Claim: Breakthrough in Estimating Fossil Fuel CO2 Emissions

Peer-Reviewed Publication

[UPDATE: The study is available here — w.]

UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA

Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory
IMAGE: WEYBOURNE ATMOSPHERIC OBSERVATORY, NORFOLK, UK. view more CREDIT: GRANT FOSTER

A team of scientists led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) has made a major breakthrough in detecting changes in fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions more quickly and frequently.

In a study published today they quantified regional fossil fuel CO2 emissions reductions during the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020-2021, using atmospheric measurements of CO2 and oxygen (O2) from the Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory, on the north Norfolk coast in the UK.

The estimate uses a new method for separating CO2 signals from land plants and fossil fuels in the atmosphere. Previously it has not been possible to quantify changes in regional-scale fossil fuel CO2 emissions with high accuracy and in near real-time.

Existing atmospheric-based methods have largely been unsuccessful at separating fossil fuel CO2 from large natural CO2 variability, so that estimates of changes, such as those occurring in response to the lockdowns, must rely on indirect data sources, which can take months or years to compile.

The atmospheric O2-based method, published in the journal Science Advances, is in good agreement with three lower frequency UK emissions estimates produced during the pandemic by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Global Carbon Budget and Carbon Monitor, which used different methods and combinations of data, for example those based on energy usage.

Crucially, as well as being completely independent of the other estimates, this approach can be calculated much more quickly.

The researchers are also able to detect changes in emissions with higher frequency, such as daily estimates, and can clearly see two periods of reductions associated with two UK lockdown periods, separated by a period of emissions recovery when Covid restrictions were eased, during the summer of 2020.

Researchers at UEA – home of the UK’s only high-precision atmospheric O2 measurement laboratory – worked with colleagues at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Germany.

The study’s lead author, Dr Penelope Pickers, of UEA’s Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, said: “If humans are to reduce our CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and our impact on the climate, we first need to know how much emissions are changing.

“Our study is a major achievement in atmospheric science. Several others, based solely on CO2 data, have been unsuccessful, owing to large emissions from land plants, which obscure fossil fuel CO2 signals in the atmosphere.

“Using atmospheric O2 combined with CO2 to isolate fossil fuel CO2 in the atmosphere has enabled us to detect and quantify these important signals using a ‘top-down’ approach for the first time. Our findings indicate that a network of continuous measurement sites has strong potential for providing this evaluation of fossil fuel CO2 at regional levels.”

Currently, fossil fuel CO2 emissions are officially reported with a ‘bottom-up’ approach, using accounting methods that combine emission factors with energy statistics to calculate emissions.

These are then compiled into national inventories of estimated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the atmosphere from anthropogenic sources and activities, such as domestic buildings, vehicles, and industrial processes.

However, inventories can be inaccurate, especially in less developed countries, which makes it more difficult to meet climate targets.

It can also take years for the inventory assessments to be completed, and at the regional scale, or on a monthly or weekly basis, the uncertainties are much larger.

An alternative method of estimating GHG emissions is to use a ‘top-down’ approach, based on atmospheric measurements and modelling.

The UK emissions inventory is already successfully informed and supported by independent top-down assessments for some key GHGs, such as methane and nitrous oxide.

But for CO2, the most important GHG for climate change, this has never before been feasible, because of the difficulties distinguishing between CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and land plant sources in the atmosphere.

Dr Pickers said: “The time taken for inventories to be completed makes it hard to characterise changes in emissions that happen suddenly, such as the reductions associated with the Covid pandemic lockdowns.

“We need reliable fossil fuel CO2 emissions estimates quickly and at finer scales, so that we can monitor and inform climate change policies to prevent reaching 2°C of global warming.

“Our O2-based approach is cost-effective and provides high frequency information, with the potential to provide fossil fuel CO2 estimates quickly and at finer spatial scales, such as for counties, states or cities.”

The team used 10 years of high-precision, hourly measurements of atmospheric O2 and CO2 from Weybourne Atmospheric Observatory, which are supported by the UK’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science. Having long-term measurements of these climatically important gases was crucial to the success of the study.

To detect a Covid signal, they had to first remove the effects of atmospheric transport on their O2 and CO2 datasets, using a machine learning model.

They trained the machine learning model on pre-pandemic data, to estimate the fossil fuel CO2 they would have expected to observe at Weybourne if the pandemic had never occurred.

They then compared this estimate to the fossil fuel CO2 that was actually observed during 2020-2021, which revealed the relative reduction in CO2 emissions.

‘Novel quantification of regional fossil fuel CO2 reductions during COVID-19 lockdowns using atmospheric oxygen measurements’, Penelope A. Pickers et al., is published in Science Advances on Friday, April 22, 2022.


JOURNAL

Science Advances

METHOD OF RESEARCH

Data/statistical analysis

ARTICLE TITLE

Novel quantification of regional fossil fuel CO2 reductions during COVID-19 lockdowns using atmospheric oxygen measurements

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

22-Apr-2022

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Janice Moore
April 24, 2022 10:05 am

And still…

CO2 UP GREATLY. WARMING NOT.

Game Over.

Derg
Reply to  Janice Moore
April 24, 2022 1:26 pm

I can’t wait for spring to start here. It was nice yesterday after weeks of sh!t. This week more Sh!t.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Derg
April 24, 2022 1:54 pm

Cool and wet to date here in calgary

But then we don’t get summer until July 8 then it’s done by 25th.

Seems like an emergency to me

Craig Moore
Reply to  Derg
April 25, 2022 8:44 am

The other day at Dog Gun Lake near Heart Butte Montana. The ice makes it difficult to fly fish.

123_1(38).jpeg
Simon
Reply to  Janice Moore
April 24, 2022 2:50 pm

But Janice if you are going to compare apples with apples i.e look at similar stages in the ENSO cycle, then we most definitely are warming. Of course, when the next big El Nino hits we will know for sure. When that happens, my pick is we will once again see record global temperatures.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 4:13 pm

But, Simon, I thought “The Science was Settled” decades ago.
Lot’s of “projections” have been made in those decades based on “Settled Science”.
They haven’t happened. Why do we have to wait for an El Nino to “know for sure”?
I thought the models already knew for sure.

