Research sheds new light on what drove last, long-term global climate shift University of Exeter

Public Release: 19-Dec-2018

The quest to discover what drove the last, long-term global climate shift on Earth, which took place around a million years ago, has taken a new, revealing twist.

A team of researchers led by Dr Sev Kender from the University of Exeter, have found a fascinating new insight into the causes of the Mid-Pleistocene Transition (MPT) – the phenomenon whereby the planet experienced longer, intensified cycles of extreme cold conditions.

While the causes of the MPT are not fully known, one of the most prominent theories suggests it may have been driven by reductions in glacial CO2 emissions.

Now, Dr Kender and his team have discovered that the closure of the Bering Strait during this period due to glaciation could have led the North Pacific to become stratified – or divided into distinct layers – causing CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. This would, they suggest, have caused global cooling.

The team believe the latest discovery could provide a pivotal new understanding of how the MPT occurred, but also give a fresh insight into the driving factors behind global climate changes.

The research is published in Nature Communications on December 19th 2018.

Dr Kender, a co-author on the study from the Camborne School of Mines, based at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall said: “The subarctic North Pacific is composed of some of the oldest water on Earth, which has been separated from the atmosphere for such a long time that a high concentration of dissolved CO2 has built up at depth. When this water upwells to the surface, some of the CO2 is released. This is thought to be an important process in geological time, causing some of the global warming that followed past glaciations.

“We took deep sediment cores from the bottom of the Bering Sea that gave us an archive of the history of the region. By studying the chemistry of sediment and fossil shells from marine protists called foraminifera, we reconstructed plankton productivity, and surface and bottom water masses. We were also able to better date the sediments so that we could compare changes in the Bering Sea to other global changes at that time.

“We discovered that the Bering Sea region became more stratified during the MPT with an expanded intermediate-depth watermass, such that one of the important contributors to global warming – the upwelling of the subarctic North Pacific – was effectively curtailed.”

The Earth’s climate has always been subjected to significant changes, and over the past 600,000 years and more it has commonly oscillated between warm periods, similar today, and colder, ‘glacial’ periods when large swathes of continents are blanketed under several kilometres of ice.

These regular, natural changes in the Earth’s climate are governed by changes in how the Earth orbits around the sun, and variations in the tilt of its axis caused by gravitational interactions with other planets.

These changes, known as orbital cycles, can affect how solar energy is dispersed across the planet. Some orbital cycles can, therefore, lead to colder summers in the Northern Hemisphere which can trigger the start of glaciations, while later cycles can bring warmer summers, causing the ice to melt.,

These cycles can be influenced by a host of factors that can amplify their effect. One of which is CO2 levels in the atmosphere.

As the MPT occurred during a period when there were no apparent changes in the nature of the orbit cycles, scientists have long been attempting to discover what drove the changes to take place.

For this research, Dr Kender and his team drilled for deep-sea sediment in the Bering Sea, in conjunction with the International Ocean Discovery Program, and measured the chemistry of the fossil shells and sediments.

The team were able to create a detailed reconstruction of oceanic water masses through time – and found that the closure of the Baring Strait caused the subarctic North Pacific became stratified during this period of glaciation.

This stratification, that argue, would have removed CO2 from the atmosphere and caused global cooling.

Dr Kender added: “Today much of the cold water produced by sea ice action flows northward into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait. As glaciers grew and sea levels fell around 1 million years ago, the Bering Strait would have closed, retaining colder water within the Bering Sea. This expanded watermass appears to have stifled the upwelling of deep CO2-rich water and allowed the ocean to sequester more CO2 out of the atmosphere. The associated cooling effect would have changed the sensitivity of Earth to orbital cycles, causing colder and longer glaciations that characterise climate ever since.

“Our findings highlight the importance of understanding present and future changes to the high latitude oceans, as these regions are so important for long term sequestration or release of atmospheric CO2.”

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136 thoughts on “Research sheds new light on what drove last, long-term global climate shift University of Exeter

    • The magic molecule that keeps laying the golden egg for scientists and universities that get the right results.

      • While the causes of the MPT are not fully known, [ aka we have no idea at all ] one of the most prominent theories [ aka hypotheses ] suggests it may { or may not } have been driven by reductions in glacial CO2 emissions.

        These guys must lay awake a night thinking: ” what’s left that we have not managed to link to CO2 yet? “

        • One of the most prominent Theories (aka COWAG Completely Outrageous Wild Arse Guess) it is like a SWAG only not sophisticated.

          • Don’t volcanos spew out a lot of methane and water vapor, too? How did they measure the methane and water vapor changes in the atmosphere which would be more damning to climate than CO2?

      • IPCC official, Ottmar Edenhofer, speaking in November 2010: “But one must say clearly that we redistribute, de facto, the world’s wealth by climate policy. … one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute, de facto, the world’s wealth…” “This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy, anymore.” http://www.nzzDOTch/aktuell/startseite/klimapolitik-verteilt-das-weltvermoegen-neu-1.8373227

        • 2Jan2015 At a news conference [22Jan2015] in Brussels, Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of U.N.’s Framework be adopted Convention on Climate Change, admitted that the goal of environmental activists is not to save the world from ecological calamity but to destroy capitalism. “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for at least 150 years, since the Industrial Revolution,” she said . Referring to a new international treaty environmentalists hope will at the Paris climate change conference later this year, she added: “This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model for the first time in human history.”
          Investor’s Business Daily: http://news.investors DOTcom/ibd-editorials/021015-738779-climate-change-scare-tool-to-destroy-capitalism.htm#ixzz3RXh5Tujn

    • OK good people, let’s say this again, S-L-O-W-L-Y:

      CO2 IS NOT THE CONTROL KNOB OF GLOBAL CLIMATE!

