Position statement: Politics, Global Warming and reality

Posted: August 3, 2012 by tallbloke in Blog, Carbon cycle, climate, Cycles, data, Energy, Legal, methodology, Politics, solar system dynamics, volcanos

Many scientists within the scientific community have been continuing to do impartial and objective science. Many of them have resigned from the scientific institutions of which they were formerly members because they object to the administrators who run those institutions making position statements on ‘global warming’ despite the high level of uncertainty on key issues such as the attribution of climate change to specific causes.

Given that science has not a clue whether the climate is going to remain warm, get warmer or get cooler, the only sensible policy to invest in is that of readiness for change, whichever direction that change takes.

In deciding how much of a priority determining policy and spending levels for climate change should be, we need better assessments which are made against data which are produced in accordance with agreed standards. That is standard practice in other areas of science and policy activity and climate science should not be exempt.


There was a strong push from interested parties to railroad the public into massive spending and lifestyle change during the period when the temperature measurements seemed to indicate a rapidly accelerating change in climate. But for the last decade, the measured surface temperature has changed very little, apart from years when natural phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina have been dominant. Time to take stock and reorientate ourselves as a society with a precious and precarious knowledge system.

During the last decade, it has come to light that there has been a goodly amount of data bending going on with the temperature records in many countries. The recent scandal in New Zealand is a good exemplar. This matter is now before the courts. Furthermore, the theory on which the claim that human activity has strongly influenced surface temperature is based have been taking a lot of hits as science moves on and makes new discoveries.

Cardellini et al’s 2011 empirical work on measuring the co2 emission from old lava fields in central Italy at 9 Giga-tons a year is a case in point. This calls into question the assumption that humans are responsible for all the increase in airborne co2 since the 50’s, which is based on theoretical calculations which put the global emission of co2 from volcanic sources at 0.138 giga-tons a year – nearly 100 times less than a small part of Italy.

Science progresses, new facts are discovered, old tired theories sometimes need to be discarded. But when politics and money rule science, dogma trumps truth. We need to embrace new knowledge, not be in denial of it in order to suit  politically or emotionally driven agendas.

I care about our environment and it grieves me to see the environmental lobby hitching its horse to the global warming bandwagon. When the theory falls, as it will, the environmental movement will suffer in the backlash. We need to be dealing with real environmental issues, not tilting with windmills.

The politicians love ‘global warming’ because it gives them a platform to make high sounding speeches about saving the planet while reaping tax and doing nothing. If the co2 emissions really were a serious threat, the 210 Billion Euro used to prop up the European ‘carbon market’ which disappeared into the fat cats pockets could have replaced the European continent’s fleet of coal fired power stations with gas turbines and cleaner coal fired plants using the latest flue emission technology and cut co2 emissions across the continent by 40% or more. It would also have solved the unemployment crisis.

At  the Talkshop, we will continue to lay open the truths about ‘global warming’, and investigate national and international climate policy, and the interests which drive it.  We will also continue to pursue and develop new  ideas which offer alternative explanations for the evolution of Earth’s climates within the context of the solar system in which it is embedded.

In the face of uncertainty, plurality of theory development is the only sensible course.

Comments
  1. You don’t have to look far to see me standing nearby.

  2. tallbloke says:

    I’ll be reading more of your blog Bernd. Good work.

  3. ntesdorf says:

    Thanks for an article packed with good sense! Another candle in the darkness.

  4. Chris M says:

    One of your best posts ever tallbloke! The break you had (hope it was enjoyable) seems to recharged your batteries. 🙂

  5. Joe Lalonde says:

    TB,

    I am happy to see you have contemplated many things while away and have become more wiser.

    I am finding new discoveries are posted but NOT incorporated into science due to protectionism of the consensus to follow their path of statistical gathering and guestimation. Opinions and bias run rampant to actually gathering knowledge and enlightening our society.
    The push for near panic changes at the expense of incorporating bad technology with heavy subsidies has really put a heavy burden on our current society.
    There have been many areas of science that has been ignored or simply not in the field of study but should have been incorporated into the final outcome.
    Our education is only as good as our knowledge base is…which really is not that good.

  6. Nice to see you back TB!

    Cardellini: central Italian lava fields ~ 9 Gt p.a.
    GridArendal UN: human emissions ~ 6 Gt p.a.

    I have been wondering for a while, how the carbon that is constantly being lost to the ocean floors, was being replenished. Now I know. Good. I can breathe safely again.

  7. Roger Andrews says:

    TB:

    You know I’m no fan of AGW, but there’s no good evidence that I’m aware of to support the claim that the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 was natural. All the evidence I’ve seen points to the conclusion that it was caused largely if not entirely by fossil fuel emissions. Here’s some of it:

  8. vukcevic says:

    TB
    Great to see you back

  9. Eric Barnes says:

    Great post TB! Good to hear from you again. 🙂

  10. wayne says:

    Well said TB. Great to have you back. Must say Tim’s done a super job minding the shop but it does seems that old 24/7 grind was wearing a bit on him. Don’t know how you guys do it, day in, day out, non-stop.

