This is the fourt hin a series dealing with anthropogenic CO2; in particular, why no measurable decline in atmospheric CO2 occurred during the most severe reduction in anthropogenic emissions that has ever occurred, during the 2020 SARS-Cov-2 pandemic lockdowns.
I compare measured CO2 monthly emissions at Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) with published figures on global monthly anthropogenic emissions, for 2020, from the International Energy Agency (IEA). Apparently, IEA has not been tracking monthly anthropogenic emissions, only annual summations. However, probably because of the puzzlement and uncertainty regarding why 2020 was a tie with the average global temperature of the El Niño event of 2016, and there was no obvious decline in the annual growth of CO2, the IEA decided to look at monthly data.
I demonstrate that anthropogenic emissions are negligible in comparison to the net CO2 concentrations driven by natural sources and sinks.
The analysis and conclusions depend on the graphs following, where all published ‘carbon’ mass units are converted to equivalent Parts Per Million (PPM) atmospheric CO2 concentration instead of using unfamiliar gigatons or petagrams. Figure 1, below, shows the shape of the curve derived from the IEA monthly data, with the addition of an estimate for 2021 as a January ‘placeholder.’ Note the minimum global value (-14.5%) In April 2020. The IEA provides no estimate for the uncertainty of the monthly data. However, according to the Empirical Rule in statistics, the standard deviation of the anthropogenic time-series will be less than 1/4th the range, 0.065/4, or <0.02 PPM. The standard deviation of the de-trended anthropogenic series would be about 0.041/4, or <0.01 PPM. That is, the trend accounts for around an additional 0.01 PPM standard deviation during the year.
Fig. 1. Monthly anthropogenic CO2 flux with trend line.
The slope of the OLS regression line, which is plotted but obscured by the data, for monthly anthropogenic flux is statistically significant (p-value = 0.00272) at better than a 95% threshold, albeit, it only predicts a flux increase of 0.04 PPM anthropogenic CO2 per month over a year. The OLS linear fit predicts about 57% of the month-to-month variance, even with the significant, anomalous decline in April.
The sum of the monthly fluxes for the 12-months of 2020 is 4.4 PPM, which is in line with other estimates for recent annual anthropogenic emissions of CO2. That is, recent average annual anthropogenic emissions amount to ≈4.1 PPM (8.8 Pg * 1 PPM/2.13 Pg) out of a total of 101 PPM, or 4.1% of all sources.
The first thing that the reader will probably notice is that when the anthropogenic and net global data are combined (Fig. 2, below), and scaled to show the full net global range, the monthly anthropogenic line is almost indistinguishable from a straight line. The anthropogenic data have a nearly constant flux of about 0.37 PPM CO2 per month, with a range of 0.07 PPM CO2.
Fig. 2. Monthly anthropogenic and net global CO2 flux together.
Whereas, the net, monthly global-fluxes have a complex sinusoidal appearance, with a range of 3.71 PPM, and a slightly negative trend (-0.38). However, the trend is not statistically significant (p-value = 0.763, R2 = 0.0086) at the 95% threshold. Included error bars represent the average (±0.5) standard deviation of the MLO measurements for this time interval.
The apparent negative trend should not be surprising because, as has been pointed out by Moncton (2022), there has been no statistically significant change in the Global Mean Temperature for over 7 years. I have previously demonstrated a positive correlation between global temperatures and the slope and range of the seasonal ramp-up of atmospheric CO2. While correlation does not necessarily demonstrate cause and effect, the association of increased CO2 during the warm El Niño events implies that warmth is driving the CO2 because it is unlikely that the warmth is causing the El Niño events! The important point is that the net seasonal CO2 range is more than 57 times greater than the range of the anthropogenic CO2. That is, the annual range of the anthropogenic emissions in 2020 is 1.8% of the net global seasonal range. It is not the driver of annual changes; it is background ‘noise.’
The anthropogenic CO2 contribution has a range almost an order of magnitude smaller than the one sigma (1σ) uncertainty of the net seasonal MLO average, monthly measurement changes. Note in particular the relative position of the anthropogenic line, in February, March, May, and October in Figure 2, compared to the error bars. Even the nominal, average monthly anthropogenic flux (0.37 PPM) is smaller than the net global monthly uncertainty. The anthropogenic contribution is a constant background component whose estimated monthly flux is within the error envelope of the MLO change measurements.
Subtracting the monthly anthropogenic emissions from the monthly net global flux would, as a first-order approximation, shift the global net curve in Figure 2 downward about 0.37 PPM, not noticeably changing the shape. NASA claims that “about 45 percent” of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions has remained in the atmosphere. This is in line with other claims that about half of the anthropogenic emissions remain in the atmosphere. Based on that, to see what would happen if anthropogenic emissions were to cease suddenly, we should subtract 0.17 PPM (45% of 0.37) from the monthly, net global change flux. That is much smaller than the 1σ uncertainty of the monthly, net global CO2 flux.
When time-series data have trends, it is common to observe spurious correlations between phenomena even when they do not have a causal relationship. It is usually recommended to de-trend the data and see if there is still a correlation. I do that below with this CO2 data.
There is negligible trend (slope = 0.04) in the anthropogenic data, and the slope for the net global CO2 is small enough (-0.38) that the appearance of the composite graph of residuals is essentially the same as Figure 2; therefore, I don’t show it. The 2020 de-trended net global monthly change is, however, very similar in shape and magnitudes to a NASA graph (See Figure 3, below) for earlier years of de-trended data of net monthly CO2 change. The curve shapes are surprisingly constant since at least 1959.
Fig. 3. De-trended monthly atmospheric CO2 flux in PPM. (https://www.earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/CarbonCycle)
However, it is instructive to look at the scatterplot of the de-trended residual data. Figure 4, below, shows that there is essentially no correlation between the monthly anthropogenic emissions and the net global monthly flux; although the apparent correlation is negative, the regression line is not statistically significant (p-value = 0.854) at the 95% threshold. The R2 value shows that only 0.32% of the variance in the net monthly global CO2 is predicted or explained by the change in monthly anthropogenic emissions. In fact, the curves often head in different directions, as in April. (Compare Fig. 1 and Fig. 2 for April [2020.25]) If, there is any correlation, a time delay might be obscuring it.
However, looking at the bigger picture, the annual changes in anthropogenic emissions and the net annual global changes in atmospheric CO2, there is little to support the idea that a time delay of greater than a month is hiding the control of anthropogenic emissions over the total net source-flux change. The annual peak in northern hemisphere atmospheric CO2 occurs in May every year!
Similar to the analysis done on the monthly residual data, Figure 5, (below) shows the plotted de-trended residuals for annual anthropogenic and total net-flux. While there appears to be a slightly positive correlation, it is not statistically significant (p-value = 0.943, R2 = 0.0091). That is, the OLS regression-line trend is so close to zero that it is statistically indistinguishable from a zero trend, and the correlation coefficient squared only predicts or explains about 0.91% of the variance in the net inter-annual changes.
Fig. 4. Correlation of monthly residual global CO2 change
with respect to the monthly residual anthropogenic CO2.
Fig. 5. Correlation of annual residual global CO2 change
with respect to the annual residual anthropogenic CO2.
Anthropogenic emissions of CO2 amount to 4%, or less, of the total source fluxes. The sinks that are responsible for extracting CO2 from the atmosphere cannot differentiate natural from anthropogenic CO2. Therefore, CO2-source abundance determines the proportions removed. Tree respiration and biological decomposition dominate the Winter ramp-up phase growth; photosynthesis dominates the Summer draw-down decline. That means anthropogenic CO2 does not accumulate at the level of the nominal 2 PPM per annum increase. The annual, global atmospheric increase is the increase from all the source fluxes, minus the drawdown of all the sinks. The annual anthropogenic CO2 range (0.07 PPM) in 2020 was only about 3.3% of the nominal 2 PPM annual increase. The monthly anthropogenic flux was about 1.8% of the net, monthly global flux range. The fact that the annual atmospheric increase of 2 PPM is about half the estimated annual anthropogenic emissions is coincidence. Perhaps those who see more than that are exhibiting the common human trait of apophenia. I’m reminded of the great effort some have gone to finding special meaning in the measurements and ratios associated with the Great Pyramid.
Anthropogenic CO2 is virtually constant compared to the seasonal variations of the natural sources and sinks. The monthly anthropogenic flux change is much smaller than the uncertainty in the net global monthly flux changes. Therefore, there is no support for the claims about anthropogenic CO2 driving the annual changes. The seasonal natural source fluxes swamp the anthropogenic sources. Eliminating anthropogenic CO2 would have a negligible impact on annual increases, which is why the pandemic lockdowns had an imperceptible effect on the global atmospheric concentrations. I do not expect even draconian reductions in anthropogenic CO2 to have the kind of results claimed to justify eliminating fossil fuel use. The annual growth in CO2 is a result of increasing natural sources that is not compensated by commensurate increases in sinks.
Dr. Pieter Tans, NOAA/GML (gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/) and Dr. Ralph Keeling, Scripps Institution of Oceanography (scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/).
IEA (2021), Global Energy Review: CO2 Emissions in 2020, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/articles/global-energy-review-co2-emissions-in-2020
“The monthly anthropogenic flux change is much smaller than the uncertainty in the net global monthly flux changes. Therefore, there is no support for the claims about anthropogenic CO2 driving the annual changes.”
This is pretty muddled. What is left out is that the natural sources and sinks are locked by the fact that they are recirculating the same carbon. Photosynthesis is a big sink, and respiration a big source. But any CO2 respired has to have fairly recently been reduced by photosynthesis. And any CO2 reduced is going to be oxidised quite soon, because air provides an oxidising environment. If some metabolism doesn’t do the oxidation, wildfire will.
The same goes for the sea as source/sink. CO2 is absorbed in the winter and emitted in the summer. In the medium/long term, they have to match; it is just a cycling process.
Human CO2 is not differentiable chemically, but it comes from stuff we have dug up and added to the environment. That is why it have made such a difference. It is why, if you track CO2 for the last millennium, you see this (from here)
For 800 years (and long before) natural sources and sinks balanced, locked by the mechanisms described above. CO2 ppm was close to 280. Then we started mining and adding new carbon. That increased CO2 ppm in the air by about 40%. The mass can be accounted for; it is about half of what we burned. The other half went into the sea.
One more and you’d have a teams worth of ice hockey sticks!
Nick, based on your claims of actual anthropogenic “carbon” addition to the atmosphere, and the NASA claim of recent “10% greening of the earth”, it appears that you favor a 10% “browning of the earth” to get back to something resembling normal? Here’s a homework assignment, see if you can find the end of the Little Ice Age in your chart.
Correct, but incomplete.
Actually they match in the short term. In the medium/long term they don’t have to match. More CO2 available and a warmer climate lead to a biological expansion increasing the biosphere storage and the fluxes in and out of it. At deglaciations volcanic activity increases releasing more CO2, the ocean releases more CO2 due to warming, and the biosphere expands.
Most of the increase goes into the biosphere. A great deal of what goes into the sea goes into expanding microalgae.
As James Hansen showed, and every study afterwards demonstrate, as van Marle et al. 2022, https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04376-4
the airborne fraction is decreasing, from close to 60% in the 1960s to close to 45% now. And it continues decreasing as we are farther from equilibrium (sinks = sources).
The biosphere gluttony for CO2 has not found a limit. A fact meticulously ignored by IPCC and alarmists. And the biosphere does not respond to emissions, it responds to atmospheric levels. If we estabilize emissions, atmospheric levels would also stabilize logarithmically. The equilibrium would be reached when sinks = sources + emissions. Until then sinks will continue to expand. That equilibrium can be easily calculated for current emissions at c. 530 ppm. There is no need for net zero emissions. There is not even need for a decrease in emissions. With current emissions we only go up to 530 ppm, which is not dangerous at all.
Very good comment. Generally, alarmists wish to bury the fact that CO2 is the chief limiting factor for life on earth.
No, it isn’t. The chief limiting factors on land are water and sunlight.
Just making a wild guess, but there’s probably more life in the water.
There is no lack of CO2 in the sea. There is the huge reservoir of bicarbonates.
There is always CO2 available in the air too. The reason plants may have some difficulty accessing it is that the pathway for absorption also allows water to escape, and sometimes they can’t keep their stomata open as much as would be optimal for CO2 ingestion. There is no such limit for water plants.