Simon
Reply to  Gunga Din
April 24, 2022 5:28 pm

Why do we have to wait for an El Nino to “know for sure”?
We don’t.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 4:23 pm

Dear Simon,

To clarify:

CO2 emissions have gone up greatly. Warming has not gone up greatly.

comment image

Still praying for you… 😊

Sincerely,

Janice

P.S. TRUMP 2024! 😄

Last edited 1 month ago by Janice Moore
Simon
Reply to  Janice Moore
April 24, 2022 5:32 pm

I appreciate you praying for me, that’s very kind, but I just don’t get why a good God faring woman like yourself would want to support a philandering adulterous man like Trump.

Anyway here is my graph that clearly shows the link between CO2 and temp.
chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://static.berkeleyearth.org/pdf/annual-with-forcing.pdf

DrEd
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 6:25 pm

God FEARING please. And your link is bad. And your ideas are rubbish.

Simon
Reply to  DrEd
April 24, 2022 7:18 pm

My link is fine thank you very much, you just have to know how to use the internet. And they are not my “ideas.”
And you are an arrogant man who does not check things before writing. I’m sticking with God faring as it was far more in line with what I had to say to Janice (as in not you).
https://www.answers.com/religious-studies/What_is_god-faring

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon
ihfan
Reply to  Simon
April 25, 2022 8:20 am

My link is fine thank you very much, you just have to know how to use the internet.

If you knew how to “use the internet”, as you claim, you would realize that including a browser-specific extension in the URL would not work for all browsers.

Here is the correct link, from those of us who actually do “know how to use the internet”: http://static.berkeleyearth.org/pdf/annual-with-forcing.pdf

Perhaps you should “check things before writing”?

By the way, what precisely does “Simple fit based on CO2 concentration and volcanic activity” mean, how was it calculated, and what is the uncertainty?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 6:40 pm

Since correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation, I’d like to see the proof
of that link, not just claims that it exists. In the attached graph, the correlation
is very low as when CO2’s high, the temp’s both low & high. The same is true
for when CO2’s low.

As for Mssr Trump, do you think it’s possible for someone to change, since The
Maga Man also at one time supported HRH Hillary- you know, the lady who
claimed to be named after Sir Edmund Hillary?

600MTCO2.gif
Simon
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 24, 2022 7:17 pm

I think it is possible for Trump to change a lot. Ad he does depending on who he wants to vote for him. Hell, he is even prepared to say he is a christian if it wins the evangelical vote.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 8:12 pm

You’ve shown yourself to be good at stating the obvious which has little
to no bearing on what I said!!!

mal
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 8:40 pm

The man does not drink or smoke. He walks that walk.

Simon
Reply to  mal
April 24, 2022 11:12 pm

He does a lot of sniffing though….

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon
Old Man Winter
Reply to  Simon
April 25, 2022 7:09 am

Why did you shift the argument away from the more important
discussion of CO2 & temperature to gutter gossip? Do you think it’s cuz
that argument got shot down different ways by different people & it
turned out that you had very little, if anything, intelligent to say about it?
Hmm! 😮 😮 😮

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Old Man Winter
April 25, 2022 5:15 am

Why does it matter if Trump is a philanderer? He put out on his web site what he was going to do to restore America to the country he wanted it to be and then started working on those goals, unlike every lying POS liberal politician out there. It’s an easy choice. If you like what he says he wants to do then you vote for him. His sex life doesn’t matter to me any more than Pete “why should I work” Buttigieg’s.

Last edited 1 month ago by Trying to Play Nice
Simon
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
April 25, 2022 12:46 pm

It matters because he sucks up to the Christians and makes out he is a God Faring man when he is anything but. I couldn’t give a flying fig who he screws, but I do care that he lies about it to win votes.
Here he is wriggling out of naming a verse in the bible. I wonder if it was because he has no clue about any verse?

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon
R Terrell
Reply to  Simon
April 28, 2022 10:21 am

Name just ONE Democrat who doesn’t do the very same thing, every day!

R Terrell
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
April 28, 2022 10:20 am

Nor “I did not have sex with that woman” Clinton.

lee
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 7:48 pm

Berkeley Earth do their own special sauces.

“The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures (BEST) are a set of data products, originally a gridded reconstruction of land surface air temperature records spanning 1701-present, and now including an 1850-present merged land-ocean data set that combines the land analysis with an interpolated version of HadSST3.”

All the way back to 1701. Now that is impressive. NOT.

Simon
Reply to  lee
April 25, 2022 12:49 pm

“All the way back to 1701. Now that is impressive. NOT.”
Well Best was championed by skeptics before the results were released… but then… they got the results and hello, then they didn’t want them. One rather famous skeptic said…
I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong.”

Last edited 1 month ago by Simon
R Terrell
Reply to  Simon
April 28, 2022 10:16 am

You’ve been reading the wrong liberal rags! All of those allegations were disproven, a long time ago! I guess if one believes all the tripe about ‘global warming’ then you would likely believe all the tripe (hype?) about President Trump, too.

Richard M
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 4:38 pm

It seems I agree with Simon. The oceans control the global temperature.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Richard M
April 24, 2022 5:02 pm

But does Simon agree with you? He thinks Man’s CO2 does.

RickWill
Reply to  Richard M
April 24, 2022 5:36 pm

The oceans control the global temperature.

No the land controls the ocean global temperature.

When the oceans are absorbing heat at the highest rate, the ocean surface is at its coolest globally because more evaporated water from the oceans is being drawn to cooler land.

When the land heats up, the oceans also heat up because atmospheric water increases, reducing evaporation as more ocean area surface reaches the temperature limit of 30C.

The ocean surface temperature globally, is completely out of phase with heat input. More heat into oceans means more latent heat transfer to the atmosphere over land.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/11/14/global-water-cycle/

Global warming is occurring as orbital perihelion moves gradually closer to the boreal summer solstice resulting in the northern hemisphere steadily experiencing more intense sunlight during the boreal spring now and eventually boreal summer months. The flip side is that boreal autumns are now getting less sunshine and eventually boreal winters will get less intense sunlight resulting in snow accumulation as more water transfers from ocean to northern land masses in winter.

Macha
Reply to  RickWill
April 25, 2022 12:51 am

Yet oceans cover 70% of plant and has a huge thermal capacity. Check differences between NH and SH where more land is in NH. Science says No.

Last edited 1 month ago by Macha
Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Macha
April 25, 2022 5:18 am

That sounds like correlation, not causation.

Mr.
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 5:05 pm

Simon, temperatures have already been “CALCULATED”, as Steve Mosher told us a few days ago.

mal
Reply to  Simon
April 24, 2022 8:38 pm

What record record global temperatures. Where your base line, where is the error bars, what are the adjustments. Sorry a record in a hundredth of degree is fiction not based on fact.