  11. tallbloke says:

    Lucy and everyone, thanks for the welcome home. Wayne, we can’t, that’s part of the reason I took a break. I’m hugely grateful to Tim for not passively minding the store, but actively pushing the debate in new and interesting directions.

    Roger A: Given the changing balance in natural sources and sinks that have taken place as the surface temperature has changed, the closeness of the correlation is… remarkable. What does the comparison look like if we assume a different residence time, like six years for example?

  12. Michael Hart says:

    Roger Andrews,
    I would second TB’s question, and add that a better null hypothesis might be that the phenomenon is natural until shown otherwise. Am I also correct in thinking that the IPCC assumes a much longer atmospheric residence time? Not least because they have to, if the house of cards is to remain standing. Short residence times mean that if cAGW really was occurring it could, in principle, be reversed very quickly.

    I’ve frequently read that the kink in the data around 1990 was due to cooling from Mt Pinatobu. It seems we are expected to believe that volcanic cooling can cause CO2 levels to decrease, but that warming from other causes isn’t responsible for observed increases in CO2. I can warm a fizzy drink in the kitchen to produce increased atmospheric CO2 levels more easily than I can measure a greenhouse effect due to CO2. [Though I bet the IPCC would rather model a fizzy drink.]

    Having said that, I am becoming almost daily less and less convinced that the much cited carbon isotope data is fit for purpose when attributing human/natural contributions. I’m looking forward with excitement to the second attempt at launching the Orbiting Carbon Observatory [now set for 2014] after the first one went belly-up.

  13. The historic CO2 levels are from ice cores. However, gas trapped in ice cores does not and cannot represent absolute atmospheric composition of the past. Not even isotopic concentrations of noble gases are retained. All gas species and isotopes are fractionated relative to each other during capture in the ice, over time within the ice and post core recovery and measurements. CO2 is no exception.

  14. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Jonathan. The diffusion of gases in ice smooths out shorter term variation, and given we have plenty of proxy evidence of cyclic variation in surface T at various timescales, including a strong one at around 206 years (de Vries), it is too early to be sure about the attribution of the co2 rise of the last 60 years IMO.

    Michael, the isotope evidence is in doubt given the various isotopic compositions of volcanic emissions, and their vastly increased contribution according to newer empirical evidence.
    https://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/uncertainty-the-origin-of-the-increase-in-atmospheric-co2/

  15. Stephen Wilde says:

    I’ve been paying more attention to the carbon cycle of late because my views on the main climate mechanisms are reasonably complete but it would be ‘icing on the cake’ to find that most if not all of the observed C02 changes are natural rather than our fault.

    I’m moving towards the view that the biosphere is highly sensitive to temperature as regards the contribution that it makes to the carbon cycle.

    In another place Ferdinand Engelbeen made great play of the proposition that the oceans contribute only about 16ppm of CO2 to the air per 1C temperature change.

    However the oceans are always a net sink so all that varies is the power of that sink.

    It may be that if the ocean surface temperature rises by 1C then CO2 absorption slows down and all other things being equal the CO2 content of the air rises by 16ppm but all else is not equal.

    Suppose the effect of extra warmth on the biosphere is to increase net CO2 production. That increase would have to be added to that 16ppm because the ocean could not be absorbing it if the same additional warmth were reducing ocean absorption capability by 16ppm.

    So my question is as to how well we know the net global CO2 response of the entire biosphere to a rise in temperature of 1C.

    I have in mind a scenario whereby the Earth’s surface is currently rather cold for biosphere activity as compared to the Carboniferous period.

    Thus a bit more warmth makes a substantial difference to the entire biosphere (on land and in oceans) such that it ramps up a great deal in response to small temperature changes with a lot more CO2 pumped into the air during warmer spells as compared to cooler spells.

    Photosynthesis burns oxygen and produces CO2 but only occurs when there is light.

    When there is no light plants consume oxygen and release CO2 (respiration).

    The balance between oxygen consumption and CO2 production depends on the amount of light:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks3bitesize/science/organisms_behaviour_health/food_chains/revise4.shtml

    Now long term the amount of light is pretty stable since TSI from the sun is largely constant but we all know that plants and ocean organisms grow more at a higher temperature because the amount of energy needed (from photosynthesis) per unit of growth is reduced.

    So what happens if the temperature rises but the amount of light does not ?

    The same amount of photosynthesis takes place but the amount of respiration increases due to the larger surface area of the larger or more numerous plants and ocean organisms.

    A warmer temperature without more sunlight therefore increases CO2 production from respiration as compared to oxygen produced from photosynthesis.

    So, maybe the warmer oceans do only add 16ppm of CO2 to the air per 1C temperature rise.

    But how much extra CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere by plants and ocean organisms as a result of a 1C temperature rise in the absence of any additional light to fuel more photosynthesis ?

    I think that figure would produce quite a surprise.

    As a separate issue the figure of 16ppm per 1C in relation to the oceans might be inadequate anyway because soil moisture on the land masses would release CO2 upon being warmed which is another factor not taken into account.

