ENSO Impact on the Declining CO2 Sink Rate

From Dr. Roy Spencer’s Global Warming Blog

Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

SUMMARY: A simple time-dependent CO2 budget model shows that yearly anthropogenic emissions compared to Mauna Loa CO2 measurements gives a declining CO2 sink rate, which if continued would increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations and presumably anthropogenic climate change. But accounting for ENSO (El Nino/La Nina) activity during 1959-2021 removes the decline. This is contrary to multiple previous studies that claimed to account for ENSO. A preprint of my paper (not yet peer reviewed) describing the details is at ENSO Impact on the Declining CO2 Sink Rate | Earth and Space Science Open Archive (essoar.org).

UPDATE: The CO2 model, with inputs and outputs, is in an Excel spreadsheet here: CO2-budget-model-with-EIA-growth-cases.

I decided that the CO2 model I developed a few years ago, and recently reported on here, was worthy of publication, so I started going through the published literature on the subject. This is a necessary first step if you want to publish a paper and not be embarrassed by reinventing the wheel or claiming something others have already “disproved”.

The first thing I found was that my idea that Nature each year removes a set fraction of the difference between the observed CO2 concentration and some baseline value is not new. That idea was first published in 2013 (see my preprint link above for details), and it’s called the “CO2 sink rate”.

The second thing I found was that the sink rate has (reportedly) been declining, by as much as 0.54% (relative) per year, even after accounting for ENSO activity. But I only get -0.33% per year (1959-2021) before accounting for ENSO activity, and — importantly — 0.0% per year after accounting for ENSO.

This last finding will surely be controversial, because it could mean CO2 in the atmosphere will not rise as much as global carbon cycle modelers say it will. So, I am posting the model and the datasets used along with the paper preprint at ENSO Impact on the Declining CO2 Sink Rate | Earth and Space Science Open Archive (essoar.org). The analysis is quite simple and I believe defensible. The 2019 paper that got -0.54% per year decline in the sink rate uses complex statistical gymnastics, with a professional statistician as a primary author. My analysis is much simpler, easier to understand, and (I believe) at least as defensible.

The paper will be submitted to Geophysical Research Letters for peer review in the next couple days. In the meantime, I will be inviting the researchers who live and breathe this stuff to poke holes in my analysis.

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Vuk
August 15, 2022 2:17 pm

“This CO2 European climate drought Armageddon never happen before, it’s all human fault using coal and oil as energy source ! ! !”
Oh, really, pull another one.
Daily Telegraph writes:
If you can see me, weep’: Drought-hit River Elbe reveals ‘hunger stones’ from 1616
Severe drought has caused water levels of the river Elbe to drop, exposing centuries-old “hunger stones”.
One stone now visible in Decin, where the Elbe flows from the Czech Republic into Germany, is carved with a warning from 1616 that reads: “If you see me, weep.”
Other stones, which were common in German settlements from the 16th to the 19th centuries, were inscribed with similarly macabre warnings of falling water levels.
comment image
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/world-news/2022/08/15/can-see-weep-drought-hit-river-elbe-reveals-hunger-stones-1616/

Last edited 1 month ago by Vuk
Scissor
Reply to  Vuk
August 15, 2022 5:54 pm

Apparently, the engravers didn’t want to get their feet wet.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Scissor
August 15, 2022 6:21 pm

Also strangely opted for mirror writing.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Scissor
August 15, 2022 8:52 pm

Or, perhaps the stones have been moved and flipped over by later floods.

August 15, 2022 2:18 pm

Is this similar in concept to the Airborne Fraction discussions?

Airborne Fraction.jpg
Michael in Dublin
August 15, 2022 2:22 pm

I will be inviting the researchers who live and breathe this stuff to poke holes in my analysis.

I hope it goes well with the publication of Dr Spencer’s paper. I wish all climate alarmists were honest and issued the same invitation before publishing their papers.

Rud Istvan
August 15, 2022 2:54 pm

I had done some research back when WUWT first posted his model. Just rechecked. That over time the sink rate is neutral to ENSO makes sense based on peer reviewed Nature literature on coccolith grow limitations.

Coccolithophores are the main phytoplankton ocean carbon sink (think white cliffs of Dover). Their main growth limitation is dissolved carbonate in the photic zone, with which they form their calcium carbonate exoskeletons. So naturally they increase proportionate to increasing CO2. As Dr. Spencer models in reproducing observations.

Their secondary growth limitations are nitrogen and phosphorous, respectively. Insufficient micronutrients will limit ‘blooms’, but are not limitations at normal open ocean coccolith densities. El Niño reduces upwelling along the west coast of the Americas, so reduces Coccolith ‘bloom’ (and hence the decline in the anchovy fishery). La Niña enhances upwelling, coccolith bloom, (and anchovies). Since the ENSO chart makes clear that over time these two non-neutral parts of ENSO balance out, it also makes sense that over time the ENSO influence on the sink rate should be neutral.

So there is a plausible biological mechanism behind Dr. Spencer’s finding.

Eng_Ian
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 15, 2022 3:22 pm

Rud,
You have written that the ENSO enhances or reduces the upwelling in the ocean. Have you considered that the actual driver of ENSO is the ocean upwelling, not the other way around.

