Carpe Diem

In defense of demonized carbon dioxide

From an op-ed in today’s WSJ titled “In Defense of Carbon Dioxide” by Harrison Schmitt, an adjunct professor of engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an Apollo 17 astronaut, and a former U.S. senator from New Mexico; and William Happer, professor of physics at Princeton University and a former director of the office of energy research at the U.S. Department of Energy:

Of all of the world’s chemical compounds, none has a worse reputation than carbon dioxide. Thanks to the single-minded demonization of this natural and essential atmospheric gas by advocates of government control of energy production, the conventional wisdom about carbon dioxide is that it is a dangerous pollutant. That’s simply not the case. Contrary to what some would have us believe, increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will benefit the increasing population on the planet by increasing agricultural productivity.

The cessation of observed global warming for the past decade or so has shown how exaggerated NASA’s and most other computer predictions of human-caused warming have been—and how little correlation warming has with concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide. As many scientists have pointed out, variations in global temperature correlate much better with solar activity and with complicated cycles of the oceans and atmosphere. There isn’t the slightest evidence that more carbon dioxide has caused more extreme weather.

We know that carbon dioxide has been a much larger fraction of the earth’s atmosphere than it is today, and the geological record shows that life flourished on land and in the oceans during those times. The incredible list of supposed horrors that increasing carbon dioxide will bring the world is pure belief disguised as science.

HT: Dwight Oglesby

118 thoughts on “In defense of demonized carbon dioxide

  1. Vangel: The IPCC relies on models to argue for a positive feedback that is required to support its alarmist predictions and has not cited any credible empirical evidence.

    We’ve cited several published studies on climate sensitivity, including a review article. We’d be happy to provide more. It’s a very active field of study.

    Vangel: In fact, the positive feedback hypothesis fails logically because the Earth’s atmosphere used to have more than ten times the current levels of CO2 without experiencing the runaway effect that positive feedback would predict.

    Positive feedback doesn’t necessarily imply a runaway effect. The Earth has experienced vast changes in climate, and climate is thought to have more than a single stable state. In addition, there are multiple factors involved in climate, so it is quite possible to have much higher CO2 levels and a cooler surface, such as when solar irradiance is reduced.

    • We’ve cited several published studies on climate sensitivity, including a review article. We’d be happy to provide more. It’s a very active field of study.

      You are citing models that make assumptions that cannot be supported by real world data.

      Take a look at this and explain why the models did not predict it. And after you come up with your narrative try to see why it is that the opposite explanation makes just as much (actually more) sense.

    • Positive feedback doesn’t necessarily imply a runaway effect.

      But that is what it means. Some heating creates the conditions for more heating, which create conditions for further heating.

      Hansen says, “…,once the planet gets warmer and warmer then the oceans begin to evaporate and water vapor is a very strong green house gas, even more powerful than carbon dioxide. So you can get to a situation where, it just, the oceans will begin to boil and the planet becomes, uhh, so hot that the ocean ends up in the atmosphere, …”

      The Earth has experienced vast changes in climate, and climate is thought to have more than a single stable state. In addition, there are multiple factors involved in climate, so it is quite possible to have much higher CO2 levels and a cooler surface, such as when solar irradiance is reduced.

      Yes, there are multiple factors involved. But the AGW alarmists elevate the role of CO2 because they claim that humans are responsible for it even though most of the CO2 comes from natural sources and plants are rapidly absorbing much of the newly released CO2 by increasing their growth rates. What was ignored until recently has been the role of solar activity, which can regulate cloud cover and has a far greater effect on climate than CO2 does.

    • Z: “The Earth has experienced vast changes in climate, and climate is thought to have more than a single stable state. In addition, there are multiple factors involved in climate, so it is quite possible to have much higher CO2 levels and a cooler surface, such as when solar irradiance is reduced.

      Yes, so in your own words CO2 isn’t the most prominent driver of climate, its effect is overcome by other naturally occurring conditions, and any “stable state” is merely the sum of the all those conditions at any given time.

      In fact, it appears that Earth’s past and present estimated temperatures are more closely correlated to changes in conditions other than atmospheric CO2 levels.

      The fact that Earth’s estimated temperature has remained within a relatively narrow range of 285-295deg. K for billions of years tells you that overall feedbacks must be negative.

      And since the anthropogenic contribution to Earth’s carbon cycle is small, there is no reason to suspect that catastrophe will result from continued burning of fossil fuels, nor is there any reason to believe that political policies designed to reduce CO2 emissions will have any noticeable effect on future temperatures.

  2. Vangel: None of this tells us much …

    It allows us to estimate climate sensitivity, as we explained.

    Vangel: Note that the ‘expected’ temperatures that the models predicted have failed to show up.

    Expected means what is expected from aerosol cooling, something fairly easy to estimate.

    Vangel: Take a very complex system in which there are many cycles and pretend that none of them matter except for what you are looking at and only during that period.

    Volcanic forcing is an excellent way to estimate climate sensitivity. It’s a natural experiment. Reduce solar irradiance and measure the change in surface temperature.

    • It allows us to estimate climate sensitivity, as we explained

      Hardly. It just allows the alarmists to make stuff up to support their narrative so that the money can keep flowing from consumers and taxpayers into the pockets of the green industry and governments.

      Expected means what is expected from aerosol cooling, something fairly easy to estimate.

      It looks as if it not very easy at all because the model predictions tend to become worthless about five years out.