Fundamentally, life relies upon photosynthesis and its rate of growth is pseudo first order in CO2 concentration all things being equal.
And certainly, CO2 cycles similarly in both terrestrial and aquatic environments.
In some places, shortages of water or sunlight limit plant growth. But, overall, the CO2 shortage is the main factor limiting plant growth on planet Earth.
In fact, on a still, sunny day, a healthy cornfield will typically deplete most of the CO2 in the air near the ground by noon, and then simply stop growing, for lack of raw material.
Even when water is in short supply, the chronic CO2 shortage is impactful, and additional CO2 helps plants to get by with less water.
The way you can tell that the CO2 shortage is the main factor limiting plant growth is the fact that plants (and organisms which make calcium carbonate) have removed nearly all the CO2 from the air.
Every schoolchild learns that animals use O2 (oxygen) and produce CO2 (carbon dioxide), and plants do the opposite. Every schoolchild should also know that all life on planet Earth is carbon-based, and that all the carbon comes from the CO2 in the atmosphere.
But have you ever wondered why there are more than five hundred O2 molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere for each CO2 molecule?
That is not common in the cosmos. On Venus and Mars it’s the other way around. On those planets, nearly all of the oxygen in the atmosphere is in the form of CO2, and almost none is O2.
But on Earth O2 is 21% of the atmosphere, and CO2 is only 0.0416%. Do you know why?
It is because Venus and Mars are dead planets, and the Earth is not.
On planet Earth, carbon-hungry living things have used up nearly all the CO2, to get the carbon, discharging the O2 as a waste product. Life on Earth is carbon-based, and (for nearly all organisms) atmospheric CO2 is the only source for that carbon. Photosynthetic plants get their carbon directly from the atmosphere, and animals get their carbon by eating plants.
But, you might wonder, why aren’t the CO2 and O2 levels similar? Why is there so little CO2, and so much O2?
Step outside and look around, and you’ll have your answer: The plants outnumber us animals!
In the CO2-O2 tug-o-war between plants and animals, the plants pulled the rope all the way to the end.
The plants used up the CO2 until they ran out, practically speaking. They used up CO2 until the level got so low that the photosynthesis rate was reduced to rough equilibrium with the CO2 production rate.
It is a very fundamental, “negative” (stabilizing) climate feedback mechanism: the more CO2 there is in the air, the faster plants and calcifying coccolithophores use it up.
That’s why even if mankind’s CO2 emissions never slowed at all, but continued at the current rate of about 5 ppmv/year, for centuries, the atmospheric CO2 concentration would plateau around only about 510 – 530 ppmv.
The high level of O2 in Earth’s atmosphere, and the very low CO2 concentration, are both the result of life.
What’s more, as CO2 levels have fallen, plants have become more and more adept at removing CO2 from the atmosphere. C4 grasses can continue to harvest CO2 from the atmosphere even at levels so low that most plants (C3 plants) die of CO2 starvation.
Aside: that’s also how you can hope to detect life on exoplanets: look for oxygen atmospheres. If you find an atmosphere with a lot of free oxygen in it, you’ve found the fingerprint of carbon-based life.
DB wrote “In fact, on a still, sunny day, a healthy cornfield will typically deplete most of the CO2 in the air near the ground by noon, and then simply stop growing, for lack of raw material.”
So here is a postulated local CO2 cycle that appears to happen in a way that the Instruments at Mauna Loa might never see. Take that speculation futher and consider fossil fuel power plants emitting CO2, some of which ends up over local corn fields, some get further away, but really, how much can eventually be seen at ML? Geoff S
Sooner or later most of carbon ends up back in the sky unless it is burnt and turned into charcoal, gets surrounded by clay particles and remains there or gets turned into limestone etc. But if you have a permanent increase in atmospheric carbon you also get a permanent increase held in living organisms as we see happening now.
Dave, too muck knowledge for Nick Stokes…
What????? Do you know how to write the photosynthesis equation? Sunlight (or light) is surely needed but we have umbraphile plants that do not like sunlight that much and have Xerophiles that can live perfectly without that much water. Without CO2 none of the above lives. Why do you always show lots of ignorance while trying to look very smart? The chief limiting factor is indeed CO2!!
This is very important information. If the authors got the data right, considering that the Airborne Fossil Fuel originated CO2 faction is decreasing and the CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing, in my opinion this reinforces the arguments that the CO2 in mainly increasing due to natural causes. There’s o other explanation.
J N, if the airborne fraction decreases, that only shows that the natural sinks are increasing faster than human emissions are increasing.
That doesn’t prove that nature at sudden is a net source of CO2, it still is a net sink and even an increasing sink…
But isn’t that part of the general equilibrium? Not convincing, sorry. Anyone knows, even from gasified drinks, that temperature regulates the solubility of CO2. Considering this, most of the CO2 being accumulated in the atmosphere comes from the solubility reduction drive by temperature. Clearly the sinks are not being able to compensate here because the fact is that the CO2 is increasing.
The influence of temperature over the past 800,000 years over very long (and slow changing) periods was about 8 ppmv/K for Antarctic temperatures or about 16 ppmv/K for global temperatures.
According to seawater measurements the change in solubility gives 12-17 ppmv/K at current seawater temperatures.
That means that warming oceans since the LIA are good for maximum 13 ppmv increase.
The measured increase is over 100 ppmv. That makes that more CO2 is pressed into the oceans than released…
Javier, you are right, but that also implies that the whole contribution of Clyde is completely wrong, as about half of our emissions (as mass, not the original molecules) are -temporarily- remaining in the atmosphere…
Of course Ferdinand, I agree with Nick on that, and that is why I said he was correct, but incomplete. Human emissions are responsible for the large increase in atmospheric CO2. Not a popular subject among the least illustrated of our fellow skeptics. This WUWT article is meaningless and plain wrong.
Javier and Ferdinand,
An important distinction is that the growth in atmospheric concentration of CO2 is numerically equivalent to about half the anthropogenic flux. However, that flux is a small percentage of the total flux and I have demonstrated that there is no statistical correlation between the monthly/annual anthropogenic flux and the total atmospheric flux. That is, the variances do not move in the same direction or by proportional amounts. I think that you need to address that.
Something I mentioned was, “Subtracting the monthly anthropogenic emissions from the monthly net global flux would, as a first-order approximation, shift the global net curve in Figure 2 downward about 0.37 PPM, not noticeably changing the shape.” I should have also remarked that in the absence of an anthropogenic background, the partial pressure of CO2 in the atmosphere would be lower, allowing more out-gassing and probably allowing more rapid respiration and release from soil. Thus, minimizing the impact of lowered anthropogenic emissions.
The essence of the problem of attribution is that the obviously natural sources and sinks result in a large range in both flux and accumulated concentration that is more than an order of magnitude larger than the anthropogenic background, and the measurements of the flux and accumulation have an uncertainty of measurement larger than the anthropogenic background. A small error in the measurement or either sink or source (or both) could easily be larger than the better characterized anthropogenic background.
Ferdinand, while I presumably have your attention, in a previous post on this topic you claimed that the large seasonal variation in Arctic CO2 was a result of CO2 migrating from Germany to the Arctic. Can you explain the method of amplification of mid-latitude CO2 as it moves northward?
As said before, all what you have demonstrated is that the seasonal and interannual variability of the CO2 increase is caused by temperature variability.
That gives not the slightest clue of what influences the trend of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, over at least the past 60+ years of accurate measurements at Mauna Loa.
The more that the influence of temperature on CO2 levels is opposite for seasonal and multi-year variability. Temperature gives opposite responses in vegetation for seasonal and multi-year CO2 changes. How does that (dis)prove anything for the cause of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere?
The absolute level of natural fluxes has not the slightest influence on the CO2 increase in the atmosphere, as long as the natural ins and outs are in equilibrium.
They are not, as the mass balance shows that the net balance of all natural CO2 fluxes is more sink than source, thus there is zero contribution of the natural fluxes to the mass of CO2 in the atmosphere. Zero, nada, nothing… Already 60+ years long.
The net result of all natural fluxes is accurately known, without knowing any individual natural CO2 flux, as that is a simple subtraction from two knowns: human emissions and increase in the atmosphere. The exact height or variability of any individual natural CO2 flux is not of the slightest interest, as we know the result of all natural fluxes together…
Temperature of the ocean surface was the main driver for the CO2 level in the atmosphere for the long past (800,000 years). For the current average ocean surface temperature, the equilibrium CO2 level in the atmosphere would be around 295 ppmv, according to Henry’s law. We are at 415 ppmv. That results in a net CO2 flux from the atmosphere into the ocean surface, not reverse.
That is a dynamic equilibrium as in the tropics, especially at the deep ocean upwelling, there is a lot of CO2 outgassing and near the poles where the waters sink into the deep oceans, there is a lot of CO2 uptake. That doesn’t change the equilibrium, that is the same for a small lab sample in a container as for the full ocean surface.
Thus even if we should stop all human emissions, the first year after the stop, the CO2 levels in the atmosphere would drop with about 2.1 ppmv, as that is proportional to the extra CO2 pressure in the atmosphere above equilibrium, independently from human emissions in any year.
The next year a little less, as the pCO2 difference between atmosphere and ocean surface is already a little less than in the previous year, etc… until the “normal” equilibrium of 295 ppmv is reached again.
The e-fold decay rate of that is about 50 years (or 37 years half life time), not 4 years as some skeptics think, that is the residence time, nothing to do with how fast an excess amount of CO2 is removed out of the atmosphere…
About the influence of mid-latitude CO2 variability and levels on the measurements in Barrow: we have the figures of South Germany from Schauinsland at 1,000 m heigth, which show a larger seasonal amplitude than in Barrow. The air of the mid-latitudes is getting polewards by the Ferrel cells and reaches the near-polar stations mixed with everything that happened near ground underway.
So, during the NH Winter, when the surface waters cool, one would expect CO2 to dissolve into the water and reduce the atmospheric concentration. Right? However, that is the opposite of what is observed. The seasonal NH ramp-up phase is from Sept/Oct to the peak in May, when it starts to warm. Depending on the locale, October can sometimes see some very warm weather, which we call “Indian Summer.” Yet, CO2 measurements don’t show a significant change because the correlation with temp’ is only about 0.6.
During the Summer, when surface ocean waters warm, the mid-latitude atmospheric CO2 concentration declines.
Out-gassing plays a role, but I think that you overstate it and err in applying it universally.
I have demonstrated that there are many ways to balance the mass-balance equation, and, therefore, accurate CO2 measurements and accurate measurements of uncertainty are still necessary to understand what is happening.
Carrying your argument to the extreme would lead one to claim that the values of natural emissions and sinks are unnecessary, which you have actually said, and the only thing necessary to know is anthro’ emissions and the annual increase in CO2. That is absurd!
Clyde, again you don’t understand what is happening…
What the seasonal changes do or what the year by year variability does, is not of the slightest interest for what causes the increase in the atmosphere.
And indeed you only need to know what human emissions are and what the increase in the atmosphere is to know that nature is a net sink for CO2, already 60+ years long. Thus not the cause of the increase.
Indeed you have demonstrated that the mass balance can be closed with any combination of natural ins and outs, for which I agree, but in all cases, nature was a net sink of 2.1 ppmv/year. Not a source, where the error margin is given by the most accurate combination: +/- 0.45 ppmv for the combination of fossil fuel emission inventories and CO2 measurements, whatever the error margins of the individual natural CO2 fluxes (which don’t need to be known at all).
How can a continuous sink be the cause of the increase in the atmosphere?
Clyde, the mass balance is always fulfilled, anytime, give it a month or a century. This balance is applicable in all material handling systems :
when all the inlet material flow to the system is different from all the outlet material flow then there is an accumulation over time in the system.
The system can be an industrial chemical reactor, a distillation column, a gas absorber, a waste water treatment plant or a warehouse – the material balance is always fulfilled and has to be considered when designing systems like above.
In our company warehouse, handling only a certain type of motorcycle tyres, there is a lot of tyres coming in from different tyre suppliers and going out to different costumers. I’m not really sure about all the individual numbers going in and out because I order from just one of the suppliers.
I know how many tyres I have ordered and that number of tyres are also placed in the warehouse. I also every month count the number of tyres there is in the warehouse.
