A biologist’s perspective on ice ages and climate sensitivity: Part I

by DocMartyn

This is the first of a three part presentation where I will attempt to explain the climate of the last 800,000 thousand years, drawing on the role of the biosphere’s response to interstellar dust.


It has been proposed that atmospheric CO2, and to a lesser extent CH4, are the main drivers of the steady state atmospheric temperature, within the +2 and -10 °C relative temperature variability band that has been observed via the ice core record of the last 800,000 years. The equilibrium climate sensitivity is typically described as the increase in global temperature that results from a doubling of the concentration of CO2 from its pre-industrial value of 280 ppm to 560 ppm, sometimes presented using the notation ΔTx2. The IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) said ΔTx2 was “likely to be in the range of 1.5 to 4.5 °C” [1]. In the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) climate sensitivity was estimated to be in the range 2 to 4.5 °C with a best estimate of about 3 °C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5 °C, but values higher than 4.5 °C cannot be excluded [2]. More recently, a value near or around 3 °C has been put forward [3].

Many people have questioned such high values, including Roy Spencer, who examined the satellite temperature record and arrived at a very low value for ΔTx2 [4]. In response to Spencer’s work Gavin Schmidt, a NASA Goddard climatologist stated [5] “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.

Herein we examine possible causes of the temperature changes in the recent 800,000 year history of the Earth, as recorded in the Dome C Antarctica Ice Cores. We make no a priori assumption that the levels, or changes in the levels, of CO2 and other ‘greenhouse gasses’ are responsible for the changes in temperature over the various ice-age cycles. Instead, we examine the historical record and from first principles postulate a completely different physical mechanism for temperature variation.


The EPICA Dome C Ice Core Timescales EDC3 (Parrenin, Loulergueand E. Wolff, 2007) provides the basis for this analysis [6]. The dust data (laser dust mass concentration) is from Lambert et al., 2009 [7]. Dust is presented as μg/g and as Log10(ng/g). The EPICA Dome C Ice Core 800KYr Deuterium Data and Temperature Estimates reconstruction series used is that of Jouzel et al [8]. Note, the updated and corrected version is used throughout.  All data are available at this link.

In the original datasets there are 7,538 data points in the dust series and 5,800 data points in the deuterium series. Points in the two series are paired so that they were EDC3 dated less than 50 years apart. This gives rise to a paired dataset with 3,894 points. At no stage were these points averaged, in-filled, smoothed or manipulated in any manner that is not explicitly stated.


It is well known that temperatures reconstructed from ice cores show a (lagged) correlation with CO2. However, there is a much better correlation between atmospheric temperatures, as determined by the 1H/2H ratio, and the presence of insoluble particulates.

Figure 1A shows the levels of ancient dust plotted in absolute levels (Black, μg/g) and as the Log10 of ng/g (Red).

Figure 1B shows a pair of plots, firstly the reconstructed temperature (with respect to the present day average) and the levels of insoluble dust (as the negative Log10 function). As dust levels increase (and so the value of negative-Log(Dust) falls) the temperature also falls. As dust levels fall, an increase in temperature is recorded. The two datasets march in step across the entire the 800 ky range, but there are subtle difference in the two line-shapes.

Figure 1C shows the correlation between the levels of temperature and dust plotted in absolute levels (Black, μg/g) and as the Log10 of ng/g (Red). The correlation coefficient demonstrate that dust appears to approximately follow the Beer-Lambert law, with Log10(Dust) giving a r2 values of >0.77. However, plots of the residuals show distinct inverted ‘U’-shaped character in the plot.

We invert the linear relationship between Log10(dust) and temperature to provide an expression that models the temperature change as a function of Log10(dust) (Delta Temp = -5.3055*Log10(Dust ng/g)) + 5.1964). Figure 1D shows the simulated temperature (Blue) and compares it to the temperature reconstruction (Red). The difference between the two plots is shown in Black. This difference plot can inform us as to any lags between the two datasets, or, if there is some difference in the relationship over time.

Correlation is not causality (I). Dust radius and temperature.

Whilst we observe a very strong correlation between Log10(dust) and temperature over the course of the last 800,000 years, we are aware that correlation does not imply causation. However, if reflection or absorption of light by dust particles in the atmosphere causes a reduction in surface temperature, rather than dust levels increasing in response to a cooler climate, it should be possible to make surface temperature predictions based on the radiative properties of the particulates.

We will for a moment assume that all the dust particles are spheres, and as spheres we can make predictions about what changes the average radius of the dust particles would have on temperature. Given that dust mass is proportional to πr**3, but that the light extinction cross section is proportional to πr**2, then it follows that there should be an inverse relationship between particle radius and dust optical depth temperature. As aerosol optical depth increases, then the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface is reduced, lowering the surface temperature. Hence if the mass of dust remains the same but dust size is variable, then the smaller the average radius, the lower the surface temperature.

Thus, our simple Log10(Dust mass) model will miss-fit when dust radius varies, such that when the actual radius of dust rises, our simple model will underestimate the actual temperature and when the radius is in reality smaller than average, then the model will overestimate temperature.

An example of the partial failure of the temperature simulation as a function of Log10(dust) is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Factors which affect the Dust/Temperature relationship.

In Figure 2A, left, we show the actually temperature (red) reconstruction, simulated temperature (blue) and residuals (black), over the period 300,000 to 75,000 years ago. In Figure 2B, right, the same residual is plotted with the average radius of the dust particles, from the dust size determined by laser spectroscopy and archived by Durand, G. and J. Weiss. 2004 [9].

We do not know for certain what the size of dust particles actually was when dust particles were deposited on the ice. This is because dust size appears to be larger in the distant past compared with more recent times. We speculate that this may be due to compressive flocculation, where during compression of ice layers some dust particles become merged. What is clear is that older, deeper samples are on the whole larger than newer, upper dust. Despite the upward tend in dust size, fluctuations in the record are clearly visible. Even without correction for the gradual increases in dust particle size in deeper core samples, it is clear that larger dust particles is associated with higher temperature than smaller particles. The discontinuity between 130 and 116,000 years shows that larger particles underestimate the actual temperature in the simulation using the simple model; a similar blip is noticeable around 245,000 years.

Correlation is not causality (II). Dust composition

It is quite reasonable to suggest that the high levels of atmospheric dust found during periods of intense cold are a direct result of the Earth being cold. One could expect cooling to cause an increase in desertification, so increasing the levels of wind blown dust in the atmosphere. One could therefore presume that the correlations shown in Figures 1 and 2 are just a manifestation of a ‘cold = more desert = more dust’ phenomenon. However, elemental analysis of ice cores does not appear to support this argument. Work has been performed on the elemental and chemical composition of soluble and insoluble matter trapped in the Antarctic ice, but high resolution data is generally only available for the most recent 45,000 years. However, even this period can give us an insight into where the dust originated from. [10], [11]

Figure 3 shows eight different panels whereby changes in the deuterium derived temperature and dust levels (as -log10(Dust)), the insoluble dust radius and True Temp-Simulated Temp, the fraction changes in the levels of Fe and Cl, and finally the Cl/Na ratio and the Ca/Na ratio [the latter four elemental series from 10 and 11]. Each of the figures has been color coded to show seven different, distinct, periods; 45-40, 40-30, 30-27, 27-15, 15-11, 11-8 and 8-0 Ky.