      Volcanic forcing is an excellent way to estimate climate sensitivity. It’s a natural experiment. Reduce solar irradiance and measure the change in surface temperature.

      There are many factors at play that are not kept constant. For example, we have seen links to Svensmark’s work that shows that close passages of coronal mass ejections from the sun can lead to clouds that contain far less liquid water,
      and lower levels of aerosols that can evolve into CCNs. The aerasol concentration is not independent of these other factors and as such there is no simple natural experiment that can tell us definitively what is going on. Like I said, all you guys really have is narrative.

  3. Vangel: You are citing models that make assumptions that cannot be supported by real world data.

    Handwaving is not an argument.

    Vangel: Take a look at this and explain why the models did not predict it.

    It’s not a global average, so it’s hard to tell. It could be due to aerosols, for instance. Is that a readout from a pyrgeometer? Do you have a relevant paper?

  4. Zachriel: Positive feedback doesn’t necessarily imply a runaway effect.

    Vangel: But that is what it means.

    Um, no. The new equilibrium depends on the relative effects of the various positive and negative feedback mechanisms.

    Vangel: Hansen says …

    Hansen is almost certainly wrong. Most climate scientists believe that the Earth will merely move to a higher energy level.

    Vangel: Yes, there are multiple factors involved.

    Thank you. That means pointing to CO2 levels doesn’t imply any particular temperature or trajectory.

    Vangel: But the AGW alarmists elevate the role of CO2 because they claim that humans are responsible for it even though most of the CO2 comes from natural sources and plants are rapidly absorbing much of the newly released CO2 by increasing their growth rates.

    Regardless of ocean or biotic absorption, humans are causing a net increase in atmospheric CO2.

    Vangel: What was ignored until recently has been the role of solar activity, which can regulate cloud cover and has a far greater effect on climate than CO2 does.

    Virtually all climate models include solar irradiance. As for cosmic rays and links to the heliosphere, they do not properly account for the current warming trend.

    • Z: “Regardless of ocean or biotic absorption, humans are causing a net increase in atmospheric CO2.

      Yeah, so what?

    • Um, no. The new equilibrium depends on the relative effects of the various positive and negative feedback mechanisms.

      Which can be made up to suit as required.

      The fact is that feedback is negative. When CO2 levels go up due to degassing the biosphere absorbs the extra CO2 pretty quickly. (The biosphere absorbs far more CO2 than humans emit.) More clouds mean lower temperatures as more energy is reflected out to space before it gets the opportunity to heat the surface.

      Hansen is almost certainly wrong. Most climate scientists believe that the Earth will merely move to a higher energy level.

      Most scientists? How do you know? There hasn’t been an actual clear poll to determine what most scientists believe. And as I pointed out, most scientists believed that the continents were stationary as late as the 1950s. Most scientists thought that ulcers were caused by stress and eating habits. They turned out to be very wrong.

      Thank you. That means pointing to CO2 levels doesn’t imply any particular temperature or trajectory.

      You seem to be confused. The IPCC ignores the many factors and focuses in on human emissions of CO2. (It even ignores the fact that most of the CO2 emissions come from natural sources.) Its models do not account for all of the factors that you admit exist because they want to imply that CO2 is the most important factor of all.

      Regardless of ocean or biotic absorption, humans are causing a net increase in atmospheric CO2.

      They are causing around 5% of total CO2 emissions. When you look at the total effect you notice that our contribution is immaterial. That would make humans only responsible for a 0.025C increase since 1950, hardly a crisis.

      Virtually all climate models include solar irradiance. As for cosmic rays and links to the heliosphere, they do not properly account for the current warming trend.

      None include solar activity and few look at changes in different parts of the spectrum. An aggregate change in solar irradiance is not very telling if the warming is primarily due to changes in a part of the spectrum or if changes in magnetic activity are far more important than other factors that the modellers are looking at.

      As we said, handwaving is not an argument. Scientists all over the world study climate sensitivity. They use many different methodologies and many types of empirical observations.

      Yes we do. And many say that the IPCC’s predictions are too high because it is wrong about sensitivity.

      The actual observations seem to show that the models are wrong.

  5. Vangel: Hardly.

    As we said, handwaving is not an argument. Scientists all over the world study climate sensitivity. They use many different methodologies and many types of empirical observations.

    Vangel: For example, we have seen links to Svensmark’s work that shows that close passages of coronal mass ejections from the sun can lead to clouds that contain far less liquid water

    So, you explain the sharp cooling associated with the 1982 El Chichón and 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruptions as due to coincidental mass ejections from the sun? Do you have a citation?

    • So, you explain the sharp cooling associated with the 1982 El Chichón and 1991 Mt. Pinatubo eruptions as due to coincidental mass ejections from the sun? Do you have a citation?

      Those eruptions only had a cooling effect for a short period of time. They did not matter to the overall trend because volcanic activities rarely do. Volcanic activity is just a plug in factor to explain away data the falsifies the CO2 as driver narrative.

  6. Ron H: Yes, so in your own words CO2 isn’t the most prominent driver of climate, its effect is overcome by other naturally occurring conditions, and any “stable state” is merely the sum of the all those conditions at any given time.

    Not overcome, but, as you say, the sum of conditions.

    Ron H: In fact, it appears that Earth’s past and present estimated temperatures are more closely correlated to changes in conditions other than atmospheric CO2 levels.

    Certainly, without the Sun, the Earth would be rather chilly.

    Ron H: The fact that Earth’s estimated temperature has remained within a relatively narrow range of 285-295deg. K for billions of years tells you that overall feedbacks must be negative.

