No rise in atmospheric carbon fraction over the last 150 years: University of Bristol

posted at 8:48 am on January 4, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Science Daily reported on a new study from the University of Bristol released over the holidays that deserves to get wider attention.  In contrast to claims from anthropogenic global-warming activists, this new analysis refutes one of the key principles of carbon-driven warming:

Most of the carbon dioxide emitted by human activity does not remain in the atmosphere, but is instead absorbed by the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems. In fact, only about 45 percent of emitted carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere. …

To assess whether the airborne fraction is indeed increasing, Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol reanalyzed available atmospheric carbon dioxide and emissions data since 1850 and considers the uncertainties in the data.

In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

The thumbnail argument for AGW is this: the CO2 emitted by industrialization over the last 150 years has accumulated in the atmosphere, along with other gases such as methane, warming the globe more rapidly than otherwise would have happened.  The continuing emissions of CO2 from industrialized and developing nations will result in an exponential explosion of warming the longer it continues as the CO2 accumulates at faster and faster rates in the atmosphere, both because the previous emissions have not been absorbed and more people are emitting than ever.  Therefore, we have to control emissions just to contain the damage, and it might already be too late!

Of course, that’s why everyone flew private jets to Copenhagen last month — in order to warn about carbon emissions.

If this University of Bristol analysis is correct, CO2 hasn’t been accumulating in the atmosphere at all.  That means whatever warming we have experienced (and we have experienced warming) did not come from increased CO2 in the atmosphere.  That would explain why we have experienced a cooling cycle for the last ten to twelve years despite an increase of CO2 emissions, albeit an increase at a slower rate than before.  The new analysis completely destroys the AGW argument, because if CO2 is not accumulating in the atmosphere, it can’t be causing global warming.

No one doubts the necessity of curtailing particulate emissions into the air.  If anyone did, the Beijing Olympics and the thick & chunky smog would have removed those doubts.  Moving towards cleaner energy and renewables is a laudable goal and a necessary process.  But succumbing to AGW hysteria and destroying the very economy that could produce that type of progress is not just absurd, it’s counterproductive to the goal.

Update: I changed the title of this post to more accurately reflect what UB found – no change in the ratio of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  One correspondent says that it doesn’t change the fact that we’re still dumping carbon into the atmosphere, where it could cause global warming.  However, if the ratio of CO2 in the atmosphere hasn’t changed in 150 years, then the CO2 is getting reabsorbed, not remaining in the atmosphere to cause global warming.  Unless there are other agents adding oxygen and nitrogen to the air and increasing the volume of all three, then the increased CO2 isn’t staying in the air.  If CO2 accounted for 0.04% of the atmosphere in 1860 and 0.04% today, then CO2 isn’t a cause of warming — at least not now, and not over the last 150 years, as AGW hysterics claim.

Update II:  A friendlier message says this:

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.
The percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.
However, the percentage of CO2 on the planet which is airborne (as opposed to dissolved in the oceans, trapped in ice, or incorporated into biomass through photosynthesis) is not increasing.  That is the meaning of airborne fraction. It doesn’t mean the fraction of the air which is CO2.  It’s an easy mistake to make, and many others have on other sites.

Why this matters:  One of the claims of the alarmists is that the oceans cannot hold any more CO2, that they are “saturated,” and therefore additional CO2 emissions will increasingly stay in the atmosphere.  This now appears to be false. It undermines the alarmists’ arguments a little, but not too much.  They will simply shift their position to:  “Well, they oceans aren’t saturated yet, but they will be soon.  And then the airborne fraction will increase dramatically.  Just you wait.”

There are a couple of problems with this.  First, AGW alarmists say that increased CO2 in the air causes global warming.  Second, I’m old enough to remember rainforest hysteria, where we were all going to asphyxiate ourselves by chopping down trees that produced O2 from CO2, as we reduced biomass.  If we’re producing larger biomass, then we’re creating more capacity to absorb CO2 and produce more oxygen (and food, too) as a result.  And that’s supposed to be bad?

Update III: Here’s the summary from Knorr, emphases mine:

Several recent studies have highlighted the possibility that the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems have started loosing part of their ability to sequester a large proportion of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions. This is an important claim, because so far only about 40% of those emissions have stayed in the atmosphere, which has prevented additional climate change. This study re-examines the available atmospheric CO2 and emissions data including their uncertainties. It is shown that with those uncertainties, the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, i.e. close to and not significantly different from zero. The analysis further shows that the statistical model of a constant airborne fraction agrees best with the available data if emissions from land use change are scaled down to 82% or less of their original estimates. Despite the predictions of coupled climate-carbon cycle models, no trend in the airborne fraction can be found.


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The one significant piece of evidence (or lack of it) that causes me to question AGW is that apparently there has been no increase in atmospheric temperature during this period when AGW is supposedly occurring.

If more greenhouse gases – chiefly CO2 – are trapping more heat in the atmosphere, and that trapped heat is warming the planet, then the atmosphere as well should be heating up or having “hot spots” where this heat is accumulating.

From what I’ve read, we’ve not been able to find these “hot spots” or measure any appreciable increase in the temperature of the atmosphere where this warming is supposed to occur.

Unless I’ve missed something, this hasn’t been found.

SteveMG on January 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Oldnuke on January 4, 2010 at 9:39 AM

The description of the river was downright creepy, to say the least. Thanks, it’s good to know I didn’t imagine it. We’ve come a long way and I hope we continue to be better still but not based on lies and extortion.

Cindy Munford on January 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

Ed, I think you are still misunderstanding the conclusion:

However, if the ratio of CO2 in the atmosphere hasn’t changed in 150 years, then the CO2 is getting reabsorbed, not remaining in the atmosphere to cause global warming. Unless there are other agents adding oxygen and nitrogen to the air and increasing the volume of all three, then the increased CO2 isn’t staying in the air.

That is not true, and it is not what the paper says. It says that the ratio of emitted carbon that stays in the atmosphere has remained constant. Specifically, 46%. That means that 46% of all carbon emitted goes into the atmosphere. As we have increased carbon emissions, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has increased. This means that both the total and the percentage carbon in the atmosphere has increased.

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 9:53 AM

all of this AGW hysteria would end if “they” could ever be forced to answer a very simple question.

What temperature is the planet supposed to be?

There actually is no answer. There is 6 inches of snow on the ground outside my window but I could hop in my car and drive south for 12 hours and go swimming if I really wanted to.