Ian Johnson
Reply to  Simon
April 25, 2022 2:48 am

Low temperatures?

Paul Buckingham
April 24, 2022 10:07 am

Oh good, another ‘estimate’ from the home of climategate. That’ll be ok then. Still waiting for any of them to provide the scientific method for AGW though, without which it’s all pointless theorising, and doing the usual of adding one false premise onto another.

TEWS_Pilot
Reply to  Paul Buckingham
April 24, 2022 10:24 am

The most trusted name in Climate Crisis alarmism.

Climategate_Titanic.jpg.jpg
Bryan A
Reply to  TEWS_Pilot
April 24, 2022 12:17 pm

I wonder what database Dr Penelope “Cherry” Pickers will be looking at next? Perhaps she should get Dr Thomas Karl to make adjustments to the data so that the past is dramatically decreased. Dr Mann could then make another Hockey Stick Graph

Last edited 1 month ago by Bryan A
Barry James
Reply to  Bryan A
April 25, 2022 12:54 am

Oops! They already did this – several times.

Latitude
Reply to  Paul Buckingham
April 24, 2022 11:02 am

…and not one word about China…the worlds largest CO2 emitter by a long shot

if these clowns could get China to even meet them half way…they could meet their goals and then some

Peter Barrett
Reply to  Paul Buckingham
April 24, 2022 12:55 pm

It’s not an estimate. They have informed us that the method depends partly on modelling. That makes it a guess.

Philip
April 24, 2022 10:12 am

I didn’t see any explanation of how they differentiate a CO2 molecule breathed out by my car from one breathed out by me, my cat, a tree leaf, sea outgassing, a blade of grass or many of the natural chemical reactions which create CO2.

I saw vague references to models.

Reply to  Philip
April 24, 2022 10:20 am

using a machine learning model.

All said, BS

n.n
Reply to  Krishna Gans
April 24, 2022 10:27 am

Machine learning is only as good as the fitness functions (“model”), which have proven to lack both retrospective and prospective skills.

TEWS_Pilot
Reply to  Philip
April 24, 2022 10:29 am

They use the Greta Thunberg molecular differentiator on the exhaust pipe.

comment image

ihfan
Reply to  TEWS_Pilot
April 25, 2022 8:28 am

Greta Blah Blah Blah…

Richard Page
Reply to  Philip
April 24, 2022 10:32 am

Complete and utter BS from top to bottom. There is no way to differentiate CO2 from the different sources so they are creating more and more computer models to show what they think it should show – garbage in, garbage out and yet another complete waste of money, time and resources that could be spent better elsewhere.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Richard Page
April 24, 2022 12:44 pm

But at least the good doctor and her team have reverted to 2C.

commieBob
Reply to  Philip
April 24, 2022 10:57 am

It’s all about the isotopes of carbon. C14 is created by ultraviolet rays. It then degrades over time to C13 and C12. So carbon which hasn’t been in the atmosphere for a long time will have little C14. That describes the situation with fossil fuels. It also describes the situation with CO2 that comes from the deep ocean and CO2 produced by the weathering of rocks.

No matter how they spin it, their carbon budget is nowhere nearly as accurate as they purport it to be. But why is that important, you ask.

Blaming humanity for the increase in atmospheric CO2 depends on human produced CO2 staying in the atmosphere for decades. For that to be valid requires a very precise carbon budget.

Over and over, we see the alarmist message bolstered by over-simplification and extrapolation, and outright fraud. The only reason they’re not laughed out of town is that a lot of people want to hear that particular message.

Rich Davis
Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2022 11:21 am

That is not accurate commie Bob. I’m surprised to see you make that error. “Blaming” human emissions for the rise in CO2 concentration (I’d prefer to say “Giving credit”) doesn’t depend at all on the specific molecules that were emitted remaining in the atmosphere for a long time. The constant large exchange of CO2 from natural sources and sinks largely replaces the emitted molecules with molecules stored in much larger natural reservoirs.

We don’t need this kind of rubbish analysis to show that the slow accumulation of emissions has caused an increase in concentration. The mass balance over the atmosphere is all we need to prove that point.

I assume that the Climatistas goal here (apart from having something to do spending grant money) was to create a metric that their paymasters can use to claim “progress” is being made at “decarbonizing” the economy.

Tom.1
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 24, 2022 11:43 am
AndyHce
Reply to  Tom.1
April 24, 2022 2:05 pm

So this is the way the largest single human source in the UK, burning wood chips, gets a free pass?

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Tom.1
April 25, 2022 5:25 am

They make statements coming from a position of ignorance and claim expertise. NOAA is just a propaganda machine so we’re not falling for their claptrap. Just because they can’t think of any other reasons for CO2 rising doesn’t mean that they are correct.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 24, 2022 1:59 pm

The mass balance over the atmosphere is all we need to prove that point.

The uncertainties in the measurements of the monthly net fluxes of natural emissions is greater than the human monthly emissions. Thus, the best that can be said is that the mass balance suggests what you believe, but it isn’t compelling, nor the final word.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2022/03/22/anthropogenic-co2-and-the-expected-results-from-eliminating-it/

Tom.1
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 24, 2022 3:28 pm
  1. We know the mass of the atmosphere.
  2. We know the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  3. We know how much anthropogenic CO2 has been put into the atmosphere.
  4. We therefore know that there is less additional CO2 in the atmosphere than the sum of all anthropogenic emissions of CO2 going back in time.
  5. It follows that the natural sinks must be greater than natural sources.
  6. And, there is not another good explanation for this chart.
CO2For 800kYr.PNG
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom.1
April 24, 2022 5:52 pm

1) The upper-boundary is arbitrarily defined, and based on friction with satellites, we know that boundary moves up and down. The base of the atmosphere is quite irregular over the 29% of the surface that isn’t water. Even much of the surface is porous and allows the ‘atmosphere’ to move in and out. If you are familiar with fractals and measurement of coastlines, you know that the finer the resolution, the longer the coastline. Similarly, the finer the horizontal resolution of the topography, the larger the volume of vertical slices used for integration. If the estimate is based on atmospheric surface pressure, then one is confronted with similar problems including changes in pressure with temperature. We have what is considered a ‘good’ estimate of the atmosphere mass. However, that estimate comes with an error bar, which you are ignoring.

