Why the Current Economic Slowdown Won’t Show Up in the Atmospheric CO2 Record

Reposted from Dr. Roy Spencer’s Blog

May 15th, 2020 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

[UPDATE: MISSING IMAGES INSERTED]

Summary: Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) continue to increase with no sign of the global economic slowdown in response to the spread of COVID-19. This is because the estimated reductions in CO2 emissions (around -11% globally during 2020) is too small a reduction to be noticed against a background of large natural variability. The reduction in economic activity would have to be 4 times larger than 11% to halt the rise in atmospheric CO2.

Changes in the atmospheric reservoir of CO2 occur when there is an imbalance between surface sources and sinks of CO2. While the global land and ocean areas emit approximately 30 times as much CO2 into the atmosphere as humans produce from burning of fossil fuels, they also absorb about an equal amount of CO2. This is the global carbon cycle, driven mostly by biological activity.

There are variations in the natural carbon cycle, such as during El Nino (more CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere) and La Nina (more CO2 removed from the atmosphere). Greater wildfire activity releases more CO2, while major volcanic eruptions (paradoxically) lead to greater photosynthesis from more diffuse sunlight and extra removal of CO2 from the air. The most dramatic variations are seasonal, as the land-dominated Northern Hemisphere experiences an annual cycle of vegetation growth (CO2 removal) and decay (CO2 release).

The increase in atmospheric CO2 observed since the 1950s is most likely dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are twice as large as that needed to explain the observed rise. As I have shown before, a simple CO2 budget model driven by (1) estimates of global yearly anthropogenic CO2 emissions, (2) El Nino and La Nina activity, and (3) a CO2 removal rate that is proportional to how much “extra” CO2 is in the atmosphere compared to a “preferred baseline” CO2 level, yields an excellent fit to yearly CO2 observations at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

Fig. 1. Yearly Mauna Loa, HI CO2 observations since 1959 (red) versus a simple CO2 budget model (blue).

But those are yearly measurements, and we are now interested in whether the recent global economic slowdown is showing up in the monthly Mauna Loa CO2 data. If we remove the large seasonal variations (driven by the seasonal growth and decay of Northern Hemisphere vegetation), we see no evidence of the economic slowdown through April, 2020.

Fig. 2. Monthly CO2 data since 2015 from Mauna Loa, HI after the average seasonal cycle is statistically removed.

As can be seen in Fig. 2, there are some pretty large month-to-month jumps and dips around the long-term increase (represented by the dotted line). These are probably natural variations due to fluctuations in the average seasonal variations in vegetation growth and decay, wildfire activity, and El Nino and La Nina activity (which are imperfectly removed in the solid blue line in Fig. 2). Variations in economic activity might also be involved in these fluctuations.

The point is that given the large month-to-month variations in natural CO2 sources and sinks seen in Fig. 2, it would be difficult to see a downturn in the anthropogenic source of CO2 unless it was very large (say, over 50%) and prolonged (say over a year or longer).

Instead, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that the global economic slowdown this year due to the spread of the novel coronavirus will amount to only about an 11% reduction in global CO2 emissions. This is simply too small of a decrease in CO2 emissions to show up against a background of considerable monthly and yearly natural variability in the atmospheric CO2 budget.

That relatively small 11% reduction also illustrates how dependent humanity is on energy, since the economic disruption is leading to U.S. unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Everything that humans do requires access to abundant and affordable energy, and even the current economic downturn is not enough to substantially reduce global CO2 emissions.

ADDENDUM: How much of a decrease in CO2 emissions would be required to stop the atmospheric rise in CO2?

An interesting aspect of the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 is that it indicates the greater the CO2 concentration, the faster the “extra” CO2 is removed by biological activity. The observed annual rate of removal is 2.3% of the excess above a baseline of 295 ppm. The greater the “excess”, the faster the rate of removal.

Because of this rapid rate of removal, the anthropogenic CO2 emissions do not have to go to zero to stop the observed rise in atmospheric CO2. Using my simple model (blue line in Fig. 1, above), I find that a 43% reduction in anthropogenic CO2 emissions in 2020 would — in the absence of natural fluctuations in the carbon cycle — lead to a halt in the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 in 2020 over 2019 levels. This is about 4 times larger than the EIA estimate of an 11% reduction in CO2 emissions for the year 2020.

143 thoughts on “Why the Current Economic Slowdown Won’t Show Up in the Atmospheric CO2 Record

  1. Dr. Spencer says:

    “An interesting aspect of the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 is that it indicates the greater the CO2 concentration, the faster the “extra” CO2 is removed by biological activity. The observed annual rate of removal is 2.3% of the excess above a baseline of 295 ppm. The greater the “excess”, the faster the rate of removal.

    Because of this rapid rate of removal, the anthropogenic CO2 emissions do not have to go to zero to stop the observed rise in atmospheric CO2. Using my simple model (blue line in Fig. 1, above), I find that a 43% reduction in anthropogenic CO2 emissions in 2020 would — in the absence of natural fluctuations in the carbon cycle — lead to a halt in the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 in 2020 over 2019 levels. This is about 4 times larger than the EIA estimate of an 11% reduction in CO2 emissions for the year 2020.”

    The next obvious question becomes, if a 43% reduction in anthropogenic CO2 emissions flattens the Keeling Curve in the space of one year, then what does global mean temperature do the year after that?

      • While the “Alarmist” are drooling all over themselves over that <11% decrease in carbon dioxide emissions and the leftist in government are doing everything they can to extend the shutdown of the economy for as long as they can to increase that <11% as high as they can. At the same time loving every second of the pain working people – of over 33 Million in the US alone on unemployment – are in that drives them to Government Assisted Living and subsidies that's creating another Recession of inflation with the over 3 Trillion USD and over 3 Trillion USD more they're planning to give out to bail out states – that never balance their budgets – and the businesses that their Governor's have closed.

        • “they’re planning to give out to bail out states”

          “They”? You’re furious with everyone, that’s obvious, but who is it you think is approving the bailout of the undeserving state?

      • Well, not entirely true, Nicholas. CO2 usually lags but is positively correlated with temperature. In general, warmer oceans outgas more. Cooler oceans absorb more.

        I take your meaning to be that temperature is not driven by CO2 changes. Of course that’s true.

        • Rich Davis – May 15, 2020 at 1:29 pm

          CO2 usually lags but is positively correlated with temperature. In general, warmer oceans outgas more. Cooler oceans absorb more.

          Rich D, …..absolutely correct you are.

          And me thinks Dr. Roy Spencer also agrees with you, …… to wit:

          Dr. Roy Spencer “There are variations in the natural carbon cycle, such as during El Nino (more CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere) and La Nina (more CO2 removed from the atmosphere).

          • what emissions are you referring to“?

            The emissions this post is about. The emissions this post claims might drop by 11% this year. The emissions that are not part of the natural cycle. The emissions that are mainly responsible for the increase in atmospheric CO2. Anthropogenic emissions.

            I know you don’t agree with this. But it’s not just me your disagreeing with, it’s Dr Roy Spencer:

            The increase in atmospheric CO2 observed since the 1950s is most likely dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are twice as large as that needed to explain the observed rise.

          • Skimmed through it – looks like nonsense. As far as I can tell it’s simply making the unremarkable assertion that if outlow of CO2 is a constant proportion of CO2 levels, the levels cannot increase beyond the proportion of the increase in emissions. Given that we’ve observed a much bigger increase in levels than the anthropogenic increase in emissions, this either means that either there’s been a massive increasing natural emissions to account for the rise in CO2 levels, or the model is baloney.

            Given that the paper doesn’t seem to explain, why or how natural emissions have increased by 30%, and given that it never explains what happens to carbon once it has outflowed, I’m inclined to suspect the second possibility is correct.

        • Bellman, please note that Dr Roy Spencer explicitly stated ….. “…. is most likely dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, …..

          And, ….. “most likely” ……. doesn’t mean diddly poo.

          And Bellman, you do realize that “anthropogenic” means “human caused” or “human related” CO2 emissions, … RIGHT. And that means all humans, ……. the total world population of humans, …. RIGHT.