The number of tyres in stock have steadily been increasing, accumulated, for many, many years. Also every season there have been fluctuating numbers in stock.
I know that during all the years I have placed a lot more number of tyres in the warehouse than there is at the moment.
By applying the material balance principle, knowing all my own ordered number of tyres and the actual number of tyres in the warehouse I can calculate :
“Inlet by me” + “Inlet by others” = “Outlet to costumers” + “Accumulated’
“Outlet to costumers” – “Inlet by others” = “Inlet by me” – “Accumulated”
I know the right hand terms,
“Inlet by me” is bigger than the “Accumulated”. Then the left hand term “Outlet to costumers” is bigger than the term “Inlet by others”. The individual number of costumers and others are not needed to be known.
I know that my “Inlet”have been twice the “Accumulated” since many years. If I today decrease my “Inlet” to 90 % (instead of 100 %), of my normal orders then the stock still will fill up a lot. The other suppliers and the costumers don’t know of my sudden little change in orders.
If I today set my “Inlet” to 50 % of my normal orders then the warehouse stock will stay at the actual steady state number of tyres. The seasonal stock fluctuations will still occur.
If I, instead, today completely stop my inlet orders then the warehouse stock will decrease. The term “Accumulated” will be negative because the other suppliers and the costumers are not yet aware of my sudden change. The seasonal stock fluctuations will still occur.
“The biosphere gluttony for CO2 has not found a limit.”
Actually, the paper of Marles et al you cite also starts its abstract with “About half of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere and half are taken up by the land and ocean1.” Their contention is that land use emission, mentioning tropical deforestation, is larger than previous estimates. That must be going into the sea, so the airborne fraction calculated from total emission is declining. But the extra is a transfer from the land biosphere to the sea, not biosphere gluttony.
Nick, doesn’t fit reality: for all trees and most other plants, which follow the C3 pathway of CO2 uptake, the optimum CO2 level in the atmosphere is above 1000 ppmv.
Reason why growers push up to 1200 ppmv CO2 in their glasshouses…
Even in nature, where the circumstances are mostly not ideal, there is a lot of extra greening with more CO2 in the atmosphere.
The oxygen measurements show that about 1/4 of our human emissions is taken away by vegetation, 1/4 by the oceans and 1/2 remains (temporarily) in the atmosphere.
Here a graph based on different observations:
So do you have your battery car yet?
As already pointed out Nick, mining is not the only source of new CO2 in the atmosphere. Think outside your box once in a while,.
Apparently it’s special 🙂
“For 800 years (and long before) natural sources and sinks balanced,”
yeah Nick, because it was so low it was limiting
The decrease in CO2 emissions during the 2020 lock down should have caused a temperature decrease.(if its increase causes warming).
How much of a decrease occurred?
BH said: “The decrease in CO2 emissions during the 2020 lock down should have caused a temperature decrease.”
CO2 emissions (in ppm/yr) decreased but the total mass (in ppm) increased. CO2’s radiative force is proportional to the total mass; not the rate of mass increase. That means the radiative force still increased. But…and this is a huge BUT…atmospheric temperatures are modulated by a lot of factors. CO2 is only one among many of those factors. And because the atmosphere has a low heat capacity we expect a lot of variability in the temperature there with lots of ups and downs even as the radiative force of CO2 rises slowly.
Because they’ve been in balance for 800 years it doesn’t follow that they always have or that it is the normal state of affairs.
It’s bogus to compare ice core measurements of CO2 with Mauna Loa instrumental measurements without at least mentioning their very different response time constants. Further, the accuracy of ice core measurements has never been validated.
Scissor, there is an overlap of about 20 years (1960-1980) between two of the ice cores of Law Dome and direct measurements at the South Pole.
The resolution of these ice cores is about 8 years over the past 150 years, fine enough to see any extreme changes.
Other ice cores have a resolution of 20-25 years over the past 20.000 years and up to 560 years over the past 800,000 years.
Even the latter is sufficient to show the current increase as an anomaly, be it with a small amplitude…
That certainly addresses resolution, but no one to my knowledge has validated accuracy, e.g. via common analytical procedures like spike and recovery.
Going back into the literature, ice core values even for well behaved molecules like N2 are all over the place. What has happened over the past several decades is that procedures have been adopted that tend to produce results in agreement with theory, not necessarily true values.
The fact that ice cores with extreme differences in ice accumulation and average temperature show similar CO2 values for the same average age (within 5 ppmv), gives some evidence that these values are quite accurate.
Problems like possible migration in relative “warm” ice cores (-22 C) show a small (theoretical) broadening of the resolution 10% at middle depth and a doubling at full depth, no big deal.
At -40 C for the Vostok and Dome C ice cores, that plays no role at all.
Further, the latest techniques use full sublimation and cryogenic separation of all constituents and mass spectroscopy, including isotopic separation. Nothing can hide anywhere…
If you have references for the N2 variability, I am very interested…
No. Agreement in results validates precision not accuracy. I’m pretty sure there is consensus on that. 🙂
There are several problems that are addressed in the following paper, not the least of which is the formation of clathrates. From my own experience in measuring trace gases, chemisorption is more likely to occur with samples than standards, thus results are biased low.
In any case, I was unable to find papers on N2 variability that I recollect. I seem to recall they had good hand waving arguments to explain it. I’ll look a little more.
They take several samples at the same depth of an ice core, the repeatability of the CO2 measurements at the same depth is +/- 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma). Not bad in my opinion.
Most of the problems with repeatability were in the clathrate transition zone for the “grating” technique. That is completely solved with the sublimation technique where all clathrates disintegrate back to the different constituents…
The first trap is at -70 C, effectively removing almost all water. They start with a small ice layer and add a flow of CO2 in air at about the same level as expected, so any CO2 (or anything else) that can be absorbed on the ice layer and the rest of the equipment will be absorbed at the surfaces and there will be very little change when the real sample is sublimated and the gases pass the cold trap and the rest of the equipment…
I didn’t find what I was looking for, but the following papers highlight multiple issues.
There is an arbitrary nature to the ice core measurements. They basically modified their procedures until they obtained results that satisfied them.
The first reference is from 1980, that is the start period of the first CO2 measurements in ice cores, of course with the problems of a brand new type of measurements…
The second is for O2 measurements which have an additional problem: the smallest molecules/atoms tend to migrate last minute out of the closing bubbles, which makes that the O2/N2 and He/N2, Ar/N2 levels in the bubbles are lower than in the original air. That doesn’t apply to CO2, which vibrational diameter is larger than the observed threshold:
Human CO2 is not differentiable chemically...
but it is isotopically…
And, can you provide us with some data on the isotopic fractionation as CO2 moves between air and water?
From water to air: -10 per mil δ13C
From air to water: -2 per mil δ13C
When the air-water exchange is in balance: about -8 per mil δ13C
Average in the deep oceans: around zero per mil δ13C
Variable in the ocean surface (due to life forms): 1-5 per mil δ13C
Pre-industrial in the atmosphere: -6.4 per mil δ13C
Thank you. I will have to take some time to digest this.
Hasn’t Griff been back to explain it to you?
Again, thank you. Can you provide me with a citation(s) for the numbers so that I can read the original work?
Evidence for preindustrial variations in the marine surface water carbonate system from coralline spongesF Böhm, A Haase‐Schramm… – Geochemistry …, 2002 – Wiley Online Library
Here in very deep detail, but the abstract is readable:
Thank you. I’m capable of comprehending more than just abstracts.
I immediately see that the numbers you initially provided are not applicable to alkaline solutions (i.e. ocean water).
From air to water:
“The reaction rate exhibits a fractionation for 13C/12C of about -27%0”
That is more than an order of magnitude larger than what you stated, and substantial in the context of typical delta factors.
Clyde, the abstract clearly says that the -10 and -2 per mil are for seawater. Alkaline solutions in this case are for strong, pure hydroxide solutions, far more alkaline that seawater…
In chapter 3 they say:
“Absorption by alkaline solution is completely different from absorption by sea water.”
I stand corrected. Now that things have slowed down some, I’ll give the article a more careful read.
Here’s my problem with the CO2 chart, let’s stipulate that is an accurate representation of CO2 in the atmosphere for my major point. It starts at year 1000, the line is essentially flat to the year 1850. Anyone seeing this chart without the knowledge of CO2 levels prior to this time line clip would be deceived into concluding 280 ppm is and always has been the norm.
Cherry picking the CO2 timeline is not science but an active deception. This is the same logic used in the legal system using the so called paradigm of “relevant facts.” Science and the Law are two different systems of thought/logic. The purpose of relevant facts is to cut through the blizzard of facts to get to the defined event that occurred, i.e. a crime. In Science we don’t necessarily have a defined event, we have a “process” to be analyzed.
Bottom line is that 280 ppm has NEVER been the norm for the atmosphere and to say otherwise is either ignorance or lying.
In the pre-industrial past, there was a rather constant ratio between temperature and CO2 levels (caused by the oceans – Henry’s law). The change in level was about 8 ppmv/K for Antarctic temperatures (where the snow was formed that made the ice), or about 16 ppmv/K for global temperatures.
That means that the warming since the LIA is good for about 13 ppmv CO2 extra in the atmosphere, while we see an increase of 120 ppmv (with over 200 ppmv human emissions)…
I agree, except that:
1. CO2 trend reversals typically lag temperature trend reversals by hundreds of years in the ice core records, which strongly suggests that it takes several hundred years to see an ≈16 ppmv/K response to temperature change. We’ve seen CO2 levels rise by 101 ppmv in the last 63 years. So the < 1K warming we’ve seen in that brief time could cause a change of at most 2 or 3 ppmv in atmospheric CO2 level.
2. It’s generally thought that the temperature dependence of Henry’s Law is insufficient to account for the ≈90 ppmv range of CO2 levels over glaciation / deglaciation cycles. There are almost certainly also biological  and/or ice sheet burial mechanisms at work, which increase the magnitude of glacial-interglacial CO2 swings.
Indeed the lags play an important role which gives the impression that the deep ocean circulation is involved in the slow change of CO2 after temperature changes, especially towards cooling: release of CO2 at the upwelling sites is faster than uptake at the sink places. Warmer and colder deep ocean temperatures can have a large effect, but need lots of time to equilibrate with the atmosphere…
Biological sinks/sources are responding much faster and there is very little change in δ13C over the glacial/interglacial transitions (about 0.2 per mil) which doesn’t point to vegetation as main respondent…
there is little CO2 in the bubbles of ice, I don’t see how that would affect the CO2 levels in the atmosphere over the transitions… Only for the residual amount of vegetation it can play an important role…
The first step of dissolving CO2 in ocean water is exactly the same as for fresh water and follows Henry’s law.
That further reactions absorb about 10 times more CO2 in seawater than in fresh water is true, but that doesn’t change the equilibrium between water and atmosphere, that only changes the amount absorbed or released if one of the reservoirs change in concentration.
For the current ocean surface temperature, the equilibrium is about 295 ppmv in the atmosphere, not 415 ppmv.
The Revelle/buffer factor shows that a 100% change in the atmosphere is rapidly followed by a 10% change in DIC in the surface waters, the surface is fast (2-4 years) following when CO2 in the atmosphere increases, That doesn’t apply for the deep ocean sinks, but these are limited in surface area…
That means that on long term most of the extra CO2 will be absorbed by the deep oceans, but due to the limited exchanges, that will need time. The observed e-fold decay rate of the extra CO2 above equilibrium is around 50 years or a half life time of around 37 years.
As the oxygen balance (and satellites) show: the biosphere as a whole is absorbing more CO2 than releasing. No matter the year by year variability. The earth is greening, thus impossible that it is the cause of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere.
Both seasonal and year by year variability in sink rate (not source rate!) are caused by plants in response to temperature (and drought) changes, but at different parts of the world and opposite in sign.
But that doesn’t give any indication of what the cause of the increase in the atmosphere is. The mass balance does it and the observations show that both the oceans and vegetation are sinks for CO2, not sources…
Irrelevant, the context of history indicates CO2 has been at 2000 ppm for 1000s of years at a time, yet here we are and so is the planet.
Dscott, that is on complete different time scales and most of that CO2 now is buried in huge carbonate layers everywhere in the world, including most of south England and the magnificent white cliffs of Dover.
Over the past few millions years, the ratio between temperature and CO2 were quite constant, but with huge lags: from several hundred years during warming to several thousand years during cooling…
And once again you admitted that 280 ppm CO2 has never been the atmospheric standard.