The upper pair, Figures 3A and 3B, show that temperature changes generally track the –Log10(dust) levels, but there are distinct aberrations. In Figure 3C the True Temp minus Modeled Temp is presented next to the average dust radius during the same period, Figure 3D. Levels of Fe and Cl (normalized relative to present day values) are shown in panels 3E and 3F.

Figure 3. Changes in the Elemental composition of the Dome C ice core and effects on temperature.

Finally, Figures 3G and 3H show the ratios of Cl/Na and Ca/Na. The Cl/Na ratio of sea salt is 55:31 or 1.78:1 and the calcium levels in sea water are low in comparison with the levels in soil, and therefore high Ca/Na ratios in Figure 3H, indicate the transport of material from land [12].

Sea Salt; 11-8 Ky. We observe a spike in sea salt in the period 11-8 Ky, indicated by a four fold increase in Cl, a Cl/Na ratio of approximately 2 (with spikes) and a low Ca/Na ratio. In this region, the modeled temperature is reasonably close to the true value.

The long Iron Age, 30-15 Ky. The Fe levels are high and stable from about 30 ky until they decline to twice present day levels at 15 Ky. In this period, we have a sea salt Cl/Na ratio, a land Ca/Na ratio, high Cl and high iron. At the same time, the dust particle size is very small. The Cl levels suggest sea salt, but the Ca/Na levels show that Na is not the counter ion to all the chloride. Moreover, insoluble dust is very high and particle size is very small. The levels of Fe, >30 times present day levels, suggest that the high levels of very small particles did not derive from either the land or from the oceans. This implies either volcanic or extraterrestrial sources. However, although not shown in Part (I), there is a drop in CO2 , and CO2 is a major emission from volcanic activity, indicating that volcanic activity is not the major dust source.

The post-Iron age; 15-11 Ky. Between 15-11 Ky we observe the biggest failure in the simple model of temperature as a function of dust levels in reproducing the actual temperature data. The dust levels fall in a bi-phasic fashion between 20 Ky and 8 Ky, to present day levels. The fall in Fe tracks an increase in dust particle size, in the way the rise in Fe levels tracked a fall in particle size. In Fe’s last gasp, between 15-11 Ky, there is a major failure in the model. In addition to the rise in particle size, Cl levels collapse, as does the Ca/Na and also the Cl/Na ratio. There is dust, but it is very poor in Fe, Cl, Na and Ca. The reason the model, Delta Temp = -5.3055*Log10(Dust ng/g), fails is that not all dust is the same. Size does indeed matter, as does composition.

Initial Conclusions

Global warming and cooling without greenhouse gases

In this initial presentation we have not examined the changes in the biotic atmospheric gasses, CO2, CH4, N2O, nor DMS/DMSO, during the glacial cycles of the last 800,000. In the next part of this series we will attempt to explain why these atmospheric levels of these biotic gasses fluctuated in the past, without recourse to the invocation of temperature.

Herein, we have presented evidence to support the postulate that global cooling during the ice age cycles observed over the last 800,000 years was associated with elevated atmospheric dust levels that reflected solar radiation. Comparing equal masses of dust, smaller particles are associated with more cooling than larger particles.

We find that there is no requirement to invoke ‘greenhouse gas’ driven mechanisms to explain the temperature changes that are recorded in the ice core record. Instead, we show that changes in the reflection/absorption of sunlight by atmospheric dust are plausible in both an historical sense, by correlation, and in terms of the basic physics of radiative transfer.

Where does the dust come from?

Examining the elemental composition of ice core, we speculate that the large levels of dust that are present in periods where the Earth is in the state know as Ice-ages, are of extraterrestrial origin. This postulate, and the periodicity of the ice-age/warm-age cycle, suggests that the solar system may regularly, every 80-82 thousand years, pass through Fe/Cl/Ca rich dust clouds.

“Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return”
(Genesis 3:19)

About the author: DocMartyn is a classically trained biochemist/neurochemist who is currently working on novel therapeutic strategies for treating brain cancers and in the environment/genetic interactions that cause the autism phenotype. He was fortunate enough to be mentored by the worlds leading nitrogen oxides chemist and by one of the worlds best steady state modelers; although how much he was able to learn is open to debate. He has worked on the role of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species, including Fenton/Haber-Weiss Chemistry, in physiology and pathophysiology for 20 years. He has more than 50 peer reviewed papers and has four Patent Applications in various stages of advancement in the pipe.

JC comment: Last week Doc Martyn sent me an email with an initial version of this essay. I expressed my willingness to publish this at Climate Etc., but made a number of comments on the essay. The essay underwent several iterations. While I have gone through this essay carefully, I am unfamiliar with the primary literature on this topic. Hence my publishing this essay at Climate Etc. does not provide any endorsement of the analysis or the conclusions. I find this to be a very interesting topic, and my publishing this essay for open comment is part of my objective of attracting academics from outside the field of climate science to participate in climate science.

Moderation note:  comments will be moderated for relevance.

300 responses to “A biologist’s perspective on ice ages and climate sensitivity: Part I

  1. Thanks for this post. Life itself is dynamic and reflects the dynamic process that surrounds and sustains us.

    That dynamic process cannot be stopped by current world leaders and their army of government scientists.

    That is the message Dr. Karo Michaelian and I tried to convey in the recent paper [“Origin and Evolution of Life Constraints on the Solar Model”, J. Modern Physics 2, 587-594 (2011)]


  2. Fascinating, thanks for posting. Reinforces to me the complexity that is climate. This why some of us have a hard time believing that *any* single factor can be the primary driver of climate, the argument of this post notwithstanding.

  3. The fact that dust levels increase during ice ages is well known. The usual explanation involves the facts that the increased delta-T between tropical and high latitude regions, lowered oceans expose coastal sands, and other phenomena associated with ice sheets. The usual interpretation is that ice age – interglacial cycles are initiated by variable solar input to high latitudes due to variations in the Earth’s orbit. Once initiated, ice ages are amplified and extended by feedback from expanded ice sheets and sea ice, replacement of ocean by land, increased dust levels, changes in the biosphere, increases in mountain glaciers, and diminution of greenhouse gas concentrations. (it is noteworthy however, that it remains difficult to explain how or why ice ages terminate so rapidly). Rough estimates of the forcings due to each of these factors have been made in comparing the Last Glacial Maximum with the pre-industrial condition. When the sum of forcings is compared with the estimated change in global average temperature between the LGM and the pre-industrial era, a rough estimate of the climate sensitivity can be made. See the following for a detailed review:
    Alternatively, one could arbitrarily pick out any one of these factors (albedo, dust, greenhouse gases, …) and claim it and only it produces ice-age-interglacial transitions. DocMartyn has done this for dust. But it seems more likely that increased dust levels during ice ages is a consequence of ice ages not a cause.

    • “it seems more likely that increased dust levels during ice ages is a consequence of ice ages not a cause”

      Only if you ignore Occam’s Razor.

      • Occam’s Razor is a guideline in the absence of additional evidence. But nice try, Harold.

      • Jim2

        “Occam’s Razor is a guideline in the absence of additional evidence.”