The truth is, if the entire planet got warm enough to grow palm trees on the poles there would be an explosion of life and prosperity. Humanity would adapt and life would go on.

Mord on January 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

destroying the very economy

Key phrase describing what’s behind newly recoined “global climate change”…….

JoeinTX on January 4, 2010 at 8:54 AM

Maurice Strong said at the 1992 Rio Summit (that led to the Kyoto Protocol):

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
.
I think the intentions are clear.

iurockhead on January 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Don’t worry govt. susidized ethanol will reduce the CO2 biomass vaults and the warmists will have their way.

aikidoka on January 4, 2010 at 9:55 AM

There’s some settled science for ya. Oh my aching carbon footprint.

curved space on January 4, 2010 at 9:56 AM

This was always a lie. 3/4ths of the oxygen that we breath comes from the oceans.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 9:48 AM

Could you back that assertion with a scientific article or two?

All I could find was stuff like this which indicates that production of O2 by ultrviolet radiation of water is self-limiting to about 1-2% of the current oxygen levels in the atmosphere — once enough O3 is produced, UV is considerably diminished. Most articles I’ve read claim that the O2 in our atmosphere was produced by biological processes. I googled the words origin oxygen atmosphere to find my articles.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Man, it’s like math class again and we’re all beating up on the slow kid Ed.

Poor Ed.

SteveMG on January 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM

That said, CO2 dissolved in water becomes carbolic acid — the stuff that gives Champagne and soda pop their fizz.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM

I’m pretty sure you mean carbonic acid, not carbolic.

Oldnuke on January 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM

word

blatantblue on January 4, 2010 at 9:59 AM

If you are having a hard time understanding the Climategate CRU kerfuffle, there is a very good documentary put out by the Finland public television (no right-wing mouthpiece, there) with English subtitles. About 30 minutes total. Truly damning, and worth watching. AGW is a dead issue, it just doesn’t know it’s dead yet.

Documentary at:
http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/29/climategate-on-finnish-tv/#more-9754assessments

iurockhead on January 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM

In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

The amount of carbon emitted has been increasing steadily. It is now claimed that the percentage of that emitted carbon that stays in the atmosphere is constant. That still means that the amount of carbon going into the atmosphere is rising — and rising at the same rate that emissions are rising.tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Let’s sum this up thus:

The amount of co2 released into the atmosphere IS rising, but the percentage of co2 in the atmosphere is constant. Thus the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems are absorbing the additional co2. The amount of co2 or carbon or combination of the two is constant on earth.

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 10:04 AM

Second, there have also been reports that the ability of the oceans and plants to absord CO2 may be declining and that both the fraction and amount of the gas will now increase.

SteveMG on January 4, 2010 at 9:22 AM

Lets keep our fingers crossed and hope that, if true, it will help warm the planet a bit. Life flourishes in warmer temperatures.

Itchee Dryback on January 4, 2010 at 10:05 AM

AGW is a dead issue, it just doesn’t know it’s dead yet.

iurockhead on January 4, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Kind of like the Black Knight with Algore as the limbless torso.

thomasaur on January 4, 2010 at 10:06 AM

[tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 9:53 AM]

Beat me to it.

In it’s results, however, the study does refute the assumptions and assertions (mostly via this same misunderstanding, but some directly asserting) that the carbon fraction is increasing. This places the question of delicacy of the balance and absorption saturation points back into the “we don’t know” column and will require a new modeling inputs dartboard for the AGW’ers.

Dusty on January 4, 2010 at 10:08 AM

As we have increased carbon emissions, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere has increased. This means that both the total and the percentage carbon in the atmosphere has increased.

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 9:53 AM

The question is “have we increased carbon?”.
I know WE have increased somewhat, but one good volcano eruption dwarfs what we produce…if we produce 28 billion tons of CO2 every year, and volcanoes and the earth produce about 200million tons (about 1 percent), then why is that not so easily measured.
Since we supposedly produce 99% and volcanoes only 1%, we certainly have a difficult time measuring the effects from something so “catastrophic”…

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 10:12 AM

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 9:53 AM

When can we expect the noticeable warming to start? Is there anything that people can do to get more into the atmosphere?
Cold is bad for the environment.

Itchee Dryback on January 4, 2010 at 10:13 AM

oops, I misstated the first sentence, the common theory is that one good volcano dwarfs what we supposedly produce..

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM

It isn’t being “literal” it is being accurate…you are the one calling people stupid for thinking that CO2 has to be more then 200 years ago, I don’t know if it is…and certainly I don’t know if man has contributed anything significant…relax…

right2bright on January 4, 2010 at 9:35 AM

You’re right, literal is the wrong word. I should have used anal. I didn’t call anyone stupid I said it was ridiculous to make a distinction between atmospheric and airborne. But thanks for pointing out that volcanoes emit carbon. In a discussion about human carbon emissions and their possible effects that is absolutely critical. There are way more people on the planet now then there were 200 years ago. Even if they did nothing but breathe they would be emitting more CO2. The discussion is whether a higher percentage of that remains airborne, or atmospheric if you like that word better, than before. This study suggest no.

Rocks on January 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM

Let’s sum this up thus:

The amount of co2 released into the atmosphere IS rising, but the percentage of co2 in the atmosphere is constant. Thus the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems are absorbing the additional co2. The amount of co2 or carbon or combination of the two is constant on earth.

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 10:04 AM

No. The percentage (and total amount) of co2 in the atmosphere is also rising.

The percentage of co2 that we emit that goes into the atmosphere is what remains constant.

If a nuclear plant dumped 50% of its nuclear waste into the sewers, and the other 50% into a nearby lake, and it did this every day, you would be wrong to say that the percentage of the lake that was nuclear waste wasn’t increasing. The amount of nuclear waste and the percentage of nuclear waste in the lake (as well as the sewers) are both increasing. What’s constant is the percentage — 50% — that’s going into the lake versus the sewers. That’s all.

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6795858.html

Additional information worthy of reading…

Keemo on January 4, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Man, I sure wish we’d emit some CO2. It’s cold here in Virginia. I hear Seoul just had a record snowfall, too.

Anyway, why do CO2 levels change to give us seasons, anyway? When I was a child, I thought that our relation to the sun caused the seasons, but the international community now agrees that greenhouse gasses are the source of warming and cooling on earth. So winter must be evidence of low CO2 levels. Right?

hawksruleva on January 4, 2010 at 10:18 AM

That means whatever warming we have experienced (and we have experienced warming)

On what do you base that contention?

