CO2 Levels

Leif Svalgard writes:

In 2006 less CO2 was added to the atmosphere than in 1983. In 1980 more CO2 was added to the atmosphere than in 2004. Why is that? I’m sure that the world’s human population has increased its output of CO2 significantly since the 1980s. Where did it go? Why does the growth rate change from year to year? Biology? Algae in the sea? I don’t know, just asking. And why does nobody else ask this?

I don’t think that it’s accurate to say that “nobody” asks this. The CO2 “sink” has worried many people. Needless to say, this has already led to many responses. This is a topic that many readers are interested in and I’m re-threading the comments to avoid the other thread from getting over-ridden. I do not want the thread to get involved in discussion of the problems with the Beck paper. That’s been amply done. NO discussion of CO2 measurement methods. Just the narrow issue of the sentence above.

It is not a topic that I’ve spent time, but I do not believe that there are any substantive issues as to the existence of increased CO2 levels.

Here are some sensible comments on the matter by Ferdinand Engelbeen on this.

As a result of a lot of discussions about the reliability of CO2 measurements, and the man-made part of the increase, I have made a web page about the basics of CO2 “background” levels and the increase at http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html, already mentioned by Hans Erren and others in this discussion. Unfortunately, that page is not yet complete, and several arguments which indicate that most of the increase is man-made are not yet in the page. Another part to come is a discussion of Beck’s data/paper, to be added after the base discussion.

That the increase of CO2, at least in the past 50 years, is mainly man-made already follows out of the mass balance (CO2 expressed as gigaton carbon, 1 ppmv change in the atmosphere is about 2.1 GtC in the total air mass):

Csources + Cemissions = Csinks + dCair
where Cemissions = 2.5-6.5 GtC/yr (emissions are increasing over the 50 years)
and dCair = 1-6 GtC/yr (the yearly change of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in average is increasing over the 50 years)
and Csinks = Csources + 3 GtC +/- 2.5 GtC

That means that, at least over the past 50 years, in every year the increase in the atmosphere was smaller than the emissions. Thus the sum of all possible natural influences (mainly due to temperature variability) in every year was more sink than source. Thus oceans + vegetation can’t be huge sources of CO2, except for a longer term temperature increase/decrease. Theoretically, the oceans or vegetation could be net sources, but then the other one need to be a larger sink to receive the excess CO2 + a part of the emissions.

As already given by Hans Erren, the plot of global lower atmosphere temperatures (UAH) and global CO2 increase rates show a good correlation. As CO2 increase rates follow temperature changes, the main driver is the temperature. For short-term changes (like El Niño 1998, Pinatubo 1992), the change in increase is about 4 ppmv/K. To be noted, that is a change in increase speed, still with a continuous increase in atmospheric CO2.
On longer terms, the ratio is about 8 ppmv/K (Vostok ice core 420,000 years), be it with hundreds to thousands years smoothing, due to the time needed to close the bubbles in firn and the number of layers needed for one CO2 measurement sample. The ratio is about 10 ppmv/K in high accumulation ice cores like Law Dome, with a 60 years smoothing over relative shorter time frames (past 10,000 years). The latter shows about 10 ppmv decrease for the about 1 K temperature decline between the MWP and the LIA. If nothing has changed in the CO2/temperature ratio (there is no indication for that), then the temperature change LIA-current times of about 1 K should have added about 10 ppmv since the LIA. The rest of the 100 ppmv is quite certainly man-made. Or in the time frame since Mauna Loa accurate measurements, about 70% of the emissions were made, which again are responsible for most the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

More evidence for man-made increase is in the following:
- CO2 levels in the upper oceans follow the air measurements
- pH levels in the upper oceans are decreasing
- d13C ratios are declining in the atmosphere and with some delay in the upper oceans
This is a good indication that the (deep) oceans are not the source of the extra CO2, as the (deep) oceans have a higher d13C ratio than the atmosphere.
- oxygen levels are declining in near ratio with fossil fuel use.
As there is a small deficiency in oxygen use, that indicates that vegetation is not a net source of CO2, but a net sink (about 2 GtC/yr), as oxygen is produced by CO2 uptake.

The combined observations can be shown in the following graph (made by Bert Bolin) for the last decade of the 1900′s:

Bolin graph

That the temperature has a huge influence on CO2 levels is eminent in the seasonal flows: a general exchange of about 100 GtC between oceans and atmosphere occurs over the seasons. For the seasonal exchange between atmosphere and vegetation, the seasonal exchange is about 50 GtC (see e.g. Battle ea. for estimates of seasonal flows between oceans, atmosphere and vegetation). These are huge flows of additions/sinks itself, but the net result at the end of one seasonal cycle doesn’t show much variation: +/- 3 GtC/yr. The net seasonal change in the atmosphere is the result of oceanic release and vegetation uptake in summer and the opposite in winter. This is visible in all 10 base stations which measure CO2 (and all other 400+ stations in the world). The yearly variation is higher in the NH (more land, less ocean) than in the SH, and there is a altitude gradient (Barrow at 7 m: +/- 10 ppmv, Mauna Loa 3,000 m: +/- 5 ppmv), as the main exchanges are at gound level. The SH follows the NH trend with a 6-12 months delay (and increasing). This indicates that the main source is in the NH (where 90% of the emissions are). The ITCZ forms a barrier, which delays the exchange of air (and CO2 and aerosols) between the NH and SH.

The global change in ocean/air/vegetation temperature over the seasons is about 0.2 K (hard to detect in the noise!), I didn’t look at NH alone in a quick search, but if we assume that the NH has a larger winter-summer temperature difference (about 0.5 K, any better bid accepted), then we are back at our long-term estimate of 10 ppmv/K if we take the Mauna Loa data as base. Thus we can safely assume that the variation in increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to a quick response of nature (upper oceans and vegetation) to temperature changes.


592 Comments

  1. Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 10:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    230: the growth rate is about half the annual cycle, so although smaller, not vastly so. And even if biological we would not expect that to vary much on a global scale. I showed by accident the Mauna Loa data. Here are the global data:
    year ppm/yr
    1980 1.68
    1981 1.08
    1982 0.96
    1983 1.80
    1984 1.38
    1985 1.65
    1986 1.06
    1987 2.61
    1988 2.24
    1989 1.30
    1990 1.28
    1991 0.83
    1992 0.67
    1993 1.13
    1994 1.65
    1995 2.03
    1996 1.05
    1997 1.93
    1998 2.96
    1999 1.38
    2000 1.19
    2001 1.87
    2002 2.40
    2003 2.23
    2004 1.65
    2005 2.45
    2006 1.68
    they show the same thing.
    Now, I would think that people that worry so much about these things would have thought about the cause of the variation of the growth rate. It is, after all, that growth that is feared.

  2. Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 10:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    232: let me comment on the table. In 2006 less CO2 was added to the atmosphere than in 1983. In 1980 more CO2 was added to the atmosphere than in 2004. Why is that? I’m sure that the world’s human population has increased its output of CO2 significantly since the 1980s. Where did it go? Why does the growth rate change from year to year? Biology? Algae in the sea? I don’t know, just asking. And why does nobody else ask this?

    • cindy
      Posted Jul 15, 2010 at 5:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

      beacuse its added less in 2006

  3. kim
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 10:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Limitation of sensors?
    ==============

  4. Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 10:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmmm….

    I guess that I don’t know how to properly link images in here yet.

    Here it is at my link.

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/6194023

    It is not a limitation of the sensors as they are accurate to the parts per billion.

  5. pochas
    Posted Nov 28, 2007 at 11:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #233 Leif:

    Leif #233:

    And why does nobody else ask this?

    Because it’s what might be called “another can of worms,” every bit as daunting as the current efforts at devising a GCM.

    We are talking about absorption and desorption of CO2 from the oceans. This depends on local air and water temperatures, on wind speeds, on pH and on concentrations of CO2 and carbonate in the water and CO2 in the air. It depends on upwelling and downwelling of ocean water at various latitudes containing varying amounts of carbonates and salts, influnced by ENSO, PDO, NAO, etc., on acidification by acid sulfates and a host of other imponderables I can’t even imagine.

  6. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 236

    The graph (thank you for it, it makes the data very clear) needs a companion, a study of delta C13 over the same period. I’ve been looking for one but no luck — surely it must have been studied as part of our continued effort to attribute atmospheric CO2 to different sources?

    I’ve seen an amusing graph of CO2 and associated temperature during WWII which shows CO2 dropping (not rate of increase falling off, an actual drop) while temperatures soar. Now what is that about?

    The great proxy in the climate change debate is our attribution of CO2 to fossil fuel burning. All else is trivial compared with this great question: is it us? We cannot follow the gas pouring from our power stations and exhausts so we assume things, we build proxies. Are they true?

    Re 238

    http://www.uea.ac.uk/env/solas/SPIS/pdfs/FOCUS2%20final.pdf shows research effort, the results of which we must all wait with bated breath. Lots of work there and years of interpretation. I’m afraid we are in for the long haul with self-important people who think they own the climate lecturing us on our travelling habits for another decade.

    JF

  7. EW
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #233
    They did, at John Daly site.

  8. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 4:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 235:

    Yea I know what you are talking about. I graphed the rate of change today. It would be interesting to do an overlay of this with recent temperatures. It looks to me to be an interesting correlation.

    Rscript:
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/co2_lt_noaa.R
    graph:
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/co2lt_2007.gif

    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/sink.htm

    But don’t get overly excited, it’s the electric equivalent of a local temperature sensitive resistance R(T), not a global temperature driven battery V(T). The temperature relationship doesn’t occur at the south pole.

  9. EW
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 4:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I knew someone has made much better T-CO2 graph here. Thanks, Hans.

  10. BarryW
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I thought the present dogma was that the oceans were saturating on CO2, so shouldn’t the atmospheric rate be going up?

  11. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Leif Svalgaard:

    Here is a table from NOAA that shows the growth of CO2 per year. The growth rate should only change very gently with time because there are millions of emitters, yet it fluctuates wildly. Why?

    Given the strong correlation with temperature, it looks to me like the variation in the growth rate is a demonstration of CO2 feedback from the ocean. If I remember correctly, the ocean is about 50% of the total CO2 sink. When the ocean surface is warm (such as during an El Nino) the solubility of CO2 is reduced, the sink is less effective, and the rate of CO2 concentration growth increases.

    (Sorry for the cross-post — this new thread was created while I was writing my original post in the S&W thread)

  12. DocMartyn
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If you just assume that the levels of CO2 are in a steady state you can work out what is happening. Assume that the pre-industrial level of CO2 was 290 ppm and this is the “natural” level. At steady state, the input matchs the output. Last year man added an extra 8 Gt C p.a. resulting in a steady state CO2 level of 380 ppm.
    From this we know that

    Natural + manmade)/Natural = 380/290 = 1.31

    manmade = 8 Gt p.a. so natural = 26 Gt p.a.

    To reach 2xNatural CO2 we would need to match natural influx and place about 26 Gt C p.a., into the atmosphere.

    The half-life of CO2 in the atmosphere is a function of the total CO2 content of the atmosphere and the input and it disappears at 34 Gt p.a.at the moment. The size of the CO2 pool, that is in steady state with ground emissions is about 424 Gt C, so we are only dealing with the first 10 km of the atmosphere. The t1/2 of CO2 in this part of the atmosphere must be about 12 years. The H-Bomb test indicate that the value is closer to 8 years.

  13. jae
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    If plant growth is spurred by additional CO2, as demonstrated by Idso, that should also help keep CO2 levels in check. A feedback loop: more growth, more CO2 assimilated, more growth…

  14. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #10 BarryW:

    I thought the present dogma was that the oceans were saturating on CO2, so shouldn’t the atmospheric rate be going up?

    The average growth rate *is* going up, both because the ocean is slowly saturating (it’s not nearly saturated yet) and because human emissions are still increasing. The graph posted by EW in #7 shows the annual growth rate, which is clearly larger now than circa 1960. Eyeballing a linear trend, the current average seems to be ~2ppm/year whereas the average c1960 was ~0.7ppm/year.

  15. Boris
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Is it really any surprise that the ocean sink will abosrb less in warmer (el nino) years and absorb more in colder (la nina) years?

    Another reason to be worried about the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 in the near and especially the long term.

  16. Rejean Gagnon
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Yeah, because winter and summer are a new phenomenon, Boris… remember that the other half of the world is in winter
    when this half is in summer and vice versa – since we’re talking basics here.

  17. richardT
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #15
    El Nino doesn’t just affect the ocean. Drought in Indonesia lead to reduced uptake of CO2 by vegetation, and forest and peatland fires.

  18. henry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Given the strong correlation with temperature, it looks to me like the variation in the growth rate is a demonstration of CO2 feedback from the ocean. If I remember correctly, the ocean is about 50% of the total CO2 sink. When the ocean surface is warm (such as during an El Nino) the solubility of CO2 is reduced, the sink is less effective, and the rate of CO2 concentration growth increases.

    Has anybody graphed the CO2 vs Nino (either Nino4, 3.4, 3 or 1+2)?

    Just to see if one area has a better correlation over another…

  19. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: #8 Hans,

    I’m trying to wrap my mind around your graph. I’m surprised that the CO2 changes tracks the temperature changes so closely. What does this imply about s, the climate sensitivity?

    Given +CO2 gives +temp from the “GHG greenhouse” effect and that +temp gives +atmos CO2 from ocean solubility effects, it should be possible to develop equations which relate the closeness of fit of the coupled effects to climate sensitivity. Perhaps this has already been done? Anyone know?

    I’m sure there are several assumptions which would have to be made and perhaps if you expand a little on your R(t) vs V(t) point it might be clearer.

  20. AllenC
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    As a geologist (now retired) who knows a thing or two about volcanoes, igneous rocks, magma composition, volatile components in magma, etc., its always bothered me that most of the time when we talk about CO2 in the atmosphere we are taking measurements from the summit of an active volcanic island. While its true that the basalts of Hawaii are low in CO2 compared to say, the rarer carbonatite producing volcanoes of Africa, it still seems a bit like taking temperature measurements next to a heat venting air conditioner. Do we have reliable CO2 measurements from elsewhere on the Earth?

  21. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> I’m surprised that the CO2 changes tracks the temperature changes so closely.

    the graph is T & d(C02)/dt, right?

    >> What does this imply about s, the climate sensitivity?

    Troubling to move from statistical correlation to cause and effect (wet sidewalks cause rain). Alternative Hypothesis: Sun heats oceans, affecting rate of C02 outgassing. Sun heats air, affecting temperature level.

  22. kim
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s gonna be an interplay of physical(temperature) and biological(consumption) processes.
    =====================================

  23. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    [snip]

  24. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #21 Gunnar:
    For high-frequency variation like this, I think it’s even more likely that sea surface temperature drives temperature *and* CO2 concentration growth.

    I better be clear about my disclaimers so I don’t get misquoted:
    - we’re talking about changes in the derivative of CO2 concentration
    - only the high-frequency component is driven by the ocean
    - the underlying warming trend has a different cause (which I’ll avoid stating to prevent an off-topic debate)

  25. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 23:
    gunnar dont go there, until you’ve read this
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

  26. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:11 AM | Permalink | Reply

    When I first looked at this data a couple of years ago I did a graph of the delta between the peak and valley for each year. The difference has grown by about 50% (from about 2 ppm in the late 50′s to over 4 ppm today). I speculatively attributed this to carbon fertilization in the northern hemisphere. I will try and dig up this graph.

    Sorry for the excel graph, its the only graphing program I have right now.

  27. Larry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It seems to me that the CO2 v.s. temperature relationship should be analyzed for a first-order time constant. 50,000 quatloos says you’ll get a good fit with t ~ 5-10 years.

  28. austin
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Who says you cannot follow the fossil fuels’ Carbon around?

    Would Fossil Fuels have C isotope ratios different from naturally occurring C as well as C from volcanoes? And could this output be tracked somehow?

  29. Paul Linsay
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hans’ plot in #8 shows the same CO2 lag as does the ice core data (though not by 800 years!). If you look carefully, the temperature, in blue, goes up{down} first and then the CO2, in black, goes up{down}. The only two exceptions are the two very sharp dips in the 1982-1985 time period. If this holds up, the lag would imply that what we are seeing is CO2 released by heating of the oceans, most likely by sunlight.

    One caveat. If there is averaging of the CO2 but not the temperature that could introduce a false lag. The caption says there is averaging, but the plotted data doesn’t look averaged. Hans?

  30. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The acceleration is 0

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Gunnar, I said that I didn’t want ANY bandwidth here to be used for discussing Beck’s paper. How hard is that to understand?

    If you can’t comply with that, I’ll delete the entire thread.

  32. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #30 Paul Linsay:

    Hans’ plot in #8 shows the same CO2 lag as does the ice core data (though not by 800 years!).

    Don’t forget that the plot in #8 is of CO2 growth (ie. the derivative of CO2 concentration) vs temperature. The ice core data as typically plotted shows the CO2 concentration vs temperature.

    Let me restate: the solubility of CO2 in the ocean decreases with temperature. Ocean events like El Nino which increase the surface temperature decrease the ocean’s ability to act as a CO2 sink. CO2 concentration growth is therefore higher when the ocean surface temperature is warm.

    Gunnar, my #25 was intended to refine your statement rather than disagree with it.

  33. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #33 Gunnar:
    Thanks for not interpreting my #25 as picking a fight.

  34. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #28 Larry:
    You seem to be supporting two different time constants. I’ll describe how I understand your statements:

    In some cases you support a short time constant of 5-10 years. With such a short time constant, the temperature increase from a constant forcing would reach equilibrium within about 20 years.

    In other cases, you say that the high but constant TSI since ~1950 is still causing warming today. This would imply a much longer time constant of at least 30 years.

    Do I understand your statements correctly? If so, please explain the discrepancy. Thanks.

  35. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 28. 50,000 quatloos. HA I have a royal Fizbin

  36. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Keeling? He’s the guy involved with replacing Henry’s law with a contrived evasion “evasion” factor. It was invented by Bolin & Eriksson, and developed further by Bacastow & Keeling. From Segalstad:

    The ideologically constructed non-linear evasion “buffer” factor or “Revelle factor” is later referred to as if it was established as a law of nature: “known from thermodynamic data” (Keeling & Bacastow, 1977); a gross exaggeration, giving a false scientific credibility to the method and the results from carbon cycle modelling using this “buffer” factor.

    This is a beautiful example of circular logic in action, when such a construction as the evasion factor is used in all carbon cycle models which the IPCC base their anthropogenic CO2-level-rise evidence on. Using the evasion “buffer” factor instead of the chemical Henry’s Law will always explain any CO2 level rise as being anthropogenic, because that very idea was the basis for the construction of the evasion “buffer” correction factor.

    Bacastow made the comment that the Mauna Loa measurements were “edited”. Pales & Keeling said that large portions of the raw data were rejected, leaving just a small fraction to be subjected to averaging techniques. This shouldn’t be a surprise, since the Scripps program to monitor CO2 in the atmosphere was conceived and initiated by Dr. Roger Revelle (Revelle evasion factor). Pales & Keeting say “Revelle foresaw the geochemical implications of the rise in atmospheric CO2 resulting from fossil fuel combustion, and he sought means to ensure that this ‘large scale geophysical experiment‘ .. was documented”. Pales & Keeting continue “he inspired us to keep in sight the objectives which he had originally persuaded us to accept.”

    Does this sound like true, unbiased research? All they were doing was measuring C02. Why would they need inspiration to keep the objectives in sight? What were the objectives? Why the need for persuasion? What’s so hard about measuring C02, and reporting all the data?

  37. Larry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I never said the second one, but it’s entirely possible that there are several time constants associated with different systems. The reason why I am suspecting 5-10 for this is that seems to be the time constant for the ocean mixed layer. Here’s an opportunity to confirm or refute that. If anything, the d(CO2)/dT v.s. T plot seems to suggest an even shorter tc, but it’s hard to eyeball that. This should be a relatively easy thing to test.

  38. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Gunnar, I said that I didn’t want ANY bandwidth here to be used for discussing Beck’s paper. How hard is that to understand? If you can’t comply with that, I’ll delete the entire thread.

    Now hold on, I took that to be referring to the original thread. I didn’t see your clarifications until just now. I’m not aware that you have ever allowed any discussion of the beck paper, so I’m confused by the phrase “amply done”. No problem, I won’t say another word about it. You must admit that someone asked about measurements.

    Don’t delete the thread.

  39. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #38 Larry:
    Sorry about that. Somehow I confused you with Bruce. Your names both have five letters, so it’s an easy mistake. :)

    I agree with you that there are multiple time constants (atmosphere, ocean surface, deep ocean, etc). Some recent papers have used models with a single time constant to reach controversial conclusions.

  40. Larry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    39, the evasion factor may be a way of accounting for mass transport, and may have theoretical legitimacy. Even with that though, it’s another twiddle factor. What I find more unnerving about what you just posted though, is the Mannomatic™ statistics they seem to be using at Mauna Loa. If that’s true, there’s a whole new can of worms that’s never been touched. Another hockey stick. I’ve always thought that data was a little too well behaved.

  41. austin
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Any sources for time series on O2 in the Earth’s Atmosphere?

  42. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #1 and #26 – Is the global data the average of the 10 stations?

  43. JM
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hans Erren (#8),

    Data file in:

    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_mm_mlo.dat

    is missing. Is there any other copy around?

    JM

  44. Bernie
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    This may be a silly question but if there is more “stuff” in the atmosphere does that mean the atmosphere is getting “bigger”? Is this part of a feedback loop?

  45. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    And again, back to my grave concerns vis a vis things noted in Erwin’s work. What is the true stability picture? Is there a band of “safe operation” in terms of partial pressure CO2, and are we actually in a dangerously low region of operation at present? What if an agnositic study of stability since a few billion years ago told us that the “sweet spot” was something like 1300 ppm of CO2? I am not looking at this from a “skeptical” perspective. I am looking at this from a “what is the best way to either avoid or anticipate another late Permian event” perspective.

  46. Andrey Levin
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#27, Dennis Wingo:

    Yes, it is what Idso is talking all along:

    …because literally thousands of laboratory and field experiments have demonstrated that the more CO2 there is in the air the better plants grow and the more efficiently they utilize water, it has been postulated that continued anthropogenic CO2 emissions will lead to a significant “greening of the earth” (Idso, 1986).

    Idso (1995), who cited a wealth of evidence for the validity of the greening hypothesis. First, he described the ubiquitous range expansions of earth’s woody plants that began approximately two centuries ago. Second, he described how the growth rates of many forests around the world increased concurrently, and how the most recent decades of fastest-rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations exhibited the greatest growth-rate enhancements. Third, he described how the amplitude of the seasonal oscillation of the atmosphere’s CO2 concentration – which is driven primarily by the photosynthetic and respiratory activities of the terrestrial biota – had risen hand in hand with the air’s CO2 content over the prior thirty-five years of precise measurements of this phenomenon.
    More recently, Zhou et al. (2001) used satellite measurements to demonstrate how vegetative activity increased by slightly over 8% and 12% between 1981 and 1999 in North America and Eurasia, respectively; while Ahlbeck (2002) employed statistical procedures to demonstrate that the primary driver of this phenomenon was the concurrent rise in the air’s CO2 content, with regional warming playing a secondary role.

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V5/N45/EDIT.jsp

    While terrestrial biota increases its sequestration of atmospheric carbon, it could represent only multiyear smoothed secular trend. Fast tracking of temperature as depicted in the graph presented by Hans Erren suggests that the ocean is the main player here.

  47. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Julian Flood (#6) writes,

    I’ve seen an amusing graph of CO2 and associated temperature during WWII which shows CO2 dropping (not rate of increase falling off, an actual drop) while temperatures soar. Now what is that about?

    Can you find that graph for us? Mauna Loa is a nice, well-kept series, and so is the one we usually see, but it only goes back to about 1950. What happened before that?

  48. Gary
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s a take on the phytoplankton-temperature connection asked about in the post:
    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Newsroom/NewImages/images.php3?img_id=17482

    A decade of satellite observations show that where temps are up productivity is down and the simple explanation is that warmer waters are more stratified and nutrient-depleted. This would reduce the CO2 uptake and presumably lower the ability of surface waters to dissolve more CO2 from the atmosphere. This sounds plausible, but I’m far from current on the literature about this. Insolation, oscillations, and other factors surely figure in.

  49. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> What happened before that?

    Hu, our host doesn’t want any discussion of the Beck paper, which is just a data collection from de Saussure (1826), Pettenkofer/v.Gilm (1857), Schulze (1864/71), Farsky (1874), Uffelmann (1886), Letts und Blake (1897), Krogh and Haldane (1904), Benedict (1912), Lundegardh (1920), van Slyke (1929), Dürst and Kreutz (1934/1940), Misra (1942) and Scholander (1946).

  50. klaus Brakebusch
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #44
    JM, take this: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
    there are several links on the page for Mauna Loa CO² data and globally averaged data.

  51. klaus Brakebusch
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #44
    JM, take this: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
    there are several links on the page for Mauna Loa CO data and globally averaged data.

  52. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 45

    Bernie,

    Not a silly question, but a highly sensitive one and worth to be examined in deep. Let’s see… There are other factors that compensate the increases of gases in the atmosphere. Let’s assume the atmosphere growth in radius beyond the current height of the mesosphere, that is, beyond 90 Km altitude. Solar wind will get rid of the outmost layers of air, so the thickness of the atmosphere will remain almost constant. However, the increase of CO2 could change its partial pressure in the atmosphere, although the magnitude of the partial pressures of other gases remains quasi-stable. This might mean that the atmospheric absolute pressure (SLP) is dynamic, not static.

    Please, see this ESA recreation about the losing of atmosphere by the effect of Solar Wind. The animation shows the extent at which Venus loses its atmosphere, but all planets with an atmosphere experience this effect. On the Moon the tiny particles of sand is blown out by the solar wind. NASA has detected an unexplainable electromagnetic charging of those particles.

  53. David
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Someone earlier brought up the fact that Venus is about at Earth temperature at 1 Earth atmospheric pressure. I was curious about what the temperature on Venus was at about 1 Mars atmospheric pressure, so I looked it up. From what I can tell, it is at Mars temperature (~210 K at ~75 km altitude).

    Using these tables:

    Mars Temp
    Mars Pressure
    Venus Temp vs Pressure vs Altitude

  54. Keith Herbert
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Why aren’t there more immediate effects of CO2 increase in local temperture, or are there? The graphs I’m seeing show CO2 lagging temperature. That has been explained here as warmer oceans releasing CO2. Okay but manmade CO2 is land based. Should I assume CO2 increase over land is immediately absorbed at an equal level by ocean sinks or would that land based CO2 be effecting local temperature before it has dissapated and can be absorbed by CO2 sinks.
    Has this been observed? I know this is very basic, but if someone could help me with this.

  55. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    David,

    It was me, when I said that if we consider same atmospheric pressure of the Venusian atmosphere at an altitude so the absolute pressure of the Venusian atmosphere is the same as on Earth, the median of the temperature on Venus at that pressure is the same as the median of the temperature on Earth. It was about in unthreaded 23 or so.

  56. Larry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    57, Venus is at about 2/3 the distance from the sun as earth, so the w/m^2 is about double, so no, it’s not going to be about the same temp as the earth if the atmosphere were the same, not even close.

  57. MarkW
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One thing I have wondered.

    If CO2 is such a powerfull agent of warming.
    And since cities are a (if not the) major source of anthropogenic CO2.
    So cities would have a much higher concentration of CO2 than the rest of the planet.

    Which would mean that CO2 would significantly warm cities. The bigger the city, the more the warming.

    Yet the AGW alarmist crowd keeps telling us there isn’t much of a UHI affect.

    So which is it. If CO2 is a major cause of warming, it should also cause a significant increase in UHI.

  58. MarkW
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If the atmosphere gets bigger, either because more gasses have been added to it, or because it’s getting warmer, presumably the surface area of the top of the atmosphere would increase. r cubed and all that.

    Would this increase the surface are from which energy can be radiated to space? Or does the thinness of the air at the very top of the atmosphere negate all that?

    Or is the increase in surface area so small that any change is lost in the noies?

  59. MarkW
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    oops,

    Make that r squared. cubed is volume.

    Dangers of typing and eating at the same time.

  60. Walt Bennett
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 59,60,61:

    Mark,

    Do yourself justice and remain neutral while waiting for answers.

    Cities are in general warmer than the surrounding area, for several reasons, one of which is a different atmospheric mix. Bear in mind there is also a lot more pollution in cities; bear in mind that CO2 becomes rapidly well-mixed; bear in mind that the effects of increased CO2 are felt least at the surface, due to saturation, and much more as they seep into the upper atmosphere where there is very little water.

    As regards the expanding atmosphere, that is exactly what is happening. The surface area of the atmosphere expands in the effort to release more energy. A warming body expands if it can.

  61. Chris Wright
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I recently plotted the graphs of atmospheric CO2 amount and the human emission rate since around 1960. They both go up, of course, but apart from that there’s virtually no correlation. A major emission rate event occurred in 1979. The rate actually fell and five years passed before it returned to the same level. But during these five years the CO2 continued to rise at the same rate. I assume the extra CO2 is man-made, but the graphs take some explaining! There are numerous obvious features in the emission rate graph, while there are virtually no features in the CO2 graph, apart from the annual cycle.
    It seems that the isotopic ratios don’t throw any light on the matter. That’s because CO2 from burning fossil fuels can’t be distinguished from current biological emissions (because the oil was originally biological).
    It does look like the rise in CO2 since 1850 was unprecedented (as the IPCC likes to say), and so it probably is man-made. And yet the lack of correlation does look a bit suspicious….

  62. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #56 Keith Herbert:
    The plots in this thread are of the CO2 concentration growth (not the CO2 concentration) vs temperature. CO2 mixes well and quickly in the atmosphere and these plots are of monthly or annual averages.

  63. pochas
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #56 Keith Herbert:

    Should I assume CO2 increase over land is immediately absorbed at an equal level by ocean sinks or would that land based CO2 be effecting local temperature before it has dissapated and can be absorbed by CO2 sinks.
    Has this been observed?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_cycle

    As shown in the diagram, some anthropogenic CO2 (ACO2) is absorbed, some accumulates. Because the ACO2
    is small compared with the overall CO2 transport, local increments of CO2 concentration due to ACO2 are small and the atmosphere appears to be well-mixed, so local temperatures are not appreciably affected.

  64. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Chris, your post makes a great point.

    >> That’s because CO2 from burning fossil fuels can’t be distinguished from current biological emissions (because the oil was originally biological).

    I think it can be partially distinguished because hydrocarbons are depleted in C14. The problem is that there are other sources of depleted C02, apart from burning hydrocarbons. However, it does give us an upper limit, which is 4% human.

    >> human emission rate

    Got a link to those measurements? :)

  65. Ivan
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    56#
    Yes, Co2 is lagging T in the graph posted above, just like in historical ice core reconstructions. I am not expert, but is there any conclusive proof that increase in Co2 concentrations since 1958 was caused by man-made emissions? It is very strange that “anthropogenic” CO2 in previous 50 years is constantly lagging temperature which it should “cause”? How to explain that?

  66. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hans Erren #8

    Thanks, Hans. Nice plot.

    It would be instructive for you (or someone) to plot delta-CO2 vs avg SST — since CO2 (or any gas) is less soluble in warm water than cold.

    Regards, PT

  67. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 57

    Larry,

    It’s data from several sources. The temperature of Venusian atmosphere at an altitude of 50 Km is the same than the temperature on Earth at SL. Coincidentally, the pressure of the Venusian atmosphere at 50 Km is the same absolute pressure than on Earth at SL.

  68. pochas
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #66 Ivan:

    It is very strange that “anthropogenic” CO2 in previous 50 years is constantly lagging temperature which it should “cause”?

    You might equally well say that in the last 10 years temperature is lagging CO2 emissions. :-)

  69. chris
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Has anyone looked at the detail especially rate of change) from the various measuring sites? (Hawaii and Wellington are the two I know have comprehensive records that are published but there must be more) The answer may be in the variations from site to site. There may be an obvious northern/southern hemisphere shift. If that is the case, then the temperatures of the surrounding ocean could be the determinant. If there isn’t, then one needs to look elsewhere. Either way, it should help refine the model.

  70. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #66 Ivan:
    Once again, the graphs are comparing the rate of CO2 growth to temperature. The change in the CO2 growth rate is caused by changes in the ocean’s ability to act as a sink. When the ocean surface is warm (like during an El Nino) it is a less effective sink and the rate of CO2 growth increases.

    The overall CO2 growth rate is trending upwards.

    The overall temperature is trending upwards with a lot of high-frequency variation caused by phenomena like El Nino and plain old randomness. The time constant for temperature increases (from any forcing) is at least 5-10 years. That, plus the chaotic thing we call weather, is why the short-term changes in CO2 concentration do not show up in the temperature trend.

    The CO2 growth rate increases with ocean surface temperature. This is the definition of feedback. If the ocean warms and stays warmer, the CO2 concentration goes up and stays up. This causes more warming, which causes more CO2, etc. The feedback is stable because the effect of CO2 is logarithmic.

    Did I mention the graphs above CO2 growth? :)

  71. Joe Black
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hmmmm, CO2 relatively uniformly increasing around the globe, SH temperatures decreasing, NH temps increasing.

    Therefore, CO2 causes GLOBAL warming? Not too likely. SH is lucky that there is increasing CO2 so they don’t have to experience a new ice age.

  72. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Excuse me, Steve Mc Intyre… ;)

    # 57

    Larry,

    Some Solar Energy facts here.

    It’s from one of my articles.

  73. David
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Larry, 57: But it is similar, even though the earth has a different atmosphere. Look it up. Mars is much further, and even it matches up. It looks like temperature is more related to atmospheric pressure than what gases are present or even the distance from the Sun (to a certain degree, of course).

  74. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #72 Joe Black:

    SH temperatures decreasing

    Oh no, not again…

    Take a look at these graphs from GISTEMP and HadCRUT3:
    http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.B.lrg.gif
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/nhshgl.gif

    There has been some minor cooling in the SH in the last ~5 years, but this is overlaid on a long-term warming trend.
    There were similar short-term cooling events in the early 1990s.

  75. Bernie
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nasif #53
    Don’t let me take us OT, but wouldn’t any perturbation in the total size of the atmosphere lead to variations in the growth rate of
    CO2 ppm, the more so if CO2 is well mixed? What is it that allows the solar wind to impact at 90KM as opposed to 90.5KM or 89.5KM? Is there something that I can read?
    By the way the picture is amazing. (Makes me think that we could simply pipe the CO2 to 90.1KM at get rid of it that way?)

  76. Larry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    So distance from the sun doesn’t matter? And Pluto is hot as Mercury? Ooookay…

  77. jeez
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    66# The lagging of the two is different by two orders of magnitude, so attributing the same causal relation to each is suspect.

    However, the short term graph does make it appear that C02 is in constant equilibrium, with atmospheric levels closely tracking temperature changes. The fact that a higher percentage of C02 can now be traced to fossil fuels is meaningless if this equilibrium holds. It just means that the percentage of non human sources injected into the atmosphere has changed, but not enough to disturb the equilibrium. Grafting pre Mauna Loa data to the current measurements has been as suspect as the Mann Hockey stick, so we really don’t know if all we are seeing in the current rise is the planet emerging from the LIA.

  78. Edward
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John V

    How can one trust these databases with all the known errors that are being found in the USA and abroad. Next you will be saying that UHI is already accounted for and we all know which sites are Urban or Rural and there is no contaminated data.

    These errors created the cherished spike. Of course the earth warms and cools in cycles but not as shown.

  79. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #79 Edward:
    Since it’s off-topic and sure to take over this thread, I’m not going to take the bait.

  80. David
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Larry 77: It obviously matters. The question is to what degree? The heat capacity of these big chunks of rock vs. how fast they lose that energy to the vacuum of space is equally important. Pluto is a small chunk of rock, is very far from the Sun, and has little atmosphere.

  81. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 72

    Joe Black,

    When convection starts, it becomes the main means of energy conveyance in two senses:

    1. The homogenization of the mixture of atmospheric gases.

    2. The displacement of volumes of air to new positions far from equilibrium.

    If the temperature gradient is brought back, then the radiative energy transport is determined by:

    delta T/delta r = [gamma – 1 / gamma] [T (r) / P (r)] [delta P / delta r]

  82. Joe Black
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What about:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1992 and

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=1982#comments?

    (..sigh… –> 4% co2)

  83. Larry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I guess this should have been expected in a thread with “CO2″ in the title…

  84. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 76

    Bernie,

    Don’t let me take us OT, but wouldn’t any perturbation in the total size of the atmosphere lead to variations in the growth rate of CO2 ppm, the more so if CO2 is well mixed? What is it that allows the solar wind to impact at 90KM as opposed to 90.5KM or 89.5KM? Is there something that I can read?

    We are talking about different things. I’m referring to the radius of the atmosphere, that is, the altitude of the atmosphere. That means that, at some extent, the gases positioned above 90 Km on altitude are blown out by the solar wind because of the geometry of the geomagnetic field.

    By the way the picture is amazing. (Makes me think that we could simply pipe the CO2 to 90.1KM at get rid of it that way?)

    Try it, but pipe the CO2 at 350 Km on altitude, so the effect is more efficient. ;) However, why you want to get rid of the CO2? CO2 is the cause we are alive… :)

  85. Edward
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Check this out:

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/Evans-CO2DoesNotCauseGW.pdf

  86. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 77

    Larry,

    Evidently you didn’t read my link.

  87. Michael Smith
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Larry, 77

    So distance from the sun doesn’t matter? And Pluto is hot as Mercury? Ooookay…

    Think about the temperature lapse rate versus altitude that exists here on earth. You go up to 100,000 feet over the equator and the outside air temperature will be far, far below zero — even though at that point the earth is receiving enough solar radiation to make it 100 degrees at the surface.

  88. Larry
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hoo boy…

    Back to the topic:

    In 2006 less CO2 was added to the atmosphere than in 1983. In 1980 more CO2 was added to the atmosphere than in 2004. Why is that? I’m sure that the world’s human population has increased its output of CO2 significantly since the 1980s. Where did it go?

    I’m not exactly sure how to interpret “added to the atmosphere”. Does that refer to net increase in measurement, or does that refer to estimated addition due to fossil fuel consumption? I would have a hard time believing it if it were the latter.

  89. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Every time I come on a C02 thread I swear it’s a N2O whippet thread.

  90. erikG
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Here is a newbie question about a negative C02 feedback loop I have not heard of:

    My understanding is that C02 tends to be absorbed by the ocean in cold (polar) regions, and then be released in warmer regions. Assuming that this is true, then winter at the north pole should be ideal for absorbing C02 into the ocean. But it cannot efficiently do so, because it is hermetically sealed in ice.

    In fact, the polar ice cap covers about 4% of the oceans surface area (at extent), and it should be the 4% that’s “best” at absorbing c02 because of the temperature. If the polar ice cap where to melt completely, (as depicted in AIT) then would the ocean become significantly better at absorbing co2? If so, would this be good or bad?

    I’ll note in passing that arctic sea-ice is minimal in September of each year, almost exactly the same time of year that CO2 levels hit their annual minimum. (Although the sun is obviously the big driver for both, one way or another)

  91. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 1:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    mosher: Thanks for the musical interlude — I enjoyed that.

  92. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 92. Your welcome, sometimes folks just need to take a deep breath.

    Me included of course.

  93. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Folks, the core notion of this thread was, I believe, intended to be stability and perturbation of the “CO2 system.” (Leif, did I capture it correctly?)

    Hopefully, most of you understand why this is so critical. Here is a thesis: We have yet to truly understand just what consistute conditions of stability and instability in the CO2 system. Therefore, we cannot, at present, understand or predict the impacts of various perturbations on the system.

  94. UK John
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I like CO2, its a funny sort of pollutant, its not toxic, poisonous, explosive, life on Earth would not be possible without it. It harms no living thing, and plant life thrives on it.

    I can breathe it in, the concentration of it in my blood stream regulates my respiration rate, they give you a wiff of it to bring you round after anethesia!.

    So we must get rid of it?

    What to replace it with?, I don’t fancy many of the alternatives, plutonium, well the smallest speck will kill me so no thanks

  95. Boris
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:31 PM | Permalink | Reply

    91:

    Yes, too much ice and the ocean isn’t going to absorb much CO2. I think that this inability is theorized to aid in warming in the snowball earth hypothesis. I don’t think it’s too much of a factor now.

  96. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In order to stir something up: Steve, #94: do you find John V’s explanation in #11 insufficient?

    UK John: “wiff it, wiff it good!”

  97. Ivan
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John V

    The CO2 growth rate increases with ocean surface temperature. This is the definition of feedback. If the ocean warms and stays warmer, the CO2 concentration goes up and stays up. This causes more warming, which causes more CO2, etc.

    How then temperature drops after El Nino event? If I correctly understand you suppose positive feedback of temperature and C02. But if oceans warms up by ,say, solar impact, why do we need CO2 positive feedback to explain any additional warming? And how can we explain any subsequent cooling? In 1930s and 1940s oceans and land warmed up greatly, according to CRU. That should lead to Co2 release from oceans. But after that, we had 30 years of cooling, and no feedback induced additional warming. The same pattern can be observed in interannual scale. Why 1999 wasn’t even warmer than extremely warm 1998? Obviously “positive feedback” is not particularly strong. In absence of any real evidence of impact of CO2 you just suppose it must be CO2 feedback, while Occam razor says that “we don’t need any such hypothesis sir”. CO2 concentration growth with increasing temperature routinely can be treated just as a consequence, not “feedback”. Your correct analysis of CO2 release from the ocean as an effect of ocean warming is very elegant and reasonable theory. Why do you need (apart from to “prove” AGW thesis) any feedback theory to explain relation between T and CO2 concentration growth?

  98. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 97. I think JohnV has a reasonable hypothesis. The rate should tie to temp. BUT SST I would
    think is more important than air temps.

    I’d like to see the comparsion made
    to SST rather than Land temp record.

  99. John A
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dennis Wingo:

    Can you please send me the scans of the Loudon argument concerning the Greenhouse Effect? My address is climateaudit AT gmail.com

    Thanks

    John

  100. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    S. Mosher: I was directing my question to S. Sadlow, but thanks for responding. “Ask Steves,” indeed.(G)

  101. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 101. ha! well let’s see if Sadlov has the sense to agree with me.

    The odd thing I saw was that the acceleration was 0. The rate of rate change.

    I found that counter intuitive if AGW is true.. I would expect some kinda positive accel..

  102. Peter Garrone
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 2:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I wonder if the effects on CO2 levels of land-clearing could have been under-estimated, and the effects of fossil fuel burning over-estimated, because of global politics?

  103. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    An engineer’s perspective (tongue planted firmly in cheek). This ones for Gunnar.

    If CO2 was the root cause for so much warming, it should be much hotter inside most schools and office buildings. It is common for CO2 concentration levels inside schools and buildings to reach as much as 3000 ppm (ten times the concentration of the atmosphere), primarily from humans exhaling. It may surprise you, but “[t]he average adult’s breath contains about 35,000 to 50,000 ppm of CO2,” (1.) which is more than “100 times higher than outdoor air.” It reminds me of the old joke: All that breathing in and out! Or the more recent joke: How many IPCC representatives does it take to increase the global CO2 concentration by 1 ppm with all their huffing and puffing? I will let the reader work through that problem on their own time.

    With that much CO2 inside schools and buildings, the temperature should be more than double (remember CO2 heating is logarithmic) if the greenhouse hypothesis is correct, this, despite air conditioning. Air conditioning is essentially a dehumidification process; it removes water vapour carrying latent heat, but generally only re-circulates stale air. It does nothing to reduce CO2 levels. I will let that nugget of information work away in your minds eye, and it is my hope that it will add some perspective in the CO2 debate.

    For your interest, there are occupational health and safety standards for schools and workplace environments that regulate CO2 levels. Concentrations below 4000 ppm pose no health risk, but the air starts getting very stale at those levels. Concentrations above 6000 ppm are considered toxic. The American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) state that, “classrooms should be provided with 15 cubic feet per minute (cfm) of outside air per person, and offices with 20 cfm outside air per person” (2.). Engineers use CO2 levels as a proxy for ventilation efficiency. New regulations may require indoor structures designed to maintain CO2 levels below 1000 ppm, producing even more GHG, geez. Anyway, when your office air starts feeling stuffy, tell those people around you to quit with all that breathing in and out, they will be helping to reduce global warming.

    1. Technical Brief: Measuring carbon dioxide inside buildings, Western Area Power Administration, An agency of the U.S. Department of Energy, pg. 2, see http://www.wapa.gov/es/pubs/techbrf/co2.htm
    2. Ibid, pg. 2

  104. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #103 >> I wonder if the effects on CO2 levels of land-clearing could have been under-estimated,

    Unlikely because a) no significant clearing, more forest now than in colonial times and

    b) new growth after land clearing (whether crops or new trees) are more vigorous in their production of o2 and consumption of Co2.

    >> and the effects of fossil fuel burning over-estimated, because of global politics?

    Definitely true.

  105. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> This ones for Gunnar.

    I can’t tell if you’re being nice or mean.

  106. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I was hoping it would bring a smile to your face.

    Cheers!

  107. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If you plot the many swings of delta Temp vs delta CO2 for the Vostok core for 400k years you will get a fairly tight scatter plot with a slope of 10 ppm/degree C. Since recent warming is less than 1 degrre C, it seems fairly safe to assume that less than 10 ppm of the CO2 increase in the last century is due to ocean heating. Interannual fluctuations of atmospheric CO2 of 4 ppm would seem to imply atmospheric temp. fluctuations of 0.4 degrees C, which seems a little high. It seems likely that something more than temperature change is at work for these very short term changes. Volcanic emissions, forest fires ??

  108. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Ian!

  109. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> delta Temp vs delta CO2 for the Vostok core

    You mean the highly manipulated Vostok core data? (see Jaworoski) :)

    Besides, the average spacing of vostok samples is like 1400 years. This means that there is only like a 3.4% confidence level for the statement that the present CO2 trend is unprecedented in the last 420,000 years. It could easily have been missed.

    >> Volcanic emissions, forest fires ??

    Random weather?

  110. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #98 Ivan:
    These are short-term fluctuations in the *growth* rate of CO2 concentration. There are many sources and sinks of CO2. During an El Nino, the ocean surface (on average) is warmer. It is therefore a less effective sink. Therefore, during the El Nino, the *growth* rate of CO2 increases. This is a short-term fluctuation. The overall trend in CO2 continues to increase. We’re talking about the year-to-year growth varying from ~0.5ppm to ~3.0ppm, compared to a total concentration of ~380ppm.

    The global temperature does not increase monotonically — just as it was not exactly the same every year in pre-industrial times.

    Your correct analysis of CO2 release from the ocean as an effect of ocean warming is very elegant and reasonable theory. Why do you need (apart from to “prove” AGW thesis) any feedback theory to explain relation between T and CO2 concentration growth?

    If you accept the greenhouse effect, and if you accepth that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, then it follows that CO2 increasing with T is a positive feedback. If you don’t accept the first two, then we won’t be able to resolve anything here. Let’s leave it at that and both move on.

    =====
    steven mosher:

    The odd thing I saw was that the acceleration was 0. The rate of rate change.
    I found that counter intuitive if AGW is true.. I would expect some kinda positive accel..

    The rate of change is actually increasing in the plot in #7. That is, the CO2 concentration is accelerating.

    I think you’re talking about the third derivative: the rate of change of the rate of change of the growth rate. You’d have to fit a quadratic to the growth rate or a cubic to the concentration to see what it’s doing.

    In mechanical systems the third-derivative is often called “jerk” — nobody shold take it personally if conversation moves to the jerk of CO2 concentration.

  111. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 4:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 111. You are right JohnV. I calculated the jerk. I differenced the difference and found no difference.

    ie. no jerks.

  112. Tony S
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 4:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Chris Wright – Your comments re CO2 and human emmissions are fascinating. Do you have a source for your data on human emmissions?

  113. Old Chemist
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 5:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Atmospheric CO2 is in a dynamic equilibrium with the oceans — the steady state concentration will depend on the partial pressure of CO2 and the ocean temperature — I find it hard to have a meaningful discusssion of ocean temperature and thus CO2 variability, unless one knows something about undersea geothermal activity — i.e. its variability. Awhile ago I read about unexpected volcanic activity at Gakkel ridge — an undersea ‘slow-moving’ fault line above the Arctic circle. So is the heat tranferred from the Earth to the ocean’s constant — somehow I don’t think so — maybe Dr. Mann and co-workers can measure seaweed rings and come up with a new hockey stick (sarcasm off).

  114. Steve Moore
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 5:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Most of the above is concerned with the atmosphere/ocean interface, but there is another carbon sink that is not being addressed.

    Please indulge me a moment:

    CO2 is readily soluble, and falls out of the atmosphere in rain. Most of this falls into the oceans, and is subject to the mechanisms already discussed.
    However, precipitation occurs everywhere.
    Therefore, it can be assumed that a significant fraction of the soluble CO2 (20%?) falls on land and forms carbonates.

    Changes in rainfall could explain variations in atmospheric C02.

  115. Anna Lang
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 5:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    NOAA has produced a website for students and educators, which includes a series of pages under the title Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Record.

    http://celebrating200years.noaa.gov/datasets/mauna/welcome.html#atm

    There is some interesting information about the choice of the Mauna Loa site and the experiments leading to the Keeling Curve.

    It also includes the following statement, “Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring, colorless, odorless gas that makes up less than one-tenth of one percent of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is also a man-made by-product of fossil fuel combustion.”

    The caption under a graph of the Keeling Curve says, “This simple graph of the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Record documents a 0.53 percent or two parts per million per year increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide since 1958. This gas alone is responsible for 63 percent of the warming attributable to all greenhouse gases according to NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab.”