          Bellman, the factuality of statistics …… prov es that I am correct, to wit:

          I compiled the following statistics via reliable sources, to wit:

          Increases in World Population & Atmospheric CO2 by Decade

          year — world popul. – % incr. — May CO2 ppm – % incr. — avg ppm increase/year
          1940 – 2,300,000,000 est. ___ ____ 300 ppm est.
          1950 – 2,556,000,053 – 11.1% ____ 310 ppm – 3.3% —— 1.0 ppm/year
          [March 03, 1958 …… Mauna Loa — 315.71 ppm]
          1960 – 3,039,451,023 – 18.9% ____ 320.03 ppm – 3.2% —— 1.0 ppm/year
          1970 – 3,706,618,163 – 21.9% ____ 328.07 ppm – 2.5% —— 0.8 ppm/year
          1980 – 4,453,831,714 – 20.1% ____ 341.48 ppm – 4.0% —– 1.3 ppm/year
          1990 – 5,278,639,789 – 18.5% ____ 357.32 ppm – 4.6% —– 1.5 ppm/year
          2000 – 6,082,966,429 – 15.2% ____ 371.58 ppm – 3.9% —– 1.4 ppm/year
          2010 – 6,809,972,000 – 11.9% ____ 393.00 ppm – 5.7% —— 2.1 ppm/year
          2019 – 7,714,576,923 – 11.7% ____ 414.66 ppm – 5.5% —— 2.1 ppm/year
          Source CO2 ppm: ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_mm_mlo.txt

          Based on the above statistics, to wit:

          Fact #1 – in the past 79 years – world population has increased 235% (5.4 billion people) – atmospheric CO2 has increased 37.3% (112 ppm)

          Fact #2 – human generated CO2 releases have been exponentially increasing every year for the past 79 years (as defined by the population increase of 5.4 billion people).

          Fact #3 – the burning of fossil fuels by humans has been exponentially increasing every year for the past 79 years. (as defined by the population increase of 5.4 billion people).

          Fact #4 – a biyearly or seasonal cycling of an average 6 ppm of atmospheric CO2 has been steadily and consistently occurring each and every year for the past 61 years (as defined by the Mauna Loa Record and Keeling Curve Graph).

          Fact #5 – atmospheric CO2 has been steadily and consistently increasing at an average yearly rate of 1 to 2 ppm per year for each and every year for the past 61 years (as defined by the Mauna Loa Record and Keeling Curve Graph).

          Conclusions:

          Given the above statistics, it appears to me to be quite obvious that for the past 79 years (or the 61 years of the Mauna Loa Record) there is absolutely no direct association or correlation between:

          #1 – increases in atmospheric CO2 ppm and world population increases:

          #2 – the biyearly or seasonal cycling of an average 6 ppm of atmospheric CO2 and world population increases;

          #3 – the biyearly or seasonal cycling of an average 6 ppm of atmospheric CO2 and the exponential yearly increase in fossil fuel burning;

          #4 – the average yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 of 1 to 2 ppm and the exponential increase in fossil fuel burning;

          #5 – there is absolutely, positively no, per se, “human (anthropogenic) signature” to be found anywhere within the 61 year old Mauna Loa Atmospheric CO2 Record.

          • Given the above statistics, it appears to me to be quite obvious that for the past 79 years (or the 61 years of the Mauna Loa Record) there is absolutely no direct association or correlation between:

            #1 – increases in atmospheric CO2 ppm and world population increases:

            Why would you expect there to be. Increased emissions determine rising CO2 levels, not human population.

            #2 – the biyearly or seasonal cycling of an average 6 ppm of atmospheric CO2 and world population increases;

            Why on earth would expect there to be. Seasonal cycling is caused by plant growth, not human population.

            #3 – the biyearly or seasonal cycling of an average 6 ppm of atmospheric CO2 and the exponential yearly increase in fossil fuel burning;

            Why on earth would you expect there to be. Seasonal cycling is caused by plant growth, not fossil fuel burning.

            #4 – the average yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 of 1 to 2 ppm and the exponential increase in fossil fuel burning;

            I’d say you are wrong there. Atmospheric CO2 has been increasing all the time fossil fuel has been burnt and is growing at an increasing rate as fossil fuel consumption increases.

            #5 – there is absolutely, positively no, per se, “human (anthropogenic) signature” to be found anywhere within the 61 year old Mauna Loa Atmospheric CO2 Record.

            Why would you expect there to be “per se” evidence in the Mauna Loa record? What is clear is that the increase recorded is very much in accord with human emissions, and there is no sensible alternative explanation for the rise.

          • I believe that global temperatures are driven more with atmosphere than CO2 levels. Venus at the same one ATM has nearly the same average temperature as earth. research Is needed to look at the correlation between atm and Global temperature.

          • Sam C said: absolutely no direct association or correlation between:
            #1 – increases in atmospheric CO2 ppm and world population increases:”

            Bellman replied: Why would you expect there to be. Increased emissions determine rising CO2 levels, not human population.

            OH MY GAWD, ……. I now see what my problem is.

            All this time I wasa thinking that iffen the world’s human population increased dramatically ….. that the anthropogenic emissions of CO2 would also increase dramatically.

            What a dumb arse I have been.

            I should have realized that just because human population has increased by 5.4 billion people during the past 70 years …….. it would NOT affect the anthropogenic CO2 emissions …. and therefore said emissions would be the same now as they were in 1958.

            Thank you, Bellman, ……. for edumacating me on science.

          • And Bellman, you might as well edumacate me on the following …… since you are on “a roll”, .. to wit:

            The Chicxulub crater is an impact crater buried underneath the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It was formed when a large asteroid or comet about 11 to 81 kilometers (6.8 to 50.3 miles) in diameter, struck the Earth.

            The date of the impact coincides precisely with the Cretaceous–Paleogene boundary, slightly less than 66 million years ago, and a widely accepted theory is that worldwide climate disruption from the event was the cause of the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event, a mass extinction in which 75% of plant and animal species on Earth became extinct, including all non-avian dinosaurs.

            The crater is estimated to be 150 kilometers (93 miles) in diameter and 20 kilometers (12 miles) in depth,

            The emission of dust and particles could have covered the entire surface of the Earth for several years, possibly a decade, creating a harsh environment for living things. The shock production of carbon dioxide caused by the destruction of carbonate rocks would have led to a sudden greenhouse effect.

            Over a decade or longer, sunlight would have been blocked from reaching the surface of the Earth by the dust particles in the atmosphere, cooling the surface dramatically. Photosynthesis by plants would also have been interrupted, affecting the entire food chain

            Some critics, including paleontologist Robert Bakker, argue that such an impact would have killed frogs as well as dinosaurs, yet the frogs survived the extinction event.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicxulub_crater

            Thus a lot of “association = causation” thingys to ponder over:

            The date of the impact coincides precisely with the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event.

            But, the event only “extincted” the large dinosaurs, ….. but not the small avian dinosaurs, …. nor very many of the small animal species became extinct.

            A kermonstrous asteroid strike causing selective species extinctions, … DUH!!!

            The emission of dust and particulate could have covered the entire surface of the Earth for 10 years.

            That alone would have caused the extinction of most all animals and plants.

            Over a decade or longer, sunlight would have been blocked from reaching the surface of the Earth.

            No sunlight for 10 years = no photosynthesis for 10 years = no food production for 10 years = all plants and animals die of starvation and/or hypothermia.

            The shock production of CO2 would have led to a sudden greenhouse effect

            Ya can’t have a “sudden greenhouse effect” if all Sunlight was blocked from reaching the surface by the airborne dust and particulate situate in the atmosphere.

          • I should have realized that just because human population has increased by 5.4 billion people during the past 70 years …….. it would NOT affect the anthropogenic CO2 emissions …. and therefore said emissions would be the same now as they were in 1958.

            Calm down. If you’d made it clear you were using human population as a proxy for global emissions I might not have been so flippant. I just don’t know why you insist on using a proxy when you could have used actual emission figures.

            Given that, lets go back to your original claim – ” there is absolutely no direct association or correlation between … increases in atmospheric CO2 ppm and world population increases”, and change world population to emissions.

            I can now say your claim #1 is false. There is a statistically significant correlation between increases in atmospheric CO2 ppm and anthropogenic CO2 emissions. And as there’s a correlation between population and emissions I’d also assume there was a correlation between atmospheric CO2 emissions and global population.