2) The concentration of CO2 varies minute by minute in any location, and increases with northerly latitude. While it is “well-mixed” by most definitions, it is not perfectly mixed. Therefore, it varies unpredictably laterally, vertically, and over time. The best we can do is make an estimate of what the probable concentration is for a number of observatories, and then build a model of how that contributes to the average. Again, there is the issue of the uncertainty envelope which you don’t seem to comprehend. Nothing in the real world is exact.

3) Again, we make estimates of how much fossil fuel has been burned. However, as the authors of this article observe, there are problems with the bottom-up estimates because they are often based on sales taxes and there is going to be an incentive to under-count to save taxes. Mistakes like double counting can happen. That is the whole point of this article, which you apparently didn’t understand. Top-down estimates offer the potential to have a more objective estimate. However, what it all adds up to is that once again there is only an estimate with a range of probable values, which you act like don’t exist.

I’m not going to bother to rebut your points 4, 5, and 6 because I have just knocked out the three legs of your stool that you have built your naive understanding upon.

Tom.1
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 25, 2022 1:37 am

The mass of the atmosphere can be calculated directly from barometric pressure and the surface area of the earth.

Measurements of CO2 in air are obviously very accurate, but since there are fluctuations in the short term as well as geographically, it’s very hard to know the quantity of CO2 in the atmosphere in real time. However, we don’t need to know it in real time. Our interest is in knowing how much it changes over time, so over the course of a year or even longer period, we can very accurately calculate the change in the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The quantify of anthropogenic CO2 emissions is always an estimate but given the amount of interest in this over the past few decades, there is good reason to believe we know this number with sufficient accuracy to know that the cumulative increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is much less than the cumulative quantity of anthropogenic emissions of CO2. About 1/3 of emitted CO2 does not remain in the atmosphere, so we can say with some certainty that natural sinks are greater than natural sources.

The fact that emitted CO2 does not all stay in the atmosphere makes a lot of sense, since the increase in CO2 concentration is a driving force for CO2 to be taken up in various ways by the land, sea, and biosphere.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom.1
April 25, 2022 12:51 pm

The mass of the atmosphere can be calculated directly from barometric pressure and the surface area of the earth.

Yes, I had acknowledged that when I said, “If the estimate is based on atmospheric surface pressure, then one is confronted with similar problems including changes in pressure with temperature.” But, you seem to have missed, or not understood the implications of the problems with coming up with a total mass or volume by integrating all the vertical slices through the atmosphere when it varies in elevation from zero to over 29,000 feet. Are you familiar with the combined ideal gas law, PV = nRT or V = nRT/P ?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and assume that you have seen weather forecasts on TV. Therefore, you have heard about “lows” and “highs.” They apply to a limited area with fuzzy boundaries. Attempting to calculate even an average accurate mass of air for the two phenomena requires knowledge of the vertical change in temperature and absolute humidity, and to be more precise, the small but not un-measurable variation of CO2 with elevation. The thing is, the total volume can’t be measured directly, like temperature. It has to be calculated, based on a lot of assumptions and sample measurements. When one is done, there is a number that is probably reasonable, if done diligently, but has a range of probable values. You seem to not be able to comprehend that, writing as though the volume of the atmosphere is as simple as counting the number of people on a beach and ending up with an exact number. It is more like counting the number of sand grains in a beach, most of which can’t be seen.

It is clear that you don’t have a good grasp of the physics of the atmosphere. There is no way that in a few comments I can make up for your deficient education. Therefore, I’m not even going to try because it seems that you think you understand something that is beyond your educational background. Please stay in the shallow end of the pool to avoid drowning.

Last edited 1 month ago by Clyde Spencer
Jim Gorman
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 25, 2022 4:37 am

This is a very good summary of how uncertainty in measurements applies to determining a true value. You end up with a number that has an interval surrounding it such that you don’t know and can never know the real value.

Nice description Clyde!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Tom.1
April 24, 2022 6:46 pm
  1. “We know how much anthropogenic CO2 has been put into the atmosphere.”

No we don’t. Hence, estimates.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 25, 2022 4:24 pm

We don’t know anything exactly.

I’m told I was born at 3:20 in the afternoon. I am almost certain that is not accurate to even a few minutes, let alone seconds or milliseconds. Compared to a person half my age, how is there any significance to this measurement error?

Looking at production records over two or three decades, and the change in CO2 mass in the atmosphere over the same period, we’re not talking about a tiny discrepancy. The amount that increased in the atmosphere is about half of the amount emitted.

As Clyde noted, the estimates are largely based on tax records and so are almost certainly biased toward under-reporting if anything. That means for you Barbies who find that “math is hard”, that most likely our emissions were even higher than estimated. If so, then even more of our emissions have to have been absorbed by natural sinks than would have been estimated.

Now here’s the point. The net flux is still a net sink if we underestimated our emissions, just a bigger net sink. Nature can’t be a bigger-than-estimated net sink and also a net source at the same time.

The mass of the atmosphere doesn’t change significantly as evidenced by the average sea-level barometric pressure. If the temperature rises, volume increases. That is why the atmosphere is thickest in the tropics and thinnest in the polar regions.

Which weighs more, a cup of cream or the two cups of whipped cream you make from it? (Sure the entrained air spoils my analogy, but try not to be so literal).

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 25, 2022 8:37 pm

Nature can’t be a bigger-than-estimated net sink and also a net source at the same time.

Yes it can if you take into account time lags. That is, when the system is perturbed by increased emissions, some of the sinks (such as vegetation) take longer to sequester the CO2 than it took to release it. That is, because the flux rates are different, the tendency to reach equilibrium is probably never, or rarely, ever reached.

I suspect that at the moment, the soil respiration in the Arctic is much larger than officially estimated in the published Carbon Cycle diagrams. There is also a much small release of anthro’ CO2. Thus, the system can’t immediately accommodate the annual change. However, should all the organic material in the Arctic be converted to CO2 eventually, one can expect the annual increases to slow down considerably. If the anthro’ emissions become negligible, then there might even be equilibrium reached in the system.

ThinkingScientist
Reply to  Tom.1
April 24, 2022 11:46 pm

There is a perfectly good explanation for that chart. Paleo measures are at very low resolution and have many contributions to low frequency temporal filtering/averaging which lower the variance. Modern measurements have much higher resolution and therefore higher variance.

The two are not directly comparable, but climate science does it all the time. To compare the two properly the modern measurements must be filtered or averaged down to the same low resolution as the paleo. Then the alarming difference would disappear. Even a couple of centuries of modern data would likely plot as just 1 point with a large uncertainty.