  116. Ian Castles
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 5:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #15, 98, 111. The argument that the growth of CO2 is higher in El Nino years because the warmer ocean surface in those years is a less effective absorber of CO2 is not supported by the data assembled by the Global Carbon Project. Go to the “Data and data sources” page on the Project’s website and follow the link under the heading “Data”. The estimated increase in CO2 in the atmosphere jumped from 2.34 PgC in 1996 to 4.16 PgC in 1997 and 6.22 PgC in the 1998 El Nino year (the highest annual increase yet recorded). During the same three-year period, the estimated oceanic uptake of CO2 INCREASED – from 2.07 PgC in 1996 to 2.27 PgC iin 1997 and 2.51 PgC in 1998. As emission levels were at roughly the same level in each of the three years, the Global Carbon Project team attributes the acceleration in atmospheric CO2 between 1996 and 1998 to a steep reduction in the terrestrial uptake – from 3.77 PgC in 1996 to 1.90 PgC in 1997 and MINUS 0.46 PgC in 1998.

  117. Chris Wright
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 5:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 65 and 113 – Gunnar and Tony,
    I spent some time googling for this data but no joy. But I did find a couple of graphs. I’ve written a program to import and display data and it includes a tool for reading data from a bitmap. I’ve made a screenshot to show the data but unfortunately there appears to be an FTP problem on my web site and I can’t upload it. I don’t think I can attach a jpg to this message, which is a shame. I’ll post the screenshot when possible.

    Meanwhile, if anyone else does have a link to the actual data, I’d also be interested.

  118. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 5:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #115 – Indeed. Read “Geochemistry of Natural Waters.” A great text.

    Regarding SST. That is certainly an important factor. But there must be other things at work. The apparent CO2 concentration record is all over the map. Some of the most productive / diverse times in the fossil record appear to have coincided with much higher concentrations than those now present. A few tens of millions of years prior to the late Permian extinction, it reached an all time low. If there is a stability “quadrant” (alluding to a “poles and zeros” notion here) then perhaps there are situations where CO2 is dangerously low. It may be a combination of biological fixing, geological / geochemical fixing, and things going on in the atmosphere itself. If there is an unstable quadrant, and, some other causal were to occur, for example, a major disruption to insolation, the ability of the system to “recover” may be compromised. With the subsequent die off, a fungal age begins, and much CO2 is liberated, sending the concentration toward 10000 PPM. The cycle then repeats. Would it be possible to intervene, if indeed, there is a danger zone belowa certain concentration?

  119. Andrew
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 5:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hans Erren (8) and John V (11) reminded me of a plot I did not long ago of Southern Oscillation Index (inverted to give an idea of ENSO activity) and temperature.

    Here, if your interested: Excuse the blur.
    I’m aware that it’s not properly marked, so just in case you wanted to know, red is temperature, blue is SOI. SOI data

    So I would say to what henry (18) that although I haven’t plotted it, since SOI (representative of ENSO) correlates well with temperature, and CO2 growth correlates with temperature, they would correlate well with one another. However, since SOI change generally precedes Temperature change, while change in CO2 growth rate follows temperature, the correlation between them would suggest that the chain of causation could be ENSO>Temperature>CO2 growth rate. Just a thought.

  120. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 6:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re 44

    you are right.
    http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/co2_mm_mlo.dat is missing.
    I reported the file deletion to the noaa webmaster.

  121. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve Mc., I hope the following topics are on point, if not please snip.

    #53 Nasif Nahle … that profile of Venus is amazing. I have never seen that before, brilliant. If you have not looked at Nasif’s link at comment #53, download and check it out.

    #62 Chris Wright …spot on, suspicious indeed.

    #110 Gunnar… Jaworowski
    Zbigniew Jaworowski’s paper (March 2007) entitled, “CO2: The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time” goes much further in addressing the small consequence of human produced CO2 on greenhouse warming. Jaworowski writes, “97% of the total annual emission of CO2 into the atmosphere comes from natural emissions of the land and sea; human beings add a mere 3%. This man-made 3% of CO2 emissions is responsible for a tiny fraction of the total greenhouse effect.” Jaworowski then estimates this to be, “probably close to 0.12%.” You will note that Jaworowski’s estimate is garlanded by the qualifier “probably.” Many non-scientists are often surprised by the many uncertainties in science. I cannot image why? What is certainty anyway? Anyone who took an undergraduate course in quantum mechanics knows full well that probability is our description of reality. Scientists, on the other hand, are completely at home and used to this. I think the late American physicist and Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman said it best, when he wrote, “[w]hen a scientist doesn’t know the answer to a problem, he is ignorant. When he has a hunch as to what the result is going to be, he is still in some doubt. We have found it of paramount importance that in order to progress we must recognize our ignorance and leave room for doubt. Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty—some most unsure, some nearly sure, but none absolutely sure.” (1.)
    (1.) Feynman, Richard P., “What do you care what other people think?: Further adventures of a curious character”, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 1988, pg. 245

    #112 Steve Mosher … lol.

    #115 Steve Moore … never heard that one before, very interesting.

    #116 Anna Lang … “This gas alone is responsible for 63 percent of the warming attributable to all greenhouse gases according to NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab.” No, that is not correct. The MIT professor Richard Lindzen correctly predicted in 1990 that, “The remarkable thermodynamic properties of water almost certainly lead to its acting as nature’s thermostat.” (2.) One should add here that water is the only infrared absorber that can exist in all three phases (liquid, solid, gas) in our atmosphere compared to the other minor infrared absorbers: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (NO2), ozone (O3), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s). This fact is important because huge amounts of heat is lost or gained during phase transition, and is one of those extra “feedbacks” the GCMs do not handle well.

    Climatologists have known since the 1960s that water vapour is the primary greenhouse gas. A greenhouse gas is a molecule that can absorb and emit infrared radiation (heat) at specific or discrete wavelengths. Water vapour absorbs 68.2% of Earth’s radiance (almost 70%) in the first 100 metres of the atmosphere. This according to Jack Barrett’s 2005 paper in Energy and Environment, entitled “Greenhouse molecules, their spectra and function in the atmosphere. You should pause and consider what that means for a moment. This is a simple thermodynamic fact. When water vapour, normally referred to as humidity on the weather channel, is present in the atmosphere, which is true everywhere except over very dry areas like deserts, then the majority, up to 78.5% of heat radiated from the Earth is adsorbed by water vapour in the first 100 m of the troposphere (that is where we live). It’s strange, but Al Gore neglected that little bit of scientific trivia in his movie.

    (2.)Lindzen, Richard S., March 1990. Some Coolness Concerning Global Warming. Vol. 71, No.3, American Meteorological Society, pages 288—299 (pg. 296)
    (3.)Barret, Jack. 2006 Greenhouse molecules, their spectra and function in the atmosphere, Energy & Environment, Vol. 16, No. 6, 1037—1045, pg. 1042

  122. Philip_B
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 6:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I agree that the annual variation must result from an oceanic or atmospheric effect (if it were on land we would have noticed), but don’t find variation in SST persuasive because the annual variation (relative to the trend) in the global mean SST is small. Unsurprising, given the thermal inertia of the oceans. The plot in #8 is against air temperatures which vary more than SST on an annual basis. If annual variation in SSTs cause the annual CO2 increase variation seen then the SST trend over the last 30 years must be the primary driver of atmospheric CO2 levels irrespective of human CO2 emissions. Which BTW I don’t accept. The SST trend would also mean atmospheric CO2 levels rising much faster than human CO2 emissions and I understand the reverse is true.

    Locally, SST variation is much larger. So are we saying this is a local/regional effect at the measuring site?

  123. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 6:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 122. I now want to make a T shirt with the appropriate “no jerks” formula

  124. E&M
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 6:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Before we attach too much significance to the various wiggles in the CO2 difference
    curves in #7 it would be nice to see some confidence intervals on the original numbers
    and the difference values. Regardless of how sensitive the measurements on Mauna Loa
    are, we are dealing with monthly and yearly averages here. Natural variability should
    broaden the confidence intervals well beyond instrument sensitivity.

  125. Paul Cummings
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 6:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I can’t help feeling that a bombshell of some kind is awaiting …?good

  126. Jon
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John V. writes:

    The average growth rate *is* going up, both because the ocean is slowly saturating (it’s not nearly saturated yet) and because human emissions are still increasing. The graph posted by EW in #7 shows the annual growth rate, which is clearly larger now than circa 1960. Eyeballing a linear trend, the current average seems to be ~2ppm/year whereas the average c1960 was ~0.7ppm/year.

    John: can stop the biased inference drawing. This data does not admit the conclusion that the ocean is saturating. We can deduce that this data does not yield evidence of saturation because the sensitivity of C02 absorption versus temperature does not appear to be trending.

    The key observation is “human emissions are still increasing”. Thus the rate of absorption may be saturating not the total volume.

  127. Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #127 Jon:
    Another poster (BarryW, #10) suggested that ocean was saturating. I was trying to downplay that suggestion by saying it was “slowly saturating (it’s not nearly saturated yet)”. The key words were “slowly” and “not nearly”.

  128. JeffB
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 7:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The impact of El Nino/La Nina on CO2 levels is so well documented that the thought of fertilizing the oceans to create CO2 uptake has been proposed to decrease atmosphereic CO2.

    I.E. … mimic a La Nina.

  129. JeffB
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The thought of the ocean being saturated is just wishful thingking. It assumes that the ocean does not dispose of CO2, and that CO2 remains dissolved. This is simpley not true.

    CO2 is removed from the oceans by biological processes. The proposed mehcnaism as to why La Ninas decrease atmosphereic CO2 is because the cooler upwelling waters bring nutrients to the top where it stimulates growth, … and removes dessolved CO2 from the water.

    The reason that CO2 levels in the ocean have been going up is likely because there have been very few la ninas over the last 30 years. But that is changing. I would venture to speculate that over the next 10-15 years you will see a huge decrease in dissolved CO2, a decrease in atmosphereic CO2, and a decrease in temperature (decreased temperature being unrealated to CO2 levels).

  130. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:08 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #26 Hans Erren

    Thank you for the reference
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    One quote from this paper about Mauna Loa is:

    That local production/uptake of CO2 has an influence can be seen in the detailed trend of Mauna Loa: with upslope winds, air comes from the valleys where agriculture and other vegetation reduces CO2 levels (with about 4 ppmv) during some parts of the day:

    and see following graph in that paper.

    Another quote is:

    And last, but not least, many inland stations are practically unsuitable for background CO2 measurement, because of incomplete mixing with the higher air layers, partly due to too many local sources/sinks like vegetation and/or human use of fossil fuels, partly due to a shielded location. This is the case for e.g. Diekirch (Luxemburg) [6], where the station is in a valley with forests, urbanisation and traffic in the main upwind direction:

    This is also followed by an interesting graph.

    If we assume for argument that these quotations are accurate, then it becomes apparent that we are mixing data on temperature and CO2 from different measurement locations.

    At Mauna Loa (and from #51 klaus Brakebusch over oceans), efforts have been made to measure CO2 away from influences such as vegetation photosynthesis and fossil fuel burning. On the other hand, many of the temperature graphs used for comparison come from precisely such rejected places.

    The first step is therefore to compare the temperature at Mauna Loa with the CO2 at Mauna Loa, on a 4-hourly scale to begin with. Apples with apples. The next suggested step is to interpret the carbon isoptope ratios in the CO2 sampled at Mauna Loa, because there is an implication in the quotes above that ML rises above all this – though this is not reflected in the conclusions.

    More:

    Some data suggest that it takes about 4 years for NH air to mix with SH air. See the graph in Engelbeen labelled “Trends in yearly averages of CO2 levels at different stations” where Barrow Island CO2 levels show uo 4 years later at the South Pole. If this is so, many models might need reconsideration.

    Next-

    See the first graph labelled “Mauna Loa raw hourly averages 2004″. The maximum CO2 levels occur about 3 months into the year, roughly the start of NH Spring. So if vegetative NH sinks are the cause of the decline, the air gets from the forests of the NH fairly quickly to ML. What is more surprising, the annual max.min of CO2 over the oceans (# 51) mirrors that of ML. It would be hard to model the photosynthesis effect on such a short time scale as to explain the yearly pattern and the paragraph preceding this one.

    Finally, I do not think it is very productive to try to assign time constants for rises and falls of CO2 in such a complicated system as we have on earth. Intuition would suggest that there are many processes with different time constants, difficult to devolve in terms related to processes. The comparatively fast changes on hourly scales in CO2 at ML suggest a heavy influence of local effects.

    That being said, I do not doubt that atmospheric CO2 levels are rising and I have worked to mitigate them since the 1970s. On whether they are harmful or beneficial, whether they correlate with this or that, whether this causes that in part or in full, I have no stance. Is largely an academic consideration because of the puny ability of Man to change the slope of the CO2 curve quickly. Greater nuclear power adoption seems the best bet by far.

    I agree with Steve Sadlov # 94.

  131. GK
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The answer seems to be a complex mix of :

    -volcanism – we have little data about the scale of undersea volcanism/hydrothermal vents
    -expansion of the atmosphere (due to heating) and effects this might cause
    -variations in sea temp (Nino-Nina) cause variations in sea absorption&release of CO2
    -expansion of the sea (due to heating) causes variations in sea absorption
    -changes in plankton/algae affect absorption
    -more atmosphereic CO2 = increased plant growth = more CO2 absorption
    -BUT…growing plants absorb CO2, while older mature plants release CO2 -so variations in forest life cycles/deforestation affects CO2 absoption and relase
    -reduced artic sea ice opens up more surface area of cold water = better CO2 absorption
    -solar induced GW starting in the late 1800s, leads to higher levels of CO2
    -mankind emits a far bit of CO2 – including effects from deforrestation

    Too hard to find an answer

  132. Ian Castles
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The average annual growth rate in atmospheric CO2 was stated to be 1.5 ppm in “The Limits to Growth” report for the Club of Rome (1971). In the subsequent 35 years fossil fuel CO2 emissions roughly doubled but the annual growth rate in atmospheric concentrations increased by only about one-third to ~2 ppm. For whatever reason, the annual variation in the absorption of CO2 by the oceans, which is directly measured by the Global Carbon Project, has varied within a relatively narrow band (2.1 PgC plus or minus 0.4 PgC in each of the 32 years from 1975 to 2006). The terrestrial uptake, which the GCP derives as a residual, has shown much wider inter-annual variations (1.8 PgC plus or minus 2.4 PgC over the same 32-year period).

    The current growth rate of ~2 ppm in atmospheric CO2 concentrations is right in line with the projections in the IPCC’s 2001 Assessment Report (Working Group I, Appendix II), which varied from 1.9 to 2.2 ppm over the six illustrative SRES scenarios. The Stern Review gives various higher projections for GHG concentrations (“Suppose [emissions] continue to add to GHG concentrations by only 3 ppm per year” – p. 176; the current rate of increase is “about 2.7 ppm CO2e per year – p. 169; the current rate is “roughly 2.5 ppm every year – p. 193; and the current rate is “around 2.3 ppm per year” – p. 3). As the current rate of increase of GHGs other than CO2 is currently negligible, all of these estimates appear to be excessive.

  133. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dennis Wingo:

    Can you please send me the scans of the Loudon argument concerning the Greenhouse Effect? My address is climateaudit AT gmail.com

    Thanks

    John

    John

    Got your email. Sent pdf scanned doc. Let me know if you did not get it, it is almost 5 meg file. The delta from pressure broadening is listed in Megahertz on the chart, when it probably should be in mm-1. The interesting thing to me is that the overall area under the curve between the gaussian to lorentz transformation must remain constant. Has implications for CO2 absorption/emission ratio across the breadth of the curve. The “wings” that climate audit loves to talk about are in fact a negative feedback in that the wings are emission spectra while it is doubtful that it also acts as an absorber at those delta-wavelengths as the wings are desaturated in comparison to the area under the main curve. An interesting study and would love to get your opinion offline. Feel free to email me.

  134. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #119, Chris, I’m so sorry, I was joking.

    This is kind of like the Monty Python game show skit:

    When was the last time Coventry City has won the FA Cup?

    Oh sorry, that was a trick question, Coventry City has never won the FA cup.

    Chris, they made up those numbers out of thin air. If you added up all the error bars, the total would be like 4 Gt +/- 4 Gt.

    #123, Ian, you are absolutely correct about science and certainty. I’ve got a book about famous scientists and how wrong they were about numerous things, except the one thing they were famous for. If we look back at history, we see how long it took for people to figure things out, like the fact that we can’t make gold out of other things. 500 years from now, humans might understand some of the things we’re discussing, and they will look back and say “and people at that time became obsessed with C02, a minor trace gas, and it took 100 years before people started to understand the real issues…”.

    Ian, your explanation of water vapor in the first 100 meters is fascinating.

    >> Another poster (BarryW, #10) suggested that ocean was saturating

    There is a study apparently by some people that didn’t know they were supposed to fudge the data that shows that ocean C02 levels are very low, less than twice atmospheric. Henry’s law says that 50 times atmospheric is equilibrium. As someone says on this blog, Don’t worry folks, move along, nothing to see here.

    >> If we assume for argument that these quotations are accurate, then it becomes apparent that we are mixing data on temperature and CO2 from different measurement locations.

    What gave you the first clue? I’ve only been saying that for a year or so. Sorry Geoff, I mean no disrespect, I was just watching the crazy movie “Mixed Nuts”…

  135. nevket240
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 8:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    SS #129

    strangely enough that is the one thing that made up my mind that the HICC thingo was not honest. The CO2 levels rose decidely during the great deppression. 1929-1939. A 30% drop in Western economic activity over a decade and still the CO2 levels, supposedly, increased. Linearly at that!!
    Go figure. Then CO2 having reached a peak arond 1940 the temperature dropped away. (inconsiderate bastard)
    I’ve got to start smokin weed man, so I can see the light….

    regards.

  136. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In noting that the interannual variation has increased from ~2 ppm to ~4ppm over the last 50 years makes one think of the following.

    The current literature tells us that if we quit using hydrocarbons tomorrow that it would take centuries for the CO2 to be removed from the atmosphere. The Mauna Loa data indicates that if all hydrocarbon emissions stopped immediately that there would be a net decrease per year of about 4ppm. That indicates a minimum 25 year timeframe for CO2 to return to the 280 ppm level. Of course this would not exactly happen as the rate of decrease would follow an exponential decay curve back down to ~2 ppm. This would put the maximum period for CO2 to return to the 1958 level at 50 years. This is proceeding from the assumption that the increased uptake is a biological sink. If this is the case then the gloomy predictions of centuries before the 280 ppm level is reached again is in error.

    What is wrong with the above logic? (the 2-4 ppm change over the last 50 years is readily readable in the monthly Mauna Loa data spreadsheet)

  137. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #47 Andrey

    Thanks! Interesting!

  138. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dennis, actually, there are about a dozen studies the says the atmospheric residence time is only about 5 years. So, you are more right than you thought.

  139. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 9:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gunnar #137

    “Ian, your explanation of water vapor in the first 100 meters is fascinating.”

    Thanks.

    Have a look a Barret’s paper. I learned a lot. http://www.warwickhughes.com/papers/barrett_ee05.pdf

    Warwick Hughes has a brief review of the paper on his web page.
    http://www.warwickhughes.com/blog/?p=26

    If there are any newbie’s lurking, I recommend you read this paper. It explains the physics of GHGs.

    Ian

  140. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #96, UK John, Off-topic (but fun)

    I don’t fancy many of the alternatives, plutonium, well the smallest speck will kill me so no thanks

    This is something of an exaggeration (though Pu is undoubtedly hazardous). Have a look at Jeremy Bernstein’s Plutonium: A History of the World’s Most Dangerous Element (which is a cool book) — the Pu crew at Los Alamos from the 40′s and 50′s are still in good health [1], despite ingesting fairly substantial quantities of plutonium under the less-than-rigorous safety precautions of wartime.

    Incidentally, during WW2 Los Alamos protected the secrets of Pu by coding it as “49″ — Pu is element 94….

    Cheers — Pete Tillman
    [1] –the ones who aren’t dead, that is…

  141. Al
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Visually, I feel like I see lag in the graphs in #8.

    Is there a proper statistical test for determining how likely it is that variable A is the leading variable?

  142. Jon
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #127 Jon:
    Another poster (BarryW, #10) suggested that ocean was saturating. I was trying to downplay that suggestion by saying it was “slowly saturating (it’s not nearly saturated yet)”. The key words were “slowly” and “not nearly”.

    John V, my apologies; I took your qualifiers to be sarcasm.

  143. Jon
    Posted Nov 29, 2007 at 10:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #144, with this granularity, you can see that on this scale and within the shown interval temperature drives C02.

    There may be a feedback going on, although it appears to be quite weak within the data of #8, but this should be expected. After all a 100 yr C02 trend meant only 1 degree C of warming (thereabouts).

    Temperature is clearly driven by much stronger effects than C02. After all we have seasons.

    This is about all the graph in #8 means.

  144. Mark T
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The CO2 growth rate increases with ocean surface temperature. This is the definition of feedback.

    I’m sorry John V. but this statement is flawed. This is the definition of feedback only if you’ve made up your mind that there is no other external cause. Such a concept has never been ruled out, nor has the feedback concept ever been proved. It is very easy to demonstrate that increasing ocean temperatures can simply increase the CO2 content without feedback if there is something else forcing the increasing SSTs to begin with. It is impossible to look at two sampled series such as these and determine the nature of feedback, or even if it exists.

    Mark

  145. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I received a prompt reply from noaa (Ann Keane)
    Recent monthly co2 data from mauna loa is at the ftp server:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.dat

    last entry: october 2007.

  146. Hasse@Norway
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Worth noticing: 1998 increased by 2.96 ppm more than any other year….

  147. Ivan
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    John V

    it is not problem for me to admit that CO2 is greenhouse gas and that it has some temperaturefeedback. Problem is that none knows precisely what the overall impact CO2 has as a feedback, and that we have every reason to believe that such a feedback is not particularly huge. Your argument reminds me of real climate explanation of time lag in ice core records: allegedly warming stats as a consequence of “unknown reason” in the first 800 years, and then suddenly this “unknown reason” cease to operate and Co2 feedback takes over and brings about most of the remaining 4000 years warming. How they do know that “unknown reasons” ceased to operate after 800 years? It would be incredible cosmic “preestablished harmony” intended to make life easier to proponents of AGW to presume that some “unknown”, most probably solar or solar induced, factor that starts earth’s warming regularly ceases after 800 year. It’s Occam Razor. If warming is possible 800 or 1000 years without CO2 feedback, why it wouldn’t be possible latter on? So, “argument” is obviously not only implausible but contradictory: if warming starts as an effect of “unknown process” how one can know that the same unknown process after 800 years ceased or not ceased to operate?

  148. Jan Pompe
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul Linsay says:
    November 29th, 2007 at 9:25 am

    If there is averaging of the CO2 but not the temperature that could introduce a false lag. The caption says there is averaging, but the plotted data doesn’t look averaged.

    If you take monthly or yearly averages and plot them you are not going to introduce a false lag but you will lose information about variations within each period averaged but the value only depends only on each period averaged . You’ll get the false lag on the other hand when you do running or moving averages because each of your averages say a 30 day running average each value or data point depends also on the previous 30 days values.

    It’s the same effect as passing the signal through a low pass filter taking the differences (rates of change) of course has the same effect as passing the signal through a high pass filter so you only get high frequency data.

  149. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    150 reactions on a topic in one day? Must be a hot topic!

    As a result of a lot of discussions about the reliability of CO2 measurements, and the man-made part of the increase, I have made a web page about the basics of CO2 “background” levels and the increase at http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html, already mentioned by Hans Erren and others in this discussion. Unfortunately, that page is not yet complete, and several arguments which indicate that most of the increase is man-made are not yet in the page. Another part to come is a discussion of Beck’s data/paper, to be added after the base discussion.

    That the increase of CO2, at least in the past 50 years, is mainly man-made already follows out of the mass balance (CO2 expressed as gigaton carbon, 1 ppmv change in the atmosphere is about 2.1 GtC in the total air mass):

    Csources + Cemissions = Csinks + dCair
    where Cemissions = 2.5-6.5 GtC/yr (emissions are increasing over the 50 years)
    and dCair = 1-6 GtC/yr (the yearly change of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in average is increasing over the 50 years)
    and Csinks = Csources + 3 GtC +/- 2.5 GtC

    That means that, at least over the past 50 years, in every year the increase in the atmosphere was smaller than the emissions. Thus the sum of all possible natural influences (mainly due to temperature variability) in every year was more sink than source. Thus oceans + vegetation can’t be huge sources of CO2, except for a longer term temperature increase/decrease. Theoretically, the oceans or vegetation could be net sources, but then the other one need to be a larger sink to receive the excess CO2 + a part of the emissions.

    As already given by Hans Erren, the plot of global lower atmosphere temperatures (UAH) and global CO2 increase rates show a good correlation. As CO2 increase rates follow temperature changes, the main driver is the temperature. For short-term changes (like El Niño 1998, Pinatubo 1992), the change in increase is about 4 ppmv/K. To be noted, that is a change in increase speed, still with a continuous increase in atmospheric CO2.
    On longer terms, the ratio is about 8 ppmv/K (Vostok ice core 420,000 years), be it with hundreds to thousands years smoothing, due to the time needed to close the bubbles in firn and the number of layers needed for one CO2 measurement sample. The ratio is about 10 ppmv/K in high accumulation ice cores like Law Dome, with a 60 years smoothing over relative shorter time frames (past 10,000 years). The latter shows about 10 ppmv decrease for the about 1 K temperature decline between the MWP and the LIA. If nothing has changed in the CO2/temperature ratio (there is no indication for that), then the temperature change LIA-current times of about 1 K should have added about 10 ppmv since the LIA. The rest of the 100 ppmv is quite certainly man-made. Or in the time frame since Mauna Loa accurate measurements, about 70% of the emissions were made, which again are responsible for most the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere.

    More evidence for man-made increase is in the following:
    - CO2 levels in the upper oceans follow the air measurements
    - pH levels in the upper oceans are decreasing
    - d13C ratios are declining in the atmosphere and with some delay in the upper oceans
    This is a good indication that the (deep) oceans are not the source of the extra CO2, as the (deep) oceans have a higher d13C ratio than the atmosphere.
    - oxygen levels are declining in near ratio with fossil fuel use.
    As there is a small deficiency in oxygen use, that indicates that vegetation is not a net source of CO2, but a net sink (about 2 GtC/yr), as oxygen is produced by CO2 uptake.

    The combined observations can be shown in the following graph (made by Bert Bolin) for the last decade of the 1900′s:

    That the temperature has a huge influence on CO2 levels is eminent in the seasonal flows: a general exchange of about 100 GtC between oceans and atmosphere occurs over the seasons. For the seasonal exchange between atmosphere and vegetation, the seasonal exchange is about 50 GtC (see e.g. Battle ea. for estimates of seasonal flows between oceans, atmosphere and vegetation). These are huge flows of additions/sinks itself, but the net result at the end of one seasonal cycle doesn’t show much variation: +/- 3 GtC/yr. The net seasonal change in the atmosphere is the result of oceanic release and vegetation uptake in summer and the opposite in winter. This is visible in all 10 base stations which measure CO2 (and all other 400+ stations in the world). The yearly variation is higher in the NH (more land, less ocean) than in the SH, and there is a altitude gradient (Barrow at 7 m: +/- 10 ppmv, Mauna Loa 3,000 m: +/- 5 ppmv), as the main exchanges are at gound level. The SH follows the NH trend with a 6-12 months delay (and increasing). This indicates that the main source is in the NH (where 90% of the emissions are). The ITCZ forms a barrier, which delays the exchange of air (and CO2 and aerosols) between the NH and SH.

    The global change in ocean/air/vegetation temperature over the seasons is about 0.2 K (hard to detect in the noise!), I didn’t look at NH alone in a quick search, but if we assume that the NH has a larger winter-summer temperature difference (about 0.5 K, any better bid accepted), then we are back at our long-term estimate of 10 ppmv/K if we take the Mauna Loa data as base. Thus we can safely assume that the variation in increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is due to a quick response of nature (upper oceans and vegetation) to temperature changes.

    More detailed responses to relevant questions to come…

  150. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re 30

    Hans’ plot in #8 shows the same CO2 lag as does the ice core data (though not by 800 years!). If you look carefully, the temperature, in blue, goes up{down} first and then the CO2, in black, goes up{down}. The only two exceptions are the two very sharp dips in the 1982-1985 time period. If this holds up, the lag would imply that what we are seeing is CO2 released by heating of the oceans, most likely by sunlight.

    One caveat. If there is averaging of the CO2 but not the temperature that could introduce a false lag. The caption says there is averaging, but the plotted data doesn’t look averaged. Hans?

    It’s not an average Co2, it’s the moving annual CO2 increment. (so April2007 minus April2006 etc.., this removes seasonal variation) in the Rscript near the bottom are some lines for time shifts. Plotting April2007 minus April2006 on April2007 introduces obviously a lag with respect to temperature, I personally think the efect is near instantaneous: cold water fast sink, warm water slow sink.

    Please see the script http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/co2_lt_noaa.R
    When running the R-script please substitute this updated link for co2 data:
    ftp://ftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/ccg/co2/trends/co2_mm_mlo.dat

  151. Nigel Calder
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:30 AM | Permalink | Reply

    In 1999 I published a paper pointing out the very strong link between CO2 increments and temperature:

    “The Carbon Dioxide Thermometer and the Cause of Global Warming,”
    Energy & Environment Vol. 10 No. 1 pp. 1-18

    There was plenty of correlation with temperature and none with annual anthropogenic emissions as then reported. Volcanoes also seemed to have a disproportionate effect in suppressing CO2 increments.

    I’ve been meaning to revisit the subject since a few more years of data have come in, but have been too busy with other things, including the cosmic-ray climate connection (The Chilling Stars). So it’s good that others are latching on to the CO2 mystery.

    If there is any way of linking it to the Climate Audit website, I could send a 1 Mb pdf of the 1999 paper. I don’t have a website of my own.

  152. Jean S
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 5:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Nigel, there are several places where you can put your stuff (and then send a link here), e.g. http://www.esnips.com/ offers 5GB.

  153. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 5:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Alchemists’ dream. It can be done by nuclear reactions.

    Yes, but we can’t do it yet, so how long a time will have elapsed between the original idea and achievement?

  154. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 5:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> If there is any way of linking it to the Climate Audit website

    If Steve M can’t do this, either for technical or neutrality reasons, I can put it up on my server

  155. Wolfgang Flamme
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 5:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Please, could anyone point me to a resource for anthropogenous emissions more complete (including land use changes, eg) and maybe more up to date than this?

    Thank you.

  156. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 5:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Please, could anyone point me to a resource for anthropogenous emissions more complete (including land use changes, eg) and maybe more up to date than this?

    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/emis/em_cont.htm

  157. welikerocks
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 5:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: oceans/volcanoes

    There is estimated to be over 10,000 undersea volcanoes on Earth.
    NOAA Ocean Explorer: Submarine Ring of Fire research “04″ (guess they stopped working?)
    site: link
    “Champagne at 1 Mile Deep, Anyone? The Vent Site at NW Eifuku Volcano”
    they say about one of these thousands:

    Surprisingly, bubbles composed of some sort of fluid were rising out of the sediment around the chimneys. (QuickTime, 1.9 Mb) Bubbles have been seen before in hydrothermal systems, but never in such great abundance. It’s obvious why podcast icon camera icon the site was named “Champagne” (QuickTime, 1.9 Mb). The bubbles were slightly opaque, only barely buoyant, and sticky, adhering to surfaces on the ROPOS ROV. The bubbles also differed from typical gas bubbles in that they had little tendency to fuse into larger bubbles, even when touching each other. We discovered that the fluids venting from the chimneys at the Champagne site are super-charged with dissolved gases! These fluids want to expand over 50 times in volume as the ROV ascends to the surface, because the confining weight of seawater pressure is removed.

    Although we have not completed any detailed analysis of the composition of the dissolved gases in the chimney fluids, we conclude that it is most likely predominantly carbon dioxide. Furthermore, the fluid bubbles exiting from the sea floor around the chimneys are most likely composed of liquid carbon dioxide. The opaque coating on the bubbles is likely a thin layer of carbon dioxide hydrate forming on the surface (a solid carbon dioxide material composed of water and carbon dioxide). These hydrates, or clathrates as they are also called, form only at ocean depths below 350 m (1,150 ft) when high concentrations of carbon dioxide are present in seawater. The Champagne site is one of only three sites known to be venting bubbles of liquid carbon dioxide and forming natural carbon dioxide clathrates. Furthermore, the carbon dioxide concentration in the Champagne vent fluids is, as far as we know, the highest ever recorded for oceanic hydrothermal fluids. Video courtesy of Submarine Ring of Fire 2004 Exploration, NOAA Vents Program.

    video page: link

  158. John Lang
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 6:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It seems pretty clear that ocean and lower troposphere temperatures impact the rate of rise in CO2 levels. Hans Erren’s chart in #8 demonstrates that 100%.

    But CO2 levels are still rising and the rate of change is accelerating slightly.

    The cooler ocean and atmosphere temperatures we are experiencing right now might be slowing the increase, but CO2 levels are still rising.

  159. buck smith
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 7:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Can irrigation and fertilization stop the increase in CO2. here are my calculations:

    sq ft per sq mile 27878400
    Growth per year (ft) 0.083
    specific Gravity 1.1
    Ratio that is carbon 0.25
    Mass / Sq mile (Lbs) 39866112
    Mass / Sq mile (Tons) 18120.96

    Tons to eliminate 7497252000

    Sq miles to irrigate 413733.7

    New Mexico 121356
    Texas (1/5) 52359.4
    Mali 478764
    Libya 687320
    Australia 3002676
    Gobi 505859
    Arizona 113634
    Nevada 109825
    Utah 82143
    Chihuahua 95679
    Tunisia 63910
    Chad 501563
    Saudi Arabia 839723
    Niger 494922

    Irrigation Ratio 0.07

    If only 7% of the arid regions of the world are irrigated enough to grow 1″ of vegetation per year. This removes all current emmisions from the atmosphere.

  160. jae
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 7:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    142, Ian: Note that the Barett paper explains why evaporation causes a negative feedback and supports my hypothesis that dryer areas are hotter.

  161. Chris Wright
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 8:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 65 and 113 – Gunnar and Tony

    Here’s my plot:

    http://www.kline.demon.co.uk/A1.jpeg

    The green is the human emission rate, blue is CO2 levels and, for good measure, red is the global temperature (HADCRUT3). One thing smacks you in the face: there is virtually no obvious correlation between any of them! It would be interesting to see whether a more scientific investigation can show any significant correlation.

    By the way, Hans Erren gave a link to the emission rate data in message 160. I’ll import that and plot it and see how it compares.

  162. AK
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 8:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    A good starting point for understanding how CO2 behaves in the ocean is Geological Carbon Sinks (PDF) by Ridgwell and Edwards (chapter 6 of Greenhouse Gas Sinks Edited by D Reay, University of Edinburgh, UK; N Hewitt, University of Lancaster, UK; J Grace, University of Edinburgh, UK; K A Smith). See especially Box 6.1. Carbonate chemistry ‘101’.

    I’ll point out that while CO2 is pretty well mixed in the air, the same is not true both horizontally and especially vertically in the ocean. A good deal of CO2 is carried in the ThermoHaline Circulation, which may vary in intensity from year to year, as well as over the annual cycle. There is also the carbon pump, which primarily takes both organic carbon and calcium carbonate from the surface into the depths. Most of the organic carbon is mineralized (oxidized) before it can be buried (except for the Black Sea and some anoxic zones in the deeps). Most of the calcium carbonate dissolves in deeper water, but in some shallower areas it accumulates as “snow” on the bottom (see Ridgewell and Edwards pp 82-83).

    Something not mentioned in Ridgewell and Edwards is the upwelling of bottom water especially along the continental mid-latitude west coasts. This brings both calcium carbonate and CO2 back to the surface, at concentrations depending on the history of the water involved.

    AFAIK there is no reason to assume that all these processes occur at the same rate year on year. Many of the cycles involved in carbon transport have decade, century, or longer periods, and considering the volumes involved even tiny fluctuations could produce a 2-5 ppm fluctuation in atmospheric CO2.

  163. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 8:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    164 jae

    While the latent heat of evaporation cools the surface, there is a larger warming effect from the WV GHG effect, according to Barrett (top of p. 1044). According to him, there is a 37C warming effect from water-vapor and the evaporation effect partly offsets this to give a net effect of 24C warming.
    I’m not sure I agree with him, but that’s what he writes.

  164. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 8:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #138 Dennis Wingo:

    In noting that the interannual variation has increased from ~2 ppm to ~4ppm over the last 50 years makes one think of the following.

    The Mauna Loa data indicates that if all hydrocarbon emissions stopped immediately that there would be a net decrease per year of about 4ppm.

    What is wrong with the above logic? (the 2-4 ppm change over the last 50 years is readily readable in the monthly Mauna Loa data spreadsheet)

    Did you mean the intra-annual change? That is, the change CO2 concentration throughout a single year. If so, I don’t think this supports your assertion that CO2 concentrations would drop by 4ppm per year. Consider this analogy:

    Think about going for a drive on a road with lots of identical, small hills. You keep the gas pedal in exactly the same position. You start off slowly but begin to accelerate on the flat. You slow down a little on every up hill but speed up on the downhills. Overall your speed continues to increase. Eventually you’re going 380mph (as slow as 378mph uphill and as fast as 382mph downhill).

    Now take your foot off the gas. How quickly will you decelerate?

    There’s not enough information to answer the question. The intra-annual variation (the little hills) is still there when you’re decelerating, but it says nothing about your overall deceleration rate. Just as it said nothing of the overall acceleration rate.

    I hope that makes sense.

    =====
    #151 Ivan:

    if warming starts as an effect of “unknown process” how one can know that the same unknown process after 800 years ceased or not ceased to operate?

    I think you misunderstoon the common explanation for ice ages. The “unknown process” is only partially unknown and it does not when CO2 concentrations begin to increase. A common explanation is that solar forcing due to orbital cycles causes some warming. That warming causes a release of CO2. The CO2 amplifies the solar warming. (The common explanation says CO2 contributes about 40% of the total). As the orbital cycle swings the other way, the solar forcing reduces and temperature begins to drop. Lower temperatures lead to the ocean acting as a better sink and therefore reduced CO2.

    I did a very basic simulation a few weeks ago.
    Here are the results: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2220#comment-152103
    And here’s a description of the simulation: http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2220#comment-151934

    No tricks were required to create a simulation with CO2 lagging temperature for both warming and cooling.

  165. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 8:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    One thing smacks you in the face: there is virtually no obvious correlation between any of them! It would be interesting to see whether a more scientific investigation can show any significant correlation.

    try a multivariate approach

    ref
    Douglass, D.H. and B.D Clader, 2002, Climate sensitivity of the earth to solar irradiance,
    Geophys. Res Lett. vol 29, no. 16, 10.1029/2002GL015345

  166. mccall
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 8:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    73 … very nice summary!

  167. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    168 John V

    I’m afraid your “simulation” of a lag (your link in 168) is a false one. You have produced a lag of 1 step in your calculation, but only because you are using a finite-difference method to solve your equations.

    If you reduce your step-size to a quarter of your existing one, you will find that your lag will also drop to 25% of its current value.

  168. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:28 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #165,

    Chris, you have plotted the yearly emissions vs. the accumulated value in the atmosphere. To be comparable, you need to plot the accumulated emissions vs. the values in the atmosphere, which show a very good correlation for 50 years of Mauna Loa data:

  169. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I know Steve Mc wanted us to discuss the narrow purview of CO2, but we should recognize the importance of methane that correlates well with the ebb and flow of CO2 in the atmosphere. This is another example of how little we truly understand when it comes to our climate.

    A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics, Frank Keppler et al, discovered that plants create methane gas under aerobic conditions. For the uninitiated, aerobic chemical reactions occur in the presence of oxygen, while anaerobic is the opposite, no oxygen present. To quantify their result, Keppler’s team used small experimental chambers with detection sensitivity in parts per billion. At such low detection sensitivity, it is no wonder why this result was overlooked in the past.

    In an updated summary of the Nature article in the February 2007 edition of Scientific American, the authors ruminate on their incredible finding. They demonstrate that living vegetation produced 10 to 100 times more methane than non-living vegetation. In addition, the authors point out that prior to their discovery there was an established consensus written in every biochemical textbook, which stated that methane produced by aerobic means was impossible. In science, an established worldview can come crashing down relatively quickly. All it takes is one reproducible experiment. Science has always been self-correcting, and the discovery by Keppler’s team is a faultless example.

    Methane is important in the global warming debate because it can adsorb and emit infrared radiation approximately 23 times more efficiently than carbon dioxide (CO2) does (ref. 1). Scientists know that methane is produced naturally by three different methods. One, it is generated when conditions favour fermentation reactions in swamps, marshes, and rice paddies. Two, methane is produced “as a by-product of anaerobic microbial digestion” (ref.2) in the gut of termites, ruminant animals (especially cows), and some humans. Please, no fart jokes Steve Mosher. And three, methane is produced in significant quantities by plants. That’s right, living plants.

    Keppler’s team then took the methane rate of reaction from their study and scaled it up to include all vegetation on the planet. They calculated that plants pump between 60 and 240 million metric tons of methane per year into our atmosphere. This represents 10 to 40 percent of the current methane budget, which is roughly 600 million metric tons per year. What this means, of course, is that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have not accounted for hundreds of millions of tons of extra methane in the atmosphere due to planets; the IPCC’s budget is too small. This is big news.

    The editors at Scientific American, known to be unfriendly to the global warming skeptic (as evidenced by their embarrassing behavior when reviewing Bjorn Lomborg’s book “The Skeptical Environmentalist”), go to great lengths to convince the reader that the Keppler study “does not throw doubt on the cause of global warming” (ref. 3). Yes it does. Here’s how.

    The following list is a breakdown of methane emissions in million metric tons per year as reported in Scientific American: wetlands (225), ruminants (115), energy production (110), landfills (40), biomass burning (40), waste treatment (25), termites (20), ocean (15), and hydrates (10) (ref. 4). Given that plants produce an additional 60 to 240 million metric tons of methane per year—not accounted for in the IPCC budget—this fact has an explicit outcome on the accuracy of the global circulation models (GCMs) touted as gospel by none other than Scientific American. The GCMs are the complex computer programs that predict short-term weather and long-term climate. This amounts to clear corroboration that the GCMs, whose sole purpose is to predict climate, are at best flawed because they are incomplete, and at worst, valueless.

    Once the scientists worked through the details of their computation, the sheer enormity of methane from plants was shocking. Keppler and Thomas Röckmann, one of the other lead authors, wrote, “We were nonetheless astounded by the figure generated by our calculations” (ref. 5). Other scientists who read the Nature article recognized the papers importance instantly. It cleared up several conundrums climatologists have been puzzling over for years.

    First, it explained why concentrations of both methane and CO2 increased in the atmosphere during deglaciation periods. The explanation goes something like this. As ice and permafrost began melting, the retreating glaciers exposed more landmass for planet growth. Meanwhile, as the oceans warmed, dissolved CO2 became less soluble and outgassed to the atmosphere. More CO2 in the atmosphere created a natural fertilizer effect augmenting plant growth. Stimulated plant growth in turn produced more methane. With more methane and CO2 in the atmosphere, a small upshot in warming was produced. The important warming from the Sun, which started the entire process in the first place, increased the evaporation rate from the warming oceans and lakes, producing higher levels of water vapour in air. Higher levels of water vapour produced more clouds and precipitation and helped control Earth’s unique thermostat that exists today. What is vital to our new understanding here is the natural coupling between methane and CO2 in the atmosphere. Before 2006, this phenomenon was unknown.

    Second, the paper clarified another mystery perplexing physicists because of suspected anomalous satellite observations. In 2005, Frankenburg et al measured huge plumes of methane emanating from evergreen forests all over the planet (ref. 6). Botanists and climatologists assessing this paper wrongly assumed that the methane was coming from dead vegetation biodegrading. No, it was coming from living plants.

    If we are as a group interested in how, and if, CO2 is responsible for atmospheric warming, I think it prudent that a discussion of methane from terrestrial plants also be considered.

    Ref.1 Keppler, F., Röckmann, T. February 2007. Methane, Plants and Climate Change. Scientific American, Vol. 296, No. 2, 52—57 (pg. 53)
    Ref. 2 Ibid, pg. 53
    Ref. 3 See 2 pg 56
    Ref. 4 See 2 pg 55
    Ref. 5 Ibid, pg. 54
    Ref. 6 Frankenburg, C., Meirink, J. F., van Weele, M., Platt, U. & Wagner, T. May 2005 Assessing methane emissions from global space-borne observations. Science Vol. 308, 1010—1014

  170. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re: #172 Ferdinand,

    A pretty straight line, with if anything a slight tendency to indicate a higher % of emitted CO2 being sequestered rather than staying in the atmosphere. I.e. a convex rather than concave tendency. This would mean either that living organisms are getting more efficient in photosynthesizing with higher CO2 levels in the air or that the ocean removes a larger % of the CO2 as the difference between the atmospheric CO2 level and ocean CO2 level becomes larger. But the devience from a straight line is still rather small and it could just be random variations.

  171. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #172, folks, the emissions are not measured values. You should read the story of the horse that could understand math, and then you would realize that this is the most scientifically suspect claim on this whole blog.

    Error bars aren’t even applicable, because there is no way to validate the guesses with measurement.

  172. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #168

    John V.,

    The carbon sinks mainly work by the partial pressure difference between the atmosphere and the oceans and the partial pressure of CO2 vs. these in the alveoles’ liquid. If we should stop emissions at once, then the sink rate would be near equal in the first year, compared to the previous year, but the next year it would be lower, as the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere (thus pCO2) is lower. This is an e-function with an half time rate of about 30-40 years (different estimates exist). That is the half life of atmosphere to upper oceans (something similar possibly for atmosphere to vegetation). Longer time frames exist for the exchange of upper oceans to the deep ocean…

  173. Mark T.
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    In John’s simulation cause-effect is being confused. The solar forcing is still the “cause,” even if its magnitude is smaller, i.e. it is the forcer, not CO2. Stop the solar oscillation and the CO2 effect will very quickly stabilize to zero additional increase in temperature. However, if you remove the CO2 dependence the temperature continues to oscillate. Another interesting test is to increase the lag. You’ll note that even with the contrived scale (I don’t say “gain” because it is a scale parameter acting on a logarithmic gain function), the CO2 component quickly becomes _less_ than the solar. You can muck with the Excel file directly simply by changing where the feedback comes from. Go to C13 and change the equation from =$E$3*LOG(E12/$E$2,2) to =$E$3*LOG(E10/$E$2,2) (you’ll also need to reference C12 and C11 to E10 to remove the initial startup oddity). The two effects are now nearly equal. Start at C14 with =$E$3*LOG(E10/$E$2,2), and the CO2 component becomes smaller than the solar component.

    It is equally easy to simply apply a straightforward no-feedback implementation to get similar results. In either case, a) it is stable and b) solar forcing dominates the overall response.

    Mark

  174. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 9:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #171 Pat Keating:
    Hmmm… interesting. Let me look into that.

    It looks like you’re right. My very simple simulation assumes equilibrium is reached with every time step. Therefore, the lag can only be introduced by the finite-difference method of integration.

    To fix the simulation I will need to introduce a time constant for the effect of temperature on CO2. Doing so assumes that CO2 lags temperature, which is the original hypothesis. I suppose it will still be interesting to see if the system is stable. I’ll report back in a little while.

  175. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #176 Ferdinand Engelbeen:
    That sounds about right. I think we agree.
    My post was regarding Dennis Wingo’s extrapolation from intra-annual variation to inter-annual decline.

    =====
    #177 Mark T:
    I did not mean to imply that CO2 was the cause of the original warming. In ice-age cycles, the orbital cycle (which causes solar forcing variation) is absolutely the cause. Excluding anthropogenic emissions CO2 is a feedback, but due to its long residence time it can also be a forcing.

    I was clear in my original conclusions that the ratio of CO2 to solar forcing can be adjusted by tweaking parameters. The accepted value is around 40% of temperature change from CO2.

    The original argument was that CO2 feedback was impossible because CO2 lags temperature. That is clearly not true.

  176. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    178
    Yes, you need to do some integration if you want a time lag. As soon as I saw there was no integration, I knew there was something else going on.
    800 years is quite a long time (32 generations of humans). To make this clearer to us puny humans, the current rise in CO2 could well be due to the rise of temperature for the Medieval Warm Period, plus the lag.

  177. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #155 – Sorry for acting a bit star struck in public … Nigel, “The Restless Earth” was a major influence on me at a tender (9 years) young age. Great to see you dropping in here! And a hearty “thanks”, truly from the bottom of my heart, for helping me and countless other up and coming, at the time youthful, scientists and engineers, in our formative years!

  178. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    More detailed responses to relevant questions to come…

    Thanks for a very nice exposition. Question. I have read in various places that humans exhale about 0.9 kg of CO2 per day, extrapolating that to our 6.5 billion people, multiplying that by 365 and then dividing by 1000 (metric tons), I get 2.1 billion tons per year of CO2 from a source that only some would like to reduce. Now this number is obviously a major component of the 2-6 billion tons that you cite here. We know from past population data that in 1940 for example, when there were only 2 billion people, the CO2 exhaust from that source would have only been ~670 million tons per year. Interesting numbers that would put a floor on the anthropogenic component of emissions of CO2.

    Where this gets interesting to me is that it is obvious if CO2 concentrations are increasing then is it likewise true that oxygen concentrations are decreasing proportionally. now here is the absorption spectra for the diatomic molecule of oxygen that absorbs in the near UV to UV portion of the spectrum.