BTW – thanks for pointing out the “huge carbonate layers” since ALL that carbon at one point was in the active living portion of the carbon cycle all at once. All those hydrocarbons were residing in “living” plants and animals. Think about that for a moment, what did the atmosphere look like when all that carbon was in active play before it was locked up in the ground…
Once you consider these implications, the entirety of a CO2 induced climate emergency is totally absurd. Every level of CO2 in the atmosphere supports life! IN FACT, history indicates a very dynamic ecology. That’s why cherry picking the time line is not Science, it’s a con game to make a certain group of people rich on the backs of the public. …Davos…
Dscott, I completely agree with you that more CO2 in the atmosphere is only beneficial for life on earth, but skeptics should use the right arguments to counter the alarmists.
If skeptics try to argument that we are not responsible for the increase in the atmosphere, against all odds, where climate science is rock solid, they undermine the better arguments where climate alarmists are on shaky grounds.
Like the (non-)performance of climate models which already are overheating reality…
The net increase in atmospheric CO2 is well-known to be about half of human-caused emissions. Ergo, half the of human-caused CO2 is remaining in the atmosphere whereas the other half is being absorbed into the oceans?
But how do you know there isn’t a process where, say, half of the increased CO2 is from a natural process, half of the increased CO2 is from humans, leaving 3/4 of the human CO2 contribution absorbed someplace? That of the 3/4 of human CO2 being absorbed, that a 1/4 share of human CO2 is being absorbed by plants with a 2/4 share going into the “soluble inorganic carbonate chemical system” in the oceans? That the 1/4 share of human CO2 being absorbed by plants is the result of this “greening” observed by satellites and attributed to increased atmospheric CO2 stimulating more plant growth?
The above plot contributed by Mr. Stokes reminds us that until, say, 1850, the long-term atmospheric CO2 level appears quite constant from the ice-core data and in homeostatic balance. I am skeptical, however, that with the strong natural fluctuations shown in Fig. 2 above, that the pre-1850 CO2 levels were that flat. Yeah, yeah, the trapping of CO2 in ice cores is Settled Science and the gas bubbles cannot migrate once the accumulated snow tamps down into ice and the guy claiming the gas does migrate is a crank and all of that.
Figure 3 above indeed suggests that the annual, natural variations in CO2 emission and uptake repeat themselves “like clockwork”, but those results are “detrended” to remove between-year variations. NOAA’s go-to carbon-cycle guy Pieter Tans admits as much that there are large year-to-year natural fluctuations that correlate with temperature fluctuations, but he claims this cycling is from a shallow carbon store in the tropical rainforest leaf litter, the correlations are not decadal, and this saves the hypothesis that the preponderance of the increased atmospheric CO2 is human-caused. Others claim that atmospheric warming could stimulate, meaning it is already stimulating, CO2 emissions from the much larger reservoir of temperate-region soils (Bellamy et al 2005 Nature 437 pp 245-248).
If Climate Change is going to wipe us all out by warming-induced emission of CO2 from soils, how do we know that the current warming isn’t already stimulating CO2 emissions from soils? The current increase in atmospheric CO2 is consistent with a model that doesn’t include temperature-stimulated CO2 emissions. That these emissions are not being counterbalanced by “greening”, the increase update of CO2 from plants in response to the increase atmospheric CO2?
Paul, the seasonal amplitude is about 5 ppmv/K globally. The year by year variability is 3-4 ppmv/K, both caused by the response of vegetation as main effect on temperature changes, but opposite (!) in direction.
That results in +/- 1.5 ppmv variability around a trend of 90 ppmv in the past 60+ years, while humans released over 150 ppmv CO2 in the same period.
Warming oceans result in 12-16 ppmv/K, much too small to cause a 90 ppmv trend and the ocean surface shows an increase of carbon uptake, not a decrease…
I’m surprised that you don’t acknowledge the CO2 and CH4 emissions from the tundra since methane abatement was all the rage at COP-26. Bacterial activity is controlled by temperature, as are most chemical reactions.
As said elsewhere:
During the warmer Eemian, 130,000 years ago, both CO2 and CH4 levels were much lower than today, although a lot of permafrost (and 1/3 of Greenland ice) was melted…
I find the claim surprising. Might it have something to do with being above the tree line at the Greenland latitude?
I questioned your claim above that “both CO2 and CH4 levels were much lower than today,”. Neither of the immediately-above links speak to that, let alone support the claim.
The point being that the 1966 US Army drilling at Camp Century brought up Eemian vegetation detritus that suggest a typical tundra ecosystem which would have been producing CO2 and CH4 as part of their life cycle.
The CO2 and CH4 levels are from the Vostok ice core in the period of the Eemian highest temperatures.
The above references show that temperatures were warmer than today, while Vostok shows that CO2 and CH4 levels were much less than today.
Thus melting permafrost and ice and more vegetation don’t cause the extreme CO2 and CH4 values of today…
Your assumption is that the sources and sinks ‘balanced. You have not provided the necessary information or math to show that a “balance” existed at any and all times. Clyde has provided both.
Anyone assuming a “balance” exists in a permanent fashion in anything in nature needs extraordinary evidence to show that occurs.
Jim, if there is no change in CO2 level, as is seen in ice cores, then the CO2 sinks and sources must have balanced…
The influence of temperature on CO2 over very long periods (deep oceans?) also is known: about 16 ppmv/K. That means that the warming oceans (0.8 K?) since the LIA is good for 13 ppmv, while we see an increase of 120 ppm, or at least 90 ppmv since Mauna Loa started its measurements…
Again, I think that you are putting too much emphasis on out-gassing and ignoring biological decomposition.
Clyde, there is no biological decomposition if there wasn’t first CO2 uptake.
In general higher temperatures and more CO2 give more greening, that is visible as an increase in seasonal amplitude.
On longer term, that shows more CO2 uptake than release by vegetation. Thus not the cause of the increase in the atmosphere, as the O2 balance also shows…
And what you left out is that CO2 and CH4 that has been sequestered in the Arctic for tens of thousands of years is being released into the atmosphere as Earth warms. It is essentially ‘new’ when considered on the time scale of the start of the Industrial Revolution. Similarly, upwelling coastal waters are delivering water that is nearly 1,000 years old, from a time when Earth was colder and capable of extracting more CO2 from the air than currently. Thus, it isn’t just re-cycling last year’s CO2.
That is true of oceanic thermal outgassing in the mid- to high-latitudes. However, there is little change in the tropics; albeit OCO-2 suggests net out-gassing in October. At higher latitudes, when photosynthetic plankton die off from lack of sufficient sunlight, some of the CO2 from bacterial decomposition dissolves in the cold water; any excess will be released into the atmosphere. However, the dominant factor for the northern hemisphere CO2 ramp-up phase appears to be bacterial decomposition of vegetation detritus starting in the Fall, respiration from dormant Boreal forests, and continued sub-surface decomposition of long-buried organic material in the tundra.
IF, Earth had been in equilibrium, that would be approximately true. However, a complex sequestration process (as mentioned above) has been in operation since the beginning of the Pleistocene, resulting in periodic imbalances that are just now starting to equilibrate. It remains to be seen whether equilibrium will be reached before the next glaciation.
I’m quite aware that your claim is the consensus paradigm. I have another article addressing that, which I hope to convince CTM to publish.
Clyde, methane levels during the Eemian, 130.000 years ago were about 700 ppbv, CO2 about 310 ppmv.
At that time, temperatures were 1-2 K higher than today, 5-10 K near the poles: lots of permafrost in Alaska, Siberia and Northern Canada melted, even 1/3 of the Greenland inland ice was gone.
Today: near 2000 ppbv CH4 and 415 ppmv CO2. Very little to do with the temperature of the current earth…
“And yet it moves” — Galileo
And yet the only consistent demonstrable correlations between atmospheric CO2 concentration are with global temperatures, such as an El Nino events.
Clyde only on short periods (2-5 years), going back to near zero after a few years.
And on very long term over glacial and interglacial periods.
Not for the past 170 years where CO2 levels lead the temperature increase with over 100 ppmv…
Here the small influence of temperature variability around the trend for the period including the Pinatubo and the 1998 El Niño, even with the temperature effect enhanced with a factor 3:
I can follow your logic Ferdinand and it is sound, however, you place a lot more faith in measurements of government scientists than I do.
I work with some of these guys and I wouldn’t trust them to jump a car with a dead battery.
Scissor, not that much faith, but in the case of CO2 measurements, there are too many people of too many different organizations in different countries involved that it would be very difficult to cheat with the data without anyone protesting it.
About the emissions data: these are based on sales (taxes!), thus probably more underestimated (human nature, China…) than overestimated…
On a related note, I have previously made the case that anthropogenic emissions in general are probably understated, not just fossil fuels.
I agree, Nick, except for the last sentence: “The other half went into the sea.”
Javier is correct.
It is generally estimated that about half of nature’s net removals of CO2 from the atmosphere go into the sea, and the other half are sequestered in the terrestrial biosphere (“greening”) and soil. So we’ve probably increased the amount in the sea by only about one-fourth of what we burned (and produced by making cement).
Yes, certainly some went into greening. But the amount we have emitted actually exceeds the entire land biomass. So if a quarter went into that sink, there would have to be about 30% more land biomass, and I think we’d really notice that.
What numbers do you have for that, Nick?
Here’s what I’ve seen:
Terrestrial plant biomass 550 PgC + Soil 2300 PgC = 2850 PgC
Cumulative CO2 emissions (since 1750) = 463 PgC (per ourworldindata)
If 1/4 of those emissions (116 PgC) went into terrestrial plant biomass + soil, it would represent about 116 / 2850 = 4% of the total.
If equal amounts went into the soil and plant biomass, that would be 58/550 = just over 10%, which actually seems to be on the low side. This paper says about 5 PgC per year is being sequestered as additional terrestrial biomass (mostly woody plants):
Here’s a diagram from https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/features/CarbonCycle
I know that the estimates for biomass and carbon in soils are very rough. Also, based on the diagram’s “800 PgC” estimate of atmospheric carbon, it appears that that diagram must be quite out of date (since 800 PgC is about 377 ppmv CO2, i.e., circa 2004). So, do you have better figures?
Re total emissions, I am including there the land use emissions, which are over 150 Gt C, and would add to your 463.
Soil C is not biomass, and the fluxes in and out are not well established.
“This paper says about 5 PgC per year is being sequestered as additional terrestrial biomass (mostly woody plants):”
It actually says
“We show that live biomass has removed 4.9 to 5.5 PgC year−1 from the atmosphere, offsetting 4.6 ± 0.1 PgC year−1 of gross emissions from disturbances and adding substantially (0.23 to 0.88 PgC year−1) to the global carbon stocks. “
So net gain after land clearance is much lower, but positive.
Okay, fair enough to count land use changes / disturbances, which release CO2… but only once..
You’re double-counting it. You count it once as part of anthropogenic emissions (“land use emissions”), and then again when you subtract it (as “disturbances”) from natural removals of CO2 by greening.
It’s not double counted in my original account. I just point out that your “This paper says about 5 PgC per year is being sequestered as additional terrestrial biomass” is wrong. It said that (0.23 to 0.88 PgC year−1) was the net sequestered, and goes on to develop that.
Nick, if you “include there the land use emissions” (in anthropogenic CO2 emissions), then it is an error to also subtract them from CO2 sequestered by the terrestrial biosphere.
You can account for estimates of the effect of land use changes (like clearing Amazon rainforest) in either of two ways. You can either consider land use change effects (“land use emissions”) to be reductions in the amount of CO2 which nature removes, or you can consider them to be additions to anthropogenic CO2 emissions — but not both.
When the paper uses that smaller number for “net sequestered” they are handling land use change effects as reductions in the amount of CO2 which nature removes. When you use that figure and you also add “land use emissions” to anthropogenic CO2 emissions, you are double-counting them.
Nick, I explained this, perhaps a bit more clearly, in another comment, here:
Nick: I’m confused. Don’t we know that CO2 is less soluble in water as the water warms? Since the oceans hold a massive amount of dissolved CO2, warming of the oceans would have to result in a net positive CO2 flux to the atmosphere. There are lots of climate change claims saying the oceans are warming (e.g. sea level rise due to thermal expansion, coral bleaching due to water temperature change, etc.) so that would mean that there is no reason to expect the sea source/sink to be in balance. Seems to me that this alone could explain Mr. Spencer’s claim.