      This hypothesis is demonstrated to be false:

      1) If increasing atmospheric CO2 has any significant effect on global warming, it is minor and net-beneficial – when we attribute ALL warming to increasing CO2 we obtain this incontrovertible result.

      2) The only evidence in the ice core record AND in the modern data record is that CO2 trends lag global temperature trends – it’s a bit complicated, but rest assured that the future cannot cause the past.

    • This paper should be considered some proof that not only is CO2 a minor component to whatever the equation is for earth’s climate, but it should shed some light on that whatever causes either warming or cooling, CO2’s contribution is a minor one.

      The statement (grammar corrected), “… and found that the closure of the Baring Strait caused the subarctic North Pacific to become stratified during this period of glaciation.

      This stratification, they argue, would have removed CO2 from the atmosphere and caused global cooling.”

      Here is the overt obvious problem. If the cooling was causing the closing of the Baring Strait and subsequently, CO2 was sequestered, then it was not the closing of the Baring Strait and the subsequent sequestering of the CO2 that was causing the cooling. So, something else must have been causing the cooling, not the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere.

      Granted, they may be arguing that the cooling was extended by this effect. Yet they offer no explanation of why the cooling was occurring in the first place, and actually argue that it could not have been from orbital causes.

      So, something other than CO2, and orbital changes caused the earth to cool during this period.

      What was it?

        • They had a vote!
          Dr. Einstein, here are 1000 German scientists who reject your “Jewish science”.
          Dr. Galileo, the science is settled! The College of Cardinals set up a committee and voted!

        • ‘It’s settled science.’

          Even though they reckon they’ve discovered something new about the planet? These plant food obsessives don’t do irony well.

      • No Richard, the agw dogma holds that there is only one prime suspect in the role of puppet master of the climate, pulling ALL the strings, and that is manmade CO2 emissions.

        Al Gore descended from The Hill and presented the digital tablet of peer-reviewed climate consensus called ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ which instructed all Gaia’s children in following the (numerous) climate commandments, the chief one of which is that Thou Shalt Deliver Unto The UN A Tithe In The Amount Of $100 Billion Per Annum.

        • “No Richard, the agw dogma holds that there is only one prime suspect in the role of puppet master of the climate, pulling ALL the strings, and that is manmade CO2 emissions.”

          No, Mr., this is what you’ve been led to believe by those who wish to fool their followers. There is no such “agw dogma.”

        • Papers like this one are the reasons for it, Kristi. Mind boggling how you can dismiss evidence that is right in front of you.

      • Kristi if CO2 is not the control knob, why is all the civilization- destroying expenditures of Trillions to be spent. We HAVE been told it is CO2! A little late to be telling us its shifted away from this importance. And when they shift it somewhere else will you be jumping in with such certainty to defend the emendment? Com’on kristi, you know yours and Richards waffle is a walkback.

    • Salute!

      I guess there’s no heat/cool transfer from the water itself, huh?
      But since more of the evil gas is absorbed in colder water, then….then… more released in warm water … then…then…. yeah, that’s the ticket!
      Less of the evil gas and less greenhouse effect and we get continental glaciers. When the water warms we get rising columns of warm water that release the gas and we get warmer I like it.

      Gums sends…

    • Latitude

      I was struggling for an expression as effective as yours but mine were unpublishable.

      When this water upwells to the surface, some of the CO2 is released. This is thought to be an important process in geological time, causing some of the global warming that followed past glaciations.

      FFS!

      • They are talking about such a small area of “ocean”….even if what they think did happen…it would have made no difference

  1. Do they find a real and believable cause for a change in climate….. And then they blame it all on CO2 once again!

    Another crock.

  2. “global climate shift” as defined how, on what basis, and by who, I wonder? Seems more than a little subjective to me.

    • The shift from 40 Kyr cycles to 110 Kyr glacial cycles has been an on-going question. Many proposed answers. This just adds one more to the list.

  3. My explanation of their explanation:

    Climatist’s linear thinking frequently is confounded in our non-linear physical world.

  4. Every time some new study comes out naming CO2 as the cause for ANY climate change, my eyes glaze over. For Pete’s sake, a single CO2 molecule per 10,000 other gas molecules cannot ‘control’ anything. Logic says that. It’s time to start using logic, and perform studies that determine causes of things, rather than going in with the answer (CO2), then writing the study to back up the (wrong) assumption.

    • John, I usually jump in here and point out that a single molecule of CO2 per 10,000 (it’s actually ~one per 2500 but even granting your point) this ‘meagre’ amount is capable of generating and sustaining the mighty biosphere, the most visible and distinguishing characteristic of the planet! So please dig deeper to discredit this heavy lifter! It makes sceptics look bad to argue how puny it is.

      • Gaey Pearce, yor argument is not persuasive. If you increase CO2 from 300 to 400 ppm you have increased the atmosphericc portion by .01% but from a plant’s perspective you have increased its food source by 33%.

        • Gary Pearse is correct. There is in fact a CO2 effect, which has been shown to be logarithmic. He is not saying it is a control knob however, there is some affect in that CO2 slows the lapse rate of energy leaving our system as the molecule bends while it holds on and then releases the energy of specific wavelengths.

      • Gary. When lifting heavy goods its always important to bend your knees! The ratio of one in ten thousand of C02 applies to the anthropogenic component. Not complicated. Keep up the lifting but open your eyes. Eoin

        • Old man, Eoin, Gents Im one of the more stalwart sceptics here but look at the logic! If you are arguing how puny the molecule is, my point is obvious. That 0.01% more greened the planet by more than 15% and growing. Tell me you ate not amazed at the heavy lift. It is the real number 1 wonder of the world.