The ocean would appear to be in a better position to drive the weather, rather than the weather driving the oceans, (just by looking at the energy levels of the different media).

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Eng_Ian
August 15, 2022 5:04 pm

Yah. I am not an ENSO expert. Bob Tisdale is. I defer to him, and he says your hypothesis is not correct. ENSO is stronger/weaker trade wind driven, and results in more warm surface water piling up in either the western or eastern Pacific. Sloshing back and forth. (Sorry, Bob, just proved am not an ENSO expert.)

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 16, 2022 12:37 pm

Rud

I agree that Bob T is The Man on ENSO. What I understand from his writing is that air pressure changes over large areas is a major contributor to variable flow rates, coriolis forces being the background constant.

If this is correct, the weather does change the currents and one effect is the Niño-Niña switcheroo.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 15, 2022 4:09 pm

“it also makes sense that over time the ENSO influence on the sink rate should be neutral”

But Roy’s contention is that it is very much not neutral. 

“But I only get -0.33% per year (1959-2021) before accounting for ENSO activity, and — importantly — 0.0% per year after accounting for ENSO.”

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 4:38 pm

What part of delta 0% is not neutral, Nick?

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 15, 2022 4:59 pm

“But I only get -0.33% per year (1959-2021) before accounting for ENSO activity, and — importantly — 0.0% per year after accounting for ENSO.”

The influence of ENSO is not neutral. That is Roy’s point.

Steve Fitzpatrick
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 5:39 pm

But Nick, once ENSO is accounted for, Roy’s curve-fit model says the sequestered fraction of CO2 has been remarkably constant. Now, you can argue that the ever rising atmospheric CO2 is “hiding” or “masking” the saturation of natural sinks, but so far, a fall in sequestered fraction is not evident. It is a complicated question, but I don’t think anyone really knows how sequestration rate will evolve over the coming decades. Too many unknowns to make a reliable projection.

Reply to  Steve Fitzpatrick
August 15, 2022 6:36 pm

Steve,
Many people agree that the airborne fraction has been constant. I explain here why that has been true to a remarkable extent.

Some people have worried that it might rise. Roy’s model had it rising, but that allowing for ENSO countered this. But I think most GCM scenarios of CO₂ futures are based on current airborne fraction continuing.

Steve Fitzpatrick
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 7:58 am

Nick I was aware of that argument and was in fact referencing it (exponential rise in emissions hides the fact that any less than exponential rise will cause falling sequestration rates). You and others have made it before. I just think is is far too simple to be accurate.

Sequestration has multiple parts: rising land plant biomass, rising carbon in soil, greening of once barren (or nearly barren) land, increases in ocean primary production, and physical ocean sequestration with potentially many time constants, all poorly defined. Seems to me none of these things is well described by the simple mathematical approach you suggested in 2015. Roy’s curve fit is neither more or less informative than your approach, and both say only one thing clearly: There has been no significant change in sequestered fraction. What I object to is the suggestion that the sequestered fraction can be accurately modeled for the coming decades, and that a fall in sequestered fraction is inevitable; the processes involved are far too complicated and not well understood.

MarkW
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 5:52 pm

What you are missing is that ENSO is not neutral. At the beginning of the record, there were more El Ninos.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 5:52 pm

Nick, you might need remedial English reading comprehension. What part of the net zero you also just posted is not neutral?

Andyhce
Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 15, 2022 7:44 pm

It is clear, based on the offered data and calculations, that ENSO activity has a measurable effect, i.e. it is not neutral. When the ENSO effect is removed, the result is neutral.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 15, 2022 8:13 pm

Weather turns cold. Turn on the heater. For you, ΔT=0. That does not mean that the influence of the heater on T was neutral.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 11:35 pm

Nick are you implying that the observed ENSO imbalance is caused by increasing CO2, and not by simple chance?

Reply to  Hans Erren
August 15, 2022 11:46 pm

I’m simply noting what Roy said his model implied.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
August 16, 2022 8:46 am

great points

clearly we are still learning a lot on this topic

carbon sinks were Hansen’s largest error in his 1988 prediction… as his revisionist apologists are wont to point out, if you re-run his models using the actual concentrations instead of the ones he predicted would result from “business as usual” emissions policy, the resulting temperature trend isn’t nearly as far off as the 300-400% error in his published Scenario A

Last edited 1 month ago by TallDave
DMA
August 15, 2022 3:32 pm

“A simple time-dependent CO2 budget model shows that yearly anthropogenic emissions compared to Mauna Loa CO2 measurements gives a declining CO2 sink rate”
Why wouldn’t that observation be an indicator of rising natural emissions rates? What other evidence do we have that the observed increasing natural sinks are becoming less capable of removing CO2?

john harmsworth
August 15, 2022 3:37 pm

My understanding has been that CO2 is dissolved in ocean water and the amount of gas dissolved rises and falls with the water temp. Recent warming would have generated more outgassing and if we are actually cooling now, the gas fractionation would now be starting to fall. This all depends on the effective rate at which the water cools and how that temperature change transpires across the depths of the ocean basin, with multiple surface exchange factors and deeper currents having their effects.
Is this not generally correct?