        Actually not, although you can probably find a version that supports your position somewhat. In any event, “likely” implies a probabilistic view, and I doubt anyone can give any well founded probabilities for the various competing theories.

  4. Very interesting. Looking forward to the next installment.

  5. I don’t see anything that resembles an argument yet. And obviously whether or not you can create a hypothesis to explain the earth’s temperature record without the greenhouse effect (I’d put long odds on that) the fact remains that there is a greenhouse effect, it’s a proven fact, it’s been measured on earth and from space.

    Maybe you could advance a hypothesis that America would be just the same if Ronald Reagan had never been born; but that will never change the fact that, in reality, he was. Just like, in reality, greenhouse gases warm the earth.

    • “the fact remains that there is a greenhouse effect, it’s a proven fact, it’s been measured on earth and from space”

      1. something that actually exists; reality; truth:
      2. something known to exist or to have happened:
      3. a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true:
      4. something said to be true or supposed to have happened: The facts given by the witness are highly questionable.

      Strong claims demand strong evidence.


      • What’s up Doc?

        What is that supposed to mean? No greenhouse effect? Not enough proof for you? Are you for, or against, superluminal neutrinos? You are going off the tracks, Doc.

      • It is important not to confuse greenhouse effect with enhanced greenhouse effect. The first is a natural consequence of the atmospheric composition and is a fact, not just on earth but on all the other planets. The second is considered the effect of increased greenhouse gases due to human use of fossil fuels. I am not sure whether the proper term is now “anthropomorphic” or “enhanced” .

        Terminology is a real problem in this business. Even the word greenhouse is misleading.

    • I’m fairly sure I saw a lot of argument in that paper Robert. It had the structure, because of this and this than that. Simple argument, if it wasn’t a argument than it would not be pronounced as a scientific presentation.

      My very limited knowledge does go as far to know that the GH effect upon the earth leaves us with a fairly constant temperature based on our distance from the Sun.

      A brief read leaves me with the impression the author was concluding the earth’s T is variable outside of known GHG and solar forcing, further assuming (no its not conclusive) a cyclical manifestation of the dust particles which causes the T variation from GHG.

      • My very limited knowledge does go as far to know that the GH effect upon the earth leaves us with a fairly constant temperature based on our distance from the Sun.

        Your very limited knowledge is also incorrect. As the magnitude of the greenhouse effect varies with the levels of various greenhouse gases, so too does the temperature of the Earth (which is also influenced by other variables, like changes in solar forcing.)

        As the poet says: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”

      • Robert, you are showing your lack of brians. it is you who have assumed a lack of knowledge not evident in the statement above. The changes to T after volcanoes is very well known, even by me.

        Basically Robert, you make a ass of u and me when you do assume something illogically. You have shown your level of knowledge by making the error of attributing a universal property to the predicate of one of my subjects in the argument I put. Ill try and explain to your simplicity.

        Saying “the GH effect upon the earth” is not the same as saying “the GH effect on earth is static”, your bias added the attitudinal descriptor.

        Robert, if you were a great thinker, you would realize that AGW is a assumed fact. Given you have a propensity to jump to conclusions it’s rather easy to understand how you can be so biased in your thought.

        I hope most of your conclusions don’t suffer a similar fate, particularly, your reasons for changes to climate.

        As the poet says” ” A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous.”

      • Robert, GLOBAL warming is inside your head, not in nature. Because oxygen / nitrogen expand instantly when get warmer and intercept extra coldness to equalize – extra heat in the troposphere is not accumulative!!!

        98 wasn’t warmer – after didn’t cooled; it’s was only misleading statements by the people that should be in jail. For the last 150years hasn’t accumulated enough extra coldness, to boil one chicken egg with it.

        Anyway, my Santa bring you lots of GLOBAL warmings, so you can scare the children in your neighbourhood BOO!!!

      • markus | December 22, 2011 at 10:08 pm |

        Robert, you are showing your lack of brians.
        And we Brians are happy with the dis-association, believe me!

  6. Dr Curry, when you say in this instance “my publishing this essay at Climate Etc. does not provide any endorsement of the analysis or the conclusions” does this mean that you do endorse the other posts from guest authors or that you have learned your lesson from previous posts and are now adding this caveat?

    • I think it’s the latter, give she’s stated many times that she feels that this was implied. Now it’s being stated explicitly. I think that’s a major improvement. As two of the people who were critical of the pre-warning era, I think it behooves us to accept the change with a minimal amount of twisting the knife.

      If you make it as embarrassing as possible for people to change their minds, they’ll dig in their heels even further next time. There’s enough of that going around as it is.

      • Fairy Nuff

      • I agree as well, although if someone cites his background and publication record as credentials, it would be worthwhile to know his name. Having a guest post by someone with a pseudonym is frustrating.

      • For whatever reason, Doc prefers to remain anonymous. I know who he is and have checked his web page, his credentials as cited here verify

      • I agree with the first part. I have no problem with pseudonyms, but I don’t think you can really brag on yourself that hard and not provide people with some means to check your story.

        That’s one reason I really avoid biography, both here and on my own blog; I’m not interested in debating my biography with somebody. Let the argument stand on its own.

      • randomengineer


        I think the nameless bio is there merely to get across the idea that the writer is familiar with academia and/or scientific work, not braggadaccio. At least this is how I took it.

      • Well, I asked Doc for some brief bio info, I am mainly interested in the biologist angle, which will become more relevant in Parts II, III.

      • Now the believers are hall monitors?
        “You can’t post this-or-that-unless”?

      • I hope there is something in Parts II, and III about where this extraterrestrial dust came from, or this is going to be one very lame trilogy. The usual suspects will enjoy it immensely, at your expense. Doc’s first comment in reply to bobbie, is a little weird.

      • Interstellar dust entering the atmosphere is identifiable by their high velocity (around 70k per sec) to fast to have been trapped within the solar system orbit.High resolution ground radar in NZ helped identify the particles eg Taylor 1996.


      • I have no doubt that extraterrestrial dust exists, or that it has impacted on earth, probably continuously. I have never heard of any ET dust events that occur periodically, every 80K years, and that were substantial enough to cause ice ages. Somebody should have found the evidence of that before now, it if exists. Doc is either on to something very important, or he is on to nothing. I am leaning towards the latter.

      • Don, that is the great thing about ice age theories, you can never know for sure until you witness one. That’s not on my bucket list :)

        Iron kick starting ocean growth is reasonable though. Whether ET done it or climate shifts melting one region and freezing another, it is likely.

      • randomengineer

        Don M

        The Israeli scientist (Shaviv?) had a paper out not too long back correlating the advent of ice ages with earth’s position in the galactic rotation.


      • randomeng’,

        Yes I am aware of Shaviv’s CRF/spiral arm theory. It’s plausible, given that there is some support for CRF influence on cloud formation. The space dust thing I am growing increasingly skeptical about. You would think that Shaviv, or someone other astrophysicist , would have thought of that. Shaviv should know where this space dust could be encountered, every 80k years. Shouldn’t he?

        Doc may be a fine biologist, but his replies to comments on this thread about his space dust thing, and the GHE don’t engender much confidence for me in the theory. Oblique, cryptic answers to a few selected questions , aren’t that impressive. But maybe he is saving up his ammunition for Parts II, and III. I will await further revelations on the alien dust story. Is it science fact, or fiction? Stay tuned.