          Now if your argument is it is not a greenhouse gas, say so. You will be in a small minority of scientifically literate sceptics.

          • Gary … I”ll give you the heavy lifting …. giving you credit that CO2 is an amazing molecule. Using your own reasoning, CO2 induced global greening vs Global Warming. Given that both mechanisms are allegedly “global”, when you compare the “MAPS” of the two phenomenon, you will find that CO2 does indeed “green” the globe. It greens existing plant life everywhere, and expands plant life into areas where there is none. In contrast, you will not find a similar map for Global Warming. Practically ALL of the global warming is in the Arctic.

            As such, it is supported by the evidence that the mechanism for Global Greening, ie., CO2 Fertilization is of sufficient importance that it has an impact Globally. In contrast, the evidence suggests that the mechanism for CO2 induced Global Warming is NOT sufficient to significantly contribute to increased temperature on a global scale.

            As far as this paper goes, it is consistent with the above. The paper states that Glaciation results in the BS to be closed …. i.e., global cooling CAUSES the BS to close, which in turn results in a minor sequestration of CO2 into in subarctic waters. It is not lost on intelligent readers that it was Global Cooling that caused the decrease in CO2, not the other way around. And as previously noted by others, this is consistent in ALL CO2 temp relationships.

            The correct order of things is: Temp > CO2 > Greening.
            The incorrect order of things is: CO2 > Temp and Greening.

            The real data don’t lie.

          • Gary Pearse: “Now if your argument is it [CO2] is not a greenhouse gas, say so. You will be in a small minority of scientifically literate sceptics.”

            Is that a subtle appeal to authority? You seem to imply that the vast majority of ‘scientifically literate sceptics’ would argue that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Therefore we should all believe in a ‘greenhouse gas’ property that can’t be measured. You’ll likely respond that it has been measured, somehow, somewhere. But it’s not being measured now, why is that? It hasn’t been measured on Mars where the atmosphere is 95% CO2, why is that?

            I want to see charts of various locations. We can compare the barometric pressures from various locations because we measure it at various locations. Now, I want to compare the measurements of this ‘greenhouse gas’ property between Miami, Florida and Denver, Colorado. There’s a mile of Earth’s most dense atmosphere differentiating these two locations. Miami must be receiving much more ‘greenhouse gas’ since there’s more atmosphere above it. But I can’t compare these charts, because there are no charts! I want to form an answer as to why Miami has never recorded a 100F temperature while Denver typically has several per year.

            If it can’t be measured, how do you know it exists?

    • John,
      Here is a simple question? Would you be prepared to ingest one molecule of botulinum toxin per
      10000 by bodyweight? Surely if one molecule per 10, 000 can’t have an effect on climate one molecule
      per 10000 can’t be lethal? Alternatively if you accept that botulinum toxin is lethal at levels of one part in 10^12 then other molecules can have similarly large effects at concentrations a billion times higher.

        • Mariano, I see no reason to slander a whole group of people in order to make a point.

          Would we tolerate the comment if Islamic was replaced with Jew or Italian?

          Mods?

        • The Navy controls CO2 air concentration to approx. 4000 ppm in their nuclear subs without any effect on crew performance. It does slow down the burn rate if a fire breaks out…

      • Carbon Dioxide is not a toxin except in high concentrations. 1 molecule per 10,000, or 400 per- are not high concentrations.

        • No, but the air in your lungs varies between about 15,000 and 50,000 ppm CO, and we haven’t managed to poison ourselves yet…..

    • John:
      You have the classic misconception of the GHE in the atmosphere.
      Should the concentration of CO2 rise 1ppm, as you say 1 v 10000 molecules.
      Then how many of them would you think a single photon of LWIR strike on it’s exit to space?
      More pertinently to a height of ~8km (-18C level) where we find the Earth’s effective radiative cooling level.
      And when it does it will emit said LWIR and a higher, colder and much less efficient way to space.
      It is the PATH LENGTH that matters not absolute concentration.
      Now we’ve added an extra 40%+ since pre-industrial times and that’s a LOT of extra molecules that are able to absorb and attenuate the Earth’s cooling to space.
      Sorry but this is empirical radiative science and with which our military entrust certain airborne defence mechanisms.
      It’s been know of since Tyndall and Arrhenius going back to 1859.
      And here is an experiment that observed the effect for 10 years ….

      https://phys.org/news/2015-02-carbon-dioxide-greenhouse-effect.html

      Meanwhile folks here often trumpet the “magic” molecule for “greening” the planet.
      So it’s “magical” enough to do that (a surface effect), but not cause ~1C in planetary warming since 1880? (sarc)
      I’d say that that is a selective use of the word “magical”, and only used by those that are ignorant of the (empirical) science.