    Not necessarily within those ranges. For instance, it could seesaw or tip between the two extremes, or different points of stability within the range.

    Ron H: And since the anthropogenic contribution to Earth’s carbon cycle is small, …

    It’s not the gross carbon exchange that determines the climate contribution, but the net change in atmospheric greenhouse gases.

  7. Vangel: Those eruptions only had a cooling effect for a short period of time.

    That’s right. They emitted aerosols which reduced solar irradiance. From the change in temperature, we can estimate climate sensitivity.

    • That’s right. They emitted aerosols which reduced solar irradiance. From the change in temperature, we can estimate climate sensitivity.

      Actually, you can’t because there are too many variables involved that you cannot hold constant. Not all volcanic activity is the same so you are just guessing about sensitivity. And as many researchers have shown the reduction of light can be offset by the decrease in albedo in snow and ice covered areas.

      It’s pretty clear the biosphere isn’t keeping up. Atmospheric CO2 has increased from 270ppm to 400ppm over the last century or so.

      But the biosphere has absorbed far more CO2 than humans have emitted into the atmosphere. As I pointed out, human emissions are around 5% of total emissions.

      Scientists changed their minds when evidence for plate tectonics was discovered.

      Actually, the evidence was presented quite some time before they changed their mind. As for any claim of consensus about AGW, there isn’t any. Hard scientists have not been asked about the issue clearly. What I found interesting is that when meteorologists were asked about it, they rejected the AGW claims. The whole claim of consensus is not true because the questions on which it is based would be answered in the same way by me as would be answered by Hanson. Yet, I reject the AGW argument while Hansen is one of its strongest supporters.

      Humans are the cause of the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2.

      No they are not. They emit around 5% of the CO2. No amount of cherry picking and data manipulation can change that fact. What I find questionable are the CO2 concentrations in the 19th century. There were many experiments done that measured CO2 and many had the concentrations set much higher than what the IPCC has claimed. The IPCC used a paper that cherry picked the results the author wanted while it ignored the rest. That is hardly scientific. And the data clearly showed temperature declines from 1945 until 1975 even though that was the beginning of man’s explosion in CO2 emissions. There was no correlation between temperatures and CO2 levels during this period just as there hasn’t been for the past decade and a half.

      It has to do with the net. Humans are introducing additional carbon into the atmosphere that had been naturally sequestered for millions of years.

      Who cares when it is only 5% of the total? Plants do not refuse to absorb human emissions while they take in naturally emitted CO2. Once again you are resorting to false narratives that defy the evidence and common sense.

      (If the ocean emits a molecule of CO2, but absorbs a molecule of CO2, there is no net change.)</b.

      But it is not doing that. As the oceans warm up the solubility declines and they will give off CO2. The process will reverse when they cool.

  8. Vangel: When CO2 levels go up due to degassing the biosphere absorbs the extra CO2 pretty quickly.

    It’s pretty clear the biosphere isn’t keeping up. Atmospheric CO2 has increased from 270ppm to 400ppm over the last century or so.

    Vangel: And as I pointed out, most scientists believed that the continents were stationary as late as the 1950s.

    Scientists changed their minds when evidence for plate tectonics was discovered.

    Vangel: (It even ignores the fact that most of the CO2 emissions come from natural sources.)

    Humans are the cause of the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2.

    Ghosh & Brand, Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global climate change research, Journal of Mass Spectrometry 2003.

    Vangel: They are causing around 5% of total CO2 emissions.

    It has to do with the net. Humans are introducing additional carbon into the atmosphere that had been naturally sequestered for millions of years.

    (If the ocean emits a molecule of CO2, but absorbs a molecule of CO2, there is no net change.)

  9. Vangel: Actually, you can’t because there are too many variables involved that you cannot hold constant.

    The signal from large volcanic eruptions are easily detectable in the climate data. Not holding the many variables constant is exactly the point, of course.

    Vangel: And as many researchers have shown the reduction of light can be offset by the decrease in albedo in snow and ice covered areas.

    That would *reduce* the measured climate sensitivity.

    Vangel: But the biosphere has absorbed far more CO2 than humans have emitted into the atmosphere. As I pointed out, human emissions are around 5% of total emissions.

    There is a constant transfer of carbon between the oceans, biosphere and the atmosphere. We are only concerned with net emissions, not total emissions. Are you really claiming that the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2 over the last century is not due to fossil fuels?

    Vangel: Actually, the evidence was presented quite some time before they changed their mind.

    Well, no it wasn’t. Wegener proposed continental drift, but lacked a mechanism. Plate tectonics is the theoretical mechanism which was developed in response to the discovery of seafloor spreading and other data.

    Vangel: As for any claim of consensus about AGW, there isn’t any.

    The consensus could be wrong, but there certainly is a consensus that humans are having a significant impact on the climate.

    Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
    http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

    “Climate change is real… It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities. This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.” — National Academies of Science; Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, U.K., U.S.
    http://www.nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf

    Vangel: No they are not. They emit around 5% of the CO2.

    You are very confused. Please provide a citation.

    Vangel: As the oceans warm up the solubility declines and they will give off CO2.

    Yes, but because atmospheric CO2 is increasing, the partial pressure is increasing. The oceans are absorbing additional CO2.