This difference is called the support correction in geostatistics.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
April 25, 2022 4:44 am

How often do people need to be reminded that when dealing with long term averages, you would only end up with the last 150 years being just one point point at most at the end of the trend.

Tom.1
Reply to  ThinkingScientist
April 25, 2022 7:21 am

I can appreciate that there will be some attenuation of something like ice core data, but we know that atmospheric CO2 levels are not something that changes very rapidly. The current CO2 spike is 60 years old. What do you think the temporal resolution of CO2 is for ice cores, if you know?

ihfan
Reply to  Tom.1
April 25, 2022 8:32 am

And, there is not another good explanation for this chart

Well – that just about sums it all up! There’s no other good explanation so let’s just destroy our economies and let millions starve and freeze to death, simply because there’s just no better explanation for a line on a graph that shows nothing scary happening.

Tom.1
Reply to  ihfan
April 25, 2022 9:55 am

I don’t question that public policy on climate change has gotten way ahead of the science. I’m just commenting on how well we know the amount of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s two completely different things.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Tom.1
April 25, 2022 4:32 pm

Exactly. Nobody to my right on the question of whether CO2 is harmful. It’s mankind’s greatest contribution to the earth.

But denying basic math and logic is not a winning argument to counter climate alarmism.

It is in fact to discredit climate skeptics.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 25, 2022 3:54 pm

Good God Clyde. You really work hard at not understanding a simple concept.

The accumulation in the atmosphere and the human contribution are not very uncertain, especially taken over multiple years. The result of simple math then shows that the net effect of all those many difficult-to-measure sources and sinks is a net sink, not a net source.

Nature cannot simultaneously be a net sink and a net source.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 25, 2022 8:39 pm

You really work hard at not understanding a simple concept.

My sentiments exactly!

PCman999
Reply to  Rich Davis
April 27, 2022 5:41 pm

Simple mass balance doesn’t work when there’s a huge reservoir of CO2 in the oceans and CO2 levels depend on an equilibrium.

That’s why CO2 levels have been increasing fairly steady, 2-3 ppm a year, but human emissions have increased more and more

Dbw49
Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2022 12:23 pm

This statement is utter rubbish. UV radiation is grossly insufficient to product nuclear changes. C14 is a result of cosmic rays.

Fraizer
Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2022 12:46 pm

The only reason they’re not laughed out of town is that a lot of people want to hear make a lot of money from that particular message.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  commieBob
April 24, 2022 1:53 pm

C14 is created by ultraviolet rays.

No! UV creates ozone. It takes much higher energy cosmic rays to create 14C from nitrogen.

commieBob
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 25, 2022 4:21 am

You are right. link

Scissor
Reply to  Philip
April 24, 2022 11:16 am

It’s all right here: https://www.science.org/doi/full/10.1126/sciadv.abl9250?af=R

Their figure 3 seems to show some bias, as they are forcing the fit, rather than using what the data is indicating. Still, better than nothing.

Kpar
Reply to  Scissor
April 24, 2022 1:38 pm

“Better than nothing”? That reminds me of Charlie Finley, former owner of the Oakland A’s Baseball team. During one of the union negotiations, Charlie overheard another team owner remark of the new deal being worked out, “Well, it’s a bad deal, but it’s better than no deal!”

Charlie responded by selling his team.

greg
Reply to  Philip
April 24, 2022 4:01 pm

don’t plants actually intake co2 and release o2? i guess i don’t understand the plant co2 part, but then again i am not a scientist from east anglia.
how do they come up with the national inventories? isn’t co2 a gas which is equally spread all over the world? it doesn’t move around does it, or does it clump up in places?
again, more of that sciency stuff we know nothing about i guess.
well thanks uae.

DrEd
Reply to  Philip
April 24, 2022 6:27 pm

Amen, amen, Just more crap from the Climategate criminals

markl
April 24, 2022 10:14 am

More models on top of models. The article doesn’t say how the identification of fossil fuel produced CO2 is actually made other than taking measurements of pre and post pandemic atmosphere and assuming any anomalies were attributed to man. Huh? How come actual CO2 measurements didn’t vary?

Scissor
Reply to  markl
April 24, 2022 11:25 am
Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Scissor
April 24, 2022 2:33 pm

Abstract
It is not currently possible to quantify regional-scale fossil fuel carbon dioxide (ffCO2) emissions with high accuracy in near real time.

Last edited 1 month ago by Sweet Old Bob
Chris Nisbet
Reply to  markl
April 24, 2022 12:06 pm

Umm, I’m not sure they took measurements pre-pandemic. They said they trained their model on estimates of what they expected the emissions to be…

“to estimate the fossil fuel CO2 they would have expected to observe at Weybourne if the pandemic had never occurred”.

So it sounds like they trained their model with a guess and then set it loose on some actual measurements, and compared the two. Now I am no scientist, but that seems a bit dodgy to me.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Chris Nisbet
April 24, 2022 2:01 pm

Umm, I’m not sure they took measurements pre-pandemic.

The actual report shows a graph of several years of data.

RicDre
April 24, 2022 10:15 am

I lost interest at this point:

“…An alternative method of estimating GHG emissions is to use a ‘top-down’ approach, based on atmospheric measurements and modelling…”

Steve Case
April 24, 2022 10:22 am

Models, models, models but the only thing of any importance at all will be their findings which will no doubt be:

“Worse than previously thought!”

Climate believer
Reply to  Steve Case
April 24, 2022 11:53 am

That’s the vibe I got.

TEWS_Pilot
April 24, 2022 10:23 am

Here is the 2022 model.

crystal ball brandon.png
Steve Case
Reply to  TEWS_Pilot
April 24, 2022 1:49 pm

If your adversary is doing something dumb don’t point it out. I haven’t seen any Democrats complaining about the “Let’s Go Brandon” slogan.

DrEd
Reply to  Steve Case
April 24, 2022 6:37 pm

Hey, even Joe Biden himself said “Let’s go Brandon.” FJB

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Steve Case
April 25, 2022 5:32 am

You must not pay much attention to the media.

Peta of Newark
April 24, 2022 10:27 am

Quote:”method for separating CO2 signals from land plants and fossil fuels in the atmosphere.

So, do we come over all politically correct and pretend to understand they know what they’re talking about or ask if they really do know what.