      • The problem with your theory is that we had very little industrial production of CO2 in 1880. Coal was being used, but on a tiny scale compared to 100 years later. There was no oil industry. No natural gas industry. Even the IPCC can’t find enough CO2 production by humans to have an effect on the climate, until after 1950. But there was warming. It was caused by “natural variations in the climate”. And there is a mountain of evidence to show that natural variations have occurred in the past. They are occurring in the present, and will occur in the future. And it is a logical game of Twister to blame them on CO2 now, but not then.
        Why doesn’t the temperature of the Earth go up in lock-step with the increase in CO2?
        The models show no reasons for multi-decade temperature variations. There was no reason for warmth in the first half of the twentieth century. No reason for cooling from 1950-1980. No reason for a pause in warming this century.
        Water vapor is the primary GHG. And it is ubiquitous on this planet, except in the deserts and the polar regions. And they are seeing a slightly warmer low temperature. Hardly the Apocalypse the Prophets of Doom, were predicting.
        The tipping point did not tip. Nor will it ever tip. This has been an effort by the UN to secure a method of cash-flow to entrench their political power, so they would not have to be dependent on donations from member nations. It morphed like a metastatic cancer into academia and government research, which also is fond of secure cash flows for hired gun research. And the Leftists who were exposed by the failure of the USSR, jumped on board because a global government could crush freedom, better than Marxist countries competing with free countries ever could.
        The problem is the oceans don’t care whether you get your grants or not. And they have the final say in whether a longer PATH LENGTH leads to chaos. So far they are laughing at your puny intellectual masturbation, data manipulations, and excuse construction when measurements do not jive with model projections. And the oceans have a long history of laughing at fools that think they are Masters of the Earth.

  5. Was there a drop in CO2 levels when everyone was worrying about global cooling back in the 70’s?

    Let me know when CO2 can start mowing my lawn.

  6. So what caused the glaciation of the Bearing Sea in the first place.
    Sounds like another jump to a conclusion.

    • mikebartnz

      This is easy to explain. The cause is the effect afterwards created. It is a self-exciting generator, a climatic Lodestone, attracting, then aligning, the minds of (especially) men.

      It requires an absurdly high equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) to CO2 but that never moderated any speculations to date, so why stop now.

      They have to argue this very carefully. If they say it is too sensitive to CO2, they will propose a scenario in which runaway temperature rise and fall is inevitable, something contradicted by research evidence. If they propose it is too low, such a small perturbing region cannot influence the planet. Alternatively, they might accidently show that the current rise in CO2 is largely caused by deep ocean water rising to the surface. These are all scary possibilities – in the sense they would undermine the cherished position of humans in control of the weather, as they undoubtedly were in the 1620’s via incantations and spells.

  7. So, if one can’t find any “apparent changes in the orbit cycles” climate shifts at other times have to be a result of changes in CO2 levels? There’s nothing else to consider? These guys have no imagination!

  8. This is a strange study, in that it proposes that a glacial period is made COLDER by the lowering of CO2. Note that the text describes the closure of the Bering Strait. Only 2’ways to do that…lowered sea level or ice dam, or both simultaneously.

    I wish there was a link to the actual report, to know what they determined. Maybe I can find it.

  9. The Trudeau liberal government in Canada is imposing a carbon tax in a couple of days. The control knob will be turned down, Trudeau saving the world. Ought to be worth a noble peace prize, what ever that is worth these days.

    • The Nobel Peace Prize continues to have monetary worth, but long ago deteriorated in worth associated with accomplishments that advanced science or improve human existence on Earth.

      The decline in the prestige of the Nobel Peace Prize awards began with the co-award to Henry Kissinger in 1973, continued with the co-award to Yasser Arafat in 1994, and accelerated downward with co-awards awards to Al Gore and the IPCC in 2007 and the single award to Barack Obama in 2009.

      You know, I’ll never forget that Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize for his great work in . . . uhhh . . . wait a minute, it will come to me . . . for . . . uhhh . . . was it community organizing, no, that wasn’t it . . . for . . . errr . . .

  10. Clogging the Bering Strait might have caused a temporal stratification and a kind of temporal lid. But then it sees that quite a lot of woodo hydrography has to be operating to support the conclusions in the paper. Freesing ice on the Bering shelf would send some cold high saline water to the depths and the sinking cold water from the Nort Atlantic and around Antarctica would still go on and make great pushes for upwelling elsewhere in the North Pacific. Just need to have that occurring south of the shelf and the spread, probably quite some water masses along the American continent due to Coriolis (Earths rotation) and thus ample options for degassing CO2 as the water gets warmer on its way to the south. Should check out for the fossil record along the expected pathways of these anticipated currents.

  11. The main trick of attribution of all historic climate change to CO2 is a simple inversion of cause and effect. Due to ocean gas solubility and temperature, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere follows changes in global temperature with a time delay. This is fudged and twisted into CO2 causation.

    The historian Anthony Beevor identified inversion of cause and effect as a general propaganda strategy used by violent totalitarian regimes such as the Third Reich. To quote:

    To prove the so-called inferiority of the conquered nations, Hitler inverted, in a characteristic move, cause and effect. He began a ruthless policy of terror, starving the captured people, humiliating them, killing them, and imprisoning them in labor and concentration camps. This mistreatment dehumanized the victims, often reducing them to animal-like behavior in their hopeless struggle to survive. Hitler then launched a propaganda campaign that “demonstrated” the behavior of the conquered people was abject and animalistic, to prove that they were inferior to the “civilized” German race.

    The WWII historian Antony Beevor documents in his magnificent book, The Second World War (New York, Little, Brown & Company, 2012) that, following Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union, “By February 1942, 60 percent of the 3.5 million Red Army prisoners had died of starvation, exposure or disease” (418). A quarter of the population of Belarus perished due to the Germans’ savage oppression.

    (Sorry Godwin – again!)

  12. Assuming this logic is correct we can conclude that CO2 flows are completely unknowable, that long ago.

    They have looked at the Bering Sea. But what about the lakes formed by mudflats that disappeared within a few thousand years?
    Or the inland seas caused by rainfall in a catchment area that suddenly spit in half and drained as expected after a mere half millennium?

    If CO2 works as this paper assumes then we cannot draw any conclusions for any hypothesis as the action of CO2 would be more variable than the resolution of the measurements.