      • where does all the dust go and how much mass would the Earth have gained from dust over the last hundred million years?

    • I know, I know! Ask me, ask me!

      Dr. Curry has never endorsed essays posted on her blog. Essays posted on her blog are to encourage discussion and learning. She has not once suggested that the contents of this blog are presented as the truth.

  7. Doc Martyn

    Thanks for a fascinating post (Part I).

    Am looking forward to Parts II and III

    Agree with Robert (believe it or not!) that this analysis does NOT show that there is no “greenhouse effect”, it just offers an alternate explanation for some of the climate changes observed in ice core reconstructions.


    • Max,

      Did he (Doc) say that there is not greenhouse effect?

      • Don Montfort

        No, Doc did not say “there is no greenhouse effect”.

        Robert said that Doc’s analysis did not prove that there was not a greenhouse effect:

        whether or not you can create a hypothesis to explain the earth’s temperature record without the greenhouse effect (I’d put long odds on that) the fact remains that there is a greenhouse effect

        What Doc has shown in Part I makes sense to me (although I am no expert).

        Let’s see what comes in Parts II and III.


      • Max –
        Are you familiar with the updating procedure at Woodfortrees? My recollections are that the satellite data gets added to the database the same day it is published. Is there a reason the Giss and Hadcrut anomalies are delayed? Christmas? To teach me patience?

      • Anteros

        No. I am not familiar with the WoodForTrees updating procedure.

        It would be nice if they showed the linear equation and R2 for the linear trend lines they draw (maybe they do show this somewhere, but I just haven’t found it).


      • max & anteros,

        once you plot a graph on woodfortrees go down to the bottom right corner and click on raw data. i think it gives you the regression stats etc. as well as the original raw data.

  8. “But it seems more likely that increased dust levels during ice ages is a consequence of ice ages not a cause.”

    Unless the origin of the dust is extraterrestrial.

  9. “I think it behooves us to accept the change with a minimal amount of twisting the knife.”

    The slimy suggestion that there is a reason for any twisting of any knife. Way to go bobbie. Show your stripes.

  10. Do we have useful Mars or Moon dust layers?

  11. Doc Martyn,

    Agree with Fred 100%. You can’t post an article under a pseudonym. Unless it’s an anagram of course!

    You say you have “…. more than 50 peer reviewed papers..”

    Lets just see a reference to one of them, please.

    • You are obviously wrong, as he has posted an article under a pseudonym. If you don’t like Judith’s ways of running her blog, why the f do you hang around here?

      • Halfway house for me. I don’t think someone shouldn’t post an article because they use a pseudonym, but I think it fair enough to mention having a reservation about it. It doesn’t mean I need to go somewhere else – it’s just communicating a sentiment!

        FWIW, for a blog [actually this blog] and because Doc is a familiar in these parts, it’s no big deal. Let’s talk about the dust!

      • With all the things that are not quite matching model predictions, pseudonyms may become more popular in science :)

      • I asked why the f tempty hangs around here, because he and his fellow travelers complain about everything that Judith does. It was a rhetorical question, as I know why they hang around here. You are correct that it is within one’s rights to mention they have issues with anonymous guest posters. And you are also correct that it is no big deal. He will either stand, or fall flat on his face, based on the content of his presentation. If I had to bet… :)

    • randomengineer

      His peer reviewed papers aren’t germane. The argument itself is. I like this. There can be no argument from authority nor character assassinating ad-hom in the form of “that’s the idiot who claimed [odd claim] in [journal name] last year, therefore this argument is wrong by association.” Do you have a comment on the article?

      • Exactly randomengineer, and if all papers were anonymous until reviewed, climate scientists might behave like scientists, rather than a pack of jealous schoolgirls.

      • damn. that’s actually a bloody brilliant suggestion.

      • but you’d have Anthony Watt’s getting all hot under the collar that you are a cowardly pseudonym and trying to trace your IP address

      • “His peer reviewed papers aren’t germane”

        Then why mention them?

      • For the fourth time, I asked Doc to write a brief biosketch, and he included that information. If left to his own devices, he apparently would not have included any bio info at all.

      • randomengineer

        Then why mention them?

        I’d do it just so everyone could listen to you bitch about it, thus proving that you don’t have much to add to a discussion outside denuncuation of our host and repeated assertion of your own superiority. Will you drop it now please?

    • Don,

      I hang around here to keep you, and others, company , Don! Now you know I’m right on the issue of pseudonyms. Just think what you lot would have said if the IPCC was authors had names like Doc Martyn, Luke Warmer etc etc.

      It fair enough to put up an argument but you also have to put up a name to go with it. If DM won’t do that then Judith should cancel parts 2 and 3. Put up or shut up, I think, is the phrase commonly used.

      • tempty,

        This is not the IPCC. Judith does not claim to be running the Bible of Climate Science. Nor does she ask her denizens to give up heat and light, and money they could be spending on booze, and women.

        Besides, I think you will be pleased with Parts II and III. Have your fun.

      • I hear Doc Martyn ‘s are a type of steel capped boot much loved by English football supporters. Perhaps our Doc is a denizen of the terraces as well as climate etc?

        So taking a leaf out of their book, a chant of “Who are ya, who are ya?” might be appropriate. Or, perhaps “Are you Oliver Manuel in disguise”?

      • I have to admit, I have been thinking that we are going to find out that the iron rich ET dust clouds visiting us every 80 thousand years come from the core of the sun. I guess it gets full, or something. Which reminds me of a man on the street interview I heard a while back on the radio. A recent graduate of our extravagant left-wing public school system was asked what he wanted to accomplish in life. He said he wanted to be an astronaut, and be the first man to go to the moon. The interviewer pointed out to him that men had already been to the moon. The young man was perplexed, but gathered himself and declared, “Well, uh, like I will be the first dude to go to the sun.” But you will burn up if you land on the sun, said the radio guy. After a long silence, the young man replied with confidence, “I will go at night.”

      • I remember hearing an episode of the BBC’s “Goon Show” when Neddy travelled to the sun at night. That episode was made in the 1950s. The Goon Show may have finished but now for laughs we have the BBC Science Unit.

      • tempterrain

        What a great idea! It could be a very enertaining trivial Christmas thread to invent names for AR5 lead authors.

        On the genreral qurestion of anonymity it could serve a purpose in a blog such as this, in as much people would be forced to concentrate on the message rather than motives. Surely Anonymity only becomes relevant if someone had claimed they had relevant peer reviewed papers in the subject they were writing about. in order to build credibility.on the subject?

        As these peer reviewed papers Doc Martyn says he has are unrelated, I think they are irrelevant to any discussion here.

      • anonymity is fine by me in fact I think everyone should be anonymous on the internet

      • Aw, c’mon, tempterrain, we love you.

        Don’t take your toys and go home.

        But to the point here: it appears you are attacking the anonymity of the name rather than the contents of the paper.

        Is this because you have nothing constructive to say about the contents?

        (Seems like it to me.)


      • Nobody complained when Tomas Milanovic did guest posts (even I don’t know Tomas real identity).

        Anonymity is fine with me, and I can understand why gov’t employees and academics would want to be anonymous, and why others would choose to be anonymous.