    “The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean. Initially, many scientists focused on the benefits of the ocean removing this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. However, decades of ocean observations now show that there is also a downside — the CO2 absorbed by the ocean is changing the chemistry of the seawater, a process called OCEAN ACIDIFICATION.”
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/file/Hawaii+Carbon+Dioxide+Time-Series

    • The signal from large volcanic eruptions are easily detectable in the climate data. Not holding the many variables constant is exactly the point, of course.</b.

      No, it isn't easily detectible in the climate data. We have a hard enough time detecting them in the recent climate data so I do not see how you can pretend that we can see them in the climate data in the past. Of course, that is the goal of the alarmists; every time they see evidence where the temperature data falsifies their hypothesis they bring in convenient plug-in factors to direct the debate elsewhere.

      That would *reduce* the measured climate sensitivity.

      The temporary reductions in light would cool temperatures but the dark deposits on the snow will increase melting and temperatures. Even NASA admitted that much of the warming in the Arctic came from the deposition of carbon black and other particulates. That makes the volcanic effect much more complex. What may make it even more complex is the hypothesis that volcanic activity has a link to solar activity that also influences cloud cover and drives temperature trends.

      There is a constant transfer of carbon between the oceans, biosphere and the atmosphere. We are only concerned with net emissions, not total emissions. Are you really claiming that the dramatic increase in atmospheric CO2 over the last century is not due to fossil fuels?</b.

      You are wrong. When the oceans warm they are responsible for a net increase of CO2 in the atmosphere while you pretend that the net effect is zero. When they cool they remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The same is true of CO2 due to respiratory activity and decomposition. A warmer climate means a net addition to the atmosphere while a cooler climate means a reduction from the atmosphere. These effects are larger than the effect of man. Like I said, humans emit less than 5% of the total that gets to the atmosphere.

      Well, no it wasn’t. Wegener proposed continental drift, but lacked a mechanism. Plate tectonics is the theoretical mechanism which was developed in response to the discovery of seafloor spreading and other data.

      Actually, Wegener was not alone and his theory had been proposed by many others before him. When he was writing his book there was already a great deal of literature that needed to be taken into account. He mentions that Green had proposed as early as 1857 about the crust floating on a liquid core and the fact that several authors had mentioned the possibility of rotation that altered relative positions and Wettstein’s in which he proposed ‘large horizontal displacements of the continents’. The fossil evidence was quite clear and quite convincing enough without nailing down the exact mechanism.

      Note that in the case of AGW the alarmists have a much harder time because they cannot explain why CO2 emissions have diverged from temperature trends and why periods during which CO2 levels were lower were warmer and where higher CO2 levels were present at the beginning of global glaciation episodes. Clearly CO2 is a minor factor that has a small impact on temperatures and is not a driver of trends. And just like they ignored Wegener some of the

      The consensus could be wrong, but there certainly is a consensus that humans are having a significant impact on the climate.

      First, consensus doe not mean being right. But even if it did, there is no evidence of consensus because scientists have never been asked clear questions that would allow us to come up with conclusions. The consensus lie is based on a survey in which a small percentage of those asked said that it was getting warmer and that CO2 played a role. In that survey Lindzen would be counted as being a part of the consensus even though he is one of AGW’s biggest critics. In an AMS study only 24 percent of the respondents agreed with the IPCC’s claim that “Most of the warming since 1950 is very likely human-induced.” I suspect that if the same survey were given to physicists, engineers, or geologists you would get similar results. But there is no such survey that has ever bothered to ask scientists for a clear opinion. What we have instead are surveys made up by alarmists that avoid direct questions so that they could be spun to mean whatever they wanted to mean and can claims that Lindzen agrees with the AGW position.

      Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
      http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

      Show us the survey please. Stop the had waving and provide a link to its questions and the results. The fact that you do not but keep appealing to authority tells us all we need to know about the validity of your position.

      “Climate change is real… It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities. This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.” — National Academies of Science; Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, U.K., U.S.
      http://www.nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf

      Show us the survey where 97% of the members agreed. If what you say is true it is easy to prove. But it isn’t true. The academies do not poll their members and do not let the members change the statements written by the people who are put in charge as they claim to speak for the membership.

      Until you can SHOW US THE SURVEY RESULTS you have nothing but empty appeals to authority.

      You are very confused. Please provide a citation.

      Come now. Even the worst and most rabid of the AGW promoters admit that humans emit less than 5% of the CO2 that gets into the atmosphere and that includes such sources as changes in land use.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/Carbon_Cycle.gif

      Yes, but because atmospheric CO2 is increasing, the partial pressure is increasing. The oceans are absorbing additional CO2.

      No. As Gore showed in his movie, the oceans warm up around 800 years before CO2 concentrations begin to move up. As an interesting aside, all of the AGW graphics assume that temperature is static and do not show that the increasing temperatures are releasing more CO2 into the atmosphere than is being absorbed by plankton and other ocean life.

      “The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean. Initially, many scientists focused on the benefits of the ocean removing this greenhouse gas from the atmosphere. However, decades of ocean observations now show that there is also a downside — the CO2 absorbed by the ocean is changing the chemistry of the seawater, a process called OCEAN ACIDIFICATION.”
      http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

      Downside? Didn’t coral and current ocean life first evolve when CO2 concentrations were much higher than they are today? Don’t plants love higher CO2 concentrations because they help promote growth?

      As usual, you divert attention from reality because there is no evidence to support your false claims. A good way to refute part of what I have been saying is to provide an actual link to a survey and the responses of the scientists that you claim to support your faith based position. Until you can do that you cannot support one of your most basic and simple claim and will have no credibility in this argument.