  13. [[Today much of the cold water produced by sea ice action flows northward into the Arctic Ocean through the Bering Strait. As glaciers grew and sea levels fell around 1 million years ago, the Bering Strait would have closed, retaining colder water within the Bering Sea.]]

    I think he meant “Southward from” rather than “northward into]]

  14. Milankovitch driven glacial-interglacial cycling over the last 2-3 million years represents “flicker”. This is a chaotic phenomenon occurring at the transition of a system from one state / attractor to another. On a scale of tens of millions of years Earth is moving into a long deep glaciation similar to the preCambrian ones such as the Cryogenian and Marinoan or Sturtian.

    Here’s a paper that describes flicker during state transition:

    Flickering as an early warning signal

    Dakos V, van Nes EH, Scheffer M. Flickering as an early warning signal. Theoretical Ecology. 2013 Aug 1;6(3):309-17.

    Abstract

    Most work on generic early warning signals for critical transitions focuses on indicators of the phenomenon of critical slowing down that precedes a range of catastroph- ic bifurcation points. However, in highly stochastic environ- ments, systems will tend to shift to alternative basins of attraction already far from such bifurcation points. In fact, strong perturbations (noise) may cause the system to “flick- er” between the basins of attraction of the system’s alterna- tive states. As a result, under such noisy conditions, critical slowing down is not relevant, and one would expect its related generic leading indicators to fail, signaling an impending transition. Here, we systematically explore how flickering may be detected and interpreted as a signal of an emerging alternative attractor. We show that—although the two mechanisms differ—flickering may often be reflected in rising variance, lag-1 autocorrelation and skewness in ways that resemble the effects of critical slowing down. In partic- ular, we demonstrate how the probability distribution of a flickering system can be used to map potential alternative attractors and their resilience. Thus, while flickering sys- tems differ in many ways from the classical image of critical transitions, changes in their dynamics may carry valuable information about upcoming major changes.

    • In the context of the Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycling being a “flicker” during transition from one state to another (non glacial to deep glacial), the MPT just represents a slowing down of the flicker near the completion or stabilisation of the state change.

      So there may not be many more interglacials before the flickering ends and stable permanent deep glaciation holds for several tens or hundreds of million years.

      • And as the world’s plants die from lack of CO2 and all life starts to perish, the alarmists will still be saying “Raise the tax on `emissions’!”

  15. To put some numbers on this absurdity –
    The annual heat flux through the Bering Straight is calculated to be as high as 6E20J (for 2007 and 2011). That equates to 1.3W/sq.m over the entire Arctic Ocean. Recent heat input has been somewhat lower and is consistent with more sea ice.

    With atmospheric CO2 levels now at 408ppm the ARGO data for the first decade of the 21st century showed global thermal imbalance averaged MINUS 0.2W/sq.m.

    Shutting down the Bering straight removes 1.3W/sq.m over the entire Arctic ocean while removing CO2 from the atmosphere would cause heating. Which is the more plausible cause of glaciation.

    • The way that the CAGW faithful explain it is that your paleoclimate CO2 data is incorrect. We should be able to model the CO2 levels based on the fact that there was glaciation. Obviously, the models will show that we had a drop in CO2 leading to glaciation and then since the ice melted, we had a rise in CO2. There never was a conundrum after all. And the same process will eliminate pesky data errors such as the so-called medieval warm period, or theories that it was warmer in the 1930s.

      Settled science. No need of data!

  16. From the text above,”While the causes of the MPT are not fully known, one of the most prominent theories suggests it may have been driven by reductions in glacial CO2 emissions.”

    These words are too definite. It is not a ‘theory’, it is but a few ideas in the early formation of a hypothesis to be tested if it looks worthwhile. Before it becomes a theory, there are many factors to be investigated, understood, placed into context. A simple example is the stability of the remains of the foraminifera and their present ability to reflect earlier conditions.
    However, the main concern I have is the forever unsettling one, where is the evidence of the ability of atmospheric CO2 to change the global or local climate, that unproven old assumption that is routinely swept under the carpet as the excitement of the moment closes the eyes of modern authors to this major, fundamental, scientific deficiency.
    The present paper seems even to suggest CO2 cooled the surroundings. Apart from the lack of a climate sensitivity figure, apart from the width of the range of official ECS values in the IPCC AR5, we do not seem even to have settled on the sign of the climate sensitivity in cold places.
    Geoff.

  17. It’s the University of Exeter folks.

    They were last published here some months ago with equally absurd claims.

    The city has a magic Rugby team though.

  18. What this proves is that any weasel worded idea, coulda, woulda, shoulda, can get published, and probably paid grant money, if it starts with the assumption of a co2 control knob. Very stupid at its core.

  19. Earth’s orbital cycles certainly did occur prior to ~1 Myr ago. And, the presented graphs of 18O/16O clearly are cyclical. It is the specific timing of those early cycles that cannot be accurately calculated, because of subtle drifts in orbital parameters. Changing solar insolation at 65N latitude most likely still played a major role in these temperature cycles, which well may have been enhanced (or repressed) by secondary effects such as north Pacific stratification.

  20. Any graphs ive seen have co2 lagging temperature shift.

    co2 is the climate passenger not the driver.

    neep neep.

  21. Magic rugby, magic molecule, perhaps there is a connection ?
    Just need to write up a proposal for serious funding
    Way to go, HotScot I think you are onto something there.

  22. Another lesson on how to get something/anything peer reviewed and published and most likely either paid for directly or through a grant.

  23. There doesn’t need to be any specific cause of the MPT. It could simply have been an already existing threshold was slowly approached and passed.

    I would assume Javier would have some thoughts on this topic.