As Ferdinand often explains, we have good information on the ratio of CO2 change to temperature from the glaciations. It is about 10ppm per °C. The recent change is about 140 ppm. The oceans have not warmed by 14°C!
If you look closely at the graph I posted, you can see a small dip in the tons C in the air at about 1550, and a recovery around 1800. That could be the LIA; it is in the ballpark of what would be expected.
It is a minor factor. The solubility of gases like CO2 (and CH4) in water does, indeed, decrease as the water gets warmer (per the temperature dependence of Henry’s law), so as the oceans warm they absorb CO2 a little bit more slowly (except in the tropics, where they actually outgas CO2).
This is a slight positive feedback mechanism. However, as CO2 levels rise that positive feedback is expected to be at least partially offset by increased gas transfer velocity from the atmosphere to ocean, due to reduced ice coverage at high latitudes. A variety of other biological and ocean circulation effects have also been speculated which could, in theory, affect rates of CO2 uptake by the oceans (probably only slightly), in a warming climate.
All of those effects are certainly small compared to the large increase in CO2 solubility which results from the increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration.
CO2 ppm was close to 280
What’s the right amount of CO2?
Ideal would be well over 1000 ppmv. Unfortunately, we’ll never get anywhere near that.
“The annual growth in CO2 is a result of increasing natural sources“
That’s a non sequitur
non sequitur: An inference or conclusion that does not follow from the premises or evidence
How does the conclusion from Clyde not follow from the evidence?
One can’t deduce the cause of a trend where several causes are involved by looking at the variability around the trend. Especially if one detrend the results, thus effectively removing the cause of the trend…
Then why is detrending recommended for time-series? How would you recommend identifying spurious time-series trends?
One would expect that impulses observed in one variable should similarly be observed in the correlated variable.
The problem here is that one cause has a lot of trend and near zero variability, the other has a lot of variability and hardly a trend.
If you mix these two, that gives a huge trend and a lot of variability.
If you detrend the mix, you enhance the effect of the variability, effectively removing the full cause of the trend and of course you will find a huge correlation in the variability with the second cause and none with the first cause, while it is the first cause that was the only origin of the increasing trend…
I have tried to show that in theoretical detail, but need to rework that and make it more simple and understandable:
Actually, the anthropogenic flux has no statistically significant trend.
I feel the same way!
Come on Clyde, human emissions are linear increasing over the past 60+ years, a quadrupling in that period and you say that there is no trend in human emissions?
So is the increase in the atmosphere: a quadrupling of the increase per year over the past 60+ years.
While temperature is increasing linear, thus with zero trend per year, only a slight offset:
Or for actual temperatures and CO2 levels and accumulated emissions in the period 1900-2011:
A slightly quadratic increase of CO2 levels, with near twice the amount of human emissions and a linear increase of CO2, that even goes down in the period 1946-1975 with increasing CO2?
If a natural cause was involved, that implies that such a natural cause must have increased a fourfold over the same time span as human emissions and the increase in the atmosphere.
“and a linear increase of CO2”
“and a linear increase of temperature”
Who would have guessed how powerful a hockey stick could be?
The time frame for my monthly flux analysis was one year. Over a single year (2020), the trend is statistically significant, but minuscule (0.04 PPM/month), against a seasonal variation of as much as 2 PPM/month, albeit a net flux that might have a negative trend..
The long-term cumulative linear increase does not prove that it is anthropogenic. It is, at best, suggestive of what you claim. That is the point of the article, looking for evidence that was more rigorous than slopes of the same sign or net concentrations that are a fraction of the total.
Remember the law of conservation of mass states that ΔM = I – O where M is the atmospheric mass, I is the input, and O is the output to and from the atmosphere. If we split I and O into anthropogenic A and natural N components we have ΔM = (Ain + Nin) – (Aout + Nout) and we can rearrange terms such that ΔM = (Ain – Aout) + (Nin – Nout). We know that Anet = Ain – Aout > 0 and ΔM > 0 and Anet > ΔM therefore Nnet = Nin – Nout < 0. In other words, because the net anthropogenic movement Anet is greater than the change in mass ΔM then the net natural movement Nnet must be negative. There is no configuration such that Nnet > 0 while Anet > 0, ΔM > 0, and Anet > ΔM. That is as settled as anything in science can be settled.
“Over a single year (2020), the trend is statistically significant, but minuscule (0.04 PPM/month)”
If you’re talking about your first graph, that’s showing 0.04 PPM / year, not per month.
But that’s a really pointless exercise give the nature of 2020. What you are actually saying is that over the course of a single year emissions rose by 11%. This obviously does not happen every year. In fact since 2000 the average increase has only been about 2% each year.
Quote:”The annual growth in CO2 is a result of increasing natural sources that is not compensated by commensurate increases in sinks.
So we take that to mean that ploughs, paddy fields, city-building, chainsaws/burning, Glyphosate and Ammonium Nitrate are ‘natural’
In which case, it is a perfectly ‘natural thing’ that we exterminate ourselves and take all life on Earth with ourselves
So what’s the problem?
Butter doesn’t melt in the mouths of corpses?
(butter being the clue and part of the answer to this seeming malthusian monstrosity)
It’s the ocean.
Commiebob, the oceans are a proven sink for CO2, see:
Figure 3 and Table 2 show the increase in DIC (CO2 + (bi)carbonates). in the ocean surface at several places in the world.
As also vegetation is a net sink (based on the oxygen balance and chlorophyll), nature is sink for CO2, not a source…
At the temperatures and pressures in the deep ocean, CO2 is held as a liquid. A tiny change in temperature changes its solubility enough to completely explain the modern increase in atmospheric CO2.
The CO2 in the ocean dwarfs the CO2 in the atmosphere. The CO2 in the ocean depths dwarfs the CO2 in the surface layer.
commieBob, if that was true, the increase in the atmosphere would be larger than the contribution of humans alone.
It is smaller, only half, thus part of the CO2 mass added by humans must be absorbed by vegetation and/or oceans.
For vegetation, we have the oxygen balance, which shows that about 1/4 of the human contribution is absorbed by vegetation.
The ocean surface measurements show that it increased with 10% of the increase in the atmosphere, thus some 15% is absorbed by the deep oceans.
The deep oceans are a sink for CO2, not a source…
The only way that kind of CO2 budget works is by assuming that everything else stays constant.
During the satellite era the Earth has greened by about the equivalent of one continent. link How much CO2 did that take?
The greening earth did take 1/4 of human emissions, the oceans another 1/4 and 1/2 remained (temporarily) in the atmosphere…
“…ploughs, paddy fields, city-building, chainsaws/burning, Glyphosate and Ammonium Nitrate”
As more and more poor land area is converted to cropland the “natural” source of CO2 increases as well.
Certainly, as irrigation expands agriculture, the terrestrial source/sink flux will increase. However, the astronomical alignments determine a limit on the growing season, when CO2 is extracted. Whereas, the bacterial decomposition can act even in the absence of sunlight.
These are carbon sources? Specifically, carbon dioxide sources?
Many thanks for that overview Clyde.
Can we get it printed and delivered to every decision maker on the planet. The truth needs to be distributed as widely as possible.
Please, also send a copy to Greta and suggest she studies a little longer so she can absorb at least some of the important points being given.
The energy that provides the lift of CO2 mass in the atmosphere comes from the thermal flux and not from plants.
No energy no lift, simple physics.
The thermal flux over land is non significant versus/compare to the thermal flux of oceans.
The land thermal flux does not provide the needed/required energy for the lift up of anthropogenic CO2 mass.
Biosphere offers non at all energy for lift of the CO2 mass.
Biosphere very very much depends on the hydro cycle, which as the CO2 cycle depends on the thermal flux cycle… of the oceans.
CO2 concentration lags temperature variation and not the biosphere variation… as it is said.
The rest is simply.futility exercise in spin.
Wind is a pressure and thermal flux that can lift CO2 from plants into the air.
Your response not a good enough, clear enough example of circular reasoning.
Sorry, but waiting for better one.
Last morning the cars sleeping outside here were covered with Sahara sand, blown in with the southern wind from over 2,000 km away. Sand is many, many, many times heavier than air, still lifted and disposed that far in distance.
And a CO2 molecule can’t stay in the atmosphere for years without sinking to the surface?
Never heard of Brownian motion?
Do not mean or intend to be offensive.
But, still, in the past, when we engaged, your perversity still made some sense.
Now it does not at all
So sorry, but not. Keep up with your perversity… to your heart content.
End of it…in my count.
Good luck, there.
Natural CO2 is ever so slightly heavier than anthropogenic CO2 because the later is 14C depleted and partially 13C depleted. So if the argument is that there isn’t enough force to lift anthropogenic CO2 to higher elevations then it would hold for natural CO2 as well and we would expect a stratification of the gas. Yet neither CO2 nor N2 or O2 stratify. Why do you think that is?
How about H2O, is it heavier or not in comparison with CO2!
Guys, come to your senses, you arguing against the most basics of reality, not me.
It is lighter. The molecular weight of H2O is 18 vs CO2 which is 44. So why doesn’t H2O float to the top of the atmosphere while CO2 sinks to the bottom?
Have ever herd of rain…it is not made by rain forests!
Yes. It rains because H2O is a condensing gas. Anyway, I’m not being cavalier with my questions. I’m asking them because I’m hoping you’ll do the research to be able to answer them and by doing the research you’ll discover how things are why they are the way they are.
Sorry, but very much need of translation, there, or here!
I’m asking the questions in hopes that you will learn on your own that N2, O2, and CO2 are all well mixed gases that do not significantly stratify in the troposphere and that because they do not significantly stratify then there must some mechanism that is able to lift a molecule with a weight of 44 against gravity above many of those with weights of only 28 and 18.
Once again, look at the knowledge base. Whiten might be wising up, but how many other whiten’s are out there?
I’m not sure what the best use would be of this essay. As you can see from the first comment by Stokes, the die-hard alarmists are not willing to accept the obvious, and look for alternative explanations. I had considerable difficulty getting this published even here! I have an additional essay about the Mass Balance argument that is still in limbo.
Thank you for your endorsement.
Clyde, not only the die-hard alarmists don’t accept your arguments, even fellow skeptics (like Dr. Spencer) don’t agree.
You can’t deduce the cause of a trend from the variability around the trend… That is where you are wrong…
I’ve already asked the question, but just in case you missed it, why is it recommended to de-trend time-series to identify spurious correlations?
“Correlation is not causation. Spurious correlation is especially likely to occur with time series data, where two variables trend upward over time because of increases in population, income, prices, or other factors. The simplest remedy is to work with changes or percentage changes. Another approach is to fit a variable to a trend line and calculate the deviations from this trend line.”
The problem with that approach is that it may apply when you have two causes mixed in one result, both with some trend and some variability. Then it is possible to separate them and estimate the individual contributions to the result.
It is impossible to use that when one variable has a huge trend and no variability and the other has a huge variability and no trend, which is largely the case for human emissions and temperature.
That leads to completely wrong conclusions.
There are some (not even spurious) correlations possible between population growth, welfare and CO2 increase, as these also correlate with growing CO2 emissions, but the CO2 mass balance is what proves that human emissions are the cause of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere. Not temperature.
Assuming for the sake of the argument that you are right, you still have not explained how one should properly identify a spurious correlation given the conditions you say invalidate my approach.
Incidentally, I don’t think that a flux trend of 0.04 PPM per year to be “huge.” Even the cumulative net change of 2 PPM out of a total of about 420 PPM doesn’t look “huge” to me.
Clyde, OK, let’s give an example from my bank account.
Every month I dispose some $100 on my personal savings account. I don’t take anything away from that account.
At the end of the year, that gives $1200 on my personal account.
Next year, I dispose $102 every month, no withdrawals, thus at the end of the year, I have $2424 on my account.
First year: +$1200
Second year: +$1224
deposit trend: +$24
The local bank publishes its yearly results:
cash flow in: $50,000,600
cash flow out: $50,000,000
net gain: $ 600
cash flow in: $50,000,612
cash flow out: $50,000,000
net gain: $612
gain trend: +$12
According to you, my deposit is not the cause of the trend in what the bank shows in its figures, because my +$24 or even the +$612 net change is much too small compared to the about $50,000,000 that passes every year in the local bank.