  10. Vangel: We have a hard enough time detecting them in the recent climate data so I do not see how you can pretend that we can see them in the climate data in the past.

    The effect was first noted by Ben Franklin in 1784. The 1815 Mt. Tambora eruption was followed by the “Year Without a Summer”. After the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, mean surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere dropped 0.6°C, 0.4°C globally.

    Vangel: The temporary reductions in light would cool temperatures but the dark deposits on the snow will increase melting and temperatures.

    Which would *reduce* the measured climate sensitivity.

    Vangel: That makes the volcanic effect much more complex.

    That’s the beauty of volcanic forcing; it’s a natural experiment that allows us to estimate climate sensitivity without having to understand all the underlying details. Reduce solar penetration by 10%, and see how much it affects the temperature. If it is more than expected from the reduction in solar penetration alone, then there is positive forcing; if it less than expected, then there is negative forcing.

    Vangel: When the oceans warm they are responsible for a net increase of CO2 in the atmosphere while you pretend that the net effect is zero.

    You do realize we can measure the CO2 content of the oceans? While the solubility of CO2 in water decreases with temperature, in fact, the oceans are warming *and* absorbing net CO2, due to the higher partial pressure of atmospheric CO2.

    Vangel: The fossil evidence was quite clear and quite convincing enough without nailing down the exact mechanism.

    Contrarians posited landbridges. Until a plausible mechanism was discovered, continental drift was considered speculation.

    Zachriel: The consensus could be wrong, but there certainly is a consensus that humans are having a significant impact on the climate.

    Vangel: consensus doe not mean being right.

    As we just said, but worth repeating.

    Vangel: Show us the survey please. Stop the had waving and provide a link to its questions and the results.

    Geez, try reading the footnotes.

    Vangel: Even the worst and most rabid of the AGW promoters admit that humans emit less than 5% of the CO2 that gets into the atmosphere and that includes such sources as changes in land use.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/Carbon_Cycle.gif

    According to your link, humans emit 29 bt, the oceans absorb 6 bt, the terrestrial biosphere absorbs 11 bt, leaving a net increase of atmospheric 12 bt.

    Zachriel: Yes, but because atmospheric CO2 is increasing, the partial pressure is increasing. The oceans are absorbing additional CO2.

    Vangel: No.

    Um, according to your own citation, the oceans are absorbing not emitting net CO2.

    • The effect was first noted by Ben Franklin in 1784. The 1815 Mt. Tambora eruption was followed by the “Year Without a Summer”. After the Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991, mean surface temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere dropped 0.6°C, 0.4°C globally.

      Let us look at >a href=”http://www.sciencebits.com/files/pictures/climate/volc/MSU1.jpg”>this graph and see if the Pinatubo eruption is obvious. Yes there is a sharp decline. But it does not really stand out in any way because there are very similar declines several times during periods during which there were no volcanic explosions. How about this graph? Does 1784 look very out of place?

      We need to try to avoid narrative and to actually look at the data. Note that I did not make up the data and often the data that I use come from the very gatekeepers who are pushing the alarmist view. Their own numbers show that your claim is not supportable. If you can’t find the evidence from the most accurate temperature record that we had at the time how are you going to be able to talk about how volcanic activity did this or that hundreds of thousands or millions of years ago when the CO2 narrative falls apart?

      Which would *reduce* the measured climate sensitivity.

      Volcano goes off and adds a bit of CO2 to the atmosphere. (Actually volcanic activity keeps adding huge amounts of CO2 but the alarmists tend to ignore that.) The soot it gives off lands on snow and ice covered areas and decreases albedo. There is more melting as the area warms up. A few months pass and the dust is now out of the atmosphere, which means that the cooling effect mostly disappears. But as the dust settles melting increases in snow and ice covered areas and temperatures near the poles go up. Doesn’t that mean that the alarmists will say that sensitivity is higher than it actually is? If you pay attention ‘everything’ is used to argue for greater sensitivity and if something is missing the data will be modifies and reanalyzed until it yields the conclusions that are desired.

      That’s the beauty of volcanic forcing; it’s a natural experiment that allows us to estimate climate sensitivity without having to understand all the underlying details. Reduce solar penetration by 10%, and see how much it affects the temperature. If it is more than expected from the reduction in solar penetration alone, then there is positive forcing; if it less than expected, then there is negative forcing.

      But that is the problem. There is no such thing as monolithic volcanic activity. You can pretend to understand the effects by looking at one or two events but there is no way to hold the other factors constant so your observations do not yield very clear conclusions that have meaningful precision or accuracy.

      You do realize we can measure the CO2 content of the oceans? While the solubility of CO2 in water decreases with temperature, in fact, the oceans are warming *and* absorbing net CO2, due to the higher partial pressure of atmospheric CO2.

      Of course I realize it. We discussed Henry’s law quite some time ago on Mark’s old site in relation not only to this but the acidification nonsense. Funny how you guys want to have it both ways. The ocean will absorb the extra gas even though it is warming but that will cause acidification that was not an issue when CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and oceans were higher.

      Contrarians posited landbridges. Until a plausible mechanism was discovered, continental drift was considered speculation.

      A land bridge across the Atlantic between Brazil and Africa was not a plausible mechanism. The fossils were limited in range to very small areas that were nowhere near anyplace where a land bridge was possible. As I pointed out, scientists provided evidence for more than a century before the establishment finally accepted it. Large bodies do not like change very much because it complicates their business and scientific bodies are not very different.