    How does this effect climate? Now I have seen no arguments anywhere about how a decrease in O2 concentration would effect climate but in the UV the energy of a photon is orders of magnitude greater than an IR photon. I do understand that the O2 spectra is saturated and that is why the sky is blue but it does seem that this inverse relationship between CO2 and O2 should be able to be calculated. Have you seen anything on this?

  179. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #163 – Indeed, if one looks at the general decline in atmospheric CO2 since the beginning of the Holocene, one must wonder about the extent to which human activities other than combustion may actually be consuming CO2. There is now a growing amount of topsoil in places that have not had topsoil in thousands of years. Once that topsoil has flora in it, a number of siginificant changes can occur.

    I may actually be starting to talk myself into a type of Gaia notion. But this one is a bit different than the one currently in vogue. Increasingly, I see a multimodal world, when reviewing the swathe of geological history / the fossil record. For simplicity, I will roughly cut things into 4 different modes.

    Mode one is snowball Earth. A quasi dormant state, with low levels of biological activity and low levels of climate dynamics.

    Mode two is high CO2, wet, diverse Earth. CO2 levels in the thousands of PPM, massive species turn over, rapidly shifting evolutionary landscape, very high species diversity with low population levels per species. Extreme climate variability – odd ice ages interspersed.

    Mode three, our current mode, is low CO2, dry, monocultural Earth. CO2 levels in the hundreds of PPM, slow species turn over, lethargic evolutionary landscape, low specied diversity with high population levels per species, and, significantly, increasing overall global biomass. Relatively low climate variability with a bias toward moderate ice age modes.

    And mode four? Fungus world. Massive extinction. Huge shift from CO2 PPM below 1500 to CO2 PPM at or above 10000 PPM.

    I strongly suspect that mode 3 may have an innate tendency to lead to mode 4. Mode 4 is the “market correction” in response to a mode 3 that fixed too much carbon.

  180. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    For some reason that last comment got somewhat munged.

    Here is the UV absorption spectra for O2

  181. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #180 Pat Keating:
    Ok, I’ve added a time constant (actually an exponential decay rate) to my model. The updated spreadsheet is available at the original location:

    http://www.opentemp.org/_results/misc/LogarithmicFeedback.xls

    There is now a “decay rate” for increasing CO2 from increasing temperature and a separate decay rate for decreasing CO2 from decreasing temperature. Of course, this introduces a time lag. Stability does not seem to be affected. That is, certain combinations of parameters are unstable but no more or less so than before (from a quick check).

    Here’s the result of a simulation using 0.1 for the decay rate coefficient:

    And a detail of the same results:

    With this update to the model the warming and cooling sides of the sawtooth can be easily made to have different rates. As an example, you could hypothesize that CO2 will increase quickly due to fast sources (such as thawing of permafrost) but decrease slowly because there are no fast sinks. This can be simply modelled by tuning the two decay rates (for increasing and decreasing CO2). The result is a shifted sawtooth similar to the ice age temperature profiles.

  182. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:51 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #183 – It is a bit counterintuitive as to how a monocultural low CO2, cold, dry earth can have increasing biomass (and increasing post biological fixed carbon). The key is competition. Diverse world has very high levels of competition for niches. Our current world is fat dumb and happy, with low levels of competition.

  183. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Mode 3 may also be a precursor of Mode 1.

  184. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #182 Dennis Wingo:
    The CO2 that we (and all animals) exhale is created from carbon that we consumed from plants or other animals. At the base of the food chain there is always a plant that removed CO2 from the atmosphere. That is, the CO2 that we exhale was recently removed from the atmosphere. It’s a closed system.

    The burning of fossil fuels is also a closed system but with a much larger time scale. Whereas the food chain may take years to recycle CO2, fossil fuels take millions of years.

  185. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    185 John V

    I didn’t look at your arithmetic, but your lag is still around one step in magnitude. Did you run it with the time step reduced by a factor 4, to see if the lag stays constant, or drops by 4?

  186. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #189 – There is increasing evidence that “peak deposition events” may actually occur over a few hundred thousand years or less. I would not want to be around for one.

  187. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    A “peak deposition event” is the opposite of a major fungal “liberation event.” It arises from extreme competition for niches.

  188. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #190 Pat Keating:
    The lag is actually more like 8 to 10 time steps in the results above.

  189. jae
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    167, Pat: I know that I don’t agree with him, because the empirical evidence strongly shows otherwise.

  190. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    192 John V

    I look at your spread sheet, and I see Co2 and delta T both peaking at step 9 and at step 39…..

  191. Mark T.
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #177 Mark T:
    I did not mean to imply that CO2 was the cause of the original warming. In ice-age cycles, the orbital cycle (which causes solar forcing variation) is absolutely the cause. Excluding anthropogenic emissions CO2 is a feedback, but due to its long residence time it can also be a forcing.

    My point is that no matter how you view the data from your script, CO2 is not the cause, it is an effect.

    The original argument was that CO2 feedback was impossible because CO2 lags temperature. That is clearly not true.

    Actually, the original argument is that CO2 cannot be both the forcer AND lag, i.e. cause must precede effect, which your script clearly indicates (not that everyone necessarily understood the distinction). It lags simply because it is not the cause. Cause cannot lag effect in any natural system.

    Mark

  192. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #194 Pat Keating:
    There is a new worksheet in the Excel workbook (“Sinusoidal plus Time Constant”).
    I think you’re looking at the old worksheet, which I did not change.

  193. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    193 jae
    I have an open mind on this.

    I think that he is talking about only the surface cooling, and leaving out the fact that the latent heat thing goes both ways, the heat is released again at altitude when water-vapor condenses into droplets as clouds.

    I think there may well be something in your hypothesis, but I haven’t figured out what is right and what may be wrong……Maybe I’ll get the chance to take a closer look.

  194. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #195 Mark T:
    If the effect of CO2 is removed from the simulation, the temperature change is reduced.
    Solar forcing is the cause of the base temperature change.
    CO2 is the cause of the increase in magnitude.
    CO2 is both a feedback and a forcing. The feedback is demonstrated by the plots near the top of this thread. The forcing is demonstrated by basic greenhouse theory. If you’re refuting greenhouse theory, let’s just agree to disgree for now.

  195. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This is probably the most elegant falsification of AGW yet expressed:

    Cause cannot lag effect in any natural system.

  196. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    196 John V
    OK, I’ll take a look.

    However, it is important to realize that all finite-difference calculations must undergo this test:
    Reduce the step-size until there are no significant further changes in the results, given the accuracy you need.

    So you need to do that reduce-the-step-size test, anyway.

  197. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    196 John V

    It turns out that I was in fact looking at “Sinusoidal…”

    Look at the values of CO2 and deltaT around step 9 to see what I mean about the small lag.

  198. mzed
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #199–sure it can: when something is both cause and effect, as in a feedback system.

    Once again we see that everything depends on defining exactly what we’re talking about…

  199. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    199 Gunnar

    By “falsification” do you mean “negation” or “refutation”?

    I think the CO2 lag is one of the most critical facts which refute the AGW hypothesis and the results of climate modeling, which invariably assume that total CO2 causes around 30C of warming.

    I wonder if the AGW thing would have ever got off the ground if the lag had been discovered before folks had committed themselves to the AGW hypothesis.

  200. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gunnar,

    Re #37: Please read my pages about the Mauna Loa data. Keeling and many others give all the data, including outliers. They use only “selected” data, as they only want real “background” data in the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly averages, not influenced by local sources/sinks like volcanic outgassing or vegetation. But including or excluding the outliers doesn’t change the yearly averages, you only see a higher variability.

    Re #65: d13C ratios can’t be distinguished between fossil fuel burning and vegetation decay, but we have some help from oxygen measurements to make the distinction. Fossil fuel burning uses oxygen in stoichiometric (equivalent) quantities, just like vegetation decay. Thus by measuring the amount of oxygen used, if higher than from fossil fuel burning, then vegetation decay is adding CO2. If the measured quantities are lower, then vegetation produces oxygen and is a net sink for CO2. The latter is what happened in the past decade.

    Re #111: The CO2/tenperature ratio is visible in all time frames: from 8 ppmv/K (Vostok) via 10 ppmv/K (Law Dome) to 4 ppmv/K for short term variations (Mauna Loa). Thus quite stable (and low) over many ice cores and modern instruments… This excludes temperature as the main driver of the current CO2 increase.

    Re #137/139: I have read that too. The reporter who said that expected that the great depression would decrease the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, but that is not the case. As humans still emit, the rate of increase would be lower, not the absolute values. The net difference of rate of increase at that time anyway was below the detection limit of the measurements.

    Re #141: A common error: there is a high difference between residence time (the life time of a particular molecule of CO2 in the atmosphere before being absorbed, which indeed is about 5 years) and the response to an increase of CO2. The first is governed by the amount of CO2 that is exchanged during the seasonal cycle (about 150 GtC on a total of 800 GtC in the atmosphere), about one fifth of the CO2 in the atmosphere is exchanged. That was visible after the end of the nuclear bomb testing when 14C levels decreased quite fast (fresh CO2 from the oceans is 14C depleted). The second is about the rate with which excess CO2 (as total mass) from the atmosphere is absorbed by oceans and vegetation, which half life time to reach a new equilibrium is 30-40 years.

    Re #175: Last but not least: CO2 emissions are based on national inventories of fossil fuel use. If anything, I am pretty sure these are underestimates (cfr. China!). If you have any indication that they are overestimates, I am very interested.

    Gunnar, it may look like that I am getting on you in particular, but that is not the case. I have heard your arguments too many times before, and these are easely proven wrong. The problem with many sceptics is that they believe anything that shows the right conclusions (the same problem for many warmers). Please be critical for everything that is said and look at the two sides for arguments and make your own conclusions…

    Ferdinand

  201. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    jae #164, 193

    “142, Ian: Note that the Barett paper explains why evaporation causes a negative feedback and supports my hypothesis that dryer areas are hotter.”

    I am not entirely sure what your theory is, but the opposite of your claim can be demonstrated, that is, dryer areas are colder.

    If you have ever been to Winnipeg in the winter (sometimes referred to as Winterpeg), it can reach -40F on a good day with little to no humidity. This is when the snow squeaks under your shoes like sneakers on a basketball court.

    One might add that we need to humidify the air in our homes during the winter months because it is generally drier.

    As I said, it could be that I have misunderstood your comments and by extension taken liberties with your scientific inquiry. If so, please ignore.

    Ian

  202. Mark T.
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #199–sure it can: when something is both cause and effect, as in a feedback system.

    Uh, no, sorry, but cause ALWAYS precedes effect. This is one of the most fundamental concepts of nature known as the principal of causality. CO2 is NOT a cause in John V’s simulation (which is intended to provide a plausible mechanism of what is happening in nature), it is merely an effect amplified through the gain of the feedback system. This gain is also monotonically decreasing to zero, I should add. No matter how you view this, the effect lags the cause, which in this simulation is the solar forcing.

    Once again we see that everything depends on defining exactly what we’re talking about…

    It also requires understanding what we’re talking about.

    #195 Mark T:
    If the effect of CO2 is removed from the simulation, the temperature change is reduced.

    No kidding, but the oscillation still happens. Remove solar and there is NO oscillation.

    Solar forcing is the cause of the base temperature change.
    CO2 is the cause of the increase in magnitude.

    This is getting ridiculous. CO2 IS NOT A CAUSE IN YOUR SCRIPT. It is merely an outcome that results from the solar cause, with gain. Period. Take away the solar oscillation and all you have is a rapidly converging flat line.

    CO2 is both a feedback and a forcing.

    No, it is not, and I dare you to find a classical text on control theory (outside of “climate science”) that allows such a definition. This is a joke. It is feedback with non-linear gain that approaches zero over time, that is all. CO2 is a function of solar output in your script, therefore it is by definition an effect and an effect alone.

    The feedback is demonstrated by the plots near the top of this thread. The forcing is demonstrated by basic greenhouse theory. If you’re refuting greenhouse theory, let’s just agree to disgree for now.

    Nice strawman, but I’m not making a stand on greenhouse theory either way. I’m merely stating that you do not understand what the concepts of cause and effect mean. Sorry, but your “interpretation” is nonsense.

    Mark

  203. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> By “falsification” do you mean “negation” or “refutation”?

    Ok, are you reserving the word “falsification” for empirical results? I’m fine with that. I’m saying that for AGW, it doesn’t qualify as a hypothesis, since it isn’t coherent and consistent with other known laws of science. IOW, it’s Not Even Wrong

    >> I wonder if the AGW thing would have ever got off the ground if the lag had been discovered before folks had committed themselves to the AGW hypothesis.

    Sure it would have, since it’s driven by a political agenda, not scientific curiousity. Even now, the level of actual scientific curiousity is extremely low.

  204. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 183. After reading certain unnamed blogspots, the skidmarks of climate science,
    I long for a hot wet gaia gone wild world.

  205. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #198:

    John V., climate program experts (James Hansen) expect that CO2 helped the ice age – interglacial and back transitions for about 50%. That kind of assumptions can be made, because there is a huge overlap during the increase in temperature and the CO2 rise (about 600 years) and the other side out (several thousands of years). But there is one exception: the end of the Eemian, where CO2 levels decreased only when temperature (dD) was about at minimum (and ice sheets at maximum). The subsequent decrease of 40 ppmv CO2 had no measurable effect on temperature.
    See: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/eemian.html

    A detailed graph of the LGM-Holocene transition also doesn’t show any feedback of 80 ppmv CO2 on temperature. The graph was made by André van den Berg:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/epica5.gif

    Both transitions show that the influence of CO2 on temperature is quite low…

  206. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John V and Mark T.

    This is great. I have not been this entertained since the “who shot JR episode.”

    #208 Steve Mosher

    Well, it wasn’t a fart joke, but “the skidmarks of climate change” remark simply must find its why in to your burgeoning t-shirt collection.

  207. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Mark T, effect can not preceed cause, but things can (and do) switch roles. And feedback can be positive or negative or not there. There is both a time and location factor here, as well as other variables that can modulate things. Think of the string of 5 metal orbs, when you grab one and let it go, it’s a cause that has an effect on the orb at the other end. After the orb on the other end reverses directions, it is now a cause. Are the orbs in the middle forcings or feedbacks?

    John V, you answered “Why do you need (apart from to “prove” AGW thesis) any feedback theory to explain relation between T and CO2 concentration growth?” with:

    If you accept the greenhouse effect, and if you accept that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, then it follows that CO2 increasing with T is a positive feedback. If you don’t accept the first two, then we won’t be able to resolve anything here.

    “The greenhouse effect” and “CO2 being a greenhouse gas” is not “feedback theory” and “temp/CO2 concentration relationship”. Your second sentence seems out of place. Why does the fact that CO2 and Temp for the lower troposphere move similarly have to mean “CO2 increasing with T is a positive feedback”? If I remember correctly, the chart for CH4 and T or N2O and T or O3 and T move in a similar manner.

    There’s a greenhouse effect and CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Nothing follows from that about feedback or relationships with temperature. The system reacts to its inputs and things go up and down. So far it seems to be in a pretty good dynamic equilibrium.

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but who has said feedback is impossible? Even if CO2 lags temperature (or the other way around, it doesn’t matter) all the GHG clearly have both negative and positive feedback aspects, depending on the circumstances and the interactions with the other variables. Thinking you can decouple any of them, that’s the problem (IMO).

    You also made the statement “If the ocean warms and stays warmer, the CO2 concentration goes up and stays up. This causes more warming, which causes more CO2, etc. ”

    You’re assuming that always warm ocean=more CO2. You’re assuming more CO2=continuing more CO2. You’re assuming more (continued) CO2=more warming. And even if all your assumptions are correct, you’re ignoring all the other factors. Even if there were no other factors, you’re ignoring everything that can re-sink the CO2. If you are only using this as an example to show it’s not impossible for CO2 to be a feedback, sorry I parsed what you wrote incorrectly, but you made a lot of assumptions (and, obviously, argueable ones at that).

  208. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #206

    Mark T., as a retired chemical engineer, later involved in process automation, I saw several times positive feedbacks from polymerisations after an initial temperature increase (including runaway reactions!). In all these cases, the initial temperature increase (either a step case or temperature gradient) would die out or the increase would be smaller without the influence of the feedback on temperature.

    Thus while temperature is the initial cause and CO2 (or water vapor) the initial response (feedback), if there is a positive influence of increased CO2 (or water vapor) on temperature, then the initial temperature increase will be enforced as secondary response (feedback). All depends of the height of the second feedback, which empirically is much lower than currently implied in climate models.

  209. Larry
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You’re assuming that always warm ocean=more CO2. You’re assuming more CO2=continuing more CO2.

    That’s a correct assumption, given that the total quantity of CO2 in the oceans is something like 50 times the total amount in the air. For practical intents and purposes, it’s an inexhaustible supply. And the temperature/solubility curve doesn’t reverse.

  210. MarkW
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Solar forcing is the cause of the base temperature change.
    CO2 is the cause of the increase in magnitude.

    CO2 results in an increase in magnitude because you have assumed that it must. That is, you have placed in your equations a multiplier by which CO2 affects temperature. Decrease the value of that multiplier, and you decrease the affect that CO2 has.

    Of all the people who post here, I’ve only seen one who postulates that CO2 has no affect on climate. I’ve seen several, including myself, who postulate that it has very little affect.

    All you have proven is that what matters is the multiplier (or feedback). Nobody has ever disputed that.

  211. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Re #37: Please read my pages about the Mauna Loa data

    I have read them. The problem is that the points made aren’t relevant with respect to my #37. These guys have an agenda. I accept their results, but I demand that they be audited.

    The original point was about data before 1960, which I provided information about, now deleted. Your point #1 does not in any substantive way invalidate the results referred to in #50.

    #206, excellent post

  212. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 210… Ian mosttimes I amuse myself; less frequently I amuse others. Thanks for your laughs.

  213. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> That’s a correct assumption, given that the total quantity of CO2 in the oceans is something like 50 times the total amount in the air. For practical intents and purposes, it’s an inexhaustible supply

    Now hold on Larry-boy. Equilibrium would be 50 times atmospheric. Actual measurements show that it varies between less than atmospheric to twice atmospheric. So, on average, it’s an almost inexhaustible sink.

  214. Larry
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    212, more specifically, positive feedback will be stable as long as the gain is less than 1. Once the gain equals 1, it runs away. And these systems are probably non-linear, which means it can have an initial gain greater than one, but will stop when the final gain gets to be less than one.

    Hansen’s “tipping point” assumes that it works the other way; that at lower temperatures the gain is less than one, but as temperatures increase, gain also increases.

  215. Larry
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    217, I didn’t say it didn’t still have great sink potential, I just said that it also has great source potential.

  216. Larry
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ok, Mosher, which Mark is the “skidmark of climate change”?

  217. Gunnar
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #219, ok Larry, thanks for the clarification.

  218. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    205 Ian
    I’m not sure that I should be speaking for jae, but he is talking about comparing points on the globe at the same latitude, so that both insolation and heat “diffusion” from the tropics are roughly equal.
    No-one disagrees that it gets colder and dryer as you go further from the equator — that’s a crimson-tinted herring.

  219. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #201 Pat Keating:
    Does your version of the spreadsheet have 3 worksheets? I think you may be working with a version that your web browser cached. Nothing happens in the new version at step 9. The lag is real and is not caused purely by the finite difference method (anymore).

    =====
    #206 Mark:
    Please calm down.
    We’re aguing about semantics. Here’s my understanding of what we agree on:
    1. Orbital cycles influence the amount of solar forcing;
    2. The changing solar forcing causes temperature cycles;
    3. The temperature cycles cause CO2 to increase and decrease;
    4. The changing CO2 levels amplify the temperature cycles through the greenhouse effect;

    You apparently disagree with “CO2 is the cause of the increase in magnitude”. However, you do agree that CO2 amplifies the magnitude. Adding the CO2 greenhouse effect increases the magnitude. Ergo, CO2 is the cause of the increase. Not the cause of the cycle, just the cause of the increase in magnitude.

    You also disagree that CO2 can be a forcing, but you are unwilling to disagree with the greenhouse effect. You can’t have it both ways. If the greenhouse effect is real, then CO2 is a forcing. If the amount of CO2 increases and the greenhouse effect is real, then temperature increases.

    Let me recap:
    There is a feedback between temperature and CO2. Increasing ocean temperature releases CO2. Decreasing ocean temperature increase CO2. (There are other factors as well, but let’s stick with the ocean). Atmospheric CO2 forces temperature change via the greenhouse effect. In the ice age cycle, temperature came first from solar forcing. In the current warming, CO2 came first.

  220. David Ermer
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hansen’s “tipping point” assumes that it works the other way; that at lower temperatures the gain is less than one, but as temperatures increase, gain also increases.

    i.e. There is a claim that the exact nature of system is known, when that can’t possibly be the case.

  221. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I hope nobody’s getting the idea I’m on any side in this, I’m just trying to clarify what exactly it is we’re discussing. I pretty much agree with some of what everyone’s saying, although not always to the degree, on the exact same issues, or to the absoluteness of the conclusions. I just don’t want this to have a discussion on what the elephant looks like.

    Larry, I don’t dispute that oceans release CO2. If they do or not is not my point. As you mentioned, it’s a sink too. Warmer oceans don’t have to always mean more CO2, and just because it comes out (or goes in) doesn’t mean the ratios are constant.

    That, to me, invalidates the assumption that x=y because I see it as sometimes x=y, sometimes y=x, sometimes x={null}, sometimes y=f, sometimes 1/3x=27y…

    How about this: “CO2 can be a positive feedback, because warmer oceans can create warming which can create CO2 which can create warming.” Or whatever the point trying to be made is. It might be helpful to mention why something’s being said. I’m just sayin’

  222. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #211 Sam Urbinto:

    You also made the statement “If the ocean warms and stays warmer, the CO2 concentration goes up and stays up. This causes more warming, which causes more CO2, etc. ”

    You’re assuming that always warm ocean=more CO2. You’re assuming more CO2=continuing more CO2. You’re assuming more (continued) CO2=more warming.

    I was using a very simple model. Basically a lifeless, non-frozen ocean covering the entire earth. In this scenario, the oceans and atmosphere will reach equilibrium without external forcing. If there is externally caused warming, the ocean will warm up. This upsets the equilibrium so that some of the ocean CO2 is released to the atmosphere, causing more warming, and so on. Since the effect of CO2 is logarithmic, this is not a runaway feedback.

    ====
    MarkW:

    All you have proven is that what matters is the multiplier (or feedback). Nobody has ever disputed that.

    You’re right. The multipliers are critical to the shape of the curves.
    Many have disputed that CO2 could have a role in increasing the temperature cycle amplitude simply because it lags temperature. My original purpose in creating this very simple simulation was to investigate that claim. Clearly, that claim (and I’m not saying you made it) is not true.

  223. steve mosher
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 220. Hey I just make the jokes. ask johnny carson to explain why they are funny.

    Sheesh, next you’ll ask me to take out the garbage

  224. Anna Lang
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 1:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #123 and 173, Ian McLeod:

    The quality of climate-related information conveyed to teachers and students via textbooks and authoritative websites interests me. The NOAA educational website linked in post #117 is data focused and the page deals with the Mauna Loa record. It says carbon dioxide, “makes up less than one-tenth of one percent of the Earth’s atmosphere.” Why not .038%? Is saying less than .1% a better or more accurate figure for teachers and students to remember or use. Is it close enough for government work ;)? Thank you for your comments/references regarding other GHGs and warming related to the second quote. At the bottom of each page at the NOAA website there is a “Report errors on this page link,” which might be interesting to use.

    BTW, you might be interested in this methane distribution map made using Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography (SCIAMACHY) instrument aboard Envisat produced by researchers at the University of Heidelberg in 2005. http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMRJTSMTWE_Protecting_0.html

  225. mzed
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #206, see #211. Effects become causes all the time. This is a ridiculously trivial fact.

    In a system where two variables are affecting each other simultaneously, both can be said to be cause and effect. Of course, what’s important (as I said) is precisely which casues and effects we are talking about. But that fact doesn’t change the fact that it’s accurate to say (in English) “both are cause and effect”. The math, of course, is much more detailed and precise.

  226. MarkW
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Many have disputed that CO2 could have a role in increasing the temperature cycle amplitude simply because it lags temperature.

    Obviously your memory differs from mine. I don’t remember anyone saying that CO2 couldn’t increase the cycle amplitude. They said that there was no evidence that it did.

    IE, whatever difference CO2 may have made, it was less than the error bars on the reconstruction.

  227. jae
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    205, Ian:

    I am not entirely sure what your theory is, but the opposite of your claim can be demonstrated, that is, dryer areas are colder.

    If you have ever been to Winnipeg in the winter (sometimes referred to as Winterpeg), it can reach -40F on a good day with little to no humidity. This is when the snow squeaks under your shoes like sneakers on a basketball court.

    Haven’t been to Winterpeg, but have been in International Falls, MN in winter. That whole area is constantly under the influence of the Artic high that time of year. It is not cold because it’s dry; it’s dry because it’s cold. At temperatures below -20, there is virtually no absolute humidity (less than 2 g/m^3). When I speak of “dryness,” I am refering to situations where the absolute humidity is not as high as it should be at the prevailing temperature. This situation only occurs in extreme deserts in winter, so there are really very few “dry” areas, and no “dry” vs. “wet” comparisons are possible.

  228. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #218 Larry:

    Hansen’s “tipping point” assumes that it works the other way; that at lower temperatures the gain is less than one, but as temperatures increase, gain also increases.

    I understand the tipping point differently. Here’s how I understand it:

    To me, he is saying that certain amounts of temperature change lead to finite further increases. For example, at some amount of warming significant amounts of Siberian and Canadian permafrost melt and release methane and CO2. This release enhances the greenhouse effect and causes a finite amount of additional more warming. I don’t think he’s saying it’s a runaway greenhouse effect. Rather he’s saying that certain levels of warming trigger additional warming in a non-linear fashion.

  229. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John V, I’m just asking everyone to be a little clearer on what they’re talking about when they say it in the first place, rather than explaining it after a merry-go-round of (as you well said) “arguing about semantics”. It makes it harder to keep up and harder to discuss the actual issues. It’s so hard to have a discussion when things are stated as absolutes, or only part of the story (or the initial conditions, point(s) or conclusion is unclear). Not that it isn’t a lot of fun and everything. :)

    So your points 3 and 4 are being applied only to your model? In the real world, I’d qualify it thusly:

    3. Among other things, temperature cycles can cause CO2 to increase and decrease.
    4. The times that happens, the changing CO2 levels sometimes amplify or attenuate some part of the temperature cycle, through its behavior and role in the greenhouse effect.
    5. When CO2 increases, if its amount and/or effects are not reduced by an equal amount by some other process, there is some amount of heat rise.
    6. When CO2 decreases, if its amount and/or effects are not increased by an equal amount by some other process, there is some amount of heat drop.
    7. There are many other variables in the system that do similar things, so CO2 can’t be treated as a decoupled from the system, since the other variables affect it in reality. For example, another gas at its wavelength and higher location that has a stronger greenhouse effect may absorb the IR before CO2 can, or clouds or particulates may block the sunlight at lower altitudes. In addition, the amount of water vapor may cause a greater or lesser amount of heating/cooling at a given location.

    Something like that.

  230. Larry
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    232, a distinction without a difference. Regardless of the underlying physical mechanism(s), the net effect is an increasing gain. He’s postulating that gain increases with temperature, at least to a point.

  231. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #233 Sam Urbinto:
    Your points are probably more accurate than the greatly simplified points that I enumerated. My point was to find where Mark T and I agree and where we differ, not to make conclusive sweeping statements. I should have preceded my comments with “Considering CO2, oceans, and temperature only”.

    =====
    #234 Larry:

    He’s postulating that gain increases with temperature, at least to a point.

    The “at least to a point” was our point of disagreement. That was the distinction I was trying to make.
    Beyond the tipping points (eg. once all of the permafrost melts) the gain decreases with temperature.

    Do you disagree with the tipping points hypothesis?

  232. Wolfgang Flamme
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you, Hans (#170). I knew I had seen that somewhere sometime..

  233. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    223 John V

    Did you run the calculation at smaller step-size? That’s the critical demonstration that your calculation is meaningful. I can’t track your version management.

  234. Larry
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 2:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    235 tipping points is conjecture. Like so many things, it’s just wild speculation.

  235. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 3:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #237 Pat Keating:
    My step size is fixed but I have run the simulation with different forcing frequencies. Doing so changes the ratio of the step size to the forcing period, which has the same effect:

    Period = 100: Lag = 12 steps when incresing, 7 steps when decreasing
    Period = 50: Lag = 8 steps when increasing, 6 steps when decreasing
    Period = 25: Lag = 5 steps when increasing, 5 steps when decreasing

    It should not be hard to download the newest version of my spreadsheet. Try restarting your browser.

  236. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 3:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anna Lang #228

    Percent concentration in dry air:
    Nitrogen – 78.08%
    Oxygen – 20.93%
    Argon – 0.93%
    Carbon Dioxide – 0.037%
    Methane – 0.00017%
    Nitrous Oxide – 0.000032%
    Ozone, neon, helium, krypton, xenon – trace %

    I agree with you. Telling students that carbon dioxide makes up “less than one tenth of one percent of the atmosphere” is confusing and is anti-conceptual. It is confusing even for most adults. A simple chart like the one above that shows that the air is mostly nitrogen and oxygen is more helpful in conceptualizing the amounts of each constituent relative to each other. Then, when students are told that CO2 makes up 0.037% of the atmosphere, this will have comparative meaning for them.

    You left a link to The European Space Agency. It discusses methane in the context of 2005. In 2005, it was believed that methane mostly came from cows and manmade activities. Some of which I outlined in my #173 post. The IPCC has not yet caught up to the new research regarding plants and methane production. This was my motivation for posting it.

    Resources such as NOAA, NASA, ESA, and so forth, are highly valuable, but not necessarily cutting edge because their massive bureaucracies are slow to change. I recommend that teachers and students complement these resources with ClimateAudit. It will help the teachers/students to think critically and learn to question prevailing wisdom.

  237. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 3:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John

    #188

    Ok, I buy that.

    #168

    I don’t buy that one. If you look at the intra-annual delta-CO2 numbers (sorry for the miswrite) variation, it has increased by a factor of 2 since 1958, to use your analogy, the hills have grown in size since then.

    I will dig up my graph but it is clear from the data that this increase is there. If you look at the month to month changes it seems to me that the drawdown during the Northern Hemisphere summers plant growth rate is the driver (am I wrong?).

    If this is the case, then if hypothetically what would happen is that the CO2 increase during the Northern Hemisphere would cease immediately (no more hill), and yet the summer draw down of 4 ppm the first year would be there. The next winter, the same thing, no hill, therefore the next summer is the next 4 ppm draw down.

    What is wrong with this? Trust me, more than happy to be corrected here.

    As for the feedback on CO2, I really want to get your opinion on that one. It seems to me that pressure broadening is a negative feedback as it moves CO2 out of the saturated gaussian into the non saturated wings of the lorentz function. This would explain the failure to find the projected increase in temperature as the saturation altitude increases.

  238. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 3:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ian; charting out what makes up air by percentage is one thing, how the gasses behave is another. The other half of that list is the relative forcing potential of each of the components.

    Also, you seem to have forgotten to put water vapor on the list.

  239. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #244 Dennis Wingo:
    Without the underlying trend of increasing CO2, and prior to industrial CO2 emissions, the intra-annual variation would still be there. In the NH summer the CO2 would drop and in the NH winter it would rise, but the average would be nearly constant over short time scales. I still think the intra-annual variation is completely different than the annual rate of decline.

    I dowloaded CO2 concentrations from the link below, but I don’t see the increase in intra-annual variation. I fit a linear trend from 1958 to 2004 and found an increase in intra-annual variation from 5.4ppm to 6.2ppm (15% increase). Using a linear fit, the annual average CO2 concentration has increased from ~310ppm to ~370ppm (19% increase). It seems that the increase in intra-annual variation is roughly proportional to the increase in average concentration, which seems reasonable.

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-mlo.htm

    As for the feedback on CO2, I really want to get your opinion on that one. It seems to me that pressure broadening is a negative feedback as it moves CO2 out of the saturated gaussian into the non saturated wings of the lorentz function. This would explain the failure to find the projected increase in temperature as the saturation altitude increases.

    I don’t understand that well enough to comment.

  240. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re 154:
    R-script updated, pointing now to ftp CO2 data
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/co2_lt_noaa.R

    Nota Bene: The average Co2 for november(!) is already posted.

  241. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #247 Larry:
    I’m happy with “perturb” instead of “force”. It’s definition in everyday english is closer to what I’m trying to describe.

    #248 steven mosher:
    The answer to your H2O question is an emphatic yes. The difference with H2O (relative to CO2) is that it’s hard to get a surplus or deficit (for a given temperature) to persist very long. The ocean is one heck of an effective source and sink for water.

    #250 Gunnar:
    We better agree to disagree.
    BTW, the greenhouse effect says nothing about super hot CO2. The CO2 is an insulator, not a heater. If I wrap myself in one of those fancy mylar surival blankets it keeps me warm even though its thermal mass is much less than my own. The blanket does not get super hot.

  242. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    240 John V

    I reduced the step size by reducing a by a factor 2, changed 2*pi to pi in the sun column to compensate for the smaller step-size, and ran your xls file with the smaller step-size.

    Result: the CO2 curve changes quite a bit with the smaller step-size, and the peaks in deltaT and CO2 still line up.

    Conclusion:
    1. Your step size IS too large for your calculation to be accurate.
    2. If you still think I have the wrong version, you need to post the link to the right one.

  243. Ian McLeod
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sam Urbinto #245

    I was trying to answer Anna’s question directly without further pontificating on the matter. Embedded in her question was an awareness of the Barret paper.

    BTW, at the top of my list, I wrote, “Percent concentration in DRY air”.

  244. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #254 Pat Keating:
    The link is to the correct version. I suspect your browser is giving you a cached version.
    How many worksheets are in your version? The old one had 2, the new one has 3.

    In the spreadsheet, “a” is the sensitivity of CO2 to temperature changes in ppm/degC. It does not affect the step size. The period of the solar forcing is expressed in time steps.

  245. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 4:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Pat Keating:
    The link is in #185. Here it is again:
    http://www.opentemp.org/_results/misc/LogarithmicFeedback.xls

  246. Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #245

    Sam Urbinto,

    Water Vapor is not considered for the absolute pressure of the air. The reason is the random variability of WV’s ro.

    # 123

    Ian McLeod,

    Thanks. In 1998 NASA scientists discovered the same thing is occurring on Earth, though on Earth the Solar Wind is blowing out the Oxygen, water vapor and Hydrogen, that is, the “light” gases in the mixture of air at high altitudes. Perhaps we are blaming the wrong thing (CO2)?

    # 170

    mccall,

    Thanks.

  247. SteveSadlov
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 6:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    http://www.earthscape.org/r3/erwin/erwin18.html

    Specifically the notions about icehouse and greenhouse. Permian was in the middle of icehouse (but not snowball) – a Mode 3 world, like right now. Right now, we are going from early icehouse (and of course, the relatively low CO2 to go with it) to mid icehouse. Is the biosphere more vulnerable now, than say, during the last greenhouse mode, when CO2 was quite a bit higher than now, there was more moisture than now and of course, a lot more competition than now?

    Now, let me lay one of them ole funky @#$ beats on yah:

    Hard times can take you on a natural trip
    so keep your balance and don’t you slip
    Hard times is nothing new on me
    I’m gonna use my strong mentality
    like the cream of the crop
    like the crop of the cream
    b-b-b-beating hard times that is my theme
    Hard times in life
    Hard times in death
    I’m gonna keep on fighting to my very last breath

    (The sci rapper strikes again!)

  248. Pat Keating
    Posted Nov 30, 2007 at 8:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    185 John V

    You were right about the wrong version cached.

    You were also right about having fudged the lag…..;>)

  249. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 1, 2007 at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand, at http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html
    you say:

    280 ppmv is assumed to be the pre-industrial amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by the scientific community. This is quite important, as if there were (much) higher levels of CO2 in the recent past, that may indicate that current CO2 levels are not from the use of fossil fuels, but a natural fluctuation and hence its influence on temperature is subject to (huge) natural fluctuations too and the current warmer climate is not caused by the use of fossil fuels.

    – and then don’t really follow up with the evidence for pre-industrial CO2 above 280 ppm, unless I missed it. Why wouldn’t this show up in the ice-cores, which I thought was the source of the 280 ppm estimate.

    Thanks for this very informative page,
    Cheers — Pete Tillman

  250. lgl
    Posted Dec 1, 2007 at 2:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #324
    “Why wouldn’t this show up in the ice-cores”

    What is this then?

    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/gases/co2.txt

    depth CO2 +/- # of samples
    top (m) (ppmv) (ppmv)

    1583.000 269.1 17.2 2
    1586.060 268.0 22.0 3
    1586.090 270.2 7.1 3
    1592.020 271.0 4.3 3
    1595.050 258.5 16.6 3
    1598.020 267.7 28.8 3
    1601.125 293.1 7.2 3
    1604.020 236.4 27.6 3
    1610.060 285.0 23.9 3
    1610.090 277.9 36.3 3
    1613.020 297.0 17.4 3
    1616.020 301.4 18.8 3
    1622.020 300.5 6.2 2
    1625.020 301.3 17.4 3
    1628.020 299.7 11.6 3
    1631.130 306.8 27.5 3
    1634.020 320.9 42.3 3
    1637.030 324.8 49.3 3
    1640.030 322.4 5.4 3
    1646.050 302.0 9.6 3
    .
    .
    1880.050 176.8 8.1 3
    1883.025 196.8 8.3 2
    1886.020 191.7 5.5 3
    1889.025 154.8 5.8 3
    1892.030 197.7 23.1 2
    1898.025 161.3 31.3 3

  251. windansea
    Posted Dec 1, 2007 at 3:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    http://icecap.us/images/uploads/CO2MSU.jpg

  252. jeez
    Posted Dec 1, 2007 at 5:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m very suspect of the proposition of 30-40 year, or even 5 year equilibrium periods for C02 and the terrestrial environment including land and sea. C02 is heavier than air. In still air it settles. It kills people by suffocation when volcanic sources percolate into valleys and basins. There is a constant settling force downward the keeping the highest concentrations, even if subtle in difference, in contact with sinks and sources at ground level thereby expediting equilibrium. Convection quickly transports that equilibrium concentration mixture back into higher altitudes. It seems more likely that C02 concentration is acting as a proxy for some real global *state*, some combination of global SST’s, ENSO’s, PDO’s, etc., El Nino’s, biological activity, total albedo, atmospheric moisture content, and cloud cover, as evidenced by some of the correlations noted above.

    The fact that more or less is injected into the atmosphere 20 years ago by human activity appears to be insignificant to either the total concentration, or the terrestrial state.

    Unfortunately, not having gone into science, although a mildly educated layman, I cannot put quantitative analysis to the above statements.

  253. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 2, 2007 at 1:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    lgl , #324, CO2 in ice cores

    Thanks. So the range for this core is 160 – 320 ppm(v). Huh.

    Ferdinand Engelbeen, #339, same.

    Thanks — look forward to reading it when you post. What do you think of the range in lgl’s quote, above? 2x variation is substantial, imo.

    Cheers — Pete Tillman

  254. Posted Dec 2, 2007 at 2:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Peter,

    The variation in the ice cores indeed is from about 180 ppmv to 320 ppmv, depending on the temperature during ice age/interglacial cycles. The correlation between temperature and CO2 in the Vostok ice core (420,000 years) is about 0.86, quite high for a natural process. The CO2/temperature ratio in the Vostok ice core is about 8 ppmv/K and CO2 lags temperature with hundreds to thousands years. See e.g. here. Thus, according to the Vostok ice core, with the current temperature, we should notice a CO2 level of about 270 ppmv +/- 10 ppmv (see here. The real current CO2 level is about 380 ppmv…

    On shorter time scales, we have fast accumulating ice cores and for recent times, firn and direct measurements.
    These can be combined to give the graph in CDIAC: until 1850 around 280 ppmv, after that a fast rise…

  255. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 2, 2007 at 4:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#340, Ferdinand Engelbeen:

    Thank you for fascinating graph. It is, actually, proof that substantial emission of “old” carbon started around 1750, long before anyhow substantial fossil fuel combustion began. According to graph in Wiki (there are many other sources, this one is just very convenient):

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Global_Carbon_Emission_by_Type.png

    fossil fuel carbon emission were less than 1GtC before 1950, less than 0.5 GtC before 1900, and practically zero before 1850, compared with current 7-8 GtC.

    Note also sharp turn in your graph in #340 in about 1950, when really substantial FF emissions began.

  256. Bruce
    Posted Dec 2, 2007 at 9:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Interesting numbers from the mid-90s:

    http://www.radix.net/~bobg/faqs/scq.CO2rise.html

    2.1 Natural carbon fluxes

    GtC / year

    Atmosphere –> terrestrial vegetation 120 Photosynthesis
    Terrestrial vegetation –> atmosphere 60 Respiration
    Terrestrial vegetation –> soils & detritus 60
    Soils & detritus –> atmosphere 60 Respiration

    Atmosphere –> surface ocean 90
    Surface ocean –> atmosphere 90

    Surface ocean –> deep ocean 90 Inorganic carbon
    Surface ocean –> deep ocean 10 Organic carbon
    Deep ocean –> surface ocean 100 Mostly inorganic

    2.2 Anthropogenic carbon fluxes

    Carbon dioxide sources GtC / year

    Fossil fuel burning, cement production 5.5 (5.0-6.0)
    Changes in tropical land use 1.6 (0.6-2.6)

    Total anthropogenic emissions 7.1 (6.0-8.2)

    Partitioning among reservoirs GtC / year

    Storage in the atmosphere 3.3 (3.1-3.5)
    Oceanic uptake 2.0 (1.2-2.8)
    Uptake by Northern Hemisphere forest
    regrowth 0.5 (0.0-1.0)
    Additional terrestrial sinks: CO2 fer-
    tilization, nitrogen fertilization,
    climatic effects 1.3 (-0.2-2.8)

    2.3 Carbon reservoirs (in GtC)

    Atmosphere (1990) 750 Surface ocean 1020
    Terrestrial vegetation 610 Marine biota 3
    Soils & detritus 1580 Dissolved organic carbon 700
    Deep ocean 38100

    Coal, oil [Butcher, p 256, 259] ~5000 to ~10000
    Coal, oil, gas [IPCC 95/II, p 80, 87] at least ~20000

  257. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 3:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #371:

    Bruce, the Greenland ice sheet is less reliable for CO2 concentrations than the Antarctic ice sheet, as volcanic eruptions occasionally deposit carbonate and sulfate on the surface. But that leads to overestimates, not underestimates of the real concentrations in ancient times… Therefore, one uses Antarctic ice cores for CO2 levels. All ice cores in Antarcica (fast and slow accumulating) agree wich each other within narrow bands for CO2 levels in the overlapping periods (last 20,000 years).

    Re #374:

    Indeed, interesting, you can see a graphic of estimates of the carbon flows at:

    Of course, that are rough estimates, and can change year by year, depending of the average weather in these years…
    We only know with high accuracy the net effect of all flows in the atmosphere and to a reasonable extent the (probably underestimated) emissions levels…

  258. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 3:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Something got wrong with the link of the carbon cycle graph:

  259. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 4:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 381 Ferdinand Englebeen

    Of course, the picture is idealised and approximated. Can I please refer you to your opening paper, to the graph with the title

    Diekirch (Luxemburg) CO2 measurements compared to wind speed
    Graph from [6].

    Where does the picture report the high CO2 concentrations to the left of the graph? Has anyone looked at the carbon isotope ratios of these rather high CO2 samples? I presume that these are quite small pockets, but to become so high they must have a strong source nearby. Chances are it is not natural, so there is a chance to add to ratio theories. It would be nice to be able to exclude them from happening to old ice cores as well.

  260. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I tried to set limits on the terms of this thread and have removed many posts that are outside the terms of this post, primarily by getting into personal speculations about thermodynamics. I’ve repeatedly asked the protagonists to take such discussions elsewhere. If some non-offending posts were removed, I’m sorry. If some offending posts remain, my time is not infinite.

  261. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #262 Steve McIntyre:
    Very curious timing…
    Why did you allow the conversation to stand all weekend, and delete it when we appeared to be nearing a resolution? (Gunnar and I were down to one difference of opinion).

    Gunnar — if you’d like to continue (maybe you can convince me), you can reach me by commenting anywhere at http://www.opentemp.org/main with your email address.

    Steve: If it’s any of your business, I had a very pleasant weekend. Two of my sisters were in from out of town. We had a party where my mother was matriarch with all 6 brothers and sisters present plus spouses plus 9 of 16 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. And another friend of mine who I’ve known since we were 7 had her 60th birthday and there was a big party for her. So excuse me if I don’t attend to your every whim.

  262. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh good, the zambonie came through at last. The ice was really getting chewed up. But JohnV, I don’t want you to think that I’m using the zamboni to my advantage. To answer you, do the calculations. There is no doubt that if you put enough power in, it will eventually warm up the ice. However, my point is that if the filament is only heated to slightly above the ambient, it won’t add up to much.

  263. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I think there was a hint to ditch the lightbulbs, if it’s not abundantly obvious.

  264. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    “I’ve repeatedly asked the protagonists to take such discussions elsewhere.”
    Fair enough. It’s your site.
    Gunnar, I invite you to continue this discussion here:
    http://www.opentemp.org/main/2007/12/03/is-it-possible-for-a-small-amount-of-co2-to-warm-the-earth/

    One of us is wrong. Let’s figure out who.

  265. lgl
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #345 Ferdinand

    “Thus, according to the Vostok ice core, with the current temperature, we should notice a CO2 level of about 270 ppmv +/- 10 ppmv”
    But that’s related to global avg temperature. Shouldn’t atmospheric CO2 level be related to ocean heat content instead, if it’s determined mostly by the oceans? I have seen that temp at low latitudes (where the bulk of ocean water is found) during LGM is uncertain with anomaly maybe as low as -1 oC. I have been looking for the ocean heat content at LGM and 1850 relative to present with no success, any idea, link?

  266. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    JohnV, I have productive work to do. #264 is my final answer.

  267. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Gunnar, that’s too bad.
    Why don’t we limit it to one post per day? It’s basically a private forum so there’s no need to rush. Email would be fine too. Let’s have a discussion and figure it out. Are you not curious why your views on the basic thermodynamics are so unique?

  268. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    And the award for diplomacy goes to: John V.

  269. Tom Vonk
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 12:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You continue to cling to this view where you heat a small mass of CO2 and then leave it alone.
    Let me ask you a few more clarifying questions:

    1. What causes the small mass of CO2 to heat up in the first place?
    2. Does the cause above continue to heat the small mass of CO2?
    3. If you continually heat a small mass, will it warm a large mass?

    You are right about the mechanism John V even if the “reflecting blanket” analogy is not a good one .
    In LTE (under 50 km) , the quantum process of CO2 reemisson doesn’t take place or only little .
    Too slow compared to inelastic collisions .
    That’s lucky for us because if that was not the case , we’d have no LTE and should treat the lower atmosphere quantum mechanically .

    That’s why the answers are :
    1) infrared photons
    2) Yes because the energy increase of a CO2 molecule by absorption of an infrared photon is shared very fast with other molecules through inelastic collisions
    3) Yes

    It’s actually rather easy if one only looks at a spectrum .
    An IR spectrum shows an ABSORPTION band .
    So much more IR photons in this band are absorbed than reemitted . If every molecule had the time to reemit , then there would be
    obviously no absorption band because the excited molecule would return to the ground state by reemitting exactly the same IR photon and as + 1 – 1 = 0 , nothing would change .
    This missing energy in the absorption band didn’t get lost – it got “smeared” all over the spectrum by inelastic collisons thus adding a little bit to every frequence of the thermal spectrum .
    Now as the thermal spectrum is a tiny bit higher than what it would have been without this “smearing” , it means that the gas (here air) is at a slightly higher temperature .
    That s the CO2 , H20 and CH4 effect .

    All that is of course no more true above some 50 km where LTE no more holds .

  270. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    FYI, I agree with Tom in #271. That’s standard GHE.

  271. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 1:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Again, I want to bring your attention on the fact that there are about 500 billion tons of CO2 trapped in permafrost (the current content of CO2 in the atmosphere totals 730 billion tons). Permafrost is a great sink of carbon. Compare this amount with the amount apparently emitted by humans. Besides, there is also a large amount of methane trapped in permafrost. Permafrost is melting by the action of solar energy; is there someone that had taken into account these deposits of carbon dioxide and methane? To say truth, I’m not concerned about an outrageous GHE. I would be more concerned about some surprises from the Sun and ISCR.

  272. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 1:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Just to help, LTE is Local Thermodynamic equilibribum.

    In a radiating gas, the photons being emitted and absorbed by the gas need not be in thermodynamic equilibrium with each other or with the massive particles of the gas in order for LTE to exist.

    So, here we have this little interesting perpetual motion machine of sorts. An “indestructable ball”, that when subjected to its fuel source, sunlight, absorbs IR energy. The only problem here is that for most of the range, it has to “compete” above 10 micrometers with water vapor and for the parts under 10, half the time it has to compete with water vapor and nitrous oxide. As long as something has a transient dipole moment, it can create a transient charge separation and both emit and absorb IR in its absorbtion bands*.

    As far as IR goes, the only overlap is with H2O and N2O to compete for IR at the same wavelength. But what other parts are there to contend with, including the ones that don’t absorb IR but do take up space, can change to ones that do absorb IR (due to chemical reactions with others of them), transfer heat, and such.

    water vapor
    ozone
    methane
    nitrous oxide
    carbon monoxide
    hydrochloride
    hitric oxide
    Chloroflurocarbons
    hydrochloroflurocarbons
    sulfur hexafluoride
    nitrogen (which absorbs UV by the way)
    oxygen (O1, O2 and O3)
    argon

    And don’t forget raylieigh scattering, particulates and clouds.