  24. “The subarctic North Pacific is composed of some of the oldest water on Earth, which has been separated from the atmosphere for such a long time that a high concentration of dissolved CO2 has built up at depth.” How does this layer of water build up CO2 in the first place? If it is stratified, then CO2 would have to diffuse downward through several hundred meters of water or more to get to it. That is too slow. If cold water is absorbing CO2 and then sinking, water somewhere else must rise. Looking at some measurements of total CO2 (dissolved CO2 and bicarbonate ion) for the North Pacific, the maximum concentration occurs near 1 km depth, and drops a bit as the depth increases. Pretty clear that CO2 sources from the bottom are not significant. Therefore, the CO2 has to come from the atmosphere, but if the layer has been sequestered, how did it get there? I don’t see that their mechanism for this proposed layer of CO2-rich water is feasible.

  25. The Bering Strait is only 100m deep! All these glacial maximums stop the flow from the Bering Strait, so the conditions they describe occur every cycle. The Atlantic side with no barriers provides most of the circulation of water in and out of the Arctic. They’ve juggled a few kilos of mud and globagerina ooze that they didn’t understand and solved a riddle of the ages! There are a literally thousands of papers a decade that report colossal advances in this nutty science.

    • As long as they support co2 as a control knob they get past peer review, get financial support and get published. What a travesty!

    • So, if the globe starts to warm dangerously, wouldn’t a man-made barrier across the Bering Strait be more feasible than trying to control the CO2 “knob” using tax and subsidy schemes across a hundred + economies?

      We could hire the Dutch to do it.

      • +100! Actually the idea of getting rid of CO2 at $100s of trillions instead of a thoughtful cheap method as you note is a measure of the terminal linear thinking of the climate sci arithemeticians. Im sure other clever solutions could be found if needs be.

  26. RE: “….and found that the closure of the Baring (sic) Strait caused the subarctic North Pacific became stratified during this period of glaciation.”

    The shallow Bering Strait did not ‘close’. The ocean level dropped sufficiently to expose the strait floor and make volume transfer of ocean waters across it impossible until sufficient glacial melting occurred during the the next interglacial warming period.

  27. Missing from this summary is discussion of a significant body of data in the historic record that CO2 lags, rather than leads temperature over the years. It would seem that the data must have sufficient resolution to determine that, since so much other profound analysis was concluded.

  28. Every day I say a little prayer that hopes CO2 causes a little warming. Because in the long term scheme of things we are on our way to CO2 starvation as is evidenced by the glaciations since the beginning of the Pleistocene. The Earth’s core has also cooled somewhat since earlier glaciations hundreds of millions of years ago, so hoping for long term vulcanism is less of a probability to rescue the good Earth with CO2 for dependent life and from a permanent deep freeze.

    We should be worshiping the life giving invisible magic molecule, not demonizing it and blaming it for everything that goes wrong with the weather. But of course, the truth is often ironic. CO2 is being crucified on the humanistic alter by a delinquent academia, so those priests can have their way with our political and economic institutions. It is really no different than the ancient priests (take your pick) of sacrificing the ‘prisoners’ to the gods, so as to ensure a bountiful harvest. Same crap!

  29. What I find most telling is that the majority of the comments here simply reject the research because it doesn’t align with a narrative. It doesn’t matter how well the research is done (since most don’t take the time to read the actual research paper), it is simply wrong. It’s used as another excuse to ridicule and condemn scientists or anyone who thinks that CO2 has an effect of climate – much less anthropogenic CO2.

    Even worse are those who reject science because scientists habitually use words like “could,” “might,” etc. This is a function of the the fundamental nature of science: it does not claim to “prove,” but always leaves room for debate and improvement. It is a strength, not a weakness. It’s like filling out a difficult crossword puzzle, knowing that some of the answers are provisional until verified by more evidence – the answers fit, and are most likely correct, but it’s always possible that a different answer is needed to complete the whole.

    Evidently such dismissive people don’t care what scientific research reveals, so how can they possibly take any rational, science-based stance? If they never fill in a square because they assume the answer is wrong, they will never complete the puzzle. It’s as if any word with C and O in it is deemed blasphemous. It’s nothing but ideology. It reflects poorly on skepticism in general when those skeptics who do try to form intelligent, informed opinions don’t take such knee-jerk reactions to task.

    • I find it quite telling that you seem unable to confront the possibility that CO2 could/might have little or nothing to do with climate. What does your ‘narrative’ say about ‘the Medieval Warm Period’, or the ‘1940’s blip’ which had to be erased in order for the CO2 warming theory to survive?
      Could/might there be a little ‘projection’ going on here?

    • Silber
      I ‘could’ win the lottery is a statement of faith. However, the probability that I will win is more like real science.

    • Projection much, kristi?

      We took deep sediment cores from the bottom of the Bering Sea that gave us an archive of the history of the region. By studying the chemistry of sediment and fossil shells from marine protists called foraminifera, we reconstructed plankton productivity, and surface and bottom water masses. We were also able to better date the sediments so that we could compare changes in the Bering Sea to other global changes at that time.

      “We discovered that the Bering Sea region became more stratified during the MPT with an expanded intermediate-depth watermass…”

      That part appears to have been exemplary research, well thought out, hopefully well executed, but after that they really jumped the rails. So tell me, who’s reading papers and trying to figure this out, and who’s clinging to “…the narrative…”

    • Looked at the paper and found plenty of speculation, anecdotal evidence and more than a few assumptions which lead to a highly speculative hypothesis which sometime next century will be tested. Did I miss anything Kristi?