      Geez, try reading the footnotes.

      I did. Let us begin with the first reference.

      Basically we are told that 97% of the scientists who go to most of the AGW conferences and publish on AGW in journals that agree with the AGW position agree that there is AGW. This is far different than saying that 97% of scientists agree that man is an important factor in global warming or that 97% of scientists in the field agree with the AGW position. There was never any attempt to look at the solar physics people who claim that the sun is the primary factor or the scientists who point out that we have had similar claims of a melting Arctic in the past. And note that the footnotes do not cite a study that talks about global warming but climate change.

      The second reference is actually more interesting because it is debunked by the survey resonses. Let me point out first that as early as page 5, when Zimmerman reviews the Bray and von Storch survey, we read, “The authors conclude that their response data suggests that the matter of global climate change is “FAR FROM BEING SETTLED in the scientific arena” because there is a lack of unanimous agreement on the majority of their questions. Conveniently, that survey and paper could be dismissed because the conclusions did not fit Ms. Zimmerman’s narrative.

      Note the logic. Ms. Zimmerman says that there are too many options in the survey and therefore it must be disregarded. The example is the response to the statement, “Climate change is mostly a result of anthropogenic causes.” She notes that in 1996, the highest single response (20%) was a strong disagreement with the statement, but 40% responded with some level of agreement. Note that 60% of the respondents did not agree with the statement, which is not very different than the result in the AMS poll of meteorologists. That means that the paper you cite admits that in the von Storch survey 60% of scientists did not agree with your thesis.

      What I found interesting were the comments in Appendix F where respondents clearly disagreed with the thesis that human emissions were a primary driver. Let me provide you with a few of the responses.

      Science is based on scepticism and experimental proof. Whereas human GHG emissions certainly have a warming effect, the breakdown between natural and anthropogenic contributions to warming is poorly constrained. Remember that the warming since 1650 AD (not 1900) is part of a real ‘millennial cycle’ whose amplitude cannot yet be explained by any quantitative theory. Also, the computer climate models are both too complex to be readily understood and too simple to describe reality. Believing their results is an act of faith.

      ….

      Possible natural climatic changes?

      Changing solar activity?

      Perhaps a small contribution from human activities

      ….

      Other natural causes of warming are difficult to differentiate from anthropogenic causes. Earth has been warming for 10’000 y.

      ……

      Personally I have no doubt that human activity is a contributing factor to increased average MGT, but I cannot evaluate unquantified, qualitative statements like ‘major,’ ‘important,’ or ‘significant’ and disapprove of their use in scientific discussions/conclusions.

      ….

      Science of CO2 relationship with warming is not clear

      Significant is a loaded term. Human activity has contributed to the increase in temperature, but how much has this activity impacted the global mean temperature? Additionally, how can one differentiate between human induced warming and the natural rise in temperature following the last glacial maximum? Ultimately, global mean temperatures have risen, with human activity being a likely contributor, but how much of the recorded increase is a direct result of anthropogenic CO2 is unknown.

      There are many such comments that refute NASA’s conclusion and that of Zimmerman.

    • According to your link, humans emit 29 bt, the oceans absorb 6 bt, the terrestrial biosphere absorbs 11 bt, leaving a net increase of atmospheric 12 bt.

      Not me. That is the IPCC and warmist data. Humans emit 29 bt. The oceans absorb 338 bt while the rest of the biosphere absorbs 450 bt. The increase comes from the 771 bt of CO2 that are emitted from natural sources.

      Um, according to your own citation, the oceans are absorbing not emitting net CO2.

      The citation if from an alarmist site. It takes a snapshot and assumes that temperature is stable while CO2 levels are going up. If they accounted for the temperature increase they would note that as temperatures go up the oceans give off more and more CO2 to the atmosphere. The effect can be seen in Gore’s movie, which shows how CO2 levels trail the change in trend by around 800 years. That means that at least some of the increase that you are seeing is probably due to the warming during the MWP. Of course, given the fact that most of the warming took place long before human emissions became material I do not see why you guys are so excited about warming. Frankly, you should be much more worried about cooling as solar activity wanes and cloud cover increases.

  11. Vangel: The increase comes from the 771 bt of CO2 that are emitted from natural sources.

    Seriously?

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/Carbon_Cycle.gif

    Human +29
    Terrestrial biosphere +439 -450 = -11
    Oceans +332 -338 = -6

    Of the 29 bt that humans emit, the terrestrial biosphere and oceans absorb about 17 bt, leaving a net increase due to human emissions of about 12 bt.

    Vangel: The increase comes from the 771 bt of CO2 that are emitted from natural sources.

    Furthermore, we can actually show which molecules come from fossil fuels. See Ghosh & Brand, Stable isotope ratio mass spectrometry in global climate change research, Journal of Mass Spectrometry 2003.

    • Seriously?

      Yes. Here are the emissions from the alarmists site:

      Human +29
      Terrestrial biosphere +439
      Oceans +332

      Humans give off around 3.6% of all of the CO2 that is emitted from all sources.

      And I notice that you have nothing more to say about your false claim of consensus. The second footnote in the link that you cite clearly shows that there is no consensus since 60% of scientists polled by the Bray and von Storch survey did not agree with the statement, “Climate change is mostly a result of anthropogenic causes.” That is in line with the AMS survey where 63% of respondents said that the warming was caused mostly by natural changes in
      the environment.

      The reason for doubt should be obvious. Scientists who do not make their money by selling the AGW story see the mess you guys have made and no longer trust the false narrative that you are pushing. They want to see the actual data, not cherry-picked numbers that are adjusted to give the ‘right’ answer.