    Just one small part of things to think of:

    Carbon monoxide has an indirect radiative effect by elevating concentrations of methane and tropospheric ozone through scavenging of atmospheric constituents (e.g., the hydroxyl radical, OH) that would otherwise destroy them. Carbon monoxide is created when carbon-containing fuels are burned incompletely. Through natural processes in the atmosphere, it is eventually oxidized to carbon dioxide. Carbon monoxide has an atmospheric lifetime of only a few months and as a consequence is spatially more variable than longer-lived gases.

    Another potentially important indirect effect comes from methane, which in addition to its direct radiative impact also contributes to ozone formation. Shindell et al (2005) argue that the contribution to climate change from methane is at least double previous estimates as a result of this effect.

    *

    Strong water vapor absorption bands occur at wavelengths around 2500, 1950 and 1450 nanometers (nm), with weaker absorption around 1200 and 970 nm, and three additional sets of water-vapor absorption lines near 930, 820, and 730 nm

    …Carbon dioxide absorption bands occur around 1400, 1600 and 2000 nm …. Carbon dioxide gas absorbs energy in some small segments of the thermal infrared spectrum that water vapor misses. This extra absorption within the atmosphere causes the air to warm just a bit more and the warmer the atmosphere the greater its capacity to hold more water vapor. This extra water vapor absorption then further enhances the Earth’s greenhouse effect.

    Conversely, there is an atmospheric window between approximately 800 and 1400 nm, in the near-infrared spectrum where carbon dioxide and water absorption is weak. This window allows most of the thermal radiation in this band to be radiated out to space, keeping the Earth’s atmosphere from going into thermal runaway….

  273. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 1:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #263 Steve McIntyre:

    So excuse me if I don’t attend to your every whim.

    I actually made no request of your time, so this seems out of place.
    I’m glad you had a good weekend though.

  274. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 1:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Tom 271

    If every molecule had the time to re-emit, then there would be obviously no absorption band because the excited molecule would return to the ground state by reemitting exactly the same IR photon and as + 1 – 1 = 0 , nothing would change .
    This missing energy in the absorption band didn’t get lost – it got “smeared” all over the spectrum by inelastic collisons thus adding a little bit to every frequency of the thermal spectrum .
    Now as the thermal spectrum is a tiny bit higher than what it would have been without this “smearing” , it means that the gas (here air) is at a slightly higher temperature

    I think that is correct, but I would like to add a couple of comments. The process you describe is a conversion of energy from vibrational modes to translational modes (i.e., kinetic energy) and a shifting of the IR photons to longer wavelengths.

    There is another process which also does this — inelastic scattering of photons, and this occurs at the more-plentiful N2 and O2 molecules, too. As the altitude increases, the pressure-broadening diminishes, and the probability of an IR photon being absorbed becomes very small because the linewidth becomes very narrow (of course, the number of CO2 molecules also diminishes). However, inelastic scattering will continue to occur, diminished only by the lower density of molecules.

    What do yo think?

  275. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 1:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sounds good to me, Pat.

    Oh, the definition of LTE should have been blockquoted.

    Anywayz, don’t forget this little gem:

    Water vapor is a greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, responsible for 70% of the known absorption of incoming sunlight, particularly in the infrared region, and about 60% of the atmospheric absorption of thermal radiation by the Earth known as the greenhouse effect.

  276. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 1:46 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Are you not curious why your views on the basic thermodynamics are so unique?

    I don’t have any unique views on TD. What’s different is applying TD to AGW. Curiousity? I was curious as to your arguments, but I think I’ve heard them all. My final answer is #264. If you and Larry think differently, then why not be real scientists and:

    1) determine the delta T that the GHE would generate (I think the experiment mentioned previously said it was a couple of degrees)
    2) do the TD calculations
    3) then set up an experiment with the correct air/water/land mass ratio
    4) insert filament with the correct energy level (considering mass, specific heat)
    5) use only enough current to generate the correct delta T
    6) measure temp continuously

  277. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    277, where did that come from?

  278. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    278, that is so not even wrong, I don’t know where to start. But the host has requested that you take that elsewhere. Besides, I thought you were too busy.

  279. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Not to belabor the point, but that proposed apparatus reminds me of this:

    http://wtcmodel.blogspot.com/

  280. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Larry, #277 is from the wikipedia article on water absorption.

  281. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sam

    and about 60% of the atmospheric absorption of thermal radiation

    Yes, but I have now begun to wonder about that. It is probably true below the cloud-tops. However, it seems that the IR absorption that most affects heat loss from the Earth has to take place at the highest levels of the troposphere. There is very little water-vapor up there because of the low temperatures.

    On the other hand, I am also beginning to doubt the water-vapor amplification of the CO2 effect that the AGW hypothesis depends on. In this case, because vertical convection and the water-vapor latent-heat cycle short-circuit any lower-level CO2 barrier.

    As you can see, I’m still trying to learn and think my way through a very complex scenario.

  282. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    282, holy moly. That’s bad. That’s really, really bad. Wiki is usually more-or-less accurate on scientific matters, but that is….wow.

  283. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Zamboni driver: the following posts are completely off topic:

    262-266, 268-272, 274-285

  284. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t check the references. It looks like those numbers are from an article in physicsworld from 2003

    Ahilleas Maurellis Jonathan Tennyson The climatic effects of water vapour

  285. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 2:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Upon second reading, it’s not what I thought it said; “70% of known absorption” I think refers to 70% of the tiny bit of incoming that’s absorbed, not 70% of incoming. It’s not well phrased. Like so many things uttered by scientists.

    60% is well on the low side of the estimates for greenhouse; most are higher, some go over 90.

  286. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 3:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Larry, right, “70% of the known absorption”

    Gunnar, my post about CO2 absorption bands and the other materials involved is off topic in a thread about CO2 levels? Hunh? Dude, I think you’re losing it.

    Pat, regarding water vapor and its role in the how CO2 and the GE* work, there’s a lot of guesswork involved. Anyway, regarding there are a couple of issues here, so I think I’ll summarize a bit.:

    1. I do not doubt the temperature anomaly trend is up .7C since the 1880′s. I question both its accuracy and its meaning. a) related to the discussion of storm counts; what does the measurement accuracy over time look like? Anyone have hard data on that? Are we just measuring it better (higher) than before? and b) Is the idea there is a global temperature valid in the first place, and even if it is, are we sampling it correctly? Actually, I can c) even if it’s meaningful and accurate, what does .7 over 130 years mean.

    2. I do not doubt we dump CO2 into the atmosphere. We also dump albedo increasing (air) and decreasing (ground) pollution into it. We also build cities, roads, and farmland. My contention is that physically we know what CO2 does, and how it works. It has an effect, but how do you qualify it in the face of the far more important aspects of land-use change and pollution compared to the anthro-ghg (and non-anthro-ghg and non-ghg gasses) in the first place. Then the fact that separated from everything else (that is, theoretically), it’s only half the total anthro-ghg anyway.

    3. So we have to ignore the real world effects of the other anthro-ghg and how they intereact with CO2, and we have to ignore the non-anthro-ghg. Then we have to ignore the pollution and land-use changes. Where does that get us to?

    I contend that in the case of climate, there are simply too many variables to know what anything is actually doing. Throwing them all away and getting a simplistic “100 ppmv CO2=+.7C” out of it is a non-answer. There are simply too many unknowns and we’re attempting to understood an incredibly complex dynamic system by the equivalent of so many guesses and assumptions. Which is why the science has to be sound, replicable and valid, and when we don’t know something, we have to phrase it as “We think this is happening, but we really have no inforamation on the bulk of the process and don’t understand it well enough yet.” And keep working to understand more while putting out good work. Not stating opinions or guesses as facts.

    *

    The role of water vapor

    Increasing water vapor at Boulder, Colorado. Water vapor is a naturally occurring greenhouse gas and accounts for the largest percentage of the greenhouse effect, between 36% and 66% . Water vapor concentrations fluctuate regionally, but human activity does not directly affect water vapor concentrations except at local scales (for example, near irrigated fields).

    Current state-of-the-art climate models include fully interactive clouds. They show that an increase in atmospheric temperature caused by the greenhouse effect due to anthropogenic gases will in turn lead to an increase in the water vapor content of the troposphere, with approximately constant relative humidity. The increased water vapor in turn leads to an increase in the greenhouse effect and thus a further increase in temperature; the increase in temperature leads to still further increase in atmospheric water vapor; and the feedback cycle continues until equilibrium is reached. Thus water vapor acts as a positive feedback to the forcing provided by human-released greenhouse gasses.

    This is of course not the entire story (simply considering water vapor and anthro-ghg in the context of temperature) and only serves to illustrate how one can call water vapor a positive forcing. As we’ve discussed, it doesn’t take into account pollution or the energy that’s needed or released going gas/liquid or liquid/gas or non human-released GHG, etc.

  287. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 3:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> my post about CO2 absorption bands and the other materials involved is off topic in a thread about CO2 levels? Hunh? Dude, I think you’re losing it.

    Really? CO2 absorption bands and certainly all of #288 is not about C02 levels, it’s about the AGW idea in general, and the GHE specifically.

  288. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 4:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Pat, that’s part of my point, if clouds (or particles) reflect the sunlight more then there is no IR for the CO2 to absorb, and how much there is becomes less meaningful. If 100% of the IR is blocked, then what the CO2 level is isn’t important. If water vapor higher up or N2O higher up or O3 higher up aborbs the IR at the same wavelength first there’s less for CO2 to absorb, so really how much there is becomes less important. If it was 100% blocked,it would be a very small effect.

    As you can see on charts, the only frequency where CO2 doesn’t have to fight with water vapor is at about 4.5 um — where it has to fight with N2O instead! Which is much more powerful (20 year GWP 310). (Of course, I’m not taking the volumes into account — Another illustration that is also not the entire story of what’s happening either) (Neither Ozone (1/4 the forcing of CO2 in the troposphere)nor Methane (GWP 72) enter into it, as neither absorbs at the same frequency as CO2)

    Gunnar, exactly my point, discussing the meaning, the context. Why else are we discussing CO2 levels? This is a discussion of CO2 levels, which have to be understood in the proper context. To say water vapor has no bearing upon it, well, see above. And that proper context is to consider not only what the CO2 levels are, and what effects the CO2 has, but how it acts in the system with all the other variables. Knowing what the CO2 level is is a given, as is how it acts physically. Now, we could (and have) discuss how correct that reported level is (correct=accurate and meaningful), and we could (and have) discuss how CO2 acts physically by itself in the absense of any other factor, but that doesn’t give us any meaning, there’s no context. How do the CO2 levels interact with water vapor? What if CO2 goes up and down, what effect, if any, does that have on variable X and/or all the other variables? You have to take them into account also.

    Did you want to discuss if the current measured level of 380 is accurate and meaningful? Did you want to discuss if it reacts to IR at certain frequencies? I’m discussing the next step, what is it actually doing. What is happening in reality? Why is there a discussion of CO2 levels if not to think about its role in the system it’s a part of.

    I contend that if it goes up or down, the other parts of the system adjust, and everything pretty much remains as it is once equilibrium is reached.

  289. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 4:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Obviously, the “O3 higher up” shouldn’t be there in the first paragraph, the spectra don’t overlap between it and CO2 at any time. (O3 absorbs a bit at 9 um, most of its absorption is from .2 to .6 um) So while it does what CO2 does to IR, O3 contributes to the GE, but they don’t have to “contend” for any frequencies. And so on and so forth.

  290. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 4:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    No thermo! …. Zamboni driver may be on his way again.

    To bring it back to the main topic, now here is something to ponder. If CO2 goes too low, then photosynthesis reaction will lower its output. That means, less food for green plants, less green plants to feed the food chain, and less O2. Less O2 means less O3. Less O3 means more damage to plants and plankton, and pushes back on evolution. It is theorized that one of the factors in the limitation of life during the Precambrian was a lack of O3 and intense cosmic and solar radiation. If CO2 goes to low, might things sink back into Precambrian muck?

  291. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 4:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thermo? I don’t see any thermo. Thermo is stuff like entropy and enthalpy and Gibbs free energy and fugacity and Clausius-Clapeyron and surface energy, and so on. I’ve actually hardly seen any real thermo here at all. Just references to its authority.

  292. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 5:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What does the frequency CO2 absorbs IR at have to do with thermo? I know I put the quote from wiki in about the 60% of the GE, but I’m certainly not discussing it or its ramifications here…

    Does anyone know what a level of CO2 is that’s “Too low.” or “Too high.”? And what makes anyone think that whatever those levels are would be reached any time soon? Or that the rest of the system wouldn’t adjust for it?

    So many questions, so few answers.

    What’s the perfect temperature for the Earth, and what CO2 level helps maintain it? When is it “Too hot.” and when is it “Too cold.”?

  293. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 5:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #294 Sam Urbinto:
    There is no perfect temperature or a perfect climate. The climate we have now is basically the one in which civilization has been built. Our cities are (mostly) near water sources and near present coastlines. If precipitation patterns change or coastlines move it causes problems.

  294. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 5:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It was more a rhetorical question. That’s why this sometimes gets tedious; we’re trying to quantify a concept, and we can’t. We argue about what .7 means, but we don’t KNOW if that would be better for us at 2.5 (or -5) or if it even really matters. We can’t answer the question of what would +200 or -200 ppmv (or +/-X pp?v for anything) would DO.

    So I just sometimes wonder what it is we’re arguing about; you can never really reach a definitive answer on an issue that involves an opinion, an assumption or a conclusion that may differ. If I say water boils at 212, and you say it boils at 1000 we might both be wrong because we may be on top of a mountain where it does neither. But arguing about if it’s 212 or 100 is pointlesss because we’re probably just not on the same units. In this case, it’s easy to tell (and correct) but a lot of the time, a disagreement based upon faulty understanding is a bit more nuanced….

    And like Leif said over at sun-talk,

    And that forces cause motion, not that motion causes forces. Because if we cannot agree on this, there is no common basis for meaningful discussion…

  295. Phil.
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 5:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Tom Vonk says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 12:44 pm
    “You continue to cling to this view where you heat a small mass of CO2 and then leave it alone.
    Let me ask you a few more clarifying questions:

    1. What causes the small mass of CO2 to heat up in the first place?
    2. Does the cause above continue to heat the small mass of CO2?
    3. If you continually heat a small mass, will it warm a large mass?

    You are right about the mechanism John V even if the “reflecting blanket” analogy is not a good one .
    In LTE (under 50 km) , the quantum process of CO2 reemisson doesn’t take place or only little .
    Too slow compared to inelastic collisions .
    That’s lucky for us because if that was not the case , we’d have no LTE and should treat the lower atmosphere quantum mechanically .

    That’s why the answers are :
    1) infrared photons
    2) Yes because the energy increase of a CO2 molecule by absorption of an infrared photon is shared very fast with other molecules through inelastic collisions
    3) Yes

    It’s actually rather easy if one only looks at a spectrum .
    An IR spectrum shows an ABSORPTION band .
    So much more IR photons in this band are absorbed than reemitted . If every molecule had the time to reemit , then there would be
    obviously no absorption band because the excited molecule would return to the ground state by reemitting exactly the same IR photon and as + 1 – 1 = 0 , nothing would change .”

    Not strictly true as the emitted photon could be emitted in any direction both out to space or back to ground. So if you look from the original direction of travel of the absorbed photons it will still appear as an absorption band since the reemitted photons will be emitted at all other angles equally.

  296. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 6:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    THat should be 100 and not 1000…. And yes, on Earth. :)

  297. steve mosher
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 6:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    JohnV, I loved the space blanket analogy. very apt.
    Made me think about microsite issues ( just kidding, but the
    reflection argument works for substances in addition to C02)

  298. Jan Pompe
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 6:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    November 30th, 2007 at 9:28 am

    To be comparable, you need to plot the accumulated emissions vs. the values in the atmosphere, which show a very good correlation for 50 years of Mauna Loa data:

    Ferdinand have you tried plotting accumulated noise? I suspect the results will be fairly similar.

  299. Jan Pompe
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 7:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Phil. says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Not strictly true as the emitted photon could be emitted in any direction both out to space or back to ground. So if you look from the original direction of travel of the absorbed photons it will still appear as an absorption band since the reemitted photons will be emitted at all other angles equally.

    It is strictly true. Please don’t forget the source of the IR radiation is warmer so the net radiative flux is outward and sideways to other molecules of the same temperature the net flux is zero. So the outward flux remains unchanged.

  300. Jon
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 7:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s actually rather easy if one only looks at a spectrum .
    An IR spectrum shows an ABSORPTION band .
    So much more IR photons in this band are absorbed than reemitted . If every molecule had the time to reemit , then there would be
    obviously no absorption band because the excited molecule would return to the ground state by reemitting exactly the same IR photon and as + 1 – 1 = 0 , nothing would change .

    Not strictly true as the emitted photon could be emitted in any direction both out to space or back to ground. So if you look from the original direction of travel of the absorbed photons it will still appear as an absorption band since the reemitted photons will be emitted at all other angles equally.

    Both the GP and the reply make good points. The term of art is fluorescence quantum yield. i.e, the ratio of emitted photons to absorbed. 10% is very high.

    Consider fluorescent lighting: the quantum yield is about 5%.

    The blanket model of AGW is a toy, nothing more. Isn’t this thread about CO2 levels though?

  301. Larry
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 7:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    304,

    the ratio of emitted photons to absorbed. 10% is very high.

    Don’t you mean the other way around; ratio of absorbed to emitted?

    Consider fluorescent lighting: the quantum yield is about 5%.

    Fluorescent energy efficiency is higher than that (~20%?), so I can’t believe that that’s the case.

    Isn’t this thread about CO2 levels though?

    Indeed.

  302. Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 8:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 304

    Jon,

    The blanket model of AGW is a toy, nothing more. Isn’t this thread about CO2 levels though?

    The blanket model of AGW is a lie, one more. I’ve been adhered to Steve’s rules; nonetheless one of my posts on CO2 sinks was erased. However, there are many posts off topic and there are still here.

  303. Jon
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 8:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Fluorescent energy efficiency is higher than that (~20%?), so I can’t believe that that’s the case.

    You’re right; its much higher now according to wikipedia: 100lumens/watt which is about 15%. Just goes to show you the value of engineering. My core point still holds.

    I think it would be generous to say that an unconstrained C02 molecule will reemit more than 1 in 10. Anyways there should be good numbers on this. C02 lasing is well studied for instance. I’m just speculating on the details.

  304. Phil.
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 8:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    at Keating says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 1:40 pm
    Tom 271

    “I think that is correct, but I would like to add a couple of comments. The process you describe is a conversion of energy from vibrational modes to translational modes (i.e., kinetic energy) and a shifting of the IR photons to longer wavelengths.”

    There’s no shifting to longer wavelengths, it’s all conversion to kinetic energy.

    “There is another process which also does this — inelastic scattering of photons, and this occurs at the more-plentiful N2 and O2 molecules, too. As the altitude increases, the pressure-broadening diminishes, and the probability of an IR photon being absorbed becomes very small because the linewidth becomes very narrow (of course, the number of CO2 molecules also diminishes). However, inelastic scattering will continue to occur, diminished only by the lower density of molecules.”

    “What do yo think?”

    That the Raman cross-sections are way too small in the IR to be significant, they might be significant in the uv because of the (frequency)^4 dependence. The density of CO2 decreases at the same rate as N2 & O2 with altitude.

  305. Phil.
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 9:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Jon says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 8:36 pm

    “I think it would be generous to say that an unconstrained C02 molecule will reemit more than 1 in 10. Anyways there should be good numbers on this. C02 lasing is well studied for instance. I’m just speculating on the details.”

    Lasing involves totally different energy levels, it relies on electronically excited N2 to collisionally excite CO2 and that level has a population inversion with respect to a lower level (not the ground state) which has been depopulated by collisions with He, stimulated emission from that upper level to the lower level resulting in lasing.
    In the atmosphere the 15 micron band excites the first bending mode, the radiative lifetime of which is order of millisecs+, at atmospheric pressure the number of collisions between N2 & O2 and the excited molecule is about 10/nanosec so the ratio of emitted photons to absorbed photons is more like 1 in a million.

  306. Phil.
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 9:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Jan Pompe says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 7:14 pm
    Phil. says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    Not strictly true as the emitted photon could be emitted in any direction both out to space or back to ground. So if you look from the original direction of travel of the absorbed photons it will still appear as an absorption band since the reemitted photons will be emitted at all other angles equally.

    “It is strictly true. Please don’t forget the source of the IR radiation is warmer so the net radiative flux is outward and sideways to other molecules of the same temperature the net flux is zero. So the outward flux remains unchanged.”

    Completely false, you need to read up on radiative heat transfer!

  307. Jan Pompe
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 10:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Phil. says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Not strictly true as the emitted photon could be emitted in any direction both out to space or back to ground. So if you look from the original direction of travel of the absorbed photons it will still appear as an absorption band since the reemitted photons will be emitted at all other angles equally.

    Again remember the source is warmer so for any number of photons radiated toward the source you get more coming back, it’s fairly straight forward arthimetic also remember that this is a hypothetical situation where there is no collision quenching by other particles it’s an important distinction.

  308. Jon
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 10:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    In the atmosphere the 15 micron band excites the first bending mode, the radiative lifetime of which is order of millisecs+, at atmospheric pressure the number of collisions between N2 & O2 and the excited molecule is about 10/nanosec so the ratio of emitted photons to absorbed photons is more like 1 in a million.

    Okay, I’m game. Citation please.

  309. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Phil

    Thanks for the comments.

    There’s no shifting to longer wavelengths, it’s all conversion to kinetic energy.

    I beg to differ. You are forgetting the actual mechanics of the smearing Tom refers to, the conversion to translational energy — it doesn’t just happen by magic. The IR photon suffers a frequency shift when scattering off a moving molecule or molecular cluster, a kind of Brillouin scattering off localized acoustic-mode wavelets. I’m not sure how strong that process is, but it should be stronger than Raman scattering and is probably comparable to the other modes whereby the vibrational energy is converted to translational energy after the photon absorption. (There are also two-photon processes — one in, two out — from scattering off the non-linear part of the molecular dipole — but these probably are weak).

    The density of CO2 decreases at the same rate as N2 & O2 with altitude.

    Do you have a link/reference for that?

  310. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    311
    Sorry, that should be ‘three-photon processes’, of course.

  311. Phil.
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Jan Pompe says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 10:09 pm
    Phil. says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    Not strictly true as the emitted photon could be emitted in any direction both out to space or back to ground. So if you look from the original direction of travel of the absorbed photons it will still appear as an absorption band since the reemitted photons will be emitted at all other angles equally.

    Again remember the source is warmer so for any number of photons radiated toward the source you get more coming back, it’s fairly straight forward arthimetic also remember that this is a hypothetical situation where there is no collision quenching by other particles it’s an important distinction.

    It’s not hypothetical it’s what happens in the stratosphere. Your ‘fairly straightforward arthimetic’ (sic) neglects the geometry of the situation.

  312. Phil.
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #310
    See last paragraph of http://www.laserk.com/newsletters/whiteTHE.html for example.

  313. Phil.
    Posted Dec 3, 2007 at 11:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #311

    “I beg to differ. You are forgetting the actual mechanics of the smearing Tom refers to, the conversion to translational energy — it doesn’t just happen by magic. The IR photon suffers a frequency shift when scattering off a moving molecule or molecular cluster, a kind of Brillouin scattering off localized acoustic-mode wavelets. I’m not sure how strong that process is, but it should be stronger than Raman scattering and is probably comparable to the other modes whereby the vibrational energy is converted to translational energy after the photon absorption. (There are also two-photon processes — one in, two out — from scattering off the non-linear part of the molecular dipole — but these probably are weak).”

    Nope, the situation described was absorption of an IR photon and subsequent collisional deactivation this involves no frequency shift of the photon. The other scattering phenomena have much lower cross sections than absorption by CO2.
    You don’t really want a reference to the kinetic theory of gases do you?

  314. Jon
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 12:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #310
    See last paragraph of http://www.laserk.com/newsletters/whiteTHE.html for example.

    Thanks for the quick reply, but that doesn’t tell me what I wanted to know. I’m looking for a complete statement of why ratio would be 1 out of 1 million. In particular such a proof would seem to falsify the radiative-convective model of Ramanathan and Coakley (1978).

    I’ve long believed that Ramanathan erred by assuming zero translation of long-wave radiation into kinetic energy during IR absorption. Still this characteristic has persisted for 30 years.

    Please give a proper derivation of your one out of one million estimate.

  315. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 1:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I fear that the thermodynamics discussion is drowning the original discussion about the variation in CO2 level increase speed…

    Steve McI, maybe it is better to transfer the comments about thermodynamics to a new thread, so that everybody is happy?

  316. Jan Pompe
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 1:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Phil. says:
    December 3rd, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Not strictly true as the emitted photon could be emitted in any direction both out to space or back to ground. So if you look from the original direction of travel of the absorbed photons it will still appear as an absorption band since the reemitted photons will be emitted at all other angles equally.

    I’m rather that you don’t understand that even with radiative transfer heat transfers from hot to cold and the net radiative flux will be in that direction and that is the geometry. Physicists (Maxwell, Boltzman and especially Clausius) have worked all this out quite some time ago.

    Without the collisions that quench the vibration converting it to kinetic energy (at a lower temperature) those absorbing particles will very very quickly achieve equilibrium with the source and Kirchoffs laws will apply. Once that happens the absorption lines will disappear as they will if the atmosphere with quenching achieves thermal eqilibrium, and in the case of a temperature inversion where the air is warmer than the surface you’ll see emission lines.
    Check out this novel method of measuring flame temperature you might find it informative. I used to use similar, though somewhat cruder, method many years ago to measure flame temperatures but just used the optical pyrometer for the molten steel in the furnaces.

    If you are still having difficulties Lubos can help I’m sure to give further insight.

    However I do agree with you on this:

    Nope, the situation described was absorption of an IR photon and subsequent collisional deactivation this involves no frequency shift of the photon

    Now enough on this subject it is getting way off topic.

  317. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #257,

    Andrey, there is a temperature component in the 13C/12C ratio too, as good as there is a temperature component in the total atmospheric CO2 level. But in both cases, the influence of temperature is small compared to the influence of human emissions. That can be seen in the fact that the pre-1850 variations are small and the 1800 level for pCO2 and d13C is near the same as the 1400 level…
    See the detailed graph here.

  318. T J Olson
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    THIS IS IMPORTANT science to reckon with. Two salient points occur to me.

    At Copper Mountain, Colorado, the retired US Navy meteorologist, Dr. Martin Hertzberg, maintains that CO2 increases lag temp changes. He is the source Alexander Cockburn has relied on for fiery criticism of AGW.

    But Hertzberg goes further than this. He maintains that the continuing increase of CO2 during the Great Depression years means that man-made contribution of CO2 is possibly insignificant to increasing atmospheric levels of the gas.

    Alexander Cockburn writes:

    “The two lines on that graph proclaim that a whopping 30 per cent cut in man-made CO2 emissions didn’t even cause a 1 ppm drop in the atmosphere’s CO2. Thus it is impossible to assert that the increase in atmospheric CO2 stems from human burning of fossil fuels.”

    While I know that Steve dislikes such radical outsider skepticism, isn’t there a man-made radiation (or isotopic ratio) signature that proves this inference wrong?

    Second, there is the “Global Carbon Project”,which seeks to document, account, and analyze total planetary carbon budget.

    Hasn’t the oceanic carbon release issue been authoritatively answered? I believe this thread helps inquirers to find an answer.

  319. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #261:

    Geoff, all data are from one weather station at Diekirch, Luxemburg. The town (and the station) are in a valley, with buildings and a lot of traffic and some forests. Not much industry (one tire factory in the main wind direction at 8 km).

    They used a lot of proxy data like temperature, sunshine (influence of vegetation), NOx (traffic) and wind speed to determine the influence of different components on CO2 levels. The daily minima were around 360 ppmv in summer, vs. 400 ppmv in winter with sufficient wind speed to mix the valley air with the above layers. That is about equal to the Mauna Loa data, but with a higher summer/winter variation. Higher hourly values are at night with an extra peak at early morning rush hour. Highest values are with lowest wind speed, because more CO2 remains in the valley and isn’t mixed with higher layers.
    See the detailed explanation of the two-years test and results at Diekirch here.

    The test shows that places like Diekirch are unsuitable as base station for “background” level CO2 measurements, except if one only selects the lowest values of every day when wind speeds mixes the near-ground air with the upper level air to a sufficient extent.
    They didn’t do 13C/12C measurements, but these were done at a lot of places over the world, including nearby Germany, where there is a clear negative correlation between d13C levels and CO2 levels, even at levels as high as 500 ppmv CO2. The latter was measured near ground by Keeling in California, while the next sample taken 15 minutes later was at about 375 ppmv: both were on the same line of d13C/CO2 correspondence. Thus the huge change was caused by vegetation decay and incomplete mixing of the air layer (in that case).

  320. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #320,

    T.J., I have read that, Cockburn/Hertzberg are completely wrong with their conclusion: The Great Depression did reduce the emissions per year, but still that were non-zero emissions, adding to the total CO2 in the atmosphere. Thus there may be a (hard to detect) change in increase speed, not a change from increase to decrease, as they expect…

  321. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 6:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #267:

    Igl, there are only relative global ocean heat content data for different depths since about 50 years ago. But in the case of CO2 exchanges, the temperature of the surface is one of the main drivers for pCO2 and thus the exchange. The surface temperature is related to the average mixed layer temperature of about the upper 50-200 m. For this, we have some foramin data which give an indication of past temperatures, as good (or bad) as the high-altitude Antarctic ice cores give an indication of SH ocean temperatures…

  322. rhodeymark
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 7:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #322 – Then it could be inferred that a drastic reduction in current emissions might only produce a hard to detect change in rate of increase?

  323. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 7:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 324,

    Rhodeymark, depends of how drastic: with about a 2/3rd reduction you are at break-even point for emissions with uptake, at least for a few years (depends of the saturation of the sinks). With higher reduction you go to a new, lower equilibrium between emissions and uptake, following an e-curve. With less reduction the speed of increase will be smaller than today and at some time in the future, you will reach a new equilibrium (again, if the uptake follows the same rules in the future as today).

  324. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 7:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#300:

    Jan, the noise around the main increase is essentially zero in average and total sum, compared to the increase in CO2 levels we have seen in the past near 50 years. I have calculated the one sigma of the real levels vs. the polynomial (quadratic) trend for the Mauna Loa yearly averages 1959-2004, which is 0.65 ppmv. In this case all yearly averages are within two sigma, thus +/- 1.3 ppmv or +/- 2.73 Gt around the trend.

  325. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 8:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The other scattering phenomena have much lower cross sections than absorption by CO2.

    Of course they do, but you are missing the point. After photon absorption, there has to be conversion of vibrational energy to translational energy before photon re-emission occurs. This involves processes similar in magnitude to the Brillouin scattering. They act through the same mechanisms, via the anharmonic part of the interatomic forces and non-linear dipole interactions.

    You don’t really want a reference to the kinetic theory of gases do you?

    Of course, not. I was asking for solid experimental data, not smart-a* remarks.

  326. Phil.
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 8:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Jan Pompe says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 1:59 am
    “I’m rather that you don’t understand that even with radiative transfer heat transfers from hot to cold and the net radiative flux will be in that direction and that is the geometry. Physicists (Maxwell, Boltzman and especially Clausius) have worked all this out quite some time ago.”

    I understand that perfectly well.

    “Without the collisions that quench the vibration converting it to kinetic energy (at a lower temperature) those absorbing particles will very very quickly achieve equilibrium with the source and Kirchoffs laws will apply. Once that happens the absorption lines will disappear as they will if the atmosphere with quenching achieves thermal eqilibrium, and in the case of a temperature inversion where the air is warmer than the surface you’ll see emission lines.”

    The absorption lines will only disappear if the temperature of the source and the temperature of the absorber are the same (and the emissivities and view factors are the same), not the case in the atmosphere.

    “Check out this novel method of measuring flame temperature you might find it informative. I used to use similar, though somewhat cruder, method many years ago to measure flame temperatures but just used the optical pyrometer for the molten steel in the furnaces.”

    I don’t think the method was particularly novel even when that paper was written (1962), I certainly first used it in ’71, as stated above it relies on the criteria I listed above, in particular absorber and source being at the same temperature.

    “If you are still having difficulties Lubos can help I’m sure to give further insight.”

    No difficulties, perhaps you should consult him?

    “Now enough on this subject it is getting way off topic.”

    Well it’s the central physics behind the GHE and when it’s incorrectly stated as it was above then it’s important to correct the error.

  327. Larry
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    317, FWIW, I will say again that there’s almost no thermodynamics being discussed here. It’s radiative heat transfer. It may be equally off-topic, but it’s a different subject. It’s entangled with thermo, but it’s not thermo.

  328. Phil.
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #316
    Jon says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 12:16 am
    “Thanks for the quick reply, but that doesn’t tell me what I wanted to know. I’m looking for a complete statement of why ratio would be 1 out of 1 million. In particular such a proof would seem to falsify the radiative-convective model of Ramanathan and Coakley (1978).

    I’ve long believed that Ramanathan erred by assuming zero translation of long-wave radiation into kinetic energy during IR absorption. Still this characteristic has persisted for 30 years.

    Please give a proper derivation of your one out of one million estimate.”

    The collisional lifetime of the excited stated of CO2 has been measured at ~microsec whereas the emission lifetime is given as millisec to sec so the quenching vastly dominates over emission.

  329. Phil.
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #327
    Pat Keating says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 8:17 am
    “The other scattering phenomena have much lower cross sections than absorption by CO2.

    Of course they do, but you are missing the point. After photon absorption, there has to be conversion of vibrational energy to translational energy before photon re-emission occurs. This involves processes similar in magnitude to the Brillouin scattering. They act through the same mechanisms, via the anharmonic part of the interatomic forces and non-linear dipole interactions.”

    The conversion occurs via collisions with surrounding molecules multiple times per nanosec in the lower atmosphere where essentially there is no photon re-emission because it is such a slow process (for the bending mode of CO2).

    “You don’t really want a reference to the kinetic theory of gases do you?

    Of course, not. I was asking for solid experimental data, not smart-a* remarks.”

    Really? Try http://amsglossary.allenpress.com/glossary/search?id=atmospheric-shell1

  330. Jan Pompe
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #328 Phil

    The absorption lines will only disappear if the temperature of the source and the temperature of the absorber are the same (and the emissivities and view factors are the same), not the case in the atmosphere.

    I had rather thought that is what I said

    Once that happens the absorption lines will disappear as they will if the atmosphere with quenching achieves thermal equ ilibrium

    or doesn’t thermal equilibrium mean it’s the same temperature? It is true that this does not happen in the atmosphere but the hypothetical situation described was just that, to demonstrate what would happen if CO2 did NOT warm the rest of the atmosphere with the absorbed radiation by converting to kinetic energy.

    I think we have been at cross purposes. Enough now?

  331. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #329 Larry:
    In my dictionary (link below), heat transfer is definitely thermodynamics — the study of the movement of energy:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define:Thermodynamics

    Sure, it’s covered as a high school review in the first week of a first undergrad course, but it’s still thermodynamics.

  332. Larry
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    333, heat transfer is transport. It’s a separate field, regardless of what google says. It includes mass diffusion, fluid mechanics, and even DC electricity. Thermo’s related, but it doesn’t encompass rate determining processes.

  333. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    331
    Arm-waving doesn’t cut it. Goodbye, Phil.

  334. Jan Pompe
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 10:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 7:47 am/a>

    Jan, the noise around the main increase is essentially zero in average and total sum, compared to the increase in CO2 levels we have seen in the past near 50 years. I have calculated the one sigma of the real levels vs. the polynomial (quadratic) trend for the Mauna Loa yearly averages 1959-2004, which is 0.65 ppmv. In this case all yearly averages are within two sigma, thus +/- 1.3 ppmv or +/- 2.73 Gt around the trend.

    I wasn’t concerned about the noise in the signal I was interested in comparing it with noise (not the sort of noise that seems to have encroached this thread yes mea culpa also) to see if it you’d get a significantly different result – a null hypothesis as it were. I have that straight accumulations tends to filter out variance and give a straight linear plot for example this is pure random between 0 and 1 accumulated:

  335. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 10:08 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #333 and 334, in this case, I agree with John V, heat transfer is definitely thermodynamics.

    >> mass diffusion, fluid mechanics, and even DC electricity

    Except that I don’t Jan and Phil are discussing these. In either case, it’s off topic (C02 LEVELS). It’s really not what Steve M, Leif and Ferdinand wanted to discuss here. Hopefully, the buzzer will sound, the period will be over, and the zamboni will clear all this out.

    I think in my blog software, I’ll design a very easy way to assign multiple comments to another thread. Dynamic comment references so the discussion stays coherent.

  336. Phil.
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 332

    Jan Pompe says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 9:27 am

    “Once that happens the absorption lines will disappear as they will if the atmosphere with quenching achieves thermal equ ilibrium
    or doesn’t thermal equilibrium mean it’s the same temperature? ”

    That’s exactly where your error lies, as I tried to explain to you above ‘thermal equilibrium’ does not mean the same temperature!

    “It is true that this does not happen in the atmosphere but the hypothetical situation described was just that, to demonstrate what would happen if CO2 did NOT warm the rest of the atmosphere with the absorbed radiation by converting to kinetic energy.”

    Even in that hypothetical the source and absorber will not be at the same temperature, look up view factor and emissivities.

  337. Larry
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 10:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    338, I think we have a semantic issue here. Thermal equilibrium means same temperature. What you’re referring to is called “steady state”. It’s not equilibrium. It’s quasi-static, but it’s not equilibrium.

  338. Jon
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    T.J., I have read that, Cockburn/Hertzberg are completely wrong with their conclusion: The Great Depression did reduce the emissions per year, but still that were non-zero emissions, adding to the total CO2 in the atmosphere. Thus there may be a (hard to detect) change in increase speed, not a change from increase to decrease, as they expect…

    This leads to a point that I don’t understand about C02 levels. Given that the rate of C02 absorption should be roughly proportional to the concentration imbalance. Let us generally say that the ocean concentration is a constant. Then the rate of C02 absorption should have varied only 33% over the lifetime of our emissions. According to the graph on page 793 of “The Prize” carbon consumption increased exponentially until roughly 1973 and has been flat since then.

    Something is wrong because this is not consistent with the trend in #7.

  339. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:07 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #295 – John V, what if the so called “one we have now” (or, even more properly, the so called “pre industrial climate”) is a precursor to something truly horrible, due to innate instability? For example, a precursor to another late Permian type event, or, a precursor to snowball Earth? How would we know that? What sorts of experiments and studies could tell us more?

  340. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    FYI:

    http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm06/fm06-sessions/fm06_PP23E.html

    These papers would make an interesting compendium.

  341. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Reply

    LTE doesn’t mean GTE. It’s impossible for the atmosphere to be in TE because there are other systems arund that doesn’t fill the ZLT. That’s simple. AGW is a lie.

  342. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:21 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#319, Ferdinand:

    Yes, I realize this.

    There is one more possible player in emission of low C13 carbon: deforestation. However, if take the rough proxy of deforestation in 19 century as increase of world population (deforestation as result to free land for agriculture), possible emissions appears to be quite small. World population was 978 million in 1800, 1262 million in 1850, and 1650 in 1900. Most of the growth was in Europe and Asia. Compared with jump in population from 2521 million in 1950 to 5978 in 2000, 19 century increase looks really small.

    So, it appears that trend of reduction of C13 ratio in atmosphere started around 1800 had substantial natural component.

  343. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #341 SteveSadlov:
    Anything is possible, I guess. We’ve had a pretty stable cycle of ice ages and inter-glacials for 400K+ years. Without evidence to the contrary, why would we expect anything different now?

    I typically use my brakes when riding down steep mountain trails. It’s worked well for me. But how do I know a cougar isn’t chasing me? Could I run some experiments before I use my brakes to be sure a cougar isn’t chasing me? Or, should I avoid the obvious danger and just use my brakes? Of course, there’s no reason I couldn’t study the odds of the cougar problem too. But the uncontrolled acceleration should take priority.

    Oh, and it’s not that the bottom of the hill is a worse place than the top. I just don’t want to get there too quickly.

  344. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    345
    Very false analogy, John V.
    It costs you nothing to use your brakes, so indeed why not. But suppose you know your brakes are shaky and will only operate for a total of 30 secs. You would be smart to hold off using your brakes until you approach a corner in the road that skirts the cliff edge, when you really need them.

  345. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I typically use my brakes when riding down steep mountain trails. It’s worked well for me. But how do I know a cougar isn’t chasing me? Could I run some experiments before I use my brakes to be sure a cougar isn’t chasing me? Or, should I avoid the obvious danger and just use my brakes? Of course, there’s no reason I couldn’t study the odds of the cougar problem too. But the uncontrolled acceleration should take priority.

    Oh, and it’s not that the bottom of the hill is a worse place than the top. I just don’t want to get there too quickly.

    nice.

  346. MarkW
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Another problem with the brakes analogy is we have no proof that where we are heading is worse than the place we have left. Indeed their is circumstantial evidence that it is better. So why should we expend massive resources to avoid getting there.

  347. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #345 – John V, have you had any formal training in Paleontology?

  348. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    345
    Very false analogy, John V.
    It costs you nothing to use your brakes, so indeed why not. But suppose you know your brakes are shaky and will only operate for a total of 30 secs. You would be smart to hold off using your brakes until you approach a corner in the road that skirts the cliff edge, when you really need them.

    there always is a cost in using the brakes.

    so if you knew there was a problem with your brakes, you would rather use them later than more early? sure?

    oh and John V., i know you did some real hardcore downhill racing when you were a kid and in your MWP (Moving Wheels Period).
    as long as there is the slightest doubt that you might have been moving faster back then, than you are doing now, do NOT touch that pedal!

  349. JaneHM
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand

    If there is a typical time constant for atmospheric CO2 related processes of say 30-40 years, why are the atmospheric CO2 measurements plotted versus the accumulated man-made emissions which go back about 150 years? We appear to have the mathematically extraordinary situation that the atmosphere is extremely effective in dealing with roughly 50% (~3GtC/6GtC) of the manmade emissions within the first year of their release, but extremely inefficient (taking many decades) to deal with the remaining 50%. That is not mathematically impossible but it is extremely unusual. Furthermore, the efficency of dealing with that 50% efficiently in the first year after emission appears to be (roughly but not quite) constant as the total atmospheric CO2 concentration increases substantially. Would you be able to expound further on that? Even if mathematically that is what is happening, in a physical context we need physical processes to explain it. What would they be, and why would they operate on anthrogenic CO2, and not the fluctuations in natural CO2 sinks and sources?

  350. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Another problem with the brakes analogy

    The analogy is worse than that, since the premise is that we’re going downhill. The car is going uphill, and we know what’s behind us is really bad (state control of our lives), filled with death, destruction and mayhem. We know, because that’s where we came from. And we also know that the bad stuff is trying to catch up with us.

    It’s been alleged that there is something bad ahead of us, but the folks alleging this are also for the bad stuff of the past, and they have been caught fudging a lot of data trying to convince us. They also propose to take away the very thing that will make us able to cope with almost anything: the prosperity that comes from freedom. So, with a T-rex right on our tail, this is no time to use the brakes.

  351. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 11:59 AM | Permalink | Reply

    SteveSadlov:
    Palaeontology? Nope.

  352. JaneHM
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand

    If the typical time constant for atmospheric CO2 related processes is say 30 – 40 years, why are the atmospheric CO2 measurements plotted versus the accumulated man-made CO2 emissions which go back about 150 years? We appear to have the mathematically extraordinary situation that the carbon cycle is extremely efficient at dealing with roughly 50% (~ 3GtC/6GtC) of the anthropogenic emissions within the first year after their emission, but incredibly inefficient (taking many decades) to deal with the remaining 50%. That is not mathematically impossible but it is extremely unusual. Furthermore the effectiveness of dealing with that first 50% appears to be (roughly but not quite) constant as the atmospheric CO2 concentration increases significantly. Could you expound further on this? If that is mathematically what is happening, in a physical system we need physical processes to explain why it is happening. What are they, and why do they operate on the anthropogenic CO2 emissions and not the fluctuations in the natural CO2 sources and sinks?

  353. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    JohnV:

    If you use brakes downhill on mountain road, you risk overheat the brakes when you will need them most – on downhill turn. Step off from the gas pedal in anticipation of downhill is the way to do it, and if downhill is too steep – use engine braking.

  354. Ian McLeod
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    John V

    Andrey Levin posted Robinson et al (2007) http://nzclimatescience.net/images/PDFs/gwreview_oism150.pdf in the Exponential Growth thread. It is relevant here. Judging by some of your comments you may find the summary helpful. Perhaps crack that iron façade of yours and give you a new appreciation of AGW.

    Willie Soon, one of the co-authors is no stranger to CA. Soon and Baliunas et al (2003) began the entire hockey stick controversy. They turned out to be right despite the hockey teams best efforts, the MWP and LIA really did exist.

    I found it a fascinating summary of CO2 and its importance.

    Ian

  355. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 12:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Any PhD candidates out there looking for something really intense?

    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0191-6122(1999)23%3C37%3ARW1SOT%3E2.0.CO%3B2-U

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/03/040308071720.htm

    http://geology.geoscienceworld.org/cgi/content/abstract/23/11/967

    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abstracts/1995/Eshet_etal.html

    http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2007/07/extinction-life.html

    http://www.springerlink.com/content/g25181075165ur73/

    http://www.geotimes.org/july03/high_palynology.html

  356. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 12:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #355 Andrey Levin:
    Thanks for the driving tips.
    I apparently forgot to mention that I was on a mountain bike though. Engine braking really hurts my knees. :)

  357. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 1:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #344:

    Deforestation is included in human emisions (not always that clear!) and is rather uncertain, the longer you go back in time. The change in land use indeed shows some extra release in the first years. In how far the uncertainty has influenced the 13C/12C ratios in the 1800-1850 period will not be easy to determine.

  358. Jon
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 1:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Are Isotope levels dispositive?

    Carbon ratios tell us only that we’re burning fossil fuels, not that fossil fuel burning dominates the rise in C02 Levels. (if you just read that statement as being ‘denialist’ you’ve misinterpreted it. please go back and realize that I’m making a point only about the limit information we can derive from carbon ratios).

    Posit: there is some other natural process that diffuses (not vents) C02 into the atmosphere; lets denote the volume of diffusion into the atmosphere as x. Now consider, man made emissions also of size ‘x’. What do we observe about the net change? It is still between ‘x’ and 2x, not 2x. The man-made emissions displace the diffusion necessary to achieve equilibrium. Yet the isotope ratios will change approximately the same way as if the classic explanation was still at work.

    Because we don’t actually know the carbon flux, we can’t distinguish those ratio changes well enough to see pass the ‘approximately’.

  359. Larry
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    360, bingo. The isotope ratios in the atmosphere prove only that there’s a flux into the atmosphere. It says nothing about what’s determining the concentration.

  360. bender
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 1:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #344 Have not been following closely, but when Larry posts “bingo” my ears prick up. You are aware that vegetation monitoring experiments in Europe noticed a 50% reduction in photosynthesis in the early 2000s due to drought? Was a Nature paper.

  361. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/7/4569/2007/acp-7-4569-2007.html

  362. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 2:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Are Isotope levels dispositive?

    CO2 from hydrocarbon combustion and from biospheric materials have delta-13-C values near -26 permil. “Natural” CO2 has delta-13-C values of -7 permil in equilibrium with CO2 dissolved in the hydrosphere and in marine calcium carbonate. Mixing these two atmospheric CO2 components: IPCC’s 21% CO2 from fossil fuel burning + 79% “natural” CO2 should give a delta-13-C of the present atmospheric CO2 of approximately -11 permil, calculated by isotopic mass balance (Segalstad, 1992; 1996).

    This atmospheric CO2 delta-13-C mixing value of -11 permil to be expected from IPCC’s model is not found in actual measurements. Keeling et al. (1989) reported a measured atmospheric delta-13-C value of -7.489 permil in December 1978, decreasing to -7.807 permil in December 1988 (the significance of all their digits not justified). These values are close to the value of the natural atmospheric CO2 reservoir, far from the delta-13-C value of -11 permil expected from the IPCC model.

    From the measured delta-13-C values in atmospheric CO2 we can by isotopic mass balance also calculate that the amount of fossil-fuel CO2 in the atmosphere is equal to or less than 4%, supporting the carbon-14 “Suess Effect” evidence. Hence the IPCC model is neither supported by radioactive nor stable carbon isotope evidence (Segalstad, 1992; 1993; 1996).

    -Segalstad (geochemist)

    And that’s assuming that all depleted C02 is only caused by Man. There are natural causes of depleted C02, so this is a max. Laymans explanation: there is no human signature in man emitted C02, other than the fact that it is depleted of certain isotopes. Sunlight causes certain isotopes. Plants take in this C02, with some being the isotope variety. Plant dies, releases C02 in that ratio. Hydrocarbons are assumed to be very old, therefore, isotopes have decayed back to normal C02. So, the calculation of percentage of human C02 relies on the false premise that man burning hydrocarbons is the only source of normal C02. However, even assuming that, Segalstad shows that it’s a small percentage.

    >> Because we don’t actually know the carbon flux

    That’s a great point. These are only human guesses.

  363. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #360, 361, 364,

    Gentlemen, wait a minute!

