Middle Miocene Volcanism, Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change

Guest geology lesson by David Middleton

What’s wrong with the following paragraph?

In Late Jurassic-Early Cretaceous times, Gondwana was split apart, and as rift volcanism and sea-floor spreading developed, ocean temperatures rose and ocean waters were enriched with nutrient elements from volcanic outpourings (along mid-ocean ridges and continental margins or island arcs). Oxygen-isotope analyses of marine limestones have shown that 125-85 Ma was a time of severe global warming due to a rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations (mainly from increased volcanic activities). This is consistent with sequence stratigraphic evidence for sea-level maxima in mid-late Cretaceous times. Warm climate, high-stand seas and increases in the nitrogen-phosphorus-carbon contents of oceans, in turn, led to a profuse radiation of plankton populations – a key factor in the organic richness of marine sediments laid down during that period. Neo-Tethys most benefited from these events and the Middle East was in the right position at the right time.

Sorkhabi, 2010

The assumption that mid-late Cretaceous warmth and sea level rise were due to high atmospheric CO2 levels and that the high CO2 levels can be directly related to increased volcanic activity are what’s wrong with it. This is geology done bass-ackwards. It’s an unfortunate blemish on an otherwise outstanding article. And, unfortunately, I think it reflects a shift from Chamberlin’s Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses toward paradigm-driven geological thinking among many academic geoscientists.

“The present is the key to the past”

This basic principle of geology is often attributed to James Hutton, and forms the basis of uniformitarianism.

The past history of our globe must be explained by what can be seen to be happening now. No powers are to be employed that are not natural to the globe, no action to be admitted except those of which we know the principle.

James Hutton, 1785

While both of Dr. Sorkhabi’s assumptions reflect plausible cause and effect relationships, the certainty of the first assumption is based almost entirely on the postmodernist assumption that climate change has generally been driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over geologic time. It is an assumption based upon another assumption. This is the antithesis of how geology is supposed to work. Neither assumptions about the present, nor model-predictions about the future, constitute observations of geological processes.

While we do have observations of volcanic outgassing of carbon dioxide, evidence that carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse” gas and that, all other factors held equal, an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will modestly elevate the bulk temperature of the atmosphere, there is absolutely no evidence that it is capable of driving the degree of warming that occurred in the mid-late Cretaceous Period or any of the Cenozoic thermal maxima or climatic optima, primarily inferred from oxygen isotope chronologies.

Most current observation-derived estimates of the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide only put the transient climate response (TCR) in the 0.5 to 1.5 °C range and the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) in the 1.5 to 2.5 °C range, insufficient to have been a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate change.

Figure 1. “Relentlessly shrinking climate sensitivity estimates” JoNova
Figure 2. “Updated climate sensitivity estimates”. Nic Lewis, Climate, etc.

The second assumption, that the high CO2 levels can be directly related to increased volcanic activity during the mid-late Cretaceous Period, is not well-supported by any observations, present or past.

Figure 3. Oceanic crust production and carbon dioxide (older is toward the right).

The highest Cretaceous CO2 levels preceded the 125-115 Ma peak in volcanic activity by 15 million years.

Figure 4. Phanerozoic temperatures (pH-corrected) and carbon dioxide. The Miocene is the first epoch of the Neogene Period (Berner et al, 2001 and Royer et al., 2004) (older is toward the left).

The notion of Phanerozoic Eon climate change being driven by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels was generally scoffed at as recently as the 1970’s.

Suggestion that changing carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere could be a major factor in climate change dates from 1861, when it was proposed by British physicist John Tyndall.

[…]

Unfortunately we cannot estimate accurately changes of past CO2 content of either atmosphere or oceans, nor is there any firm quantitative basis for estimating the the magnitude of drop in carbon dioxide content necessary to trigger glaciation.  Moreover the entire concept of an atmospheric greenhouse effect is controversial, for the rate of ocean-atmosphere equalization is uncertain.

Dott & Batten, 1976

While a great deal of progress has been made since 1976 in estimating changes of past CO2 content, it is still not accurate enough to draw the conclusion that CO2 has been a major climate driver over the Phanerozoic Eon. Royer et al., 2004 employed a pH-corrected Phanerozoic temperature reconstruction to assert that CO2 was a major driver of Phanerozoic climate change.   The Royer temperature series was smoothed to a 10 million year sample interval matching Berner’s GeoCarb III,  thus facilitating crossplotting.

Figure 5. Phanerozoic CO2 vs temperature. Unlabeled x-axis is in millions of years before present (older is toward the right).

It yields a climate sensitivity of 1.28 °C per doubling of atmospheric CO2, very much inline with most recent, observation-derived, low climate sensitivities.  Royer’s pH corrections were derived from CO2; so it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that the correlation was so good (R² = 0.6701)… But the low climate sensitivity would seem to fall just a bit shy of “a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate.”

If we look at the mid-late Cretaceous period, we can see that the volcanism–>CO2 –>warming narrative doesn’t quite work. Even if the climate sensitivity is 1.28 °C per doubling of CO2… CO2 was declining during the 125-85 Ma “time of severe global warming” Dr. Sorkhabi associates with extremely prolific mid-late Cretaceous hydrocarbon source rocks.

Figure 6. Paleo CO2 estimates complied by Bill Illis (older is toward the right).

The Columbia River Flood Basalt Eruptions and the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum

Figure 7. Cenozoic stratigraphic column. (ICS Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy)

Flood basalt eruption sequences (also known as Large Igneous Provinces) are almost unimaginable in scale. Two of the most infamous are the Siberian Traps, associated with the worst mass extinction in the fossil record (Permian-Triassic) and the Deccan Traps, contemporaneous with the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction. “Traps” refers to “trap rock”, “a construction industry term used for dark-colored igneous rocks used to make crushed stone” (King). Basalt and its shallow intrusive variety, Diabase or Dolerite, is the most common type of trap rock.

It is very fortunate for the human race that Earth hasn’t delivered any major flood basalt eruption sequences since the mid-Miocene Period. Continental flood basalts are highly correlated with Phanerozoic mass extinction events.

Figure 8. “Extinction rate versus time (continuous line, blue field) (multiple-interval marine genera, modified from Sepkoski, 1996) compared with eruption ages of continental flood basalts (red columns). Three of the largest mass extinctions, the Permo-triassic, Triassic-Jurassic and the Cretaceous-Tertiary, correspond with the eruptions of the Siberian Traps, the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province, and the Deccan Traps, respectively. Three oceanic plateaus, the Caribbean (CP) Kerguelen (KP), and Ontong Java (OJP) are included. Modified after White and Saunders (2005).” Saunders & Reichow (older is toward the left).

I recently authored a WUWT post on the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum and its dubious relationship to the flood basalts of the North Atlantic Large Igneous Province. This post will focus on the most recent, and best preserved flood basalt sequence of the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) and the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum.

According to Kashbohm & Schoene (2018)…

Flood basalts, the largest volcanic events in Earth history, are thought to drive global environmental change because they can emit large volumes of CO2 and SO2 over short geologic time scales. Eruption of the Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG) has been linked to elevated atmospheric CO2 and global warming during the mid-Miocene climate optimum (MMCO) ~16 million years (Ma) ago. However, a causative relationship between volcanism and warming remains speculative, as the timing and tempo of CRBG eruptions is not well known. We use U-Pb geochronology on zircon-bearing volcanic ash beds intercalated within the basalt stratigraphy to build a high-resolution CRBG eruption record. Our data set shows that more than 95% of the CRBG erupted between 16.7 and 15.9 Ma, twice as fast as previous estimates. By suggesting a recalibration of the geomagnetic polarity time scale, these data indicate that the onset of flood volcanism is nearly contemporaneous with that of the MMCO.

Kashbohm & Schoene (2018)

It does appear that the timing of the vast majority CRBG eruptions can be fairly well tied down to a 700,000 to 900,000 year period coincident with the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum. However, even with the prodigious volume of CO2 associated with flood basalt eruptions, it’s not enough to significantly move the “climate needle”:

A statistic : It is estimated that an erupting basalt lava flow with a volume of 2000 km3would release approximately 7 billion tonnes of carbon (or 26 billion tonnes of CO2).
This is about the same as the amount currently released by burning of fossil fuels – each year.

Saunders & Reichow

Armstrong McKay et al., 2014 estimated that the main phase of the CRBG eruptions, along with “cryptic degassing” of country rock, etc., emitted 4,090 to 5,670 billion tons of carbon over a 900,000 period. This only works out to 5-6 million tonnes of carbon per year… That’s an order of magnitude less than a rounding error. Our current 10 billion tonnes per year is only equivalent to 3% of the total annual sources in the Earth’s carbon budget. Self et al., 2005 found that CO2 emissions from flood basalt eruptions were insignificant relative to the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere and unlikely to have played a signifcant role in past episodes of “global warming.” Although they did note that the sulfur gas emissions may truly have been unprecedented.