Reply to  john harmsworth
August 15, 2022 4:04 pm

Is this not generally correct?”

Yes, on the qualitative effect of temperature change. In the last glaciation, global temperature fell by about 6°C, and CO2 dropped by about 100 ppm.

But now temperatures are varying by a small fraction of a °C per decade. The amount of CO₂ outgassed is much smaller than the amount we emit.

Aksurveyor
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 4:23 pm

What?? Your saying that human co2 is greater than nature puts out…pull my leg

Reply to  Aksurveyor
August 15, 2022 4:47 pm

Over a full year, yes. CO₂ in the air was quite stable until we started emitting, and since then has tracked our emissions with a stable airborne fraction of about 0.5. This plot shows how the amount in the air corresponds with our emissions:

comment image

If nature was putting out at anything like the net rate we do, we’d be like Venus now.

Scissor
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 6:26 pm

Bubble trapping takes place over decades making the recording time constant slow. So any relatively fast atmospheric fluctuations are lost to the smoothing. Your plot does not adequately address any resulting uncertainly from this fact.

Bringing up Venus in the context of this discussion is nonsensical due to the vast differences between the two planets and the minor atmospheric change over time being discussed.

For one thing, the atmospheric pressure at the surface of Venus is some 90 times greater than on Earth. Earth has water as oceans and a wide variety of life forms, which are all ultimately and fundamentally dependent on photosynthesis.

Reply to  Scissor
August 15, 2022 6:48 pm

If nature really was emitting even the 30+ gtons CO₂ per year that we emit, then the arithmetic goes:
Earth atmosphere 5 million gtons total
After just 1 million years, emission would be 6 times total present mass of atmosphere
After 15 million years, we reach Venus, all CO₂

As for bubble trapping etc, there is no way a net natural emission many times what we have been recently emitting would not show up. There is nothing at all.

meab
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 7:53 pm

Nick,

For a guy who supposedly has a degree in math(s) you’re surprisingly incompetent at grade school arithmetic.

Venus has 224,000 times more CO2 than Earth. Not only does Venus have a FAR greater fraction of CO2 (96.5% vs. 0.04%) Venus has an atmosphere 93 times denser than on Earth.

At 30 gtons per year the Earth wouldn’t get to Venus’s atmosphere for 37 billion years, over twice the age of the universe and that only in the unscientific case where natural processes don’t remove CO2. Did you forget that you were calculating based on the total mass of the atmosphere? Or do you think that the fact that Venus’s atmosphere is 93 times denser than the Earth’s is somehow not important?

Listen up, Nick, most of the CO2 concentration models used by the IPCC don’t EVER get to a single doubling of CO2 from the present 415 ppm.

CO2 growth models.jpg
Reply to  meab
August 15, 2022 8:23 pm

“Venus has 224,000 times more CO2 than Earth.”

Yes. And we’re emitting enough to increase about 1% per year. After a million years that is 10000 times more. After 15 million years, that is 150,000 times more.

Can you spell out your arithmetic that gave 37 billion years?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 9:20 pm

You are conveniently overlooking the slow-CO2 geological sequestration in your ‘analysis.’

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 1:47 am

See my questions above

Meab
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 9:19 am

Nick, your Mathematician costume has slipped and we all got a clear view of your big red nose and size 44 shoes.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 1:46 am

CO2 was 25% to 50% of Earth’s atmosphere 2.7 billion years ago. Then

  1. Why would it get to Venusian levels now when most of that CO2 is in rock?
  2. Why didn’t Earth become Venus like 2,7 Billion years ago
  3. Once it starts getting too hot for life why would CO2 keep rising?
  4. Why would the rise be linear anyway?

Thank you

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
August 16, 2022 2:04 am

The rates are just quoted to show how absurd the claims of natural emissions being much greater than human are. Such emissions could not be sustained for millennia. It isn’t a prediction about the future.

In fact, of course, the CO₂ was steady for centuries before we started emitting. Natural “emissions” are necessarily balanced by absorption. It was just the same old carbon being moved around.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 7:54 pm

“CO₂ in the air was quite stable until we started emitting, and since then has tracked our emissions . . .”

Only if you want to overlook paleoclimate history, such as:
— the Cambrian Period, ending about 490 million years ago, during which global atmospheric CO2 peaked at about 7,000 ppm
— the Devonian Period, ending about 360 million years ago, during which global atmospheric CO2 ranged from about 4,000 to 1,500 ppm
— the Permian Period, ending about 250 million years ago, during which global atmospheric CO2 rose from a low of about 300 ppm to a high of about 1,800 ppm
— the Cretaceous Period, ending about 66 million years ago, during which global atmospheric CO2 dropped from about 2000 ppm to about 800 ppm

(Note: Above global atmospheric CO2 levels based on R.A. Berner [2001])

At the start of the Holocene, about 12,000 years ago, the global atmospheric CO2 level was about 260 ppm. At the start of the Industrial Revolution, about 1750 AD, it was about 280 ppm. It is certainly debatable that a 20/260 = .076 = 8% change in CO2 concentration before the Industrial Revolution qualifies as “quite stable”.