    The 13C/12C ratios do not prove that the increase is from fossil fuel use. The fact that the emissions are larger than the sinks in every year of the past 50 years does prove that beyond doubt. That simply means that the sum of oceans + vegetation are no net sources of CO2.

    What the decreasing 13C/12C ratio proves over the past 150 years, is that the oceans were not a net source of CO2. If the oceans were a net source, then the d13C value would increase, not decrease. Of course, vegetation can have been a limited net source of CO2 in the past, but not anymore in the past decade(s), as the oxygen values prove that. Be aware that you need to cut a lot of vegetation, as the amount of carbon in vegetation is less than what is in the atmosphere, be it that twice the amounts is buried in soils…

  364. Larry
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    365, I think we’re all saying the same thing, with minor nuances.

  365. DocMartyn
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    If you read my #12, my steady state calculation predicts about a 22% input form mankind. The steady state analysis works very simply and is very powerful. It as that advantage of working on non-equilibrium systems.

  366. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #365 – weathering (e.g. of carbonates), fungal and bacterial respiration, faunal respiration, direct lithospheric emission including volcanic emission, in no particular order … those are the main non anthropogenic sources I am aware of.

  367. bender
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    forest fires?

  368. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> The fact that the emissions are larger than the sinks in every year of the past 50 years does prove that beyond doubt.

    But science proceeds from measurements. Emissions and the size of “sinks” are a human guess by non neutral parties.

    Have you ever heard the story of the horse that could do math? Another example: I want the steelers to win the super bowl, so in any analysis that I do, they end up on top. Those 12-0 guys? Just lucky!

  369. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 3:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #369 – certainly a source as well. Also, coal seam fires.

  370. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #354,

    JaneHM, I will try to explain the basics of the different processes which play a role in the fate of CO2 in the atmosphere… Not with exact figures, but let’s make it easy…

    1. If you inject 20 GtC of CO2 at once (e.g. a volcanic eruption), then after a certain time (e.g. one year) about 30% of the increase is absorbed by the oceans, as the average pressure of CO2 in the oceans is 300 ppmv and in the air it was also 300 ppmv, but with the injection increased to 310 ppmv. The difference of 10 ppmv in pCO2 between air and upper oceans is what drives the exchange of CO2 towards the oceans. The second year, the pCO2 in air is reduced to 307 ppmv (3 ppmv got into the oceans), and now 2.1 ppmv is going into the oceans, as the pressure difference now is lower at 7 ppmv (assuming the oceans are indefinite sinks and stay at 300 ppmv). And so further the next years, until the old (dynamic) equilibrium is reached again and the one-time injection is dissolved in the oceans. The speed of reduction only depends of the pressure difference between air and ocean surface and the amount of CO2 that is dissolved with a certain pressure difference.

    2. Instead of a one-time injection of 20 GtC, now we start from zero with a continuous injection/emission of 20 GtC/yr. After one year, the increase at the end of the year is now 307 ppmv (already 3 ppmv dissolved), the second year, the pCO2 in the atmosphere increases to 312 ppmv, as there is a higher pressure difference from the next 20 GtC emissions, but that also dissolves more CO2 in the oceans. Again that goes on until the amount which is dissolving equals the yearly emissions, that is at a CO2 pressure difference of about 33 ppmv, thus at a 333 ppmv level. The increase in the atmosphere goes assymptotic towards the 333 ppmv, as the source stays equal, but the sinks increase over the years.

    3. Instead of a continuous injection of 20 GtC/yr, you start at zero emissions, but increase the emissions with continuous increments (equal % over the previous year). The first year, about 30% of the emission is absorbed, the second year again 30% of the increased emission, and so on. This never will reach a (new) equilibrium, as long as the emissions increase in quantity every year. The increase of abolute levels in the atmosphere will follow the emissions also with a fixed %, in this case with 70% of the emissions.

    Situation 3 is the current situation (be it much more complicated in reality).

    In all three cases, the moment that you stop the emissions, the next year the sinks absorb the same amount of CO2 as in the previous year, but in every subsequent year, the sinks decrease, because the pressure difference between the atmosphere and oceans decrease. Thus again, the decrease goes with an assymptote to the “old” equilibrium level of 300 ppmv.

    In reality, we are now at 380 ppmv, about 100 ppmv higher than the “old” equilibrium of 280 ppmv at current temperature. The sink is now about 3 ppmv/yr of the 4.5 ppmv/yr emitted. Thus the first year after the emissions stopped, we have a sink from 380 to 377 ppmv. The mext year 377 to 374.5,… That takes a lot of time.
    Thus despite that the first year about 40% of the previous yearly emissions were absorbed, it takes much more time to reduce the accumulated emissions we have built up in the past 150 years…

    To make it even more complicated: the upper oceans are also more saturated with CO2 (the difference atmosphere-oceans is only 7 ppmv nowadays, not 100 ppmv!). The exchange between upper oceans and deep oceans is about 10% of the 1000 GtC present in the upper oceans. That thus is a second time constant you need to take into account. What vegetation will do is an open question (probably also reducing its currennt sink capacity), etc…

    I hope I have made it clear why a one year reduction of the emissions can be large, compared to the time needed to reduce the excess carbon of the past 150 years back to the old levels…

    Maybe somebody can provide a link for the basic responses of a process to a disturbance, to show some graphs, I didn’t find one with a quick search…

  371. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> 300 ppmv and in the air it was also 300 ppmv

    My understanding is that equilibrium between air and water would be true if water ppm was 50 times air.

  372. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ha!

    Idso found that world population is highly correlated (R2=0.99!)with atmospheric CO2 concentrations – for 3.5 centuries!

    http://www.co2science.org/scripts/CO2ScienceB2C/articles/V4/N35/EDIT.jsp

    Kind of freaky: people in 19 century did not use coal to generate electricity, and did not use oil and NG at all, eat less meat, etc.

    There are two possible explanations to this strange correlation in 19 century: either ice core reconstructions of 19 century CO2 are junk, or there was serious natural flux of carbon into atmosphere. Or both (that’s what I am thinking).

  373. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> ice core reconstructions of 19 century CO2 are junk

    We’ve learned from Steve M that a correlation that high would suggest: the C02 from ice core reconstructors used population data to figure out which data points to discard. We know from Jaworoski that they did discard a lot of data, and this might tell us how they decided what to discard. I’m sure population doesn’t correlate well with measured data, since we know population didn’t go down.

  374. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #364:

    Gunnar, what Segalstad forgets is that even if 100% of the increase is man made (with a 90% confidence level, to use IPCC-speak), you will not find that in the atmosphere, as about 20% of the atmosphere per year is exchanged with the oceans and vegetation, thus the individual molecules like 14C from nuclear tests and the d13C ratio from fossil fuel burning are diluted by oceanic and vegetative CO2. In the case of 14C, oceans replace that with 14C free CO2 out of the deep oceans. In the case of the d13C level, the deep oceans have d13C levels which are higher than from the atmosphere (0-1 VPDB vs. -8), while at the sink side, the composition is equal to the atmospheric one, thus slowly changing the composition back to “normal”. But here too, the decrease in d13C of the atmosphere is faster than the dilution…

    Thus Segalstad mixes the dilution rate (which causes a halve life time of 5+ years for individual molecules in the atmosphere), with the increase/decrease from emissions and sinks, which has nothing to do with each other (the dilution rate doesn’t influence the accumulation or sink speed in any way)… In fact the decrease speed of d13C (and O2) is used to make estimates of the dilution rate (= seasonal exchanges) and the partitioning between ocean and vegetation uptake. See Battle ea.

    Thus even if what rests in the atmosphere from the original emissions molecules over the past 150 is only a few % (the rest is in the -deep- oceans and vegetation), still 100% of the increase in mass is caused by fossil fuel burning…

  375. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 4:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #368,

    SteveS, these processes are within the natural cycle of sources and sinks. The equilibrium between those two within the past about million years is mainly governed by temperature (around 10 ppmv/K). I have no knowledge of huge changes in any of them over the last centuries which can explain (part) of the increase. Even the huge Pinatubo eruption was only a blip on the CO2 scale…

  376. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 5:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #367,

    DocMartin, first the CO2 levels are not in equilibrium, as long as the sinks don’t equal the emissions. Second you are mixing dilution rates with increase/decrease rates…

  377. Phil.
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #339
    Larry says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 10:35 am
    “338, I think we have a semantic issue here. Thermal equilibrium means same temperature. What you’re referring to is called “steady state”. It’s not equilibrium. It’s quasi-static, but it’s not equilibrium.”

    Stick a thermocouple in a flame, allow both to reach equilibrium, the flame and the thermocouple will not be at the same temperature (the thermocouple will be cooler) and yet the system is in thermal equilibrium. Same situation with the CO2 molecule and the earth, equilibrium is reached but they are at different temperatures.

  378. Larry
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 5:18 PM | Permalink | Reply

    379, that’s NOT equilibrium! Heat is moving through the thermocouple. If no heat were moving through the thermocouple, the temperatures would be the same. You’ve illustrated my point.

  379. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 5:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #374

    Andrey, it is not because there is a spurious correlation between two (partly) related items that one of them is junk. It is perfectly possible that the population has increased since the 19th century and that there is a direct correlation between fossil fuel use as cause and CO2 levels as effect since begin 19th century.

    I have looked at some history in my own country: the first steam engine was built in 1816, maybe still on wood, but the first high furnace on coke (=coal) started in 1818. One of the first coal mines distributed shares in 1838, as far as I know, not to build a hill with the coal they brought on the surface… Trains, steamboats all started in the first halve of the 19th century… Some mey have started with wood, but coal was used very soon.

  380. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 5:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #375,

    Gunnar, rather cheap remarks here. You are sure that ice cores don’t tell anything because a lot of people at different labs over the world discard inconvenient data (which may be right for real outliers), independent of each other. And you believe one man who makes a lot of remarks without much substance (as far as I have seen). E.g. he says on the Warwick pages that CO2 clathrates may explode upon warming/decompression in ice cores and may form cracks in the ice. But I suppose that the N2 and O2 clathrates are decomposed first, and may be or not give an explosive expansion and cracks in the ice. CO2 clathrates decompose at much higher temperatures and lower pressure than N2/O2 clathrates, and their volume is much, much lower than N2/O2 after decomposing (0.03%!). Thus if anything escapes, it will be N2/O2, long before CO2. This may lead to too high levels of CO2, not too low.

  381. Ian McLeod
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 6:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand Engelbeen #382

    I am not convinced. You are speculating. Jaworoski’s research has been criticized because he is an outsider, which is exactly what many people like about him. It is still too early to know if he is right or off the mark. Based on other findings such as the 800-year lag and the missing data debacle, I am inclined to put my money on Jaworoski, and the likes of Idso(s), Soon, Baliunas and so forth.

    BTW, I agree with your outgassing/solubility theory of CO2 in the upper sea level, but it has little to do with ice cores, or the greenhouse effect where the theory is uncertain, there are mounting papers stating the opposite of AGW and perhaps the most glaring of all, the non-existence of any experimental evidence.

    Ian

  382. DocMartyn
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 6:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #372

    “3. Instead of a continuous injection of 20 GtC/yr, you start at zero emissions, but increase the emissions with continuous increments (equal % over the previous year). The first year, about 30% of the emission is absorbed, the second year again 30% of the increased emission, and so on. This never will reach a (new) equilibrium, as long as the emissions increase in quantity every year. The increase of abolute levels in the atmosphere will follow the emissions also with a fixed %, in this case with 70% of the emissions.”

    O.K. Ferdinand, in you model there will never be the white cliffs of Dover, nor will their be oil or coal and there will be never ending increases in atmospheric CO2. Each time a vulcano erupts CO2 is added to your “equilibrium” and the partitions into the atmophere/oceans and rises in both. There is no exit from your system. The newly leached cations, carried by rivers, go into the sea and never mineralize. The carbon skeletons of cells are never compressed by mud and fossilized.
    You have a closed system, with an input of geological carbon, which will rise for ever.

  383. Jon
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 6:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #365,

    What the decreasing 13C/12C ratio proves over the past 150 years, is that the oceans were not a net source of CO2. If the oceans were a net source, then the d13C value would increase, not decrease.

    No and No. What you say can be what happens but neither condition proves the other.

    i.e., even when there is zero net change between the ocean and the air, there is still substantial exchange. Posit if the oceans sunk all of the carbon output; would the isotope ratio change? yes. it would. We are burning fossil fuels. If the oceans sunk no carbon output would it change? yes it would.

    So it is the precise rate that matters.

    the trouble is that we only roughly know industrial output and we only roughly know the biosphere’s cycle and people don’t seem to agree on what the ocean’s diffusion rate is. Ergo, we cannot conclude much from observing the ratio.

    Please see my use of the word approximate.

  384. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 7:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Temperature. IF we accept the idea of a “global temperature” we still don’t know what +.7 mean anomaly trend tells us, and we don’t KNOW if that would be better for us at 2.5 (or -5) or if it even really matters.

    CO2. IF we accept the idea that all the rise in measured CO2 is caused by humans, AND we assume a causal relationship with temperature by CO2 alone, we can’t answer the question of what would +200 or -200 ppmv (or +/-X pp?v for any other GHG) would DO.

    This is why all the contention; Even if all that is true about temp, is the derived anomaly in May 1930 is a number that can be compared with the derived anomaly in May 1980? Are they just as correct or just as incorrect as each other? And clearly, as I have been saying, CO2 levels are not the whole story so the point is really moot.

    Gunnar, I agree. “Emissions and the size of “sinks” are a human guess by non neutral parties.”

    As far as this equilibrium thing, put a 10 ton steel block onto a flat metal plate heated to 110 F; will they be at the same temperature? Eventually, if the steel block can’t transfer the heat out of the system. Never, if the steel block can transfer the heat out of the system.

  385. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 7:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> rather cheap remarks here

    It wasn’t that cheap, it took very careful and thorough reading of Jaworoski’s paper. :)

    That one man is very credible in my estimation. And he’s not presenting estimates of human origin and presenting it as science. Extremely knowledgable in the field, with the reality check of auditing methods, data, reasoning, not unlike the Steve M approach.

    >> what Segalstad forgets is that even if 100% of the increase is man made (with a 90% confidence level, to use IPCC-speak), you will not find that in the atmosphere, as about 20% of the atmosphere per year

    Hmm, you need more practice being an AGW proponent. You should know that the party line is that C02 accumulates in the atmosphere for 100+ years, contrary to what you just said.

    Segalstad doesn’t forget the point that 20% goes into the drink every year, since he makes a big point that the C02 residence time is about 5 years, and references about 20 studies that confirm this. This works against the AGW cause, since it means 2 things:

    1) The atmospheric C02 doesn’t accumulate and that the 4% figure puts an upper limit on Man’s effect on the GHE. If it accumulated, then the anti-AGW folks could say that it’s only 4%, and that’s only after accumulating for 50 years. So, you have defeated that argument by admitting that atmospheric C02 is in a cycle (as implied by DocMartyn in #384). But you’re still left with it being only 4%. That’s a pretty small contribution, wild arsed guesses about our emissions nothwithstanding. Combined with the fact that C02 is not the whole GHE, it means that our impact is only like .15%.

    2) The atmospheric C02 doesn’t accumulate, so if in 2050, humanity came up with a new energy source that emitted no C02, the atmosphere would be clear of human C02 within 10 years. Why? Because the ocean is well below equilibrium, so it would continue to be a sink.

  386. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#381, Ferdinand:

    OK, lets take a look at it from the point of view of antropogenic emissions/carbon flux. Take a look at the graph:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_History_and_Flux-2.png

    It is clearly visible that before 1900 CO2 content of atmosphere increased faster than antropogenic emissions. Situation reversed at about 1900.

    As I said, there are two possible explanations of the phenomena: 1)increased natural emission of CO2 in 19 century; 2) concentration of CO2 in atmosphere in 19 century was higher than accepted 280 ppm (stomata date place it as fluctuating around 300ppm).

    Or both.

  387. Phil.
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #380

    Larry says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 5:18 pm
    “379, that’s NOT equilibrium! Heat is moving through the thermocouple. If no heat were moving through the thermocouple, the temperatures would be the same. You’ve illustrated my point.”

    Well if you want to define it away then fine, that definition restricts thermal equilibrium to isolated isothermal systems. In the real world we’re dealing with a system where mass and energy fluxes are constant and temperatures are time invariate whatever you choose to call it.

  388. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    At first glance, I would say that the increase of CO2 through the last four centuries is due to the short oscillation of change of the tropospheric temperature. Perhaps that’s the cause of the high number of divorces or is it the opposite? ;)

  389. Phil.
    Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 9:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #388

    There’s good anaylsis of the various sources and sinks here:

    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0012-9658%28198406%2965%3A3%3C970%3AMTEITG%3E2.0.CO%3B2-Y

  390. Posted Dec 4, 2007 at 10:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    At a second glance, I would say that one or several CO2 sinks work better at higher tropospheric temperatures, or when the Temperature oscillations are wider than 3 K.

  391. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks, Phil.

  392. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 6:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Learning by example.

    In times of personal scientific confusion, I turn to papers by Lord Rutherford and read them to restore peace and good order. See for example –

    http://dbhs.wvusd.k12.ca.us/webdocs/Chem-History/Rutherford-Alpha&Beta.html

    The fame of Rutherford was gained because he devised simple ways to answer complex and novel questions AND THEN HE DID THE SMALL EXPERIMENT THAT ESTABLISHED THE PRINCIPLE. He was most able to remove confounding influences and isolate the single matter under investigation. A century ago.

    May Lord Rutherford’s writings keep us all on track. I sometimes wonder what he would have said about the so-called Precautionary Principle. I guess a few seconds of thought, silence, then a change of subject.

  393. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 8:46 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> AND THEN HE DID THE SMALL EXPERIMENT THAT ESTABLISHED THE PRINCIPLE.

    What an archaic concept. Today, our peer review system is far better. We have now “moved on” from the scientific method. Even if those pesky experiments show that our ideas are not real, we can ignore those and demonize the dissenter, since all we need to establish truth is a PhD in the right major, a clique of reviewers, research grants, and political cover.

  394. Larry
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 9:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    389, equilibrium is what it is. It’s what you get when you put stuff in a sealed, perfectly insulated container, and set it on the shelf forever. It never exists in reality. It’s an ideal limiting case. We can get very close, but we can’t ever get there completely.

  395. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 9:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> It never exists in reality.

    Even if not, the concept is still very important. It’s what reality is chasing.

    >> We can get very close, but we can’t ever get there completely.

    Are you saying that when I put a generator in a -40 freezer and left it there for a week, it was not then at equilbrium? Maybe this is an engineer vs scientist thing.

  396. Jan Pompe
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 9:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Gunnar,

    Are you saying that when I put a generator in a -40 freezer and left it there for a week, it was not then at equilbrium?

    May yes maybe no how are you going to tell? Bet that as soon as you open the door to measure it you’ll find Schroedinger’s cat sitting there.

  397. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 9:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> how are you going to tell? …

    hehe. By reason and common sense. It didn’t need to remain at that temp after I opened the door. I just needed to prove that the generator still worked after soaking at that extreme.

    I’m sure you’ve heard the one about the scientist, the engineer, and the half steps? The engineer gets the beautiful girl.

  398. Tom Vonk
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 9:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m sure you’ve heard the one about the scientist, the engineer, and the half steps? The engineer gets the beautiful girl.

    And the scientist avoids the old hag that he already saw in the phase space :)

  399. bender
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 10:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    The problem with the word “equilibrium” is that theoerticians vs empiricists tend to have mathematical/dynamical vs statistical understandings of the concept. A dynamic equilibrium state is not the same things as a statistical equilibrium (stationary, or steady) state. I believe your differences of POV can be explained by this more nuanced definition.

    No flames please.

  400. John F. Pittman
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 10:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #365 and #377 Engelbeen

    The fact that the emissions are larger than the sinks in every year of the past 50 years does prove that beyond doubt. That simply means that the sum of oceans + vegetation are no net sources of CO2.

    the system

    has ~10ppmV/K

    Doesn’t Nahle’s #390 source falsify these two statements? In the first case , we see a natural system response of much more than the present response as it occurred before man’s numbers and uses (land or fossil fuels) predominated the natural landscape. In the second case, it shows a much higher ppmV/K system.

    Nahle, did the authors use diffusion of CO2 in ice to estimate the peaks and valleys? Otherwise, a quick estimate is that the more likely system response is about 45 ppmV/K. Also, did the authors asume that CO2 in ice is equal to CO2 that was in the air at the time? Thanks.

  401. Larry
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    401, by convention (at least in the physical sciences), what you refer to as dynamic equilibrium is referred to as “steady state”. I said in 339 that this was a semantic issue. “Dynamic equilibrium” would be an ok term, but it’s specifically eschewed in thermo as too confusing. “Equilibrium” has a very specific meaning in thermo, and it refers to a direction in which systems head, and not an achievable state of stasis. Since we have people here arguing on thermodynamic grounds, it’s important to use the terminology of the realm.

    How many times have you heard statistical terms of art misused?

  402. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 11:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #383:

    Ian, I haven’t read the objections of Jaworowski in detail, but what I have read on the Warwickhughes pages is not very convincing:

    One of these processes is formation of gas hydrates or clathrates. In the highly compressed deep ice all air bubbles disappear, as under the influence of pressure the gases change into the solid clathrates, which are tiny crystals formed by interaction of gas with water molecules. Drilling decompresses cores excavated from deep ice, and contaminates them with the drilling fluid filling the borehole. Decompression leads to dense horizontal cracking of cores, by a well known sheeting process. After decompression of the ice cores, the solid clathrates decompose into a gas form, exploding in the process as if they were microscopic grenades.

    Further explaining that this leads to an underestimate of the CO2 levels in the (new) bubbles. But it is the opposite of what he says, if anything, this leads to an overestimate of CO2 levels.

    Second, have a close look at what he does with the Siple Dome graphs:

    - The first graph is described as the CO2 levels of 1890: “This ice was deposited in 1890 AD”
    - The second graph is described as:

    “An ad hoc assumption, not supported by any factual evidence[3, 9], solved the problem: the average age of air was arbitrary decreed to be exactly 83 years younger than the ice in which it was trapped. The “corrected” ice data were then smoothly aligned with the Mauna Loa record (Figure 1 B), and reproduced in countless publications as a famous “Siple curve”. Only thirteen years later, in 1993, glaciologists attempted to prove experimentally the “age assumption”[10], but they failed[9].”

    I don’t see any problem with the fact that there is a difference of 83 years between ice age and air age. That is the time that the ice needed to enclose the bubbles completely. As far as I know, that is not an arbitrary decision, but based on where the ice closes and the number of layers back in time. To be noted, [3] and [9] in the note refers to work of… Jaworowski (ea.). [10] refers to the… Greenland ice sheet (where the ice-air difference is hundreds of years)…

    IMHO, the Idso(s), Soon, Baliunas and many others have much more reliable arguments than Jaworowski…

  403. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #348:

    DocMartin, the three examples were only to give an idea how a process (any process) reacts on a disturbance. It is basic process technology.
    These were not detailed attempts to describe what really happens in nature.

    But even in reality, as long as you increase the emissions with equal increments (% of last year), the sinks and atmospheric levels will increase linearly, until you can top them at a maximum, or reduce them.

    There are a lot of influences which results, amongst many other flows, in yearly deposits of organic and inorganic sediments. Which doesn’t make me fear that the increase in CO2 will stop the deposit of inorganic carbonate by coccoliths (by acidification of the oceans): the CO2 levels during the Cretaceous were much higher while the white cliffs of Dover were deposited by the same type of coccoliths…

  404. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #385:

    Jon, the seasonal turnover indeed is responsible for the fact that a smaller change in d13C level is measured in the atmosphere than without turnover. And even if all emissions were sunk (as mass), you would see a decrease in d13C.

    What I said about the oceans as net source of CO2 indeed is too strong. That was based on some other discussions, as some sceptics say that “all”/”most” of the recent increase of CO2 in the atmosphere comes from the (deep) oceans (due to more upwelling, temperature and/or pH changes as cause).

    If the deep oceans should add around 4 GtC for each GtC from the emissions, then the d13C should stay even (regardless of the height of the seasonal turnover). The problem of course is where all this excess CO2 is going, if we only see 0.4 GtC/GtC emission increase in the atmosphere of all influences together… Thus the combination of mass balance and d13C decline proves that the oceans were/are no huge net sources of CO2 (except a small addition for temperature changes).

  405. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 1:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Thus the combination of mass balance and d13C decline proves that the oceans were/are no huge net sources of CO2 (except a small addition for temperature changes).

    Can you elaborate on this?

  406. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 1:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 402

    John, I decided to post the abstracts from Parrenin&Loulergue’s papers and an abstract of the work published in 2004 so you can see that they didn’t assume that the ice age was the same than the age of the surrounding air. But you’re right, these studies falsify Engelbeen’s thesis. However, I insist on the apparent inverse correlation between the amplitude of tropospheric temperature oscillations and the increase of the density of carbon dioxide; at least in EPICA DC. As for the temperature oscillations and iron stained grains, the correlation is inverse also.

    ABSTRACT (Parrenin et al., 2007):

    The EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica) Dome C drilling in East Antarctica has now been completed to a depth of 3260 m, at only a few meters above bedrock. Here we present the new EDC3 chronology, which is based on the use of 1) a snow accumulation and mechanical flow model, and 2) a set of independent age markers along the core. These are obtained by pattern matching of recorded parameters to either absolutely dated paleoclimatic records, or to insolation variations. We show that this new time scale is in excellent agreement with the Dome Fuji and Vostok ice core time scales back to 100 kyr within 1 kyr. Discrepancies larger than 3 kyr arise during MIS 5.4, 5.5 and 6, which points to anomalies in either snow accumulation or mechanical flow during these time periods. We estimate that EDC3 gives accurate event durations within 20% (2 sigma) back to MIS11 and accurate absolute ages with a maximum uncertainty of 6 kyr back to 800 kyr.

    ABSTRACT (Loulergue et al., 2007):

    Gas is trapped in polar ice sheets at ~50–120m below the surface and is therefore younger than the surrounding ice. Firn densification models are used to evaluate this ice age-gas age difference (Delta age) in the past. However, such models need to be validated by data, in particular for periods colder than present day on the East Antarctic plateau. Here we bring new constraints to test a firn densification model applied to the EPICA Dome C (EDC) site for the last 50 kyr, by linking the EDC ice core to the EPICA Dronning Maud Land (EDML) ice core, both in the ice phase (using volcanic horizons) and in the gas phase (using rapid methane variations). We also use the structured 10Be peak, occurring 41 kyr before present (BP) and due to the low geomagnetic field associated with the Laschamp event, to experimentally estimate the Delta age during this event. Our results seem to reveal an overestimate of the Delta age by the firn densification model during the last glacial period at EDC. Tests with different accumulation rates and temperature scenarios do not entirely resolve this discrepancy. Although the exact reasons for the Delta age overestimate at the two EPICA sites remain unknown at this stage, we conclude that current densification model simulations have deficits under glacial climatic conditions. Whatever the cause of the Delta age overestimate, our finding suggests that the phase relationship between CO2 and EDC temperature previously inferred for the start of the last deglaciation (lag of CO2 by 800±600 yr) seems to be overestimated.

    ABSTRACT (EPICA 2004):

    The Antarctic Vostok ice core provided compelling evidence of the nature of climate, and of climate feedbacks, over the past 420,000 years. Marine records suggest that the amplitude of climate variability was smaller before that time, but such records are often poorly resolved. Moreover, it is not possible to infer the abundance of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from marine records. Here we report the recovery of a deep ice core from Dome C, Antarctica, which provides a climate record for the past 740,000 years. For the four most recent glacial cycles, the data agree well with the record from Vostok. The earlier period, between 740,000 and 430,000 years ago, was characterized by less pronounced warmth in interglacial periods in Antarctica, but a higher proportion of each cycle was spent in the warm mode. The transition from glacial to interglacial conditions about 430,000 years ago (Termination V) resembles the transition into the present interglacial period in terms of the magnitude of change in temperatures and greenhouse gases, but there are significant differences in the patterns of change. The interglacial stage following Termination V was exceptionally long-28,000 years compared to, for example, the 12,000 years recorded so far in the present interglacial period. Given the similarities between this earlier warm period and today, our results may imply that without human intervention, a climate similar to the present one would extend well into the future.

  407. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 1:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gunnar,

    Re #373

    My understanding is that equilibrium between air and water would be true if water ppm was 50 times air.

    pCO2 in the oceans and in the atmosphere must be equal to have a (dynamic) equilibrium. But total CO2 in the oceans at equal pCO2 is much higher, as CO2 is present as dissolved gas, bicarbonate and carbonate…

    Re #387

    For my view on Jaworowski’s work, see #404

    Hmm, you need more practice being an AGW proponent. You should know that the party line is that C02 accumulates in the atmosphere for 100+ years, contrary to what you just said.

    Gunnar, these are totally separated points: That the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in the past near million years always followed temperature and that the current increase is mainly man-made (about 90% in my opinion), doesn’t say anything about the influence of CO2 on temperature. And that doesn’t make me an AGW proponent, neither a denier. My opinion is that increased CO2 has some influence on temperature, but much lower than the IPCC / models tell us…

    Segalstad doesn’t forget the point that 20% goes into the drink every year, since he makes a big point that the C02 residence time is about 5 years, and references about 20 studies that confirm this. This works against the AGW cause, since it means 2 things:

    1) The atmospheric C02 doesn’t accumulate and that the 4% figure puts an upper limit on Man’s effect on the GHE. If it accumulated, then the anti-AGW folks could say that it’s only 4%, and that’s only after accumulating for 50 years. So, you have defeated that argument by admitting that atmospheric C02 is in a cycle (as implied by DocMartyn in #384). But you’re still left with it being only 4%. That’s a pretty small contribution, wild arsed guesses about our emissions nothwithstanding. Combined with the fact that C02 is not the whole GHE, it means that our impact is only like .15%.

    2) The atmospheric C02 doesn’t accumulate, so if in 2050, humanity came up with a new energy source that emitted no C02, the atmosphere would be clear of human C02 within 10 years. Why? Because the ocean is well below equilibrium, so it would continue to be a sink.

    Again, this is the classic error that many sceptics make. It seems very hard to understand the difference between accumulation time and residence time. The first is how long it takes to reduce some extra input from any source above any dynamic equilibrium to go back to equilibrium, the second is the time that a certain molecule from any source will stay in the atmosphere, before being catched by the oceans and/or vegetation. The first depends on emission/sink rates (which are relative small, some 9 and 4 GtC/year), the second on turnover rates (which are huge, some 150 GtC/year).

    To make a (bad) comparison: the money you bring (in person) to the bank has a residence time of a few hours in the bank itself (a fraction of a second if you do it electronically). But your money will have an accumulation time of a few weeks to a few years, before it gives you some yield (depending of the type of account). At the end, it still is your money, no matter what the serial numbers on the notes are…

    Thus in short:

    1. Human emissions do accumulate (in mass: 30%) in the atmosphere, but don’t reside (in presence: 4%) in the atmosphere for a long time.

    2. The half-life residence time is 5+ years, the half-life sink time is 30-40 years.

    The IPCC doesn’t give one half-life time, they give several. Anyway, with the above half-life sink time: 100 years after we stop all emissions, CO2 levels still will be about 15% above the equilibrium, not zero. But you will hardly find any original molecule from the emissions left in the atmosphere…

  408. JaneHM
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #372
    Ferdinand, thanks for the reply. Translating your three cases into mathematics I get

    1. d P_A / dt = – a ( P_A – b) where P_A is the atmospheric CO2 concentration, a is a constant ( = 0.3 / year, say) and b is the upper ocean concentration (assumed constant). This has the solution P_A = b + (P_Ai – b) exp (-at) where P_Ai is the atmospheric concentration after that first (and only) injection of CO2. This asymptotes to P_A -> b as t -> infinity.

    2. d P_A / dt = k – a ( P_A – b) where k is the continuous injection rate assumed constant ( = 20 Gt C/yr say). This has the solution P_A = b + (k /a) (1 – exp (-at)) which asymptotes to P_A -> b + (k/a) as t -> infinity.

    3. d P_A / dt = k – a ( P_A – b) where k is now some function of time ( k is proportional to (n^t – 1) say for 1

  409. DocMartyn
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #405 Are you suggesting that you can have a half-life in the atmosphere of 4.5 years (as suggested by H-Bmob C14 levels) and yet at the same time suggest that to go from 380 ppm to 290 ppm will take 30 to 40 years?

    If this is what you mean, may I suggest that you just model it, as I did. You will be suprised.

  410. JaneHM
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #372
    Ferdinand, sorry – seemed to be some problem uploading #410. Trying again …. Translating your three cases into mathematics I get

    1. d P_A / dt = – a ( P_A – b) where P_A is the atmospheric CO2 concentration, a is a constant ( = 0.3 / year, say) and b is the upper ocean concentration (assumed constant). This has the solution P_A = b + (P_Ai – b) exp (-at) where P_Ai is the atmospheric concentration after that first (and only) injection of CO2. This asymptotes to P_A -> b as t -> infinity.

    2. d P_A / dt = k – a ( P_A – b) where k is the continuous injection rate assumed constant ( = 20 Gt C/yr say). This has the solution P_A = b + (k /a) (1 – exp (-at)) which asymptotes to P_A -> b + (k/a) as t -> infinity.

    3. d P_A / dt = k – a ( P_A – b) where k is now some function of time ( k is proportional to (n^t – 1) say for n between 1 and 2). This is harder to solve analytically but its solution clearly also will involve an exponential decay term and asymptote to a value higher than b.

    So, I’m still puzzled why you would see a straight line when you plot the observed P_A against the accumulated emissions ( = integral k(t) dt). I don’t see mathematically why it would be linear.

    Or have I misinterpreted what you mean by ‘accumulated emissions’. Instead of accumulated emissions meaning total emissions, do you mean accumulated emissions are only that portion of the total emissions which has accumulated in the atmosphere? But using the latter would be scientifically circular since one needs to model and make assumptions to estimate how much has accumulated in the atmosphere.

    Secondly what also puzzles me is why, if an equation of the type of case 3 accurately describes the process, the atmospheric CO2 line prior to Mauna Loa is so flat and featureless given that the estimated natural variations in the sources and sinks can be as large as a few Gt per year and in a natural system one would expect the variations in contiguous years to show some correlation. One surely then would expect to see much greater swings and deviations from 280 ppm in the pre-Mauna Loa record. Is this a CO2 version of the HOCKEY STICK problem – a suspiciously featureless pre-industrial plot with extreme and rapid change in the past century?

  411. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #388:

    Andrey, you are comparing yearly emissions with accumulated result in the atmosphere. If you take the total emission in the period 1850-1900, that is about 25 GtC (average 0.5 GtC/yr), which result in 12 ppmv increase without sinks. With 50% sinks, an increase of 6 ppmv may be expected. Which is about what the CO2 graph gives…

    Btw, you used the Siple Dome ice core/Mauna Loa graph which Jaworowski disliked so much…

  412. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Types of equilibrium associated with chemistry:

    Chemical equilibrium, the state in which the concentrations of the reactants and products have no net change over time

    Diffusion equilibrium, when the concentrations of the diffusing substance in the two compartments are equal
    Donnan equilibrium, the distribution of ion species between two ionic solutions separated by a semipermeable membrane or boundary

    Dynamic equilibrium, the state in which two reversible processes occur at the same rate

    Equilibrium constant, a quantity characterizing a chemical equilibrium in a chemical reaction

    Equilibrium unfolding, the process of unfolding a protein or RNA molecule by gradually changing its environment

    Partition equilibrium, a type of chromatography that is typically used in GC

    Quasistatic equilibrium, the quasi-balanced state of a thermodynamic system near to equilibrium in some sense or degree

    Schlenk equilibrium, a chemical equilibrium named after its discoverer Wilhelm Schlenk taking place in solutions of Grignard reagents

    Solubility equilibrium, any chemical equilibrium between solid and dissolved states of a compound at saturation

    Thermodynamic equilibrium, the state of a thermodynamic system which is in thermal, mechanical, and chemical equilibrium

  413. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Question / investigation to ponder. What impacts would either or both of the following have on the equilibrium of non anthropogenic sources and sinks?
    1) the onset of one or more significant orogenies
    2) a major disruption / die back of green plants (terrestrial, aquatic / marine, phytoplankton) and subsequent fungus surge and erosion / runoff increases.

  414. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #390/392:

    Nasif, a few remarks:

    According to ice cores, the temperature was always leading the CO2 changes and for low-accumulation Vostok the ratio was about 8 ppmv CO2/K change over the full 420,000 (smoothed) years. For shorter terms, other high-accumulation ice cores also shows temperature leading and the CO2/temperature ratio is about 10 ppmv/K. Now around 1850 we see that CO2 takes over the lead (in the same high-accumulation ice cores!) and that the CO2/temperature ratio now is about 100 ppmv/K (in the ice cores ánd in direct measurements). On te other side, relative huge variations in temperature in a short time span like El Niño and Pinatubo cause a change of 4 ppmv/K in the direct measurements over the trend.

    My questions for you:

    - If temperature has a relative small influence on CO2 levels in the very long past ánd in current times, how can temperature be the cause of the huge CO2 levels.
    - How can it be that CO2 levels suddenly start to lead temperature changes.

    For both questions: if humans are not the cause of the increase in CO2…

  415. Larry
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    414, all of those things fall into two categories; they’re all thermodynamic equilibrium except for “dynamic” and “quasistatic”, which are steady-state nonequilibrium, and I have no idea what equilibrium unfolding is. But chemical reaction equilibrium, solubility equilibrium, diffusion equilibrium, all of those are thermodynamic.

    What isn’t thermodynamic are the rate laws that govern how fast those things happen. That’s either transport or kinetics.

  416. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:43 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Gunnar, question; why not just put a thermometer in the freezer with the generator that has a display outside the freezer?
    :)

    BTW this and the equilibrium definitions are from wikipedia.

    Steady state is a more general situation than Dynamic equilibrium. If a system is in steady state then the recently observed behaviour of the system will continue into the future. In stochastic systems, the probabilities that various different states will be repeated will remain constant.

    In many systems, steady state is not achieved until some time has elapsed after the system is started or initiated. This initial situation is often identified as a transient state, start-up or warm-up period.

    While a dynamic equilibrium occurs when two or more reversible processes occur at the same rate, and such a system can be said to be in steady state; a system that is in steady state may not necessarily be in a state of dynamic equilibrium, because some of the processes involved are not reversible.

    For example: The flow of material through a system, or electricity through a network, could be in a steady state because there is a constant flow of material, or electricity. Conversely the filling or draining of a tank with material would be an example of a transient state.

  417. Larry
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 2:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    418, you can use the term “dynamic equilibrium” if you want to, but it’s not a thermodynamic state. In thermo, equilibrium only means one thing.

  418. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 3:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> why not just put a thermometer in the freezer with the generator that has a display outside the freezer?

    There was, calibrated too. I think Larry’s point is that somewhere deep in the generator, there was still a little bit of material that was at -39.9.

  419. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 3:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Not discussing it. I’m just putting up definitions. (I have no opinion on the matter.)

    In thermodynamics, a thermodynamic system is said to be in thermodynamic equilibrium when it is in thermal equilibrium, mechanical equilibrium, and chemical equilibrium. The local state of a system at thermodynamic equilibrium is determined by the values of its intensive parameters, as pressure, temperature, etc. Specifically, thermodynamic equilibrium is characterized by the minimum of a thermodynamic potential, such as the Helmholtz free energy, i.e. systems at constant temperature and volume:

    A = U – TS
    Or as the Gibbs free energy, i.e. systems at constant pressure and temperature:

    G = H – TS
    The process that leads to a thermodynamic equilibrium is called thermalization. An example of this is a system of interacting particles that is left undisturbed by outside influences. By interacting, they will share energy/momentum among themselves and reach a state where the global statistics are unchanging in time.

    Thermal equilibrium is achieved when two systems in thermal contact with each other cease to exchange energy by heat. If two systems are in thermal equilibrium their temperatures are the same.

    Thermodynamics deals with equilibrium states. The word equilibrium implies a state of balance. In an equilibrium state, there are no unbalanced potentials (or driving forces) with the system. A system that is in equilibrium experiences no changes when it is isolated from its surroundings.

    The opposite of equilibrium systems are nonequilibrium systems that are instantaneously of balance.

    If you don’t like wikipedia,
    http://www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/K-12/airplane/thermo0.html
    http://www.humanthermodynamics.com/equilibrium.html

  420. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 3:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #390/392 and #402,

    Nasif and John,

    I made a mistake by concluding at first glance that the graph was combining the Vostok ice core results with subsequent results of other ice cores and direct measurements. But the graph is a composition of temperature and CO2 records over the Holocene. O.k. let’s have a look at that…

    The temperature component is said to be from Broecker (Science, 2002).

    In the full report we can see the graph which is said to be temperature record for the Holocene. But that graph says for y-axis: “Percent iron stained grains” and os about a sediment core in the North-Atlantic. The only indication on the graph about temperature is that low percent is warm and high percent is cold.

    But the main page gives some better indication of the temperature trend during the Holocene:

    One difficulty encountered when trying to reconstruct Holocene temperature fluctuations is that they were probably less than 1°C.

    Thus the whole temperature scale for most of the graph is wrong…

    Moreover, this may be an indication of North Atlantic ocean temperature variations, but that is not the same as NH or global…

  421. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 3:57 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 416

    Ferdinand,

    - If temperature has a relative small influence on CO2 levels in the very long past ánd in current times, how can temperature be the cause of the huge CO2 levels.

    It’s not the temperature, as it is shown by data, but the amplitude of TT change, which might be why one or several sinks of CO2 are currently failing and probably it’s the same cause those sinks have failed in other past periods when the CO2 has increased above 2000 ppmV.

    - How can it be that CO2 levels suddenly start to lead temperature changes.

    It never started leading temperature changes. We can deduce from graphs on the last 2000 years that the change of temperature started some 200 years before the increase of carbon dioxide.

    For both questions: if humans are not the cause of the increase in CO2…

    Let’s assume that humans are the cause of 30% of the increase, which is a highly speculative statement, where the 70.7 ppmV of CO2 came from? From natural sources, of course; one of those natural sources might be the melting of permafrost.

  422. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 4:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #408,

    Nasif, I don’t see how the quotes you give falsify the point that the ratio between temperature and CO2 is about 8 ppmv/K. That is anyway true for the Vostok data. And still in all ice cores, temperature leads CO2, except in the past 150 years. The Epica core comment only says that the lag may be overestimated, it doesn’t say that the lag is zero. Moreover, there is a huge difference between low-accumulating ice cores, which have very small/invisible layers, where estimates for ice age – air age differences are far less reliable (and worse in time/depth) than for fast accumulating ice cores (about 60 years for Law Dome. About 80 years for Siple Dome).

    That CO2 lags temperature does say something about the influence of temperature on CO2, it doesn’t say anything about the influence of CO2 on temperature. If CO2 should have lead temperature during the ice ages, then the GCM’s and warmers are right: CO2 is the cause of the temperature changes…

  423. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 4:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    423 Nahsif

    the change of temperature started some 200 years before the increase of carbon dioxide.

    Maybe. But maybe this increase in COO is due to the MWP. Remember, the lag associatd with deglaciation is 800-1000 years.

  424. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 4:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #423

    Nasif, I suppose that my comment #422 and your comment #423 may have crossed. Your comment probably is based on a wrong temperature graph…

  425. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 4:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 425

    Pat, I agree. I was giving the closer posible lag, but you’re correct, MWP is a more plausible cause.

  426. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 5:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 427

    Ferdinand,

    Yes, our posts crossed ways. Probably, but I don’t think so because I correlated the change of temperature based on iron stained grains with the change of temperature from proxies for the same period. The change for the previous periods of the Holocene seems to have oscillated with amplitude of 4-6 K, while the current change has oscillated by 1-3 K. I was too reserved on the amplitude for the previous periods, as you can see here, where Demezhko and Scchapov mention an amplitude of 12-13 K.
    The point is that some sinks of CO2 are not working “properly” now.

  427. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 5:42 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #423

    Nasif, I need to retract the lead/lag question of CO2, as that can not be resolved with the current data. What need to be resolved is the following:

    During 420,000 years, the CO2/temperature ratio was about 8 ppmv/K, in the past 250000 years it was about 10 ppmv/K, in the past 150 years, it is 100 ppmv/K (for the total increase in CO2) and 4 ppmv/K for temperature variations around the increase for the past 50 years.

    Thus short variations in temperature over very long times give about 8-10 ppmv/K, and for short time variations about 4 ppmv/K.

    The MWP-LIA variation shows a drop of 10 ppmv for 1 K cooling, in the 1750 – 1850 period an increase of 7 ppmv for about 0.3 K and for the last 150 years we see an increase of 100 ppmv for an increase of about 1 K.

    Anybody still convinced that MWP (with delay) or the LIA-current temperature increase is the main cause of the CO2 increase? I am pretty sure that temperature is not the cause of most of the increase (maximum 10 ppmv 1850-2007).

    Thus a failing sink? Not in the past 50 years, where we see a 70 ppmv rise in CO2, and more natural sinks than sources… Thus at least these 70 ppmv rise is for near 100% caused by the emissions and I don’t see any reason why most of the previous 30% isn’t caused by the emissions either…

    Btw, the CO2 lag in ice ages includes many long-term feedbacks like (huge) ice sheet melting and deep ocean warming. That are quite slow processes and play less role in shorter term changes like MWP-LIA-back or El Niño of Pinatubo disturbances. The lag times therefore are much shorter for MWP-LIA (decades) and Pinatubo (months).

  428. Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 6:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 428,

    Nasif, from your reference:

    The amplitude of postglacial warming (12–13 K) inferred from the underground temperatures is greater than previously estimated. It is assumed that surface temperature variation amplitude is a function of the combined effects of surface air temperature changes and snow thickness changes. Statistical relations between mean annual soil–air temperature difference and snow cover thickness are proposed.

    This is about the ground temperature in the Ural. Of course that may be huge. But that doesn’t tell us anything about the temperature amplitude in other places or NH or global. According to Broecker, the (global) temperature variations were less than 1 K during the Holocene.

    Any more references for the temperature variations during the Holocene are welcome, but that will be for tomorrow…

  429. Ian McLeod
    Posted Dec 5, 2007 at 6:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand Engelbeen #404

    CO2 glaciologists believe that ice core records accurately represent the changes in atmospheric CO2. What CO2 glaciologists do not accept, yet, is that drilling cores defile samples in a way that does not happen with tree core samples. You explained it in your post. There maybe a more elegant way of explaining what happens, but to deny that nothing happens is not scientifically prudent. Just imagine in your mind’s eye how cutting an ice core from a deep and highly pressured ice sheet would influence occluded air bubbles.

    In cold water, CO2 is 70 times more soluble than N2 and more than 30 times more soluble than O2. Liquid water is commonly present in polar snow even at the eutectic temperature of -73C. This fact has surprised scientists (Jaworoski 2007). Glaciologists regularly find liquid water at depths of 200 metres. This is another fact, which puts in doubt ice core samples and the occluded air bubbles used as a proxy for temperature.

    Post deposition processes account for the flat line CO2 profile in polar ice and are responsible for the change in structure of ice and firn by first order gas fractionation. These processes not only change gas concentrations but also isotopic ratios.
    Hurd (2006) has shown that CO2 diffuses from ice under high-pressure (300 times greater than atmospheric) eliminating highs and lows, hence the flat trend line consistently reported by the IPCC.

    Direct CO2 measurement from the atmosphere does not correspond to the ice core record Beck (2007). This measurement technique is accurate and beyond doubt. Direct atmospheric measurement over the past 150 years indicates CO2 concentrations have been higher in some periods in the past than current date. Measurement also indicates a lag between CO2 and temperature something you have acknowledged.

    Jaworoski may be incorrect as to what depth CO2 clathrates form. He has claimed 70 metres. Time will tell. The scientific literature has not disproved his theories but it has improved them. There now appears to be evidence in the literature that the diffusion theory at the firn-ice interface suggests heavier gas isotopes from the heavier gases may accumulate. However, what impact does cutting them out from an ice sheet have on these ratios, unknown at this time. More doubt.

    There are few defenders of Jaworoski or Beck. Probably because of their rhetorical rebuke of AGW, but one should be careful not to overlook their work until falsified.

    Conclusion: Ice cores are not a good proxy for reconstructing ancient atmospheric conditions. Nor are they good for establishing near surface temperatures. The flat-line concentration of CO2 in ice cores are artifacts of post deposition processes. The resultant hockey-stick curves published are all indwelled with the same manifest flaw.

    Ian

  430. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 3:10 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #431:

    Ian, I didn’t say that ice cores sampling has no problems. What I did say is that if there are leaks and cracks, caused by decomposition of O2/N2 or CO2 clathrates, this may lead to too high CO2 levels in the remaining bubbles. O2/N2 clathrates decompose first at decompression, long before CO2 clathrates, have a much larger volume (99.97% vs. 0.03%) and pressure to escape from the core, while CO2 clathrates still are solid. This is the opposite of what Jaworowski claims.

    Drilling liquids may enter the cracks but AFAIK have no influence on CO2/air ratios.

    Outside air may enter the core (very unlikely) via the cracks, but that should increase the CO2 levels, not decrease.

    Water in snow is not the same as water in ice, may have some influence, but upon freezing, will release CO2, thus enriching CO2 levels in the bubbles.

    The presence of water inside bubbles has no influence on subsequent measurements, as two different methods: vacuum of grinded ice at low temperature or complete melting, shows similar CO2 / air ratios.

    The second point against Jaworowski is that he sees the difference between ice age and air age in the Siple Dome ice core as “manipulation” to match the Mauna Loa record. That may be his opinion, but he bases that on his own works and the problems with dating the Greenland ice core ice/air lag, which is much more difficult than the Siple Dome ice core under scrutiny.