Plants do not emit CO2, unless you set them afire.
Emissions seemingly coming from plants are actually coming from (soil dwelling) bacteria.
This is where it all gets impossibly complicated because:

  • The soil bacteria are insanely temperature sensitive
  • The bacteria are nurtured by exudates (sugars) released by the plants from their roots
  • …also by what we would call ‘pollution’ = esp the oxides of Nitrogen and Sulphur
  • …likewise the plants themselves
  • The plants and their exudates are influenced by the strength of the sun, NOT particularly temperature.
  • The amount of CO2 the de-emit (absorb) is dependant on how the farmers have treated them (fertiliser applications) also by pesticide treatments and sun-strength
  • ….but also by dust pollution (Potash, Phosphorus, Magnesium etc etc blowing in from near and far
  • ….some considerable amount of that dust coming from road-traffic – which dried up during lockdown
  • and a few other things

Good grief, just look at all the contrails in that photo.
Get yourself a solar panel, connect it to some sort any sort of power measuring device and watch its output plummet when a contrail blows overhead.
(I used to get that many trails in Cumbria, being directly under the London> North America path. You use them to make weather forecasts – trails as numerous and long-lasting as those mean it will be raining inside 24, certainly 36 hours)

The lovely Penny Pickers did account for at least some of those things, didn’t she?
The contrails being the particular clanker – they all disappeared during lockdown

Last edited 1 month ago by Peta of Newark
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 24, 2022 2:05 pm

Plants do not emit CO2, unless you set them afire.

That’s simply false! Plants respire CO2 at night, and in the boreal forests in the north, for most of the Winter. Furthermore, microbes decompose the leaves and needles that fall to the ground. They don’t need to be burned.

Richard Page
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 24, 2022 2:13 pm

Also, because of the hours of daylight changing seasonally as well as the seasonal growth patterns, plants can vary from net sinks to net emitters over the year.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Richard Page
April 24, 2022 5:55 pm

I agree.

JCM
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 24, 2022 3:29 pm

Living plants are not net emitters by themselves. Vegetated systems become net CO2 emitters by the existence of desiccating matter. Desiccated dry matter oxidizes by slow chemical decomposition (or fire) to CO2 and CO.

Vegetated systems become net sinks when sufficient biodigesters exist to biodegrade the litter, to restore stable soil carbon (organics). This is by a combination of munching, scratching, and excreting animals + nitrogen fixing plants.

The excreted nitrogen feeds fungi which biologically compost surface litter into stable soil organics. Humates in soils. No compost, no microbes. Vegetated systems are largely desiccating today, instead of composting into soils. What we’re left with is dry mineral dirt, with or without vegetated cover (and its desiccating oxidizing matter). 1 gram organics stores up to 8 grams water in healthy soils to stabilize hydrology.

During the growing season, in our residual vegetated landscape, the desiccated matter persists to oxidize, if it has not yet burned, reducing the annual drawdown effectiveness. Removal of billions of birds, mammals, reptile, and amphibians, particularly in and around settled areas, leads to desiccation of vegetated lands. You can see it everywhere, by mulched lawns to oxidizing litter in forests. Practically deserts, with rapid runoff, growth in spats and spurts depending on available soil moisture. The growing season drawdown dramatically reduced in intensity, in time and space.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  JCM
April 24, 2022 6:00 pm

Some of what you say is true. However, as Richard pointed out, plants can become net emitters of CO2 under routine conditions. Namely, at night, and during the Winter when they are dormant. That behavior is an important driver of the seasonality of atmospheric CO2.

JCM
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 25, 2022 8:59 am

Living plants respiring 10x human emission is not in dispute. The sub seasonal cycles are irrelevant. A change to net emission of vegetated systems is by the existence of desiccating matter, and a perturbation to growth in time and space.

Last edited 1 month ago by JCM
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  JCM
April 25, 2022 8:44 pm

Such as being killed by ice or extreme cold during the last glaciation?

AndyHce
Reply to  Peta of Newark
April 24, 2022 2:12 pm

So plants don’t actually use the energy they collect from sunshine, they just pass it on to soil bacteria? 100 years of botany shown to be wrong!
https://www.pthorticulture.com/en/training-center/basics-of-plant-respiration/

DrEd
Reply to  AndyHce
April 24, 2022 6:42 pm

Yes. Living organisms (like plants) get the energy they need to live by oxidizing sugars. That produces CO2 and H2O and energy.

JCM
April 24, 2022 10:53 am

Nature created our soils, bio-systems, their hydrology and climate via carbon drawdown rates that exceeded oxidation rates, yet recently we have reversed this, greatly increasing carbon oxidation relative to draw down rates via our clearing and burning of forests and soils for agriculture. Storing carbon in our soil at scale is absolutely possible and crucial. This is not due to the carbon drawdown, but because it restores the the water cycle. It is the water cycle which controls 95% of climate dynamics. Experts often have a vested interest and power in defending what they know, and supplying solutions, predictions, and answers. Experts become gatekeepers, guarding the problem definitions that match their expertise while lacking context and effectiveness for complex problems. The so-called climate experts today will be studied in future decades as a prime example of the perils of reductionist gatekeeping.

JCM
Reply to  JCM
April 24, 2022 11:42 am

Our human default is to react against what we fear or don’t want. We are quick with blame, labels, and judgment of good or bad. We simplify our world to linear cause and effect. It will be fascinating to look back upon this time of active railroading and “fact-checks” to see where we went wrong and the damage inflicted on society

John Shotsky
April 24, 2022 11:00 am

This might be the first report in which it is admitted that land plants emit CO2, hence the desire to separate ‘plant’ co2 from ‘human’ co2.They fail to note that plant Co2 is over 10 TIMES the human CO2 in the first place. Nor do they mention that, with the increased CO2 of today, that plants are ‘greening’ the earth. That means more plants making CO2. Human emissions could drop completely to zero and earth’s climate would not even notice. $TRILLIONS to ‘reduce’ human emissions??? WHY???

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  John Shotsky
April 24, 2022 2:08 pm

They also acknowledge how difficult it is to differentiate plant CO2 from human CO2. That should give those who fly the ‘Mass Balance’ banner pause about the accuracy of the numbers used in the calculations.

Rud Istvan
April 24, 2022 11:14 am

Since plants are generally considered a carbon sink rather than source as EurekaAlert reports of the paper (hence carbon credits for planting trees), I was curious as to whether it was EurekaAlert or the paper itself that made the error. It was the paper itself, in black and white

And rest of the paper is worse. Three points:

  1. It found the UK COVID lockdown reduced CO2 0.7ppm using their methods.
  2. It said “We will show that it is NOT required to quantify data uncertainty.’ Huh? And then they didn’t. Their graphics show a high degree of daily jitter in the hourly measurements, hence significant hourly data uncertainty day to day.
  3. It said “It is necessary, however, to consider the performance of the machine learning algorithm and its associated uncertainty.” They did, finding “It generally performed well with a relatively small bias— -0.05+/-2.34ppm.”!!