      • An anonymous commenter complaining about anonymity?

        Who says Warmers don’t have their heads stuck up their @$$es? ;)


      • There are two issues here:

        The anonymity in and of itself seems pretty unimportant to me. Mostly what I see on blogs are people throwing around facile, bogus, and self-serving arguments w/r/t the importance of assigning real names to comments or posts. Assigning a real name guarantees nothing, and anonymity tells you nothing inherent to what someone has to say (or about their character).

        On the other hand, if Doc’s going to list the number of peer reviewed articles he’s written as a relevant criterion of his bio, then it seems that it is inconsistent to not provide identifying information. He is offering the credential as having published peer-reviewed work as indirectly validating – without providing any information for assessing that validation.

        Where was his work published? What was the quality of the journals? Were they articles that made significant contributions to his field? Have any of them ever been cited?

      • I asked him to give some brief bio information, which he provided (while preserving his anonymity).

      • Joshua,

        I am less concerned about the juxtaposition of a pseudonym and a bio in this case, because the subject matter (for part I anyway) is not what the author claims to be an expert on according to that same bio. Let’s wait and see how much closer parts II and III move to Doc’s expertise before calling the toss. Interestingly, Doc’s bio note about nitrogen oxide chemistry and his comments regarding atmospheric chemistry of methane, and disparagement of the Paul Crutzen coauthor article that Fred linked to, make me want to see more. It could be that there are some fundamental disconnects between practicitng atmospheric chemists and other chemists/biologists?

      • Can’t attack the message, attack the messenger, huh?

      • All that matters in the end are the merits of the arguments themsevles.

      • GED –
        “Ged | December 22, 2011 at 1:06 pm |

        “All that matters in the end are the merits of the arguments themsevles. [sic]”

        Cripes! Is that what our understanding of the scientific method has come to?

        Uh, I think Robert Hookes and Isaac Newton, founders of the Royal Society – and more or less founders of the scientific method – would roll over in their graves. Hookes, in particular wanted nothing whatsoever to do with “arguments.” He steadfastly insisted on empiricism, and demanded that arguments without empirical experiments and measurements should be banned.

        I agree with him.

        Because they didn’t have the wherewithal to conduct proper experiments, as we know them today, the ancient Greeks used arguments.

        Science is not a debating society. It is replicatable/falsfiable experiments.

      • Judith,

        Tomas Milanovic sounds like a real name to me. But if you say it’s a false name that’s different and we possibly weren’t to know that. Was that made clear at the time?

        No-one can take a scientific essay in isolation. Authorship is important. It’s just not realistic to treat something by, say, Christopher Monckton and others of similar opinion with any seriousness at all. We know where these guys come from and its the political world not the scientific. They use scientific arguments as proxies for political arguments.

        The point is that DocMartyn wants to have it both ways. He wants to be able to lay down his credentials with a claim of “50 peer reviewed papers” but he doesn’t want us to be able to see them!

        If they aren’t relevant, why mention them?

        Bad Andrew,
        Do you mean me? You think I’m anonymous?

      • Feet2thefire,

        “Science is not a debating society. It is replicatable (sic) /falsfiable experiments.”

        It’s not often I quote Margaret Thatcher. But this is what she said in a speech to the Royal Society in 1988

        In studying the system of the earth and its atmosphere we have no laboratory in which to carry out controlled experiments. We have to rely on observations of natural systems.

        Margaret Thatcher was no great scientist, and if she can understand the problem the I’m sure most others should be able to also.

      • Tempterrain –

        First of all, Thatcher was a politician, and politicians jump on bandwagons, and the bandwagon of her time was “”We’re all gonna burn up, especially Bambi’s mother.”

        And she was also WRONG, about studying the atmosphere and the natural. It can be done, especially the chemical and physics aspects. As to the natural systems, Earth scientists have devised MANY experiments over the years, from oceanography to forestry, from tree ring growth factors to lowland systems. It only takes the will to get the PIECES solidified, the pieces of the puzzle.

        In addition, even the parts we may not yet be able to isolate enough to study, that doesn’t mean we have to go off crying in our beer because some future Bambi’s mother might die in the year 2100 at the cost of several tens of thousands of human lives in the interim. Funneling hundreds of billions of dollars into Kyoto just to keep the temp in 2100 down by 0.1C – sure, we could all agree on doing that – if we don’t mind killing jobs and putting people out on the street. YOU FIRST.

      • Judith,

        “Nobody complained when Tomas Milanovic did guest posts (even I don’t know Tomas real identity).”

        You shouldn’t have told them. The little complainers thought that was his real name. Somebody must have tipped them off on this one.

      • It is fascinating that the believer extremists are throwing such similar hissy fits.
        And they are all after the same demand: to know the actual name of someone posting. It is as if they are unable to seperate the argument from the author, and must have an acceptable sourcing of a particular idea before they are capable of actually looking at it.
        Their lens on reality is so fogged that ideas cannot stand alone, but must be seen through a person. The only other likely explanation likely would be that they wish to personally DM at his employer for daring to post things they do not alike. From the way the believer extremist pour out their hatred on our hostess, I will not be surprised to find out that their real desire is the second.

    • “You can’t post an article under a pseudonym. ”

      What’s this, everyone wants to be able to argue ad hominem??? This is silly, folks. The person’s education, publishing record, and name do not change the validity of the presentation one iota.

      • yeah this is just distracting it doesn’t matter if he uses his real name or not in fact good on him for staying anonymous and sticking up for that kind of thing

      • But the true believers need to know whether or not they are allowed to read the actual article. It is simple: If his name is on an approved list, they may, and of not, they are not allowed. You know, as in book burning and censoring? This article may be the next “Catcher In The Rye.”

        (I have SO many ridicules I could insert here, but I will back off, out of civility…)

        I don’t know… this thread is just so pathetic. This is even beyond confirmation bias. At least with confirmation bias, one actually READS the opposite side before being a hard-ass about accepting its points. But rejecting something simply because you don’t know the real-world name of the author. Many a Liberal author wrote under a pseudonym, folks! You’re letting down the whole Liberal ideal! Liberal means OPEN to new ideas, open to go toe to toe in open discussion. Not any more? Wow. As a life long Liberal, I can’t believe it…

      • Well said. They’re only complaining because their usual tactic is to play the man not the ball.

  12. In the next 800,000 years we will be hit by asteroids which roughly equal the power of all existing nuclear weapons, and in last 800,000 years this has already occurred.
    Tunguska event
    “…with general agreement that it was a few tens of metres across..
    and about one-third the power of the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever detonated.”
    In 800,000 years one would probably about 1000 Tunguska event occurring. it’s close to impossible that there was only 100 or less of them and maybe as high as couple thousand impacts of this size. But such event is unlikely to cause much in terms of climatic change. It’s the bigger ones which could have some global effect.
    “The Earth’s atmosphere protects us from most NEOs smaller than a modest office building (40 m diameter, or impact energy of about 3 megatons). From this size up to about 1 km diameter, an impacting NEO can do tremendous damage on a local scale. Above an energy of a million megatons (diameter about 2 km), an impact will produce severe environmental damage on a global scale

    We don’t know when the next NEO impact will take place, but we can calculate the odds. Statistically, the greatest danger is from an NEO with about 1 million megatons energy (roughly 2 km in diameter). On average, one of these collides with the Earth once or twice per million years”

    So in next 800,000 years there a good chance space rock which as big as 2 km diameter and there was good chance this occurred in last 800,000.