    Thus, based on these two examples, I will take other comments of Jaworowski with more than a grain of salt…

    The same problem for Ernst Beck’s data. I have had a lot of very detailed discussions with him about the data and his interpretation (forbidden topic here). In short: with a few exceptions, methods and data were accurate, most places where was measured were bad, as (proven) firmly influenced by local CO2 production.
    His latest comparison is a good example of strange teleconnections: he finds a good correlation between regional Antarctic temperatures (from near-coast ice cores) with local data mainly from Giessen (Germany), bypassing the SH (and global) temperature trends, with which there is no correlation at all…

    Thus IMHO Beck’s interpretation needs to be taken with a lot of salt…

  431. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 3:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #428 (part 2):
    Nasif, have a look at the Wiki temperature reconstructions. The largest (semi) global variations are from the Greenland ice core: +/- 1 K, more or less representing the NH (or North Atlantic?) temperature, Antarctic ice cores (Vostok, Epica C) show +/- 0.5 K variation, more or less representing the SH ocean temperatures, with a variation of +/- 5 ppmv CO2. I think that you better compare (semi) global temperature variations with global CO2 variations, instead of some local/regional temperature variations…

  432. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 5:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#413, Ferdinand:

    you are comparing yearly emissions with accumulated result in the atmosphere

    Nope. I was referring to second graph, comparing antropogenic emissions and total flux, in GtC per year. Note two lines crossing about 1900:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_History_and_Flux-2.png

    Your noted that “you used the Siple Dome ice core/Mauna Loa graph which Jaworowski disliked so much…”

    Yep. That’s why I wrote (twice) that my second alternative hypothesis is “concentration of CO2 in atmosphere in 19 century was higher than accepted 280 ppm”

    As for your take on Jaworowsky in #404, I suspect that you missing Jaworowsky main point:

    Particular gases, CO2, O2 and N2 trapped in the deep cold ice start to form clathrates, and leave the air bubbles, at different pressures and depth. At the ice temperature of –15oC dissociation pressure for N2 is about 100 bars, for O2 75 bars, and for CO2 5 bars. Formation of CO2 clathrates starts in the ice sheets at about 200 meter depth, and that of O2 and N2 at 600 to 1000 meters. This leads to depletion of CO2 in the gas trapped in the ice sheets. This is why the records of CO2 concentration in the gas inclusions from deep polar ice show the values lower than in the contemporary atmosphere, even for the epochs when the global surface temperature was higher than now.

    Two things follow.

    1. All deep ice cores have supposedly uniform bias underestimating historic CO2 concentrations. Since bias is uniform, it is perfectly correct to use it for comparative purposes while researching climate and atmosphere thousands and hundred of thousand years ago.

    2. Physical process of dissolution of CO2 into chaltrates (or more precisely, different pressure when O2, N2, and CO2 begin to dissolve in chaltrates) explains why concentration of CO2 in ice core samples smoothly increases to current atmospheric when we move closer to surface – closer to present day.

    This, and commonly agreed smoothing mechanism in shallow ice (averaging ice core samples for minimum 50 years, possibly 100) makes ice core CO2 reconstructions totally unsuitable to splice with yearly averaged instrumental record, and totally unsuitable to judge atmospheric CO2 concentration in last couple of centuries.

    What tools remain? Sediment proxies, stomata proxies, O12/13 ratio proxies. I do not have web link to the paper, but key graph of Kouwenberg stomata CO2 proxy is presented in Fig.2 here:

    http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/sppi_originals/the_myth_of_dangerous_human_caused_climate_change/page-5.html

    Note about 380 ppm concentration of CO2 at about 750 AD. Also, from comment to the Fig.2:

    The ice core data represent generalized averages, and appear not to preserve the decadal-centennial changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide indicated by the stomatal measurements.

    In a nutshell, my uneducated take on the subject is: CO2 concentrations fluctuated naturally around 300 ppm in 1800-1950, and then increased sharply to current 385 as a result (yes!) of combustion of HC fuels.

    The irony is that this is exactly what IPCC adopted as working hypothesis for their climate computer models. Canonic notion that warming of last 250 years is caused by industrialization is a bull. However, IPCC is reluctant to educate their rank and file supporters that they already “moved on” from Al Gore commercial.

  433. kim
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 5:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    When I was a child, Paul Siple was once a guest in our home. I only learned today he had originated the term ‘wind chill’.
    ===============================================

  434. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 7:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hu McCulloch says:
    November 29th, 2007 at 11:03 am

    quote Re 6
    Can you find that graph for us? Mauna Loa is a nice, well-kept series, and so is the one we usually see, but it only goes back to about 1950. What happened before that? unquote

    Well, the graph is not exactly as I remembered it, and you’ll need to mentally juggle SSTs onto it (which I seem to have done in my head without knowing). The SSTs with the Folland and Parker adjustment removed makes the phenomenon particularly clear. Most odd. And, annoyingly, I’ve lost its provenance — this was before I started naming downloads instead of just falling with glad cries on any which fitted into the Kriegesmarine hypothesis. Perhaps someone knows where it comes from.

    On my website at floodsclimbers, at the bottom of the global warming bit, is a link to the graph showing anthropogenic CO2 and atmospheric CO2 plotted together. But where, as someone asked, does the pre-1957 data come from? You can see the join from blocky data to lovely scientific measurement.

    Sorry to take so long — I’ve had to redo my website from zero in order to get it to load. Thank you for that…

    JF
    (I suppose it needed doing anyway.)

  435. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 8:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Julian –
    Thanks for the follow-up, but Gunnar has pointed out (#50) that I was inadvertently asking about the topic of the Beck paper that Steve does not want discussed here at present.

  436. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 10:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 437

    Shhh… we won’t tell him. Actually, it’s not about errors in Beck, is it, just about the thread subject. I like the way the atmosphere CO2 trend actually dips below zero at one point.

    I’ve added the SST graph for easy comparison.

    JF

  437. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 10:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 430

    Ferdinand,

    Abstract from MacDonald G. M. et al. Holocene Treeline History and Climate Change Across Northern Eurasia. Quaternary Research, Volume 53, Number No. 3. May 2000. The full article costs 60 US Dollars. I widely recommend you to buy it.

    Treeline advance on the Kola Peninsula, however, appears to have occurred later than in other regions. During the period of maximum forest extension, the mean July temperatures along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5° to 7.0°C warmer than modern.

    Perhaps you think that the change occurred only in the NH and that it happened only during the summers. You could believe that the large-scale nature of the warming periods during the Holocene is dead letter; however, it seems that the case is similar to the famous blowing out of the MWP (the Hockey Stick).

    BTW, the Holocene Climatic Optimum has been discussed here, at Climate Audit.

  438. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 433

    Ferdinand,

    I compared the graphs from your Wiki link and there is not too much difference with my plot on change of temperature from iron stained grains. I see the Vostok ice core shows amplitude of change wider than on my graph.

    I would pay attention to the apparent sequence that wider amplitudes of change of temperature implicate lower densities of atmospheric carbon dioxide, while at a narrower amplitude of change of temperature corresponds a higher density of carbon dioxide. It is possible, let’s say viable, that the sinks of CO2 are more efficient when the change of temperature occurs through wider amplitudes than when the delta T presents narrower amplitudes. At least, it is what the comparison seems to show. It is feasible that the “failure” or long lag of the efficiency of CO2 sinks is due to a longer interval for showing up the effect. What is evident, from the examination of the graphs, is that when the amplitude of the change of temperature is narrow, the density of CO2 increases sharply.

  439. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ian,

    You are right about the graph, there seems to be a natural release of about 0.5 GtC/yr 1750-1850, or about 5 ppmv over that period in the trend graph, which need to be compared with an increase of about 0.3 K. From 1850 to 1900, you have a combination of both natural release and starting human emissions. For the whole time span 1750-1900 you see about 10 ppmv increase (I still need to compare that with the temperature increase).

    Anyway, if it was 280 or 290 ppmv (both within natural/temperature variation), we are now at 380 ppmv, of which most was caused by human emissions, released in the past 50 years.

    About Jaworowski’s quote:

    Particular gases, CO2, O2 and N2 trapped in the deep cold ice start to form clathrates, and leave the air bubbles, at different pressures and depth. At the ice temperature of –15oC dissociation pressure for N2 is about 100 bars, for O2 75 bars, and for CO2 5 bars. Formation of CO2 clathrates starts in the ice sheets at about 200 meter depth, and that of O2 and N2 at 600 to 1000 meters. This leads to depletion of CO2 in the gas trapped in the ice sheets. This is why the records of CO2 concentration in the gas inclusions from deep polar ice show the values lower than in the contemporary atmosphere, even for the epochs when the global surface temperature was higher than now.

    You need to read that very carefully to see how he uses some words (something which start alarmbells when I read that). Clathrates leave the air bubbles, they don’t leave the ice! In fact they are incorporated in the ice. And ultimately, when N2 and O2 forms clathrates, the bubbles disappear, only leaving ice with incorporated clathrates. Thus while CO2 clathrates form first, leading to depletion of CO2 in the residual air in the bubbles, that is completely irrelevant for the measurements, as the CO2 clathrates decompose again in the earlier formed air bubbles upon decompression and/or warming. Again Jaworowski is saying things which are not true and this time in a way that seems rather misleading to me.

    Indeed, there is smoothing in ice cores, but that is not because of clathrate (de)formation, but because of the time needed to close the bubbles and the number of layers (years) needed to measure one sample. To my knowledge, there is no negative bias, if anything, problems with the ice cores seems to lead to a positive bias…

    About stomata data, the problems are not simpler than for ice cores. It is a rather new technique, and needs a learning curve to know and solve the problems. Stomata (index) data have a wide error margin (+/- 10 ppmv within one sample), a small workable range (290-320 ppmv for oak leaves) and a positive “spring” bias. The problem is that stomata are formed in spring, when regional (NH) CO2 levels are at maximum, and local CO2 levels can have a wide range from canopea (trees) to ground (moss). Samples taken in the same year at different places may show up to 30 ppmv difference. Not directly suitable for global CO2 levels, but one may calibrate them against… ice cores. Anyway they have the advantage of sub-decadal resolution and thus are less smoothed than ice cores…

  440. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 12:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #439,

    Nasif, it is quite normal that the temperature gradient is larger towards the poles. Any average temperature change means litlle change in the tropics and maximum change in the polar regions… Even in the discussion of Stott ea. paper shows a temperature decline of about 1 K during the Holocene and a variability of about 1 K. Ocean temperature changes are more important for CO2 changes than local land based changes (which work in opposite direction).

    Anyway there is more than enough evidence for a worldwide Holocene Climatic Optimum (see the sampling at UKweatherworld

    Btw, what do you mean with CO2 density (partial pressure?), CO2 is measured as volume%, thus density doesn’t play a role, except as total density of the air (air pressure at sealevel).

  441. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 1:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    CO2 as a ChemE design issue … love it! Love this site!

  442. Ian McLeod
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 3:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand Engelbeen

    Here is another important consideration in clathrate formation or sublimation of CO2.

    Air entering micro-fissures in ice cores and cross-contaminating air bubbles are a non-issue. What is of principle importance is CO2 solubility in liquid water. In cold water up to the eutectic temperature of -73C, and when ice core samples are exposed to liquid water from drilling, or subterranean water flows, water can solubilize or “wash-out” the high and low CO2 characteristic signature buried within the sample.

    As liquid water runs through the semi-porous membrane of ice, it can remove or add CO2 from occluded air bubbles. This of course would depend on the partial pressure of CO2 in both the air bubble and the liquid water. The diffusion controlled driving force is solubility. This phenomenon compliments the degasification/fractionation issue and further explains the flat-line concentration profile of CO2 in all deep ice cores no matter sample location.

    As Andrey correctly pointed out above, as you move closer to the surface the concentration of CO2 increases. The concentration is not increasing because the profile represents the true CO2 distribution in the atmosphere over time. It is increasing because of negatively biased outcome from post deposition processes.

    I find it curious that you and I can read the same technical paper and come away with different interpretations from the stated facts. Perhaps it is our starting point. They say truth is a triple edged sword. My truth, your truth, and objective truth. The latter being the nub of the axiom. I suspect neither one of us has exclusivity on truth, but the quest to ferret it out is science. I think we can both agree on this point.

    I must sign off for several days. Thank you for your cordial dialogue. Feel free to comment, I will review when I return.

    Ian

  443. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 4:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 442

    Ferdninand,

    Huff! You made me work extra, but I’ve finished the plot on Holocene change of T and concentration of CO2 throughout that period. As you can see, the relation is the same; wide amplitude of deltaT, low concentration of CO2, narrow amplitude of deltaT, high concentration of CO2.

  444. John F. Pittman
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 4:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #444 Physically your explanation is correct and is a well known phenomena. CO2 diffusion in air/water systems is a well studied phenomena. It was used, when I was becoming a ChemE, as one of the first mass transfer problems for the student to do. The attributes of diffusion and mass transfer is the basis of designing strippers, and other mass transfer equipement. The ability of removing CO2 and other pollutants (think sequestering CO2 that is being proposed) works due to this phenomena. Which is why I asked in #402

    Also, did the authors asume that CO2 in ice is equal to CO2 that was in the air at the time? Thanks.

    A further problem, as you alluded to, the effect of changing temperatures on the diffusivity would need to be accounted for (temperature changes unknown, the effect is typically a T^1.75 relationship, have to do this by memory, my daughter is in pursuit of her ChemE degree and has all my books).

  445. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 5:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    RE Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    December 6th, 2007 at 12:26 pm

    quote Anyway, if it was 280 or 290 ppmv (both within natural/temperature variation), we are now at 380 ppmv, of which most was caused by human emissions, released in the past 50 years.unquote

    I wonder if you’d be kind enough to run through the proofs of this. It’s something that I’ve not found a convincing exposition of. TIA.

    JF

  446. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 9:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 447

    Julian,

    I accepted for awhile the argument about a 30% of human emissions responsibility on CO2 current concentration just to give continuity to my observation on the inverse relation amplitude of deltaT-concentration of CO2. 30% is not “most” of 100%. I think that only 12% was caused by human emissions, but it is merely speculation.

  447. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 10:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    447 Julian

    Smooth, very smooth.

  448. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 11:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand:

    Different stomata proxies make use of different plant species: pines, birch, oak, etc.

    I believe some basic explanation could be of interest to readers. Stomata is tiny opening in leaves and needles to let CO2 in, in order to be consumed in photosynthesis process. Unavoidably, water in plant biomass is evaporated (and in huge quantities) through the stomata. To minimize water loss, some plants developed mechanism to alter stomata count and density in leaves and needles, dependent of CO2 concentration in atmosphere. Construction of stomata proxies is quite straightforward: scientists identify plant species which are responding well to changing CO2 concentrations (growing groups of plants in artificially altered air with different CO2 content) and calibrate it against substantial increase of CO2 in the air during last 50 years. Then they dig leaves and needles from ancient bogs, count stomata, and reconstruct ancient CO2 atmospheric concentrations.

    As I said, the idea is elegant and straightforward. Very educating articles could be found in Wiki, I would recommend reading it to appreciate how increased CO2 in the air could improves water use efficiency in plants:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stomata

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpiration

    Also of interest, article of Wagner at al :

    Our results falsify the concept of relatively stabilized Holocene CO2 concentrations of 270 to 280 ppmv until the industrial revolution. SI-based CO2 reconstructions may even suggest that, during the early Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations that were >300 ppmv could have been the rule rather than the exception.

    http://www.bio.uu.nl/~palaeo/Personeel/PDF/ScienceRike.pdf

  449. Posted Dec 6, 2007 at 11:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 450

    Andrey Levin,

    Ouch! They spread a lie -smoothness of the concentration of carbon dioxide during the Holocene- and we follow that lie with more lies. I’m referring to my work, exclusively. And I was thinking I’d discovered the black thread with that inverse relation between amplitud of deltaT and concentration of CO2. You’ve destroyed my dream… ;)

  450. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 1:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #442:

    Ian, the quote I reacted on was only about clathrates, of which Jaworowski says that these influence the CO2 measurements towards too low values. That is false. Next the drilling fluids. From Wiki (have read that in detailed descriptions too, but Wiki gives a nice summary and a lot of references):

    A number of different fluids and fluid combinations have been tried in the past. Since GISP2 (1990-1993) the US Polar Program has utilized a single-component fluid system, n-butyl acetate, but the toxicology, flammability, aggressive solvent nature, and longterm liabilities of n-butyl acetate raises serious questions about its continued application. The European community, including the Russian program, has concentrated on the use of two-component drilling fluid consisting of low-density hydrocarbon base (brown kerosene was used at Vostok) boosted to the density of ice by addition of halogenated-hydrocarbon densifier. … In April 1998 on the Devon Ice Cap filtered lamp oil was used as a drilling fluid. In the Devon core it was observed that below about 150 m the stratigraphy was obscured by microfractures

    Thus no water was used as drilling liquid. And as said in the Wiki page, drilling fluids were choosen with the analytical tests in mind, thus I suppose that they have choosen liquids which have very low CO2 solubility…
    To further reduce contamination, ice cores are immediately cleaned from drilling liquids and tests are done at inner core parts.

    About water: rainwater is saturated with CO2 at current levels. Worst case scenario is that the CO2 exchange from water seeping into ice layers is going inward the ice core, thus measuring too high levels, not too low.

    Further proof of little contamination of the ice cores from outside air is the lack of any CFC’s or nuclear bomb testing isotopes in ice cores and even firn below a certain depth.

    While looking for 14C levels in ice cores as (dis)proof of contamination, I found an interesting article, describing the change in 14C levels of OC (organic carbon) and EC (elemental carbon) in an ice core of Switserland. Human emissions are completely depleted of 14C, while OC and EC emissions from wood burning contain 14C related to air levels at the time of incorporation. Even around 1850, there was already an influence of human emissions (coal) in the black carbon deposits…

  451. EW
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 4:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    MacDonald G. M. et al. Holocene Treeline History and Climate Change Across Northern Eurasia. Quaternary Research, Volume 53, Number No. 3. May 2000

    Anyone interested in this article just mail me at ewcz@seznam.cz

  452. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 4:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #450:

    Andrey, I am well aware of the stomata findings, I received the Ph.D. dissertation of Thomas van Hoof about the stomata data/ice core/temperature variations at the end of the MWP.

    But the problems still stand: the accuracy and the local (spring) CO2 production bias.

    About the accuracy: have a look at fig. 2 of Wagner ea.: at 7% SI (stomata index) during the calibration period, they can find values between 320 and 360 ppmv. Add to that the range found in one sample +/- 1% SI, then you have an accuracy of +/- 25 ppmv. Ice core CO2 measurements mostly are within 1 ppmv and 5 ppmv for different ice cores at the same time stamp.

    About the local production bias: Although the samples were calibrated against ice/firn and modern measurements, that doesn’t assure that the local CO2 levels were equal in distant times. E.g. if there was an outburst of local/regional CO2 production from permafrost or peat at the end of the Younger Dryas, or the North Sea was relative warmer than the rest of the globe, this would affect regional CO2 levels, while there is much less variation measured at the South Pole. Local CO2 levels on land can vary enormously, depending on local CO2 production (as good as from vegetation as from emissions). That is also the main problem with Beck’s data.

    Further have a look at Tamino’s comment. There are interesting comments on ice closing of Law Dome (representing air in just closing bubbles of only 10 years old). He is wrong on one item: That doesn’t prove that the Law Dome ice core smoothing is less than a decade, as the fast track of ice bubbles and atmosphere is only true if the change is one-way (which is now the case).

    All together, Stomata data have a higher resolution and show more variation, but are locally/regionally influenced. Ice core data are smoothed but reflect global changes…

  453. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 8:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 454

    Ferdinand,

    Then the relation I found is true and the cause of the increase of the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is natural, not human. It seems the current increase of CO2 is due to failure of some sinks (i.e. oceans and/or C3 plants) that are doing the opposite, i.e. releasing CO2 to the atmosphere. I’ve plotted “trusty” data from other sources and the result is the same.

  454. Andy
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 9:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi interesting discussion. First in any system natural or otherwise, effect can never precede cause as Sam #209 rightly states.

    I don’t accept the spiralling positive feedback theories simply since CO2 induced temperature increases would have overwhelmed the Earth millions of years ago.

    Sam #209 says “Maybe I’m missing something here, but who has said feedback is impossible? Even if CO2 lags temperature (or the other way around, it doesn’t matter) all the GHG clearly have both negative and positive feedback aspects, depending on the circumstances and the interactions with the other variables. Thinking you can decouple any of them, that’s the problem (IMO).”

    This hits on a very important point IMO – in that Sam is right that most things can provide either a positive or negative feedback under differing circumstances – the key is to identify those circumstances. But he uses the term GHG that implies a positive feedback only mechanism and this term disregards the negative feedback effect of gases – which is why I don’t like the term GHG.

    Another example:
    Ferdinand #210 says: “I saw several times positive feedbacks from polymerisations after an initial temperature increase (including runaway reactions!).”

    Again like the term GHG a non natural example is being used in an attempt to establish incorrectly a direct correlation to a positive feedback for a natural system – this conveniently ignores one crucial point that natural systems must be self sustaining otherwise they would not exist for long.

    Now for my question given that:
    Climate is a natural system
    CO2 lags behind temperature implying effect of temperature not cause.
    CO2 is stored in the oceans which releases it when warm and absorbers it when cold.

    Why cannot CO2 be cooling the atmosphere at certain times?

  455. steve mosher
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 9:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE 459. Reversal of cause and effect? Has Sam never read Gravitys Rainbow: the engineers Ulysses, our
    Finegans wake?

    http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0010-7484%28197422%2915%3A3%3C345%3ASAMTPA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-0&size=LARGE&origin=JSTOR-enlargePage

    http://www.themodernword.com/pynchon/pynchon_grintro.html

  456. Andy
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ah reality or fiction – that is the question.

  457. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 10:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand:

    I had no doubts that you are very well informed of stomata proxies! I just wanted to popularize the technique a little bit. I believe it is very promising, as direct biological response to CO2 concentrations.

    As for ice cores being 1 or even 5 ppmv precise – believe me, it is pie in the sky. I have an impression that ice core CO2 data sorely need scrupulous audit, McIntire style. Also, why do you think that tiny air bubble deposited into snow is less influenced by regional CO2 fluctuations, blown into deposition site by wind? It is just smoothed over couple of decades, unlike seasonal stomata proxies.

    Cheers!

  458. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 11:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Also, why do you think that tiny air bubble deposited into snow is less influenced by regional CO2 fluctuations

    This is a great point! Especially since Ferdinand’s very weak counter to the real data referenced in #50 was that it was not measured at the correct place. He made this claim, even though they were obtained in rural areas without large industrial contamination, while Mauna Loa is near a large C02 source (equatorial waters).

    However, ice cores, which by definition are next to a large sink (polar waters), are supposed to be better? Just as temperatures are lower right next to the drafty window, one would expect C02 levels to be lower in high latitude polar regions. And data sample spacing of 1400 years is sure to miss the ups and downs as well.

    Sometimes we have to use proxies. But not if real measurements are available. Use the proxy up to 1812, and validate it by comparing it to actual measurements.

  459. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ah so much to have missed….

    Some effects have no cause, but those that do, give me pause.

    Anywhose, “GHG” implies nothing; a GHG is a gas that absorbs and emits IR. That’s all. Part of that is emitting it up and removing energy rather than sending it back down to the planet’s weather system. And water vapor to solid/liquid (or vice versa) does use energy. So.

    How water moderates the system (and I tend to include clouds in that, even though it’s not a gas, it’s part of the solid liquid vapor effects of water) is interesting. Especially how it uses energy in the system. Bottom line is that if you just consider water, it plays a HUGE part in the greenhouse effect.

    As far as your question of can CO2 cool, not really. It can absorb less IR (depending on where it is and how much there is and what else is around or above absorbing IR at the same wavelength, and how much the Earth and water sink/sources are letting go/keeping) but that’s more “less heating” rather than cooling. Not an expert at that sort of thing tho. I’m sure somebody else has a better answer.

    Forcing; difference between incoming and outgoing radiation. Positive (more in) warms and negative (more out) cools. Causes; changes in insolation, changes in amount of radiatively active gasses, clouds, aerosols, ground cover, etc.
    Positive feedback. Unstable equilibrium. A response to an alteration of function that responds in the same direction, changing the variable more in the same direction. Speeding up a process.
    Negative feedback; Stable equilibrium. Feeds a system’s output back into its input, attenuating it and tending to put the system back where it was in the first place. Slowing down a process.

    I did wonder about something recently. I’m thinking of a vacation. Anyone know what the weather might be like in Oslo during August 2009, versus Tauranga during January 2010?

  460. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 1:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    First, sorry JaneHM, need more time from my rusty memory of process technology to answer your questions, but they will come.

    Re #447, 448, 449, 455,…

    Gentlemen, have a look at the yearly data of the past 50 years (emissions vs. increase in the atmosphere:

    In every year of the past 50 year, the emissions were higher than the observed increase in the atmosphere. There is little doubt about the accuracy of the measurements. The accuracy of the emissions, as that is calculated from the national inventories of fossil fuel consumption, may be underestimated (China…), certainly not overestimated.

    The difference between what is emitted and what is found in the atmosphere is what goes into the sinks. The variation in sink capacity is mainly governed by temperature changes (Pinatubo, El Niño). Thus anayway in the past 50 years there is no failure of (natural) sinks, in average the sinks even are increasing… Sorry for your work Nasif, but there is no correlation between any of your temperature proxies and the increase of CO2 in the past 50 years…

    Thus in the past 50 years there is simply no room for any substantial addition of CO2 from other sources than human emisions (except a small one from temperature changes). This presents an increase of 70 ppmv, or about 70% of the total 100 ppmv since the old equilibrium under discussion.

    There are more indications that the increase (30%) in CO2 in the atmosphere is mostly from the emissions, see the header of this page. In addition:
    14C levels in fossil fuels are virtually zero. Radiocarbon dating for the period 1890-1950 (pre nuclear bomb tests) must be corrected, as fossil fuel burning reduced the 14C content in the atmosphere. And they chosed the standard 14C ratio from 1890, when the reduction of 14C was not yet important. See: http://www.c14dating.com/corr.html

  461. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 1:32 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> The accuracy of the emissions, as that is calculated from the national inventories of fossil fuel consumption

    I suppose your bias is not allowing yourself to acknowledge that these are guesses created by non neutral people. It’s a lot more complicated than you imply, and the guesses are absolutely chock full of huge error bars. The Scientific method does not proceed from guesses.

  462. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 2:49 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #459, 460:

    Except for mechanical problems, there are only very small CO2 fluctuations at the South Pole atmosphere in current times, have a look at the yearly averages 1957-2004 at CDIAC. The trend is identical (with a 6-12 months delay) for the SP as for Mauna Loa, Barrow, La Jolla pier, even for Schauinsland (with sufficient wind speed and if above the inversion layer). The trend is identical for and all yearly averages in the NH are within 2 ppmv, despite smaller (Mauna Loa) or very large (Schauinsland) seasonal variations. Yearly averages and trends are identical over all oceans, deserts, above the inversion layer or anywhere else if you stay away from vegetation and human sources…

    Thus the answer is, that the historical ice core bubbles = ambient air had highly probable an unmeasurable influence from local/regional sources/sinks. And that stomata data have certainly an influence from local/regional vegetation, as these are vegetation themselves, thriving on CO2 from rotting vegetation from the previous year in spring.

    From one of Beck’s dataseries, taken in a rural area of Scotland, 1936 (figures need to add a zero to obtain ppmv):

    The amount of carbon dioxide in country air at heights from 4 ft. to 70 ft. above ground-level varied between 21 and 44 volumes. The diurnal variation due to photosynthesis was very marked from July, when systematic observations began, until October. But in December no definite diurnal periodicity was observed. Thus the average of 153 analyses made at Cloan (Perthshire) during August 1935 was 32.4 volumes, that of 15 made at night was 38.6. The maximum fall due to the photosynthesis was observed when bright sunshine followed rain. In dry weather, sunshine had but little effect. It seems likely that during drought the stomata of leaves are nearly closed so as to conserve water, and carbon dioxide is thus excluded.
    The exhalation of carbon dioxide from the soil was very obvious. 23 pairs of samples were taken simultaneously at ground-evel on bare tilled soil and at a height of 4 ft. The carbon dioxide at ground-level was higher on 19 occasions, equal on one, and lower on three. The mean excess was 5.4 volumes per 100,000. Samples taken from holes about 3 cm. below the surface contained as much as 100 volumes.

    Thus “uncontaminated” (by regional emissions) country air still shows very large variations (210-440 ppmv) over a nine months period, from ground to air, from day to night and from sunshine to rain. Completely unsuitable to detect global trends…

    I like to see an audit by Steve McI of the CO2 data taken from ice cores, but I don’t think that would be necessary. Contrary to temperature interpretations of ice cores by some who don’t share their data, a lot of CO2 series are taken by different groups, at multiple cores, at different places, measured at multiple labs and all relevant data are archived. And all data show similar trends within narrow time frames for high-accumulation ice cores to wider time frames for deep ancient layers. The Law Dome ice core has a recent resolution of about 5 years and the gas bubbles in closed ice overlap the 1960-1985 data of Mauna Loa.

    The same for CO2 data in the atmosphere: hundreds of persons involved in 10 base stations and 400+ other stations, airplanes and seaships, measuring their own “local” CO2, thousands of measurements per site per year, all archived (including outliers). Only one common determinator: they all use the same calibration gases (which is a very good point…) for their own equipment. Do you think that there is a need for an audit?

  463. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 3:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #463,

    Gunnar, I may agree eith you that persons involved in national inventories of fossil fuel use may have some political interest. But as far as I know, the figures are (at least) what is really burned. I don’t think that any government in the world will increase the figures (there is no driver for that). If anything is wrong with the figures, there is more pressure to underestimate the emissions (Kyoto, pollution control, public opinion,…) than for an overestimate.

    But of you have any proof of faul play by any government which leads to an overestimate, I am very interested. Until then, we may assume that the emission figures are at the lower border of reality.

  464. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 3:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> Completely unsuitable to detect global trends…

    This is completely false. Variability does not prevent trend analysis.

  465. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 3:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    >> any government in the world will increase the figures

    Your premise is wrong. No government is creating these figures. They are created by individuals who may or may not be working for the govt, but who would not be there, unless they had a bias. You need to look into the details of these reports. It’s very complicated, and involves a lot of guesswork. How much C02 does a car create? That by itself is hard.

    Our lives are full of very complicated processes, from exhaling air, to thousands of energy usages, energy transports at varying efficiencies. You think the government who doesn’t even know how much money is flowing through it (they can only narrow it down to the nearest billion) can count C02 molecules produced by a very large, dynamic and completely distributed economy? I would highly doubt that this kind of detail is even reported to the government.

    >> more pressure to underestimate the emissions (Kyoto, pollution control, )

    Not that anyone was afraid of Kyoto anyways, but the temptation would have been to overestimate prior to signing on to Kyoto, and underestimate afterwards.

    >> public opinion

    Ha! You live in a dream world of AGW if you think anyone cares about emissions. Even in the UK, AGW central, a poll showed that people suspected that all this AGW stuff was really about higher taxes, more government. No politician can be held responsible for emissions, so there is no political pressure at all. The bias is in the people who actually do the work. For an example of why we can’t base any scientific analysis on this kind of information, see http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=384

  466. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 3:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 464

    Ferdinand,

    Sorry for your work Nasif, but there is no correlation between any of your temperature proxies and the increase of CO2 in the past 50 years…

    Then it’s clear it’s not the CO2, but other unknown factors.

  467. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 3:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 468

    Like this one

  468. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 4:33 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 469

    Something is odd with that note from NASA… How is it that the Sun is bristling X-Ray jets if it has not a solid crust? :(

  469. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 6:02 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ice core microfractures?

    I have referred before to rock drilling at the Kola peninsula superdeeep drillhole, Russia, where findings included a different measure of the pressure relationship with depth. It was found that at some 1,500 to 3,500 m depth, the rock pressure balances caused multiple microfractures that were agents for lateral fluid transport. Later studies of deep oil exploration holes found similar microfracture zones e.g. Gulf of Mexico.

    Does anyone with ice drilling experience note a similar type of effect in ice cores? The rock/ice cases are not strictly comparable, but the pressure/depth relationships might not be what they were though to be in earlier days. Detailed logging of tiny microfractures is needed. Maybe they can heal in ice. It goes without saying that a process that opens connectivity beyond the diameter of the drill hole has serious implications for validity.

  470. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 6:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #466

    Variability is only one of the problems. Irregularity of the variations is a problem, the accuracy of the measurements, the spring bias, averages and variability depend at what height the leaves grow,… For the same period, you can obtain averages which are 30 ppmv (or more) apart from different places.
    Stomata index data may become a good tool in the future, but at this moment too unsure to build on it.

    Re #467

    Gunnar, it seems to me that you have never looked at the inventories. As far as I know, nobody counts CO2 emissions by estimating the exhaust of cars or the efficiency of power generation. They make an inventory of fuel use, which is a lot easier to obtain. And as the government likes to earn taxes, I am pretty sure that they know how much of each is sold. And every sold amount of oil, coal and gas is converted into CO2 equivalents. It is that simple.

    Energy consumption inventories are done by the statistics departments of different governments, see for the UK: http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file11250.pdf chart 1.4 gives the fuel use by type.

  471. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 7:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand,

    It seems your records of observed concentration of CO2 were conveniently calculated upon the deltaT instrumental data:

  472. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 7:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry, the link is here.

  473. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 7:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry Steve McIntyre, I failed on posting the graph of # 473. This is the graph:

  474. Posted Dec 7, 2007 at 7:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    From my # 475

    Perhaps I’m right and the sinks are failing because when the change of temperature goes up the CO2 concentration goes up also when it must go down; and when the change of temperature goes down, the CO2 concentration goes down also, when it must goes up. ;)

  475. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 3:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#471, Geoff:

    You can find some explanations about properties of ice here:

    http://www.achgut.com/dadgdx/index.php/dadgd/article/the_greenland_antarctica_melting_problem_does_not_exist/#When:13:06:00Z

    Ferdinand:

    Your explanation why “ice core bubbles = ambient air had highly probable an unmeasurable influence from local/regional sources/sinks” is quite convincing.

    For stomata reconstructions, note that plants respond to time averaged local CO2 concentration, unlike momentary air sampling and chemical analysis used by Beck. Also, stomata reconstructions rely on hundreds of samples, which allows proper averaging and also calculation of standard deviation and other statistical parameters. Dependence on regional CO2 concentrations is advantage, not disadvantage, IMHO.

    As I mentioned before, it is not sloppy practice or cherry picking, it is physical process which is suspected to bias ice core CO2 reconstructions as sampling goes deeper. This process is universal to all ice cores, so it is no wonder that samples all around the globe yield same results.

    As for your question “Do you think that there is a need for an audit?” I’ll tell you what.

    Somehow “different groups, at multiple cores, at different places, measured at multiple labs,… hundreds of persons involved in 10 base stations and 400+ other stations, airplanes and seaships, measuring their own “local” CO2, thousands of measurements per site per year” managed to oversee that CO2 increase lags warming for about a millennium. As you know, it was major catalyst for creation of catastrophic AGW movement.

    Continue. Siple ice cores needed 83 years ad hoc adjustment to splice seamlessly with instrumental measurements. Stomata and sediment data indicate both higher variability and sometimes higher levels of CO2 over Holocene period. All ice core data indicate increase to “unprecedented” 320 ppmv at 1950 despite minuscule antropogenic CO2 emissions at the time. Instrumental data indicates that CO2 seriously fluctuates at minute global temperature changes, yet such substantial and prolonged climatic events as MWP and LIA, RomanWP, Holocene Temperature Optimum, do not affect ice core CO2 data. Geological evidence indicates that most of the time atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today, sometimes (for couple of hundreds of millions years) twenty times higher.

    Yet we continue to hear that ice core CO2 data is precise to 1ppmv and have resolution of 5 years, and CO2 was flat as Bonneville at 280 ppmv over all Holocene.

    So yes, little audit would be nice.

    (End of Friday night rant)

  476. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 5:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 473-475:

    Nasif, The graph is #462 is only comparing yearly emissions with yearly growth of CO2 in the atmosphere, nothing about temperature is plotted. But what one can already see, is that the yearly growth is inversely correlated with temperature, especially for huge events like the 1992 Pinatubo (lower temperature, more ocean absorption, lower growth in the atmosphere) and the 1998 strong El Niño (higher temperature, less absorption, faster growth in the atmosphere).

    My estimate of the short-term influence of temperature of 4 ppmv/K is based on the graph of Hans Erren, see response #8, which is identical to your graph. And the change in growth is lagging temperature changes with a few months. These are based on UAH lower troposphere satellite measurements. But you need to take into account that this is not about absolute CO2 levels, it is about CO2 growth per year which show a high correlation with temperature changes. In the same period 1978-2007, absolute CO2 levels increased with about 50 ppmv at all base stations over the world, while the (UAH) temperature change was maximum 0.4 K in your graph, or about 125 ppmv/K. This indicates that the yearly growth in CO2 levels is influenced by temperature, but the total increase isn’t, that is because the total growth over the full 50 years is mainly from the emissions, independent of temperature changes…

  477. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 6:17 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 477 Audrey Levin.

    Thanks for the reference to Cliff Ollier, which I had already scanned.

    In the rock analogy, one might feel intuitively that the massive weight of rock above a deep drill hole would cause it to collapse in an instant. This does not happen. Indeed, if you take a brick from a large vertical brick wall, the wall does not collapse either. Underground miners know that rock bursts from the walls of mines might happen, so there is usually continuing measurement of stress and modelling of its principal directions and strengths.

    The relevance of the Kola deep hole was that more care than usual was taken to measure stresses in the wall rocks, possibly because the hole diameter was much larger than customary. There was some evidence of surface water moving to depths of several km. The picture that emerged was unexpected and unconventional. It was possible that dehydration reactions and mild metamorphism at certain depth-related pressures and temperatures inserted another type of pressure and temperature into the equations and produced the zone of microfractures I mentioned.

    My question was whether the relations between depth, pressure, temperature, phase changes, fracturing were adequately studied and understood in deep ice core holes. Kola produced surprises. Do they lurk in ice hole data too? Does that increase in water at the bottom of deep ice holes that Cliff Ollier reports move further up than is suspected?

  478. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 6:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re#479, Jeff Sherrington:

    All I can tell you is quote from Jaworowsky:

    More than 20 physico-chemical processes, mostly related to the presence of liquid water, contribute to the alteration of the original chemical composition of the air inclusions in polar ice[3].

  479. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 7:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Geoff Sherrington says:
    December 8th, 2007 at 6:17 am
    Re # 477 Audrey Levin.
    [....]
    My question was whether the relations between depth, pressure, temperature, phase changes, fracturing were adequately studied and understood in deep ice core holes. Kola produced surprises. Do they lurk in ice hole data too? Does that increase in water at the bottom of deep ice holes that Cliff Ollier reports move further up than is suspected?

    We are being reassured by some people that the Vostok ice cores were carefully tested and evaluated to guarantee they had not been contaminated through gas diffusion of the tracer isotopes or other critical atmospheric products. Unfortunately, we also have other researchers who dispute such assurances on non-contamination. For example:

    Christner et al; Glacial ice cores: A model system for developing extraterrestrial decontamination protocols; Rev. 2004[....] Methods to search for life in these icy environments and adequate protocols to prevent contamination can be tested with earthly analogues. [....] Our investigations on ice from the Vostok core (Antarctica) have shown that the outer portion of the cores have up to 3 and 2 orders of magnitude higher bacterial density and dissolved organic carbon (DOC) than the inner portion of the cores, respectively, as a result of drilling and handling. The extreme gradients that exist between the outer and inner portion of these samples make contamination a very relevant aspect of geomicrobiological investigations with ice cores, particularly when the actual numbers of ambient bacterial cells are low. To address this issue and the inherent concern it raises for the integrity of future investigations with ice core materials from terrestrial and extraterrestrial environments, we employed a procedure to monitor the decontamination process[....]

    It makes a person wonder how claims of no significant contamination of the gas diffusion samples and isotopic measurements in the Vostok ice core samples can be reconciled with an exobiology investigation of those same Vostok ice core samples finding far larger scale bacterial microorganisms contaminating the samples from the outside inward with a difference of “ 3 and 2 orders of magnitude?”

    We are asked to accept a claim that gasses cannot diffuse through the Vostok ice cores while bacteria can do so massively?

  480. Michael Smith
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 8:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I have a question for the experts here about the CO2 – temperature lag seen in the ice core data. RealClimate claims that this lag is not evidence against the theory that CO2 drives temperatures. Here is a quote from the RC web site:

    All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data. The 4200 years of warming make up about 5/6 of the total warming. So CO2 could have caused the last 5/6 of the warming, but could not have caused the first 1/6 of the warming.

    So in their view, some unknown, initial factor starts the warming and sustains it for 800 years, then the CO2 effect “kicks in” and takes over from there. So here is my question.

    Just “eyeballing” the ice core CO2 – temperature graphs, the rate of increase over the 5,000 period looks fairly stable. Remember how in AIT, Gore points to how nicely the slopes of the two lines stay in parallel? Thus, for the RC scenario to be correct, two things have to be true:

    1) The CO2 effect must “kick in” at the same time the initial, unknown factor is “kicking out”. The timing has to be just right. If the CO2 effect starts too soon, BOTH factors would be at work, the rate of temperature increase would (presumably) go up and the slope of the temperature line would get steeper. If the CO2 effect starts too late, then there will be a period of time when neither factor is operating and temperatures would presumably flatten out.

    2) In addition, the magnitude of the CO2 effect has to be very close to the magnitude of the initial factor, otherwise there would be a slope change even if the timing was perfect.

    What are the chances both of these things just happen to be true? It strikes me as unlikely. Or am I missing something here?

    I’ve submitted this question to the RealClimate web site three times. As far as I know, they’ve never allowed it to go through or responded to it.

  481. welikerocks
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 8:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #482, Michael Smith, thank you. I brought this up in another thread but it was off topic. I don’t think you’ve missed anything. RC also claims that “unknown reason” warmed up the ocean for the “kick” and they don’t say how long that might have taken or when it started! or why it can’t be happening now either. The topic on this lag over there at RC was closed after very view comments when I looked at the archive, and not all were positive toward the Michael Mann explanation. Like I said, my husband, an environmental geologist, with education and experience in past-climate data and proxy data, points to that very topic and keeps it book marked to show people (his peers usually) how ridiculous some of the dialog and “belief” is presented at RC by the main players of this issue of AGW. Its not a surprise they won’t answer your questin

  482. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 9:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 478

    Ferdinand,

    I’m glad you recognized that the change of concentration of CO2 and the change of temperature in the graph are very similar. That only means one thing, that the “growth” of CO2 was calculated upon the graph on change of temperature to give the appearance of “something”. I’ll tell you why; when the change of temperature is wider the change of concentration of CO2 must be narrower because the sinks work optimally, but the graph shows the opposite. That could mean two things, that the calculations of the “growth” of CO2 in your graph are flawed, or that the sinks aren’t working properly. What I made was to dissect your graph about the observed “growth” against the CO2 emitted, and I plotted the results on my graph including the change of temperature. I’m not saying that you produced flawed data, but perhaps your source –NOAA- produced them that way. Besides, the Fem from your graph attributed to human beings is highly debatable.

  483. welikerocks
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Here’s the exact wording:
    “the probable sequence of events at a termination goes something like this. Some (currently unknown) process causes Antarctica and the surrounding ocean to warm. This process also causes CO2 to start rising, about 800 years later…”

    (specific ocean too!)

    And looking at the page again, is was not Dr. Mann with the explanation it was a guest commentator:
    Guest Contributor: Jeff Severinghaus
    Professor of Geosciences
    Scripps Institution of Oceanography
    University of California, San Diego.

    And the comments were closed after only 4 posts.
    link

  484. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 9:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Just one more point about my graph. If the “growth” of CO2 changes three to six months after the temperature changes, it could mean that one huge, colossal, gargantuan sink of CO2 is releasing more gas to the atmosphere due to indirect higher temperatures of its surface; I’m referring to oceans. This observation exonerates humans as the perpetrators of any increase of concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere. First the warming of the oceans surface, after the change of atmospheric concentration of CO2.

    Now, we were talking about a 30% of CO2 emitted from human activities. That’s a debatable assumption, but if it was true, then the amount of CO2 produced by humans is too low compared with natural sources. The increase of CO2 in the Holocene Epoch could have been (debatable also) 101 ppmV from which you say the 30% has been produced by humans. 30% of 101 ppmV is 30.03 ppmV. Then the change caused by nature – 70.97ppmV- is more than twice the change supposedly caused by humans. However, the real percentage of CO2 emitted from human activities could be only 12.7% (R. M. Carter. 2007), thus the responsibility of humans could be only 12.827 ppmV, which, believe me, is not capable of causing a sensible global climate change.

    However, the question is in the air, where the exceeding 88.173 ppmV came from?

  485. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 9:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #477:

    Leaves grow during daytime in spring, thus depending of direct sunlight, clouds, temperature, there may be different CO2 levels during growth at daytime, but also from year to year and decade to decade. The two sigma range for CO2 in the Wagner article is about +/- 25 ppmv, quite large to detect changes of about +/- 10 ppmv (smoothed) over the Holocene (with +/- 1 K temperature variations). The unsmoothed data may show larger variations, but for temperature we don’t have high resolution data, except for tree rings (see e.g. Pages, page 14-15, over 7,000 years in North Scandinavia), but tree rings have a few more problems, as we all know…

    Further, while Antarctica shows little change in CO2 over the seasons, CO2 levels in spring at different places show quite different amplitudes. That means that stomata data at different places all need to be calibrated on their own with modern CO2 levels at the same place or with a standard (Mauna Loa or whatever), which isn’t always possible, because of lack of modern samples. Or one need to average the local data of a lot of places (including a few ones which can be used for calibration) all over the world for the same period. This is asking for the same troubles as for temperature measurements (modern and historical)…

    To give you a comparison of spring CO2 (monthly average) values at different places, take a look at the monthly variations of one of the base stations in the NH (like Barrow) and compare the variation in highest values (that is when leaves start to grow) in each year with these from a few rural stations in Germany like Westerland or Waldhof, that is where the trees grow. Add to the variability in spring CO2 levels the inaccuracy of the stomata index data, and an absolute height of past CO2 levels or the real variability is quite problematic in the stomata data. A trend still will be visible for large variations as we see nowadays, but for much smaller variations in the past (+/- 10 ppmv over the Holocene, based on smoothed temperature changes), that remains to be proven…

    More over the ice cores to come…

  486. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #482:

    The basic assumption of Gavin Smith and others indeed is that the initial increase in temperature (cuased by Milankovich cycles) leads to an increase of CO2, which leads to further warming, which leads to further CO2 release, etc… They can do that, because there is a huge overlap between the start of the warming, the increase of CO2 and the endpoint. Further you need indeed a huge response of temperature on CO2 changes. This what is done in GCM’s: about 50% of the temperature increase is due to GHGs (including the feedbacks).

    But we have a period in the (Vostok) ice core where there is no overlap at all: the end of the Eemian, the previous interglacial. Temperature (and methane) levels were already near at minimum and ice sheets at maximum, before CO2 levels started to decrease. The subsequent drop of 40 ppmv had no measurable effect on temperatures. See here.

    A detailed graph of the LGM-Holocene transition also doesn’t show any response from temperature on changing CO2 levels in the Epica C ice core. That graph was compiled by André van den Berg.

  487. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 10:44 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #485:

    Welikerocks, I was surprised that my comment was one of the three comments left, before closure of the subject, I did’t remember that. They may have closed the subject, because I immediately reacted on the inbetween remark about the Cuffey and Vimeux correction of the temperature curve: that gives a better correlation between temperature and CO2 level, but that doesn’t change the timing… Both temperature trends are plotted vs. CO2 changes in my link in #488.

    Please no further comments on that topic here, costs all my free time now to react on the main topic!

  488. welikerocks
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 11:00 AM | Permalink | Reply

    489-Ferdinand, yes sir! Carry on by all means!
    Thanks for those graphs. How refreshing to see a graph saw-toothed like that for once- like the real world is. ;)

  489. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 489

    Ferdinand,

    Yes, your comment was one of the comments left because it was hurting the heart of the article. There is a counter argument on what you wrote in the body of your post.

  490. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #491:

    Nasif, indeed, but that was a partly false argument: the correlation between temperature and CO2 levels got better. But they also say that that solved the lag of CO2 after the temperature decrease. And that wasn’t true, as even with the correction, the temperature was at near minimum, before CO2 levels started to decrease… I immediately reacted on that remark, but that wasn’t published anymore and the topic was closed…

  491. Michael Smith
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 12:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Welikerocks and Ferdinand:

    Thank you for the response and thanks, too, for those excellent graphs. I am at a loss to understand how someone can look at that data and not have some reservations about CO2-induced AGW theory.

    Sorry to get the discussion off topic!

  492. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 1:04 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well, I think it’s time to talk about those sinks I presume are failing on “sequestering” the atmospheric CO2.

    1. Oceans surface warming.

    2. Thinness trends in skeletons of marine animals (to be thoroughly investigated).

    3. Thinness trends in exoskeletons of aquatic invertebrates (both, marine and freshwater)(to be carefully investigated).

    4. Coral bleaching (due to pathogenic viruses carried on by black wind from Africa).

    5. Removal of forested areas.

    6. Extinction of efficient aquatic and terrestrial photosynthetic communities.

    7. Extinction of photosynthetic microorganisms’ communities on land.

    8. Photosynthesis.

    At first sight we could think that 5, 7 and 8 are related, but on point 8 I’m referring to the failure into the stomata spaces, especially in C3 plants.