So they claimed an AI estimated 0.7ppm COVID lockdown reduction in CO2 using an AI uncertainty of +/-2.34ppm—over 6x the estimate itself. Ridiculous.

More ‘quality’ UEA climate research—NOT!

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 24, 2022 12:54 pm

The uncertainty of their AI was -0.05 to +2.34 ppm. Not symmetrical.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 24, 2022 1:54 pm

Maybe I wrote it wrong. It was a bias of -0.05 plus/minus uncertainty of 2.34ppm.

AndyHce
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
April 24, 2022 2:16 pm

You missed the – in the +/-2.34

April 24, 2022 11:25 am

If these white stripes in the sky might have any meaning?
Naaa, we will only focus on CO2!

Franz Dullaart
April 24, 2022 11:33 am

They go one better than Greta. She can only see CO2 whereas this crowd can actually see CO2 resulting from fossil fuel burning.

DMacKenzie
April 24, 2022 11:38 am

“…the potential to provide fossil fuel CO2 estimates quickly and at finer spatial scales, such as for counties, states or cities.”

Wow, complete crapola. With many possibilities of a future study as to why oxygen sampling doesn’t match the summation of CO2 as calculated from fuel meters.

John Bell
April 24, 2022 11:40 am

What a scary phrase…”meet climate targets.”

Greg Bacon
April 24, 2022 11:45 am

How can CO2 be so abundant in the atmosphere that it is causing a greenhouse effect? Gases are weighed according to their “Vapor Density.”

The relative weight of a gas or vapor compared to air, which has an arbitrary value of one. If a gas has a vapor density of less than one it will generally rise in air. If the vapor density is greater than one the gas will generally sink in air. And this: At standard temperature and pressure, the density of carbon dioxide is around 1.98 kg/m3, about 1.5 times that of air.
CO2 has a vapor density of 1.53, which means its quite a bit heavier than air. So the CO2 that is generated on the planet’s surface stays down low & the CO2 produced in the skies will drift down to the planet, so where’s the greenhouse effect coming from?

Or did they rewrite the laws of chemistry like the did the laws of Thermo-Dynamics on 9/11?

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Greg Bacon
April 24, 2022 3:34 pm

GB, your CO2 chemistry argument completely misses the CO2 radiative physics argument. Plus, it is easy to show that the atmosphere is generally well mixed despite gas molecular weight differences thanks to convection cells and wind.

A hopefully helpful bit of advice: please do not bring spurious arguments here when the basics are well known. It discredits you as a commenter (and indirectly this site for allowing it), even tho your intentions may have been skeptical.

Larry Hamlin
April 24, 2022 11:51 am

Wonderful😖😖. More “model” bs.

Rick C
April 24, 2022 11:54 am

The article does not explain how the measurement of oxygen concentration relates to the determination of CO2 sources. There’s a lot of handwaving about faster determination than “traditional methods” whatever they are, but they seem to include collection of lots of data from around the world. So how can data from a single location possibly provide meaningful results for global phenomenon? The whole thing seems to come down to models and machine learning without the slightest hint of any effort to validate the claims. Just more pseudoscience nonsense. “Machine learning” seems to be the new magical incantation that is supposed to automatically instill credibility.

Bruce Cobb
April 24, 2022 12:01 pm

It’s important to figure out where the beneficial gas CO2 is coming from so that those emitting it can be paid accordingly.
Wait. What?

Ron Long
April 24, 2022 12:09 pm

The last time I checked the UK was not on top of Mauna Loa. Local signals, even if actually measured correctly (which they didn’t), don’t count for total earth atmospheric conditions.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Ron Long
April 24, 2022 2:12 pm

You may notice that their total cumulative CO2 numbers (Fig. 1A) are higher than for MLO. Whether that is a result of latitude, or the urban environment, isn’t clear.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 24, 2022 3:35 pm

Is in the London vicinity. Urban environment, probably.

Rick C
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 24, 2022 10:09 pm

UEA is in London area, but the article says measurements made in North Norfolk on England’s east coast (not that it’s important).

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Rick C
April 25, 2022 8:22 am

UEA is in Norwich, East Anglia, and is 120 miles, 194 kms from London.

The Weybourne observatory is on the coast about 22 miles north of Norwich;

Jim Ross
Reply to  Rud Istvan
April 25, 2022 2:08 am

The Weybourne observatory is in a rural site, right on the Norfolk coast as Rick C says.
https://weybourne.uea.ac.uk/gallery.php#lg=1&slide=40

The key issue with respect to the site is the effect of the wind: from the SW coming off the land, NE off the North Sea. With that caveat in mind, the published data include many interesting and useful parameters (including wind speed and direction!) and are available online on a daily and weekly basis, e.g. https://weybourne.uea.ac.uk/currentData.php

Tim Spence
April 24, 2022 12:22 pm

Models, tragic waste of money and little more than an affront to science.

Peter Barrett
April 24, 2022 12:56 pm

Why is there not a zero stars option?

b.nice
April 24, 2022 12:56 pm

As soon as they start talking 1.5ºC or 2ºC “climate targets”, you basically know that the associated guff will most likely also be junk science.

Nicholas McGinley
April 24, 2022 1:12 pm

Well, I am convinced: “Burning fossil fuels emits CO2 into the air.”

There, I said it.
The plants and trees are thanking us.

Kpar
April 24, 2022 1:30 pm

“University of East Anglia”?

I can see the disclaimer now, “No Emails were harmed or deleted in the making of these estimates!”

And… “But for CO2, the most important GHG for climate change…”

Just who made that determination? Anybody we know?

Jim
Reply to  Kpar
April 24, 2022 2:03 pm
Last edited 1 month ago by Jim
Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Kpar
April 24, 2022 6:49 pm

Kpar,
But how do I get to view the Phil Jones film?
Geoff S

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Kpar
April 25, 2022 8:30 am

A little known fact about the CRU at UEA was that when Hubert Lamb left the UK Met Office to set up the unit the University agreed to match the funds he had already secured from Shell Oil.

6CA7
April 24, 2022 1:43 pm

Next thing you know they will be able to determine which electrons come from FF power plants and those which come from wind on the grid. Amazing stuff.