In any event, nobody can claim Earth’s atmospheric CO2 levels were “quite” stable when looking at the larger picture of climate change on Earth.

Matt G
Reply to  Aksurveyor
August 15, 2022 5:07 pm

Termites emit huge quantities of methane and carbon dioxide with estimations shown below.

“Global annual emissions calculated from laboratory measurements could reach 1.5 × 1014 grams of methane and 5 × 1016 grams of carbon dioxide.”

https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.218.4572.563

5 × 1016 grams of carbon dioxide relates to 50Gt of carbon dioxide in one year.

To get an idea how much this compares to human annual emissions there was this given below by the US Energy Information Administration.

How much CO2 is released by humans per year?

“The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that in 2019, the United States emitted 5,130 million metric tons of energy-related carbon dioxide, while the global emissions of energy-related carbon dioxide totaled 33,621.5 million metric tons.”

33,621.5 million metric tons relates to 33.6Gt of carbon dioxide. This means that termites per year are releasing more CO2 than all global humans emissions. Termites emissions are therefore 16.4Gt more than humans on a yearly basis.

During the global warming scare starting around 1988, termities have released about 1700 Gt into the Earth’s atmosphere.

Reply to  Matt G
August 15, 2022 5:50 pm

Termites 50Gt of carbon dioxide in one year”
That is a 1982 estimate, which I think would now be considered excessive. But the termites aren’t munching fossil fuel. They are eating organic material from photosynthesis. All their emitted C had recently been taken from the atmosphere.

Again the same inescapable logic. Termites have been around for millions of years, and CO₂ stayed below about 280ppm. Now it is at 415ppm and rising steadily. That isn’t termites.

Matt G
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 6:50 pm

It maybe excessive, but there had been reports of termites being x2 human emissions and x10 human emissions with the latter not making any sense at all and being easily find out to be wrong.

The simple logic is the planet already takes in huge sinks naturally before humans added to it. Like human populations, termite population probably increased greatly too when more favourable climate conditions evolved for them increasing food sources.

Therefore the atmospheric CO2 levels didn’t seem to add to the atmosphere too much historically at least recently. What caused historic CO2 levels to be naturally above 3000ppm before?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 7:00 pm

Has CO2 ever been higher than 415ppm in the past?

Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 15, 2022 9:32 pm

Here, from the WUWT CO2 reference page, is the last 160,000 years

http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~dennis/CO2_Vos-ML2.gif

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 9:55 pm

comment image

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 3:30 am

You only go back 160,000 years? Why? I know why. Because you don’t want to admit that CO2 levels have been much higher (7,000ppm) in the past than they are today and no run-a-way greenhouse occurred with those high levels of CO2, yet you expect disaster with the little amount of CO2 in the atmosphere today. Silly. Devious.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 16, 2022 3:29 pm

You only go back 160,000 years? Why? “

Because that is what the WUWT reference page showed.



D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 17, 2022 7:33 am

Because that is what the WUWT reference page showed.

And you have no access to other sources that might go back further, right?

Andyhce
Reply to  Matt G
August 15, 2022 7:48 pm

The point is the difference between total emission and total sinks, not either one in isolation.

Andyhce
Reply to  Aksurveyor
August 15, 2022 7:46 pm

Your saying that human co2 is greater than nature puts out

Doesn’t say that at all.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 9:15 pm

The amount of CO₂ outgassed is much smaller than the amount we emit.

comment image

Estimates of water out-gassing of equivalent-carbon vary from about 79 to 90 petagrams of carbon, while the estimates of anthropogenic carbon are about 9 petagrams. Last time I checked, 9 was much smaller than even 79, let alone 90.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/07/carbon-cycle/

Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 15, 2022 9:28 pm

Your diagram shows 90 Pg out and 92 Pg in. That is just seasonal cycling. Water warms, then it cools. The process goes nowhere. Net outgassing there is negative (2 Pg).

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 11:16 pm

Did no one else notice what Nick said?

But now temperatures are varying by a small fraction of a °C per decade.

Good to know Nick. Small fraction of a degree per decade. Excellent to heasr you admit that.

Reply to  davidmhoffer
August 15, 2022 11:44 pm

Yes, warming is generally reckoned to be about 0.2 °C per decade. But the rate could go up.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 15, 2022 11:52 pm

Could it? Did CO2 suddenly cease being logarithmic?

ih_fan
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 12:37 pm

But the rate could go up.

Or not.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  john harmsworth
August 15, 2022 5:45 pm

Is this not generally correct?”

No, it is not.

The CO2 that has been absorbed into the world’s oceans (as a result of partial pressure differential) does not remain there as a total gas in solution, ready to be absorbed/outgas solely as a function of CO2 solubility verses temperature. This is a common misperception.
 
In the saltwater oceans, a really insignificant amount of CO2 remains as a gas in aqueous solution (see Figure 1, the Bjerrum plot, at https://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/faculty/zeebe_files/Publications/ZeebeWolfEnclp07.pdf , which incidentally provides a great overall description of overall ocean chemistry with respect to CO2 and its dissolution into ionic compounds in ocean water). Furthermore, Because there is a relative absence of H+ ions in a basic solution, the CO2 dissolution reactions are not reversible with either temperature or pressure changes.
 