          • And Bellman, you might as well edumacate me on the following …… since you are on “a roll”, .. to wit:

            Some edumaction for you – if you wants to appear smart, stop trying to change the subject. I didn’t write the wikipedia entry, I have no special knowledge regarding the extinction of the dinosaurs, and I fail to see how it’s relevant to a discussion about current day atmospheric CO2 levels.

            Another piece of advice would be to actually read the article you quote. For example you claim that it only “extincted” the large dinosaur, when the article you quoted says “a mass extinction in which 75% of plant and animal species on Earth became extinct, including all non-avian dinosaurs.” Hence, not just large dinosaurs, but all non-avian dinosaurs big and small and many other species.

          • Bellman, …… wait until your Mommy gets home from work and ask her what this Wikipedia statement means, …… “including all non-avian dinosaurs.” 😊

          • Thanks for the advice, but as my mother hasn’t worked for decades, and due to the current situation I’m unlikely to see her anytime soon, I thought it best to try to figure it out for myself.

            What does “…including all non-avian dinosaurs.” mean? It means all species of dinosaur, with the exception of some bird species went extinct. It does not support your argument:

            But, the event only “extincted” the large dinosaurs, ….. but not the small avian dinosaurs, …. nor very many of the small animal species became extinct.

            It does not say that only large dinosaurs went extinct, or that all small avian-dinosaur species survived.

  2. That relatively small 11% reduction also illustrates how dependent humanity is on energy, since the economic disruption is leading to U.S. unemployment rates not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

    I don’t I follow this argument. The reductions in CO2 emissions didn’t cause the the economic disruption – it’s the other way round. If anything it shows how much energy producers are dependent on strong economies.

    In any event, an 11% reduction in global emissions, even if sustained throughout the year, would only be returning emissions back 10-20 years. Not back to the emissions during the Great Depression.

    • At this point in time, productivity is greatly reduced because large sectors of the economy have been disrupted. That’s true.

      However, without energy these sectors could not be restarted and of course there is no need for energy producers to supply this if it’s not going to be used.Energy is a requirement for production. It’s a necessary input.

      There is a mutual dependency between producer and consumer that yields an interesting dichotomy around the concept of cause and effect.

    • I don’t I follow this argument. The reductions in CO2 emissions didn’t cause the the economic disruption . . .

      That’s not the argument as I understand it.

      The argument is that regardless of huge numbers of Americans being asked to stay home from work, CO2 reduction has been “relatively small,” indicating that even during times when the American workforce is unnaturally unemployed at percentages not seen since the Great Depression, our consumption of energy remains relatively stable.

      • Yes I think I misread it. But I’m not sure if it makes much of a point. All it really shows is that employment is not the main consumption of fossil fuels.

        In any event I’m not sure if it makes sense to look at global emissions if we are only talking about US employment, though I don’t know if the 11% figure is correct for global emissions.

        • Checking the link, it’s estimated that US emissions will decline by 11% during the whole of 2020, which suggests to me that they have probably falling by more than that up to now. It’s also interesting to note they fell by 2.8% last year, despite high levels of employment.

          • Clyde Spencer

            Could you show me where they give a figure for global emissions? You may well be right but all I can see is US emissions:

            After decreasing by 2.8% in 2019, EIA forecasts that U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will decrease by 11% (572 million metric tons) in 2020. This record decline is the result of restrictions on business and travel activity and slowing economic growth related to COVID-19. CO2 emissions decline from all fossil fuels, particularly coal (23%) and petroleum (11%). In 2021, EIA forecasts that energy-related CO2 emissions will increase by 5% as the economy recovers and stay-at-home orders are lifted. Energy-related CO2 emissions are sensitive to changes in weather, economic growth, energy prices, and fuel mix.

        • All it really shows is that employment is not the main consumption of fossil fuels.

          I am not knowing.

          What if the 11% drop is down from a normal 65% of consumption from employment?

          How do I know?

    • 200% is neglible?

      “The increase in atmospheric CO2 observed since the 1950s is most likely dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are twice as large as that needed to explain the observed rise.”

      • Post hoc ergo proper hoc ?

        Once again Dr. Roy’s deductions are based upon incomplete information, and some sophistry.

        Dear Readers, please familiarise yourselves with this “Classic” before seeing any more mumbo jumbo conjectures based upon mere speculation, and a belief in self justification as a means to retain status.

        http://classics.mit.edu/Aristotle/sophist_refut.html

        • “twice as large as that needed to explain the observed rise”

          Sophistry? What part of “twice as large as that needed” do you find false or deceiving?

        • Jack Black,

          If a company makes a balance over a year and one of the extra incomes is twice as high as the overall gain that the company makes over that year, one can be quite certain that the gain is from that extra income, no matter what all the other ins and outs do…

          • It is and “If” Ferdinand.
            If the company is in balance, in other words, you have to assume that this balance exists.
            If an extra income is twice the profit, then the rest of the accounts are not in balance.

            You must therefore have a keen interest in researching, trying to understand, why you only keep 50% of this extra income.

            You should have great interest in finding out where the imbalance in the accounts is, think if it changes and your entire profits disappear or reduce to zero. You will not retain the job of a director when the board finds that you have an extra income that does not provide anything.

          • Olav,

            In the case of CO2, you may be certain that the “losses” were thoroughly examined and thanks to the oxygen balance, one knows that about half the sinks are in vegetation, half are in the oceans…

          • You, may be certain Ferdinand, that the “losses” are “thoroughly ” examined and that thanks to the oxygen balance we “know”. That we know what?
            The numbers seem to fit. But at its best, it is a wild guess.
            To say we have good numbers of what the greening of the planet have done with CO2, percentages for increased uptake and degradation in the Northern Hemisphere, no way. They are only good or bad calculations. And I would say the same for the claim of the Osean-sink.

        • Jack Black: ‘Please familiarise yourselves with this ‘classic’, for Dr Spencer’s speculations are ‘post hoc ergo propter hoc.”

          How?
          In what way can he be said to be relying on ‘incomplete information’, bearing in mind the paucity of evidence for any given hypothesis?

          Why should Dr Spencer’s speculations be ‘mere’ when he forms them in testable hypotheses, thereby inviting criticism?

          Note well

  3. Since forcing the “global temperature” downward is the goal of “fighting climate change”, what measure of climate sensitivity to CO2 levels is used by the Paris Agreement to return us to pre-industrial Eden?

    Is the verified increase in CO2 caused greening of the planet incorporated in any models?

    • Betapug May 15, 2020 at 10:38 am
      So we need to get back to the Little Ice Age? Why is that the best time to be at?

    • Betapug,

      Models imply between 1.5 and 4.5 C for a CO2 doubling (280 to 560 ppmv, expected around 2100).
      For 1.5 C, one doesn’t have to do anything, as one complies with the Paris agreement.
      For 4.5 C, one need to reduce the CO2 emissions as far as possible…
      Of course the most extreme scenario’s of the most extreme models is only what you hear and see in the media and where politicians (mainly in the EU) base their CO2 reductions on…

      Greening of the earth is indirectly implemented in the models, as that is part of the net sink capacity of nature, which makes than only half the human emissions (as mass) show up in the atmosphere. The other part is absorbed by the (deep) oceans…

  4. The graphs for Figures 1 and 2 are not present, when using either using Firefox browser or Edge browser.

  5. “The reduction in economic activity would have to be 4 times larger than 11% to halt the rise in atmospheric CO2.”
    (journalist)
    So you are saying, the number of extra deaths needs to be 4 times higher than last month… each and every month for the next few centuries?
    Is that really going to stop climate change?
    (activist)
    Climate change?

  6. The truth is that the year to year increase in the rate of increase in natural emissions has been around the same magnitude as the year to year increase in man made emissions. Also, the rate of natural emissions is around 20 times greater man made emissions so a mere 5% increase in natural emissions is about the same as a 100% decrease in man made emissions. Any evidence of a decrease in man made emissions will be lost in the variability of natural emissions.