While the impact of volcanic S gas release may be profound, the mass of CO2 directly released by individual flood lava eruptive events is tiny in comparison to the normal mass in the troposphere and stratosphere. The predicted increases in atmospheric concentration are a fraction of the current anthropogenic CO2 released from hydrocarbon burning (~25 Gt per year). Moreover, while the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is currently ~3000 Gt, it was perhaps double this value during the late Cretaceous (i.e. ~6000 Gt). It is therefore unlikely that volcanic CO2 had a direct effect on mechanisms of global warming, supporting earlier findings by Caldeira and Rampino (1990). In addition, there would have been more than sufficient time for the extra mass of CO2 added to equilibrate, given that the lava-forming eruptive events must have been spaced at least hundreds, and probably thousands, of years apart. By contrast, SO2 emissions and the atmospheric burden of sulfate aerosols generated during flood basalt events appear to be unprecedented at any other time in Earth history. Acid rain may also have been widespread. What is less certain is whether affected biota would have had time to recover from the deleterious effects of sulfate aerosol clouds and acid rain, although quiescent intervals lasting millennia appear to offer ample time for the recovery of local biological and environmental systems (Jolley 1997).

Self et al., 2005

This ultimately takes us full-circle back to my Historical Geology textbook…

Unfortunately we cannot estimate accurately changes of past CO2 content of either atmosphere or oceans, nor is there any firm quantitative basis for estimating the the magnitude of drop in carbon dioxide content necessary to trigger glaciation.  Moreover the entire concept of an atmospheric greenhouse effect is controversial, for the rate of ocean-atmosphere equalization is uncertain.

Dott & Batten, 1976

We can’t even be certain that the atmospheric concentration of CO2 during the Mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum was significantly elevated relative to the extremely low values of the Quaternary Period.

Figure 9. Neogene-Quaternary temperature and carbon dioxide (older is toward the left).

We can see that the range of estimates for MMCO range from 250 to 500 ppm, rendering any efforts to draw conclusions about the CRBG, CO2, MMCO totally pointless. According to Pagani et al, 1999:

There is no evidence for either high pCO2 during the late early Miocene climatic optimum or a sharp pCO2 decreases associated with
EAIS growth.

Pagani et al., 1999

Pagani et al., suggest that changes in oceanic circulation driven by plate tectonics (opening of the Drake Passage) and the presence (or lack thereof) of a large polar ice sheet were the primary drivers of Miocene climate change. And this takes us to another of my 1970’s Earth Science textbooks:

FORECASTING THE FUTURE. We can now try to decide if we are now in an interglacial stage, with other glacials to follow, or if the world has finally emerged from the Cenozoic Ice Age. According to the Milankovitch theory, fluctuations of radiation of the type shown in Fig. 16-18 must continue and therefore future glacial stages will continue. According to the theory just described, as long as the North and South Poles retain their present thermally isolated locations, the polar latitudes will be frigid; and as the Arctic Ocean keeps oscillating between ice-free and ice-covered states, glacial-interglacial climates will continue.

Finally, regardless of which theory one subscribes to, as long as we see no fundamental change in the late Cenozoic climate trend, and the presence of ice on Greenland and Antarctica indicates that no change has occurred, we can expect that the fluctuations of the past million years will continue.

Donn, William L. Meteorology. 4th Edition. McGraw-Hill 1975. pp 463-464

Despite only having 12 years to solve the “climate crisis,” we are still living in an Ice Age, and will be so long as Antarctica remains isolated over the southern polar region, Greenland retains its ice sheet and the northern polar region retains at least seasonal ice cover.

Figure 10. From Zachios et al., 2001 (older is toward the bottom).

The roughly 1.0 °C of warming since the coldest climatic period of the Holocene, the Little Ice Age, hasn’t budged us out of the Quaternary Period temperature “noise level.”

Figure 11. High Latitude SST (°C) From Benthic Foram δ18O (Zachos, et al., 2001) and HadSST3 ( Hadley Centre / UEA CRU via www.woodfortrees.org) plotted at same scale, tied at 1950 AD (older is toward the left).

Another 0.5 to 1.0 ºC between now and the end of the century doesn’t even put us into Eemian climate territory, much less the Miocene or even the Pliocene. We will still be in the Quaternary Period noise level. Bear in mind that the instrumental temperature data are of much higher resolution than the δ18O derived temperatures. As such, the δ18O data reflect the bare minimum of dynamic amplitude range. Actual paleo temperatures would have reflected a far greater range of variability (higher highs and lower lows).

Closing Remarks

In no way was this essay intended to diminish the work of Armstrong McKay et al., 2014 and Kasbohm et al., 2018 or any of the other works cited here. Their work on pinning down the timing of the CRBG eruptions and modeling the carbon dioxide emissions was incredibly impressive. I highly recommend both papers. I would like to thank David Armstrong McKay for kindly sending me a copy of his paper. I also recommend the University of Leicester website on flood basalts and large igneous provinces (Saunders & Reichow), fascinating reading.

The main point of this post was to highlight a false paradigm that seems to be progressively infecting academia.

References

Armstrong McKay, David, Toby Tyrrell, Paul A. Wilson, & Gavin Foster. (2014). “Estimating the impact of the cryptic degassing of Large Igneous Provinces: A mid-Miocene case-study”. Earth and Planetary Science Letters. 403. 254–262. 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.06.040. Special thanks to David Armstrong McKay for kindly sending me a copy of his paper.

Berner, R.A. and Z. Kothavala, 2001. GEOCARB III: A Revised Model of Atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic Time, American Journal of Science, v.301, pp.182-204, February 2001.

Donn, William L. Meteorology. 4th Edition. McGraw-Hill 1975. pp 463-464

Dott, Robert H. & Roger L. Batten.  Evolution of the Earth.  McGraw-Hill, Inc.  Second Edition 1976.  p. 441.

Illis, B. 2009. “Searching the PaleoClimate Record for Estimated Correlations: Temperature, CO2 and Sea Level”. Watts Up With That?

Kasbohm, Jennifer, and Blair Schoene. “Rapid Eruption of the Columbia River Flood Basalt and Correlation with the Mid-Miocene Climate Optimum.” Science Advances, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1 Sept. 2018, advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/9/eaat8223.

King, Hobart M. “Trap Rock.” Geology, geology.com/articles/trap-rock/.

Pagani, Mark, Michael Arthur & Katherine Freeman. (1999). “Miocene evolution of atmospheric carbon dioxide”. Paleoceanography. 14. 273-292. 10.1029/1999PA900006.

“Rate of Ocean Crust Production.” lect7-4, University of Leicester, www.le.ac.uk/gl/art/gl209/lecture7/lect7-4.html.

Royer, D. L., R. A. Berner, I. P. Montanez, N. J. Tabor and D. J. Beerling. “CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate”.  GSA Today, Vol. 14, No. 3. (2004), pp. 4-10

Saunders, Andy, and Marc Reichow. “Flood Basalts and Mass Extinctions.” Flood Basalts and Mass Extinctions, University of Leicester, 6 Mar. 2009, www.le.ac.uk/gl/ads/SiberianTraps/FBandME.html.

Self, Stephen & Thordarson, Thorvaldur & Widdowson, Mike. (2005). “Gas Fluxes from Flood Basalt Eruptions”. Elements. 1. 10.2113/gselements.1.5.283.

Sorkhabi, Rasoul, and Thomas Smith. “Why So Much Oil in the Middle East?” GEO ExPro, 2010, www.geoexpro.com/articles/2010/01/why-so-much-oil-in-the-middle-east-cd8a38e3-b5f5-462e-979e-2b3bb804dcee.

Tripati, A.K., C.D. Roberts, and R.A. Eagle. 2009.  “Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability Over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 Million Years”.  Science, Vol. 326, pp. 1394 1397, 4 December 2009.  DOI: 10.1126/science.1178296

Zachos, J. C., Pagani, M., Sloan, L. C., Thomas, E. & Billups, K. “Trends, rhythms, and aberrations in global climate 65 Ma to present”. Science 292, 686–-693 (2001).

Featured Image

Columnar-blocky jointing, Frenchman Coulee, west-central Columbia Plateau, Washington (photograph by Terry Tolan) USGS

144 thoughts on “Middle Miocene Volcanism, Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change

  1. Well said. The still unproven assumption that CO2 is the primary driver of warming over the last century has transmogrified into an established fact; so much so that even paleoclimate studies assume that prehistoric warming is all about the CO2, the whole CO2 and nothing but the CO2.

    Science subjected to mob rule is ugly. This is another example of the “big lie” that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels attributed to others (the Jews, the English people) but they themselves were guilty of employing. The most frightening thing about the “big lie” is that the people who initiate it, believe it, or spread it, sincerely believe that it is the truth, or close enough to the truth that doubts about its veracity are not as important as spreading the message.

    • “YUP”, ……. “The still unproven assumption that CO2 is the primary driver of atmospheric warming ….