Buddahpundit on January 4, 2010 at 10:23 AM

Why do we keep acting like arrogant masters of nature by wanting to control everything instead of living with the natural evolution of the things? Leave Mother Earth alone! Who are we to impose our preferences on Her?

Itchee Dryback on January 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM

That’s the way I read the article also, but it certainly could have been less ambiguous.

Barnestormer on January 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

But thanks for pointing out that volcanoes emit carbon. In a discussion about human carbon emissions and their possible effects that is absolutely critical.

Rocks on January 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM

That doesn’t make sense. You’re agreeing that a volcano could admit more C02 than humans are capable of producing, but that it doesn’t matter. Why are human emissions the only ones that matter?

If the problem we’re solving is global warming caused by CO2 levels, then we should consider all sources of CO2, right? If volcanic emissions of CO2 aren’t a problem, the the much smaller levels of CO2 emitted by humans aren’t a problem either.

Why does the earth care if the “pollution” comes from cars of from cow farts? Does mother nature know if the greenhouse gasses are from insects or industry, and treat them differently? The idea that our CO2 is different than all other CO2, and that the difference matters, is egocentric.

hawksruleva on January 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Why do we keep acting like arrogant masters of nature by wanting to control everything instead of living with the natural evolution of the things? Leave Mother Earth alone! Who are we to impose our preferences on Her?

Itchee Dryback on January 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

Amen. The people who say AGW will “destroy the planet” are wrong. At worst, we’ll destroy human civilization. The planet would be just fine without us.

We act like Earth is a house, and we’re in charge of setting the thermostat. But the climate has, does, and will change, with, but mostly without, humans causing it.

hawksruleva on January 4, 2010 at 10:31 AM

SteveMG on January 4, 2010 at 9:51 AM

An important piece that never gets attention from the AGW crowd is the amount of “heat” that can be trapped by CO2.

CO2 warms the atmosphere by trapping “radiation” from the sun. If there were no CO2 in the atmosphere, it would be decidedly cooler on Earth (“glacial” comes to mind). The amount of heat that can be trapped is limited not by CO2, but by how much “radiation” enters the atmosphere from the sun. At the present time, all (that means all) “radiation” that can be trapped by CO2 is already being trapped. Adding more CO2 does not add more heat.

As an analogy, let an empty one gallon container represent CO2 in the atmosphere, and a one gallon container of water represent “radiation” from the sun.

I pour the water from the “sun” into the “CO2″ container. All of the water is “trapped” by the “CO2″. If I increase the “CO2″ container to two gallons (doubling the CO2), and pour one gallon of “radiation” into it, I have once again trapped one gallon of “radiation”, not two.

Increasing the CO2 does not increase the amount of radiation produced by the sun.

We could quadruple the CO2 in the atmosphere and still have no more trapped radiation than we do now.

Just an inconvenient truth.

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 10:31 AM

So no increase in co2 levels while there was heating. No increase during cooling.

I am beginning to see a trend.

sonofdy on January 4, 2010 at 10:33 AM

Nail meet coffin.

J.J. Sefton on January 4, 2010 at 10:34 AM

If a nuclear plant dumped 50% of its nuclear waste into the sewers, and the other 50% into a nearby lake, and it did this every day, you would be wrong to say that the percentage of the lake that was nuclear waste wasn’t increasing.

50% of how much?
Co2 is ..what? .00038% of the atmosphere?..and human activity adds…how much of that.

Itchee Dryback on January 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM

No. The percentage (and total amount) of co2 in the atmosphere is also rising.
tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 10:14 AM

In contradiction to some recent studies, he finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

Am I missing something?

If a nuclear plant dumped 50% of its nuclear waste into the sewers, and the other 50% into a nearby lake, and it did this every day, you would be wrong to say that the percentage of the lake that was nuclear waste wasn’t increasing.

If the nuclear waste was in the form of a gas such as co2, it could escape from the lake. If it were a solid, it could be absorbed into the soil in the bottom of the lake , but not remain suspended in the water. Your assuming the water as a substitute for air and nuclear waste a substitute for a gas. Not a satisfactory or accurate analogy.

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM

That’s the way I read the article also, but it certainly could have been less ambiguous.

Barnestormer on January 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

I don’t think it’s ambiguous. “Airborne fraction” is clearly defined in the first paragraph of the introduction. I’m sure it’s also a term that is used widely and consistently in all of these papers.

I think it’s just easy to get confused between these different types of ratios.

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM

That means whatever warming we have experienced (and we have experienced warming) did not come from increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

And we know that how? At which fraudulent data should I look?

therealfranklin on January 4, 2010 at 10:37 AM

all of this AGW hysteria would end if “they” could ever be forced to answer a very simple question.

What temperature is the planet supposed to be?

Mord on January 4, 2010 at 9:54 AM

The answer is:

In December, the temperature it was when Al Gore got his first shiny bicycle.
In Spring, the temperature it was when young Al Gore first found love.
In Summer, the temperature it was when young Al Gore caught his first catfish.
In Autumn, the temperature it was when Mama Gore showed baby Al his first red leaves.

In other words, let’s change the world so it can be like Al Gore remembers it, before he became fat, ugly, and ridiculed by millions.

Sowell Disciple on January 4, 2010 at 10:41 AM

The reason this is being argued as a political issue is that we’re assured that global climate will be altered so rapidly as to have the effect of a natural disaster, and therefore, government intervention is necessary.

If global climate isn’t going to cause that socio-economic collapse we can go back to sleep and leave the debate to the lecture halls and journals.

Chris_Balsz on January 4, 2010 at 10:41 AM

Am I missing something?

If the nuclear waste was in the form of a gas such as co2, it could escape from the lake. If it were a solid, it could be absorbed into the soil in the bottom of the lake , but not remain suspended in the water. Your assuming the water as a substitute for air and nuclear waste a substitute for a gas. Not a satisfactory or accurate analogy.

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Good lord. In the analogy, the nuclear waste is liquid and is absorbed into the lake. The point of the analogy is just to illustrate what the ratios are, not to be biologically and physically accurate about whether nuclear waste would absorb into a lake.

Yes you are missing something. What airborne fraction you quoted is the fraction of emitted carbon that stays in the atmosphere. 46% of carbon that is emitted by humans stays in the atmosphere. The other 54% goes into the land and sea. So the more we emit carbon, the more carbon goes into the atmosphere.

Honestly, if you really still doubt that atmospheric carbon is increasing, just look at Figure 1 of the paper. The carbon is clearly increasing. Or just read the introduction where he explains exactly what the terms mean.

