses.

This is basic, basic thermodynamics, and yes, this paper should never have been published.

Y’all are making skeptics look bad. Please remember your college thermo classes before siding with Harde here.

Wiliam Haas
August 27, 2018 10:01 pm

Peer review often becomes political review. If they allowed criticism of the original paper then it is only fair for them to allow the authors of the original paper to defend their peer reviewed paper. Apparently the publication involved is not really a scientific publication but rather a political rag.

Reply to  Wiliam Haas
August 28, 2018 12:50 pm

I dunno, the original paper is *really* bad. And the defense is not any better.

If you’re trying to keep any kind of quality control, at some point you just have to call it. Harde makes fundamental mistakes with regards to thermodynamics and kinetics, and there’s no getting past that.

August 27, 2018 10:30 pm

Similar academic scam-mongering has been practiced for many years by warmist journals, which have lost ALL credibility AND respectability. Nobody should trust them, or even bother to read them – they are trash.

I published the following article in E&E in early 2005, in defence of several legitimate climate scientists.

Regards to all, Allan

Full article at

The global warming debate heats up
Energy & Environment 2005
by Allan M.R. MacRae


But such bullying is not unique, as other researchers who challenged the scientific basis of Kyoto have learned.

Of particular sensitivity to the pro-Kyoto gang is the “hockey stick” temperature curve of 1000 to 2000 AD, as proposed by Michael Mann of University of Virginia and co-authors in Nature.

Mann’s hockey stick indicates that temperatures fell only slightly from 1000 to 1900 AD, after which temperatures increased sharply as a result of humanmade increases in atmospheric CO2. Mann concluded: “Our results suggest that the latter 20th century is anomalous in the context of at least the past millennium. The 1990s was the warmest decade, and 1998 the warmest year, at moderately high levels of confidence.”

Mann’s conclusion is the cornerstone of the scientific case supporting Kyoto. However, Mann is incorrect.

Mann eliminated from the climate record both the Medieval Warm Period, a period from about 900 to 1500 AD when global temperatures were generally warmer than today, and also the Little Ice Age from about 1500 to 1800 AD, when temperatures were colder. Mann’s conclusion contradicted hundreds of previous studies on this subject, but was adopted without question by Kyoto advocates.

In the April 2003 issue of Energy and Environment, Willie Soon and Sallie Baliunas of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and co-authors wrote a review of over 250 research papers that concluded that the Medieval Warm Period and Little Ice Age were true climatic anomalies with world-wide imprints – contradicting Mann’s hockey stick and undermining the basis of Kyoto. Soon et al were then attacked in EOS, the journal of the American Geophysical Union.

In the July 2003 issue of GSA Today, University of Ottawa geology professor Jan Veizer and Israeli astrophysicist Nir Shaviv concluded that temperatures over the past 500 million years correlate with changes in cosmic ray intensity as Earth moves in and out of the spiral arms of the Milky Way. The geologic record showed no correlation between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and temperatures, even though prehistoric CO2 levels were often many times today’s levels. Veizer and Shaviv also received “special attention” from EOS.

In both cases, the attacks were unprofessional – first, these critiques should have been launched in the journals that published the original papers, not in EOS. Also, the victims of these attacks were not given advanced notice, nor were they were given the opportunity to respond in the same issue. In both cases the victims had to wait months for their rebuttals to be published, while the specious attacks were circulated by the pro-Kyoto camp.


Antero Ollila
August 27, 2018 11:53 pm

I want to show that the residence time for atmospheric CO2 about 4 years in the original paper of Harde is wrong. Firstly, there is an empirical evidence of the radiocarbon residence time. Nuclear bomb tests are probably the only full-scale tests by humans in the atmosphere. The decay rate of radiocarbon has been 16 years starting in 1964 and closing now zero level. Radiocarbon has been a perfect example about the tracer method to find out the dynamic behavior of a carbon cycle process. The radiocarbon residence time is directly applicable for the anthropogenic CO2 residence time.