    But if look at rocks which 1/2 to 1 km in diameter it’s not a probability as much as certainly they have hit earth during the last 800,000- and these are of the level of power of all nuclear weapons in existence.
    A Tunguska size event could occur and globally not be noticed, a space rock as big 500 meter or larger would not go unnoticed- it would be the biggest political event ever, if less than 1 million people die, we would be lucky- or competent.
    It would be event seared into our consciousness.
    And such event has already occurred in the “lifetime” of the human species- not once but perhaps as much as a dozen of times.

    Btw, the human animal would have to pretty stupid not the fear God.
    I don’t believe God was invented by humans- instead I believe He has had a few magnificent manifestations.

    • Tanguska explosion was, strictly one of those two options: 1] the sun makes regularly brrrrp, lump of hydrogen 95% or methane 5% probability; after travelling for million years frozen, got into the path of the planet – in contact with air exploded above the surface and turned into steam of water. Was never any solid object found

      option 2] methane trapped in the mud was pushed out by the water – because heavier than air – methane accumulated above the surface – spread on a 1km2.. If it was place with human activity – wouldn’t ever accumulated much; because of fires; cigarette can burn methane. b] because Tanguska is on very high latitude, maybe cloudy at that time for prolong period – UV didn’t burn it when was less of it = then caboom!!!

  13. I can’t wait to see the biosphere’s response in Part II & III. Is a bloom the mechanism for rapid emergence from the Ice Ages?

    • Kim,
      one of the the major limiting factor on the size and through-put of the marine biosphere is the presence of bio-accessible iron.

      The change in bio-productivity that you get by adding iron is little short of breath taking; have a look at Figures 1 and 2 of this


      note that the conversion of ethyne to ethane is a common method for measuring N2 fixing capacity.

      The last paragraph is also rather nice.

      • randomengineer


        Isn’t iron seeding of wide portions of the oceans one of the geoengineering ideas should C02 prove problematic?

      • The principle that iron can stimulate plankton growth and CO2 uptake is well established. The main questions relate to the practical quantitative potential for CO2 uptake as well as possible undesired ecological effects including stimulation of the growth of toxic organisms. There is an overview of the topic in wikipedia – Ocean Iron Fertilization – that covers the waterfront, so to speak, and links to a large number of references.

      • Yup, but it can’t be done because it could put us into another ice age. I only saw this stated regarding seeding, but it probably applies to anything other than reducing CO2 levels.

      • Reply to Harold:

        Dude, somehow the warmists have gotten us ALL to thinking human s can change the climate, and that is total b.s. Up till Hansen 30 years ago, everyone – EVERYONE – would have told you that us being even REMOTELY to be able to change the climate was total lunacy. People DREAMED of controlling the weather, and everyone knew it was impossible. Then Hansen came along and guessed that we were INADVERTENTLY changing the climate, and instead of people reacting with, “You’re out of your mind,” people looked around at the (then ending) REAL pollution we were putting into the atmosphere and thought, “Well, yeah, maybe it is possible!” But no one then challenged Hansen that it was even POSSIBLE, that we could effect a change that large. He said, it, and the world overnight changed its mind. All except a good number of climate scientists who found their discipline hijacked by save-the-worlders.

        If the story of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” was instead “The Boy Who Cried Dragon,” there wouldn’t even be a story. Why not? Because the villagers would have laughed at him and told him to quit making things up. But because it was “wolf” and not “dragon,” the villagers raced to his rescue.

        Hansen cried “wolf,” and the world is STILL reacting – because enough people think it is POSSIBLE.

        But where is ONE study that shows, without a doubt, that it is not a case of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”? We add, supposedly, one atom of CO2 for every three that nature produces, and the part we add amounts to less than 1/10,000th of the atmosphere (100ppm) – and that is, according to some, enough to cascade us all into the Death of Planet Earth. And everyone somehow believes that.

        Since 1980 it has been taken on faith by many that, yes human activity was collectively enough – but where is the research, empirical research – that shows it is even possible? It doesn’t even exist.

        Hansen’s standing was enough, but he never had to prove his case. And he knows he got away with one.

        And now, after hearing all that for those three decades, we all take it for granted that it is possible – the humans can change the weather/climate, just because the warmists accept it as fact.

        They have asserted all that time that just about every severe WEATHER event – which is short term and easy to measure – was because of us changing the climate – which is long term and not easy at all to measure. What? Did they think everyone would have long term memory loss?

        Gimme a break! Please: Inadvertently or intentionally, warming or cooling, wettening or drying, humans do not have the capacity to change the climate. If you have such empirical proof – vetted by people other than the insiders who are making a fortune and careers off it – show us where it is. Heck, they owon’t even let anyone besides their own clique even SEE their raw data and their methodology. What are they afraid of?

      • That’s interesting. Takes me back to the wondering about the bacteria in the permafrost melt kick starting the food chain. Cod off the US coast were insanely thick around 1500 after the period formerly know as MW. Then they crashed in the 1990s.

      • Fe enhancement at smaller timeframes can also have measurable effects with volcanics There is a nice review by duggan 2010


        By November 1991 the Pinutabo stratosphere aerosol plume had reached the southern latitudes ,a recent estimate of the mass deposition flux there being 9×10^-13 g cm^-2s^-1 at that time. If 1% of this flux was iron sustained for 3 months over the area of the southern ocean this would amount to roughly 4×10^10g iron. Given a typical carbon/iron molar ratio of 10^5 for phytoplankton in iron limited regions,this would enable additional new production of about 7×10^13 mol carbon .Such an increase would then give rise to the observed pulse of the order of 10^14 mol of oxygen into the atmosphere (Keeling 1996)

  14. “Climate sensitivity is not constrained by the last two decades of imperfect satellite data, but rather the paleoclimate record.”

    It is constrained by neither. And there is nothing scientifically inconsistent about a small or negative sensitivity now v. a positive sensitivity at the end of the last ice age.

    • randomengineer

      No. Sensitivity in this context would be the overall physical phenomenae and a wide condition range rather than a more limited descriptor based solely on a small timespan. I think he’s arguing that sensitivty as described currently is incomplete.

  15. Hi Doc,
    Would intersteller/interplanetary dust clouds be visible? If so given the cust of an ice age approaches where would one look?

    • Well I know that the signature of buckyballs, C60, and many nanotubes exist in space. The signatures of them in toluene stand out like a sore thumb. I have looked for ice core records and all I get it LE Murr – 2004, who only went back 10,000 years, just short of where we needed.

  16. Extraterrestrial dust in EPICA Dome C? Not so far.

    There are many studies of ice core dust provenance. Extraterrestrial material is readily recognized by its non-solar isotopic ratios. Apparenyly it does not dominate ice core dust populations.

    • These refs looks pretty convincing to this old geologist/geochemist.

      What say you, DocMartyn?

      Incidentally, Doc Martin was a beloved MD in Taos NM in the early years of the last century. His office and home are now the Taos Inn, just E of the plaza.