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 10:44 AM

Because the GW models are constructed partially almost entirely on such assumptions, the study casts even more doubt on the “data” used to assume GW.

mankai on January 4, 2010 at 9:32 AM

FIFY

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 10:44 AM

That would explain why we have experienced a cooling cycle for the last ten to twelve years despite an increase of CO2 emissions, albeit an increase at a slower rate than before. The new analysis completely destroys the AGW argument, because if CO2 is not accumulating in the atmosphere, it can’t be causing global warming.

This good post would be enhanced by more attention to detail. Climate has cooled since 1998.

http://www.drroyspencer.com/latest-global-temperatures/

Although CO2 emissions have increased at a slower rate in western economies, this is clearly not the case in the emerging economies.

No one doubts the necessity of curtailing particulate emissions into the air. If anyone did, the Beijing Olympics and the thick & chunky smog would have removed those doubts. Moving towards cleaner energy and renewables is a laudable goal and a necessary process. But succumbing to AGW hysteria and destroying the very economy that could produce that type of progress is not just absurd, it’s counterproductive to the goal.

Since CO2 is an odorless and colorless plant food, it is unhelpful to refer to pollution in any discussion of CO2 emissions except to emphasize that it is not a pollutant.

Basilsbest on January 4, 2010 at 10:46 AM

I guess this means that domesticated animal flatulence is about the same as it was when John Brown raided Harper’s Ferry. Of course political flatulence has increased exponentially over the same period.

sdd on January 4, 2010 at 10:47 AM

So you simply swallow this computer model called Spider to chase the failed computer model called Fly? And there are further antidotes in the pipe if necessary.

There is no AGW, there never was and there never can be. And we should pray for global warming because the human and animals of this planet thrive with a little more heat. To grant “climate science” even a hint of validity now only demonstrates stupidity.

BL@KBIRD on January 4, 2010 at 10:47 AM

That said, CO2 dissolved in water becomes carbolic acid — the stuff that gives Champagne and soda pop their fizz. As the pH of the water is lowered, we should see environmental changes in the ocean, including fish die-offs in areas of greatest concentration, and algae blooms, etc. as well.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Dissolved salt is sufficient to buffer the increases in CO2.

The oceans are going to remain basic, not acidic for many hundreds of years, even if the worst case CO2 increases are acheived.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM

But Noah Wiley wants my $16 to fight “climate change” that is “threatening Polar Bears.” Cause the ice cap is melting and cubs are dying and all and they “are on their way to extinction.” We gots to “act now” or “most will die in our children’s lifetime.”

They are dying at this very moment and I can’t find my dang checkbook! Oh, the humanity!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3UkwAXWBYc

BigAlSouth on January 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM

… Republicans (e.g. McCain and Graham) also supported the battle against Global Warming.

RedSoxNation on January 4, 2010 at 8:59 AM

AKA the GOP’s useful idiots

ya2daup on January 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM

All I could find was stuff like this which indicates that production of O2 by ultrviolet radiation of water is self-limiting to about 1-2% of the current oxygen levels in the atmosphere — once enough O3 is produced, UV is considerably diminished.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:57 AM

From the oceans does not mean from the water. It references the huge amounts of plankton, etc. in the water.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 10:51 AM

This was always a lie. 3/4ths of the oxygen that we breath comes from the oceans.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 9:48 AM
Could you back that assertion with a scientific article or two?

All I could find was stuff like this which indicates that production of O2 by ultrviolet radiation of water is self-limiting to about 1-2% of the current oxygen levels in the atmosphere — once enough O3 is produced, UV is considerably diminished. Most articles I’ve read claim that the O2 in our atmosphere was produced by biological processes. I googled the words origin oxygen atmosphere to find my articles.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Most of the O2 is produced by phytoplankton (plants) in the oceans.

riverrat10k on January 4, 2010 at 10:52 AM

A French study from the University of Pusse’ also suggests atmospheric CO2 levels are rapidly rising due to spontaneously combusting automobiles, so cars should be banned.

Rocks on January 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Really? I thought that fire cannot burn steel!

ya2daup on January 4, 2010 at 10:54 AM

AGW, like all paeans to “sustainability”, organic, recycling, etc. ad nauseam, is a religious expression in nature.

The enviros are religious nutjobs, weeping and gnashing their teeth over Mother Gaia. And they can get bent.

spmat on January 4, 2010 at 10:56 AM

I’m really getting sloppy! I meant to post:

A French study from the University of Pusse’ also suggests atmospheric CO2 levels are rapidly rising due to spontaneously combusting automobiles, so cars should be banned.

Rocks on January 4, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Really? I thought that fire cannot burn steel!

ya2daup on January 4, 2010 at 10:56 AM

What about that thermodynamics study that came out recently? Didn’t that already destroy the entire theory of AGW? And before that wasn’t the CRU email scandal enough to destroy it as it’s currently constituted?

How many times must AGW be discredited before they move on to Global Cooling?

Kronos on January 4, 2010 at 10:58 AM

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/outlook/6795858.html

Additional information worthy of reading…

Keemo on January 4, 2010 at 10:16 AM

Wow – I can’t believe they snuck that past the Chronicle’s editors. Someone is going to get fired for letting that make it to print.

Corsair on January 4, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Good lord.
tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 10:44 AM

This study re-examines the available atmospheric CO2 and emissions data including their uncertainties. It is shown that with those uncertainties, the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, i.e. close to and not significantly different from zero. The analysis further shows that the statistical model of a constant airborne fraction agrees best with the available data if emissions from land use change are scaled down to 82% or less of their original estimates. Despite the predictions of coupled climate-carbon cycle models, no trend in the airborne fraction can be found.
Science Daily

Good lord, indeed!

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Co2 is ..what? .00038% of the atmosphere?..and human activity adds…how much of that.

Itchee Dryback on January 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM

No, it’s now about 0.038% or else 0.00038 as a proportion, not 0.00038%.

The point is, this has increased from about 0.032% since the 1950s, which is an increase of over 18% in actual tonnage in a few decades.

What this study showed, is that, even while carbon emissions have been increasing, the increase doesn’t all (or even mostly) just get dumped into the atmosphere, and, regardless of the increasing amount released, the same proportions go into the air vs water and ground as in the pre-industrial days, which is a big difference from the assumptions in the doom-and-gloom models.