      And yet, …. so posted did David Middleton:

      [3rd paragraph] “While we do have observations of volcanic outgassing of carbon dioxide, evidence that carbon dioxide is a “greenhouse” gas and that, all other factors held equal, an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will modestly elevate the bulk temperature of the atmosphere, there is absolutely no evidence that it is capable of driving the degree of warming that occurred in the mid-late Cretaceous Period or any of the Cenozoic thermal maxima or climatic optima, primarily inferred from oxygen isotope chronologies.

      David M, and just what is the actual, factual scientific evidence or proof that supports the two claims noted above, …… and/or repeated below, to wit:

      (1) “we do have evidence that carbon dioxide is an atmospheric warming “greenhouse” gas

      (2) (we do have evidence that) “an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will modestly elevate the bulk temperature of the atmosphere”,

      David M, …….don’t you think its about time that someone conducted a few “closed environment” experiments to determine the “truth or falsity” of the above two (2) claims, …. or should I say “conjectures”?

      Sam C

      • (1) “we do have evidence that carbon dioxide is an atmospheric warming “greenhouse” gas”

        (2) (we do have evidence that) “an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will modestly elevate the bulk temperature of the atmosphere”,

        (1) Roy Spencer has the best simple demonstration that the “greenhouse” effect is real…

        http://www.drroyspencer.com/2010/08/help-back-radiation-has-invaded-my-backyard/

        CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas because it absorbs and re-radiates certain frequencies of infrared radiation.

        There is no actual scientific debate regarding the reality of the greenhouse effect or carbon dioxide’s status as a greenhouse gas. The only actual scientific debate revolves around carbon dioxide’s effectiveness as a greenhouse gas.

        (2) This is resultant from (1).

        • @ David Middleton

          Excerpts from …… Roy Spencer’s cited ……. “simple demonstration that the “greenhouse” effect is real”, …. to wit:

          One of the claims of greenhouse and global warming theory that many people find hard to grasp is that there is a large flow of infrared radiation downward from the sky which keeps the surface warmer than it would otherwise be.

          No problem, David, ……. that is what infrared (thermal energy) radiation does when absorbed by specific molecules.

          Particularly difficult to grasp is the concept of adding a greenhouse gas to a COLD atmosphere, and that causing a temperature increase at the surface of the Earth, which is already WARM. This, of course, is what is expected to happen from adding more carbon dioixde to the atmosphere: “global warming”.

          David, didn’t you notice that Roy Spencer “changed horses” in mid-stream? Fer shame, fer shame. First he’s blaming “greenhouse gases” ……. and then he champions CO2.

          For instance, last night I drove around pointing this thing straight up though my sunroof at a cloud-free sky. I live in hilly territory, the ambient air temperature was about 81 F, and at my house (an elevation of 1,000 feet), I was reading about 34 deg. F for an effective sky temperature.

          OH GOOD GRIEF, ……. Roy was actually attesting to “the fact” that his mechanical “conducting” thermometer was registering about 81deg F as the effective sky (atmospheric) temperature at 1,000 feet elevation …….. while at the same time his electronic IR “sensing” thermometer which was pointed toward the heavens was registering about 34 deg F as the effective sky (atmospheric) temperature at 1,000 feet elevation.

          WOW, a 47 deg F difference in the two temperatures measured at the same time n’ place. I wonder what his electronic IR “sensing” thermometer would have registered in degrees F iffen Roy had pointed it downward toward the roadway that his car was travelling on?

          What was amazing was that driving down in elevation from my house caused the sky temperature reading to increase by about 3 deg. F for a 300 foot drop in elevation. My car thermometer was showing virtually no change. This pattern was repeated as I went up and down hills.

          SURPRISE, SURPRISE, ……. it t’was, David Middleton, ….. but Roy doesn’t always get what he’s expecting. And apparently he was expecting his electronic IR “sensing” thermometer to be measuring the temperature of the near-surface air molecules …… which is impossible for it to do.

          David M, the following excerpt might be a shur-fire Cupie Doll winner, to wi:

          If you have a day where there are patches of blue and clouds, you can point the thermometer at the clouds and pick up a warmer reading than the surrounding blue sky.

          David M, ……. I have 5 or 6 (conducting) thermometers here round about …… and no matter which way I point them (other than at the Sun or into the wind), …… up, down, left, right or round-about, I still get the same reading. …..

          And all fun aside, David, ….. it is obvious that Roy S was speaking about “pointing” his direction-sensitive electronic IR radiation “sensing” thermometer toward the clouds and not the blue sky, …… and thus his “per se” detected “warming” was due to the IR emitting H2O vapor in/of the clouds …… and had nothing whatsoever to do with the CO2 molecules in the surrounding “blue sky”.

          “DUH”, when atmospheric H2O (water) molecules “move in” (high humidity, clouds, fogs or mists), ….. atmospheric CO2 molecules get “pushed out” ….. and/or are absorbed into the H2O droplets (carbonic acid).

          And David, …….. last but not least ……

          If the device was perfectly calibrated, and there was NO greenhouse effect, it would measure an effective sky temperature near absolute zero (-460 deg. F) rather than +34 deg. F, and nighttime cooling of the surface would have been so strong that everything would be frozen by morning. ………….. Not very likely in Alabama in August.

          David M, …….. of course …… “Not very likely in Alabama in August”. (it’s the humidity)

          But pretty damn likely to occur in the desert southwest (Arizona or New Mexico) in August.

          David Middleton – June 4, 2019 at 1:55 pm

          There is no actual scientific debate regarding the reality of the greenhouse effect or carbon dioxide’s status as a greenhouse gas. The only actual scientific debate revolves around carbon dioxide’s effectiveness as a greenhouse gas.

          Right you are, David, …… and likewise, there is no debate regarding the reality of a clear glass or plastic enclosure which prevents the entrapped air from intermixing with the exterior air …… and thus all different air molecules (N2, O2, CO2, H2O, etc., etc.,) within the enclosure …. are therefore considered to be “greenhouse gases” because they are confined within said “greenhouse”.

          So, David Middleton, after all is said and done, neither you, nor Roy S, nor any other edumacated person has provided actual, factual experimental EVIDENCE that atmospheric CO2 ppm quantities of less 20,000 ppm has any affect whatsoever on near-surface atmospheric temperatures.

          GEEEZUS, near-surface atmospheric H20 vapor at 30,000 to 40,000 ppm isn’t blamed for as much “warming” as is 400 ppm of CO2 …… and H2O vapor has more than twice (2X) the Specific Heat Capacity of CO2. SHC —- http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/thermo/spht.html

          Now David, …….. you wanna discuss the “biology” of ……. CO2 outgassing/ingassing and warming?

          SamC

  2. So debate has ended but science has not. I guess that was part of the assumption set all along with localized incongruities handled (for a fee) by climate communicators and Party strategists.

  3. Hi Dr. Middleton:

    I used Dott & Batten in my Histerical Geology (yes, that’s what we called it); we had a visiting professor, Dr. Pieter Roth from Universitat Heidelberg, who also emphasized to us (in our Oceanography class) that ‘clouds are the wildcard in global climate; they can cause both warming and cooling, so the question is not settled.’

    This was early 1970’s for my undergrad work.

    Regards,

    Vlad

  4. In any massive volcanic eruption, or flood basalt event, the release of very large amounts of sulfur would be much more concerning to life on Earth than any amount of CO2.
    CO2 in the air will only mildly decrease ocean pH while enhancing photosynthesis. The CO2 GHG temperature rise will not be what causes mass extinctions IMO.

    But sulfur is the problem as I see it. A reactive element. Both for its ability to send sunlight back to space if it gets into the stratosphere as sulfur-dioxide and thus hampering planetary photosynthesis and for its strong acidification effects. A vastly stronger acid than the weak acid – carbonic acid. The sulfur is is outgassing as hydrogen sulfide or as oxidized forms of sulfur?
    Sulfates and/or sulfur-iron run-off into rivers and then the oceans would of course spread death far and wide throughout the food chain.

    Humans have of course never witnessed a flood basalt event on such a scale as the Deccan Traps or even the smaller CR basalts.
    So are the flood basalts associated with the major explosive eruptive events like a true stratovolcano that launches sulfides above the tropopause into the stratosphere? (like a Pinatubo, and thus limiting sunlight)
    Or are they more like ginormous ooze events on a continental land mass?
    But if they are on the deep sea-bed, then only the acidification effects would be relevant, as that is probably happening to a smaller extent in the deep Atlantic spreading rift in recent times with no big extinctions.

    • And our ancestors made it through all these extinction events WITHOUT science and technology.

      • Humans (genus Homo) has never experienced a large plateau basalt eruption.

        That said it seems that the more recent ones (Columbia, Ethiopia/Afar, North Atlantic) were much less destructive than the more ancient. Possibly flowering plants are more resilient than older plant types.

        • Non sequitur, tty. I didn’t mention any particular species. Best brush up on evolution 101.