    Another fact to consider is the biological activity (phytoplankton blooms) in the cold polar water sinks. The annual freezing and melting of the Arctic ocean effectively closes and opens that sink causing the annual rise and fall of atmospheric concentrations of CO2. When the sink is closed, the CO2 being delivered from the tropics builds up. In the summer the sink is open and all the CO2 that reaches the cold waters gets sucked up. In the Antarctic, the cold water sink is never closed but just moved a bit north. There is not much seasonal variation in the atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at the South Pole.

    • Fred Haynie,

      What you say is impossible…
      Man-made emissions increased a fourfold between 1960 and 2020. If you were right, natural emissions (mainly seasonal) need to have increased a fourfold too in the same time span.
      There is nothing to see in the seasonal cycle, which is hardly different in the first decades of that time period as in the last decades:
      http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/seasonal_CO2_MLO_trend.jpg

      Moreover, if the natural cycle increased a fourfold, that would lead to a fourfold reduction in residence time over the past 6 decades, but there is nothing which proves that, to the contrary, recent estimates give a slightly longer estimate for the residence time that older estimates. That points to a rather stable natural cycle in an increasing mass of CO2 in the atmosphere…

        • Fred,

          The crux of the matter is in following part:
          However, the data strongly indicates that the negative increase is because the natural emissions of organic source CO2 has been steadily increasing with a narrow index range around -13. The index values for anthropogenic emissions range from about -25 for solids such as coal to about -40 for natural gas. If these emissions where contributing significantly to the average calculated organic source fraction, the value would be becoming more negative.

          The first sentence is refuted by the greening of the earth: vegetation (no matter on land or in the sea surface) is a net sink for CO2, as the O2 balance shows. Thus the net balance for vegetation is more sink than release, thus preferentially more 12CO2 uptake than 13CO2, thus increasing the 13C/12C ratio.
          While your story is right for short term variability, it is wrong for the long term: there is no increase in natural organic CO2, there is only an increase in unbalance, which makes that there is a positive effect on the 13C/12C ratio, thus the full decline is from human emissions.

          In the second part you forgot the influence of the deep ocean cycle: that is about 40 GtC/year at an average -6.4 per mil δ13C. That is “thinning the human fingerprint” to about 1/3 of what it would be if all human CO2 would remain in the atmosphere…

          • The first sentence is not refuted. That is what the data show. The rate of organic emissions with an index of around 13 from the tropics has been increasing for decades. I believe this is associated with the “greening of ocean”. For example, the night/day cycle in the polar regions is a year long. When the sun comes up, you have phytoplankton blooms. Phytoplankton rides surface currants (to get sunlight) to the tropics. When they die in the tropics, the organic matter decays and the organic CO2 remains on the surface. The calcium carbonate shell (0 C13/C12 index) is heavier than water and falls to the ocean floor and becomes a part of a really long cycle. When surface water evaporates, it releases the CO2 it contains into the atmosphere. The vertical flux of CO2 correlates with the rate of change in atmospheric dew point as well as the rate of change in atmospheric concentration of water vapor in the atmosphere. Phytoplankton is the bottom of the food chain and is the source of most of the earths biological activity. Means more food for us humans.

  7. “The reduction in economic activity would have to be 4 times larger than 11% to halt the rise in atmospheric CO2.”

    How so? If a 43% drop in human CO2 emissions would “halt” the rise as Dr Spencer calculates, then surely an 11% drop should have a measurable effect? The null hypothesis, surely, must be “a change in human caused CO2 emissions does not cause any change in CO2 concentrations?” Of course, given the yearly variability, it may be hard to be sure until a year or several have elapsed. So my question to Dr Spencer is: If this null hypothesis is false, how long does he think it would take, before a drop of this magnitude in human CO2 emissions, if sustained, would be visible in the CO2 concentration measurements?

    • Neil,
      11% would indeed be plenty sufficient to detect if it continued for a year or two. (God help us!). The difficulty with detection is that an 8-week period isn’t long enough to falsify the null hypothesis that there has been no change in the rate of increase. This is because normal variability is of greater magnitude than 11% of the annual emissions. Ten years of a sustained 11% reduction would cause the trend line to deviate downward by about 2.2ppm, more than the increase in a typical year. Two months, not so much.

      This doesn’t prove that human-caused emissions are irrelevant to the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, but only that they are small enough that it has taken 170 years to cause a 135ppm rise. Like a dripping faucet eventually filling a bucket. It doesn’t negate the mass balance that shows that we emit about twice as much CO2 as is accumulating in the atmosphere annually. Those among us skeptics who try to make the illogical case that our emissions don’t cause the observed rise are only hurting our credibility.

      On the other hand, 0.0135% is a small change and the observed degree C of temperature rise is irrelevant to our climate, assuming (as I will not grant), that the change in temperature was entirely caused by the change in CO2 concentration, rather than potentially varying independently due to natural factors.

      It’s not helping our case to make an illogical argument and it’s not a case that needs o be argued in the first place. Focus on the fact that both the increase in CO2 and the increase in temperature are if anything beneficial.

      • Rich,

        I think you may have misread what I wrote. I wasn’t trying to “make a case” that human CO2 emissions don’t cause any temperature rise; quite the opposite. I was using it as a null hypothesis to be disproved (or not) by observations. I was giving “the other side” a chance to make their case!

        • Sorry Neil, I was in part responding to other comments from people who think it’s possible for us to emit twice as much CO2 as accumulates in the atmosphere annually, but not be responsible for CO2 increasing.

          My point is they don’t need to defy logic to win the argument. The important question is what the effect of a little bit more CO2 is. And the effect is small but beneficial.

    • My thought exactly, if 4 x 11 % is needed to be noticeable then 43% cannot be a stopping limit. Maybe there is a temporal or buffering factor here as Rich states, but this article needs to clarify this dichotomy precisely.

      Plus, I question the methodology (out of scope of this article) for coming to this 11% value. Petro and natural gas account for ~50% of our energy needs. Demand for them is off by much, much more than 11%.

      A better headline for this article we need 4 x corona, forever, to stop CO2. Maybe that will help wake people up a little as to what the insane zero carbon economy represents.

  8. By reflecting away 30% of the ISR the atmospheric albedo cools the earth much like that reflective panel behind a car’s windshield.

    For the greenhouse effect to perform as advertised “extra” energy must radiate upwards from the surface. Because of the non-radiative heat transfer processes of the contiguous atmospheric molecules such ideal BB upwelling “extra” energy does not exist.

    There is no “extra” energy for the GHGs to “trap” and “back” radiate and no greenhouse warming.

    With no greenhouse effect what CO2 does or does not do, where it comes from or where it goes, is moot.

    Equally moot are temperatures, ice caps, glaciers, polar bears, sea levels, hurricanes, nuclear power….

    • “There is no “extra” energy for the GHGs to “trap” and “back” radiate and no greenhouse warming.”

      This is akin to saying; because the human body doesn’t radiate heat, warm clothing and blankets are moot.

        • With blankets and the greenhouse effect, there is no “extra energy” causing warming. In both cases, it is slowing the rate of cooling. The person in the blanket or the earth under its atmosphere are warmer than they would be without the blanket or without the GHGs.

          If the earth cools off more slowly than it would otherwise have done, that means that the surface temperature will be higher at sunrise than it would have been. Then the cycle repeats, only now, at sunset, the temperature is a bit higher than it would have been if the day had not started out warmer. More of the heat coming from the source (the sun) will be retained until radiative cooling at night increases enough to reach a new higher equilibrium temperature. Radiative cooling increases proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature, so temperature can’t increase beyond a certain point for a given amount of GHGs.

          OK, enough about not denying the science. Let’s move on to a more interesting question. How significant is this effect? Way less than we’re expected to believe.

          We’re probably about 75 years away from doubling the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere relative to 1850 levels. The eventual (equilibrium) increase in temperature caused by a doubling of CO2 is probably not more than 1.7 degrees C, and could be only 1 degree. At current rates, it would then take another 290 years to double CO2 again. So we’re supposed to destroy civilization because it might be 3.4 degrees warmer in 2385?