According to me: I get as fast as possible my money out of that bank, as without my money, they have a negative balance…
I think that what you are overlooking is the feedback loops and their effect on each other, which the bank account example doesn’t capture.
Imagine for moment a situation where the Carbon Cycle is in equilibrium. If the reservoirs (sinks) start expanding (‘greening’), that allows an increased contribution from the source fluxes as the plants and plankton reduce the atmospheric partial pressure. What if one of them, say CO2 from fires, from a statistical fluke, doesn’t contribute one year? That means the potential for capturing source emissions is not fulfilled. Thus, more can come from the major source, say the out-gassing or biological decomposition.
In the same manner, there is a lag in the growing sink potential because all the sources are responding to increasing warmth, but photosynthesis is seasonal. If the anthro’ source is suddenly legislatively ended, there is an unfulfilled potential of about 2 PPM that the out-gassing, bacteria, and wintertime tree respiration will readily fill.
We have a clear view on the year by year natural variability around the trend: +/- 1.5 ppmv around a trend of 100+ ppmv since 1958.
The variability didn’t grow over time and remained about the same over the full period with as extremes the Pinatubo temporarily drop and several El Niño temporarily increases.
The variability includes all of the possible changes like expanding vegetation, forest fires, ocean oscillations, huge volcanic eruptions, etc. these have a short time influence on CO2 levels in the atmosphere (regardless of any trend).
Thus at maximum the natural variability in the past 60+ years was +/- 1.5 ppmv and as response ratio, about 3.5 ppmv/K change of temperature, as that makes that the amplitudes of temperature and CO2 variations are about the same.
According to Henry’s law, the current CO2 level in the atmosphere should be around 295 ppmv for that average ocean surface temperature.
That is a dynamic equilibrium as lots of CO2 are released near the equator and lots of CO2 are absorbed near the poles. For the CO2 level in the atmosphere at equilibrium with the ocean surface, that doesn’t make any difference.
We are currently at 410+ ppmv in the atmosphere.
That means that the net CO2 flux is from the atmosphere into the ocean surface. The net flux is proportional to the pCO2 difference between ocean surface waters and the pCO2 in the atmosphere.
Even if at the equator still al lot of CO2 is released (but less than with 295 ppmv in the atmosphere) and a lot of CO2 is absorbed near the poles (but a lot more than at 295 ppmv).
Changes like forest fires, Pinatubo, El Niño,… cause a small difference in uptake in certain years, but that doesn’t change the fact that the net CO2 flux is from the atmosphere into the ocean surface: it is a change in net sink, not a change in net source…
There were lots of ocean surface pCO2 measurements over time and Feely e.a. have made a compilation:
The same applies to vegetation, with more variability (the main cause of the CO2 response to temperature variability):
https://tildesites.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf figure 7 at the last page
Vegetation may be one year a net source, the next several years a net sink, but oceans + vegetation were always a net sink, only borderline for a few El Niño years.
Thus whatever the CO2 release of some events in some years, the net flux over the past 60+ years is from the atmosphere into oceans and vegetation, not reverse…
About how to recognize a spurious correlation…
If two trends are going upward, it is near impossible to deduce a spurious or real correlation from the data.
Thus one need other data to show the probability that one variable is the cause of the other. In the case of the CO2 increase:
It looks like that the correlation between human emissions and increase in the atmosphere is real, as all observations support it and no observation conflicts with the “theory” that humans are the cause of the increase.
All alternative explanations I have heard of violate one or more observations…
I have given you a couple of references as to how statisticians recommend dealing with spurious correlations with time-serious. You dismiss them out of hand and tell me it can’t be done. You know what they say about leading a horse to water —
Speaking of horses, I’m growing weary of beating this dead horse, so I’m not going to take the time to respond to all your above objections except for —
I’ve commented before that I don’t think that the published analyses are rigorous because (at least the ones I have read) don’t address the isotopic fractionation of out-gassing, or the biologic decomposition of 13C and 14C-depleted Pleistocene organic material. Whether on purpose or not, I’m of the impression that the isotopic arguments are cherry picked and not rigorous. I haven’t had the opportunity to deep dive into this myself to confirm my initial impression.
Do we really want to kill all of our own species? Are we really that stupid?
The misanthropic left certainly is
Are you referring to the possible use of tactical nukes in Ukraine?
Clyde Spencer, litte wee tiny miniscule typo…..
“This is the
fourt hinfourth in a series dealing with anthropogenic CO2″
It is also incorrect in the main page linking to my article, but a different typo’. It was correct in my submission, so something CTM did changed the formatting. I don’t have the ability to make the changes myself.
Thank you for the compliment.
“litte wee”? I like it. (Also, it’s “minuscule”)
Unlike the “Royal Wee.”
“Green” has become part of the affluent society’s mental illness. We live in a time of great abundance and out of that abundance have produced a society that is not only not grateful for this historic human achievement, but has internalized a self-loathing for these great gifts that comes with the ideology that man’s actions to this end are destroying the planet. You expect this nonsense in a dystopian science fiction novel. Not mouthed by and perpetuated by Western governments or their institutions of “science”.
We have been educated to accept theory and ignore reality. The resulting disconnect from reality looks a lot like schizophrenia and autism.
Defund the universities. Weed out the grievance studies departments.
As it stands, students are rewarded for making up convincing sounding BS out of whole cloth. That has to stop. Bring back subject matter expertise and solid scholarship.
Since periods of glaciation dramatically prove the climate is continually changing naturally within a broad range, the most important question to first answer is this: what is the optimum climate for the biosphere we depend upon for human life? Unless and until we establish that understanding, it is impossible to know if the current trend in our climate is moving towards that optimum or away from it.
What passes for climate science today is far too ideological with the clear presumption that human prosperity is evil and must be suppressed. It appears to be hellbent on establishing the socialist Utopia no matter what the human cost.
I have yet to find an alarmist willing to even attempt to answer that question, other than to suggest that the pre-industrial world was ‘paradise.’
Pre-industrial humans occupied every climate zone except Antarctica. David Attenborough claims that the tropics have 50% of all known living species, while only accounting for about 4% of the Earth’s surface area. So, it would seem that warm is better than cold for living things.
That’s because it’s the wrong question. Over eons, we can indeed adjust and optimize ourselves and our civilization to significant climate change. Harder when we do it to ourselves in a few decades.
We won’t all die. Most of us in the top 4 quintiles economically will not even notice how much better it could have been. But it’s not only wasteful me me me thinking that will burden many gens down the road. It’s also all the worse because, unlike past cultures that damaged their environment, we know better.
“We won’t all die.”
From all of your previous arrogant bombastic posts I could tell that you held yourself above others in almost all areas. But, gee wiz, we will all die. Even you.
(and your economic reasoning is baffling. Eliminating efficient energy production is what will most harm the bottom 20 percent … even more so “when we do it to ourselves in a few decades”.)
“From all of your previous arrogant bombastic posts I could tell that you held yourself above others in almost all areas.”
I don’t hold out much for myself. But I can spell gee whiz.
“and your economic reasoning is baffling. Eliminating efficient energy production is what will most harm the bottom 20 percent … “
You’re quite easily baffled. Everything we will suffer from AGW will be suffered more by the poor.
Eliminating efficient energy production is what will most harm …
No argument to that statement?
(Your recent posts are slowly revealing your true belief system.)
I have yet to find an alarmist willing to even attempt to answer that question, other than to suggest that the pre-industrial world was ‘paradise.’
I’ve been asking for something like 10 years, still no answer.
Defining an optimal climate would seem to me to be yet another pointless pursuit on which government could waste billions of dollars. Please don’t encourage them.
“Anthropogenic CO2 and the Expected Results from Eliminating It”
On the face of it, eliminating it requires eliminating the source – people. For that Attenborough, Packham, Goodman and the ‘Population Matters’ outfit are the go to’s.
“With the Earth’s resources and ecosystems struggling to cope with our current population of 7.7bn, the UN expects us to add another 3bn by the end of the century, unless action is taken.”
As for the weather, it’s a beautiful spring day with blue skies and fluffy clouds and it’s 17C
Get ready for the panic….
In almost all of the developed world population growth is largely due to immigration and the birth rates are falling. The quickest way to stabilise world population and bring it down is to improve the life chances and prosperity of the less developed world. Reliable energy from fossil fuels is a major component for achieving this.
Nice job, Clyde! I see no one has really questioned your derivations and conclusions.
Despite Stokes being the first to complain, I fully expect the ‘Big Guns’ to join the fray later.
There are big guns (Salby, Lindzen, Soon, Haynie, Bartemis, et al.) on your side, Mr. Spencer. And they are accurate.
The “big guns” opposing you may be loud, but, they are wide of the mark.
Janice, Dick Lindzen certainly does not agree with the erroneous claim that adding CO2 to the atmosphere does not increase the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
We know from reliable measurements that every single year since 1959 the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by less than the amount of CO2 which mankind has added to the atmosphere.
In other words, mankind increases the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, and nature reduces it (since 1959, at least).
Those facts are not disputable.
That means the only reason that the atmospheric CO2 level continues to rise is that mankind is adding CO2 faster than nature is removing it.
I sometimes say that all of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration since 1959 is due to mankind’s emissions, but that’s not quite precise. In that time, mankind has added about 180 ppmv of CO2 to the atmosphere, nature has removed about 79 ppmv from the atmosphere, and the atmospheric CO2 concentration has risen by about 101 ppmv. So about 180% (not just 100%) of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentration since 1959 is due to mankind’s CO2 emissions.
The clearest and most thorough examination of the cause of rising CO2 concentration which I’ve found is this analysis, by Ferdinand Engelbeen:
I didn’t say that Richard Lindzen said that.
You misunderstood my comment.
Janice, I am sure that Lindzen doesn’t agree with Clyde, neither does Dr. Spencer (from the satellite measurements, no family of Clyde?) and I never heard Soon agreeing with that theory…
About Salby, Haynie, Bartemis,… we had the same clash many times in the past and they all were wrong…
What does it say about a man who is absolutely certain that he is right, and those who disagree with him must be wrong? Is there not even the slightest uncertainty in the position you hold?
To answer your question, Roy and I have ancestors who come from the same general area of Illinois, but we are not closely related.
As to whether or not Roy “agrees with me,” he hasn’t yet disavowed me. However, he recently penned the following:
Dr. Roy Spencer does not agree with you, Clyde. He understands that mankind’s additions of CO2 to the atmosphere are the only reason that the average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing, and that if we suddenly ceased emitting CO2 (and nothing else changed) then the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would be falling, instead of rising. He has carefully examined and thoroughly explained how mankind adds CO2 to the atmosphere and nature removes it. He explained it in this excellent article:
He observed that the net natural removal rate of CO2 from the atmosphere is an approximately linear function of the average atmospheric CO2 level:
That’s not surprising, since all the main CO2 removal mechanisms are known to be roughly linear, over the range concentrations of interest:
● The C3 photosynthesis rate increase with rising CO2 level only falls significantly below linear above about 1000 ppmv.
● The rate of removal by dissolution of CO2 into rainwater, oceans, etc. increases linearly with atmospheric CO2 level, per Henry’s Law.
● Rate of removal of CO2 by rock weathering is similarly dependent on the concentration of CO2 in the air.
Roy created a Simple Model of the net natural removal rate, based on that observation:
removalrate = (co2level – 295.1) × 0.0233
(units are ppmv CO2/year)
It very closely approximates measured reality, as you can see:
You said, “He understands that mankind’s additions of CO2 to the atmosphere are the only reason that the average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing, …”
However, he said, “… you have seen have the numbers massaged based upon the assumption all of the imbalance is due to humans. … But, climate scientists simply assume that the climate system has been in perfect, long-term harmonious balance, if not for humans. This is a pervasive, quasi-religious assumption of the Earth science community …”
Do you see the contradiction in what you claim?
There’s no contradiction, because the “imbalance” which Roy was talking about wasn’t CO2, it was energy. Here’s the complete sentence:
“Global energy balance diagrams you have seen have the numbers massaged based upon the assumption all of the imbalance is due to humans.”
The carbon budget and the energy budget are two different things.
Not really! The claim is that it is anthropogenic CO2 that is driving the radiative forcing causing a slower rate of radiating heat out to space.