          • The GRBG was the most recent large flood/plateau eruption… It occurred 16-17 million years ago and was not associated with a significant extinction event. The first appearance of hominids in the fossil record is about 6 million years ago.

            Unless you take our ancestry back to the Paleogene Period (~55 million years ago), human ancestors have never experienced a large plateau basalt eruption… and that event, which formed the North Atlantic Large Igneous Province, wasn’t associated with a significant extinction event, apart from the Monty Python extinction of some benthic formanifera.

          • I believe Kurt is including in “our” ancestry, those species that eventually evolved into hominids. Probably all the way back to the first slime.

          • Actually we might not have existed if the PETM hadn’t happened. It seems that primates dispersed from North America where they originally evolved to the Old World during the PETM when climate at high latitudes was briefly suitable for them. Primates subsequently died out in North America…

      • A lot of them didn’t. Having 90% of all species wiped out is a close run thing. A little bit worse and life would have had to start over again from scratch.

    • Joel, The Giant basalt eruptions of Hawaii and the Columbia River flood basalts are both produced by plates over-riding hot spots. The volcanism shows moderate fractionation, for instance oscillatory compositional zoning in primacryst feldspars, and moderate volatile content. This volatile content is sufficient to produce lava fountaining but rare explosive/pyroclastic volcanism. When you fly over Hawaii volcanos, such as I just did with Blue Hawaiian Helicopters, you can smell sulfur gases. Ergo, if you want to get gases into the atmosphere you need felsic explosive/pyroclastic volcanism. But if you want a lot of thermal energy added into ocean or atmosphere go with basalts. And remember my posting “key Words: Geologists, Pizza, and Beer” which shows that basalts behave like black bodies and convert all of incident photon energy into thermal energy.

    • Lava fountaining during large flood basalt eruptions is probably strong enough to convect SO2 to the stratosphere. Descriptions of the (smallish, though the largest in recorded history) flood basalt eruption of Laki in 1783 describe mile-long and hundreds of meters tall “curtains of fire”.
      The Laki eruption first caused extensive low-altitude “dry fog” which caused a hot, dry summer in Europe (hot because the “fog” absorbed sunlight) but it was followed by a cold “volcanic winter”.

    • Good observation, Joel O’. When Mt. Pinatubo erupted, it was common knowledge it depressed Earth’s temperatures. It appears that the influence of the sulfates overshadows the influence of CO2.

  5. Apart from all of that, in “Figure 5. Phanerozoic CO2 vs temperature,” claiming to know the global air temperature anomaly to within ±1 C millions of years ago is an utter and ludicrous fabrication.

    No one knows the global air temperature anomaly to within ±1 C 150 years ago, much less than 1 million years ago.

    The whole field of paleo-so-called-temperature reconstruction is pseudo-science, which credibility rests entirely on its wide indulgence by people calling themselves scientists.

    The remarkable character of the age is that so many scientists have so quickly forgotten how to be scientists.

    I don’t mean the Michael Manns and the Kevin Trenberths by that (who apparently were never scientists). I mean the leadership of the APS and the working scientists that just fall right into line.

    • While you have to control for a lot of factors (pH, salinity, overburden, etc.) δ18O is a reliable proxy for temperature changes. When you have overlap with instrumental data, it can be calibrated and be a fairly robust estimate of past temperatures.

      The key is in controlling for the other variables that can affect δ18O.

      • No it’s not, David. Statistics is no substitute for physics.

        And no one can control for shifts in the ancient monsoon track.

        Environmental δ18O would be a reliable proxy if nothing else changed. But that condition is thoroughly violated and in unknown ways.

        Ancient proxies are no better than warmer/wetter, colder/drier. That’s it.

        • Pat,

          That’s why you have to control for extraneous factors in all aspects of isotope geochemistry. It works, when properly controlled… often not easily achieved.

          • It’s not possible to control the extraneous factors of δ18O, David.

            The heavy atom thermodynamics of δ18O are very well established. If it were possible to control all the extraneous factors, climate scientists would be able to use that thermodynamics to calculate the relevant air temperatures directly.

            But they don’t do that thermodynamic calculation. The reason is that all the extraneous factors are not controlled. They can’t be controlled for. The direct calculation is impossible.

            So, they take recourse to statistical re-scaling instead. Statistical re-scaling does not convert δ18O to temperature. No statistical re-scaling can accomplish that. Statistics is no substitute for physics.

            Only physical theory can produce physical meaning. Those δ18O trends have no discrete physical meaning. Warmer/wetter, cooler/drier is all that can be inferred.

            Consensus climate scientists have faked the temperature result using a specious statistical method decorated with sophisticated mathematics. And then others have accepted it because it looks like science.

            But it’s not science. It’s a crock.

            If those people stuck to properly rigorous science — ethical science — they’d have nothing to talk about. And I mean that literally: nothing to talk about.

            All of consensus climate science is like that. It’s nothing more than an enormous exercise in false precision.

          • With an adequate understanding of the extraneous factors, it absolutely is possibleto control for them… that’s how isotope geochemistry actually works.

            “Control”, means to account for in the experiment.

          • Where does the physical meaning come from, David? Your proxy method has no physics content.

          • I looked at your link, David. The method works only when nothing else changes. I already pointed that out in my June 3, 2019 at 4:34 pm comment.

            Even your link description is equivocal: “ it is believed that this relationship holds in the past, at least qualitatively.

            Qualitative relationships do not support quantitative results.

            The δ18O effect is always present. However, one cannot assume it works to the same intensity at the same place over all time. That supposition is nonsense.

            And that nonsensicality is proved by the fact that no one derives a past air temperature by application of the δ18O physical theory.

            The reason they don’t apply it, is that they all know the theory is inapplicable when the past variables are entirely unknown.

            Any temperature number produced by direct calculation from the physical theory would be meaningless, because of all the uncontrolled and unknown variables hidden in the data.

            So they use statistical scaling instead. And produce trend lines of no known physical meaning. But that lack of physical meaning seems to stop no one from assigning ‘physical temperature’ to the outcome.

            It’s pseudo-science through-and-through.

          • Pat,

            That’s why you have to control for salinity, the volume of water locked up in ice sheets, diagenetic changes, etc. That’s how isotope geochemistry works… And it doesn’t always work very well. When you have a handle on salinity, the volume of water locked up in ice sheets, diagenetic changes, etc. δ18O is a very robust proxy for water/ice temperatures. When you don’t have a good handle on the extraneous factors, it’s much less robust.

            Some relationships, like δ13C are useful… but not diagnostic.

          • You’re living in a make-believe world, David.

            No one can get a handle on the extant environmental conditions in any locale hundreds of years ago contributing to the δ18O, much less millions of years ago. δ18O is nothing like a very robust proxy for terrestrial paleo water/ice temperatures.

            It’s impossible to reliably convert such δ18O values into temperatures when the conditional influences are entirely unknown. Especially not to ±0.5 C resolution, which is what Figure 5 actually shows.

            ±0.5 C resolution is the best that the global measurement record provides. How is it possible to achieve that same ±0.5 C resolution with a paleo-proxy?

            If someone wanted an uncertainty estimate, one could try and model monsoon storm tracks across time, given a climate jittering through known variability, and then show how δ18O might vary at some location with statistically likely monsoon and air temperature shifts.

            Doing so would allow one to then calculate a possible time-average range of δ18O values at some appropriate locale, given those shifts.

            That might allow one to make a sort-of credible estimate of the uncertainty in a δ18O derived paleo-temperature. I’d bet it would be more like ±5 C.

            And even if δ18O were a very robust proxy for water/ice temperatures, you’d get those temperatures by calculating them from physical theory. Not by statistically scaling a δ18O trend up into the modern air temperature record.

            Using a strictly statistical method alone removes any physical temperature meaning from the δ18O trend, even if a real physical meaning was to be had by applying a physical theory to the trend.

          • Pat,

            Science starts with observations, then hypotheses, then experiment, then more observations, then conclusions… and ultimately theories. It doesn’t start with the theory.

          • Not correct, David. Science starts with some theory (a hypothesis, more appropriately), even if the theory is incorrect or naive.

            There is no such thing as data unless there’s an interpretative matrix.

          • Frank, you are dead wrong, and Middleton is correct. Science starts with observations. You can’t formulate a hypothesis without them.

          • If we follow Frank’s logic that Science starts with a theory/hypothesis instead of observations, I’ll propose the hypothesis that pink elephants never mate with blue elephants in the wild. Now, those of us that live in the real world understand that this hypothesis can not be falsified, due to the fact that neither pink, nor blue elephants have been observed in the wild …….But since Frank doesn’t think Science starts with observations, we can pursue the Science of colored elephant mating, and get a grant from the government to explore the theoretical underpinnings of our “theory.”

          • If we followed Pat’s logic, we’d all be Warmunists who thought oil came from the mantle.