          But wait, it’s not even that much. The equilibrium temperature would not be reached for centuries longer and the amount of fossil fuel burning needed to drive up atmospheric concentration increases the further atmospheric concentration gets out of equilibrium. Let’s just make a guess here and say that it MIGHT be 2.5 degrees warmer by the year 2500. 2.5 by Y2.5k

          This gradual mild warming will primarily cause milder low temperatures at night and less harsh winters. It will open up new land for agriculture, lengthening growing seasons without harming agriculture in the tropics where it will warm the least. Agriculture will also greatly benefit from higher CO2, not only because CO2 is plant food, but also because plants need less water when CO2 levels are higher (they lose less water when they don’t need as many stoma open to receive CO2). That means not only new agricultural land closer to the poles, but also new land around arid deserts.

          So the disaster we face is a massive increase in agricultural productivity, and fewer excess winter deaths? It might even slow our descent into the next ice age, which by the way is going to be overdue by 2500.

          We have only about five centuries to avert this catastrophe and ensure the glaciation that nature intended. We must shut down civilization today!

          • I don’t what planet you’re on, but here on Earth the blanket did not raise your skin temperature.

            You are not warmer with the blanket. You still emit equivalent to 37C.

            Your pseudoscience claims that GHGs add 33C BEYOND what the sun provides, not that it prevents what the sun provides from cooling further/faster.

            Your pseudoscience equations conserve heat flow, not energy.

            You have ZERO experimental evidence on your side. Your pseudoscience is complete IDEOLOGICAL mathematics.

            Hot warms cold. Cold does not force hot to get even hotter. Stop conserving Q, Q goes to zero. Every experiment shows that. Where’s your experimental evidence? Nowhere. The first thermodynamics experiments of the early 1800s should have shown you to be true. But they didn’t, because you are 100% WRONG.

            You can repeat your pseudoscientific premises all you want, and you’ll still be wrong. Try science for a change.

          • Zoe,
            Are you a troll pretending to believe non-scientific nonsense so that someone can claim that your ravings represent what most commenters on WUWT think, or are you just an ordinary kook who really comes from Georgia?

            I never made any of the statements that you attribute to my “pseudoscience”.

            One thing I find extremely curious. A kook from Georgia who refers to body temperature as 37? I smell a rat. Many of the folks I know in Georgia practically consider it treason to “talk Celsius”.

            So what’s the capital of Georgia, Zoe? Atlanta or Tbilisi?

          • I’m not native to Georgia, I simply live here now.

            The capital is a little place called Terminus, just at the end of a railway line.

            Scientists use Celcius. I suppose you wouldn’t know anything about that.

            If you’re not peddling pseudo-science, surely you can demonstrate one experiment that shows conservation of heat flow, and hot becoming hotter due cold. You can’t of course, so you just get mad.

        • Terminus eh? Is that a Walking Dead reference? You’re the cannibal broadcasting to attract survivors to visit a false reality? Seems about right.

          I’m not mad, Zoe. I’m mildly amused and intrigued to understand if a real person could actually hold such a vast array of completely bone-headed concepts, all of which seem calculated to parody your misunderstanding of the arguments of climate realists.

          Recently you maintained that plants produce carbohydrates and then use all the carbohydrates so that plant life doesn’t really store solar energy. No rational human being can truly believe that. (Does the tree not grow and add cellulose to extend its branches?)

          Plant life you claimed comes from hydrocarbons, rather than hydrocarbons coming from plant life. Sounds a lot like an attempt to parody our argument that carbon dioxide concentration increases in response to warming rather than warming resulting from CO2 concentration. You misunderstand that (most of us, at least) recognize that carbon dioxide concentration currently is elevated by fossil fuel burning and that a small and irrelevant amount of warming results from that fact. That is not inconsistent with CO2 concentration changes generally lagging behind temperature changes.

          Your side (and here I’m begging the question by assuming that you really are a warmunist troll badly attempting to parody climate realism), believes that CO2 is the master control knob for the climate. (Talk about pseudoscience). Any change in global temperature must be correlated with and indeed caused by a change in CO2. We are simply saying that temperature is an independent variable that can and does change dramatically without having anything to do with CO2 concentration.

          Here in this thread you are claiming that it’s impossible to retain heat by reducing the rate that heat radiates from the earth. You claim that this violates the principle that heat flows from hot to cold, which is in no way denied by what I described.

          Of course heat “flows” from hot to cold. What is heat? It is simply kinetic energy in matter. Molecules and atoms bumping up against their neighbors transferring kinetic energy. Obviously fast moving (hot) molecules are going to transfer more energy to slow moving (cold) molecules than slow moving (cold) molecules will transfer to fast moving (hot) molecules. This is heat flow by conduction. Heat flow by radiation is harder to grasp intuitively, but energized molecules emit electromagnetic waves which transport energy away from the molecule and thus slow it down (cool it). There is also heat flow by convection, which is a mass transport, carrying heat along for the ride. Convection depends on gravity and buoyancy (differential density). All of these are in play simultaneously in the atmosphere. Nobody is denying this.

          You claim rather bizarrely that I’m conserving heat flow rather than energy. What does that even mean? Heat flow is energy flow. Are you just throwing this out as part of a template of what an unhinged “denier” might say? Of course it’s necessary to account for latent heat of vaporization and fusion when we look at the energy balance. This has nothing whatsoever to do with the points being discussed. We don’t need to complicate the discussion by talking about how much heat is released by dew and how much heat is released by condensation in clouds, or how much of the sun’s input energy goes into melting ice. We know that these things are happening. They don’t change the fact that if you do something to delay the flow of heat from relatively hot (earth surface) to very cold (outer space), you must accumulate the energy coming in from the sun. It is the very simple energy balance Ei – Eo = Ea (input minus output equals accumulation). The input is energy from solar radiation. The output is energy that through convection, conduction and radiation ultimately reaches an elevation in the atmosphere where radiation escapes the atmosphere to space (is not radiated and absorbed again by other molecules in the atmosphere). If you slow down the output, you must accumulate energy in the atmosphere, which is another way of saying that molecules in the atmosphere will stay warmer. Since they are warmer, they will radiate more until the output again balances the input. But they can only do that by being at a higher temperature.

          If some form of perfect insulation could be constructed around the earth’s atmosphere that allowed all of the sun’s radiation to pass in, but no heat to escape, what would the earth’s temperature be? It would approach the temperature of the sun’s surface. The more we slow the loss of heat energy to space, the hotter the surface temperature must rise toward the temperature of the sun. So the parody argument you make while pretending to be an ignorant denier is correct in a way. The earth can’t heat up to above the surface temperature of the sun if the only (or at least the hottest) source of heat is the sun. A “cold” sun could not further heat a “hot” earth.

          The same is true with the blanket. In the case of the blanket, your skin surface is where body heat is conducting, convecting, and radiating away to the room. Metabolism is the source of heat. Your core body temperature is around 37C if you are not sick, because there is an energy balance regulated by your body’s complex metabolic processes. If your body could not lose heat by conduction, convection, and radiation (but when overheated, primarily by conduction into sweat that absorbs the latent heat of vaporization in order to evaporate), your core body temperature and skin temperature would surely rise above 37. That’s what heat stress is. When you are exposed in a blizzard, do you imagine that your skin still radiates at 37C? How is frostbite possible then?

          Again, you are not fooling me Zoe. You understand these points, but you have it stuck in your head that only you understand science. For some reason you think that these inscrutable parodies will make a point.

          • “If you slow down the output, you must accumulate energy in the atmosphere”

            No, idiot, accumulation is not conservation of energy.

            Temperature is average translational kinetic energy.

            Temperature is not based on “energy in” and “energy out”, it just “energy there”.

            You are conserving heat flow, which is not a physical concept.

            You have ZERO experimental evidence. ZERO. You have empty rhetoric.

            Life exists on earth because of hydrocarbons, not vice versa, silly.

          • Just going to keep up the charade are you Zoe?

            Time for a new sock puppet I think. How about Joey Finn?

            So harsh calling me idiot. I’m sure I’ll cry all night. 🙂

    • Nick Schroeder,

      The extra energy comes from the sun. What comes in goes out, but part of what goes out is send back to the surface by GHGs.
      Even if it is only 1% of the outgoing IR energy, it makes that there is an unbalance between 101% energy coming in and 99% energy going out. Thus the surface MUST heat up, until the balance is restored…

  9. Even if, as dogma would have it, we assume that all CO2 increase is caused by the burning fossil fuels, what explains the large month to month variations in the Mauna Lau data?
    Also, using the Mauna Lau data as the benchmark assumes that the CO2 is “well mixed”.
    In fact, we have charts to show that it is not. How does this affect the results. Should we be looking locally?