As long as the average ocean pH level remains on the basic side (i.e., in the range of 8.1-8.2, as it currently is and is strongly buffered to remain so), one cannot expect decreasing global surface temperatures to result in any significant increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2 in the oceans (excluding thin interface layer, say the uppermost meter of the oceans).
 
The inverse of this is also true: an increasing average temperature of the world’s ocean does not directly lead to “outgassing” of CO2 from the world’s oceans. It does, however, lead to a slight increase in the rate of uptake of CO2 by the oceans (in accordance with Arrhenius temperature dependence of chemical reactions).

Bottom line: the specific ocean chemistry that results from ocean water being in the basic range of pH means that, long term, the ocean does not act in accordance with Henry’s Law at equilibrium and, therefore, since the partial pressure of CO2 in solution never comes close to that of CO2’s partial pressure in the atmosphere, the ocean never reaches the condition for Charle’s Law (increasing temperature causing decreasing solubility) to apply.

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 16, 2022 4:56 am

Gordon, real world evidence goes against your pH proposition.

…the ocean does not act in accordance with Henry’s Law at equilibrium

It certainly does too, in spite of pH, otherwise there is no physical explanation for both the 5 month lag of ML CO2 from SST (using the 12 month average change), nor the high statistical significance for it (with p<.00001).

comment image

The ocean temperature distribution also conforms well to the CO2 solubility curve:

comment image

Direct evidence for the ocean acting in accordance with Henry’s Law of Solubility:

comment image

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bob Weber
August 16, 2022 9:46 am

“It certainly does too, in spite of pH, otherwise there is no physical explanation for both the 5 month lag of ML CO2 from SST (using the 12 month average change), nor the high statistical significance for it (with p<.00001).”

Bob, I can only gently suggest that you look to respiration of plant and animal life in the worlds ocean’s as an explanation of the trends that you note. There is an AWFUL lot of photosynthesis in plants, and metabolism in animals, that takes place in ocean waters, which, after all, compromise some 71% of the Earth’s surface area.

Life is known to respond to ambient temperature fluctuations.

Separately, it is you, not me, that will have to explain to oceanographers where Niels Bjerrum went off the rails in creating the graph named after him that shows amount of dissolved CO2 gas vs. pH in ocean waters
(ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjerrum_plot )

Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 16, 2022 4:44 pm

Gordon, you regularly don’t directly address the basic issue I raise and demonstrate with data, which is the sea surface temperature dependence of atm. CO2, something your Bjerrum plot also doesn’t directly address.

We are talking apples and oranges here. You seem to think pH absolutely precludes CO2 thermo-regulation. I don’t. Based on the ample evidence for CO2 thermo-regulation, your pH issue appears very secondary.

I have no problem looking at biology. In fact I wrote a poster two years ago that includes it as factor in the atm CO2 rise via reef base growth.

In order for ocean biology to make a difference to atm. CO2, dissolved CO2 must be able to first escape the ocean, which I have shown it does according to temperature, according to Henry’s Law of Solubility.
___________________________________________________________

Separately, it is you, not me, that will have to explain to oceanographers where Niels Bjerrum went off the rails

The obvious explanation from real-world data is that CO2 solubility re temperature (and/or partial pressure) overwhelms the Bjerrum’s pH effect.

comment image

Secondly, at the current average pH, there is absolutely zero aqueous CO2 according to the Bjerrum plot. Is that real? Very doubtful.

From here:

The oceans play an important role in regulating the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere because CO2 can move quickly into and out of the oceans.

Of the three places where carbon is stored—atmosphere, oceans, and land biosphere—approximately 93 percent of the CO2 is found in the oceans. The atmosphere, at about 750 petagrams of carbon (a petagram [Pg] is 10 15 grams), has the smallest amount of carbon. [my emphasis]

Which is it Gordon, nearly zero percent aqueous CO2 or 93% of all CO2? If pH is such a showstopper, how does CO2 leave the ocean at all, which it obviously does?

Last edited 1 month ago by coolclimateinfo
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bob Weber
August 16, 2022 6:19 pm

Simple explanation:
“. . . approximately 93 percent of the CO2 is found in the oceans.”
includes the calcium carbonate skeletons of marine life (e.g., coccoliths, corals) and the deep layers of limestone on the ocean floors that are the end result of the chemistry of CO2 dissolution into ocean water with a pH of about 8, as delineated explicitly by Bjerrum and others.

As I have stated and Bjeerum quantifies, the amount of CO2 residing in the world’s oceans as a dissolved gas, averaged across their depths, is really insignificant.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bob Weber
August 16, 2022 6:40 pm

“Secondly, at the current average pH, there is absolutely zero aqueous CO2 according to the Bjerrum plot. Is that real? Very doubtful.”