          • It’s not bass-ackwards, David. Someone must start with an idea to even realize there are “data.” That idea can be a myth, a supposition, or some other mental construct.

            But there must be a framing context for data. Otherwise there is no reason to collect anything.

            Why collect this, and not that, for example. The choice of a ‘this’ implies a preference. The preference is determined by the framing context: the operating theory.

          • You can’t formulate a hypothesis unless you start with an observation you are trying to explain.

            1. Make an observation or observations.
            2. Ask questions about the observations and gather information.
            3. Form a hypothesis — a tentative description of what’s been observed, and make predictions based on that hypothesis.
            4. Test the hypothesis and predictions in an experiment that can be reproduced.
            5. Analyze the data and draw conclusions; accept or reject the hypothesis or modify the hypothesis if necessary.
            6. Reproduce the experiment until there are no discrepancies between observations and theory. “Replication of methods and results is my favorite step in the scientific method,” Moshe Pritsker, a former post-doctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School and CEO of JoVE, told Live Science. “The reproducibility of published experiments is the foundation of science. No reproducibility – no science.”

            https://www.livescience.com/20896-science-scientific-method.html

          • David, “If we followed Pat’s logic, we’d all be Warmunists who thought oil came from the mantle.

            I expect better from you than that, David.

          • That’s exactly what Warmunists and Abiotic Oilers do. They start with a hypothesis/theory.

          • Not a clever rejoinder, Christopher. Your foundational theory is that there exists something called an elephant.

            The complete scientific methodology is falsifiable theory and replicable result. You can hypothesize your pink and blue elephants. But then you’d have to demonstrate they exist before going any further concerning their behavior.

            One suspects, from the quality of your logic thus far, that you may claim to actually find them in a land no one else can see.

          • No Frank, there is no “foundational theory” of the existence of an elephant. An “elephant” is a word that has a referent in objective reality that you observe. It is a lot like teaching language to a child. You point to something and speak the word. You could take the child to a zoo, point to the elephant, and say “ELEPHANT” so that the child learns the word.
            ..
            No foundational theory required. The association of the word with the observation is all that matters.

          • I discussed the problems of δ18O temperatures, experimental uncertainty, and the calibration problem in my WUWT post, Proxy Science and Proxy pseudo-science, David.

            It’ll give you an idea of where I’m coming from.

            Your name does not appear in the comment section, so I think you probably are unfamiliar with the analysis.

            That post, incidentally, has the first ever uncertainty bounds on Keigwin’s δ18O Sargasso Sea temperature proxy.

          • Frank, if you doubt the existence of pink elephants, please view the 1941 Disney film “Dumbo.”

          • David, “That’s exactly what Warmunists and Abiotic Oilers do. They start with a hypothesis/theory.

            Argument from false analogy. Astrologers start with stars. Does that make astrophysicists into charlatans?

            Science requires that hypotheses be monosemous and thus falsifiable. Your warmunists and abioticists don’t allow their theory to be refuted.

            Methodology is all in science. They’re not following it.

            That said, there are no data without an interpretative context at the start.

          • David, your live science quote is just an argument from authority.

            You wrote, “You can’t formulate a hypothesis unless you start with an observation you are trying to explain.

            You can’t have an observation you’re trying to explain, unless you have a pre-existing interpretative context that makes that observation puzzling.

            Science-dot-com’s explanation of science is a recapitulation of 19th century inductivism. It’s wrong.

            Even Francis Bacon, the originator of the inductivist method, began with the ideas of an external nature, that observations can be separated, categorized, and take unique meanings, and that nature is regular enough to allow generalizations.

            All of that is an interpretative context that amounts to a theory of the way nature behaves.

            There’s always a pre-existing theory of some sort; one that allows the observer to recognize, sort, and organize the experiences.

          • Why don’t you point to a tree and say “elephant,” Christopher?

            Clearly, the reason is that you (and others) are able to make reliable distinctions among objects.

            The fact that you can notice distinctions among the objects of the world, itself depends upon a theory.

            That theory is the one emplaced in you by the antecedent 500 million years of post-Cambrian evolution.

            The mindless theorizing of mutation (hypothesis) and the mortal test of natural selection (experiment), is what let your ancestors revise their implicit theory (by speciation) and mindlessly construct a view of the external world in a way that did not result in their deaths.

            That successful view is an in-built theory of the physical world.

            When you observe distinctions in the world, you are just implicitly accepting that theory and operating from it.

            The fact that you can make these distinctions so automatically does not absolve you from the truth that you are operating from a well-verified theory, nor from the necessity to recognize the reality of that internal theory when it is brought to your conscious attention.

          • Pat Frank says: “The fact that you can notice distinctions among the objects of the world, itself depends upon a theory. ”

            No it does not. A child can make a distinction between a sweet candy and a sour lime. No “theory” needed.
            ..
            There are in fact observed instances where birds communicate the danger of a nearby predator with distinctive calls. Again, no “theory” needed. I can’t wait for you to hilariously instruct all of us in the underlying theory used by said birds.

          • I already pointed out the theory used by birds and your small child example, Christopher. It’s in my June 5, 2019 at 12:22 pm comment. But you missed it, didn’t you.

            Let me repeat it for you: The mindless theorizing of mutation (hypothesis) and the mortal test of natural selection (experiment), is what let your ancestors revise their implicit theory (by speciation) and mindlessly construct a view of the external world in a way that did not result in their deaths.

            That successful view is an in-built theory of the physical world.

            When you observe distinctions in the world, you are just implicitly accepting that theory and operating from it.

            Go ahead and get hilarious over that, Christopher. But you won’t be able to analytically refute the idea.

            You should also take the time to figure out that derision is not an argument. Nor is hilarity a falsification.

          • Pat Frank has successfully shot himself in his foot. He posts: “mindlessly construct a view. ”

            Thanks. A “view” is an observation, which is needed PRIOR to construction of any “theory.”

            Dave Middleton is correct, and you are wrong, observation precedes a hypothesis/theory.

          • PS Frank, calling a mutation a “hypothesis” is a very bad analogy. One would think the proper replication of genetic information would more fitting. Genetic screw ups are accidents, not “hypothesis.”

          • “mindlessly construct a view” means to generate an opinion of, Christopher. It’s a standard usage that you have apparently missed.

            Just as you have thus far and consistently missed everything concerning science.

            The term, ‘constructed view’ cannot be mistaken for meaning ‘observation’ by anyone.

            Even someone such as you wouldn’t make that mistake of common usage in an ordinary conversation; though apparently unless accepting the common understanding required you to admit you’re wrong. You’re wrong, Christopher.

            If you were trained at all in biology, you’d know that the eye processes the blizzard of photons that enters it, so as to remove the noise and produce a coherent vision of the external world.

            That processing is the result of the mindless theorizing of mutation and natural selection involved in the evolution of the eye.

            Mutation is exactly mindless theorizing. It’s a randomly chosen supposition that the universe may work in a certain way.

            When the supposition is wrong, the organism suffers. When it’s right, the organism benefits.

            The analogy with theory and experiment is exact.

          • Pat Frank, you have thus far and consistently missed everything concerning science. It starts with observation. It does not start with a hypothesis, or a theory. Without observation, you have nothing to base the hypothesis on. It is shocking that a trained chemist does not understand this simple point.

          • Pat Frank you can mindlessly repeat your bogus analogy of mutation and natural selection, however, you have missed the forest for the trees. Prior to any mutation, the molecules of genes must exist. You can’t have a mutation prior to abiogenesis. So if you continue to push your ridiculous analogy, I will posit that abiogenesis is the equivalent of OBSERVATION. In science, observation precedes hypothesizing.

            Middleton is still correct, and you are wrong.

          • An observation has no meaning without an interpretative context, Christopher. An interpretative context is a theory. Outside of any context, an observation has no distinctive significance.

            There’s a famous story in Chemistry, about how Friedrich Kekulé developed his hypothesis for the cyclic structure of the benzene molecule by dreaming of a snake biting its own tail.

            Explain how that hypothesis derived from observations, Christopher.

            Hypotheses can come from anywhere — dreams as in the case of Kekulé, irrational jumps of logic, a sudden insight. Science operates on all of them. The question then is, what do hypotheses predict and what experiment can test their prediction.

            Indeed I’m a chemist, Christopher. I have made my living doing exactly what you’re contesting. And you suppose that you know my profession better than I.

            Here’s what Einstein said about the question of hypothesis-making: “[The scientist must be an] idealist insofar as he looks upon the concepts and theories as free inventions of the human spirit (not logically derivable from what is empirically given)

            That is, hypotheses are not logically derivable from observations (what is empirically given).

            I don’t mean to argue here from authority. I’ve made the case more than adequately already. I’m just pointing out the agreement.

            Good of you to bring up abiogenesis. I co-authored a book chapter on it, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9783527612949.ch11, with Dick Zare and Bill Bonner.

            It discusses a hypothesis for the origin of life, by way of the large-scale parallel and spontaneous exploration of chemical phase-space within the micro-pores of basaltic reefs by pre-biotic molecules.