    • I should add Kristi as speculative as this paper may be it pales into significance to what hard science can do … if I may offer this gem

      https://phys.org/news/2018-12-universe-extra-dimension.html

      Hey its a new model built around a new dimension so that makes 12 as string theory already has 11 … things always come in dozens.

      It’s fantastic science built on the time honoured technique that you just have to stake enough wild guesses out there in an effort to try and snag a Nobel prize. Besides publish or perish is always a driver.

    • Kristi, the Strait is only 100m deep and sea level drops more than that during glaciations. This means the conditions they describe occur every time not just a one off.

      Yes we have our share of unthinking contrarians, but picking holes in research and conclusions is the sceptics job. It used to be, believe it or not, that the scientist was supposed to embody the scepticism. The free-for-all of onesided clisci and the terrible plans the policy wonks have for us is why sceptics outside the direct ‘discipline’ if I can call it that under the circumstances, were drawn in to fill a terrible void. What efforts dissenting clisci types could mount were stymied by gatekeeping, pressuring of editors out of a job if they published dissenters, blackballing journals that didnt toe the line, fire scientists who don’t go along…

      Essentially this resulted in outsourcing of scepticism and its effectiveness (Im sure you will agree there is a lot of talent interspersed in the noise) gave rise to its becoming a perjorative label – never before this. If the measily number of them (3%? – thinking of dissidents in the Soviet U it seems about right) with mostly no funding at all can be so disrupting, it means there must be something a little bit “…rotten in Denmark”. If the theory is sound, it shouldnt need such pampering.

      Tell me kristi, you must be a little bit sceptical of some of it. You must be a little bit disappointed in some of the unseemly stuff of gatekeeping, firings, moving goal posts, blacklisting journals failed predictions which are measure of the uncertainty and the quality of the theory.

      Above, you argued, despite the trillions of dollars to be spent to erase CO2 emissions with its destruction of civilization, iron control on citizens of a centrally planned set up, that “they” arent saying CO2 is essentially the climate control knob? This my friend is either a walkback or a shift in goalposts. Are you okay with this?

      BTW, I am a geologist and engineer and even studied paleoclimate in my courses back when well over 99% of people had bever never heard of it

    • kristi silber

      This is a function of the the fundamental nature of science: it does not claim to “prove,” but always leaves room for debate and improvement. It is a strength, not a weakness.

      So why is the “science settled” then?

  30. When the Isthmus of Panama volcanically sealed the two continents together, world ocean circulation had to dramatically change, and the climate with it. When the Bering Strait opens up, northern hemisphere ocean circulation changes and the climate with it. When the Strait of Gibralter opened up and created the Mediterranean Sea, world climate would have changed. When the Bosporus Strait opened up and created the Black Sea, regional climate would have changed.

  31. But the reality is that, despite the hype, there is no real evidence that CO2 has any effect on climate. There is plenty of scientific rationale to support the idea that the climate sensitivity of CO2 is zero. Cooler temperatures cause more CO2 to be absorbed by the oceans but there is no real evidence that a decrease in CO2 causes cooling. The greenhouse gas theory of climate change depends upon the existence of a radiant greenhouse effect in the Earth’s atmosphere caused by trace gases with LWIR absorption bands. Such a radiant greenhouse effect has not been observed in a real greenhouse, in the Earth’s atmosphere, or anywhere else in the solar system. The radiant greenhouse effect is science fiction so hence the greenhouse gas theory of climate change is science fiction as well. So the so called research that we are talking about i nothing but science fiction.

  32. When climate research funding depends upon supporting the CO2 hypothesis, expect studies to highlight some link between climate change and CO2.

  33. …causing CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. This would, they suggest, have caused global cooling.”

    CO2 is not, and never has been, the Earth’s temperature control knob! Yes CO2 is a greenhouse gas, but it’s effects reached near-saturation at levels below that necessary to keep plants alive! In an atmosphere with living things, fuhgeddaboudit!!! That was enough reading of the press release on this insipid research!!! If that was paid for by tax dollars, I want my money back!

  34. At least they acknowledge that we live in an ongoing Ice Age which got somewhat colder. This fetish for CO2 as an answer to everything is troubling. When will we get past the urge to include “CO2” in order to get published or to get funding? And how long will it take to purge the bias from the literature of the selfishness which drove this topic?

    On virtually every time scale, CO2 and temperature only have an occasional, accidental correlation. On the one with a strong correlation (Al Gore’s infamous graph, for example), it’s temperature that’s driving CO2 into and out of the oceans. If anything, CO2 is the beat-up wimp that gets blamed for the fake “bad” and forgotten for all the good.

  35. More to the point who in government decides what t line of research will or will not get a government grant ?

    Pres. Trump could instruct the various government departments to not make such grants if the subject matter includes the word CO2. Assuming of course that he does control them ?

    MJE

  36. Bering Sea circulation is going to change northern hemisphere storms and rainfall immediately. CO2 playing a role is theoretical compared to changing ocean circulation along the polar vortex route. Perhaps even the formation of low pressure centers in and just to the SE of the strait is affected by that circulation.

  37. One of the best proofs that CO2 does not regulate ice age temperatures, is that fact that all interglacials are linked to rises of Milankovitch insolation in the NORTHERN hemisphere.

    If a global feedback like CO2 was assisting temperature rises, then we would have interglacials occurring on both northern and southern Milankovitch maxima. But we don’t – they only occur on northern maxima.

    Why? Because the true feedback agent is albedo. And all the continents, and therefore the ice sheets, and therefore the albedo changes, are all in the northern hemisphere.