Not true. If you had read—and properly understood—the Berrum graph that I referenced earlier (given as the attached figure here), you would see that at a pH around 8.2, the concentration of dissolved CO2 has declined by roughly (-2.7-(-5.0)) = +2.3 on a logarithmic scale (i.e., 10^2.3 = a factor of 200) from the value it would otherwise have at ocean pH values less 5. It is most definitely is not zero mol-kg-1 at pH=8.2 according to the graph’s vertical axis.

Bjerrum_Plot.jpg
Last edited 1 month ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 16, 2022 6:47 pm

Ooops . . . here is a better quality Bjerrum plot than that I attached above

Bjeerum_Plot_2.jpg
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 17, 2022 6:36 am

Gordon, the plot I used came from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjerrum_plot, and it’s y-axis shows zero DIC molar fraction at pH ~8 of aqueous CO2.

Are you telling me the Wiki plot is wrong? If so, why?

You are avoiding the larger issue: the FACT that CO2 outgassing does occur.

Last edited 1 month ago by coolclimateinfo
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bob Weber
August 17, 2022 8:07 am

“Are you telling me the Wiki plot is wrong? If so, why?”

I am not at all surprised that Wikipedia has occasional errors in its articles, considering use of “community” inputs to develop such . . . are you?

Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 17, 2022 12:08 pm

But you haven’t shown that it is actually an error.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bob Weber
August 17, 2022 12:55 pm

“But you haven’t shown that it is actually an error.”

That, Bob, is not incumbent on me.

But if you are indirectly asking if I take the word of Dr. Richard Zeebe, Professor, Department of Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa (co-author of the article accessible at https://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/faculty/zeebe_files/Publications/ZeebeWolfEnclp07.pdf
that contains the Bjerrum graph that I previous referenced and provided) over that of Wikipedia, my answer is a resounding “YES”.

BTW, Dr. Zeebe, as a supplement to the book he co-authored with Dr. Dieter Wolf-Gladrow, “CO2 in Seawater: Equilibrium, Kinetics, Isotopes” (Elsevier 2001), has made MATLAB files of his calculations freely available for download by the public
(see https://www.soest.hawaii.edu/oceanography/faculty/zeebe_files/CO2_System_in_Seawater/csys.html )

Just in case you are interested . . .

MarkW
Reply to  john harmsworth
August 15, 2022 5:53 pm

There are chemical and biological processes within the oceans that sequester CO2.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  john harmsworth
August 15, 2022 9:01 pm

My understanding has been that CO2 is dissolved in ocean water and the amount of gas dissolved rises and falls with the water temp.

It also rises and falls where prevailing winds displace surface water, which is replaced with deep, up-welling, CO2-rich water. The ENSO cycle is correlated with wind direction, intensity, and duration.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
August 16, 2022 9:56 am

“CO2-rich” water, or nutrient-rich water?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 17, 2022 7:47 am

Why not both? Colder water, controlling for pH, will have more CO2 in it per unit volume.

August 15, 2022 4:56 pm

Dear Roy,

Your Eq (1) is the continuity equation: The rate of change of level equals the inflow E(t) minus the outflow S(t). We can neglect your third term with the beta coefficient for this discussion.
 
The idea that ourtflow S(t) = ks [ CO2 (t) – CO2eq] has no physical
basis. So, your Eq (2) is wrong. 
 
CO2eq is a consequence of the condition where outflow equals inflow. But outflow is not a function of CO2eq. 
 
Your equations do not relate to physics, which makes your curve fits meaningless.

You incorrectly assume human CO2 causes all the CO2 increase above 280 ppm. That assumption also invalidates your paper.

You compare the CO2 level for both nature and human inflows, but you use only the human CO2 inflow and omit nature’s CO2 inflow. You have not separated the natural and human CO2 flows and levels as you should do.

Also, you should reference my 2021 paper because it shows the basic physics needed for your paper.

Best wishes,

Ed

Scissor
Reply to  Ed Berry
August 15, 2022 6:56 pm

Dr. Spencer assumes that natural CO2 is in balance. So, his math is consistent with that assumption.

Averaged over decades, like the ice core chart above shows, it perhaps is approximately true. On annual scales, however, one can see that the natural flow of CO2 can very significantly and is certainly much greater than the human caused flow.

That said, atmospheric CO2 is growing at a rate slower than we are producing it. Some might view this as nature is our friend because it is consuming our CO2 at a rate faster than we produce it.

An alternative view is that we are actually nature’s friend because we are liberating CO2 and making more life possible, as in greening the Earth.

The later is probably more like it. Over a longer period of time, CO2 has been trending toward the point at which life as we know it would cease. We are more than just hominid tool makers; we are life savers.

DMA
Reply to  Scissor
August 15, 2022 7:20 pm

I don’t think that equation is valid–S(t) = ks [ CO2 (t) – CO2eq]. It says that when the increase equals the equilibrium amount sinks no longer function. There have been times with 5000PPM and the CO2 cycle was much like it is today.

Mike Maguire
August 15, 2022 9:39 pm

“Significant model departures from observations occurred for three years after the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, when increased scattered sunlight enhanced photosynthesis”

I question that theory as being responsible for much of the drop in global CO2.