But, since 45% of a big number is more than 45% of a small number, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, both in tonnage, and as a fraction of the total Earth’s atmosphere, has been increasing. (This study didn’t even address that question.)

notropis on January 4, 2010 at 11:02 AM

The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.
The percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.
However, the percentage of CO2 on the planet which is airborne (as opposed to dissolved in the oceans, trapped in ice, or incorporated into biomass through photosynthesis) is not increasing. That is the meaning of airborne fraction. It doesn’t mean the fraction of the air which is CO2. It’s an easy mistake to make, and many others have on other sites.
Why this matters: One of the claims of the alarmists is that the oceans cannot hold any more CO2, that they are “saturated,” and therefore additional CO2 emissions will increasingly stay in the atmosphere. This now appears to be false. It undermines the alarmists’ arguments a little, but not too much.

There is a common misconception about the meaning of “saturated” solutions, especially concerning gases. For a given temperature, the ratio of CO2 concentration in air to that in water at equilibrium is a constant, known as the Henry’s Law constant. If the CO2 concentration in air increases (which it has) the concentration in ocean water would increase proportionately.

Global average annual ocean temperatures have been steady over the past century, meaning that the overall ratio of CO2 in the air to CO2 in the oceans should not change. An increase in the CO2 content of the air would force more CO2 into the water. Although some people worry that this might “acidify” the oceans, additional CO2 in the oceans also increases the growth rate of phytoplankton, which is the basic food source for all marine life, and also supply more raw material for coral and shellfish to be converted to carbonates.

The Henry’s Law constant increases with temperature, and ocean temperatures do fluctuate seasonally (warmer in local summer, cooler in winter), meaning that a given area of ocean water will emit CO2 during warm weather and re-absorb it during cold weather. In temperate climates, this effect is helpful to life–more CO2 in the air during summer available for the growth of land plants; more CO2 in the ocean during the winter for growth of plankton, which is food for many sea creatures.

The overall ratio of CO2 in the air to CO2 absorbed depends on many other factors besides phase equilibrium between air and water. But if the University of Bristol study shows that this ratio hasn’t changed much in 150 years, if the CO2 concentration in the air has increased, this means that either the CO2 content of the oceans has also increased, or that total biomass of the earth has increased, or some combination of both.

As Ed wrote:

If we’re producing larger biomass, then we’re creating more capacity to absorb CO2 and produce more oxygen (and food, too) as a result.

That is NOT bad–it’s making the Earth greener and more fertile.

Steve Z on January 4, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Somewhere a liberal is weeping.

gmbdds on January 4, 2010 at 11:06 AM

What is the ‘normal’ temperature of Rock 3 from the star Sol?

The answer depends on what you define as ‘normal’ for the state of the planet. Currently we are in a period that began ~75 MYA that marks increased plate movement with the continental plates riding higher due to that increased activity. The result of that was the slow draining of inland oceans over the major continents (North America had a shallow ocean from pole to where the Gulf is transversing it north to south). While less than a mile deep, those oceans served as a Bahama-like thermal battery system that retained heat for the planet. As that is the ‘normal’ condition for the planet (most of its history is like this from approx. 1 BYA) the temperature during those periods has a stability about 13 degrees C above current average numbers. Ahh for the days when the Cretaceous arctic had the weather of Portland,OR or Seattle,WA!

Plate tectonics plays a role in oceanic heat transfer, as during the late Cretaceous there was a circum-global oceanic flow that only started to get messed up after the K-T event. Volcanic activity due to sea floor spreading and subduction expanded the Atlantic Ocean, caused the Rocky Mountain Plateau uplift and started a chain of volcanos along the area we call Central America. When that series of volcanic activities and uplift finally closed off the circum-global flow temps started to drop. There were no longer any of the inland seas to buffer temps via volumetric heat retention, the Atlantic became isolated from the Pacific for good heat transfer, and one continent shifted to the unusual position of the southern polar regions, thus putting a huge heat sink on the planet that got little light. As with any good heat sink it quickly lost heat for the entire system, glaciers formed and the planet no longer had the balmy climate it normally expects. In fact we got periodic glacier manifestations on a cyclic basis, which is what we are between right now: two glacial periods.

If you want to warm up the planet you need the conditions to do so for the tectonic plates: no southern polar continent (nor one in the north), a consolidated land mass or two large land masses with little or no plate motion, that gets you subsidence which allows oceans to flow in over current terrestrial land mass, and the slow warming of shallow seas for a million years or so is required to get the heat batteries all charged up.

An atmosphere is damned handy, too, as well as lots and lots and lots of water. Venus has demonstrated a very dense atmosphere can suffice, on its own, but don’t expect to get that here as ours is more likely to head off into space, like Mars. Luckily volcanic activity adds lovely volatiles back into things!

And mankind?

Until we can figure out how to terraform the old fixer-upper Rock 3, I suggest we compare our total industrial output to a volcano such as Toba or Yellowstone or any of the other megavolcanos on the planet. They have a tale to tell, and it isn’t a pretty one. Which is why getting off of the damned planet is a great idea for us as a species: Mother Earth has killed off 98% of all species and with a loving mother that makes Lizzie Borden look sweet, we just might want to reconsider our long-term prospects with such a bloodthirsty environment. But then Mother Earth is not a loving mother, at all, and we are just one species that hasn’t been around long enough to even begin to have the impact of a Toba or Yellowstone or a nice 10km wide asteroid hitting the place. Now THAT was a shocker.

ajacksonian on January 4, 2010 at 11:09 AM

If the problem we’re solving is global warming caused by CO2 levels, then we should consider all sources of CO2, right? If volcanic emissions of CO2 aren’t a problem, the the much smaller levels of CO2 emitted by humans aren’t a problem either.

Why does the earth care if the “pollution” comes from cars of from cow farts? Does mother nature know if the greenhouse gasses are from insects or industry, and treat them differently? The idea that our CO2 is different than all other CO2, and that the difference matters, is egocentric.

hawksruleva on January 4, 2010 at 10:28 AM

That’s an easy one – you can’t tax volcanoes. Just try to sell a carbon offset to a cow. It’s always been about wealth redistribution – every time we have one of these “catastrophes” in the making the first suggestion is taxing the “rich” – It’s how the commu-socialists work. Redirect people’s vision to a scare while they take away your freedoms and give themselves more power to “protect you”

Corsair on January 4, 2010 at 11:11 AM

This whole AGW business just reeks.

The smell is no doubt due to the high temperatures…

forest on January 4, 2010 at 11:13 AM

I don’t think it’s ambiguous….
I think it’s just easy to get confused between these different types of ratios.