      Cheers — Pete Tillman
      Consulting Geologist, Arizona and New Mexico (USA)

      • >These refs looks pretty convincing to this old geologist/geochemist.<

        Agreed. I found the Australian dust paper extremely interesting. Good ref :)

    • And if there have been periodic visits of ET dust, it should be found in layers of sediments and in ice cores, all over da wurld.

    • Many have stated that sources of dust DURING the ice age period, from 30-11 Ky, come from Patagonia and Australia.

      Now, this, from a biologists perspective, is all rather odd.

      You see, the end of the ice age was marked by the 11ky late Pleistocene megafaunal extinction.

      At the end of the ice age almost all the large mammals and birds in both Patagonia and Australia died out.

      Indeed,about half of the mammalian genera exceeding 5 kg in body mass went extinct, in both North and South America, and to a lesser extent in Australia.

      All evidence suggest that there was a catastrophic collapse in terrestrial ecosystems world wide; large herbivores were hardest hit, as well as top predators.

      Now here is a funny thing about Patagonia, the putative source of all this dust, it wasn’t desetified at all during the 40-11 ky period.

      Indeed, the mass extinction occurred AFTER the end of the ice age.
      Moreover, we can examine the animals and plants and work out what the ecosystem was like before Pleistocene megafaunal extinction.
      The big give away is the Llama, which likes arid semi-desert. It went from a small range during the ice age to a large one. The saber toothed Tiger ran out of large herbivores to eat and went extinct, because the large grazers when extinct, because the lush grass disappeared.


      In fact, if you want to look at when desertification and extinction occurred in Patagonia, look at my Figure 3; where the Iron/Cl start to collapse at about 18 Ky is the start of the 4-5,000 year death of all the megafauna and the desertification.

      The Biologist would ask how is it that this dust from Patagonia could have risen up through the grass, animal dung and forests during the ice age, but stopped popping over to Antarctica when the lush grasslands and forests turned into deserts when the ice age ended.

      Things that make you go Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  17. What’s up, Doc?

    Wouldn’t the affect of dust particles on solar radiation hitting the Earth’s surface depend on the (density of) distribution of dust (concentration?) per given volume of atmosphere as well as dust particle size? My head spins when I see all those multi-colored graphs, and please excuse my elementary understanding of the science, but I couldn’t pick out how you measured that variable. How might atmosphere temperatures influence the concentration of dust particles?

    • That is kinda like are trees good thermometers. Under colder conditions, less rain in general can cause vegetation die off and more dust storms. Under much warmer condition, changing weather patterns can cause more desertification and more dust storms. What happens when and where is important, which global average temperature anomalies are poorly suited for determining.

      • So, do you mean that like using tree rings as proxies for evaluating temperatures, dust in ice cores is not a well-controlled way to measure the effect of dust in the atmosphere on incoming solar radiation?

      • Dust can be better controlled if its composition is unique enough to determine the region it came from, but yep, there are other factors that must be considered. ET dust though would be easier to isolate, but making it to the ground without burning up would seem to limit it to the poles, mainly Antarctica.

        The whole paleo thing is pretty complicated, which makes me suspicious when paleo guys get too confident in their unique methods for unlocking the past.

      • Cap’n,

        “ET dust though would be easier to isolate, but making it to the ground without burning up would seem to limit it to the poles, mainly Antarctica.”

        That is interesting. Which raises the question on how any dust particles would be left in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight, etc. Or would there result a kind of smog? In any case, whatever is left after incineration should find it’s way to the ground. Shouldn’t it?

      • Don said,
        “Which raises the question on how any dust particles would be left in the atmosphere to reflect sunlight, etc. Or would there result a kind of smog? In any case, whatever is left after incineration should find it’s way to the ground. Shouldn’t it?”

        Passing through a comet tail or dust field would make a light show of meteor showers. If it lasted long enough and was thick enough, remnant residue from the burn up would be scattered everywhere and you would have the smog scenario. If that triggered Ice ages there should be somewhat regular geological deposits that should stand out in the ice cores.

        Climate doesn’t need big events though. A few hundred years of above normal meteor showers could change climate and not produce nice uniform layers. Millennial scale changes would be even harder to find. In the Antarctic core though you may be able to find more traces of stuff that didn’t burn up that may have the ET tracers intact.

        Theories are plentiful, finding the right evidence to support them is tough.

      • Cap’n,

        “If that triggered Ice ages there should be somewhat regular geological deposits that should stand out in the ice cores.”

        Let’s roll wit dat.

    • You are being unusually restrained. Aren’t you going to ask him if he believes in ID? I guess you are waiting for Part II, or you really don’t understand the science.

    • BTW – Doc –

      That article is clearly enough written that even I can almost understand it (well, at least some parts of it) – but you might want to fix this:

      We invert the assume linear relationship…..

    • Same way temperature influences H2O particle, by physics.

    • Josh, I am sorry if you have trouble drinking in figure 3. There is indeed a lot of information there. I always like to have plots of as many factors as I can get my hands on grouped.
      I think what Figure 3 shows overall is that there is quite a lot of variability in many things, all at the same time, that either correlate well with temperature, or not at all.
      What should be a sort of take home message is that we have iron enrichment, dust and a change in particle size.
      In the next Part I will cover what happens to the marine biosphere when it is subject to iron enrichment and particulate flocculation.

  18. Reading this lead me to recall this:


    The solar system is, apparently, moving along a path that is certain to take us closer to the Sco-Cen expanding superbubble. The ‘wall’ between the Local Bubble and the Sco-Cen bubble now seems to consist of an increasing density of cloudlets of varying size and density. The Sun, after apparently spending many hundreds of millennia in quieter regions of the Local Bubble, is apparently now moving nearer one wall of this cavity towards us from the direction of Scorpio/Centaurus. Rather than a smooth wall of material, it consists of many individual pieces and cloudlets. When the solar system enters such a cloud, the first thing that will happen will be that the magnetic field of the Sun, which now extends perhaps 100 AU from the Sun and 2-3 times the orbit of Pluto, will be compressed back into the inner solar system depending on the density of the medium that the Sun encounters. When this happens, the Earth may be laid bare to an increased cosmic ray bombardment. To make matters worse, the Earth’s magnetic field is itself decreasing as we enter the next field reversal era in a few thousand years. If the Earth’s field is ‘down’ during the same time that the solar system has wandered into the new could, the cosmic ray flux at the Earth’s surface could be many times higher than it now is.

    The biological effects may not be so severe. We just don’t really know. Fossil records show that in previous field reversals, there was hardly a sign of any biological impact caused by species extinctions or mutations. We don’t really know when the last time it was that our solar system found itself in a dense interstellar cloud, so we cannot look at the fossil record to see what effects this might have had. Since all of the major extinctions seem to be related to tectonic activity, or to asteroid impacts, there isn’t much left over to argue that there will be a dire effect of the next cloud passage upon the biosphere. If you believe our knowledge of the solar vicinity, the next cloud passage could happen within 20 – 50,000 years. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

    If this is really a climate response to passing through a cloud of material, and if we truly are getting closer to a denser population of such clouds, we could be in for an interesting ride.