    • The variation is seasonal and though it varies, the pattern is extremely regular and distinct. It’s caused by plant life. When growing, plants draw down CO2 more than decaying plant matter emits CO2. When dormant, the decay dominates.

    • Walt D.,

      CO2 levels are only highly variable in the first few hundred meters over land, in 95% of the bulk of the atmosphere, levels are everywhere the same within 4% of full scale, seasonal variability included.
      There is a lag of a few months to a few years between sea level in de NH (where 90% of all human emissions are) and altitude and between the NH and SH. That is all.
      There are about 70 monitoring stations all over the oceans where they measure “background” CO2 with a minimum of local contamination, of which 10 under supervision of NOAA:
      https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/

      They all show the same trends, with more seasonal variation in the NH than in the SH, due to relative mode plant life…

  10. In other words, we can throw 30 million people out of work, reduce economic output by a third, run untold numbers of businesses out of work and virtually end commuting overnight…we can replicate this destruction across the world…and still not even make a measurable difference in the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    So, basically, in order to actually make a difference, we would basically have to completely and totally shut down the world’s economy.

    Roger. We’ll get right on that.

    • Yes, forever. And if it even has any effect it will probably be to give us lower agricultural productivity and more excess winter deaths.

  11. Shouldn’t we see warming from the reduced air pollution and aerosols that have been cited as tge source of the “hiatus” in global warming?

  12. How much of this CO2 is from the increase in outgassing as a result of warmer oceans?

    One can clearly see from this image, the band of higher CO2, from west to east around the globe that corresponds exactly with the highest angle of the sun at that time of year(maximum heating of the oceans surface just south of the equator).

    https://www.nasa.gov/jpl/oco2/pia18934

    Now, note this image below, when the sun’s highest angle is much farther north, in June. The well defined band of higher CO2 that stretches across the entire globe from west to east has shifted north by the exact same amount of the suns movement northward.
    Changes in the outgassing of CO2 by the oceans is clearly visible and significant as well as seasonal, based on how warm the surface of the oceans are. This, of course is influenced by the sun.

    During the shut downs, this natural source of CO2 would be unchanged. How much is it?

    • This is the 2nd image which shows the higher band of CO2 shifted northward with the sun.

      https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/excitement-grows-as-nasa-carbon-sleuth-begins-year-two

      My question was poorly worded in being fixated on outgassing of CO2 underneath a high sun angle and very warm ocean, when the oceans uptake/absorb CO2.

      The oceans are a sink for CO2

      Last time we had an ocean cooler by 1 deg. C, the amount of atmospheric CO2 was over 100 ppm lower, so the equilibrium would be different than with 415 ppm vs under 300 ppm.

      So how much of the increase in atmospheric CO2 today is from the oceans not uptaking as much as they would if the oceans were 1 Deg. Cooler?

      It looks like a good answer using Henry’s Law suggests increasing the ocean by 1 Deg. C, all other things held equal would increase atmospheric CO2 by 10 PPM.
      Does this make sense?

      In other words, the warmer oceans are responsibly for an additional 10 PPM of CO2.

      • Mike Maguire,

        Warmer waters near the equator release CO2 and colder waters near the poles absorb CO2. As the cold waters sink, they take the extra CO2 with them into the deep oceans to return about 1,000 years later to the surface near the equator. That is a natural cycle which transports about 40 GtC (~20 ppmv) CO2 through the atmosphere and the deep oceans.
        If all is in equilibrium, there is about as much sink as source. With increasing temperatures, the solubility of CO2 in seawater changes with about 16 ppmv/K. That means that the ocean surface temperature increase since the LIA is good for about 13 ppmv increase in the atmosphere. The rest is from humans.
        As the CO2 pressure in the atmosphere is now some 120 ppmv above equilibrium, the CO2 emissions of the warm equatorial waters are reduced and the uptake in the cold polar waters is increased. The current net effect is about 1.5 ppmv/year extra uptake by the oceans…

        • Ferdinand
          So, you are saying that the 1,000-year old upwelling equatorial water is in equilibrium with the polar downwelling happening today? Besides the assumption that 1,000 years ago the carbon cycle was in equilibrium at the surface, what of the CO2 added from the rain of organic detritus being decomposed by bacteria, and CO2 added at mid-ocean ridge spreading centers, increasing the CO2 content above what it was when it was downwelling?

          • Clyde Spencer,

            There was a quite linear ratio between CO2 levels lagging temperature changes over the past 800,000 years in ice cores of about 8 ppmv/K. That was mainly for polar temperatures. Translated to global temperatures, that is about 16 ppmv/K. not by coincidence the change in solubility of CO2 in seawater…
            Thus there must have been a rather stable deep ocean – atmosphere cycle over that full time span, only acting on the slow temperature changes over many millennia.

            That means that other influences were even slower or didn’t change much over time, or were part of the ratio…

    • “How much of this CO2 is from the increase in outgassing as a result of warmer oceans?”

      None, the ocean is a net sink.

    • Zoe Phin,

      If we have wind from the south here, we find a lot of Sahara sand on our cars, about 2500 km in distance.
      If wind can transport sand that is many times heavier than air over such distances, I don’t see any reason for CO2 not to remain suspended in the atmosphere for very long periods…
      BTW, see “Brownian motion” to see the mechanism involved:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownian_motion

        • Zoe,

          They find similar CO2 levels and seasonal variations at Mauna Loa at 3700 m as at near sea level for Cape Kumukahi, Hawaii, within a few ppmv and even higher up with airplanes and balloons up to 30 km height…

          And it takes a lot of wind energy to bring the Sahara sand in the air at first and keep it in the air over such a distance… Thus no problem to mix in CO2 and keep it mixed…
          Thunderstorms are excellent lifters and you have a lot of large scale air cells like the Hadley cell lifting air to near the stratosphere…

  13. But surely the 11% reduction in CO2 emissions should be measurable?! I would expect that the increase of CO2 would slow down and that this would be visible in the Mauna Loa curve. In any case, if it doesn’t show up, it most definitely proves that human CO2 emissions are negligible. So, the CO2 based AGW theory has fallen.

    Greetings from Greta-country where the month of May is unusually cold.

  14. Excerpted from Dr. Roy Spencer’s quoted commentary:

    There are variations in the natural carbon cycle, such as during El Nino (more CO2 accumulation in the atmosphere) and La Nina (more CO2 removed from the atmosphere).

    Would someone please explain the science that is responsible for the El Nino/La Nina caused ingassing/outgassing of atmospheric CO2?

    Surely it is not a “magic trick” being perpetrated by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, …… is it?

    Iffen no one can explain it then I guess the FSM is the culprit.

    Excerpted from:

    The most dramatic variations are seasonal, as the land-dominated Northern Hemisphere experiences an annual cycle of vegetation growth (CO2 removal) and decay (CO2 release).

    Everyone that owns or uses a refrigerator should know better than to believe the above “junk science” claim.

    The literal fact is, …… 98% of all surface biomass growth and/or decay, occurs in the NH spring and summer when surface temperatures are above 50F and there is plenty of liquid H20.

    NH fall and winter are either too dry (no moisture) or too cold to permit very much microbial decomposition of dead biomass.

    • Samuel,

      The mechanism for an extra increase of CO2 during an El Niño is in the rain forests.
      With an El Niño, rain patterns shift in the Amazon and other rain forests (Indonesia), which causes drying out of large parts and thus reduced uptake and more decay. The opposite happens during a La Niña and during the Pinatubo eruption. For the latter, scattering of sunlight caused more photosynthesis by leaves which were part of the day in the shadow of other leaves.

      That can be seen in the reverse 13C/12C ratio vs. CO2 variation: if the oceans were dominant, the variations would parallel each other, if vegetation is dominant, they oppose each other:
      http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/temp_dco2_d13C_mlo.jpg

      • The opposite happens during a La Niña and during the Pinatubo eruption. For the latter, scattering of sunlight caused more photosynthesis by leaves which were part of the day in the shadow of other leaves.