Why do you suppose he makes reference to “humans” and the “climate system.” His implied concern isn’t waste heat, but CO2.
“Not really”? Are you kidding, Clyde?
Carbon and energy are different things. The fact that CO2 is one of many factors which affect the Earth’s energy fluxes does not mean they are the same thing.
Uncertainties in the Earth’s energy budget do not imply anything about uncertainties in the carbon budget.
The carbon budget refers to the flows of carbon compounds (mainly carbon dioxide) to and from the Earth’s atmosphere, and between other reservoirs, like live biomass, soils, oceans, etc.
(Aside: There’s also another sort of “carbon budget,” which is part of the “net zero” scam. It’s a supposed limit to allowable cumulative carbon emissions. It is crackpot nonsense, and it’s not what we’re talking about.)
We do know quite precisely, from measurements, the rate at which the Earth’s atmosphere is accumulating carbon dioxide (and methane).
The Earth’s energy budget is entirely different. It refers to energy fluxes to and from the Earth, and within the Earth, e.g., between atmosphere and oceans, between different parts of the atmosphere, etc.
There are no precise measurements of the Earth’s energy imbalance. It is generally agreed that the Earth receives somewhat more solar energy then it emits as LW IR, but estimates of the magnitude of that “radiative imbalance” are necessarily based on indirect evidence, and those estimates vary greatly.
I made an online spreadsheet / calculator, where you can fiddle with estimates of various climate parameters, and from them derive estimates of the Earth’s radiative energy imbalance. Here it is:
Plausible (and implausible but nevertheless claimed) estimates for the Earth’s radiative imbalance range from about 0.15 W/m² to 0.8 W/m²:
That’s a big range, so we obviously do not know the rate at which the Earth is accumulating energy due to the radiative energy imbalance.
That uncertainty is what Roy was discussing. He did not suggest there is such large uncertainty about the increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, or the reason it’s increasing.
Everything in nature is dynamic.
Clyde, in general I don’t react on anything in this world, except after I have thoroughly studied what is true and false in that matter.
I have written a very comprehensive essay about the cause of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere, already 15 years ago, also after years of discussion with fellow skeptics on the same topic. That was based on all available evidence of that time and that didn’t change since then.
Simply said: all available evidence points to human emissions as cause of the CO2 increase.
No evidence proves the opposite.
I have read your essay, and even before this comment, I had come to be concerned that you convinced yourself 15 years ago what the answer was, and you are reluctant to revisit the problem in light of new findings.
Clyde, I haven’t seen any new evidence that refutes the conclusions I made 15 years ago. To the contrary: in the mean time, human emissions increased further, near linear each year again. That is causing a linear increase of the yearly increase in the atmosphere and a linear increase in sink rate per year. Already 60+ years now.
Moreover, that fits all available observations, all of them. Including a fourfold increase in human emissions and a fourfold increase of the yearly increase in the atmosphere over the past 60+ years.
If you can provide any proof that any natural cause did show the same behavior over the past 170 years – or only the past 60+ years, you may have a case. Until then you have no case at all.
Some quick apophenia.
Graph showing atmospheric CO2 against cumulative annual anthropogenic emissions, from both land usage and fossil fuels. 1850 – 2020
Source for emissions data
CO2 levels is a mash up from Mauna Loa and ice core samples
And your point being? Nobody is claiming that the net atmospheric CO2 isn’t increasing. The question is “Why?” My analysis makes the case that there is no correlation between the negligible human flux and monthly or annual atmospheric variance. When two time-series have a trend, such as annual sales of ice cream cones, and annual CO2 concentration, there will exist a (spurious) correlation. Cumulative quantities (defined as annual gross production) have a positive trend. To determine if the apparent trend is spurious, one has to take the first derivative. Did you read the article?
You are making the case there’s no correlation by only looking at small variations. I’m showing there is a very clear correlation when you look at the big picture. Maybe it’s spurious, but it seems odd to ignore it when you are comparing amount of CO2 we’ve added to the atmosphere compared with the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.
“My analysis makes the case that there is no correlation between the negligible human flux and monthly or annual atmospheric variance.”
My analysis shows there a statistically significant correlation between annual anthropogenic emissions and the annual atmospheric CO2 increase.
This is 1959 – 2020, so only using Mauna Loa.
Why is it every time you post something that it looks like you either didn’t read my article, or didn’t comprehend what you read?
How do you distinguish a spurious correlation from causal relationship in time series data?
Maybe the issues would be clearer if we stopped talking about “CO2 level” or “CO2 concentration” and simply referred, instead, to “the estimated amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.” After all, since the atmosphere is of (very nearly) fixed mass, the only difference between those two quantities is a multiplicative constant.
We used to say it was 8 Gt / ppmv CO2, but more recently it’s been estimated at closer to 7.8 Gt / ppmv CO2. Let’s stipulate that we assume it to be 7.80 Gt / ppmv.. (The logic isn’t affected by the exact constant.)
Mauna Loa’s annual average is probably about 1-2 ppmv higher than the global average, but let’s ignore that, too, and just use Mauna Loa’s annual average as our estimate for the global average.
Over the last ten years, from Mauna Loa measurements, the CO2 level has risen by an average of 2.46 ppmv / year, which is 19.19 Gt of CO2 per year.
In other words, in an average year the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere increases by about 19.19 Gt.
Using worldometers data, over roughly† the same time period mankind has added an average of 35.53 Gt CO2 per year, not counting “emissions” from land use changes:
So, in an average year, mankind adds 35.53 Gt of CO2 to the atmosphere, but nature removes (35.53-19.19)= 16.34 Gt of CO2.
[Aside: You usually see larger figures for both of those, due to the addition of estimates of “emissions” from land use changes (like clearing Amazon rainforest). There are two ways of accounting for that. You can either consider “land use emissions” to be reductions in the amount of CO2 which nature removes, or you can add them to anthropogenic emissions. For simplicity, I’m doing the former. If you do the latter, then you need to add your best estimate of “land use change emissions” to both figures. The difference between them (19.19 Gt CO2/yr) is, of course, unaffected.]
The advantage of using Gt CO2 as the units, rather than ppmv, is that it’s more obvious that it is incorrect to imagine that adding CO2 to the atmosphere doesn’t change the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.
† “Roughly” because the Mauna Loa measurements are differences between year-long averages for the years 2011 to 2021, but the emissions data are cumulative emissions in the years 2011 through 2020. So the time periods are not exactly the same. (Close, though.)
When you look at the really big picture, all of geologic history, there is little support for the claim that CO2 is controlling temperature, and there are obvious large changes in CO2 in the absence of humans.
I would have liked a larger data set for anthropogenic emissions, but until the pandemic, nobody bothered to look at anything besides annual data.
CS said: “When you look at the really big picture, all of geologic history, there is little support for the claim that CO2 is controlling temperature, and there are obvious large changes in CO2 in the absence of humans.”
Whether CO2 controls temperature is irrelevant. We are discussing whether humans modulate the CO2 level. And your argument in this regard here is the logical fallacy of affirming a disjunct. Just because nature modulates CO2 does not necessarily preclude humans from also modulating CO2.
If the question of whether CO2 controls temperature is irrelevant, then so is the question of whether anthropogenic CO2 controls total atmospheric CO2! The two questions are intimately connected.
Whether CO2 controls temperature is relevant to the carbon cycle in general since temperature also controls CO2 level. What I’m saying is that it is irrelevant to the narrowly focused topic of whether humans can control level because the conditions of CO2 controlling temperature and humans controlling CO2 level are neither mutually exclusive nor mutually compulsory.
“all of geologic history, there is little support for the claim that CO2 is controlling temperature”
I haven’t mentioned temperature, this is all about how reasonable it is to argue that adding CO2 into the atmosphere isn’t the main reason why CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.
“and there are obvious large changes in CO2 in the absence of humans.”
Over what time periods? The usual point is looking over the last fee hundred thousand years and showing how the big temperature changes over glaciations caused a change in CO2 over centuries. But saying it’s possible for there to be big changes in CO2 in the absence of humans, does not mean that humans can’t be responsible for this current rise.
I’ll give you that. However, Occam’s Razor suggests that the simplest explanation — natural changes — is the preferred, and probably correct interpretation.
The Law Dome ice cores show that temperature changes precede CO2 changes.
“The Law Dome ice cores show that temperature changes precede CO2 changes.”
That’s what I said.
“However, Occam’s Razor suggests that the simplest explanation — natural changes — is the preferred, and probably correct interpretation.”
I think you have a different idea of Occam’s Razor than me.
My explanation of the last century or so:
No, that is not my position. My position is that all the sources are partitioned into the sinks in proportion to their relative abundance. That means that the annual atmospheric anthro’ flux is <4% of the total flux.
From biological decomposition of buried Pleistocene organic material in the tundra, from out-gassing in the oceans as the water warms, from land-use changes, and from photosynthetic plankton growing in numbers with increased CO2/bicarbonate, and increased detritus decomposing in the Winter as terrestrial vegetation expands with increasing CO2 and temperatures at high latitudes. Some suggest that the frequency and intensity of wildfires are releasing CO2, although I think the evidence for that is weak.
“My position is that all the sources are partitioned into the sinks in proportion to their relative abundance. That means that the annual atmospheric anthro’ flux is <4% of the total flux.”
I’m not sure what you are getting at. Human emissions are about 4% of total emissions, but that’s an additional 4% to the input into the atmosphere, and it’s that additional input that I say causes the increase in the atmosphere.
If you are arguing that as a result of the partitioning of the sources, only 4% of the increase in atmospheric CO2 is the result of human emissions, then you have to show where the other 96% came from. You need additional emissions that are 24 times the size of human emissions. And then do these additional emissions get partitioned into the sinks?
As Earth warms, there is additional out-gassing from the oceans, there is accelerating biological decomposition, and there is increasing respiration from trees.
Ferdinand claims to have a good handle on Henry’s Law (Although I don’t see evidence that his average number takes into account asymmetrical variations in surface temperature with seasons.) I don’t think that anyone has a good estimate for the biological decomposition or Wintertime respiration of trees.
“As Earth warms, there is additional out-gassing from the oceans,”
Could you put a figure on how much more? And also take into account the fact that as there is much more CO2 in the atmosphere oceans will also take up more CO2.
If historic data is to be believed, when we moved from an ice age to an inter-glacial period, changes of 5 or 10 degrees, we only had an increase in CO2 of around 100ppm or so. And this took centuries to achieve.
The claim here is that a rise of around 1°C has already caused an increase larger than anything seen by ending an ice age.
And despite all this CO2 leaving the oceans, the amount of CO2 in the oceans seems to be increasing.
“there is accelerating biological decomposition, and there is increasing respiration from trees.”
And as I mentioned before biology can only give up carbon it’s absorbed. If much of the increase in CO2 is coming from vegetation that can only mean there is less vegetation around then there was a century ago, which would refute any claim of global greening caused by CO2 fertilization.
There are different mechanisms at play. At the end of the last glaciation, the oceans warmed and out-gassing released CO2 as per Henry’s Law. However, in addition, all the CO2 that was immobilized by being trapped in a block of ice a mile thick or more, and covering a significant fraction of the northern land masses, was released back into the air when that ice melted.
There is just so much detail that the alarmist hand waving either ignores or just isn’t aware of.
“From biological decomposition of buried Pleistocene organic material in the tundra, from out-gassing in the oceans as the water warms, from land-use changes, and from photosynthetic plankton growing in numbers with increased CO2/bicarbonate, and increased detritus decomposing in the Winter as terrestrial vegetation expands with increasing CO2 and temperatures at high latitudes.”
buried Pleistocene organic material in the tundra
Any evidence that this has caused emissions comparable to all human emissions?
from out-gassing in the oceans as the water warms
This would imply the oceans are being depleted of CO2, yet the evidence is that it’s increasing.
from land-use changes
That counts as human emissions, but is small compared with emissions from fossil fuel usage.
and from photosynthetic plankton growing in numbers with increased CO2/bicarbonate
and why is CO2 increasing?
and increased detritus decomposing in the Winter as terrestrial vegetation expands with increasing CO2
Again, where is this increasing CO2 coming from. Moreover, if vegetation is increasing it means more carbon is being pulled from the atmosphere. The resulting carbon emissions from decomposing vegetation cannot be greater than than the amount of carbon taken from the atmosphere.