Another test is a theoretical test, that we can carry on just by a pen and a paper. The residence time of 4 years means an adjustment time 4*4 years = 16 years. It means that the atmospheric CO2 concentration or mass should come to a new balance (= almost the original value) after a disturbance in 16 years. The atmospheric CO2 amount has increased from 600 gigatons of carbon (GtC) in 1750 to the present 850 GtC. If the adjustment time of CO2 would be 16 years, it would mean that the CO2 in the atmosphere should decrease by about 15…16 GtC per year in order to make this possible. Nowadays the annual CO2 emission rate 10 GtC and from this amount about 4.5 GtC disappears into CO2 sinks (ocean and biosphere). If the CO2 emissions would be stopped completely, the CO2 decreasing rate would not be more than 4.5 GtC/y but it would decrease gradually. The residence time of 4 years is not possible, it is totally out of question.
The major error in Harde’s study is the same as in other studies showing residence times of 4 to 8 years or so. They assume that a carbon cycle residence time can be calculated for a system of a single mixing chamber having a flow in and out. The real CO2 system is a complicated combination of recycling flows between atmosphere, ocean and biosphere. When the real results have been achieved, they can be approximated by single residence times – not another way around.

There are two residence times – not understood by many researchers: for anthropogenic CO2 and for total CO2 and these values are 16 years and 55 years. Here is a link to a blog, which describes these things in more details (based on the published scientific paper):

Dr. Antero Ollila

August 28, 2018 1:18 am

So where is the C02 coming from? Meteorites?

Reply to  thingadonta
August 28, 2018 1:54 am

Atmospheric CO2, according to the above arguments, must be a breakdown product of unicorn farts.

Why? Because CO2 is the magical molecule:
– it drives both global warming AND global cooling;
– it drives both wilder weather and milder weather;
– since CO2 trends lag atmospheric temperature trends by ~9 months in the modern data record, it drives the past from the future – it is in fact a time-traveller, the Dr. Who of molecules;
– since CO2 trends lag atmospheric temperature trends by ~~800 years in the ice core record, it drives the past from the future there too, proving that Dr. Who-CO2 has been around for hundreds of thousands of years – Who knew!
– and oh yes, I almost forgot: “The Science IS Settled!” … isn’t it? 🙂

Antero Ollila
August 28, 2018 5:33 am

Actually atmospheric CO2 short-term changes lag 11 months of the (tropical) ocean temperature.

Reply to  Antero Ollila
August 28, 2018 7:35 am

Dr. Antero Ollila – I generally agree.

Here is a relationship between Equatorial Atmospheric Water Vapour and UAH LT Global Temperature, which typically lags Water Vapour by about 1 month– this may prove helpful.

I first plotted this relationship about 2 years ago, but the idea came from Bill Illis.

Best, Allan


UAH Lower Troposphere: Anomalies

NOAA Precipitable Water Monolevel +/-20 N, 0-360W

The correct mechanism is described as follows (approx.):
Equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperature up –> Equatorial Atmospheric Water Vapor up 3 months later –> Equatorial Temperature up -> Global Temperature up one month later -> Global Atmospheric dCO2/dt up (contemporaneous with Global Temperature) -> Atmospheric CO2 trends up 9 months later

What drives Equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperature? In sub-decadal timeframes, El Nino and La Nina (ENSO); longer term, probably the Integral of Solar Activity.
The base CO2 increase of ~2ppm/year could have many causes, including fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, etc, but it has a minor or insignificant impact on global temperatures.

What drives Equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperature? In sub-decadal timeframes, El Nino and La Nina (ENSO); longer term, probably the Integral of Solar Activity.

The base CO2 increase of ~2ppm/year could have many causes, including fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, etc, but it has a minor or insignificant impact on global temperatures.

Regards, Allan

Reply to  Antero Ollila
August 28, 2018 7:37 am

Moderator – please delete the following duplicate paragraph:

What drives Equatorial Pacific Sea Surface Temperature? In sub-decadal timeframes, El Nino and La Nina (ENSO); longer term, probably the Integral of Solar Activity.
The base CO2 increase of ~2ppm/year could have many causes, including fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, etc, but it has a minor or insignificant impact on global temperatures.