    My guess is that the carbon cycle is much more responsive to small temperature changes than has hitherto been apreciated especially on centennial timescales such as MWP to LIA to date and the scale of that variability has for whatever reason not found its way into the ice core record.

    Stomata data does show more variability than the ice cores but I suspect that even they do not reveal the full extent of natural CO2 variability in the atmosphere.

  16. Roger Andrews says:

    “Roger A: Given the changing balance in natural sources and sinks that have taken place as the surface temperature has changed, the closeness of the correlation is… remarkable. What does the comparison look like if we assume a different residence time, like six years for example?”

    I don’t have a six year comparison, but you may find this interesting.


  17. tallbloke says:

    Thanks Roger A, that speaks for itself.

    Steven, warmer oceans = less plankton = less co2 absorption.

    Also, less oxygen production, which would throw at least on of Ferdi’s arguments into doubt,because it relies on linking fossil fuel generated co2 with the amount of combustion indicated by depletion of oxygen.

  18. Roger Andrews says:

    “Thanks Roger A, that speaks for itself.”

    Er, what exactly do you think it says?

  19. Stephen Wilde says:

    Hi Rog.

    Its interesting that more warmth without more light skews the balance in favour of more natural CO2 release from plant respiration as compared to CO2 consumption from photosynthesis.

    Since TSI is relatively stable yet Earth’s temperature varies as a result of other factors such as ocean cycles and solar variations other than TSI it is easy to envisage that the biosphere naturally switches between being a net CO2 sink and a net CO2 source depending on the relationship between temperature and the amount of available light.

    It could be that from MWP to LIA the biosphere progressively changed from source to sink and from LIA to date it progressively changed from sink to source.

    That would solve a lot of puzzles 🙂

  20. Stephen Wilde says:

    Rog, you said:

    “Steven, warmer oceans = less plankton = less co2 absorption.

    Also, less oxygen production”

    I know that as regards plants light is needed to produce oxygen and in the absence of enough light they produce more CO2 than Oxygen.

    How does it work with plankton ?

  21. tallbloke says:

    That the curve is a long way from matching if a different ‘residence time’ is used.

    “In a paper recently published in the international peer-reviewed journal Energy & Fuels, Dr. Robert H. Essenhigh (2009), Professor of Energy Conversion at The Ohio State University, addresses the residence time (RT) of anthropogenic CO2 in the air. He finds that the RT for bulk atmospheric CO2, the molecule 12CO2, is ~5 years, in good agreement with other cited sources (Segalstad, 1998), while the RT for the trace molecule 14CO2 is ~16 years. Both of these residence times are much shorter than what is claimed by the IPCC.”

    “Some 99% of the atmospheric CO2 molecules are 12CO2 molecules containing the stable isotope 12C (Segalstad, 1982). To calculate the RT of the bulk atmospheric CO2 molecule 12CO2, Essenhigh (2009) uses the IPCC data of 1990 with a total mass of carbon of 750 gigatons in the atmospheric CO2 and a natural input/output exchange rate of 150 gigatons of carbon per year (Houghton et al., 1990). The characteristic decay time (denoted by the Greek letter tau) is simply the former value divided by the latter value: 750 / 150 = 5 years. This is a similar value to the ~5 years found from 13C/12C carbon isotope mass balance calculations of measured atmospheric CO2 13C/12C carbon isotope data by Segalstad (1992); the ~5 years obtained from CO2 solubility data by Murray (1992); and the ~5 years derived from CO2 chemical kinetic data by Stumm & Morgan (1970).”

    It should be noted that Cardinelli et al throw the 150Gt/yr flux into doubt. i’m not sure how that affects these RT figures given the new uncertainty of the size of the annual flux.

    Jonathan provided a link to the IPCC figures Earlier.

  22. Roger Andrews says:

    In response to various other comments:

    I contend that effectively all of the CO2 increase since at least 1900 was caused by man-made emissions. Here’s what could be wrong with my contention.

    1. The atmospheric CO2 measurements are wrong. I went through them in detail a few months ago trying unsuccessfully to isolate a CO2 footprint from Pinatubo (Tim C helped) and concluded either that they were OK or that there was an international conspiracy to tweak them so that they all matched.

    2. The ice core CO2 records are wrong. Going back 100,000 years they may be, but I’m looking only at the recent data, and the ice core records from Law Dome and the atmospheric records from Mauna Loa agree to within a few ppm over the period of overlap between 1958 and 1978.

    3. The anthropogenic CO2 emission estimates are wrong. Uncertainties for developed countries are estimated to be in the 2-5% range. Estimates for developing countries are higher. China is a question mark, and so are emissions from biomass burning. My guess is that overall they’re not too far off but I can’t guarantee that.