  12. Vangel: And I notice that you have nothing more to say about your false claim of consensus.

    No, felt it was sufficient to highlight the most obvious fallacy.

    • No, felt it was sufficient to highlight the most obvious fallacy.

      The fallacies are yours my friend. It seems that your movement has gone back on a number of claims and I suspect that eventually this will be yet another of a long list.

      Remember when you guys were claiming that polar bears were in danger due to the warming? Now that everyone knows that the polar bear population is five times larger than it was in the 1960s we don’t hear the claim nearly as often.

      Remember when you guys were talking about meter increases in sea levels? We are now looking at a few inches.

      Remember all that sea ice that would go away forever? Well, global sea ice is above the 30 year average and was never much below it even when the alarmists were at their loudest.

      And remember when you guys use to talk about global warming? No longer; now it is global climate change.

      Remember the hurricane threat? That is gone too.

  13. Vangel: The fallacies are yours my friend.

    Anyone who reads this blog and looks at the numbers above can see that the net increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to human emissions. Remove the human emissions, and atmospheric CO2 stops increasing.

    When you reject such basic facts, it undercuts any other argument you might make.

    Vangel: Well, global sea ice is above the 30 year average and was never much below it even when the alarmists were at their loudest.

    Peppering your comments with unsupported statements is just the spice.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/GlobalSeaIce.gif

    • Anyone who reads this blog and looks at the numbers above can see that the net increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to human emissions. Remove the human emissions, and atmospheric CO2 stops increasing.

      When you reject such basic facts, it undercuts any other argument you might make.

      The facts are clear. Humans emit less than 5% of all of the CO2 that goes into the atmosphere. Most of the CO2 remains in the oceans and in the biosphere and is released as temperatures go up. As I pointed out before, Al Gore showed this perfectly in his movie when he had the CO2 content follow the rise in temperatures by around 800 years. Humans had nothing to do with the increase in temperature or with the CO2 levels at that time so I do not see why we need to blame them now when we see exactly the same thing.

      Peppering your comments with unsupported statements is just the spice.

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/pics/GlobalSeaIce.gif

      I have always supported my statements with data. Here is global ice cover on one graph. Today’s levels are above the mean. The chart also shows that there has not been any meaningful reduction during the satellite era. There is nothing much to see and certainly no global melting problem.

      http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

      Note that the recent studies have also backed away from the ridiculous sea level increase claims. Even the press has begin to notice.

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/grl.50559/abstract

      http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/14/climate-ice-idUSL6N0DV2V420130514

  14. Vangel: The facts are clear.

    Yes, if humans stop emitting CO2, atmospheric CO2 will stop increasing—per your own citation.

    Vangel: Most of the CO2 remains in the oceans and in the biosphere and is released as temperatures go up.

    The oceans are warming, yet the oceans are absorbing CO2—again, per your own citation.

    Vangel: Here is global ice cover on one graph.

    Yes, it shows sea ice decreasing.

    • Yes, if humans stop emitting CO2, atmospheric CO2 will stop increasing—per your own citation.

      No, it won’t. The citation that came from the pro-AGW site ignores the fact that as the oceans heat up they will give off CO2 to the atmosphere just as Al Gore showed in the movie that you guys used to promote. Humans are irrelevant because they give off less than 5% of the total CO2 that is added to the atmosphere.

  15. Vangel: The citation that came from the pro-AGW site ignores the fact that as the oceans heat up they will give off CO2 to the atmosphere just as Al Gore showed in the movie that you guys used to promote.

    You continue to ignore our comments. The oceans are heating up, yet they are still absorbing CO2—per your own citation. If you thought the citation was in error, you shouldn’t have provided it.

    “The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean”
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

    • You continue to ignore our comments. The oceans are heating up, yet they are still absorbing CO2—per your own citation. If you thought the citation was in error, you shouldn’t have provided it.

      The point that I made is not in error. The oceans emit far more CO2 than human beings. In the citation emissions from natural sources are around 96% of the total with the rest coming from people. The source claims that most of what goes in the atmosphere is reabsorbed but that does not change the argument.

      “The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean”
      http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

      It seems that the NOAA is unaware of the fact that sea life evolved during a period in which CO2 content was more than ten times the current levels. Corals love higher CO2 content because they use calcium carbonate as a building block as do many other life forms. Those shales that the alarmists are now worrying about were made from deposits of calcium carbonates that came from both chemical and biological processes. Nature has no problem with CO2 in water.

      And the last time I looked the oceans were not acidic but basic. And if you recall, you were given plenty of references that showed that this was never a problem the last time we had this argument.

      Note how the alarmists are changing the focus again. Now that sea levels or warming are no longer much of an issue and the argument has shifted from global warming to global climate change, the polar bear scam has been exposed, sea levels are no longer the issue that they used to be, hurricanes and tornadoes have not cooperated, temperatures are no longer going up, and polls show that 60% of scientists and 64% of meteorologists reject the AGW claim they need some other thing to get the public to worry about. Well, it isn’t working. Even the alarmist media is turning on the scam and the more you boys and girls distort the truth the more that they can claim that their propaganda was justified because you fooled them. From what I see the rats are abandoning ship as it is going down.