“Arctic permafrost alone holds an estimated 1,700 billion metric tons of carbon, including methane and carbon dioxide. That’s roughly 51 times the amount of carbon the world released as fossil fuel emissions in 2019.”
The point being that eliminating fossil fuel use will not impact land-use changew. It has become a virtual ‘natural’ input.
That’s the amount of carbon still under the Arctic, not the CO2 you are claiming that has been released in order to cause most of the atmospheric CO2 increase. From that article
It is already being released, and has been for a few decades.
CS said: “That means that the annual atmospheric anthro’ flux is <4% of the total flux.”
Just because the anthropogenic flux is only 4% of the total flux (in units of ppm/yr) does not mean that anthropogenic mass is 4% of the total mass (in units of ppm). When you integrate that flux (in units of ppm/yr) over the last 170 years you get about 305 ppm of additional mass added to the atmosphere. We added more mass to the atmosphere than what it started with. It is a good thing that nature buffered almost 50% of the over pressure otherwise the total mass in the atmosphere would be 585 ppm equivalent!
This is the single most misunderstood concept of the carbon cycle. That is people conflate flux (in GtC/yr or ppm/yr) with mass (in GtC or ppm).
The best analog I give is that of a bank account with $280. If inflows and outflows are each 100 $/yr then the balance remains at $280. But if you add a second inflow stream of $4/yr for a total of $104/yr but only increase the outflow stream $102/yr then the balance begins increasing. After 60 years the balance is now $400. This is true even though that second inflow stream is only 4% of the total and even though the imbalance 104 – 102 = 2 is only 2 / (104 + 102) = 1% of all flows in both directions. If it weren’t for the second inflow stream the balance would not change. It was second inflow stream that is the sole cause of the balance increase from $280 to $400 even despite the increase in the outflow direction.
Your analogy is incomplete. As CO2 builds up, vegetation and phytoplankton expand. As CO2 partial pressure increases, more goes into the oceans and rain. The long-term geological cycle is accelerated with more acidic rainfall, and more calcium carbonate is precipitated with increased water temperatures. As sea ice coverage declines, more CO2 can be absorbed at high latitudes.
Bottom line, I don’t think that the “science is settled” and there are a lot of details we still don’t understand. I suspect that the difference is natural sources and sinks is larger than typically displayed in Carbon Cycle cartoons.
The banking analogy isn’t meant to help readers understand the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle is far too complex to simplify in this manner. The analogy is only meant to help readers understand the general principals involved. Namely, that the addition of a small secondary inflow can have dramatic consequences the total amount over a period of time.
Clyde, if human emissions are only 4% of all inputs and the outputs (at last) are proportional to the relative abundance in the inputs, according to your reasoning, why is human CO2 observed as already 10% of the current atmospheric CO2, as is measured in the 13C/12C ratio?
That is why I asked for the isotopic fractionation information. The analyses I have seen are based on on the 13C/12C delta for fossil fuels and ignore the isotopic fractionation of out-gassing and biological decomposition of 14C-depleted Arctic organic material that is enriched in 12C. I don’t think that the analyses are rigorous.
Clyde, concerning what C13/C12 does and does not show (one of Ferdinand Engelbeen’s hollow arguments), perhaps this is what you’re after.
Thank you for the link.
Bill, Dr. Salby never discussed his theories out here or anywhere else on the Internet in an open discussion. He is wrong on this point (and several other points too):
There are two possible sources of low δ13C in nature: living vegetation and fossil vegetation. Ocean CO2, carbonates, volcanic vents, all are higher in δ13C than in the atmosphere (at average -6.4 per mil in the pre-industrial past), compared to the current atmosphere (-8.2 per mil).
We know that the earth is greening. That means that relative more 12CO2 is absorbed by the increasing plant growth than 13CO2, thus enriching the remaining CO2 in 13C.
Thus vegetation is not the cause of the declining δ13C level.
The only cause is the human use of low-δ13C (average -24 per mil) fossil fuels…
Even over the past 800,000 years the change over glacial and interglacial periods was not more than a few tenths per mil…
Not so! Biological decomposition of the organic detritus in the permafrost is also a contributor.
If the warming world has allowed an increase in photosynthetic plankton, then the annual organic ‘snow’ that falls to the bottom of the oceans is going to dilute that 1,000 year-old CO2 with low-δ13C. When that deep water upwells, it will release CO2 with enriched 12C.
“why is human CO2 observed as already 10% of the current atmospheric CO2, as is measured in the 13C/12C ratio?”
More circular reasoning from Ferdinand Engelbeen.
13C/12C was long ago shown not to be a fingerprint of human CO2. As evidenced by the COVID shutdown, when CO2 continued to grow unabated, the human part of current atmospheric CO2 is nowhere near 10%.
Philip some proof of that?
It is not because Dr. Salby says so that it is right. If you can show me where there is a huge source of low-13C, comparable to what humans emit, then you may be right, if that source increased a fourfold over the past 170 years.
Until then, the use of fossil fuels is the most probable cause of the δ13C decline in atmosphere, ocean surface and vegetation.
And how can a drop of 10% in emissions (0.8 PgC or 0.4 ppmv) be detected in the CO2 rise, within a year-by year variability of +/- 1.5 ppmv?
It is like declaring that there is no sea level rise, because no one can measure 2-4 mm/year in waves and tides of meters per minute or day… You only need at least 20 years of data to statistically separate that small signal from the noise…
Clyde, you did only prove that the variability around the trend is caused by temperature variability.
That doesn’t say anything about the cause of the trend.
If you take the derivatives of the variables, you will see that temperature rate of change variability is the cause of CO2 rate of change variability, but the temperature rate of change has near zero trend, while the rate if change of CO2 has a huge trend. Thus temperature is NOT the cause of the trend in the CO2 rate of change (while human emissions are at twice the rate of change in CO2!).
“in particular, why no measurable decline in atmospheric CO2 occurred during the most severe reduction in anthropogenic emissions that has ever occurred, during the 2020 SARS-Cov-2 pandemic lockdowns.”
How many ore times does it have to be explained that you would not expect to see any decline in CO2 just because the emissions that year were slightly lower than the previous years. Emissions in 2020 were slightly higher than they were in 2010 and every other year prior to then.
If the level of emissions in 2020 were enough to cause a reduction in atmospheric CO2 then every prior to 2010 should have seen a reduction.
If you don’t mean a decrease in atmospheric CO2 bur rather a reduction in the annual increase, then you still need to say what you think that reduction should be, especially considering that 2020 was a hot year.
Again, I’m going to ask you if you even read the article. I would not consider an ~14-18% decline in April compared to the previous year to be “slightly lower.” I also have looked at the seasonal ramp-up, and the shape of the 2019-2020 curve is indistinguishable from the previous year, the peak is the same as the previous year, and the year was tied for the highest temperature since 2016.
In other words, significant declines in some early months, and an average annual decline of about 10% did not result in any measurable differences in atmospheric CO2 accumulations or global temperature.
You are looking at month by month data of a process that has variation in it. The exact increase from year to year varies. You cannot know how much 2020 would have increased over 2019 just from the emission rates, becasue there are always annual differences. This is even worse when looking at individual months.
“and the year was tied for the highest temperature since 2016”
Which is one of the problems. Hotter years produce bigger increases in CO2. Look at the annual change for April. In 2020 it was 2.91ppm up from 2019. but in 2016 it was up 4.25 compared with 2015.
And a 15% reduction in a single month isn’t that much. How much does the monthly seasonally adjusted CO2 go up by in a month? Assume the annual rise is 3ppm, then that averages to 0.25ppm a month. A 15% reduction in that means a reduction in the monthly increase of 0.04 ppm
But not by much except in El Nino years. I’ve looked at the seasonal changes going back to 1960 and the shapes are very similar. What seems to have changed is the range, with less of the ramp-up being compensated by photosynthesis. It looks to me that the wintertime decomposition and respiration are growing against a relatively constant anthro’ flux.
Here’s the September to May difference for each year. Looks like quite a bit of variability to me.
2022’s change is down 6.6% on 2019. It’s down 15% on 2016.
That is the net annual change. That is why I looked at the actual monthly data. A 15% decline in an 8 PPM range is 1.20 PPM, easily measured.
What monthly 8ppm range? The total range over a year is only about 6ppm. The average change from March to April is 1.3ppm, from April to May it’s 0.6ppm.
I really don’t know what you expect to see because of the single month reduction.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but the Met Office do an annual forecast of what the average CO2 levels will be for the coming year. At the start of 2020 they were predicting a rise of 2.74 ± 0.57 ppm compared with 2019.
In May 2020 becasue of the effects of the pandemic, they produced a new forecast, reducing the expected rise to 2.48 ppm. A reduction of about 11%.
The actual change was 2.52 ppm.
For 2022 they are forecasting a rise of 2.14 ± 0.52 ppm. Smaller than 2020 despite the increased emissions.
Over the last decade (2011 to 2021) atmospheric CO2 level has risen an average of 2.46 ppmv / year.
Using worldometers’ CO2 emission figures, and estimating 7.8 Gt CO2 / ppmv, over the same period human CO2 emissions have averaged (35.529 Gt / 7.8 Gt/ppmv) / year = about 4.55 ppmv / year.
So, over that decade, natural CO2 removals averaged 4.55 – 2.46 = about 2.1 ppmv / year.
In 2020, CO2 emissions were down slightly, to 34.807 Gt, which is 4.46 ppmv. That’s still 2.36 ppmv greater than the average annual natural CO2 removals over the last decade.
From 2019 to 2020, the whole-year average CO2 level rose by 414.24 – 411.66 = 2.58 ppmv.
From 2020 to 2021, the whole-year average CO2 level rose by 416.45 – 414.24 = 2.21 ppmv.
There’s nothing at all surprising about those numbers. Anyone who is surprised that the atmospheric CO2 level didn’t decline obviously hasn’t done the arithmetic.
Note that those figures include “land use change emissions” (such as CO2 from cleared Amazon rainforest) as a diminishment of the “natural CO2 removals,” rather than as part of anthropogenic emissions.
They’re more commonly considered as part of anthropogenic emissions, but there’s a problem with that. The problem is that “land use change emissions” are very poorly constrained. AR5 Fig. 6.1 estimated them as 1.1 ±0.8 PgC/yr, which is anywhere from 0.14 ppmv to 0.90 ppmv. AR6 Chapter 5 estimates 1.6 ±0.7 PgC/yr, which is 0.42 ppmv to 1.09 ppmv.
What’s more, that broad range uses a 1σ CI, rather than the usual 2σ (95%). Obviously, nobody really knows how much they are.
If you assume the AR6 midpoint (0.75 ppmv/yr), and include that flux as part of anthropogenic emissions, that makes anthropogenic CO2 emissions about 4.55 + 0.75 = 5.30 ppmv/year, and natural CO2 removals 2.09 + 0.75 = 2.84 ppmv/year.
Of course, the difference (the +2.46 ppmv/yr rate of CO2 level increase) is unaffected by which of they two ways “land use change emissions” are handled.
This does answer the question, “Why didn’t the rise in atmospheric CO2 alter during the Covid Lockdown?”
Which is very interesting. And supported by the fact that the the rise in atmospheric CO2 did not alter during the Covid Lockdown.
But from a policy viewpoint it is purely academic. The fact is that the the rise in atmospheric CO2 did not alter during the Covid Lockdown so it would not alter during any other (lesser ) intervention.
No-one is going to propose permanent lockdowns and perpetual furlough. That policy is impossible, unaffordable and unwanted.
So the only AGW policy that can be adopted is to adapt. And we can all get behind that.
AGW is over as a political issue – once this fact is hammered home.
We need to adapt (and react).
M Courtney said: “And supported by the fact that the the rise in atmospheric CO2 did not alter during the Covid Lockdown.”
The pandemic induced emission reduction DID alter the rise in atmospheric CO2 level. We are as sure about that as anything can be assured in science. The law of conservation of mass says so in no uncertain terms. The problem is that the pandemic perturbation was small relative to the expected variation so it is difficult to detect. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
The absence of evidence is evidence for the absence of a significant impact.
Academic mass balance arguments are irrelevant. We can’t make a meaningful difference with politically acceptable policies.
So we have to adapt to what happens.
M Courtney: “Academic mass balance arguments are irrelevant.”
The law of conservation of mass is irrelevant?