    4. All of the CO2 increase was natural, caused by increased emissions from volcanoes and/or by climatically-induced changes in the carbon cycle. Since 1900, however, atmospheric CO2 has increased by about 100ppm, representing an addition of about 700 gigatons of CO2, and over the same period anthropogenic emissions have amounted to about 1,300 gigatons of CO2. So for the increase to be natural all of the 1,300 gigatons of anthropogenic CO2 must have been absorbed while at the same time 2,000 gigatons of natural CO2 was emitted. Given our ignorance of how the carbon cycle works we can’t write this off as impossible, but it’s far more likely the CO2 increase is simply a result of about half of the anthropogenic CO2 staying in the atmosphere.

  23. Roger Andrews says:

    TB:

    That graph told me something quite different. I thought, hmmm, have I stumbled across a method for estimating CO2 atmospheric residence time? 🙂

    And note that my ten-year estimate is in the same range as the Essenhigh 5-16 year estimates.

  24. tallbloke says:

    I don’t think an average is of much use given this statement:

    “Some 99% of the atmospheric CO2 molecules are 12CO2 molecules containing the stable isotope 12C (Segalstad, 1982)” Which has a residence of ~5 years. so quite a lot of the rise is natural according to the graph you posted.

    The other flaw in your logic is the reasoning which leads you to:

    ” So for the increase to be natural all of the 1,300 gigatons of anthropogenic CO2 must have been absorbed while at the same time 2,000 gigatons of natural CO2 was emitted. Given our ignorance of how the carbon cycle works we can’t write this off as impossible, but it’s far more likely the CO2 increase is simply a result of about half of the anthropogenic CO2 staying in the atmosphere.”

    The natural processes are much bigger than the anthropogenic flux, especially considering we have missed a couple of hundred megatons of annual volcanic emissions….

    Have you watched Murray Salby’s video lecture yet?

  25. Stephen Wilde says:

    RA

    You could add a number 5:

    That the changing relationship in the biosphere between oxygen produced from photosynthesis (light variations) and CO2 produced from respiration (temperature variations) has never been adequately accounted for in the carbon cycle.

    and you said:

    “ice core records from Law Dome and the atmospheric records from Mauna Loa agree to within a few ppm over the period of overlap between 1958 and 1978.”

    Well the fact is that it takes decades for a sample of atmosphere to be sealed within the ice and throughout that time it is subjected to numerous freeze / melt events which each deplete the CO2 content because each melt event drives some of the CO2 away due to the absorption capability of warm water being less than that of cold water.

    The period 1958 to 1978 is not long enough to complete the CO2 depletion process.

  26. Joe Lalonde says:

    TB,

    Is the measured CO2 actual or is it based off a models like so many other areas?
    And where is the lag time from pole to pole since 80% of our population is situated in the northern hemisphere.

    In the past we were NOT allowed to question scientists as they are our hired experts. This system of “policing themselves” through the like minded of peer-review just added to errors that were generated are now protected. No matter how much you show the errors, they are ignored and the errors then are still incorporated and taught as facts.
    Pushing the uncertainty crutch is a cop out to areas never incorporated due to focus on a single area to the exclusion of anything that may also be involved.

    If the focus is on understanding of this planet, then it takes many areas to generate a vastly complex system that current data studying misses.

  27. Extreme caution is needed in applying cumulative processes to emissions. Using just two parameters, a lifetime and scaling factor, close match can be obtained from almost any slightly increasing, all positive dataset. For example: http://tinyurl.com/7n6lmto

    Roger Andrews,
    What scaling did you use for emissions (Mt C) to atmospheric CO2 (ppm)? It is claimed that about half remains in the air (Trenberth?) That ratio is slowly falling suggesting an increasing sink.

  28. tallbloke says:

    Jonathan, excellent humorous example of the pitfalls of assumptions being drawn from spurious correlations. 🙂

  29. adolfogiurfa says:

    Fortunately all (or almost all) breakthroughs in science have been produced by enlightened individuals far from institutions and light years apart from politics. Usually it takes several generations for the establishment to “digest” or process and to accept new discoveries. Thus, we should not change anything before being absolutely sure, contrary to what contends the so called “precautionary principle”, and hear and follow our “common sense”.

  30. Roger Andrews says:

    Okay, okay. You guys are all having great fun rubbishing me, so it’s only fair that I now get the chance to rubbish you.

    I have presented graphs and statistics to support my argument that the recent increase in atmospheric CO2 was anthropogenic. You contend that it was all natural. Fine. So now please present some graphs and/or statistics that support your argument. So far I haven’t seen any.

    And while I’m here, TB, here’s my original CO2 vs. emissions graph, reproduced here for reference

    re-done using Essenhigh’s 5-year residence time estimate, which is actually a time constant.

  31. Stephen Wilde says:

    RA.

    The problem is that I for one do not trust the pre 1950 numbers.

    It is quite conceivable that the current ongoing increase in CO2 is a result of warming since the LIA modulated by the oceans.

    The fact that the rise happens to coincide with industrialisation since about 1750 may well not be meaningful.

    It is for you to prove the link rather than for us to disprove it. Some warming proponents do try to give proof by referring to the isotope ratio but that is replete with problems too.

    Anyway, even if one could prove it to be anthropogenic there is still a problem showing that it does anything measurable to the climate.