    Ralph

  38. There was no climatic shift at the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, for the simple reason that there was no Mid-Pleistocene Transition. It doesn’t exist. It is an artificial division humans have invented in a very long cooling process because we don’t understand well the determinants of interglacials. It is just a human marker for our limited knowledge. No climate change took place at the time between before and after. Most climatology is just bad science.

  39. “While the causes of the MPT are not fully known, one of the most prominent theories suggests it may have been driven by reductions in glacial CO2 emissions.”

    I consider myself knowledgeable about Quaternary Geology, but I have never come across this “prminent theory”.

    And blaming closure of the Bering Strait for the MPT won’t work. The strait is only about 50 meters deep, so it has closed during every glacial cycle, of which there was about 40 before the MPT. As a matter of fact there has been fairly intensive two-way traffic by land animals across all throught the Pleistocene as is well known by paleontologists.

    If there really was a oceanographical change in the North Pacific at the MPT, it must have had other reasons. I wonder if they considered the possibility that it might be due to the longer and more intense glacial cycles? After all they had considerable effects in other ocean basins.

  40. Should we give these blokes a tip.

    During an ice age, with all that water locked up, guess what. No where as much water vapour in the air.

    You know water vapour, the main greenhouse gas of the planet.

  41. To all you climate experts, from a layman who wants to understand:
    I have been following this for quite some time now, and reviewed many studies on CO2’s alleged “effect” on surface temps. This may be a bit off topic for the post but does speak directly to the ‘control knob’ claim of the alarmists. Three studies, spanning 20+ years using some of the same data (ARM/AERI overlapping) that seems to me to show unequivocally that…

    2006, Dong et al,
    ““For example, using the Stefan-Boltzmann equation indicates that an annual increase of 0.04°C air temperature each year corresponds to an increase of 0.4 Wm−2 per year in upward LW upward surface emission. However, the measured change is a decrease of 0.26 Wm−2 per year as shown in Figure 2e…Cloud fraction is the dominant modulator for determining insolation on the surface, nevertheless cloud‐base height (temperature) is more important for downwelling LW flux. This study has shown that the all‐sky insolation increases from January 1997 to December 2000 and decreases from January 2001 to December 2004, which mirrors the variation of CF.”
    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1029/2006GL027132

    2010, Gero et al,
    “The AERI data record demonstrates that the downwelling infrared radiance is decreasing over this 14-yr period in the winter, summer, and autumn seasons but it is increasing in the spring; these trends are statistically significant and are primarily due to long-term change in the cloudiness above the site.”
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14240

    2015, Feldman et al,
    “These results confirm theoretical predictions of the atmospheric greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic emissions, and provide empirical evidence of how rising CO2 levels, mediated by temporal variations due to photosynthesis and respiration, are affecting the surface energy balance.”
    https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14240

    I include the Feldman “study” quote because it is ‘classical’: he asserts, “…are affecting the surface energy balance.” of 22 ppm CO2 increase “…approximately ten per cent of the trend in downwelling longwave radiation.” Yet fails to report that at both sites the temperature trends were either 0C/dec (SGP site) or negative -1.3C/dec. (NSA site) for length of the study and beyond, as shown on NOAA ‘Climate At A Glance’ tool.

    …CO2 increase effects are swamped by PWV (clouds): emergent phenomena as some (Willis?) have shown.

    What am I missing here? BTW, if the ARM’AERI are the most reliable source for measuring the direct influence of IR and CO2 effects, and they have globally distributed sites available to do a comprehensive study of this GHG “effect”; why hasn’t one been executed? The biggest criticism of Gero was “spatial confinement”: two sites. Interesting that when Feldman made his disingenuous claims none of the alarmists made the same claim: instead it was pranced out to the MSM (NBC) as though something “new and shiny” had been accomplished. (UGH – upsets my stomach just to think about it).
    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/climate-change-scientists-witness-greenhouse-effect-action-n312811

    I would be interested to know if my suspicions are correct: do these studies show what I think they do? Proof that CO2’s role is insignificant when compared to PWV?

    All the Best!
    GSK

  42. I am 92 . when i was born there were only 2 billion plus or minus of us on the earth. today there are now 7 billion three hundred million. that is close to a 4 times the people of only 92 years ago. think of the growth in food production that has taken. that is both in land, water, technology and a warm climate! Climate change has always been with us. either warmer or colder. Obviously it has been warmer. what if we are shifting to colder?!. there will be a growing shortage of food. we will have wars, people fighting for food. how soon? who knows!?!.

  43. Is there a mathematical analysis of how CO2 content in the atmosphere influences temperature? I have never read any article that considers mathematical constraints on the magnitude of possible effects of CO2 content on temperature. Should the concept of entropy and physical phenomenon such as magnetic fields or other considerations be part of the analysis? What are the constraints?

  44. I am not a scientist, can someone tell me precisely what is the insulating factor for CO2 in the atmosphere at the pressure which air is found in the upper atmosphere?

  45. From the above article: “These cycles can be influenced by a host of factors that can amplify their effect. One of which is CO2 levels in the atmosphere.”

    Demonstrably unproven.

    Correlation does not equal causation.

    The preponderance of paleoclimatology data shows the global warming precedes increasing atmospheric CO2 levels.

  46. Change in temperature has clearly preceeded change in CO2 in Antarctic ice cores extending back 800kyr, the majority of time since the MPT. Why would CO2 drive the transition and nothing since? Benthic cores extending back nearly 5 million years agree with the ice cores about temperature precedence for the full 800kyr of overlap. The parsimonious presumption must be that temperature controlled CO2 right through the MPT.

    • “Why would CO2 drive the transition and nothing since? ”

      Because it happened before the oldest Antarctic ice-cores, and so cannot be disproved.

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