  493. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 1:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #484/486

    Nasif, I think you interpreted my remarks in the past quite different than what was meant. In all known history (except the past 150 years), CO2 levels lagged temperature. And that has a positive correlation: higher temperatures mean higher CO2 levels and vv. That is mainly due to ocean surface temperature changes (on longer time scales due to deep ocean temperature changes). Thus higher temperatures reduce the sink capacity of the oceans, until the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels vs. the oceans pCO2 compensates for the reduction in sink capacity and everything is back in equilibrium. The historical ratio between temperature and CO2 levels was around 10 ppmv/K (smoothed for CO2 and temperature).

    Even now, we see that CO2 growth around a steep increase follows temperature changes. If we may believe your plot of CO2 growth after temperature changes: a changs of -0.6 K (Pinatubo 1992) causes a change in CO2 increase growth of -1.7 ppmv. The 1998 El Niño caused an increase of 0.8 K, leading to a change in CO2 increase growth of + 1.4 ppmv. Or a ratio of 2-3 ppmv/K, even less than I calculated in the past, but who cares…

    Now we see that during the full length of your (UAH/CO2 growth) graph, the temperature increased with maximum 0.4 K. With the forementioned ratio, that should lead to an increase in the total atmospheric values (not the increase speed) of CO2 of about 0.1 ppm (a change in temperature causes a one-step change in source/sink speed, not a continuous one, as is clear from the opposite changes after the temperature events). In the same period, we see that the atmospheric level of CO2 increased with about 45 ppmv. Temperature hasn’t had any discernable influence on that, that may be clear now. But in the same period, human emissions from fossil fuel burning totalised 151 GtC or 84 ppmv CO2, plus some more from land use changes. Thus the emissions over the whole period were near twice the amount remaining in the atmosphere. There is your source of the increase. There is no missing or defunct sink, the sinks are working at full speed (even increasing over the period of interest), but they can only work faster with an increasing difference between pCO2 atmosphere/oceans, thus with higher CO2 levels in the atmosphere…

    About the emissions: as already said, these are based on national inventories of energy use, done by the statistics departments of different governments. They may miss some use, due to underhand sales to avoid taxes, but I don’t see how that that can be overestimates. If you have some solid references for the opposite view, I am very interested…

    We were indeed talking about a 30% increase of CO2 above the pre-industrial level. The full 30% increase (that is about 100 ppmv) is mainly caused by humans (90%) and a 1 K temperature increase (10%), not 30% of the increase, there is some misinterpretation here. Anyway, that is true for the full near 50 years after Mauna Loa measurements started, or for 70 ppmv of the 100 ppmv increase. Even for the earlier 30 ppmv increase, the emissions were larger than the increase in the atmosphere, thus little doubt that the emissions were the cause…

    Even if 100% of the increase is man-made, that doesn’t say anything about its influence on climate.

    Note: please give a reference for Bob Carter’s 12.7%….

  494. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 2:40 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #481:

    D. Patterson, about microbacterial contamination: the microbacterial contamination from borehole drilling is at the outer side, and that part is discarded. All tests are done at the interior parts, where different parts are sent to at least two different labs. CO2 levels of the parts measured are near always within 1 ppmv.

    But I just had a nice discussion about microbes surviving hundredthousand(s) of years in ice cores. These are not brought there by contamination during drilling, but are living in the snow and later ice. Near the bottom of the Greenland ice core, temperatures are high enough to revive the bacteria which use organic debris at the bottom to produce CO2. Levels near the bottom are 500 times higher than in the rest of the core… See point J in http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/101/13/4631.pdf. High Altitude Antarctic cores have less contamination, both from dust and bacteria, except in the coldest, dryest periods.

    If there is much dust, as is the case in some Greenland ice core layers (mainly volcanic), this may produce in-situ extra CO2, which leads to too high measured CO2 levels, not too low. That is why the Greenland ice core is not used for CO2 level measurements.

    If there is more dust and bacteria, as is occasionally the case in the Vostok Antarctica ice core (more dust inflow during glacial maxima), then some nitrifying bacteria may use small amounts of CO2 for survival. That is about 4% of the extra N2O produced. “Normal” N2O values are 200-300 ppbv (0.2-0.3 ppmv). The measured increase was of the same order, thus the use of CO2 by the bacteria was about 0.01 ppmv… See point K in http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/101/13/4631

    Conclusion: only in one case, bacteria use very tiny amounts of CO2. In all other cases, dust, organic material, cracks in the ice and/or bacteria increase CO2 levels. If anything is wrong with ice core CO2 measurements, it is that they can show too high levels, seldom too low…

  495. tetris
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 3:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 495
    Ferdinand Engelbeen
    Out of simple curiosity: shouldn’t the 100ppmv increase be measured against the million” in “parts per million volume”? Since the 100 ppmv increase occurs in the contest of the entire atmosphere, shouldn’t it be shown as 100 over 1,000,000 = 0.00001% rather than 30%?
    Also, what to do about the RSS lower troposhere data that in spite of the increases in CO2, show a decline in temperatures over the past 10 years such that 2007 is now in the process of entering the history books as the coldest year since 1995? Likewise with Roger Pielke’s latest analysis [in press in the Journal of Geophysical Studies, I believe] that shows that the atmospheric energy balance [expressed in Joules] has declined since 2004?

  496. John F. Pittman
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 5:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Leaves grow during daytime in spring, thus depending of direct sunlight, clouds, temperature, there may be different CO2 levels during growth at daytime, but also from year to year and decade to decade. The two sigma range for CO2 in the Wagner article is about +/- 25 ppmv, quite large to detect changes of about +/- 10 ppmv (smoothed) over the Holocene (with +/- 1 K temperature variations). The unsmoothed data may show larger variations, but for temperature we don’t have high resolution data, except for tree rings (see e.g. Pages, page 14-15, over 7,000 years in North Scandinavia), but tree rings have a few more problems, as we all know…

    “High resolution for temperature” is not tree rings, as you claim “with a few problems”. Wegman, etc?? This is a “somewhat” lame or incorrect statement? A few problems??? Sarcastic mode on .. A supernova by our sun is a solar event, per RC, is within accepted known criteria, and has nothing to do with increases in worldwide temperature, and only has a regional effect. As though ice and CO2 absorption did not vary to temperature, clouds (CO2 absorbed by clouds..acid rain is real, just imagine!!) and sunshine as well… Sarcastic mode off.
    Engelbeen, RC has taught us all that CO2 is well and quickly mixed into the atmosphere, apparently all over the earth and throughout the atmosphere. If there are teleconnections for temperature and CO2 has input to temperature, ipso facto, there are teleconnections to CO2, and this what you are denying. It is no more releveant to complain of the stomata and not to complain that at low temperature that CO2 will “sink” into the oceans, or any water around your ice, nor that since vegatation is limited, CO2 will not be removed. Thus you now have two correlations with proxies to show. One you need to show that despite not removing CO2 it is correct, and despite removing CO2, it is correct. Note that a well mixed atmosphere does not contradict that the CO2 at ice is depleted, since CO2 absorption is an obvious “local” event dependent on amout of water, CO2 concentration (that can change locally), temperature and air velocity (wind). So I request your proxies, and the verification that these proxies, that show temperature, CO2 concentration, wind (air velocity), and expanse of water, or not, ice have been accounted by your data and citations. Remember to include water free zones, and land, all of these have different adsorption and/or absorption values. After all, to claim that CO2 air equals CO2 ice-water means that adsorption is equal to adsorbtion and that they are equal to Henry’s constant equilibrium system with respect to any time deriatives (wind or no wind).

    Looks to me stomata are not such a bad proxy compared to what you need to justify. Please provide us with the citations to experiments that prove that at the glacial level or Artic/Antartic level that regional influences are known quantified and verified to be true.

    Actually I would like the citation(s) that proves and has been verified that CO2 in ice equals CO2 in air for geologic formations and geologic time, with respect to temperature, ice-water-air-CO2 system and Henry’s law, and other known physical relationships. Not to mention how that these citations have proven what the local effects are or are not.

    This is not sarcastic. I have a problem with complaining of the problems with stomata if the problems with ice cores are not treated to the same criteria and scepticism.

  497. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 6:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #477 (cont.)

    Andrey, about the ice cores, see already for some comments #496. Further:

    Continue. Siple ice cores needed 83 years ad hoc adjustment to splice seamlessly with instrumental measurements. Stomata and sediment data indicate both higher variability and sometimes higher levels of CO2 over Holocene period. All ice core data indicate increase to “unprecedented” 320 ppmv at 1950 despite minuscule antropogenic CO2 emissions at the time. Instrumental data indicates that CO2 seriously fluctuates at minute global temperature changes, yet such substantial and prolonged climatic events as MWP and LIA, RomanWP, Holocene Temperature Optimum, do not affect ice core CO2 data. Geological evidence indicates that most of the time atmospheric CO2 was much higher than today, sometimes (for couple of hundreds of millions years) twenty times higher.

    Yet we continue to hear that ice core CO2 data is precise to 1ppmv and have resolution of 5 years, and CO2 was flat as Bonneville at 280 ppmv over all Holocene.

    The millions of years past CO2 levels present different geological times, with e.g. the lifting of the Tibetan plateau and the Himalayas, the change in position of the continents, openings and closings of land for ocean currents, etc.. Thus that is not comparable with current (less than one million years) long ice age – short interglacials time frame. The MWP and LIA are visible and measurable in the ice cores with about 10 ppmv CO2 and 1 K temperature change (see Law Dome). In the time period 1850-1950, the ice cores show an increase of about 30 ppmv 1850-1950. The accumulated emissions in the same time period were 61 GtC or 29 ppmv. Part of it probably was absorbed (depends of the efficiency at small differences in pCO2), the rest of the 30 ppmv was probably from natural variations, including the substantial 1850-1950 warming. There was an interesting flat/decreasing trend in CO2 around 1940, by an unknown (natural, war?) sink.

    As already said, the Siple Dome “ad hoc adjustment” probably was simply the difference between ice age and air age of the ice core. For Law Dome, the details can be read in Etheridge ea., 1996. Three cores were drilled with three different methods, with and without drilling fluid (only small differences found), no clathrates, no cracks, little contamination…

    From the method to count ice age:

    The ice cores were dated by counting the annual layers in oxygen isotope ratio (18O in H2O), ice electroconductivity measurements (ECM), and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) concentrations. For these three parameters, each core displayed clear, well-preserved seasonal cycles allowing a dating accuracy of ±2 years at 1805 A.D. for the three cores and ±10 years at 1350 A.D. for DSS.

    The determination of gas age:

    The effects of diffusion in the firn on the CO2 mixing ratio and age of the ice core air were determined by analyzing air sampled from the surface down to the bubble close-off depth.

    and

    At the sealing depth of 72m, the CO2 mixing ratio is equivalent to air 10 years old (1983 A.D., based on the atmospheric record at south pole; Keeling [1991a]). This is the same as the td value arrived at from model calculations, discussed above.

    Thus no “ad hoc” adjustment, only counting the layers and measuring the CO2 down in firn. Tamino made an overlay between Law Dome CO2 and Mauna Loa, as there is an overlap of 15+ years:

    This again is an indication that the ice core follows the atmospheric CO2 levels and that the reduction of CO2 levels in the past was real and not an artifact of some physical processes in the ice…

  498. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 6:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 497:

    Tetris, the discussion here is about the variations in CO2 increase in the atmosphere vs. human emissions. We are not discussing the influence of CO2 on temperature/climate here, which is a totally different discussion. Of course, if the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is not man-made, then there is simply no influence of humans on climate. Which is why so many sceptics love any theory which casts doubt on human share in the increase of CO2 in the past 1.6 century. But a real sceptic is sceptical to any theory, no matter who says it, until proven (to a realistic extent)…

  499. John Lang
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 6:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The RSS lower troposphere temperature is essentially the same this November 2007 as that measured in November 1979. ie, no increase in temperatures over 28 years.

    CO2 levels have increased by 15% over that period. So something else must be going on.

  500. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 7:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #498,

    John, I should have said:
    [sarcastic mode on -SMO-]but tree rings have a few more problems, as we all know…[/SMO]. Need to be more clear when I am not so serious (as my wife tells me frequently).

    I am a fan of solar. In the time that I was an irregular contributor to RC, I have defended Scafetta, when one of his articles was attacked.

    Have you read my page about the distribution of CO2 in the atmosphere? It is here. It explains where one can find “background” CO2 levels and where not. One has good, fair, bad and ugly places to measure. The good places are ocean islands/ships and everywhere in the sky (including the whole troposphere above the inversion layer), presenting over 90% of the atmosphere, as long as far away from vegetation and emissions. Fair places are coastal, as long as the wind is not from land side. Bad places are on land in the neighborhood of lots of vegetation/emissions and ugly in valleys with the same. Unfortunately, stomata are in leaves, and leaves grow on trees which grow in the neighborhood of vegetation ([SMO]maybe the lonely tree in the desert will give good data[/SMO]…

    Over the full ice ages/interglacials, I don’t see much influence of CO2 on climate, I see a relative small influence of temperature on CO2 levels. I don’t see water in ice as a problem, as if it is of the same age of the ice, then any absorption will desorp at measurement time. If it is water from leaks, then the measurements would go up. Clathrates, the same non-problem. Cracks lead to relative higher leaks of N2/O2, thus higher levels of CO2. Microbes with one tiny exception, produce CO2.

    As far as I can see almost all kinds of possible defects lead to too high levels of CO2 at measurement time, while the claim of Jaworowski is that it is all negative and that is the reason that we see a declining trend in CO2 with depth, not from human emissions. Sorry, that is a bridge too far. Or can anyone explain to me how it is possible that exact the same (or different) mechanisms give the same too low results for the same time frame in extreme cold and less cold ice cores (thus less or more liquid water), high and low accumulation ice cores (differences in pressure/clathrate formation), near the Antarctic coast (more ions, microbes and organics) and far inland,…

    I think that the overlap between the Law Dome ice core air CO2 data and the South Pole atmospheric CO2 data (better than the Mauna Loa data) gives a nice indication that the ice core CO2 data reflect reality…

  501. Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 10:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve McIntyre, I’d like to know if I can post the reference to Carter’s article. Thank you.

    # 495

    Ferdinand,

    I cannot reference to Carter’s article until I get the permission from Steve. In the meanwhile, I’ll give you another reference where the number is cut down to 15%: The Physics of Climate by Peixoto, page 436, paragraph two, lines two to four.

    If the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere since 1600 AD to date is 101 ppmV and human activities are responsible of 30% of that total (30.03 ppmV), the CO2 retained by the atmosphere would be less than 20 ppmV.

    OTOH, you said that the sinks are working at top speed; however, the sinks are not static and have changed enormously since the Permian Period, not by human hands. I would concede that we have changed the biosphere and that this could be precisely one of the reasons by which one of the sinks, the oceans, is failing on sequestering the carbon dioxide. However, our contribution to the change of the biosphere is negligible compared with other sources of change. Recently, researchers discovered high volcanic activity underwater, which from my knowledge can alter the partial pressure of gases dissolved in oceanic waters and consequently the underwater biosphere (another sink of CO2). This could be a factor of alteration in the concentration of gases in air bubbles trapped into ice, especially those taken near the Mount Erebus.

  502. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 8, 2007 at 10:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    496 Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    December 8th, 2007 at 2:40 pm
    Re #481:

    D. Patterson, about microbacterial contamination: the microbacterial contamination from borehole drilling is at the outer side, and that part is discarded.

    No, that is a false statement. In this experiment, the exterior of the ice cores were deliberately contaminated in the laboratory using sterile latex gloves treated with a specially prepared culture of Serratia marcescens (MSU strain) designed to serve as a marker of experimental contamination independent of the presence of naturally occurring bacteria withing the ice cores. The outer side of the deliberately contaminated Vostok ice core was not “discarded” at all. Instead, the ice core was shaved by microtome in 1 to 2 mm intervals to a depth of at least 5mm of the ice core radius or 10mm of the ice core diameter, and the shavings from each level of shaving were collected for separate analysis to determine how much of the experimental bacterial contamination had penetrated to each depth from the surface of the ice core. The next 15mm of the remaining ice core radius was then melted under controlled conditions and the melt water collected, and then the remaining ice core was melted and collected to make another separate analysis. So, each ice core was sampled and tested separately from locations going all the way from the outer surface and 1mm depth to the very center of the ice core. The outer side was not discarded.

    The analyses determined that the deliberate laboratory contamination of the exterior surfaces of the ice cores with Serratia marcescens resulted in the contamination of the interior of the ice cores to depths greater than 1.5cm, and removal of the outer layers of the ice core to a depth of 3cm was adequate to remove virtually all of the experimental bacterial contamination. These results were found to confirm that existing methods of sampling only the first 2cm of radius from the center of the ice core was likely to exclude contamination by external sources of bacteria in the more solid and dense Vostok ice cores regardless of depth and and crystal size. The report notes, however, that the findings cannot be applied to ice cores taken from ice layers in which fractionation has produced clathrates subject to severe fracturing and mobility of contaminants.

    All tests are done at the interior parts, where different parts are sent to at least two different labs.

    When you can deliberately contaminate a dense Vostok ice core with tracer bacteria and then find they have penetrated into and contaminated the interior of the ice core to a depth of around 2cm to 3cm in only a matter of days, it hardly appears tenable to claim molecular gas diffusion and other transport mechanisms cannot transport significant percentages of atmospheric gas out of the ice over timescales of thousands of years and tens of thousands of years. This research report also noted:

    Our data are consistent with previous studies documenting the penetration of contaminants into ice core materials which include (i) electrical conductivity measurements showing that impurities diffuse about 10 mm into the ice over 10 years at −20 ◦C (Schwander et al., 1983)[....]

    If such diffusions were linear on the timescale, and they are very unlikely to be so, an impurity could migrate 1 meter within one thousand years. However, if there is a visible fracture in the ice like those found in the brittle ice of clathrates and or non-visible microfractures, migrating gas would quickly escape from its slow diffusion path. Consequently, you can send fifty million samples to five million laboratories around the world and it won’t change the fact they cannot measure the concentration of an atmospheric gas which already migrated from and escaped the samples you are trying to test: GIGO = Garbage data In results in Garbage data Out. In other words, your tests measure the currently existing proxies for the environmental conditions of the cryosphere rather than no longer existing proxies for the environmental conditions of a past atmosphere.

    CO2 levels of the parts measured are near always within 1 ppmv.

    First, there are still unresolved problems with the testing methodologies, so your assumption that 1ppmv is a valid quantity may be in serious error. Nonetheless, even if it can be demonstrated there is good reason to assume the 1ppmv results from a valid methodology and is a correct representation of the gas concentration, you still have not acknowledged an obvious flaw with such a result. Nature has never been anywhere near so non-variable in diurnal, meteorological, seasonal, and longer timescale variations of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Consequently, the strong limitations in the variability of such CO2 concentrations you cited implies the samples are likely to be more representative of the negative changes which occur to CO2 gas concentrations as they equilibrate within their new and changed cryospheric environment. Certainly, the evidence that the far larger scale bacteria can so easily migrate into and through a dense ice core within only hours and days should be a glaring clue that it most likely may be discovered that CO2 and other gas concentrations have an even greater ability to migrate out of the same ice layers at much earlier time horizons.

  503. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 12:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 504 D Patterson

    Thank you. You have made an important contribution.

  504. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 1:38 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ferdinand:

    Thank you for contributing so much interesting information. Your efforts on this thread are highly appreciated.

    Seems to me that ice core CO2 data is real researcher’s pet. Never bumped into such well behaving data in my life. Time (and cross-verification) will tell how good it is.

  505. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 4:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #503,

    Nasif, there seems to be a continuous misunderstanding here: there is a 30% increase of CO2 since about 1850 (that is 100 ppmv), over the full increase, about 90% is due to human emissions, not 30% of the increase. For 70% (70 ppmv) of the increase, we may be pretty sure that it is from human emissions (based on atmospheric data from Mauna Loa and many other stations, including South Pole). For the rest of the 30% (30 ppmv) increase, we are counting on ice core levels, for which there is a debate about the reliability of the data. But even there, the increase of 30 ppmv equals the accumulated emissions in the same time frame, thus at least partly caused by human emissions. Additional proof is that in the period 1850-1960 and on, the 13C/12C ratio in sponges, tree rings and ice cores declines in ratio with the emissions…

  506. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 6:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #504,

    John, my remark was about the normal procedure, not the experiment. For several ice cores, the outer ice core is already cleaned and discarded on site directly after drilling to avoid external contamination. The cores are sealed in plastic bags and allowed for relaxation for up to a year at low temperatures (sometimes below the ice surface).

    In the deep Vostok ice core, at ~140,000 years age, the temperature is -40°C and bacteria are immobilised and reduce their metabolism to the absolute minimum: DNA and enzyme repair. Nutrients necessary for survival and waste products can be exchanged via small veins (1 micron or larger) of water in the ice, caused by incorporated ions. But it seems to me that there is very little vertical mixing in the ice core via such mechanism, all reaction products of dormant life still are available and can be measured at the layers of interest. For most of the Vostok ice core, there is little inorganic dust, organics or bacterial incorporation which can lead to some influence.

    More important is the result of bacterial and/or other contamination. Most point to increasing CO2 levels, few do underestimate historical reality.

    A lot more different kinds of tests is in the running: d13 and d14 ratios in CO2 and CH4, N2O, d18O, over very long time periods to unravel the carbon cycle over ice ages / interglacials, which can discriminate between the main sources/sinks (oceans or vegetation), etc…
    The most important drawback of ice core measurements is the smoothing which excludes rapid excursions from being detected.

  507. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 6:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #504 (cont.)

    Just thought at another point: liquid water is present in ice at different low temperatures, because of water soluble impurities (like salts and organics). But high levels of impurities decrease the solubility of CO2 in water. Again, this should lead to CO2 moving from liquid to air, not the reverse. Anyway, there will be some (changing) equilibrium between CO2 in vein water and ice bubbles, while the pressure increases, but the original equilibrium is restored when the ice is relaxated. Worst case is that modern, high level CO2, air exchanges CO2 with the bubbels via veins during relaxation. But that – again – leads to overestimates…

  508. John F. Pittman
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 6:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    #502 Yes I read your page. It is a well written. In fact, I have read several parts several times, simply because it is well written and it is thought provoking. I assume that the 7 to 4 Gt/yr comes from Battle et al? Looking at Etheridge et al, they state that a single pre-industrial CO2 level would be incorrect to state, and that a decadal natural variance was detected. In your page does the +-2.5 Gt/yr account for the natural variance found by Etheridge et al?

    Natural and anthropogenic changes in atmospheric CO2 over the last 1000 years from air in Antarctic ice and firn

    D. M. Etheridge

    Division of Atmospheric Research, CSIRO, Aspendale, Victoria, Australia
    The uncertainty of the ice core CO2 mixing ratios is 1.2 ppm (1σ). Preindustrial CO2 mixing ratios were in the range 275–284 ppm, with the lower levels during 1550–1800 A.D., probably as a result of colder global climate. Natural CO2 variations of this magnitude make it inappropriate to refer to a single preindustrial CO2 level. Major CO2 growth occurred over the industrial period except during 1935–1945 A.D. when CO2 mixing ratios stabilized or decreased slightly, probably as a result of natural variations of the carbon cycle on a decadal timescale. © American Geophysical Union 1996

    Global Carbon Sinks and Their Variability Inferred from Atmospheric O2 and 13C
    M. Battle, 1* M. L. Bender, 1 P. P. Tans, 2 J. W. C. White, 3 J. T. Ellis, 4 T. Conway, 2 R. J. Francey 5

    Recent time-series measurements of atmospheric O2 show that the land biosphere and world oceans annually sequestered 1.4 ± 0.8 and 2.0 ± 0.6 gigatons of carbon, respectively, between mid-1991 and mid-1997. The rapid storage of carbon by the land biosphere from 1991 to 1997 contrasts with the 1980s, when the land biosphere was approximately neutral. Comparison with measurements of 13CO2 implies an isotopic flux of 89 ± 21 gigatons of carbon per mil per year, in agreement with model- and inventory-based estimates of this flux. Both the 13C and the O2 data show significant interannual variability in carbon storage over the period of record. The general agreement of the independent estimates from O2 and 13C is a robust signal of variable carbon uptake by both the land biosphere and the oceans.

  509. Andy
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 9:14 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sam thanks for your answer #461

    However I am still having difficulty with this:

    “As far as your question of can CO2 cool, not really. It can absorb less IR (depending on where it is and how much there is and what else is around or above absorbing IR at the same wavelength, and how much the Earth and water sink/sources are letting go/keeping) but that’s more “less heating” rather than cooling. ”

    My main problem here is I do not know the thermodynamic properties of CO2 but I do find it odd that how CO2 absorbs IR seems to be the factor that is important rather than how it radiates IR.

    The difference is important – if we take an extreme example, the silicon tiles used on the shuttle these tiles can be absorb temperatures to 1000′s degrees C yet can be still picked up by hand without burning because they are poor radiators, the net result (when on the shuttle) is they keep the airframe of the shuttle cool. The tiles will not retain the absorbed IR for ever and will eventually cool, the point being is it is the rate of transfer from the hot body to the cooler body that determines temperature and not what is absorbed and stored.

    Now I am sure we can agree that CO2 is not thermally transparent, but I also suspect, to a much lesser degree, that CO2 will behave like the silicon tiles in that there is a time difference between absorption and radiation of IR and depending on the rate of transfer of stored IR could result in an overall cooling effect especially if more CO2 were added to the atmosphere could lead to an overall cooling – CO2 as a negative feedback.

    From a systems point of view this scenario would actually fit better with the overall evidence as previously listed i.e.

    As a part of the climate natural system which has been self sustaining for millions of years.
    CO2 increase lags behind temperature rise therefore an effect rather than a cause of rising temperature.
    CO2 is released from the oceans when temperature rises, absorbed when oceans cools.

    Could it not be the case that in this natural system CO2 is released to help reduce temperature??

    Leif Svalgard raises a question where everyone is focusing on carbon sinks in order to explain the negative feedback of the natural cycle of climate change – what if the missing negative feedback link is not in carbon sinks but in CO2 being part of the negative feedback mechanism in regulating Earth’s temperature.

    What work, if any, has been done by scientists to explore this possibility?

  510. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 9:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 507

    Ferdinand,

    Let’s assume that the initial concentration was 280 ppmV before the industrial era. Do you mean that 0.000148 Kg/m^3 are anthropogenic and only 0.0000164 Kg/m^3 are from natural sources? Some people say it is 3.502% from human activities ; other people say it is 100% from human activities (Real Climate); you say it is 90%. I said it is 12.7%, and I trust myself and my sources.

    The quotes given by John F. Pittman in # 510 support the fact that the capability of sinks for sequestering the CO2 varies ergodically. I say ergodically because we don’t know what is the origin of that variability. That support my hypothesis about the current failure of sinks on sequestering the CO2.

  511. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 9:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry, I forgot to include this link to NASA facts.

  512. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 10:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    511 Andy
    You have to remember that (a) each molecule of CO2 is alone amidst about 3000 other molecules, of N2, O2, H2O, etc. (b) any IR energy it absorbs is lost to these other molecules in a few microseconds, making them move a little faster (thereby the temperature is a little higher). So the CO2 can’t store energy much more than the other molecules do.

  513. Larry
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    512, that depends on whether you’re counting net or gross. The gross production of CO2 from FF burning is in the single digits (balance being animals exhaling, ocean outgassing, etc.). Net of photosynthesis and other sinks, it’s actually over 100%.

    It’s a simple distinction, but people get messed up on it all the time.

  514. Andy
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Pat #514

    Not if CO2 can absorb heat more efficiently than N2, O2, H2O etc. and/or radiate heat less efficiently than N2, O2, H2O etc. CO2 would absorb heat from N2, O2, H2O etc. and not radiate it – surely this would cause atmospheric cooling.

    I would be very interested in any scientific papers on this subject – anyone know of any?

  515. Andy
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:19 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sorry that should have been – ‘surely adding more CO2 to the mix would cause atmospheric cooling.’

  516. Larry
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    No, it doesn’t work that way. There are two numbers involved in radiative heat transfer; emissivity and absorptivity, which determine the emission and absorption, respectively. By rigorous thermodynamics, they have to be equal to each other for any given substance/object.

  517. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:45 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #510:

    John, you asked:

    #502 Yes I read your page. It is a well written. In fact, I have read several parts several times, simply because it is well written and it is thought provoking. I assume that the 7 to 4 Gt/yr comes from Battle et al? Looking at Etheridge et al, they state that a single pre-industrial CO2 level would be incorrect to state, and that a decadal natural variance was detected. In your page does the +-2.5 Gt/yr account for the natural variance found by Etheridge et al?

    No, the emissions figures are based of the total of all national inventories of fuel use, which may be somewhat underestimated (China may be an example…), while the increase in the atmosphere is based on the year by year increments of CO2 in the atmosphere, measured at Mauna Loa. A more accurate graph of emissions (only fossil fuel use) and increase in the atmosphere is in #462.

    But the Etheridge paper plays in the background: he measured a variability of about +/- 5 ppmv in the pre-industrial period, with the lowest value of 275 ppmv in the LIA. The natural variability is mainly temperature related. This may be seen as a sensitivity of CO2 for temperature changes (-1 K MWP-LIA) of about 10 ppmv/K. That also plays a role in the current variability of CO2 uptake (mainly) by the oceans, as with higher temperatures less CO2 is absorbed, and with a drop in temperature, more CO2 is absorbed. During the 1998 El Niño, only 1 GtC of the 6.5 GtC emissions was absorbed, during the 1992 Pinatubo eruption, 4.5 GtC was absorbed from the 6 GtC emissions. Thus even in recent times, there is a direct relation between the temperature and absorption rate. The difference is that in pre-industrial times there was a (smoothed) temperature related equilibrium, while now the temperature variations only play a role in the fast response of the oceans around a continuous increase. If there was a sudden drop or rise in temperature, that even may overwhelm the emission increase in certain years. Other natural events may come into play sooner or later, but that was not the case in the past 50 years…

    The Battle paper plays a role in the partitioning between land and oceans as sinks. In the period 1980-1990, vegetation probably was a small source and the oceans were the only huge sink. In the next decade both vegetation and oceans were huge sinks. O2 measurements in the atmosphere from before 1990 are not accurate enough to make better estimates of the partitioning between oceans and vegetation.

  518. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    516
    Almost certainly, CO2 would radiate more efficiently than N2 and O2. For one thing, the latter have no vibrational dipole moment to couple with a photon. Furthermore, if excited, CO2 can radiate at 10u, where there is a window in the atmospheric absorption spectrum.

  519. tetris
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: 500
    Ferdinand Engelbeen
    I understand what we are discussing. #493 and #501 nicely sum up the part that intrigues me. Also, to [gently] play the devil’s advocate, what, other than purely academic, is the interest in discussing “variations in CO2 levels in the atmosphere vs. human emissions” if these are of no particular consequence in terms of changes in temperatures or climate?

  520. Phil.
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 12:07 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #516
    “Not if CO2 can absorb heat more efficiently than N2, O2, H2O etc. and/or radiate heat less efficiently than N2, O2, H2O etc. CO2 would absorb heat from N2, O2, H2O etc. and not radiate it – surely this would cause atmospheric cooling.”

    N2 and O2 don’t absorb or radiate whereas both H2O and CO2 do absorb and radiate in the IR (at different wavelengths and with different efficiencies). In the lower atmosphere CO2 loses any absorbed energy to the surrounding molecules via collisions, in the upper atmosphere where the collision frequency is lower it is able to radiate, in fact in CO2 is responsible for radiatively cooling the upper stratosphere.

  521. Richard Sharpe
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Andy says:

    The difference is important – if we take an extreme example, the silicon tiles used on the shuttle these tiles can be absorb temperatures to 1000’s degrees C yet can be still picked up by hand without burning because they are poor radiators, the net result (when on the shuttle) is they keep the airframe of the shuttle cool. The tiles will not retain the absorbed IR for ever and will eventually cool, the point being is it is the rate of transfer from the hot body to the cooler body that determines temperature and not what is absorbed and stored.

    Perhaps my ignorance is showing but I have problems with this para.

    My understanding was that the thermal environment the tiles operated in was one of large heat build-up caused by friction with the atmosphere and that the tiles were poor at conducting heat from their surface layer(s) to the layers in contact with the metal skin of the the shuttle.

    Indeed, this demonstration of heating and then then touching a piece of such a tile suggests to me that radiation from the surface and convection are the main mechanism for the removal of heat from the surface of the tile and that very little is conducted to the interior of the tile, so I don’t understand the point you are making.

    It would seem that the material the tiles are made of are very efficient radiators otherwise they would not get rid of the heat so quickly.

  522. Larry
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    523, you’re completely correct. Heat moves by 3 modes:

    1. conduction
    2. convection
    3. radiation.

    It conducts through the material. It convects and radiates from the surface. Its ability to convect and/or radiate is very good, its ability to conduct is poor (which is what you want).

  523. Andy
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 12:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Larry #518

    Actually as I understand it the total energy in does not equal the total energy out, there is a minute loss of energy in the process, but that is not what I am talking about, it is the different rate of emissivity and absorptivity for heat transfer I am discussing. In fact the rate of emissivity has to be less than the rate of absorptivity for any substance to be able to retain heat energy.

    So (excluding the minuscule loss) it may be essentially true that the total energy in equals total energy out, but this is not true when applying a small time constant to both ends of the equation because of the different emissivity and absorptivity rates involved.

    However, how heat is transferred between different substances is further complicated because of the different exchange rates (emissivity and absorptivity properties) between these different substances – it is this thermal relationship between different substances that I am trying to discuss and whether or not because of these different thermal properties – not thermodynamics per se – that under certain circumstances CO2 acts as a negative feedback simply because it may be able to absorb and retain heat better than the other substances in out atmosphere.

    And I would be interested in seeing any climate science that deals in the thermal interaction of atmospheric substances – any one?

  524. Larry
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    525, these words have definitions. They’re not what you think they are. At steady state, emissivity and absorptivity for a layer of atmosphere are equal. Period. Go find a physics book, and look up “black body radiation”. Also keep in mind that radiation isn’t the only thing going on.

  525. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #512/515:

    Thanks, Larry indeed that is the difference.

    Nasif, I’ll try again with a previous example: if you bring $ 100 to the bank, and the total turnover rate of the bank is about $ 10000 that day with a gain of $ 50 at the end of the day, your money is only 1% of the turnover and what rests is only 0.5% of the total turnover of that day. But you still can claim that the gain of 0.5% is completely thanks to your money…

    The variability in sink capacity mainly is a question of (ocean) temperature variability. But the average sink capacity (oceans + vegetation) increased from about 1.5 GtC in 1959 to about 4 GtC in 2000… That is the difference between emissions and the increase in the atmosphere in the graph of #462.

  526. Andy
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 1:00 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Richard #523
    “It would seem that the material the tiles are made of are very efficient radiators otherwise they would not get rid of the heat so quickly.”

    Larry #524
    “It conducts through the material. It convects and radiates from the surface. Its ability to convect and/or radiate is very good, its ability to conduct is poor (which is what you want).”

    These statements are incorrect the tiles glow red hot but are cool to the touch – if they were efficient radiators they would not glow red because there would be no energy within them being converted to light.

    I do not want the discussion degenerating into discussing the silica tiles on the shuttle – I merely used these tiles as an example of a cooling effect of substances when taking rates of heat absorption and emission over a small time constant – which I believe applies to a much lesser degree to all substances that retain heat.

    My main point though is whether CO2 has properties that makes it act a coolant under certain circumstances and whether such a notion has been included in the climate science community.

    I am suggesting though, from a systems point of view, that when looking at the natural climate system, where huge amounts of atmospheric CO2 is being released from the oceans when warm and absorbed when cold, that it would make logical sense to suggest it does – otherwise the Earth would have faced the Al Gore positive feedback style catastrophe millions of years ago if our climate had ever got started at all in the first place.

    Maybe (as I suspect) Leif Svalgard question above exists because the thermal interactions between the differing atmospheric substances and the possible cooling effects of CO2 has not been explored.

    Of course if climate science has already addressed this I would like to see this science.

  527. Larry
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 1:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    You’re not understanding what’s going on. There’s no such thing as a red hot object that’s cool to the touch. I’m not going to debate this kind of silliness.

  528. Phil.
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 1:26 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 528

    “My main point though is whether CO2 has properties that makes it act a coolant under certain circumstances and whether such a notion has been included in the climate science community.”

    Yes, the cooling of the upper stratosphere by CO2 has long been a prediction of GH theory. If you want to read more about it see:

    http://www.atmosphere.mpg.de/enid/20c.html

    The paper referred to there by Clough and Iacono is very good too.

  529. Andy
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 1:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #529

    Nit-picking – ok glow red and appear to be hot.

  530. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    531
    A white object of significant heat capacity, glowing red from heat, is way too hot to touch with the hand. If it’s glowing red from red lamp illumination, that’s another matter.

  531. Larry
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 2:58 PM | Permalink | Reply

    What he was originally talking about is a space shuttle tile, that’s red hot on one side, and cool on the other, somehow proving that it wasn’t radiating. I tried to point out that the limiting phenomenon was conduction (through the tile), and then I got an obfuscation.

    A big part of the problem is that the words don’t mean what people think they mean; i.e. a “radiator” in a car could be called a “convector/conductor” (or actually, a liquid/gas heat exchanger). Common usage is wrong and confusing.

  532. Andy
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 2:59 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Phil #530
    This explanation is inconsistent and makes my point (I will look up the Clough and Iacono papers also – thanks).

    Cooling due to the greenhouse effect

    The second effect is more complicated. Greenhouse gases (CO2, O3, CFC) absorb infra-red radiation from the surface of the Earth and trap the heat in the troposphere. If this absorption is really strong, the greenhouse gas blocks most of the outgoing infra-red radiation close to the Earth’s surface. This means that only a small amount of outgoing infra-red radiation reaches carbon dioxide in the upper troposphere and the lower stratosphere. On the other hand, carbon dioxide emits heat radiation, which is lost from the stratosphere into space. In the stratosphere, this emission of heat becomes larger than the energy received from below by absorption and, as a result, there is a net energy loss from the stratosphere and a resulting cooling. Other greenhouse gases, such as ozone and chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), have a weaker impact because their concentrations in the troposphere are smaller. They do not entirely block the whole radiation in their wavelength regime so some reaches the stratosphere where it can be absorbed and, as a consequence, heat this region of the atmosphere.
    This section is asserting essentially that CO2 absorbing heat in the troposphere is responsible for the cooling of the stratosphere – what I find inconsistent is that a cooler stratosphere should also lead to a cooler troposphere through convection and again the emphasis is on how CO2 absorbs heat not how it radiate heat.

    So this now poses the questions: How then if heat retention being a property of CO2 can absorb heat significantly enough to cool the stratosphere that this same CO2 cooling mechanism does not apply equally at the troposphere? In other words if CO2 retains heat in the troposphere as illustrated in this article how then is it contributing to increased surface temperature if is is not passing heat on to neighbouring CO2, N2, O2, H2O molecules?

    And as a side question, through convection does not a cooler stratosphere also result in a cooler troposphere? If not why not?

    I would suggest it does and that not only does CO2 act as a negative feedback for cooling the stratosphere as illustrated in the link provided but also cools the troposphere this way, of course subject to variable such as CO2 volumes and atmospheric pressure. Again this would certainly fit better with natural climate system as previously discussed rather than the runaway positive feedback theories.

    Importantly though is CO2 is recognised as a negative feedback and maybe go some way to answering Leif Svalgard question.

  533. Phil.
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 3:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re534

    In the troposphere the CO2 loses its energy via collisions faster than it can radiate, in the stratosphere there are so few collisions that CO2 has time to radiate.
    The stratosphere is isolated from convection in the troposphere (see tropopause).

  534. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 4:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 527

    Ferdinand,

    I understand those numbers. The problem is that the graph of # 462 was made upon data on change of temperature; again, I’m not saying that you have made it, but it have been made by your source. Another problem is that you say that the change of concentration of CO2 is 90% atributed to human activities, which would leave only a 10% to natural sources. Please, tell me, from the 101 ppmV of the increase in the concentration of CO2, what is the contribution of human activities ?

    “A truth that’s told with bad intention beats all the lies you can invent.” William Blake.

  535. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 4:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I have to repeat a dismissed message:

    Here is a reference where the number is cut down to 15%: The Physics of Climate by Peixoto, page 436, paragraph two, lines two to four.

    OTOH, you said that the sinks are working at top speed; however, the sinks are not static and have changed enormously since the Permian Period, not by human hands. I would concede that we have changed the biosphere and that this could be precisely one of the reasons by which one of the sinks, the oceans, is failing on sequestering the carbon dioxide. However, our contribution to the change of the biosphere is negligible compared with other sources of change. Recently, researchers discovered high volcanic activity underwater, which from my knowledge can alter the partial pressure of gases dissolved in oceanic waters and consequently the underwater biosphere (another sink of CO2). This could be a factor of alteration in the concentration of gases in air bubbles trapped into ice, especially those taken near the Mount Erebus.

    Please, answer the question in message # 536 and give your arguments on this one.

  536. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 4:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 515

    Larry,

    Net of photosynthesis and other sinks, it’s actually over 100%.

    Sorry, but this is not true. To bring photosynthesis and other sinks over 100% you need an external operator. Could you tell me what’s that external operator acting on sinks? Please, explain it mathematically so I can understand it.

  537. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 7:01 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #436-438:

    Nasif, you misunderstand the figures: Fem are the emissions in GtC per year, based on fuel use, Fa(observed) is the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere measured in Mauna Loa, also in GtC per year. Thus no plot of the temperature there, but the yearly emissions are increasing smoothly, the yearly increase in the atmosphere is quite variable. There is an influence of temperature on the sinks per year, which causes these variations. Why is there a change in sink? That is because warmer oceans emit more CO2 in the tropics and summer, and adsorb less in the high Arctic and winter. That is the mechanism that influences the sink capacity per year. This influence of temperature on source/sink capacity is relative constant over the last million years. No comment on earlier periods, as these have quite different geological configurations, which also has an influence on CO2 source/sink capacity and the changes needed millions of years, not 150 years.

    The contribution of all volcanoes on CO2 emissions is quite small. From http://www.bgs.ac.uk/programmes/landres/segs/downloads/VolcanicContributions.pdf :

    The contribution to the present day atmospheric CO2 loading from volcanic emissions is, however, relatively insignificant, and it is has been estimated that subaerial volcanism releases around 300 Mt/yr CO2, equivalent to just 1% of anthropogenic emissions (Morner & Etiope, 2002).

    These contributions are unsure (only a few% is really measured) but were more or less in equilibrium with the pre-industrial sinks, maybe with exception of very large outbursts of volcanic activity, but even the Pinatubo eruption was not measurable in the global CO2 levels (as at the same time the temperature dropped). Mount Erebus hasn’t had any discernable influence on CO2 levels in Antarctic ice cores (some ash in coastal ice cores was found in certain periods), neither in current atmospheric measurements at the South Pole.

    How much humans contributed to the 101 ppmv increase? Well, 145 ppmv, or 143%. Really. That is the sum of all known human emissions from fossil fuel burning since 1850. That is what Larry tried to say to you: all emissions together since the start of the industrial revolution are larger than the sum of all sinks over the same period. But of course, a large part is absorbed in sinks (oceans and vegetation), the rest is in the atmosphere. And at the other side temperature probably added another 10 ppmv to the increase (despite the emissions). Thus in reality: 90% of the increase is from the emissions, 10% from the 1 K temperature increase since the LIA and 53% of the theoretical increase by the emissions was absorbed.

    The much lower figures you find in the literature, is about how much from the original emissions stay in the atmosphere. That is less than the increase, because every year some 20 % of the atmospheric CO2 (and thus also the emissions of the previous years) is exchanged with CO2 from the oceans and vegetation. Seems somewhat difficult to explain. Let’s try to make it clear with an example:

    You have a table with 100 white balls. One person adds within the first five minutes two red balls, the next five minutes another two red balls, and so on. Within the same time intervals, another person exchanges 21 randomly chosen balls, no matter the color, with 20 white balls.
    As the first person continu to add two balls against one ball removed, the total number of balls will increase, and a few hours later the total number of balls reaches 130, or 30% more than original. But you will not find the added 60 red balls on the table, as many of them were removed and replaced by white balls in the same time span. Thus the addition of red balls [emissions] was the cause of the increase in mass, the exchange of balls [seasonal exchanges] was the cause of a reduction in increase [sinks] of the total number of balls and the fact that a lower percentage of red balls [% emissions] are found on the table [in the atmosphere].

    I hope this made it clear where the difference between the percentages lies…

  538. Larry
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 7:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    538, what that means is that accumulation in the atmosphere is less than what we’re adding. There’s a balance going somewhere.

  539. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 7:36 PM | Permalink | Reply

    508 Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    December 9th, 2007 at 6:05 am
    Re #504,

    John, my remark was about the normal procedure, not the experiment.

    My name is not John. Your remark changed the subject of discussion. The subject under immediate discussion was the cited research paper concerning a decontamination experiment related to exobiology studies, and how the methodologies and results found that tracer bacterial cultures quickly contaminated substantial interior areas of the Vostok ice cores, despite claims such ice cores were alleged to be impermeable to CO2 gas concentrations. Your discussion of the normal procedures disregards and evades the entire purpose of discussing the implications of ice core permeability for bacteria versus CO2 gas concentrations. The exobiology decontamination experiment demonstrated that bacteria easily and very quickly permeate into Vostok ice cores. It remains to be explained how it is physically impossible as alleged for CO2 gas concentrations to exfiltrate through the exact same Vostok ice cores so easily infiltrated by the experimental tracer bacteria cultures.

    For several ice cores, the outer ice core is already cleaned and discarded on site directly after drilling to avoid external contamination. The cores are sealed in plastic bags and allowed for relaxation for up to a year at low temperatures (sometimes below the ice surface).

    Given the fact that the exobiology experiment demonstrated bacteria easily and quickly infiltrated such Vostok ice cores, it is more than a little surprising and curious to see how you show no interest or desire to investigate how it is possible for the CO2 gas concentrations to be unable to exit the Vostok ice cores at the same time the experimental bacteria are proven to enter the interior of the Vostok ice cores. Indeed, you talk about the routine handling of the Vostok ice cores while showing no interest whatsoever in the implications of how that handling may be significant with respect to the permeability proven by the exobiology decontamination experiment. Given the virtual certainty that the exit of CO2 gas concentrations through the same pathways as the entrance of the experimental bacteria would result in gross errors for the CO2 measurements of Vostok ice cores, your diversion of the discussion to the routine handling of the ice cores and your unwillingness to investigate the glaring contradiction to present methodologies and reports presented by bacterial infiltrations of the ice cores is more than a little inconsistent and strange.

    In the deep Vostok ice core, at ~140,000 years age, the temperature is -40°C and bacteria are immobilised and reduce their metabolism to the absolute minimum: DNA and enzyme repair. Nutrients necessary for survival and waste products can be exchanged via small veins (1 micron or larger) of water in the ice, caused by incorporated ions. But it seems to me that there is very little vertical mixing in the ice core via such mechanism, all reaction products of dormant life still are available and can be measured at the layers of interest. For most of the Vostok ice core, there is little inorganic dust, organics or bacterial incorporation which can lead to some influence.

    You spend a great deal of time discussing the natural bacteria while totally disregarding the question of how it can somehow be impossible to for CO2 gas concentrations to exit the ice through the same pathways used by the experimental tracer bacteria to enter and migrate through the ice in periods of no more than hours or days. Saying “ it seems to me” is hardly sufficient to disregard a real world experiment in which it was proven that bacteria did in fact infiltrate distances of >1.5cm to 2cm into the Vostok ice cores in only hours and days.

    More important is the result of bacterial and/or other contamination. Most point to increasing CO2 levels, few do underestimate historical reality.

    A lot more different kinds of tests is in the running: d13 and d14 ratios in CO2 and CH4, N2O, d18O, over very long time periods to unravel the carbon cycle over ice ages / interglacials, which can discriminate between the main sources/sinks (oceans or vegetation), etc…
    The most important drawback of ice core measurements is the smoothing which excludes rapid excursions from being detected.

    Statistical smoothing is not the MOST IMPORTANT drawback of ice core measurements if you are unable to prove that the Vostok ice cores are impermeable by CO2 gas concentrations at the same time they are easily and quickly permeable to experimental bacterial cultures. Until and unless it can be proven that the Vostok ice cores are in fact impermeable to CO2 gas concentrations at the same time they are permeable to the experimental bacterial cultures, all of the present CO2 measurements of the Vostok ice cores and other glacial ice cores must be erroneous and invalid due to the consequent exit of undetermined amounts of the CO2 gas concentrations. Thus, substantial errors in the measurements of the CO2 gas concentrations used in subsequent research papers will necessarily substantially influence or invalidate their results as well.

    In other words, nothing you have to say about the CO2 measurements from the Vostok ice cores, their collection and handling, and climate models dependent on the measurements will be relevant to this discussion or any other discussion until and unless you can prove that the Vostok ice cores are impermeable to CO2 at the same time they are permeable to the experimental bacterial cultures.

  540. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 7:38 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 539

    Ferdinand and Larry,

    I’m not confused about the difference between your lines of your graph. You’re confused about what I’m saying. The plot in Ferdinand’s graph was made upon change of temperature data, to be precise, it’s flawed. Is it clear?

    I hope the next algorithm make it clear that the sinks are not working over 100% not even at their top capacity:

    PSN = E*APAR

    E = Egross(f)(Yg)(Ym)

    Emax = Egross(Yg)(Ym)

    E= f(Emax)

    Now demonstrate what you are arguing.