    We have had warming since the LIA. The current rate of warming has failed to accelerate as anticipated by AGW theory.

    How far from predictions do the numbers have to get before you accept that the theory has failed ?

    How much longer before the current lack of warming counts as ‘evidence’ for you ?

    I have shown you that increased warmth in the absence of increased light skews the plant part of the carbon cycle in favour of more CO2 production relative to CO2 consumption. The data as regards the net sink / source numbers for the entire global biosphere is pretty shaky.

    Likewise the data for the net contribution for oceans and soil moisture on land is hedged with guesses.

  32. Roger Andrews says:

    SW

    “It is for you to prove the link rather than for us to disprove it.” I don’t think so. It’s widely accepted that the recent CO2 increase was anthropogenic and mainstream science will proceed on that basis until someone can prove it wasn’t. Either correctly or by default the anthropogenic origin theory is now the “null hypothesis”.

    “Anyway, even if one could prove it to be anthropogenic there is still a problem showing that it does anything measurable to the climate.” Exactly. That’s the team’s weak point. That’s what we should be attacking them on. (And note that if the CO2 increase is anthropogenic we humans can take credit for making plants grow faster and improving crop yields, which so far as I know is the only conclusively documented impact of increased CO2.) 🙂

    “How far from predictions do the numbers have to get before you accept that the theory has failed ?
    How much longer before the current lack of warming counts as ‘evidence’ for you ?”

    I don’t quite understand that. I think you already know my opinions on AGW, if that is in fact what you’re talking about.

    “I have shown you that increased warmth in the absence of increased light skews the plant part of the carbon cycle in favour of more CO2 production relative to CO2 consumption. The data as regards the net sink / source numbers for the entire global biosphere is pretty shaky. Likewise the data for the net contribution for oceans and soil moisture on land is hedged with guesses.”

    How can you “show” me this when the data are “pretty shaky” and “hedged with guesses”?

  33. vukcevic says:

    Most of CO2 is comes out of oceans.
    Do a simple experiment: open two bottles of sparkling drink, one cold and one at room temperature and observe amount of pressure released.
    Warmer water exudes greater amounts of carbonic acid which evaporates into atmosphere; since oceans’ temperature has risen in recent decade, the CO2 rise followed.

    ‘back of an envelope calculation’
    total weight of atmospheric CO2 = 3×10^12 tonnes
    assume current annual emission 10×10^9 tonnes
    On 10 year retention (linear fall off) man made content ~ 50×10^9
    Man made proportion 50/(3×10^3) = 1/60 =1.33%
    Even for a much longer retention time, man made contribution would never reach significant proportion.
    Please check for errors in the calculation.

  34. Stephen Wilde says:

    “How can you “show” me this”

    It is established science that, without light, plant activity exhales CO2 and that light must be present for CO2 to be consumed by plants via photosynthesis.

    It is also established that plants will grow more in a higher temperature with or without extra light.

    So the net production / consumption of CO2 by plants must be related to the proportions of available light and heat energy.

    More light or less heat results in net CO2 consumption.

    Less light or more heat results in net CO2 production.

    That is clear as it can be. Only the quantities need to be ascertained.

    I suspect that from MWP to LIA consumption became progressively more dominant and from LIA to date production became progressively more dominant.

    I think that in due course we will find high atmospheric CO2 variability but that it has not been fully reflected in ice core or even stomata measurements.

    Note that the extra warmth also reduces ocean absorption at the same time as plants are increasing their output so each effect compounds the other.

    Cooling then increases ocean absorption and reduces plant output hence the large size of the temperature induced variations.

  35. Stephen Wilde says:

    Vuk,

    How would you deal with Ferdinand Englebeen’s assertion that the oceans would only release 16ppm of CO2 per 1C rise in temperature.

    For various reasons I don’t think he is right but would be interested to know your view.

  36. vukcevic says:

    Correction: Most of CO2 comes out of the oceans.

  37. tallbloke says:

    Roger A: “You contend that it was all natural”

    Did we?

    Could you explain how your graph of Essenhigh’s 5 year residence time give pretty much the same match to co2 increase as your original 10 year residence time? Did some other variable change?

  38. vukcevic says:

    Hi Steven
    WUWT did 3-4 posts dissecting Ferdinand Englebeen’s claims
    Links are here

  39. Roger Andrews says:

    Vuk

    Some numbers at last. Thank you.

    According to your assumptions anthropogenic emissions add 48 gigatons of carbon to the atmosphere every 10 years at the 10 gt/year rate. This works out to about 40 ppm CO2 added every ten years, or 4 ppm a year. We are seeing an increase of only about half that, suggesting that half of the emitted CO2 is being absorbed.

    TB:

    I didn’t mean to put words into your mouth, but what are you in fact contending? Mostly natural? Partly natural?

    The reason the two graphs give a close match is that, like Vuk, I assumed a 10-year straight line CO2 decline in the first and e^-(t/T) time constant factors in the second, and the two give about the same overall decay weighting. Sorry, I should have made that clear to begin with.