            That would be the chemical equivalent of mutation and natural selection, Christopher. Yet another example of mindless theorizing and selection-driven experimentation.

            Manfred Eigen wrote a brilliant paper about chemical self-organization of molecules into self-replicating polymers back in 1971.

            Abiogenesis is a process involving the test of molecular structure and reactivity against the restrictions and provisions of the environment. That is not equivalent to observation, as you’d have it. It is exactly the active exploration of a phase-space in a mindless search for survival and propagation.

            It is mutation and natural selection at the molecular level.

            The formation of molecules from atoms can be described likewise, and even the formation of atoms from subatomic particles.

            Mutation and natural selection is mindless hypothesis and experimental test, Christopher. There’s no getting around it.

            You wrote, “Middleton is still correct, and you are wrong.

            David was not correct in his initial argument. Neither were you. That’s been demonstrated thoroughly here.

            The difference between you and he is illustrative of the distinction between the scientist and the politician. David discontinued the debate. You continue to argue a lost cause.

          • The only lost cause here is you Frank. You are so wound up in chemistry you have neglected the underpinnings of science. Observations precede hypothesis. Kekule made an enormous number of observations prior to his “dream.” Kekulé argued for his proposed structure by considering the number of isomers observed for derivatives of benzene. (reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/August_Kekul%C3%A9)

            Note the word OBSERVED!!

            You are guilty of misinterpreting the scientific method.

            Start with something simple. After eons of existence, humans have observed that the sun rises in the east. They have no “hypothesis” about this experience. They KNOW that the sun will rise in the east without any hypothesis. Knowledge (of which science is a subset) doesn’t require a hypothesis, all it requires is observation.

            I suggest you take a remedial course in the philosophy of science, because you are ignorant of the underpinnings of it.

            https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/8-the-role-of-observation-in-science

            ” Scientists use observation to collect and record data, which enables them to construct and then test hypotheses and theories.”

            Read that…because you cannot construct a hypotheses prior to observation.

          • Here is the perfect example to show how insane Pat Franks contention that a hypothesis precedes observation.

            Pat Frank, consider the phenomena “A” which has never been observed.

            Please construct for all of us your hypothesis regarding phenomena “A.”

          • ROTFLMAO @ Pat Frank……. Pat thinks dreams are not based on real world experience.

            Give it up Frank, when you are in a hole, stop digging, cause digging won’t get you out of your hole.
            ….
            PS, Hume’s argument doesn’t apply to Mathematical induction which does in fact work.

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

            Oh yeah secularhumanism.org isn’t a peer reviewed science journal, so your published opinions there count for squat.

          • The singular is phenomenon, Christopher.

            If phenomenon “A” has never been observed, then there’s nothing to hypothesize about.

            So, let’s assume you meant “A” is a phenomenon that has never before been observed, but now has been observed.

            In such a case, we already have theories about everything else. Suppose “A” falls outside those theories. Our interpretative matrix is then the context provided by those theories. “A” is not explained within it.

            The only way to know that we need some new hypothesis is because we are operating within the interpretative context of the pre-existing theories.

            Interpretative theory comes before “A,” in other words.

            But let’s take it a bit further. Every time you observe anything, it’s a unique experience. Nothing is identical to anything else. Every observation is brand new to some degree.

            Every time you see a seagull flying over your head, it’s a new and unique observation because that event is different in detail from every other seagull you’ve seen flying overhead. Every seagull you meet is an instance of your phenomenon “A.”

            The fact that you can make sense of those observed seagulls is because you have a theory about seagulls, about their existence, and about how they travel.

            Your understanding of any given observation, in short, derives from your prior possession of a theory about it.

            And that includes any new phenomenon “A,” never seen before. It either fits into your pre-existent body of theory or it does not. That ‘does-or-does-not’ conclusion requires your interpretative context: your pre-existent theory.

            The same is true for every single observation, the new and strange or the banal and usual.

          • Now Mr. Pat Frank has a problem. Since he now contends that Hume has falsified inductive reasoning, then Mr. Pat Frank cannot accept ANY observational experiments in particle physics, due to the 5-sigma constraint mentioned earlier in this thread. If Pat Frank is correct, then even 100-sigma evidence for him would not be good enough.

          • Now Pat Frank gives us all the gift that he can’t take back:
            ..
            “If phenomenon “A” has never been observed, then there’s nothing to hypothesize about.”

            Thank you Pat, you have just proved to anybody reading this that you cannot construct a hypothesis prior to an observation.

            You lose.

            Middleton was correct.

          • Christopher Chantrill wrote, “ROTFLMAO @ Pat Frank……. Pat thinks dreams are not based on real world experience.

            1: Let’s see your falsifiable theory describing the origin and meaning of dreams, Christopher.

            I’ve already warned you that derision is not an argument, nor is hilarity a falsification. Apparently the lesson of those truths was lost on you.

            Your commentary descends into grammar school playground behavior. Pointing and yelling yah!yah!yah! doesn’t make it among adults, Christopher.

            2: Mathematics is an axiomatic system. Science is not. No exact analogy between them is possible.

            Further, apparently you do not read your own proof texts.

            Here’s what your Wiki page says about your position: “Although its name may suggest otherwise, mathematical induction should not be misconstrued as a form of inductive reasoning as used in philosophy (also see Problem of induction). Mathematical induction is an inference rule used in formal proofs. Proofs by mathematical induction are, in fact, examples of deductive reasoning. (my bold)”

            You’re refuted by your own proof text. Mathematical induction is not inductive reasoning, but is rather a form of deduction.

            All of mathematics is deduction from its axioms.

            It is also clear that you are guilty of the equivocation fallacy. That’s when an argument is leveraged by use of a specious shift in the meaning of a word; in this case of “induction.”

            You wrote, “Oh yeah secularhumanism.org isn’t a peer reviewed science journal, so your published opinions there count for squat.

            In fact, Free Inquiry magazine does include peer review. The chief editor at that time, Paul Kurtz, was a well-known academic philosopher. He reviewed our manuscript.

            Here is his obituary in the NYT.

            Apart from that, your casual and clearly unthinking dismissal is not a refutation. “yah!yah!yah!” is not an argument, remember?

          • Christopher Chantrill June 6, 2019 at 7:28 pm: “Now Mr. Pat Frank has a problem. … ” and continued blah.

            Physics proceeds by experimental test of deduction from theory. None of physics is inductive reasoning.

            The statistical tests of reliability operate on physical magnitudes that take their meaning in theory, not from inductive inference.

          • Christopher Chantrill June 6, 2019 at 8:12 pm: “First and foremost Mr. Frank, Phenomena has been in occasional use as a singular since the early 18th century…

            Thus demonstrating only that “phenomena” has been misused by some people since the early 18th century.

            From your example, we now know that its misuse extends into the 21st century.

          • Christopher Chantrill June 6, 2019 at 8:14 pm: “Now Pat Frank gives us all the gift that he can’t take back:
            ..
            If phenomenon “A” has never been observed, then there’s nothing to hypothesize about.

            Thank you Pat, you have just proved to anybody reading this that you cannot construct a hypothesis prior to an observation.

            Here’s what you originally wrote, Christopher (June 6, 2019 at 6:35 pm): “Pat Frank, consider the phenomena “A” which has never been observed.

            Note the glory of your prose. Your challenge is to describe something that has never been observed.

            Something that has never been observed is something that has never happened in any one’s experience.

            In other words, your original challenge was to construct a description of a non-experience.

            Show us how that’s done, Christopher. Describe something that neither you nor anyone else has ever experienced.

            I merely took you at your word. Your requested description is of the contents of an empty set; an evident impossibility. Your language was obviously imprecise; a thought poorly formulated.

            Try harder.

            Let’s also notice that I addressed the question you tried to ask, when I went on to write, “So, let’s assume you meant “A” is a phenomenon that has never before been observed, but now has been observed.

            You failed to respond to that analysis. As usual.

          • Middleton said: “Science starts with observations, then hypotheses, then experiment, then more observations, then conclusions… and ultimately theories.”


            Frank said: “Not correct, David. Science starts with some theory (a hypothesis, more appropriately), even if the theory is incorrect or naive. ”

            I said: “Scientists use observation to collect and record data, which enables them to construct and then test hypotheses and theories.”

            So Frank give me the theory/hypothesis your science starts with regarding the unobserved phenomena A.

            ..
            Bear in mind you said: “If phenomenon “A” has never been observed, then there’s nothing to hypothesize about.”

            Middleton is correct, and you are wrong

          • I’ve already dealt with all of that, Christoper.

            Here: June 5, 2019 at 12:07 pm

            Here: June 5, 2019 at 12:22 pm

            Here: June 6, 2019 at 7:26 pm and here: June 6, 2019 at 9:29 am

            Here: June 6, 2019 at 12:07 pm and here: June 6, 2019 at 5:34 pm

            Here: June 6, 2019 at 7:26 pm

            Here: June 7, 2019 at 9:42 am

            And here: June 7, 2019 at 10:12 am

            You’ve never engaged any of the argument.