Here’s a study that claims the same thing. They state that photosynthesis at noontime was increased by 23% in 1992 (when it peaked) because of the big increase in diffused solar radiation from the volcanic eruption.It was +8% in 1993.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/3833713
+++++++++++++++++++

The global data from crop yields in the real world below does NOT support that:

https://ourworldindata.org/crop-yields

Here are crop yields from 11 major global crops in 1990, before Pinatubo, compared to 1992, the peak year of enhanced photosynthesis according to this claim:

Crop 1990 Yield 1992 % change in yield

Potatoes 15.11 14.99 -0.8%
Bananas 13.40 13.48 +0.6%
Cassava 10.02 9.75 -0.3%
Maize 3.69 3.91 +5.9%
Rice 3.53 3.58 +1.4%
Wheat 2.56 2.54 -0.8%
Barley 2.42 2.26 -0.7%
Soybeans 1.91 2.03 +6.3%
Peas 1.90 1.87 -1.7%
Beans .66 .67 +1.5%
Cocoa Beans .44 .47 +6.8%

There were other factors, including weather in 1992 that affected crop yields.

Trendline yields have been experiencing a slow increase with time. Dialing that in, assumes that there should have been a small increase in yields just from technology between these 2 years.
The data above, however, does not show any indication of enhanced photosynthesis that would have caused an increase in crop yields in 1992 compared to 1990. In fact, 4 of the 11 crops actually saw a small decrease in yields.

Again, some of this could have been from weather but enhancing photosynthesis from solar radiation being diffused by the amount claimed in the first study, should have provided much greater increases in crop yields…….if that claim were true.

This data contradicts that claim, which in turn, damages the theory that much of the drop in CO2 rate accumulation in the atmosphere after the eruption from Mt. Pinatubo(increase in the sink rate) came from enhanced photosynthesis sucking it out of the air.

The observations/data of well measured crop yields do not show them being responsible for increasing the sink rate of CO2 after the eruption.

Others disagree but I would look at the well measured drop in ocean temperatures, that caused an increase in the CO2 being absorbed by the oceans after the volcanic eruption.

Screenshot 2022-08-15 at 22-23-31 Crop Yields.png
Mike Maguire
Reply to  Mike Maguire
August 15, 2022 9:42 pm

In case the data is not clear on the previous post because it posted different than when it was typed in.
The first number is the 1990 yield. The 2nd number is the 1992 yield. The last number is the %change from 1990 to 1992….which is the one that matters.

Reply to  Mike Maguire
August 17, 2022 5:50 am

Interesting, but I think the effect is likely strongest in woodlands.

Mike Maguire
Reply to  aaron
August 17, 2022 11:56 am

I don’t doubt that the affect would likely be strongest in the woodlands aaron. We have several orders of magnitude more woodlands/natural vegetation than we do crops using up CO2.
However, what we have with crops that we DON’T have with woodlands is an accurate, yearly measure of how much of each crop is produced, including an accurate yield estimate based on an accurate measure of how many acres were used to grow that production.

If we can’t see the increase in photosynthesis fingerprint from increased diffusion of solar radiation from Pinatubo in the very comprehensively measured global crop growth/yield, why would we speculate and give the much less comprehensive data on woodlands from a couple of studies limited to specific areas all the weighting?

Reliable observations =discarded?

Less reliable observations = define the theory?

An independently thinking objective brain will see the problem there and search elsewhere for the missing CO2 sink, rather than stick with the theory and ignore the contradicting data.

We know that direct sunlight was reduced to the tune of a radiation/heating loss from the sun of around 4 watts per square meter across the entire hemisphere.

It seems logical to apply that measured data to OTHER realms that are affected that could account for a greater CO2 sink to fill in what crop data tells us was not as great as the theory tells us it should be.

Less heating from the sun to the surface of the oceans=cooler oceans.
Cooler oceans absorb more CO2 than warmer oceans.
Sometimes simple makes the most sense.

Opposed to this are some models/math equations or speculative theories that get repeated enough that people believe from repetition that claim the oceans did not do this and the forests should have done it……. to absorb the CO2.

I’m a data/observation man FIRST.

The extremely well documented global crop data tell us that crops were not soaking up much extra CO2 from increased diffuse solar radiation absorption.
That shoots a massive hole in that speculative theory that can’t be easily repaired because its empirical data solidly against it.

There are additional complicating factors that relate to the different stages of development in crops and how much CO2 they use during their brief growing period.

I recognize that forests would be much different and multiplied many times vs crop CO2 use but we should at least be able to see the significant increase in the uptake of CO2 by crops if this theory was solid.

Reply to  Mike Maguire
August 17, 2022 6:12 pm

Photosynthesis itself can be measure by radiation emitted during the process, but databsets are short. They show an increasing trend, looks linear.