  40. tallbloke says:

    Roger A: No problem, and thank you for your good natured responses to our pushing and probing of your evidence and reasoning. A two part reply is need to answer your question.

    It’s all natural in the sense that human activity is part of nature. Obviously emissions from fossil fuel combustion goes into the atmosphere. The question of how much of those emissions have contributed to the rise in co2 levels over the last, say 50 years is a vexed one. If Cardellini et al are right about the central part of Italy’s volcanic lava fields emitting 9Gt a year, then obviously tthe IPCC ‘preferred estimate’ of 0.137Gt/Yr for the whole globe is a nonsense.

    If you watch Murray Salby’s lecture with that in mind, I think you’ll be left with the realisation that human emissions are a pretty small part of the carbon cycle.

  41. vukcevic says:

    Hi TB
    If submarine volcanoes produce 75% of magma output than I would bet a ‘bottom dollar’ that along Pacific ring of fire and the Atlantic ridge from the Arctic to the south Atlantic, CO2 is sipping out at rate of many GT/annum, absorbed and partially released by the world oceans.

  42. Tenuc says:

    …And then we have this one from the University of Colorado, Boulder: Earth still absorbing CO2 even as emissions rise, says new CU-led study

    http://www.colorado.edu/news/releases/2012/08/01/earth-still-absorbing-co2-even-emissions-rise-says-new-cu-led-study

    The total carbon cycle is very complex and I’m sure the link between CO2 produced from fossil fuels and global CO2 atmospheric levels is highly non-linear. With higher levels of atmospheric CO2, plants are grow quicker, bigger and are better able to resist disease. They are also less prone to drought problems as at higher levels of CO2 they use water more efficiently.

    This means that however CO2 enters the atmosphere it only takes a few years (10?), before plants absorb the surplus, and perhaps a crash will occur once levels begin to fall. Thriving vegetation is a prerequisite of a thriving, diverse biosphere and current CO2 levels are below the optimum of ~1000ppm. My vote goes for humanity to continue releasing this beneficial gas for as long as we possibly can.

  43. Roger Andrews says:

    Thank you for you kind words. Good-natured responses come naturally.

    This is going to be a long and rambling response (for me).

    On the question of human emissions being a small part of the carbon cycle. Yes, I do realize that. But fluctuations of a few watts/sq m in solar intensity are an even smaller part of the total solar energy budget, yet they have an unmistakable impact on climate, while recent ice melt makes up a microscopic fraction of the volume of the oceans, yet sea levels have been rising (although not as fast as most people think). And you yourself have claimed that changes in ozone, which itself makes up only a minuscule proportion of the atmosphere, may be responsible for much of the recent warming. So I don’t think scale is necessarily a show-stopper here.

    You have probably noticed that from time to time I adopt contrarian positions that I know will not be favorably received on this blog. Why do I do this? – apart from my relentless objectivity, that is ;-). Well, in this case it’s simple. If you want to take on the AGW establishment and win you have to pick your issues, and there are any number you can pick where you have a good chance of prevailing in the long run. But trying to show that the recent CO2 increase was natural isn’t one of them.

    Earlier today I asked if someone would please present some hard supporting evidence to back up the “natural” argument. So far I haven’t seen any, and I doubt that I will see any because there really isn’t any to present. Jo Nova – talking about the Salby presentation, incidentally – put it thus. (Note that the numbers given are for carbon, not CO2, and that human emissions are now around 8gt/a.)

    “Essentially we can measure man-made emissions reasonably well, but we can’t measure the natural emissions and sequestrations of CO2 at all precisely — the error bars are huge. Humans emit 5Gt or so per annum, but the oceans emit about 90Gt and the land-plants about 60Gt, for a total of maybe 150Gt. Many scientists have assumed that the net flows of carbon to and from natural sinks and sources of CO2 cancel each other out, but there is no real data to confirm this and it’s just a convenient assumption. The problem is that even small fractional changes in natural emissions or sequestrations swamp the human emissions.”

    http://joannenova.com.au/2011/08/blockbuster-planetary-temperature-controls-co2-levels-not-humans/

    Well, if there are no real data to confirm anything then whatever assumption you make will be “convenient” – to your point of view.

    Which brings me to the subject of volcanic CO2 emissions. The numbers you (and now Vuk) quote are way higher than anything the vulcanologists are prepared to admit to. I don’t know who’s right, but a few months ago I set out to try and prove that the vulcanologists were wrong, and I got really excited when I isolated what I thought was a major CO2 emission (about 2 Gt) from the 1991 Pinatubo eruption. But then I asked Tim Channon for assistance in checking my work, which he kindly provided, and by the time he got through the results showed that Pinatubo actually removed CO2 from the atmosphere – an interesting result in itself. But I digress.

    My point is that it really doesn’t matter what volcanic CO2 emissions are. If if they are higher than supposed, and if they haven’t changed appreciably over the years – and I can’t think of any reason why they should have – then all they will do is re-balance the carbon cycle budget, or at least our perception of it. Underestimation of volcanic CO2 emissions doesn’t necessarily make a natural origin for the CO2 any more likely.