        Ferdinand, do you really expect me to believe that ….. the scattering of incoming sunlight at 40 kilometers (131,234 feet) in altitude …. will actually enhance (increase) photosynthesis activity in the green biomass that resides underneath the canopy of larger trees.

        “DUH”, if Sunlight gets “scattered” at 40 km altitude, …… it doesn’t mean it will bend and twist around or past large biomass growths when it arrives at the surface.

        Sunlight being “scattered” at 40 km altitude …… means that all biomass on the surface receives less sunlight. Like ……. 4 watts per square meter less.

        The Atmospheric Impact of the 1991 Mount Pinatubo Eruption

        ABSTRACT (excerpted comments)

        The 1991 eruption of Pinatubo produced about 5 cubic kilometers of dacitic magma and may be the second largest volcanic eruption of the century.

        Eruption columns reached 40 kilometers (131,234 feet) in altitude and emplaced a giant umbrella cloud in the middle to lower stratosphere

        The aerosol cloud spread rapidly around the Earth in about 3 weeks and attained global coverage by about 1 year after the eruption.

        The large aerosol cloud caused dramatic decreases in the amount of net radiation reaching the Earth’s surface,

        Effects on climate were an observed surface cooling in the Northern Hemisphere of up to 0.5 to 0.6°C, equivalent to a hemispheric-wide reduction in net radiation of 4 watts per square meter and a cooling of perhaps as large as -0.4°C over large parts of the Earth in 1992-93.
        Read more @ https://pubs.usgs.gov/pinatubo/self/

      • Samuel,

        You don’t need to believe me, but there was more CO2 uptake by vegetation after the Pinatubo eruption, despite less sunlight.

        Scattering at 40 km height is peanuts compared to the spherical earth surface. That indeed makes that more leaves are reached by sunlight than with only direct insolation.

        • Ferdinand, how many other people do you know that would be silly enough to claim that the green-growing biomass underneath the forest canopy will be subject to far more diffused (scattered) sunlight after a volcanic eruption has blocked part of said sunlight …. than they were subject to prior to said eruption?

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen – May 16, 2020 at 2:42 am

        That can be seen in the reverse 13C/12C ratio vs. CO2 variation: if the oceans were dominant, the variations would parallel each other, if vegetation is dominant, they oppose each other:

        Ferdie, I don’t know why I bother with responding to your “junk science” comments such as above, but for what it worth to the viewing public. ……… I’ll post this again,, …… to wit:

        And the reason I am telling you this, Ferdinand, is because of what I found when searching for info concerning your “δ13C” statement, and what i found was, to wit:

        “Differences in altitude are also known to affect terrestrial plant carbon isotopic signatures (δ13C) in mountain regions, since plant δ13C values at high altitudes are typically enriched (Körner et al. 1988; 1991) compared to the carbon signatures of plants from low altitudes. Soil organic matter also show enrichment in 13C with soil depth, which is suggested to be a consequence of humification and the loss of the lighter isotope (12C) via respiration, thus concentrating 13C in the soil organic matter (Kramer et al. 2003). This might be transitional to temperature and differences in decomposition. Moreover, the isotopic carbon signatures of autochthonous and allochthonous food-sources in aquatic ecosystems are generally separated, which is also reflected in the consumer community. Stable isotope analysis is therefore a useful method for determining the autotrophic or heterotrophic character of lake food webs (Karlsson et al. 2003; 2007).”
        http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:303212/FULLTEXT01.pdf

        Ferdinand, prove your claim that “the reverse 13C/12C ratio vs. CO2 variation” is CORRECT, …… by DISPROVING that the 13C in not being sequestered in the soil organic matter.

        • Samuel,

          You need to read the rest of your reference too…
          When they say 13C “enrichment” of soil organic matter, you have to look up what the 13C/12C ratio was to begin with.
          The pre-industrial atmosphere was at about -6.4 per mil δ13C, the current is below -8 per mil δ13C. Ancient vegetation like coal is at -24 per mil to give a reference.
          Then have a look at Fig 4 (and Fig 5) of your reference:
          Soil δ13C is between -29 and -26 per mil!
          Thus even if 13C is “enriched” in aging buried plant material to what makes coal after millions of years, all and every organic matter is much lower in 13C/12C ratio than the ancient and current atmosphere…
          Thus if CO2 is captured by plants, that uses preferentially 12CO2, leaving relative more 13C in the atmosphere. If there is more CO2 uptake than decay, δ13C levels go up and reverse, thus CO2 level changes and δ13C level changes oppose each other…

  15. “This is because the estimated reductions in CO2 emissions (around -11% globally during 2020) is too small a reduction to be noticed against a background of large natural variability”

    Yes sir.
    When random variability in carbon cycle flows are taken into account, the relatively much smaller fossil fuel emissions cannot be detected.

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/05/31/the-carbon-cycle-measurement-problem/

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2018/12/19/co2responsiveness/

    • EB
      Have you found any reasonable refutation of this or other videos by Salby? Berry sites them as does Harde. Willie Soon reviewed Harde’s last peer reviewed paper and attested to his work. I have seen several attempts to refute some of Salby’s work that fell short of convincing me and those only addressed a few points he made while he has presented at least 5 independent analyses coming to the same conclusion. How can mainstream climate science ignore this? It removes any reason to think we can control atmospheric CO2 by reducing our use of fossil fuels. The most basic assumption of the CAGW hypothesis is falsified removing the foundation of the whole enterprise. Doesn’t it bother them that they are laboring under false pretenses? I could not bring myself to work at solving a problem that I knew did not exist.

      • How do you explain this?

        “The increase in atmospheric CO2 observed since the 1950s is most likely dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are twice as large as that needed to explain the observed rise.”

        • @Loydo
          Again that suggestion is mere sophistry on the part of R.S. et al.
          Post hoc ergo proper hoc ?
          ibid

          • False or decieving?

            More like ‘accurate’ I’d say. Unless of course you can refute it with something more than sophistry of your own.

        • My explanation is that it is erroneous. Read Harde 2017, 2019 and Berry 2019 and study the video sited above. They calculate the increase is about 3% FF and the rest natural variation. These works support the nul hypothesis and refute the CAGY hypothesis.

      • DMA,

        I have refuted several of his points as not right in the past years. I was at his speech in the London Parliament several years ago, but there was no time enough to discuss things out.
        As far as I know, he never published his theories, not in the any publication, nor on the Internet to discuss things out. Not a sign of strength of his theories…

        I have looked at the above video and after 25 minutes he says that the short time opposite CO2 and δ13C natural variability prove that the long time increase of CO2 and drop in δ13C in the atmosphere are also naturally caused.
        Of course that would be right, if short time variability and long time trend had the same cause, but that is not the case. On short time, influences of weather and volcanoes (Pinatubo, El Niño) cause variations in CO2 uptake/release of vegetation, which gives opposite changes in CO2 and δ13C.
        On longer term, vegetation is a net absorber of CO2 (the earth is greening), thus preferential of 12CO2, thus leaving relative more 13CO2 in the atmosphere, thus increasing the δ13C ratio, while there is a firm decline…
        On minute 27, he assumes that CO2 is migrating in ice over time (there is some in coastal “warm” ice, but that is not important at all). Problem for his theory is that if he was right, the original CO2 levels of 100,000 years ago in the warm period must have been 10 times higher, 200.000 years ago 20 times higher, etc. and at the same time, the levels in the cold periods (90% of the time) must have been originally much lower, which implies very low values in the first period (all C3 cycle plants at the brink of getting killed) and for the second period negative CO2 values…

        Thus sorry, too many physically impossible theories by Dr. Salby…

  16. Apart from all the negative impacts on economic development a reduction in atmospheric CO2 concentration would have a negative effect on agricultural productivity that, in the light of an increasing world population peaking some time later this century, would be disastrous.

  17. This is a nice piece. Two questions:

    1. What the estimated lag for emissions to effect atmospheric concentration. The article implies far less than a year. Could it be seen on a monthly scale if emissions were to go to zero
    2. Can you release your simple model?

    With both it would be relatively easy to see if there is an observable signal with emissions dropping over 20% for 6 weeks or more.