            Your entire commentary consists of unsupported claims, reiteration of failed talking points, and outbursts of empty juvenile mirth.

            You’re evidently impervious to rational discussion.

        • “Statistics is no substitute for physics”
          ….
          Except for the fact that two areas of physics are based on statistics, namely statistical mechanics, and quantum statistical mechanics.

          • Statistical mechanics is based upon the empirically observed behavior of gas phase atoms, Christopher.

            Quantum mechanics is based upon the photo-electric effect and the two-slit experiment.

            Both are physical theories. They use statistics to describe physical behavior. Neither theory substitutes statistics for physics.

            You might as well be claiming that arithmetic is a substitute for physics because scientists add and subtract physical magnitudes.

          • Explain how the statistical evaluation of large physics data sets eliminates all the physics and replaces it with statistics, Christopher.

            Does the physics disappear when statistics are used?

            I use statistics to derive uncertainty in my measurements. When I do so, is the Chemistry gone and only Statistics remains?

            Both your arguments are nonsensical.

          • Frank, you display that you are clueless when it comes to the theoretical underpinnings of both statistical mechanics and statistical quantum mechanics.

            You hit the nail on the head when you posted: “They use statistics to describe physical behavior.”

            Physics is based on statistics. All that observation does for the statistical theory is verify it.

          • Both are physical theories that describe physical phenomena, Christopher. There is no question about that.

            Statistics contributes grammar to expression of the physical theories, nothing more.

            Your argument is wrong, so you took refuge in personal attack.

          • Pat Frank writes: ” the empirically observed behavior of gas phase atoms.”

            You can’t observe atoms. In fact merely “observing” an atom changes it’s behavior which you would know happens if you had a clue about quantum mechanics.

            Oh, and quantum mechanics is a theory based in statistics.

          • Observing a single atom collapses its wave function into a single state, Christopher.

            Observation doesn’t change atomic behavior. Descent into a single state following observation (i.e., following a scattering event) *is* its behavior.

            In any case, observation of the behavior of gas phase atoms was begun in the 17th century.

            That doesn’t mean people looked at individual atoms — your mistaken jump of logic. It means they looked at the behavior of gases and deduced the existence atoms.
            Here is a rundown for you. See the 1865 entry for Loschmidt.

            Kinetic molecular theory and statistical mechanics followed from that; descriptions of the behavior of gas-phase atoms.

            Quantum mechanics was founded in Planck’s explanation for the behavior of black body radiation and Einstein’s explanation of the photoelectric effect, Christopher. The statistical part came as a result of the two-slit experiment.

            The first sentence in your Wiki article refutes your contention that quantum statistical mechanics is statistics rather than physics: “Quantum statistical mechanics is statistical mechanics applied to quantum mechanical systems.

            That is, QSM is statistics is applied to the behavior of a physical system. The defining instance is the physical system, not the mathematics used to describe its behavior.

            Likewise, calculus is applied to the behavior of electromagnetic radiation. Will you assert, then, that electromagnetic theory is not physics but calculus?

            That’s your false logic in operation, Christopher. Nothing but a simplistic category mistake.

    • Another point would be that proxies for temperatures may be adequate to spot changes up or down, but not absolute temperatures.

        • How do you calibrate a 5-million year old proxy, David?

          Alternatively, how do you know that the confounding influences 5 million years ago are identical to the confounding influences now?

          All the mistakes just conveniently subtract away, is it?

  6. Professor Nick Zentner of Central Washington University has done public lecture series and several video series of the geology of the Pacific NW for many years. For the amateur geologist, very informative presentations. The one linked discusses some of the origins of the columnar basalt in central Washington, like Frenchman Coulee photo above.
    “Floods of Lava & Water: Downtown Geology Lecture Series”

    • There’s a basaltic formation off the coast of Ireland called the Giant’s Causeway. Same thing. Finn MacCool was supposed to have created it. There’s also Fingals’ Cave on the Island of Staff in Scotland. Must have been a bodacious eruption to produce that much basaltic lava.

      • Hi Sara. That’s the North Atlantic Large Igneous Province (3rd from the right on David’s figure 8), which is preserved in Scotland, Ireland and East Greenland. It’s also preserved on the Faeroe Islands, the islands of St. Kilda (last place in Europe to be introduced to Christianity, some time in the late 1700s) and Sweet Rockall.

        As the Atlantic opened, Greenland and Scotland drifted apart, but volcanic activity continued in a reduced area on the mid-Atlantic ridge, where it continues today in Iceland.

  7. Beerling and Royer (2011) show CO2 levels at 400-500 ppm (as now) during the Paleocene 65-55 Myr ago, a period a lot warmer than the Pleistocene we are in. Foster, Royer, and Lundt (2017) show that paleosol and stomata CO2 proxies for the Late Cretaceous 75-65 Myr ago were also below 600 ppm despite being a very warm period. There is a total disconnect between the data and Royer’s interpretation of the data.

    There is no correlation between temperature and CO2 for most of the Phanerozoic. There is good agreement that during the strong Karoo and Cenozoic ice ages CO2 levels were and are very low. Outside those two ice ages the correlation is inexistent, that is if one decides to trust what CO2 proxies say (one shouldn’t).

    Another problem is that Royer’s temperature reconstruction is a joke. It is the odd one out when compared to the reconstructions by Frakes, Veizer and Scotese, while those three agree quite well with each other. Royer just made an exercise in circular reasoning by correcting temperature with CO2 data and then saying that CO2 explains temperature.

    Temperature is cyclical. CO2 has been decreasing over time except during ice ages when it collapsed.

    • Even if Royer’s pH corrected temperature reconstruction is a “joke,” it only yields an ECS of 1.28 °C. So, the joke’s on the Warmunists… 😎

  8. On this subject it seems like there should be a discussion of the greenhouse effect of the largest emission of greenhouse gas from volcanic activity…water vapor.

    • Not important. While water vapor is a strong GHG the water erupted by volcanoes is of little consequence since it quickly condenses and rains out. As does all atmospheric water vapor, but it is constantly replaced by vaporization from the (tropical) oceans

  9. All life on this planet is carbon-based, and as yet, no other chemical basis for life has been found anywhere else, including at the hot pools at Yellowstone and the smokers at deep ocean rift zones.

    So could someone please explain to me what generates the horror of one of the basic elements of life in the people who get wigged out about it? I just don’t get it. Without carbon, regardless of its application and how it combines with other elements, there is no life in existence.

    Just trying to understand here. I’m thinking of getting a t-shirt printed (maybe several, different colors) with “I am a carbon-based lifeform” on it, plus a flower or a bug or something.

  10. “Neither assumptions about the present, nor model-predictions about the future, constitute observations of geological processes.” That’s the key phrase and I cannot even remember how many times I have repeated that assumptions and models are no data. They are opinions. I flag my opinions as such. Hell, everything I write is opinions. I leave it to people smarter than I am to provide the facts and fortunately, there are many great minds out there doing exactly that. I submit my opinions to the world to take aim and shot them down if they are faulty. That’s just fair. Alarmists never do that. They erect their opinions as rigid monuments that can never be criticized lest they are not blemished by the inquisitive eye of a doubtful soul. Cults do that, not scientists. A red-blooded scientist who respects him/herself would not take a theory about the causes of something that happened after the midpoint of the Phanerozoic as confirmation of some hypothesis of the future.

  11. Oh sure, LIPs coincide with mass extinctions, except when they don’t. They look special when you completely dismiss all other types of volcanism going on at all times, but when you look at overall rate of volcanism then they don’t even make a blip.
    In short, mantle degassing during the LIPs was no more significant than general mantle degassing at any other time in the Phanerozoic. It would be more correct to say that some LIPs coincide directly after the five mass extinctions.

    Occam’s Razor suggests that Earth-shattering extraterrestrial impacts have occurred more than once in the past 550 million years and not only directly caused the extinctions themselves, but also the LIPs which the extinctions are now commonly attributed to en vogue.

    https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1029/2008GC002149
    https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/45c0/cc50026106d48f5247fa019089fffc328432.pdf

      • The take-home message seems to be that while LIP episodes can cause mass extinctions, most don’t. There is really only two convincing cases: The Siberian Traps and CAMP. Both were large even for LIP:s, the Siberian Traps uniquely so.

        The K/Pg extinction was pretty conclusively caused by the Chicxulub impact, the End-Ordovician by a “short, sharp” ice-age, the End-Devonian is still a mystery.

        Oceanic LIP:s, even huge ones like Ontong Java, never cause mass extinctions, though they may be connected with Ocean Anoxic Events.

        And most LIP:s are completely invisible in the fossil record, except locally. Even large ones like Paraná-Etendeka and North Atlantic.

        And the Siberian Traps were apparently antipodal to the (uncertain but huge) Wilkes land Crater.