    And finally on the subject of man-made CO2 emissions being natural because we humans are a part of nature. Where on earth did you get that idea from?

  44. tallbloke says:

    Roger A: Earlier today I asked if someone would please present some hard supporting evidence to back up the “natural” argument. So far I haven’t seen any, and I doubt that I will see any because there really isn’t any to present…. if there are no real data to confirm anything then whatever assumption you make will be “convenient” – to your point of view.

    Fair enough, we can settle for that for now – If only they can too.

    And finally on the subject of man-made CO2 emissions being natural because we humans are a part of nature. Where on earth did you get that idea from?

    “because he’s an ignorant monkey who doesn’t know better”
    -Eddie the shipboard computer on the starship ‘Heart of Gold’-

  45. Roger Andrews says:

    TB

    Ah. I see your problem isn’t with the TV channels you watch, it’s with your computer. I seem to remember reading somewhere else in “Hitchhiker’s” that you can induce your computer to adopt a better attitude by threatening to reprogram it with a blunt instrument. 🙂

  46. Michael Hart says:

    RA,
    “No,no,SIr, your monkey has got it right, Sir”-The waiter at The Restaurant at The End of The Universe. 🙂

  47. gallopingcamel says:

    Roger Andrews,

    I am not trying to “rubbish” you. You may be right. Mankind may be entirely responsible for the observed “Hockey Stick” shape of the CO2 concentration vs. time since 1900.

    The root of all CAGW madness is the idea that CO2 is a major driver of global temperature in spite of all evidence to the contrary.

    If CO2 were dominant it would not be necessary to “adjust” the surface temperature records maintained by UEA, USHCN, NCDC and GISS. The temperature “Hockey Stick” would be confirmed by satellite measurements (UAH & RSS).

    If CO2 were dominant, the CO2 concentrations in the Vostok, EPICA, GRIP and other ice core records would lead temperature rather than follow.

    If CO2 were dominant there would have been no ice ages during times when the gas was 25 times more abundant than it is today.

    If CO2 were dominant the surface temperature of Venus would be 100 Kelvin COOLER than it is.

    If CO2 were dominant the surface of Mars would be warmer than it is.

  48. Stephen W this may interest you http://www.bioticregulation.ru/common/pdf/geo02-en.pdf . There are some other publications here http://www.bioticregulation.ru/pubs/pubs2.php which may interest you but as with everything some of the assumptions and calculations may have a bias or not be entirely valid. Down the list (2002) is a mathematical paper which mentions optical thickness, clouds and lapse rates which might also interest you. I only glanced through it quickly and did not have time to follow the maths or discover that if they have allowed that clouds actually cool the surface by reducing incoming radiation.

  49. Roger Andrews says:

    Camel:

    And if CO2 were dominant the post-1970 warming would have been gradual and not caused by step-function temperature increases that coincide with ENSO events. (Unless of course ENSO events are also caused by CO2. So far the team hasn’t been able to demonstrate that they are, but you can be sure they’re working on it.)

    And thanks for not rubbishing me 🙂

  50. Roger A, the paper I highlighted above may interest you too.; I just flicked through the comments on this post. I have seen Stephen’s comments on other posts. It occurred to me that he might be interested in the papers at the bioticregulation website particularly those about winds, condensation etc.. I did not mean to imply that the papers may only interest Stephen. In the paper I mentioned “Radiative-convective processes and changes of flux of thermal radiation into space with increasing optical thickness of the atmosphere” there is a calculation of the temperatures on Venus using the lapse rate and atmospheric pressures.
    On this blog we get a few comments from those living outside English speaking countries. More thoughtful papers are also being published in other countries. The work of Russians seems to have been ignored although they have very capable engineers and scientists. (they were the first to launch a satellite and they landed craft on the surface of Venus). There are of course Russian origin researchers, at US universities, who know which side their bread is buttered but the same AGW industry does not appear to be evident in Russia

  51. steveta_uk says:

    Has anyone done high-resolution tracking of world CO2 levels since around 2005? I would have thought that the ‘global’ recession (or was it NH only?) which resulted in a significant reduction on CO2 emissions from many countries must have left a clear signature on the CO2 levels.

    If not, why not?

  52. steveta_uk says:

    Don’t you just hate people who expect someone else to do the research and draw the graph?

    With that in mind, I followed up on my previous comment regarding CO2 emission and energy consumption, resulting in the following not-very-clear graph:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/46754279@N07/7724859934/

    It does show a global slow down from around 2000, pick up in 2003/4, and a clear dip in 2008-9 in energy use, but I cannot see any such signal in the CO2 (13-month smoothed Muana Loa levels).

  53. Richard111 says:

    Fascinating discussion on CO2. Chap here thinks it can only cool the atmosphere. Frankly, after everything I’ve read from university sites on the web about radiation, black body and otherwise, emissivity/absorbance etc. etc. I’m inclined to accept his claim. But then I am only a layman. If anyone can show where the reasoning is wrong I would very happy.
    http://jinancaoblog.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/blog-post.html

  54. adolfogiurfa says:

    @ vukcevic says:
    August 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm
    Hi TB
    If submarine volcanoes produce 75% of magma output than I would bet a ‘bottom dollar’ that along Pacific ring of fire and the Atlantic ridge from the Arctic to the south Atlantic, CO2 is sipping out at rate of many GT/annum, absorbed and partially released by the world oceans.