And satellite gives us data to effectively estimate gross primary productivity. https://essd.copernicus.org/articles/12/2725/2020/essd-12-2725-2020.pdf

Reply to  Mike Maguire
August 18, 2022 6:47 am

Also, calculated co2 emissions from wildfire per acre has been going up on woodlands, but has been flat for grasslands, as we’d expect as CO2 fertilization is much stronger for c3 plants. They also have a better relationship with symbiotic organsims creating a reinforcing nitrogen and phosphorus positive feedback.
https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.abh2646

https://www.nature.com/scitable/knowledge/library/effects-of-rising-atmospheric-concentrations-of-carbon-13254108/

August 15, 2022 11:29 pm

Increasing CO2 sink was already reported in 2001 by Peter Dietze at John Dalys website http://www.john-daly.com/dietze/cmodcalc.htm

Geoff Sherrington
August 16, 2022 12:32 am

Nick Stokes,
It would be appreciated if you commented on these 2 linked papers in the context of temperature and CO2 changes.
As you probably know, Demetris Koutsoyiannis is a senior mathematician and hydrologist. Here, he has studied some mathematics of causality and using an example from climate change as one example he concluded in part –
” … while in general the causal relationship of atmospheric T and CO₂ concentration, as obtained by proxy data, appears to be of hen-or-egg type with principal direction 𝑇 → [CO₂], in the recent decades the more accurate modern data support a conclusion that this principal direction has become exclusive. In other words, it is the increase of temperature that caused increased CO₂ concentration. Though this conclusion may sound counterintuitive at first glance, because it contradicts common perception (and for this reason we have assessed the case with an alternative parametric methodology in the Supplementary Information, section SI2.4, with results confirming those presented here), in fact it is reasonable.”
Geoff S
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/abs/10.1098/rspa.2021.0835
https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspa.2021.0836

Reply to  Geoff Sherrington
August 16, 2022 2:26 am

Geoff, 
I’m sorry to say that I think Koutsoyiannis is a pompous crackpot, and his claimed stochastic causality is a complete nonsense. But I’ll show again the basic diagram of recent history:

comment image

The CO₂ in the air is completely accounted for by our emissions. It was stable before we started, and rose almost exactly in proportion (factor about 0.5) to our cumulative emission. That is not causal stochastics at work. It is just accumulation of mass. The mass we put there.

Scissor
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 4:50 am

Natural variability far exceeds our power to add or detract on most all time scales for both carbon dioxide and temperature.

A fair assessment might find that both earth and people are better off using hydrocarbon energy, but that discussion is suppressed today, just as are the tenets of the our inalienable rights.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 5:13 am

The CO₂ in the air is completely accounted for by our emissions. It was stable before we started, and rose almost exactly in proportion (factor about 0.5) to our cumulative emission.

Based on applying real-world CO2 solubility in my simple model, the rise in CO2 is controlled by the ocean, whether the CO2 came from carbon-based fuels or not.

comment image

Nick, do you actually believe the Mass of Atm. Carbon flatlined for 850 years?

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Bob Weber
August 16, 2022 3:05 pm

Based on applying real-world CO2 solubility in my simple model, the rise in CO2 is controlled by the ocean, whether the CO2 came from carbon-based fuels or not.”

Well, then something other than temperature must be driving CO2 solubility in the world’s oceans . . . refer to the attached graph that shows paleoclimatology data showing that CO2 levels are essentially independent of global (therefore, ocean) temperatures.

As Richard Feynman famously stated:
“If it disagrees with experiment (observation), it’s wrong. In that simple statement is the key to science. It doesn’t make a difference how beautiful your guess is. It doesn’t make a difference how smart you are, who made the guess, or what his name is. If it disagrees with experiment, it’s wrong. That’s all there is to it.”

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 16, 2022 3:07 pm

Ooops, here’s the graph that I forgot to attach:

Paleo_Global_CO2_vs_Global_Temp.jpg
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
August 17, 2022 6:46 am

Feynman would say this paleo data is unconvincing with it’s uncertainty.

I was fortunate enough to have met and talked to Richard Feynman’s sister Joan twice since 2018 before she passed away.

What a great gal. She told me about the happiness in their family.

Geoff Sherrington
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 5:56 am

Nick,
You are of course free to express your mathematical speciality.
As am I, in this case the speciality of analytical chemistry. I say that your graph has no basis in reality because of its lack of uncertainty bounds, which if calculated by methods such as BIPM recommend, would be so wide as to make the cartoon meaningless. Geoff S

Richard Page
Reply to  Nick Stokes
August 16, 2022 7:59 am

Nick, I do hope you have some other information to back up that seemingly irrational ad-hom? I do not think, on balance, that your opinion outweighs that of Professor Koutsoyiannis.

Ad Huijser
August 16, 2022 1:27 am

Dear Roy,

Nice work, and I fully agree with the model applied. But we didn’t need an ENSO correction in this approach to arrive at similar results and the same conclusion ( see http://www.clepair.net/oceaanCO2-4.html). Our 1/k time was somewhat longer with 53.5 vs your 49.5 years and the equilibrium concentration slightly lower with 287 vs your 294 ppm.

August 16, 2022 5:54 pm

Im surprised by research that finds a declining sink rate. I would expect sink growth to lag emissions growth.

There was a recent NASA paper that claims the sink growth rate is diminishing, but there were several paper rebutting it.

Here are a couple papers claiming a decrease in airborne fraction: https://bg.copernicus.org/articles/16/3651/2019/bg-16-3651-2019.pdf

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-04376-4

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