      What gets to me is that you boys and girls keep citing data that refutes your own position. You claim that human emissions are catastrophic yet show that they are only a small fraction of the natural emissions. You claim consensus yet quote studies that make clear that more than 60% of scientists that were polled disagreed with the position that human emissions of CO2 were responsible for the warming that we have noted over the past 60 years or so. To get the trust of the public again you are going to have to do a lot better than that.

  16. The oceans are warming, yet the oceans are absorbing CO2—again, per your own citation.

    I cite the AGW site to show that the oceans emit much more CO2 than humans do. As for what happens to CO2 solubility when water warms up we do not need to cite AGW sites but the solubility curves.

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/co2_solubility_h2o.jpg

    Yes, it shows sea ice decreasing.

    How can that be when the ice is higher than the mean for the satellite period? If you can pretend to see something that clearly isn’t there you can’t be objective.

  17. Vangel: I cite the AGW site to show that the oceans emit much more CO2 than humans do.

    The citation shows that the oceans are currently absorbing more than they emit. We supported that with a citation.

    “The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean”
    http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

    Vangel: How can that be when the ice is higher than the mean for the satellite period?

    The trend line is clearly down. You compare the highest ice extent of the year, with the average.

    “For years we have been told the Earth is melting like a popcycle, and that humanity will would soon be boiled alive in a rising sea. Well, today that lie stands exposed with evidence that any child can understand. I give you frozen water, falling from the sky.”
    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-february-10-2010/unusually-large-snowstorm

    • The citation shows that the oceans are currently absorbing more than they emit. We supported that with a citation.

      Not if they are warming.

      http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2008/04/co2_solubility_h2o.jpg

      Of course, since we have not seen any recent increase in heat content in the oceans the citation might be right. But it is still too early to tell. I also hope that you have noted that all of the citations on this topic come from MODELS. These models know little of what is required to be known and are no more accurate than all of the climate models that failed to predict the current temperature level. Fortunately for us we have hard science in the form of solubility curves. That tells us that the ocean will give off more CO2 as it warms up, which is something that the AGW crowd says is happening. To offset this net degassing in the oceans it is required that life in the ocean grows more rapidly and more abundant due to the better conditions that come from the warming. But the alarmists say that this is not possible because warming oceans are not good for ocean life so it is up to you to explain the discrepancy.

      “The ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 we release into the atmosphere every year, so as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, so do the levels in the ocean”
      http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/co2/story/Ocean+Acidification

      That would be true if the ocean did not warm up. But NOAA is claiming that the ocean is warming and we all know that warm water can hold far less CO2 than cold air. The NOAA is telling a story not looking for the actual facts. But where we do agree the facts are very clear. The ocean and decaying organic matter in soils are a much greater source of CO2 than man. The processes that emit the CO2 are not entirely dependent on the processes that act as carbon sinks so you cannot net out the effect as the failed models would want us to. The simple fact is that most of the emissions that come from humans are absorbed by the oceans and by the more productive biosphere.

      And let us end this little conversation by pointing to the many peer reviewed studies that came up with an average CO2 residency time that is around 10 times less than the IPCC chose. The fact is that the studies show that when you emit CO2 most of it is absorbed into the biosphere or oceans in around ten years, not the 100 years that the alarmists chose to pull out of thin air.

      http://www.appinsys.com/globalwarming/GW_PART5_GREENHOUSEGAS_files/image046.jpg

    • The trend line is clearly down. You compare the highest ice extent of the year, with the average.

      There is no trend line. Global sea ice area is around 20 million square kilometres and the annual variation is not very high. From what we can tell the greatest changes do not come from changes in temperatures but from wind and ocean current phenomenon in the Arctic. It is easy to find a period during which Arctic ice is well above the norm or well below the norm. There have been many periods during which there have been alarmist claims that the ice would all melt and many times when ice levels rose sharply after very low periods. That is natural variation that has nothing to do with man.

  18. Vangel: The oceans emit far more CO2 than human beings. In the citation emissions from natural sources are around 96% of the total with the rest coming from people. The source claims that most of what goes in the atmosphere is reabsorbed but that does not change the argument.

    What matters to atmospheric content is the net not the gross.

    Vangel: It seems that the NOAA is unaware of the fact that sea life evolved during a period in which CO2 content was more than ten times the current levels.

    That’s irrelevant to the point under discussion. The oceans are warming, yet continue to absorb CO2.

  19. What matters to atmospheric content is the net not the gross.

    First of all, since higher CO2 content is better for life on this planet why do you want to lower the atmospheric content? CO2 is plant food and most life evolved during periods of much higher concentrations. And higher temperatures mean more biodiversity and more life. Since when it that a negative?

    That having been said, what matters is the source of emissions. It is hard to blame man when 96% of CO2 comes from other sources.

    That’s irrelevant to the point under discussion. The oceans are warming, yet continue to absorb CO2.

    No, they do not. The solubility of a CO2 in a ocean water is not just directly proportional to the partial pressure in the atmosphere. It depends on temperature as well. And as oceans warm up they give off more gas than is reabsorbed due to Henry’s Law.

  20. Zachriel: The citation shows that the oceans are currently absorbing more than they emit. We supported that with a citation.

    Vangel: Not if they are warming.

    It also depends on partial pressure, which is increasing. The oceans are absorbing net CO2. Your citation says that. The citation to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that. We can measure the acidity of the oceans. And we can determine from isotopes ratios that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is coming primarily from fossil fuels.

    Vangel: There is no trend line.

    There’s an obvious trendline, as anyone can see by looking at the anomaly line.
    http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/IMAGES/global.daily.ice.area.withtrend.jpg

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