  541. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 7:45 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 542

    I forgot to tell you that the algorithm applies only to Photosynthesis. When you have solved it I’ll show you the algorithms for the other sinks.

  542. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 7:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Geoff Sherrington says:

    December 9th, 2007 at 12:53 am
    Re # 504 D Patterson

    Thank you. You have made an important contribution.

    Thank you for the compliment. Perhaps there is a Small Experiment which cannot be ignored for too long. Thanks to the authors: Christner, Brent C.; Mikucki, Jill A.; Foreman, Christine M.; Denson, Jackie; Priscu, John C.; Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. Glacial ice cores: A model system for developing extraterrestrial decontamination protocols. Received 15 February 2004; revised 8 September 2004. Thanks also to the Principle of Unintended Consequences. Perhaps there is a plausible explanation for the apparent contradictions. Is or if not, we shall see.

  543. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 9:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    D. Patterson,

    A very impresive research. The authors are right on mentioning the concern on two way contamination. There are organisms named psychrophyles that can deal with cold stress with astounding efficiency. The research from your link makes clear that psychrophyle bacteria can easily pass through interstices and “contaminate” the ice cores.

  544. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 10:29 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 544 D. Patterson

    Unfortunately, my background is in drilling rock, not ice. A turning point came in my thinking when I read the work from the Kola superdeep hole and subsequent. Some subsequent nearby work demonstrated from multiple holes that only a very poor reconstruction could be made of recent global temperature. Other factors dominated. One major dominant was persolation of surface waters to the depth of 12 km and the detection of bacteria to almost as deep.

    Of course, the bacteria could have been carried in the water, with no analogue to ice holes. Conversely, if bacteria can travel alone to such depths, one might presume that inert gases can as well, in both rock and ice.

    Several times on CA I have lamented the lack of simple capsule experiments (of the Lord Rutherford style). You have described one with the bacteria. Steve has done one with with his tree auger. We now await a true test of the permeability of ice caps to CO2. It would not surprise me to find they are leaky to CO2.

  545. Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:03 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I won’t be posting here tomorrow morning because I was invited as main expositor in a scientific documentary film for the students of the University. Perhaps I will be posting again after 6:00 PM. Perhaps I’ll talk about the failure of sinks. ;)

  546. Chris
    Posted Dec 9, 2007 at 11:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    addition to comment on 534

    the stratosphere cools with increase of CO2 because the balance in the stratosphere is between absorption of solar radiation by O3 and cooling by infrared emission (radiative cooling from more CO2 down below), therefore, the stratosphere cools to come back into balance

    Increase of greenhouse gases at the troposphere creates an increased temperature gradient so that anything below will generaly warm, while anything above will cool. This is also consistent with temperature trends at the mesosphere and thermosphere (see Lastovicka et al., 2006) and a comparison made by the study-

    //”The increase in global surface air temperature during the 20th century has been attributed mainly to the increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. In the upper atmosphere, the radiative effects of greenhouse gases, particularly CO2, become more pronounced and produce a cooling rather than a warming effect. This effect is demonstrated by the CO2-dominated atmosphere of Venus, where the troposphere is more than twice as warm as Earth’s and the thermosphere is 4 to 5 times as cold “//

    On the discussion of CO2 lag, you can only get 12 ppm or so of feedbackper 1 C rise (see http://www.springerlink.com/content/9q2hwxrhr3cm8g87/?p=6ee1c184f37d4955a354d64157c3a084&pi=11 ), and we have isotopic analysis to show just about all of the CO2 rise today is ours.From Monnin et al 2001 or Caillon et al 2003 and others it looks like Milkanovitch cycles, CO2 feedback, methane changes, and some other things are what is going on over the glacial-interglacial cycles. Other paleoclimatic times where CO2 is the forcing, as it is today

  547. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 12:37 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There is enough water permeating into the pores of granite to comprise 1.5 percent of the rock by volume.

    Ice brought from depths of more than 2,000 feet below the surface of the Antarctic glaciers pops and fizzes in drinks as gas escapes from the compression.

    The carbon dioxide gas concentrations in sea ice range from about 30ppmv to more than 900ppmv.

    There is considerably more to the permeability of CO2 in firn and glacial ice than is typically commented upon.

  548. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 4:06 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re Chris says:
    December 9th, 2007 at 11:27 pm

    quote and we have isotopic analysis to show just about all of the CO2 rise today is ours. unquote

    Aha, an isotope expert, someone who can help. I’m interested in the calculation of the isotope sinks and sources and I’m getting rather confused. There are a lot of process changes in a changing climate. Do the isotope models take account of:

    1. illumination? It would help my toy hypothesis if phytoplankton became less discriminatory at higher light levels (as would happen if cloud cover reduced over the ocean).

    2. phyto depth — if stratification makes the phytos live deeper to get nutrients, 1 would also apply. Does a warming sea imply a higher C12 signal in the atmosphere?

    3. Blue green algae, mosses and liverworts are, presumably(any studies on this?), increasing as the tundra warms. Do they discriminate as much as normal C3 plants, or are they pulling heavier isotopes out of the air?

    4. Polluted plants are less discriminatory and they will have been pulling out heavy isotopes. Has this been quantified?

    5. Spreading deserts lead to drought which leads to more C4 plants. Same effect. Has this been quantified?

    6. Please see my website for another four and add the light isotope signal from tundra-dwelling, methane-devouring bacteria.

    Finally, can you point me to a recent graph of the isotope signal. If it covers the period 1930 to present I’d be especially grateful. TIA.

    JF

  549. JohnB UK
    Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 4:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Looking to the future there are forecasts that solar cycle 24 may be quiet, and 25 even quieter. Some speculate about another Maunder minimum.

    Hans Erren’s graph at #8 shows a very close relationship between rate of CO2 rise and temperature.

    Nowhere on the web can I find anyone speculating that if we see decreasing global temperatures with cycle 24 and 25 we might also see CO2 decreasing, yet the potential implications of this to the AGW debate are huge, aren’t they?

    Thoughts?

  550. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 8:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #541:

    D. Patterson, sorry for the name confusion. I am not a guest commenter here, mainly a lurker, but have had a lot of discussion on the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere with other sceptics, that is why my remarks were put in the header by Steve McIntyre. I haven’t studied ice cores into the same detail, but have read a lot about them (and a lot more in recent days).

    I have been reading/thinking about the possible consequences on CO2 levels from ice core porosity and the presence of bacteria in the veins. Therefore a little too much sideways were explored.

    But to give a straight answer to your question: the fact that bacteria can enter the ice core (after decompression) indeed gives an idea about the porosity of the ice core and the possibility that pressurised air from bubbles in the ice may escape to the outside world, and secondly that CO2 from the inside may be exchanged with the outside air CO2.

    The first mechanism shouldn’t change the ratio of CO2/air, but there are two caveats: CO2 clathrates decompose at lower pressure and higher temperature than O2/N2 clathrates. That means that N2/O2 may escape earlier than CO2, while the latter still is in solid form. Subsequent decomposing has little effect on pressure, as CO2 is less than 0.03% of the volume. Moreover, CO2 is much more polar than O2/N2, and may (relative) stick on the polar ice/water molecules, thus more may be retained in the bubble/veins. Thus if there is an escape as result of depressurising, this may lead to too high CO2 levels when the ice core bubbles are measured.

    The second mechanism, when inside/outside pressure is more or less equal, is the exchange of CO2 between inside and outside air. The measured inside air until 1850 was 180-320 ppmv for all samples of all Antarctic ice cores. Current outside air is at 380 ppmv. If any CO2 is exchanged, then it is going from outside to inside, enriching CO2 in the bubbles/veins.

    Thus if the pores in the ice core interfere with the measurements, this will lead to an overestimation of ancient CO2 levels. This is what I told in #508, but if you don’t agree, please give your arguments. Worst case contamination scenario is thus that ancient air CO2 levels were even lower than measured…

  551. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 9:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #549:

    1. There is enough water permeating into the pores of granite to comprise 1.5 percent of the rock by volume.
    2. Ice brought from depths of more than 2,000 feet below the surface of the Antarctic glaciers pops and fizzes in drinks as gas escapes from the compression.
    3. The carbon dioxide gas concentrations in sea ice range from about 30ppmv to more than 900ppmv.
    4. There is considerably more to the permeability of CO2 in firn and glacial ice than is typically commented upon.

    1. I haven’t found much indication of water % in ice for different depths (pressure, temperature), which largely depends of ion inclusions. Any figures?
    2. This proves that many bubbles still are intact after decompression.
    3. Depends of bacterial/plant life. Most bacteria produce CO2, including psychrophyles, which can survive -40°C. Algues and other plant life use CO2 even at below zero temperatures, but produce CO2 whithout sunlight (in ice cores at a depth of?).
    4. Agreed for firn, but I disagree for ice: a difference of 80-100 ppmv in CO2 levels over a period of about 5,000 years gas age (glacial-interglacial) still is measurable after 130,000-330,000 years. Does’t seem that the vertical exchange rate of CO2 is a big problem…

  552. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 11:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #542,

    Nasif, again, there is nothing about temperature in the plot of #462. It is a plot of calculated emissions vs. the measured yearly increase of CO2 in the atmosphere…

    The remark of Larry (and me) is that there are more emissions than what you see as increase in the atmosphere in every year. Thus some of the emissions is going into sinks, no matter what the sink is (vegetation and/or oceans)…

  553. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 554

    Ferdinand,

    I’m here again. Obviously you have not seen my graph where I dissected your graph and plotted it along the change of temperature. I’m not a skeptic… However, it’s not possible that the calculated emissions coincide punctually with changes of temperature. I’ve to apologize again for my absence during the next hours. The filming of the documentary will continue in the afternoon and tomorrow morning. It seems our colleagues found my exposition very interesting. ;)

  554. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #550:

    Julian, the 12C preference of plants and hence the d13C ratio left in the atmosphere, indeed depends of changes in plant species, temperature, moisture, CO2 levels,… A change in all these is visible over the seasons and on longer term. The changes in atmospheric d13C in average of all plant life (sea and land) over a year will be positive with more CO2 uptake than decay and negative with more decay than uptake.

    CO2 from fossil fuel burning is 13C depleted, at about the same order as the average vegetation decay. Thus impossible to separate. But in both cases, oxygen is used in equivalence with carbon burning/decay. Oxygen use is somewhat smaller than calculated from FF burning in the last decade of the previous century, thus vegeation was a net sink and should increase the d13C ratio in the atmosphere (see the Bolin graph in the header or #115). But we see a steady decrease of d13C in ice core CO2 and CH4 (yes, the same leaking ones…), firn and atmosphere, tree rings and coralline sponges. The latter are of interest, as they show the d13C changes over more than 600 years. They live in shallow waters, which is in equilibrium with the atmosphere, reflecting about 80% of the change in d13C of the atmosphere.

    Fossil fuel burning and land use changes are more than enough to explain the d13C decrease. But as there is no possibility to see a difference between FF d13C and vegetation decay d13C, and the oxygen measurements before 1990 were not accurate enough, vegetation decay may have contributed in some time frames.

  555. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 1:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #555,

    Nasif, you have plotted the measured annual increase (Fa-observed in my graph #462) of CO2 in the atmosphere against the temperature changes, which indeed show an direct correlation (thus the sinks show an inverse correlation). A similar, more detailed one was given by Hans Erren in #8.

    I agree, it would be quite strange to see a correlation between emissions and temperature (although, strong winters in Siberia or Russia…), but that is not the case at all.

  556. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 2:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Andy: CO2 and the other GHG absorb IR as well as emit it. The IR wavelength bands for CO2′s absorption are basically at 2 um (where it “competes” with water vapor) 2.5 um (again, wv) 3.5 um (about half of the band competes with N2) and 15 um (again, wv) (O2 and N2 have no dipole movement so don’t transfer energy when they vibrate but of course they are there taking up space and interacting.) If a greenhouse gas emits the radiation up, it sends the energy to space. If they emit it down, it’s part of the greenhouse effect. Simple creation of energy by kinetic force, but how it’s transfered is how all the IR absorber/emitters react themselves and with each other.

    So again, I would define it as less warming rather than cooling, basically. And of course, all that depends on how much IR there is and how much the gas actually gets where it’s at in relation to the others (and clouds and particles “interfering” with the sun)

    But we sure know what it does physically. Taking the other GHG into account, including the 35-95% of the effect that water is responsible for (vapor and clouds) is a bit trickier… (Don’t forget to include the effects of particulates in the air and on the ground and how they modify the system; it’s not just the GHG and clouds in play here, of course. Oh, yes, wind speed temperature and direction, and RH. And at what elevation you’re at, and if you’re above water or not (Or actually, what the surface is.)

    As far as the GHG, as you can see, they’re all trending up at about the same rates, so treating them as causes seems a bit far fetched (but doesn’t mean they aren’t). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Major_greenhouse_gas_trends.png

    Or as Gavin once said when asked about water vapour concentration of a given temperature rise, assuming 2x=3C;

    [Response: Since it’s a coupled feedback process, you can’t really separate it out like this. But you can estimate how much more water there would be for a given temperature increase at equilibirium using the Clausius-Clapeyron equation. For the response to 2xCO2, (around 3 deg C) you would expect an increase of about 30% in water vapour amounts. -gavin]

  557. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 3:47 PM | Permalink | Reply

    re Ferdinand Engelbeen says:
    December 10th, 2007 at 12:51 pm

    quote coralline sponges. The latter are of interest, as they show the delta 13C changes over more than 600 years. unquote

    Any reference to graphs of the result?

    JF

  558. Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 5:48 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #559:

    Reference to the full article of Böhm ea., “Evidence for preindustrial variations in the marine surface water carbonate system from coralline sponges”, GEOCHEMISTRY GEOPHYSICS GEOSYSTEMS, VOL. 3, NO. 3, 1019, doi:10.1029/2001GC000264, 2002 : http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2002/2001GC000264.shtml
    Main d13C graph is here: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/klim_img/sponges.gif . Resolution is 2-4 years, accuracy (2 sigma) +/- 0.04 promille. The accuracy is sharp enough to detect a change of +/- 1 GtC from fossil fuel burning (-24 VPDB) or vegetation decay or +/- 4 GtC from deep ocean upwelling (at zero VPDB).

  559. D. Patterson
    Posted Dec 10, 2007 at 11:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    552 Ferdinand Engelbeen says:

    December 10th, 2007 at 8:56 am
    Re #541:

    D. Patterson, sorry for the name confusion. I am not a guest commenter here, mainly a lurker, but have had a lot of discussion on the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere with other sceptics, that is why my remarks were put in the header by Steve McIntyre. I haven’t studied ice cores into the same detail, but have read a lot about them (and a lot more in recent days).

    I have been reading/thinking about the possible consequences on CO2 levels from ice core porosity and the presence of bacteria in the veins. Therefore a little too much sideways were explored.

    You assume there are “bacteria in the veins,” but I make no such assumptions. The experiment reported the presence of the experimental bacteria, but the experiment did not determine the means by which the bacteria made their ingress into the ice core. We have no experiment/s to give us an empirical basis for concluding the ice was actually impermeable to CO2 gas concentrations in situ, during core sampling and recovery, during core transportation and storage, or during the laboratory. In one extreme example, you might hypothesize the bacteria melted their way through the ice with their passageways closing behind them and preventing the escape of gases. I certainly doubt such a scenario, but I know of no empirical data to exclude its possibility. Until such experiments are conducted independently to confirm empirical results, we simply cannot and will not know how much CO2 gas concentrations can or cannot escape the ice core samples from the time of original snowfall until the CO2 and bacterial cultures were sampled in the Vostok ice cores. What we thought we knew about closure of the ice porosity at the bottom of the firn may or may not prove to be correct. They are, after all, also based on a cascade of assumptions lacking a basis in first principles. However, even if what we thought we knew about the closure of ice pores is ultimately correct, assumptions about the fate of the CO2 gas concentrations before closure and during sampling and recovery of the ice cores may prove to be wrong. Whatever the facts ultimately prove to be, the experimental bacterial contamination experiment is empirical evidence that the ice cores at the very least are permeable to some extent by the tracers during sampling, recovery, handling, transportation, and storage.

    But to give a straight answer to your question: the fact that bacteria can enter the ice core (after decompression) indeed gives an idea about the porosity of the ice core and the possibility that pressurised air from bubbles in the ice may escape to the outside world, and secondly that CO2 from the inside may be exchanged with the outside air CO2.

    I disagree, because you are making unfounded assumptions. All we know from this experiment is that the experimental bacterial cultures proved an ability to enter a limited extent of the Vostok ice cores in a very short period of time after the ice cores had been sampled, recovered, and decompressed. We do not know what method or methods the tracer bacteria, DNA plasmid macromolecules, and Rhodamine molecules used to gain access to the internal regions of the ice cores. Until we know the means and pathways that were used by the three tracers to enter the ice cores, we do not know and cannot conclude whether the pathways were indeed fractures, veins, porosities, permeable barriers, or some combination of the forgoing. As far as we know, the ice core may be virtually impermeable to the CO2 gas concentrations while being permeable to an active bacterial culture that transports the macromolecules of DNA plasmid and Rhodamine molecules as they go. On the opposite end of the scale, the ice cores may have been somewhat permeable to CO2 gas concentrations all along in ways that have yet to be detected and understood. Or, the ice in the ice cores had some limited permeability to CO2 gas molecules at one or more critical points from the time the gas molecules were entrapped to the time they were sampled in the laboratories. All the contamination experiment has proven so far is the fact that previous assumptions and any handwaving about the impermeability of the ice cores remain unproven and subject to potential gross errors until proven otherwise. Hand waving assumptions about impermeability are simply no substitute for solid scientific experimentation that excludes false assumptions and excludes faulty models built upon a foundation of false assumptions.

    The first mechanism shouldn’t change the ratio of CO2/air, but there are two caveats: CO2 clathrates decompose at lower pressure and higher temperature than O2/N2 clathrates. That means that N2/O2 may escape earlier than CO2, while the latter still is in solid form. Subsequent decomposing has little effect on pressure, as CO2 is less than 0.03% of the volume. Moreover, CO2 is much more polar than O2/N2, and may (relative) stick on the polar ice/water molecules, thus more may be retained in the bubble/veins. Thus if there is an escape as result of depressurising, this may lead to too high CO2 levels when the ice core bubbles are measured.

    Such scenarios are invalid if there were no “veins” and no escape of CO2 gas concentrations. Such scenarios are invalid if there were microfractures before sampling, during sampling, during recovery, or later which facilitated the migration of some measure of all types of gas concentrations out of the sampled ice. For example, there are examples of small water stream formations within glacial ice under certain limited scenarios. It is already proven by prior experiment cited in this research paper which noted the movement of impurities such as dust by so many millimeters per decade. If dust and other impurities can migrate horizontally and/or vertically through the ice, then we need to know from empirical experiment just how much the CO2 can and cannot migrate through the ice as individual molecules or as inclusions within air bubbles.

    The second mechanism, when inside/outside pressure is more or less equal, is the exchange of CO2 between inside and outside air. The measured inside air until 1850 was 180-320 ppmv for all samples of all Antarctic ice cores. Current outside air is at 380 ppmv. If any CO2 is exchanged, then it is going from outside to inside, enriching CO2 in the bubbles/veins.

    First, you do not know what the CO2 concentrations were in the places where the ice cores were exposed to the non-laboratory and laboratory atmosphere. Whatever atmospheric concentrations they were, they were almost certainly not 380 ppmv. The atmospheric concentrations of CO2 are constantly in local variation, so you cannot falsely assume they are the same as the already disputed assumptions about measurements of means from Mauna Loa.

    Second, your assumption that depressurization of the ice core must circulate current atmospheric CO2 into the ice core sample is a false assumption and contrary to basic physics of positive atmospheric pressure relied upon every day by many laboratory clean rooms to avoid atmospheric contaminations.

    Third, you have contradicted one of your own earlier assumptions that the gas bubbles and/or the low concentrations of CO2 amid the other gases do not permit such exchanges of CO2: “CO2 is much more polar than O2/N2, and may (relative) stick on the polar ice/water molecules….”

    In other words, your assumptions are contrary to some empirical evidence, contrary to some of your own previous assumptions, and without empirical experimental proof in any case. Assumptions are inadequate to serve as a substitute for empirical evidence obtained by real world experiment. We do not make an assumption that the ability of experimental tracer bacteria, macromolecules of DNA plasmid, and molecules of Rhodamine to migrate into the Vostok ice cores necessarily indicate CO2 gas must be able to escape the ice cores. Instead, we observe that the ability of experimental tracer bacteria, macromolecules of DNA plasmid, and molecules of Rhodamine to migrate into the Vostok ice cores necessarily indicates it cannot be assumed the ice is impermeable to the escape of CO2 gas concentrations, without further adequate empirical evidence from experimentation to exclude the possibility such mechanisms exist and such processes occur concurrently with the proven migrations of the tracers used in the decontamination experiment.

    Thus if the pores in the ice core interfere with the measurements, this will lead to an overestimation of ancient CO2 levels. This is what I told in #508, but if you don’t agree, please give your arguments. Worst case contamination scenario is thus that ancient air CO2 levels were even lower than measured…

    First, you have made an unfounded assumption that the decontamination experiment proves there are pores in the ice. Such an assumption is unfounded for the reasons I stated before about the lack of any experimental results for or against the existence of pores in the ice versus some other unspecified means of entry for the three tracers.

    Second, you make an unfounded and probably false assumption that pores which may or may not exist in the ice would necessarily result in the increase of CO2 gas concentrations to current atmospheric levels. This assumption is falsified by the example of clean room procedures which expel interior atmospheres while not allowing external atmospheres to circulate to the interior. This assumption is also falsified by the density gradient between the ice and the exterior atmosphere. In other words, there are any number of reasons too numerous to detail here why the current atmosphere may be unable to circulate to the interior of the ice cores while a proportion of the CO2 gas concentrations may be expelled while in the firn, during residence in glacial ice, during sampling, and after sampling.

    Your comments deny the possibility that the decontamination experiment may or may not have invalidated and falsified the previous assumptions about the Vostok ice cores being impermeable to decreases in CO2 gas concentrations before, during, and after sequestration. Whatever the actual facts may be, no one’s assumptions have been adequately tested by experiment to provide enough empirical evidence to support one assumption while falsifying and excluding the other hypotheses and assumptions. Until and unless you cite at least two independent sources of empirical evidence from experiments in support of the impermeability of the Vostok ice cores and/or increases of CO2 in permeable Vostok ice cores, it must be assumed that the representative value of the CO2 gas concentrations in the Vostok ice cores remain unknown and subject to potentially large corrections upon further experimental proof. Consequently, your denials of any hypothesis which may result in the increase of inferred paleo CO2 measurements and promotion of any hypothesis which would result in the maintenance or decrease of inferred paleo CO2 measurements while discouraging further investigation of the methodologies and results creates the appearance of a non-scientific and biased advocacy of unproven assumptions and unproven beliefs.

    In contrast, it should be acknowledged that the empirical evidence from the tracer agents in the decontamination experiment proves the body of knowledge obtained from empirical sources of scientific experiment are inadequate for the purpose of excluding the possibility that the Vostok ice cores are or are not virtually impermeable to CO2 gas concentrations from the time of deposition to the time of measurement. In other words, a proper response should be to acknowledge we don’t presently know what is a scientifically correct and supportable answer, and we need to suspend any assumptions pro or con about any final conclusions until and unless further scientific experimentation produces enough empirical evidence to justify scientifically supportable conclusions.

  560. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 3:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    CO2 complications

    Don’t particularly want to scattergun the thread with heaps of unanswered questions (Oh heck, yes I do) so try this paper:

    Title:
    Authigenic Mineral Precipitation at Cold Seeps in Continental Margin Sediments – A Comparative Study.
    Authors:
    Naehr, T. H.; Eichhubl, P.; MacDonald, I. R.; Paull, C. K.; Orphan,
    Publication:
    American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2004, abstract #OS21A-1203


    Abstract

    Chemosynthetic biological communities and authigenic mineral formation are common along continental margins worldwide where they indicate the availability of reduced compounds on or immediately below the seafloor. Some of these sites, historically termed “cold seeps”, are associated with obvious hydrocarbon venting (e.g., Gulf of Mexico, Santa Barbara Basin, and Eel River Basin), whereas fluid flow at other sites has been inferred by the presence of chemosynthetic communities and authigenic mineral deposits on the seafloor (e.g., Monterey Bay). Authigenic mineral deposits include carbonate-group minerals, most commonly aragonite, Mg-calcite, and dolomite, which form via microbially mediated anaerobic oxidation of methane. However, depending on the chemistry of the expelled fluids, minerals other than carbonate (i.e., barite) may form deposits on the seafloor. To develop a more comprehensive understanding of the complex geochemical, physical, and biological interactions at seep sites, we present a comparative study that illustrates the diverse processes associated with the flux of fluids and gases to the seafloor and the precipitation of authigenic minerals at cold seeps. In this study, we will discuss the formation and early diagenesis of authigenic mineral deposits in a variety of geologic and geochemical environments including the southern Gulf of Mexico, Monterey Bay, Santa Barbara Basin, Eel River Basin, North Sea, and the Sea of Okhotsk. Authigenic carbonates from these study areas exhibit a wide range of mineralogical and stable isotopic compositions. The mineralogy of the precipitates ranges from dolomite and high-Mg-calcite to aragonite. The carbon isotopic composition of carbonates shows a wide variation, indicating a complex carbon source from both 13C-depleted and residual, 13C-enriched, fluids. The large variability of δ 18O values also demonstrates the geochemical complexity of these sites with some samples pointing toward a heavy, 18O-enriched oxygen source, possibly related to the decomposition of gas hydrate, whereas other samples indicate the local presence of meteoric water during carbonate precipitation. In one instance, fluid flow in response to slumping and mass wasting resulted in mixing of barium-rich pore fluids and sulfate-rich bottom water, causing barite, not carbonate, precipitation on the seafloor

    The emphasis is mine.

    Questions raised include gas flux to the atmosphere (Methane,CO2), relability of carbon isotope/age assumptions, Mg:Ca ratios as temperature indicators, cool water upwelling and SST, mineral changes to shallow shells.

    Questions not raised include Bristle Cone Pines.

    Possible debate is why climatologists do not see the complexity that geochemists do.

  561. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 4:05 AM | Permalink | Reply

    More possible CO2 complications in Antarctic ice core temperature reconstruction.

    University of Utah (2007, September 11). Mathematics Of Ice To Aid Global Warming.

    UC Berkeley scientist urges drilling into frozen lake under ice near South Pole …..

    “In the Antarctic, ice formed from flooding of ice surfaces is an important component of the ice pack, and this formation is dependent on brine flow,” he adds. “Brine drainage out of sea ice and the subsequent formation of Antarctic bottom water is an important part of the world’s oceans”.

    If brine and microbes can flow through the ice from the sea, what does this do for the preservation of CO2 information?

  562. Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 9:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #561:

    D. Patterson, if I may try to make a resume of what you say:

    - the experiment proves that external contamination with bacteria can enter the ice core within days, but the gradient decreases with orders of magnitude from outside to below the surface.
    - that says nothing about the magnitude of the porosity of the ice core.
    - dust and water can migrate through ice in certain conditions, CO2 and other gases can do that too. There were no experiments which measured that possibility.
    - clean air procedures and ice density may prevent outside air to circulate into the ice, while inside CO2 may migrate to the outside at any part of the drilling to measurement time frame.
    - this invalidates any conclusions about the robustness of the measurements, until further experiments prove that the ice is quasy-inpermiable for air/CO2 migrations.

    Theoretically, you are right on many points. But I am more interested in the practical consequences, and regardless of the theoretical caveats, I was searching for empirical evidence to know if the theoretical problems may have any influence on the endresult. With or without pores, cracks, clathrates, migration,…
    There are many claims that the theoretical problems lead to the underestimation of the real CO2 levels back in time, especially by Jaworowski. As consequence, that current levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are within natural variability and thus not man-made. That is what I investigated.

    To begin with, the influence of drilling methods, repeatability for local ice cores and different places of drilling:
    - the use of different drilling methods (with and without drilling liquid) has little to no effect on the endresult. Three drilling cores were taken at Law Dome with different methods, with the same result (within 2 ppmv). Data and graphs are available at the CEDIAC web site. A detailed report is given by Etheridge ea.: “Natural and anthropogenic changes in atmospheric CO2 over the last 1000 years from air in Antarctic ice and firn”, JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 101, NO. D2, PAGES 4115–4128, 1996.
    - the same results (within 4 ppmv) are obtained from ice cores at different places (Law Dome and Siple Dome, about 3000 km of each other). Same reference of Etheridge ea.
    - the same results (+/- 10 ppmv in 20-30 kyr BP, +/- 5 ppmv for 30-70 kyr) are found in ice cores with high accumulation (Taylor Dome, Byrd Station) and low accumulation (Vostok) for the same time periods, with the exception of 3 Vostok outliers (-15 to -20 ppmv) in the period 45-51 kyr BP. See: Indermühle ea.
    High accumulation ice cores are at about -20°C vs. -40°C for Vostok, makes a difference for migration and liquid water. Further, high accumulation, coastal ice cores receive more salts, bacteria and algue than inland, higher altitude, low accumulation ice cores.

    Thus drilling methods or differences in place, altitude, ice temperature and pressure at drilling time, liquid water, impurities, bacterial/plant life have little impact on the end result.

    Next, the influence of in-situ migration, and migration during decompression and handling up to measurement time:
    - On short time, firn air at Law Dome shows that diffusion is mainly in the upper 10-20 m of the snow and that wind and convection has not caused significant mixing. Open and closed bubbles at closing depth show no systematic difference in CO2 levels and are equal to the atmospheric CO2 level of the South Pole of 10 years earlier. As the ice/gas age goes back in time, an overlap of 15-20 years with atmospheric measurements gives the same values for ice and air CO2.
    The measurement methods were different for firn air (except at closing depth) and ice core air and equal for firn air and atmospheric air (flask samples).
    See the reference to Etheridge ea. given before.
    - On longer time spans, a 80 ppmv change in about 5,000 years still is measurable after 330,000 years.
    - Stomata density data over the LGM-Holocene transition show reasonable anti-correlation with the Byrd ice core CO2 levels, despite all the problems with stomata data (in this case taken at different places and altitudes…). See: Van de Water ea., “Trends in Stomatal Density and 13C/l2C Ratios of Pinus flexilis Needles During Last Glacial-interglacial Cycle”, Science, VOL. 264, 8 April 1994.
    - If (and only if) there is any migration of CO2 after decompression of the ice core, that can only be caused by a pressure gradient between inside air/CO2 and outside air/CO2. No matter the pathway, as long as the inside air pressure is higher, the migration of N2/O2 to the outside will be faster than for CO2, due to polarity and molecule diameter. At equal inside/outside air pressure, the pCO2 of outside air on any place on earth since 1985 (the oldest ice drilling), including the South Pole (with the lowest local variability on earth), is higher than the pCO2 of any sample of any ice core measured. If (and only if) there is any migration of CO2 at all at equal air pressure, it will be from the outside into the core. In both cases this leads to CO2 enrichment of the sample.

    Conclusion:
    While there are a lot of possible theoretical problems, the real data we see don’t show huge problems with migration of CO2 in/out firn and ice cores, neither over short or very long in-situ time spans, nor during handling, storage or measurement…

  563. Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 9:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re 560

    Many thanks. Copied and saved. Eventually I hope to find a high definition version of the 20th century.

    Don’t you think, though, that the beginning of the industrial revolution would have had trouble producing a signal so quickly? I read of the exquisite balance of Nature and it doesn’t sound like any true system — all biological systems have resilience and don’t fall over at the first little push. Doesn’t this graph show a suspiciously rapid response? I’ve seen other climate graphs which start to rise in 1750. I’m suspicious of those as well.

    JF

  564. Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #565:

    Human use of fossil fuels already started before 1750, still at very low levels, about 0.003 GtC/yr, increasing to about 0.05 GtC/yr in 1850. And land use change might have increased, together with the population boom… And the first decennia may show the influence of temperature variations too.

    I have several references to longer term d13C changes (ice age – interglacials, if you are interested, see my email adres at my web pages). I haven’t seen high resolution d13C changes over the last century better than the sponges until now, but if you find them first, I am interested too…

  565. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 11:58 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Falsifiable hypothesis #1 – atmospheric concentration of CO2 can go below 150 PPM.
    Falsifiable hypothesis #2 – atmospheric concentration of CO2 has gone below 150 PPM at one or more previous points in geological history.
    Falsifiable hypothesis #3 – atmospheric concentration of CO2 can go below 90 PPM.
    Falsifiable hypothesis #4 – atmospheric concentration of C02 has gone below 90 PPM at one of more previous points in geological history.

  566. Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #562-563:

    Geoff, never use highly variable local CO2 measurements to say anything about the world’s CO2 variability. There are much better locations to do that. Atmospheric CO2 levels are much better mixed than oceanic, but even there you need to measure far away from local sources/sinks.

    Sea ice has not the same structure as glacier ice, different ways of formation. Seawater freezing expells salt, which increases the salt content of what rests and preventretardss further freezing of water between the ice parts. Further, I don’t see how seawater can overflow snow/ice at a height of 3,000 m or higher…

  567. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 11, 2007 at 8:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re # 564, 568 Ferdinand Engelbeen

    Thank you for your comments on the sealing of CO2 in ice cores. I do not profess to have special knowledge of this topic, but I do have logical concern about the stability of ice bubbles for hundreds of thousands of years. I would not go so far as to say without further evidence, as you do -

    Thus drilling methods or differences in place, altitude, ice temperature and pressure at drilling time, liquid water, impurities, bacterial/plant life have little impact on the end result.

    This relies on the assumption of “all other matters being equal”. Suppose,for example, that there was a burial depth where the pressure/temperature or other relationships caused a smearing of gas over a wide interval. Deeper samples might show an amount of uniformity which seems too uniform to reflect the initial depositional conditions.

    Besides, we don’t know what the end result should be, so we don’t know if it has been impacted. We are searching for an acceptable end result and the search is not concluded.

    I also see uncertainty increasing as the hole nears the land below, which is emitting heat.

  568. Andy
    Posted Dec 12, 2007 at 5:41 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Sam thanks for your response #558 the first part is how I understand some of the properties of CO2 I have also know about this overlap with H2O.

    You say:
    “If a greenhouse gas emits the radiation up, it sends the energy to space. If they emit it down, it’s part of the greenhouse effect. Simple creation of energy by kinetic force, but how it’s transfered is how all the IR absorber/emitters react themselves and with each other.”

    First I understand the two possible forms of transfer radiative and kinetic (I’ll ignore the ‘creation of energy by kinetic force’ I think you mean transfer), second I understand IR is emitted in all directions not just up and down and third does not convection play a part also?

    I don’t want to go into other gases at this stage but to simply look at CO2, in the knowledge that the questions I ask are likely to apply to these other gases too.

    When CO2 molecule absorbs IR energy its atoms become excited this I understand, where I have a problem is at what point do these excited atoms emit IR and at what frequency? I am assuming it is not at the same frequency as was absorbed.

    Now if it were the case for example that CO2 absorbed IR at one frequency and emits IR at another frequency that is not readily absorbed by all GHG’s this emitted IR would tend to radiate into space (or reach the surface) but would not the overall effect be that CO2 is not just reducing warming in this case but helping to cool the atmosphere.

    Of course this is highly speculative not knowing the emitted IR frequencies but from a systems point of view I think it raises an important question for examining how CO2 emits IR not just how it is absorbed.

  569. Phil.
    Posted Dec 12, 2007 at 11:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #570

    When CO2 molecule absorbs IR energy its atoms become excited this I understand, where I have a problem is at what point do these excited atoms emit IR and at what frequency? I am assuming it is not at the same frequency as was absorbed.

    Now if it were the case for example that CO2 absorbed IR at one frequency and emits IR at another frequency that is not readily absorbed by all GHG’s this emitted IR would tend to radiate into space (or reach the surface) but would not the overall effect be that CO2 is not just reducing warming in this case but helping to cool the atmosphere.

    A CO2 molecule absorbs a IR photon typically in the band around 15 microns creating an excited rotational/vibrational state.
    The fate of that state varies according to its environment, because it has a long radiative lifetime (msec-sec range) it can very rapidly be collisionally deactivated as time between collisions is of the order of nsec near the earth’s surface (lifetime ~microsec). If the CO2 molecule is high in the atmosphere the reduced number of collisions lead to higher probability of emitting a photon. Viewed from a band perspective the CO2 will emit at the same frequency which it absorbed, however if it endures a few collisions before emitting it might have some rotational deactivation before emitting and therefore emit at a lower frequency (but still within the 15 micron band just a different line). Any frequency that a CO2 molecule can emit it can also absorb. In the upper stratosphere the effect of CO2 is to cool by radiation.

  570. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 12, 2007 at 3:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Andy, #570

    First, correction of my #568, that should have been “3.5 um (about half of the band competes with N2O)” (not N2)

    Let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing. I’m talking about IR photons and CO2 molecules et al, not heat.

    CO2 absorbs IR photons that are at the frequency bands of varying sizes centered around about 2, 3, 3.5 and 18 micrometers (At least according to the atmospheric radiation transfer graph I’m using). Tehse are the frequencies where molecular vibrations (stretching and bending oscillations) occur (creating heat by friction (or what I call kinetic energy) if I understand it correctly; but the mechanism isn’t really important). Wikipedia sez “it absorbs infrared radiation at wavelengths of 4.26 µm (asymmetric stretching vibrational mode) and 14.99 µm (bending vibrational mode)”

    It depends what it’s colliding with as to what wavelength it transmits (emits, radiates). Here’s all about the cross sections of electron collisions with CO2: nist.gov/data/PDFfiles/jpcrd620.pdf Chapter 8 might help you the most, fig 13 charts some of the electron energy values at various wavelengths.

    More
    science.widener.edu/svb/ftir/ir_co2.html
    wag.caltech.edu/home/jang/genchem/infrared.htm

    The IR does go all directions but the ultimate destination is either into space or towards the Earth.

    “Heat” is another subject, that’s energy transfered from one system to another because of a difference in temperature. That’s either by radiation, conduction or covection. “Heat is energy in transient form that flows due to temperature difference.”

    Phil. I think of it more that if the radiation ends up going into space, it doesn’t warm. Maybe you can think of that as “cooling” (Although I suppose if CO2 was absorbing IR from other GHG transmitting at its frequency, it could steal the IR and send it into space more than down to Earth; I’m not aware of any GHG releasing IR at that frequency tho. Or maybe, thinking about it, the radiation down could be blocked by clouds, particulates or water vapor.)

    Whatever, I don’t fully understand the entire mechanism, but I do know that unless something can remove heat from a system, it’s not cooling (exerting a cooling influence?).

    As wiki sez

    The reason this warms the surface is most easily understood by starting with a simplified model of a purely radiative greenhouse effect that ignores energy transfer in the atmosphere by convection (sensible heat transport) and by the evaporation and condensation of water vapor (latent heat transport). In this purely radiative case, one can think of the atmosphere as emitting infrared radiation both upwards and downwards. The upward infrared flux emitted by the surface must balance not only the absorbed solar flux but also this downward infrared flux emitted by the atmosphere. The surface temperature will rise until it generates thermal radiation equivalent to the sum of the incoming solar and infrared radiation.

  571. Posted Dec 12, 2007 at 4:56 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Finally, I got back from my Holywoody adventure. I was promised for a copy of the documentary which will be sent to me in two weeks. I would like to make a difference between a skeptic and I: A skeptic has doubts, while I have no doubts about this issue. I finished the page on the Holocene temperatures and I found that the sinks of CO2 are not working as they were working some 5000 years ago. I’ll write an article after a thorough investigation in the next months. I have to acquire some science stuff (equipment) before I begin my investigation. I’d like you to see this graph where I compare the change of temperature in China (thanks, Dr. Loehle!) and the temperature of the atmosphere in the Antarctica for the same period obtained from boreholes. Enjoy it! ;)

  572. Phil.
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 8:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #573

    Phil. I think of it more that if the radiation ends up going into space, it doesn’t warm. Maybe you can think of that as “cooling” (Although I suppose if CO2 was absorbing IR from other GHG transmitting at its frequency, it could steal the IR and send it into space more than down to Earth; I’m not aware of any GHG releasing IR at that frequency tho. Or maybe, thinking about it, the radiation down could be blocked by clouds, particulates or water vapor.)

    I’m not quite sure what you mean here since the only way the earth can lose heat is by radiation into space? As I said the upper stratosphere has cooled due to the increase in CO2 concentration (try Googling Clough & Iacono).

  573. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 2:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The only reason Earth has heat is because of all this; so it’s not ‘cooling’, it’s ‘less warming’. Semantics really.

    3 scenarios, which can happen at any layer with GHG in it that is above the height of clouds and/or particulates, and which layer what part happens at, and how, affects the other layers and how they act also:

    GHG absorb and then emit energy. Some energy goes towards space, some towards Earth. Another layer, clouds and/or particulates reflect most or all the Earth-bound energy back towards space, where the GHG absorb and emit it again, some up, some down, at various levels of the atmosphere. Repeat in loop, replenish with more IR along the way at various strengths at various levels.

    GHG absorb and then emit energy. Some energy goes towards space, some towards Earth. Another layer, clouds and/or particulates reflect some of that Earth-bound energy back towards space. Repeat in loop, replenish with more IR along the way at various strengths at various levels.

    GHG absorb and then emit energy. Some energy goes towards space, some towards Earth. Only other layers reflect some of that Earth-bound energy back towards space.

    Good thing I don’t have to figure out how to model any of that. (Think area with lots of ozone vs one with little or none)

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki
    /Earth_atmosphere
    /Clouds
    /Particulates
    /Greenhouse_effect

  574. Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 5:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    # 575

    Sam Urbinto,

    Without talking on QM terms, what kind of energy sustains the gravity field of Earth?

  575. Sam Urbinto
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 7:06 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Nasif, all I can say is “gravitons”.

    The Earth spinning probably has something to do with it too.

    Centrifical force?

    I dunno.

  576. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 8:15 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Anyone up for tackling #567?

    What a wonderfully massive study (or set of them). Perhaps even Nobel winning material, assuming they ever lose the PC crap.

  577. Jimmy
    Posted Dec 13, 2007 at 10:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    #578. It proably happened during Snowball Earth. And I don’t think anyone got a Nobel for it…

  578. Posted Dec 14, 2007 at 4:13 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #569:

    Geoff, I was blocked by the spam filter for the past days for a comment with several references… This is a short version.

    It is more like “all matters being unequal” that strikes me. If you see about the same values of measurements in two ice cores where everything that possibly can influence the CO2 level is widely different (thick/thin layers – difference in pressure in ice of the same age, more/less impurities, lower/higher temperatures of the ice cores), then we may safely assume that these don’t have much influence on the ancient CO2 levels…

  579. Posted Dec 14, 2007 at 4:15 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ah! One part that was coming thrue! Here another part:

    For the very long ice cores (Vostok, Epica C), we see similar excursions between dO18 and dD in the ice (representing about 10 K) and CO2 (and methane and d13C in both) levels (about 80 ppmv) in the gas phase, with CO2 lagging the temperature indications with about 800 years during a deglaciation over a period of about 5,000 years. For similar periods of about 120, 240 and 330 kyr in the past, the excursions of ice isotopes and gas CO2 level/isotopes are similar, with a reconstructed temperature/CO2 level change ratio of about 8 ppmv/K. Thus once fixed, there is no indication of CO2 spreading over a broader time period. Further, upon core closure, there is no change in air composition between closed and still open pores (Law Dome) on a short time period, and trends in ice air follow trends in air composition during overlap…

  580. Posted Dec 14, 2007 at 4:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Third part:

    There is an increase in temperature for the last 100 m (of 3500 m) and the ice is not glacial, but refrozen sweet water ice from Lake Vostok beneath the Vostok ice core. Interesting literature about the presence of bacteria in highly acidic veins of the ice core at: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=15584

  581. Posted Dec 14, 2007 at 4:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Fourth and last part (if this comes thrue, that was all. I don’t understand why the combined parts were rejected…)

    The last 6/25 m of the 2000/3000 m deep Greenland Dye 3/GRIP ice cores contains silty ice which contains rests of DNA of plants probably over 400 kyr old. See: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/317/5834/111
    The CO2 levels in the bottom 6 m of the GRIP ice core at – 9°C shows extreme high levels of methane and CO2, due to bacterial life. See point J in http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/101/13/4631.pdf
    I tried to find CO2 records from the Greenland ice core (for the oldest ice above the silty ice), without success…

  582. Posted Dec 14, 2007 at 5:56 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #573:

    Nasif, the match between the Antarctic bore hole and the speleo temperature in China is only fair (the first 500 years go in opposite direction…). There may be a general agreement on long term about warmer and colder periods between large areas (especially sea surface), but it is rather triggy to match local temperatures with (semi-) global one’s and local/regional temperatures at widely different places. E.g., there was a recent reconstruction of Antarctic temperatures, based on coastal ice cores d18O (which reflect nearby seawater temperatures. Inland ice cores like Vostok reflect more the full SH ocean temperatures), see: Schneider ea.. There is already an anti-correlation between Antarctic mainland and the Antarctic Peninsula for decadal temperature variations, and the reconstruction of near- coastal Antarctic temperatures doesn’t correlate that good with the SH temperature trend, see here

  583. SteveSadlov
    Posted Dec 14, 2007 at 11:57 AM | Permalink | Reply

    RE: #579 – I also strongly suspect that. Another thing which intrigues me is what happened during the Permian. That may haver been a near miss, along the same lines. But in that case, only a die off, which ultimately drove the release of enough CO2 to prevent snowball. Or maybe only postpone it for 260 M years.

  584. Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 1:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hellio
    i tried to do some ‘raw’ calculations last time

    Since burning fossil fuel, is more then CO2 i wanted to estimate the effect of the two other parameters: less Oxygen in the world, and more Water in the world.
    When you burn pentane, one could write a simplified reaction.

    pentane + 8O2 > 5CO2 + 6H20

    12mol pentane + 102 mol oxygen > 60 mol CO2 + 72 mol water

    1kg fossil fuel + 3.2 kg oxygen > 2.64 kg CO2 + 1.3kg water

    per ‘western style’ inhabitant
    1000 kg fuel + 3200kg 02 > 2400kg CO2 + 1300kg H20

    since oxygen en CO2 are gasses, per inhabitant

    02 3200/32 * 22 > 2200m3 less Oxygen in the air
    CO2 2400/44 * 22 > 1200m3 more CO2 in the air

    now the effect is double indead, its not only more CO2, but the equivalent amount less O2

    Now comes my questions:

    How much oxygen is there in the world and what is the effect of this double effect ?
    Since the CO2 story is e ppm story, i felt already my breath taking away while driving my car,
    i was happy to discover the amount of oxygen we are burning is also an ppm story.

    Could one presume the air-layer becoming thinner ?
    since 8oxygen molecules are replaced with 5 CO2 molecule, and the gaslaw says one mol of gas has the same volume.
    since its a ppm story, on 10km one should see squeezing the atmosfere 10cm>/year ?

    Since the world started from scratch (think of mars) , one could presume that the biomassa that generated the oxygen is still in a carbonised state (not necessary the petroleum way) available in the world. ? Or are there other reactions available ?

    How much cm/year does the ocean increase due to the water that is released through the burning ?

    And coming with the ‘world started from scratch’ what chemical process generated all that water ?

  585. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    >> How much oxygen is there in the world and what is the effect of this double effect ?

    To use all the O2 would require: 8.4 x 1020L/1.7 x 1015L/y = 494,118 years

    To decrease the Oxygen from 20.95% of the atmosphere to 19.95% of the atmosphere:

    1% x 494,118y/20.95% = 23,585 years.

    Of course, this is a static analysis that ignores the fact that C02 will expand the plant kingdom, which will produce more oxygen.

  586. Posted Dec 18, 2007 at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    # 586

    Paul Larmuseau,

    Could one presume the air-layer becoming thinner ?

    Yes, but just a little, and it is not an internal process, but the solar wind.

  587. vikrant
    Posted Mar 18, 2008 at 12:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    ok. so much for your co2 talks about rise in this century. but does anyone know the variations in the co2 levels that have occured from the time or probably even before the last iceage? maybe even from the ice in the poles might offer some answers.

  588. EddieO
    Posted Mar 25, 2009 at 10:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I have a question that is bothering me.

    I have never been convinced that we there is sufficient “robust” evidence that AGW is happening, however I have been happy to agree to the planned implementation of new carbon taxes, efficiency measures etc. as I firmly believe that we should be more prudent with our use of fossil fuels. They are too valuable a resource to squander.

    As a result I have been happy to accept the promotion of Carbon Capture Schemes and Clean Coal Technology. However it has been pointed out to me in the past few days that the implementation of CCT could make our coal fired power stations 10 – 40% less efficient. If this is the case we may accelerate the exhaustion of our biggest fossil fuel reserve.

    Do any of you have information on the subject of Clean Coal Technology from a perspective of energy efficiency?

  589. curious
    Posted Mar 25, 2009 at 1:27 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Eddie above: Chart 1 in this post suggests 13% best energy overhead for gas to 26% worst overhead for coal:

    http://europe.theoildrum.com/node/2733

    Source is IPCC publication:

    http://arch.rivm.nl/env/int/ipcc/pages_media/SRCCS-final/IPCCSpecialReportonCarbondioxideCaptureandStorage.htm

  590. Bob Bailey
    Posted Jul 8, 2009 at 8:19 PM | Permalink | Reply

    How much do humans contribute CO2 by breathing as compared to all other sources.

  591. Roo
    Posted Jul 9, 2009 at 12:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Bob @8.19 pm. The carbon dioxide we breathe out comes from our food, i.e. from carbon recently trapped from the atmosphere by plants (and in some cases recycled by animals), so doesn’t contribute to a net increase in CO2.

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