        • tty June 4, 2019 at 1:59 am

          Oceanic LIP:s, even huge ones like Ontong Java, never cause mass extinctions, though they may be connected with Ocean Anoxic Events.

          However they DO deliver a lot of energy to the oceans, between 125-84 mya well over 100 million km^3 magma (1 million km^3 magma carries enough energy to warm ALL ocean water 1K)
          During that time the 100 mW/m^2 geothermal flux delivered ~25 times the total OHC at the ocean floor.
          Apparently the thermohaline circulation couldn’t transport all this energy fast enough to high latitudes for cooling, hence the “observed” warming.

        • Yes, I’ve thought about that too. It would certainly have affected thermohaline circulation in the Pacific with large-scale upwelling over areas with cooling lava with cooler water coming in from the sides. I would also expect a large flowering of chemautotrophic animals, similar to modern black/white smokers but vastly larger in scale and over long periods of time. It would take a lot of time for something on the scale of Ontong Java to cool down.

          • tty June 4, 2019 at 10:13 am

            It would certainly have affected thermohaline circulation in the Pacific with large-scale upwelling over areas with cooling lava with cooler water coming in from the sides.

            I doubt the outflow rates were high enough for this to happen . Rates I’ve seen are 20-30 km^3/year. If these eruptions happen deep enough the heat will dissipate soon and the heated water will not penetrate the solar heated mixed surface layer.

            Current Thermohaline Circulation seems “mechanically” driven by brine plunging down to the ocean floor around Antarctica (AABW) and spreading far north, with the GF providing the warming for the waters to return to the surface, mostly around Antarctica.
            http://talleylab.ucsd.edu/ltalley/sio210/nov5/schmitz_conveyor.jpg

            Without sea ice forming in the Cretaceous I expect the TC to be less effective.
            The warm water from the magma eruptions would need many years before reaching the surface at high latitudes and being able to exchange energy with the atmosphere (and space eventually)

  12. There is evidence that a warmer climate will cause more CO2 to enter the atmosphere because warmer oceans cannot hold as much CO2 as cooler oceans. but there is no real evidence the additional CO2 causes any additional warming. Over a much longer period of time, CO2 levels have been dropping as CO2 has been taken up by carbonate rock and hydrocarbon deposits. Converting hydrocarbon deposits and carbonate rock back to CO2 is an effort to help preserve life on this planet.

  13. Looks like plotting reconstructed CO₂ levels and temperatures on multiple scales against multiple series of time.

    Designed to confuse.

    And it still shows CO₂ lags temperature.

  14. The elephant in the room is ozone levels….

    Effusive volcanoes also release chlorine and bromine into the atmosphere.

    As we have learned through our use of Cfcs, chlorine depletes the amount of ozone catalysing its destruction….

    Less ozone means more UV exposure at the surface and UV absorption by the oceans….

    For more see Dr. Wards hypothesis here: http://ozonedepletiontheory.info/index.html

    • The “ozone hole” theory has never been convincing to me: CFCs are HEAVY, how do they get 15 km (at least) up in the atmosphere? Not to mention molecular bromine, which weighs 160, but molecular chlorine is already 71, so more than double of air.
      The ozone depletion has been discovered in 1979, but there is no older data, so we simply don’t know. What we know, is that ozone depletion correlates quite well with the intensity of solar cycles.

      • It also correlates remarkably well with high-halogen volcanism of Mount Erebus (starting in 1972 and ongoing). Remember that there is no real tropopause in the Antarctic in winter.

  15. “Most current observation-derived estimates of the climate sensitivity to carbon dioxide only put the transient climate response (TCR) in the 0.5 to 1.5 °C range and the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) in the 1.5 to 2.5 °C range, insufficient to have been a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate change.”

    nope. wrong ranges.

    you might like those to be the ranges, but the ranges are larger.

    • ECS doesn’t even exist properly speaking, since the deep ocean has an equilibration time on the order of 1,000 years and CO2 doesn’t stay that long in the atmosphere.

      • It is supposed to be 2.6 to 4.1 °C but yes they are all junk … pick a proxy any proxy and you can get whatever you want.

    • What recent observation-derived estimate of ECS is outside of the 1.5 to 2.5 °C range?

      By “recent observation-derived,” I mean recent observations (satellite era instrumental record).

      Lindzen & Choi, 2009 and Spencer & Braswell, 2010 came up with 0.6 and 0.5 °C… Trenberth et al., 2010, in rebuttal to LC09, only came up with an ECS of 2.3 °C.

    • There is no evidence to support larger ranges.
      Heck even David’s ranges have to assume that most of the warming over the last 150 years comes from CO2.

  16. Another largely overlooked effect of large plateau basalt eruptions is the very large amounts of halogens released. This was the worst local effect of the Laki 1783 eruption (the only one we have actual data on) since the large amounts of fluorine released caused widespread destruction of vegetation and killed animals over most of Iceland. From a very large LIP eruption these effects would probably be continent-wide or even world-wide. Hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acid would also exacerbate the effect of “acid rain”.

  17. tty is wrong – the extinctions were caused by persistent repeat acid volcanic exhalative activity – the answer is in the black shales that are syndepositional with the extinctions. The rock geochemistry of the black shales in question reinforce this concept.
    CO2 peaks may be attributed to the intrusion of Tertiary basalts into coal seams. This phenomena is common in all of the Permian Basins in Australia.
    The two events are unrelated

    • Black shales only indicate anoxia. And while most (not all) mass extinctions coincide with shale deposition, the opposite is not true. The largest episode of black shale deposition was in the mid-Cretaceous as all petroleum geologists are well aware, but there was no mass extinction.

  18. Good stuff. One little thing though:

    The basalt flow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontong_Java_Plateau was 80 million cubic kilometers of basaltic magma at which added how many degrees to our oceans which in turn did what to the climate (it dwarfs the Siberian Traps)…?

    Good point on the phosphorus to drive extreme plancton blooms and “unprecedented sulphur” which would end up as sulphuric acid in our oceans. Wonder how much that changed our ocean’s pH…

    Given the 90% bicarbonate of ocean alkalinity, given the low extinction level during the release of the basalt and gasses, not much if anything at all, perhaps.

    Oddgeir

  19. Not bad for a wigglepicker. Good article and it provoked a good and varied discussion with widely different views expressed -like real scientists, noone claiming 100% of the truth for their personal view, and tolerance an respect for diverging opinions. I wonder why none of the consensus-ists weighed in to scream climate denier at you. Perhaps too Tornado-struck by the revelations of Saint Greta Garbled to put pen to paper

  20. The following is a few facts and my hypothesis.

    At the P/E boundary, there was an event which helps explain
    my findings on hydrocarbons.

    There was an event which caused a period of vulcanism and
    a short, geologically speaking, period of ~30,000 years of warming.

    There was an accompanying spike in CO2, and a massive
    spike in C12.

    I believe that there was a comet or very large meteorite
    strike which imparted great shock and vibration and
    mechanical input of heat to the earth’s core.

    The result was an extraordinary period of vulcanism and the
    rise in the earth’s core temperature and shock vibration
    caused a massive release of Natural gas hydrates to the
    atmosphere. The gasification of the hydrates, mostly
    methane and ethane and rise in earth’s core temperature
    caused an atmospheric temperature rise of 3-5C for the
    ~30,000 yrs. Over that period, the hydrocarbons were
    converted to water and CO2.

    The massive amounts of hydrates under the oceans
    and permafrost are natural gas, not just methane.

    The heat and shock and vibration released the hydrates
    from their zone of stability, causing them to gasify
    and rise.

    The warming of the oceans would also reduce the normal
    absorption of CO2, further increasing atmospheric CO2.

    Much of the information in the above came from an article
    in Chemistry in Britain, May, 2002, Close Encounters with
    Crystalline Gas. The only thing I saw wrong with the article
    is that they call hydrates fossils.

    Leg 164 of the Deep Sea Drilling @ the Blake Plateau cored
    the hydrates there and found them all to be the same age.

    I would attach a link, but I am not a member of the Royal
    Society.

  21. Why is it that nowhere in this discussion can I find any reference to the well-known fact that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere depends on equilibrium between the oceans and the atmosphere. When ocean temperatures rise during interglacial periods, increase in atmospheric CO2 follows. This is what controls atmospheric CO2, not the number of volcanic eruptions. Temperatures during periods of high CO2 were considerably warmer than present so one would expect CO2 levels to be higher as a result of the oceans giving off CO2.

    • Good point, Dr. Easterbrook. One of the major errors of the warmists is misidentifying increasing CO2 as a cause of warming rather than its effect. Another salient point is that the oceans have never in the whole of the Phanerozoic eon been colder than at present. We are in uncharted territory and the long-term trend is still cooling.

      • Can you provide a reference for that, WB?

        The “never in the whole of the Phanerozoic” business. 🙂

        Thanks

Comments are closed.