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 10:35 AM

Thanks for clearing that up.

Barnestormer on January 4, 2010 at 11:14 AM

While I agree that AGW is a huge scam I’m curious as to why you think it has anything to do with the nuclear power industry.

Oldnuke,

While I don’t have the smoking gun, some 25 years ago the Nuclear Industry was facing death by a thousand cuts (by the same crowd fighting carbon today). Some countries introduced phasing out legislations, many were considering it, the Nuclear was clearly on the way out. Wouldn’t it sound like a great idea to simply put some sand into the coal energy gears?
The rest was history…

TomB on January 4, 2010 at 11:15 AM

How did this report get past the censors peer-review process?

Vashta.Nerada on January 4, 2010 at 11:17 AM

Well, the answer is obvious, isn’t it.

Even scientists can be racists.

notagool on January 4, 2010 at 11:17 AM

No, it’s now about 0.038% or else 0.00038 as a proportion, not 0.00038%.

You’re right..I should have left the % off.

But, since 45% of a big number is more than 45% of a small number, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, both in tonnage, and as a fraction of the total Earth’s atmosphere, has been increasing. (This study didn’t even address that question.)

But so what?
That way of looking at things seems similar to some peoples obsession with diet supplements, or the benefit of “flushing” certain “toxins” from your “system”. There may be theories that state doing so is a good thing, and other theories that state its meaningless. If the decision to either follow and spend the extra time and money is left to the individual, I could care less. But..if a certain unproven theory would mandate, by law that I in part pay for implementing the structure that is needed to fund everybody on the planet following a bogus religion or pseudoscience so a select few can become rich, I say get the f**k out of my business and life.

Itchee Dryback on January 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM

That said, CO2 dissolved in water becomes carbolic acid — the stuff that gives Champagne and soda pop their fizz. As the pH of the water is lowered, we should see environmental changes in the ocean, including fish die-offs in areas of greatest concentration, and algae blooms, etc. as well.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Dissolved salt is sufficient to buffer the increases in CO2.

The oceans are going to remain basic, not acidic for many hundreds of years, even if the worst case CO2 increases are acheived.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 10:48 AM

H2CO3 (carbonic acid) does not exist; what exists is CO2 + H2O, pKa ~ 6.2 off the top of my head. The volume of the oceans and the general lack of mixing that occurs means the oceans possess a pH gradient as a function of depth as well as a temperature gradient (which contributes to the pH gradient as pH is temperature dependent). As the oceans are basic the CO2 gets converted to bicarbonate:

CO2 + OH- –> HCO3-

Bubba Redneck on January 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM

The percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere is increasing.
However, the percentage of CO2 on the planet which is airborne (as opposed to dissolved in the oceans, trapped in ice, or incorporated into biomass through photosynthesis) is not increasing.

WTF is this nonsense? Atmosphere (“the envelope of gases surrounding any celestial body“) is all airborne. Whoever wrote that is an idiot.

elfman on January 4, 2010 at 11:18 AM

ajacksonian on January 4, 2010 at 11:09 AM

Great post.

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 11:19 AM

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 10:31 AM

http://www.nov55.com/atmo.html

One of my favorite charts on this subject…

Too bad so many don’t have any understanding of how a Greenhouse Gas works…

But you did leave out the Blackbody radiation the Earth itself emits in the IR spectrum (which is temp dependent)… its the other part of the energy equation…

But the physics are VERY inconvenient for those who think CO2 is driving us “warming”.

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 11:29 AM

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:57 AM

Mark the Great is correct in so far as 75% of atmospheric O2 comes from biological processes (phytoplankton) in the ocean. So what you read about most coming from biological processes is also correct.

chemman on January 4, 2010 at 11:32 AM

What this study showed, is that, even while carbon emissions have been increasing, the increase doesn’t all (or even mostly) just get dumped into the atmosphere, and, regardless of the increasing amount released, the same proportions go into the air vs water and ground as in the pre-industrial days, which is a big difference from the assumptions in the doom-and-gloom models.

If we assume man-made CO2 emissions at 28 billion tonnes (28×10^12 kg) per year, if all the CO2 remained in the atmosphere, the CO2 concentration would increase by 3.5 ppm per year. If the actual concentration increased from 320 ppm during the 1950′s to 380 ppm now, this is only 1 ppm per year, meaning that about 70% of man-made CO2 has been absorbed out of the air. This does not include absorption of NATURAL CO2 emissions from volcanoes, fermentation, and animal respiration.

Hundreds of experimental studies have shown that plant growth rates and crop yields increase when CO2 is added to the atmosphere. At some time in the future, the CO2 absorption rate by plants will catch up to the emission rate, and a new equilibrium will be reached at a higher CO2 concentration in the air. But with higher crop yields, this would result in a greener and more fertile Earth, though not necessarily warmer.

Steve Z on January 4, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Good lord, indeed!

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 10:59 AM

You just quoted the paper and wrote “Good lord, indeed!” What you quoted in fact confirmed what I said.

The key line is “It is shown that with those uncertainties, the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, i.e. close to and not significantly different from zero.”

“Airborne fraction” is defined at the beginning of the paper. It is the percentage of human emissions that stay in the atmosphere. What you quoted shows that it not significantly increasing. So the percentage is staying pretty constant at 46%.

This does NOT mean that the percentage of carbon in the atmosphere is constant. In fact, as the paper shows, it is rising.

tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 11:34 AM

I see several commenters have already straightened Ed out on the meaning of the cited report.

Here instead is the devastating takedown of AGW: http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/0707/0707.1161v4.pdf

The additional fun fact is that, with our “recent” ice ages, the planet has been relatively starved for CO2. Satellite monitoring for almost two decades has shown plant life benefiting greatly from our increased. Turns out we benefit by doing all we can to pump more CO2 into the atmosphere: http://www.climatedepot.com/a/2355/Rising-CO2-a-Boon-for-Biosphere-ndash-Earth-in-CO2-Famine-ndash-Cutting-CO2-a-profoundly-evil-act–Climate-Depot-Fact-Sheet-on-CO2

Chaz on January 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 11:29 AM

I don’t have even a conversational level of understanding of “Blackbody” emissions. Looks like a Google search is in my future.

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM

The question of the century: Will the “smart” people ever catch on?

BetseyRoss on January 4, 2010 at 9:31 AM

BetseyRoss: U-Betcha,(with a SarahCuda)*wink-wink*!:)

canopfor on January 4, 2010 at 11:37 AM

A few points:

1a) Without reading the study itself, one cannot say for certain what this study does or does not prove or suggest. I find the author’s use of the word “uncertainties” in the abstract worrisome for drawing firm conclusions therefrom–there are a number of ways to treat uncertainties, and this author may have opted for a best-case, rather than a most-probably scenario.