  18. The subsequent decarbonisation of the globe due to the coronavirus shut downs has been used by activists to say how fantastic the air quality is over China and other industrial areas. What this article highlights is that air quality and CO2 levels are not related and gets back to what is the most damaging thing to get rid of the global warming agenda. The CO2 endangerment finding. Whilst this legislation is US based it is used to demonise unfairly CO2 all around the world. When they claim energy is clean , that the environment is polluted by CO2 they are totally misrepresenting the importance , value and impact of this colourless odourless gas. It’s about time someone stood up for CO2 and put a halt to all this highly damaging nonsense.

  19. When you decide to investigate a process that involves measurement, two fundamental questions always need confident answers:
    1. What is the limit of detection?
    2. What is the total error envelope?
    Those wanting to track daily atmospheric CO2 during this 2020 lockdown should be aware that there is next to no daily CO2 data available to the public apart from some from Mauna Loa. That the agreement between daily NOAA and Scripps measurements there indicates an error envelope of some +/- 0.5 ppm CO2 (1sigma) for 2020 so far. This helps dictate the detection limit, indicating some 1 ppm.
    Looking for a change of 0.2 ppm, as some people are, is therefore not possible.
    There is a determination from several research bodies away from Mauna Loa to not release daily CO2 data for 2020 to the public. If you do not believe this, ask them, as I did.
    Summarising, the citizen scientist has next to no hope of contributing to the science because access to required data is being denied by several of its curators, or simply not updated by others.
    Science policy at its worst. Geoff S

  20. heard this a couple of times on BBC World Service radio. some fun replies:

    TWEET BBC News (World):
    “If Covid-19 leads to a drop in emissions of around 5% in 2020, then that is the sort of reduction we need every year until net-zero emissions are reached around 2050” says Glen Peters, from the Centre for International Climate and Environmental Research
    6 May 2020
    https://twitter.com/bbcworld/status/1258139147413401607

    6 May: BBC: Climate change and coronavirus: Five charts about the biggest carbon crash
    By Matt McGrath
    We’re living through the biggest carbon crash ever recorded…
    But even though we will see a massive fall this year, the concentrations of CO2 that are in the atmosphere and warming our planet won’t stabilise until the world reaches net-zero…
    As our chart shows, since the Spanish flu killed millions over 100 years ago, the global expansion of emissions of CO2, from the use of oil, gas and coal has risen massively…

    What if CO2 was cut like this each year?…
    “If Covid-19 leads to a drop in emissions of around 5% in 2020, then that is the sort of reduction we need every year until net-zero emissions are reached around 2050,” said Glen Peters, also from Cicero.
    “Such emissions reductions will not happen via lockdowns and restrictions, but by climate policies that lead to the deployment of clean technologies and reductions in demand for energy.”..
    https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-52485712

  21. ‘Changes in the atmospheric reservoir of CO2 occur when there is an imbalance between surface sources and sinks of CO2.’

    The increases CO2 measured in the overnight dew of the Mauna Loa updraft of air represent the changes in the speed of Earth’s rotation caused by the 41,000-year obliquity cycle. They have nothing to do with the relatively minor anthropogenic CO2 emissions that are mostly used by photosynthesis. The 4 seasons ensure that these cannot be cumulative and vary with sun elevations. Any further changes as can be seen more easily in the annualised version of the Keeling curve are caused by solar system influences such as the time of the year that Earth laps Jupiter and it’s lapping of Saturn, etc. 1993 was the year that Uranus lapped Neptune, a once every 171.4-year event. Despite the current global cooling trend, CO2 is still going up, as it may be expected to do until the reverse of the cycle sets in about 11,000 years from now, or before that after the ocean has cooled enough to reduce its CO2 supply. I have written more on that on Quora

  22. I understand that the Scripps measurement process involves the dehumidification of the original sample before it is passed through the detector. I speculate that some of the CO2 is absorbed within the moisture that is extracted, and this amount would vary with the humidity and temperature. If this is so, how do Scripps measure and make the necessary adjustment?

    If they do not, then I speculate that the annual measured increase and decrease of CO2 might be at least partially caused by an annual fluctuation of humidity.

    Could anybody advise?

    • TonyN,

      The air is dried over a cold trap at -70ºC where most of the available water vapor forms a film of ice which doesn’t include CO2, only a thin film of CO2 may adhere at the surface, but that is compensated for by either passing several minutes of outside air (for continuous measurements) before reading the results, or (in the case of small samples like from ice cores) by passing a flow of a calibration mixture with about the composition of what is expected before the real sample is measured.

      • Ferdinand, thanks for the response. Does the station also make a continuous record of the actual humidity before freeze-drying? If so, then it would be interesting to see the annual fluctuation and whether it too aligns with the N Hemisphere growing season.

  23. If I understand the good doctor’s paper,his research indicates that to stop any further rise in CO2 in the atmosphere we would have to reduce World economic activity by “43%”.This covid crisis has reduced World economic activity by “11%”. Therefore we would have all(even the politicians and public servants who are still being paid) to suffer permanently an incredibly painful disruption to our way of life to achieve nothing really!
    Anyone mention the 19C? Even the 18C.

  24. Oh great,we need “only” a 4 times bigger reduction than has caused record massive unemployment and economic destruction.

    Do these GND loons even know the hardships they are intending to waste on humanity? I think they do, it is their goal.

  25. “Atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) continue to increase with no sign of the global economic slowdown in response to the spread of COVID-19”

    Dose this not prove that humans are not responsible for the rise in atmospheric CO2? World airplanes have practically stopped flying, and cities are empty of cars, all of which are blamed for causing rise of CO2!

  26. “The increase in atmospheric CO2 observed since the 1950s is most likely dominated by anthropogenic CO2 emissions, which are twice as large as that needed to explain the observed rise.”

    Wrong. Off course mankind’s CO2 emissions has not helped, but they would also have been sequestered underways were it not for the continuouly increasing temperatures coming out from LIA which shifts our CO2 sinks capacity to hold said CO2.

    E.g ocean CO2 solubility capacity which shift very, very dramatically (gigaton wise) for a miniscule variation in temperature.

    Henry and Dalton.

    Oddgeir

  27. [my apologies to the room, I have not read the comments. Too angry. So, others may have already ranted the following rant …]

    “The reduction in economic activity would have to be 4 times larger than 11% to halt the rise in atmospheric CO2.”

    Those of us alerting the world that an 11% drop in human contribution should be noticed at Mauna Loa and other stations, are … pause for emphasis ..

    NOT CLAIMING THE RISE SHOULD STOP.

    We are saying that at least a “ding” should be noticed.

    Just a perturbation in the noise. A reaction, however small, to this stupendous decline in human contribution, which is beyond the wildest dreams of AOC et al in extent and speed.

    Repeat: We are not claiming the huge drop should should halt the rise of CO2 atmosphere concentration. Only that SOME evidence should be noticed.

    After all, the vaunted accuracy, precision, thoroughness, and professionalism claimed by the Climate Science Community for measuring CO2 concentration is absolutely true, right? They KNOW the concentration down to the PartPerMillion with sublime certainty, by the power of their awesome measuring instruments, right?

    On top of which, they claim that of the current ~417 PPM, a significant percent is due to human-caused release. Right?

    So … where is the ding? Where is the ding.

  28. A reduction of 571 million metric tons for the U.S. (-11%) in 2020 means 5.2 Gigatonnes total annual CO2 emissions for the U.S, if my math is correct (and it usually is: shameless quote from Ironman). That means the rest of the world is expected to pump out 31.6 Gigatonnes in 2020. Here, the U.S. contributes 14% of annual anthropogenic CO2 emissions but produces ~25% of global GDP, that is, until this Covid-19 nightmare lockdown. Seems to me that the U.S. is not the problem because our coal burning has been cut in half since 2007. Meanwhile coal burning in China, India et al. has been increasing. So, why is the U.S. blamed for everything? Not that the burning of fossil fuels is a problem, but that’s a different argument.

  29. If 2% a year increase in man made CO2 is enough to visible take the graph from 400 to 415 ppm in the 2014 – 2019 period a 15% drop in co2 in spring 2020 will definitely show up.

    So no, I am not buying this.

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