August 29, 2018 12:55 am

How about you stop endlessly cutting and pasting. It’s just repetitious spam bombing.

Reply to  RyanS
August 29, 2018 1:55 am

A reminder to all, to ignore Lyin’ Ryan.

Ryan – the proof your demanded is provided above.

You are a liar and a troll. From now on you do not exist.

August 31, 2018 7:55 am

No it isn’t, as I stated for the record the last time you lied about it.

August 28, 2018 6:34 am

As for residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere: Willis Eschenbach explains that it’s much longer than the figure of a few years for residence time of individual CO2 molecules. He comes up with best-fit exponential decay of a pulse (injection in my words) of CO2 into the atmosphere having a time constant tau (or e-folding time) of 59 years, which is a half-life of 41 years.

Reply to  Donald L. Klipstein
August 28, 2018 10:38 am

He’s all confused. I’m not interested in “residence time”. I am not trying to deal with any equilibrium calculation. It’s simply a matter of how fast the CO2 present in the atmosphere in 1963 leaves the atmosphere. Period. The 12C dilution argument is interesting, but there is not enough of it to make a difference, and we would see the baseline 14C level decrease, which we don’t.

Roger Knights
August 28, 2018 7:38 am

“It is error, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry.”
—Tom Paine

August 28, 2018 9:46 am

Excruciatingly meticulous analyses of CO2 residence time make me wonder whether anybody can really determine this.

Residence time of a vital atmospheric component seems like an odd focus. Even discussing it seems to validate the premise that CO2 is toxic to human well being.

Should we look ahead and start considering the residence time of oxygen? Now that’s something I would really get worried about.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 28, 2018 11:35 am

Possibly 14C left the atmosphere at a constant rate for several years after the initial increase by weapons testing. But some of that 14C moved into plants and soils, and after several years began to return to the atmosphere. The surface ocean also returns 14C to the atmosphere. Thus as time proceeds, the rate of removal of atmospheric 14C slows.

Reply to  donb
August 30, 2018 10:52 am


Most above ground nuclear tests were done in the 1950’s. By 1960, the 14C level reached its peak and as most exchanges between atmosphere and vegetation or ocean surface are seasonal, these two reservoirs were almost in equilibrium with the atmosphere for 14C, thus had little influence on the 14C decay in the atmosphere, except as extra reservoirs.

The main difference is in the deep oceans, where inputs and outputs are completely disconnected for very long periods.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 29, 2018 7:26 am

I am not believing that any such quantity as “residence time” or “relaxation time” of CO2 can be determined by any now known method of physical-world data collection.

To think that we can figure out how long one molecule of CO2 remains in the air seems laughable, as I really reflect on it. And I sense that any determination of how long a given mass or volume of CO2 remains in the air does not fair much better. This all seems to be collective speculation, at best, solidified around great uncertainties and differing opinions, in a social milieu where the “right” answer is established politically, NOT empirically.

Forgive my ignorance, if I am way off, but that’s where I am at the moment.

Reply to  Robert Kernodle
August 30, 2018 11:22 am


There are several ways the residence time can be determined, see for the long list here: Table 2.
An average of about 5 years is the accepted residence time for any CO2 molecule in the atmosphere.

The decay rate of an extra injection of CO2 above the dynamic equilibrium is observable: the net sink rate of CO2 in nature is directly proportional to the extra CO2 pressure in the atmosphere:

In 1959: 25 ppmv extra, 0.5 ppmv/year sink rate, 25/0.5 = 50 years, half life time 34.7 years
In 1988: 60 ppmv, 1.13 ppmv/year, 53 years, half life time 36.8 years
In 2012: 110 ppmv / 2.15 ppmv/year = 51.2 years or a half life time of 35.5 years.

Seems quite linear with an e-fold decay rate of about 51 years.

August 28, 2018 10:50 am

If you silence debate, then the hypothesis must be for schmidt.

Johann Wundersamer
August 29, 2018 12:47 am

With gutenplag Angela ‘Angi’ Merkel renounced any scientific truth.

Quote: I do not need an academic assistant

but a minister of defense.

Since then, the EU no longer seeks truth, but political benefits.