1b) Thought experiment: imagine that this study, upon further review, is shown not to support the point you hope it makes. Will it change your minds in any way, or will you forget all about it and go back to believing exactly as you did before? If the latter, why make hay about this study, because under those circumstances it obviously doesn’t prove anything.

2) Y’all (y’all know who y’are) discount the hundreds of scientific studies that suggest AGW is true, yet pounce on this one scientific study that suggests it might not be. Is that not terribly hypocritical? If peer-reviewed journals are all lying on the topic, why trust this one? If this one study can be trusted, why cannot all the others which reach contrary conclusions?

3) If AGW is a “religion” and its proponents constitute a “church” or a “cult,” as y’all claim, why would they even permit anyone to look for evidence like this study superficially seems to provide? A scientific journal rightly-so-called exists to help people get at the truth rightly-so-called; a religious journal exists to help people accept its version of the truth. If climatology were actually a religion, this heresy would not be tolerated in this journal.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 11:40 AM

ajacksonian on January 4, 2010 at 11:09 AM
————–
Great post.

donh525 on January 4, 2010 at 11:19 AM
————–

donh525: I second that:)

canopfor on January 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 9:49 AM

Only some of the dissolved CO2 becomes carbonic acid.
Some of it becomes carbonate (CO3 with a -2 charge) which can be converted to acid or can be precipitated out as limestone’s.

chemman on January 4, 2010 at 11:42 AM

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 11:40 AM

While the uncertainty is large the overall results are consistent with known laws of Chemistry. The two areas it is in harmony with are Solution chemistry and Chemical Equilibrium. The deep oceans hold about 38 times the amount of the upper oceans. The upper oceans hold about 1.5 times the amount as the atmosphere. There are multiple other equilibria that exist in the ocean and atmosphere that define the halflife of CO2.

chemman on January 4, 2010 at 11:50 AM

Y’all (y’all know who y’are) discount the hundreds of scientific studies that suggest AGW is true, yet pounce on this one scientific study that suggests it might not be. Is that not terribly hypocritical? If peer-reviewed journals are all lying on the topic, why trust this one? If this one study can be trusted, why cannot all the others which reach contrary conclusions?

A simple explanation: Preponderance of the evidence.

The “settled Science” of AGW does not easily fit with daily observations of the jury (non-climate experts). Colder winters, oceans not rising, ice sheets expanding, polar bear populations increasing, etc.

For those in the population who have a bit more knowledge of the argument, a review of the data further casts doubt on the “settled” portion of the science. Secret data sources, software code written to produce pre-determined results, unanswered questions about the quality of the raw temperature data, historical records (ice core data vis-a-vis temperature-CO2 relationship, etc.) not presented truthfully, and the use of cherry-picked proxies (and discard of proxies that don’t support the theory) all serve to cast major doubt on the widely-reported “earth the pot roaster if we don’t raise taxes” theory.

And this study is not the only one. It is “another” one.

Add to that the current stories of climate scientists caught stifling studies that contradict their own, impeding the natural course of scientific research (formulate theory, test theory, re-evaluate theory, re-test, ad infinitum..)

In the end, the public is the jury, and the state has not proven it’s case beyond a shadow of a doubt. In fact, the defense is shredding the states case. Manufactured evidence? Perjury by expert witnesses? Witholding of exculpatory evidence?

Certainly a mistrial. If it goes to the jury, I’m betting on acquittal.

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM

I don’t have even a conversational level of understanding of “Blackbody” emissions. Looks like a Google search is in my future.

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Its pretty simple… its the IR Radiation the Earth itself emits, due to its base Temperature.

Think of it as the heat you feel coming off of asphalt on a summer day… The Earth itself is constantly emiting this Radiation, which gets radiated back out into space.

So, CO2 is getting its energy from two sources, the Sun, and the Earth itself… and its the total of those two sources of energy which are important…

Problem is, that because nothing man does increases the entire Heat resevoir of the Earth itself… and all of that radiation is already being absorbed… you get right back into the same issue…

You won’t raise the Earths temp UNLESS you add ENERGY to the equation…

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM

But…but…but…The Polar Bears!
kingsjester on January 4, 2010 at 8:58 AM

The Canadians like to hunt Polar Bears for the sport. I love how everyone cries over 7 PB who had drowned, but no one mentions the fact that Canada kills 1000-2000 of them each year for fun.

Michelle Dubois on January 4, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Venus has demonstrated a very dense atmosphere can suffice, on its own, but don’t expect to get that here as ours is more likely to head off into space, like Mars.

Why is that? Our gravity is heavier and our magnetic field is stronger.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 12:01 PM

Hundreds of experimental studies have shown that plant growth rates and crop yields increase when CO2 is added to the atmosphere. At some time in the future, the CO2 absorption rate by plants will catch up to the emission rate, and a new equilibrium will be reached at a higher CO2 concentration in the air. But with higher crop yields, this would result in a greener and more fertile Earth, though not necessarily warmer.

Steve Z on January 4, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Your forgetting the basic lefty principle that humans are bad/the world is overpopulated. Higher crop yields are a bad thing because that means less starvation so population continues to increase. Remember – Mother Earth cannot feed 3 4 5 6 7 billion people.

Corsair on January 4, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Ah! So then earths IR signature is considered a constant (relatively), and is in addition to extra-terrestrial IR sources (the Sun, also a constant for our purposes anyway), and is also fully accounted for by the maximum CO2 adsorption we have now have?

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Y’all (y’all know who y’are) discount the hundreds of scientific studies that suggest AGW is true, yet pounce on this one scientific study that suggests it might not be. Is that not terribly hypocritical? If peer-reviewed journals are all lying on the topic, why trust this one? If this one study can be trusted, why cannot all the others which reach contrary conclusions?

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 11:40 AM

1) What are these alleged “hundreds of studies”? The only ones I’ve seen either rely on cooked data, refuse to release the data and methods behind the study, or don’t say what the warmers claim they say.

2) You try to make it sound that this is the only study that puts the AGW claims in doubt. Hardly, it’s just one of hundreds.