Clyde Spencer
April 24, 2022 1:47 pm

I think it is worthwhile to read the original study report:

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abl9250

My assessment is that they have made a case for a reduction in fossil fuel CO2 reductions during 2020-21:

Using a combined APO and machine learning approach, we have detected a local 1.6-ppm reduction in daily-mean ffCO2 observed at WAO during March to July 2020 compared to the nonpandemic “counterfactual scenario” (i.e., compared to the expected ffCO2 during 2020 if the COVID-19 pandemic had not occurred), and a 1.3-ppm daily-mean reduction during November 2020 to January 2021.

This can be seen in their graphic, Fig. 1D. However, their Fig. 1A does not show a similar reduction in total atmospheric CO2; it appears to me to be similar to previous measurements, showing a continuing upward trend. Neither result is any great surprise.

I have previously demonstrated that the monthly data for 2020 do not show any obvious influence on the shape of the seasonal curves during the pandemic closures, being essentially indistinguishable from 2019, despite previous bottom-up, and their top-down approach to estimating reductions in anthropogenic emissions.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/11/contribution-of-anthropogenic-co2-emissions-to-changes-in-atmospheric-concentrations/

I think that what they have inadvertently demonstrated is that despite a decline in anthropogenic CO2 emissions, the system has compensated by releasing (and/or not absorbing) an amount that essentially balances the anthropogenic reductions.

What is still missing is a compelling argument to justify a draconian reduction in the use of fossil fuels.

Last edited 1 month ago by Clyde Spencer
Michael ElliottMichael Elliott
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
April 24, 2022 3:13 pm

With both India & Chima putting lots of CO2 into the atmosphere, why are we, the West spending lots of money in trying to remove it ?.

Anyway according to both David Coe & William Harper, it does not matter how much CO2 we have in the atmosphere.

Because compared to the H2O water vapour , CO2 in its parts per million is just a bit player.

Bring up Analysis of the gas CO2 by both those well known scientists, it’s very interesting.

Michael VK5ELL

Jeff L
April 24, 2022 2:55 pm

The article talked a lot about methodology & nothing about results. Makes me suspect the results & implications were not in line with pre-ordained dogma.
Has anyone read the research & if yes, can you report on results ?

Gordon A. Dressler
April 24, 2022 3:03 pm

The first paragraph quoted in the above article/PR, which is attributed to the University of East Anglia is:
“A team of scientists led by the University of East Anglia (UEA) has made a major breakthrough in detecting changes in fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions more quickly and frequently.” (my underling emphasis added).

Makes it sounds like the scientists are actually measuring an objective signature, doesn’t it?

However, after repeated read-throughs of the entire article, I find instead that the referenced scientists are actually employing “a ‘top-down’ approach, based on atmospheric measurements and modelling, wherein specifically they had to “first remove the effects of atmospheric transport on their O2 and CO2 datasets, using a machine learning model” and subsequently “They trained the machine learning model on pre-pandemic data, to estimate the fossil fuel CO2 they would have expected to observe at Weybourne if the pandemic had never occurred. . . .They then compared this estimate to the fossil fuel CO2 that was actually observed during 2020-2021, which revealed the relative reduction in CO2 emissions.”

So, the announced “major breakthrough” is based on atmospheric modelling, removing effects of atmospheric transport from selected datasets using a machine learning model, then “training” that machine learning model so that it could output an estimate they would have expected to observe that is, finally, compare to actual measured data.

Got that?

Gee, I wonder what could go possibly wrong with that convoluted process?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
April 25, 2022 12:26 am

So why the mention of O2? There must be more to it than that?

JF

Gunga Din
April 24, 2022 3:44 pm

Amazing!
They spend all this time and money to (supposedly) be able to measure the difference between “fossil” CO2 and natural CO2.
Yet they still can’t tell the difference between theoretical “man-made climate change” and actual natural climate change.

PS How could the “science” have been “settled” before they could accurately measure what they claim is the main driver of “climate change”, Man’s CO2.
PPS “CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and land plant sources”? Why don’t they consider non-land and non-plant sources? (And plants breath CO2.)

Gary Pearse
April 24, 2022 3:45 pm

Ya see Dr. Pickers, even if global warming from added CO2 was a real thing, it matters not where it comes from. Like, the ‘bad’ CO2 behaves exactly the same as the ‘good’ CO2! Sheesh

steve
April 24, 2022 4:30 pm

As soon asI saw the Headline, I thought… Oh! I bet this is gonna be good. Then they mention trained machine learning to meet their expectations…blah blah blah…another load of BS rubbish.

Jeff Alberts
April 24, 2022 6:38 pm

Woohoo! A breakthrough in guessing!

mal
April 24, 2022 8:35 pm

Another computer game. Measure and model, the question is how much tweaking is being done.

April 25, 2022 12:23 am

Charles, I’ve been searching for a description of how this study actually does the ‘this molecule is natural, this is caused by burning fossil fuel’ distinction. Its not often WUWT is no more informative than the MSM, with the same vague references to O2 and machine learning.

I hope this piece is just a place-holder while someone writes a proper analysis of their method. If it actually works it will be very useful – – it. must be pretty clever stuff.

JF

Roger Tilbury
April 25, 2022 1:16 am

It’s another model. The scientist’s middle name is Cherry BTW.

Hivemind
April 25, 2022 4:59 am

A new and untested method. What could be better? Trust us; we’re scientists.

Trying to Play Nice
April 25, 2022 5:09 am

First off, from the institution involved I know this is just a steaming load of BS. It appears they are very much into using computer games and simulations, having taught their system to use the metadata attached to the CO2 molecules to tell if they are from new plants or very old plants. Why does everyone have to bandy about the term “machine learning” to make it sound like they are doing something high tech?

Jim Gorman
April 25, 2022 5:28 am

“They then compared this estimate to the fossil fuel CO2 that was actually observed during 2020-2021, which revealed the relative reduction in CO2 emissions.”

Does this make any sense to anyone? They “compared this estimate” to “that (which) was actually observed”. Exactly why would one create an estimate if you could actually observe a quantity of fossil fuel CO2?

Is this circular logic at its best?

S.k.
April 25, 2022 9:09 am

anything generatedjby or created at eau is garbage!

Joao Martins
April 26, 2022 5:06 am

However, inventories can be inaccurate
(…)
An alternative method of estimating GHG emissions is to use a ‘top-down’ approach, based on atmospheric measurements and modelling.

More models.

And… models are better (more accurate) than data (inventories)!

Enough said.

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