    A few months ago it happened that along the northern coasts of Peru there appeared a lot of dead dolphins:
    http://articles.cnn.com/2012-04-22/americas/world_americas_peru-dead-dolphins_1_dolphin-deaths-morbillivirus-cape-cod?_s=PM:AMERICAS
    If you have seen in those days “weather.unisys.com/surface/sst_anom.gif” you would have seen that there was a yellow spot along that coast(1+2 El Nino region)showing a 4 º C anomaly. The sun does not heat such a limited area, then the only origins possible were: 1) Lava ejection along the Nazca plate where it encounters the SA continent, 2) The so called “Walker circulation” bringing heated waters from the north , from 3-4 el Nino area; however the 3-4 El Nino region was cold then, so the only possibility left was the first one.
    (See: http://www.scielo.org.pe/pdf/iigeo/v8n16/a02v08n16.pdf)
    But there is more: You would have seen, also, that the sea temperature anomaly, seemed to extend to the other side of the SA continent, as it would follow the contour of the so called South Atlantic Magnetic anomaly, now extending, as an ellipse from the southern eastern coasts of the SA continent to the western coasts.
    In any case we ignore a lot if we choose to see through colored glasses. CO2 it is only just one of the consequences of a phenomenon from which we have chosen to ignore its real causes.

  55. Stubben says:

    Re: steveta_uk (Aug 6 12:53),
    That would be an interesting graph indeed, which in turn should be compared to this graph with the derivative of the CO2-rate together with UAH: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/mean:12/derivative/scale:3.5/offset:-0.5/from:1979/plot/uah .

  56. Roger Andrews says:

    cementafriend:

    Yes, an interesting paper, particularly the conclusion; “The global carbon budget was never obtained in a closed form with an adequate degree of reliability.” The study is now 12 years old, but as I understand it this conclusion still holds.

  57. Tenuc says:

    adolfogiurfa says:
    August 6, 2012 at 2:45 pm
    “…A few months ago it happened that along the northern coasts of Peru there appeared a lot of dead dolphins:
    http://articles.cnn.com/2012-04-22/americas/world_americas_peru-dead-dolphins_1_dolphin-deaths-morbillivirus-cape-cod?_s=PM:AMERICAS…”

    Thanks, Adolfo – looks like pelicans and boobies in the same area are dying in large numbers too…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-17890174

    BTW, I’ve not been able to find a report of the dead dolphins investigation anywhere on the web – anyone seen this???

  58. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Tenuc: At the beginning, some green organizations, as usual, blamed for these deaths to an offshore oil drilling company, but when other deaths happenend farther away then it was officially announced they were probably caused by the warmer waters and these blamed to the “walker circulation”, it was then said that a Niño phenomenon was appearing, but then and again sea surface waters began to cool down, so now nobody can say for sure what it is happening.

    Here it is the final report,(79 pages, in spanish) which discards any anthropogenicity but did not find any cause whatsoever:

    Click to access 475394.pdf

  59. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Tenuc: It would be interesting to find the latest changes in the GMF. Hope these changes do not affect those in charge of leading us….we don´t want to be lost on some strange beach 🙂

  60. Tenuc says:

    Thanks for the information, Adolfo, looks like some unknown ‘natural cause’ killed these critters.

    Our planets magnetic field is strongly tied to that of the sun, which is behaving strangely at the moment. I’m sure the skin of our politicians is far too thick for these GMF changes to make any difference to their deplorable behaviour… 😉

  61. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Tenuc: BTW, a very peculiar approach:
    http://www.glcoherence.org/monitoring-system/about-system.html

  62. tchannon says:

    Isn’t this the opposite effect of the cold water welling up with nutrients leading to fish glut, so how about dolphins starving?

  63. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Tchannon: That is one of the mentioned probable but not proved causes. That occurence is a well known effect when el “Niño” current (north-south) replaces the cold water current “Humboldt´s current” (South-north) but which, in the end, it was not the case, it disappeared as it appeared, there was a few weeks of a 4 degrees centigrade anomaly along the northern coast of Peru, which it is not present now, and the interesting side of it is finding its cause. M.Vukcevic, above, seems to insinuate a probable cause in submarine volcanic activity perhaps provoked by changes in the so called “atlantic magnetic nomaly” which now includes those western coasts of SA and reaches part of the pacific ocean, and such changes could have caused orientation loss in dolphins and other species. In Vuk´s page we can see not only this anomaly but the close relation which exists between GMF and temperatures (a very “sensible” issue for GWrs. as it totally discards their CO2 contention):
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MF.htm

  64. adolfogiurfa says:

    Temperatures relate with magnetic fields instead of CO2:
    http://www.megakastro.gr/weather_agro/solar_modulation.htm