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 11:36 AM
Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Don’t feel badly, Bob–it looks like Romeo13 doesn’t have a conversational level of understanding of blackbody emissions either.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Thanks for your two posts on blackbody radiation.
Hopefully some of those who keep harping on increased CO2 concentrations will begin to understand that if the total energy available is constant then if CO2 increases each molecule gets a smaller piece of the energy pie thus a runaway greenhouse effect would violate laws of physics.

chemman on January 4, 2010 at 12:12 PM

MarkTheGreat on January 4, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Re: your point #2: your point #1 back atcha.

Re: your point #1: There is a difference between what the scientists studying the matter say, what the media reporting on the scientists studying the matter say, what the environmentalists running scared based on the media reporting say, and what the politicians pandering to the environmentalists say. Yes, the media doesn’t get the stories right, the environmentalists are nuts, and the politicians are power-hungry, but that does not mean that there is not sound science buried underneath all the hysteria.

One cannot rightly blame the science for the hysteria any more than one can rightly blame physics for nuclear war, or biology for eugenics, and one cannot sanely discount physics or biology because one takes moral, political, or religious issues with their discoveries or certain potential implications thereof.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:15 PM

Ah! So then earths IR signature is considered a constant (relatively), and is in addition to extra-terrestrial IR sources (the Sun, also a constant for our purposes anyway), and is also fully accounted for by the maximum CO2 adsorption we have now have?

BobMbx on January 4, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Yep… Blackbody radiation is based on the Temperature, and base makeup, of the Mass creating it… so unless the Earth itself (not biosphere) changes heat, which would take a loonnnnggg time as its partly a molten core kind of thing… Total Blackbody radiation is constant.

In fact, its one of the mechanisms which actualy “cool” the Earth… as Blackbody radiation which makes it through the atmosphere is some of what gets radiated back into space…

Now, some of that energy IS part of the “Greenhouse” effect, which makes the atmosphere warmer due to IR radiation being abosrbed, and then propogated through the atmosphere via conduction, and convection.

But it is the other part of the total energy equation… and we don’t want to be accused of cookikng the books… or ignoring “some” facts, like CRU seems to have done.

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 12:18 PM

I’m pretty sure you mean carbonic acid, not carbolic.

Oldnuke on January 4, 2010 at 9:58 AM

I’m not so sure. It’s Monday, and I’m a rocket scientist, not a chemist!

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Don’t feel badly, Bob–it looks like Romeo13 doesn’t have a conversational level of understanding of blackbody emissions either.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:09 PM

Really? Interesting… Please point out where I am wrong?

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM

It should be a nail in the coffin of Anthropogenic Global Warming, but that’s only so if the Green Statists are open to reason. They’re not: for some, AGW is religious faith. For others, its never been about “global warming” or “climate change” or whatever they’re calling it this week. It’s about creating a statist, social-democratic transnational regime that will empower bureaucrats and those who ally with them. In other words, scratch a Green and you’ll reveal a Red.

irishspy on January 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Hopefully some of those who keep harping on increased CO2 concentrations will begin to understand that if the total energy available is constant then if CO2 increases each molecule gets a smaller piece of the energy pie thus a runaway greenhouse effect would violate laws of physics.

chemman on January 4, 2010 at 12:12 PM

HOLY S*** DUDE! You just outsmarted thousands of scientists, all of whom apparently managed to forget 10th grade conservation of energy laws! Call the papers! You’ll win a Nobel for sure! You can title your acceptance speech “How To Make Idiotic Comments Sound Profound”.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Nice snark, but got any facts on your side? This is nothing new…

http://www.climategate.com/german-physicists-trash-global-warming-theory

(a) there are no common physical laws between the warming phenomenon in glass houses and the fictitious atmospheric greenhouse effects, (b) there are no calculations to determine an average surface temperature of a planet, (c) the frequently mentioned difference of 33 degrees Celsius is a meaningless number calculated wrongly, (d) the formulas of cavity radiation are used inappropriately, (e) the assumption of a radiative balance is unphysical, (f) thermal conductivity and friction must not be set to zero, the atmospheric greenhouse conjecture is falsified.

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Please point out where I am wrong?

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 12:21 PM

But only because you asked so nicely.

Think of it as the heat you feel coming off of asphalt on a summer day…

Why is the asphalt warmer than the grassy field the road is next to?

The Earth itself is constantly emiting this Radiation, which gets radiated back out into space.

All of it gets radiated back? Instantaneously? Srsly?

So, CO2 is getting its energy from two sources,

Your understanding of GW is that the CO2 is getting warmer? No wonder you don’t believe it–nobody else believes that either.

the Sun, and the Earth itself… and its the total of those two sources of energy which are important…

Ignoring this…

Problem is, that because nothing man does increases the entire Heat resevoir of the Earth itself…

…and this… maybe the next bit will be coherent enough to respond to.

and all of that radiation is already being absorbed…

All of it? And it’s all being radiated back into space instantaneously? And there’s nothing anyone can do to alter these processes? (Think real hard, until it hurts, about the asphalt road and grassy field mentioned above)

you get right back into the same issue…

You won’t raise the Earths temp UNLESS you add ENERGY to the equation…
Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 11:59 AM

This is technically correct, but you’re defining your systems wrong. You can raise the Earth’s temperature by either a) decreasing the amount of solar radiation that clouds, ice caps, etc. radiate back out into space before it is ever absorbed by the Earth (or, identically, increasing the amount that the Earth absorbs by, say, paving all the grassy fields) or by b) decreasing the rate at which absorbed energy is radiated back out into the atmosphere by, say, enclosing it in a giant greenhouse of some form or fashion.

Bet you wish you hadn’t asked so nicely.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM

SwampYankee on January 4, 2010 at 9:20 AM
tneloms on January 4, 2010 at 9:45 AM

Thank you for clear explanations. Ed’s interpretations had certainly puzzled me.

YiZhangZhe on January 4, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Gotta get to the DMV. I’ll read it–I promise.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:36 PM

Bet you wish you hadn’t asked so nicely.

hicsuget on January 4, 2010 at 12:35 PM

ah… typical… parsing, and taking things out of context.

If you’ll notice, and bother to read, and perhaps comprehend?

I even STATE that CO2 and other gases are abosorbing some of the radiation… which is part of the Greenhouse effect.

But you are so busy trying to dismiss, instead of understand, that its laughable.

And yes, all of the IR radiation in the Absorbtion bands which CO2 can absorb (the specific IR wavelengths CO2 absorbs) ARE accounted for by either CO2, or already existing other Greenhouse gases.

But please, continue to purposly misunderstand, you are making my point for me.

Romeo13 on January 4, 2010 at 12:44 PM

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