  19. Might want to also have a look at:


    Southern Ocean sea-ice extent, productivity and iron flux over the past eight glacial cycles

  20. So the idea might be that increased iron dust acts as a fertilizer causing an explosion of things like phytoplankton that would suddenly act like a CO2 sponge and start pulling CO2 out of the atmosphere. Iron availability currently is near 0 in dust so we see CO2 rise.

  21. If the source is extraterrestrial, I would expect the iron flux to be the same in both Greenland and Antarctica. And the odds of Patagonian iron reaching both sites in nearly identical quantity would be remote.

  22. As terrestrial iron is basically accreted extraterrestrial iron, there might not be a whole lot of difference.

  23. The author of this post needs to read some of the studies cited by Pat Cassen; I would give a Judith Curry like “wow” to these fun correlation plots, but there’s no physics here (unlike why we think CO2 drops contributed to glacial-interglacial temperature changes). Estimates of the dust radiative forcing is of order ~1 W/m2 and several regions have been identified as having heightened emission relative to interglacial (or interstadial) times. Another key reference discussing changes in deposition patterns, sources, and atmospheric transport, is

    Fischer, H., Siggaard-Andersen, M.-L., Ruth, U., Ro¨ thlisberger, R., Wolff, E., 2007b. Glacial/interglacial changes in mineral dust and sea-salt records in polar ice cores: sources, transport, and deposition. Reviews of Geophysics 45, RG1002. doi:10.1029/RG000192

    Note that in the dry deposition dominated regions of Antarctica, the flux rather than the concentrations of the aerosol measured in an ice core is expected to be a measure for its atmospheric concentration

    • It must be the Holiday Season. You barracudas are being very restrained with such an inviting target in your sights. I think you are right on this one. What was Judith thinking? :)

      • If the source were extraterrestrial, I would expect to see the moon covered with it.

        We’ll find out soon enough (in geological terms) what happens in a glacial.

  24. Really interesting piece, it’s nice to see natural avenues explored. in detail for once.

    The interstellar dust angle is fascinating.

  25. There are no experts here, in the article or in the comments. You are all like children, gathered around the campfire (the deceptive light of current theories, making up the current paradigm), “solving” the mysteries of the world with imaginative tales that have only a glancing association with reality, and that you will never agree on. You are all here mesmerized by that “campfire”, which merely cuts off your vision with its glare. You are not getting anywhere here, not learning anything, because you refuse to seriously question the theories you have been taught (preferring instead to add epicycles to circles, like a moribund theocracy). And there is much you could learn, if you would steel yourselves to the need to do so now, like conscientious adults. Instead you are children, playing “good guys and bad guys” (with everyone insisting upon being the good guy, the “expert”).

    • HDH,

      Actually, there are plenty of experts here. With climate though the question is what kind of expert is needed? If a theory is right it will match all fields So what we need to do is learn what we need to learn :)

      This part I is an intro. So the comments are tame. Should the theory get a little far fetched, you will see some fireworks.

  26. DocM –

    The equilibrium climate sensitivity is typically described as the increase in global temperature that results from a doubling of the concentration of CO2 from its pre-industrial value of 280 ppm to 560 ppm, sometimes presented using the notation ΔTx2.

    The 280ppm – what do you base that on? G.S. Callendar 1958 arrived at a 1900 level of 290ppm, and most use that as the baseline for the rise of atmospheric CO2 in the industrial age. See Callendar’s Fig 1. I would argue that – using only Callendar’s accepted data – the 19th century values he uses argue that the CO2 level was flat up until 1900. Even the early 19th century value he shows are at ~290ppm.

    However, Jawaworksi argues that Callendar cherry-picked his data and that the level for the 19th century should be 335ppm, not 290ppm.

    Jawaworski’s reference 11 is to Giles Slocum’s 1955 paper, “HAS THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE ATMOSPHERE CHANGED
    SIGNIFICANTLY SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY?” chews up and spits out Callendar’s 1938 paper that uses the same data as Callendar’s 1958 paper, asserting

    The [sic] means that Callendar rejected from the nineteenth century records are, in the main, indicative of higher values than those he accepted…

    The three values for the twentieth century, however, which Callendar rejected, average lower than those he accepted. This does not demonstrate that his choice was bad, but the fact that he considers so many nineteenth century values to be overestimates and two twentieth century values to be underestimates raises a question about his method of selection.

    plus this

    Since techniques have been improving, the latest observations should be the most accurate. Duerst [12] and Ereutz [21] found values of 400 and 438.5 parts per million, respectively, from observations made in 1936 and 1939. Duerst bases his mean on 500 observations, a reasonably large number, if his techniques are correct. Kreutz made about 25,000 observations. This is more than were made in all other herein listed observing programs combined.

    Slocum finished off Callendar’s work with this:

    Since Callendar, by basing his hypotheses on statistical
    data, has tacitly invoked the laws of statistical evidence, it is fitting to examine the validity of his procedure, that of using only the data he believed to be of the best quality available, rejecting the rest. The mathematics of statistics, and the experience of statisticians both indicate, as a general principle, that arbitrary rejection of data, without specific knowledge of their unreliability or unapplicability, is questionable. Although the purpose of such a procedure may be to remove an observational or sampling bias that is known to be present, selection of the data to be used will often introduce a greater source of error than that which it was intended to remove.

    Okay, so what does this all say?

    1. Slocum thought Callendar was cherry-picking his data. If true, Callendar’s work is invalid. it certainly opens up discussion about whether the 290ppm value in 1900 is valid.

    2. Duerst’s and Eruetz’s measurements [in the 1930s, in Italy and Germany, respectively] argue that the earlier 20th century values of 400-438ppm needs to be accounted for, especially since they took so many measurements (25,500). These are in the period before global CO2 really started to climb, but over 90% of these – with the 438ppm mean – were in an industrially expanding coal-fired Germany, so the meaning of them is ambiguous, though not to be discarded out of hand, by any means.

    3. Jawaworski’s value of 335ppm in the 19th century has to be given a voice.

    I argue that it is probable that the CO2 level has only risen by 50ppm, up to 385ppm, and perhaps it hasn’t really risen at all, since 1939 and maybe not even since 1900. 385ppm is still lower than either Duerst’s (438ppm) or Eruetz’s (400ppm) values.

    So, references to 290ppm in 1900 or 280ppm in “the pre-industrial” era need to be understood as not being written in stone. Repetition of this value does not override the actual history of measurements in the 19th century. Callendar clearly cherry-picked his data, even if Slocum stopped short of accusing him of that. And anyone who uses Callendar’s figure without knowing of Slocum’s paper is telling less than the full story.

    • Agree. The “pre-industrial” level doesn’t really exist. It was variable. All those data need to be studied and compared with modern measurements at the same place. Also, there’s additional wind data. Measurments at enough wind are ~back-ground levels.

    • …actually, I see that the “[sic]” I stuck in was not needed… (confused myself!)

  27. Doc Martin,

    I have a few concerns with your research, models and conclusions.

    First off, I dislike our models generated that changes a planet into a cylinder by the averaging for the whole planet of temperatures.
    This is NEVER been reapplied back as if it was, then every point in the model would be a different temperature from the original measurement.
    The planet is an orb and does have special properties that make every point on this planet unique.

    Next what is the lag time of dust from the Arctic traveling to the Antarctic?
    50 years, 100 years, 200 years? It must go past a greater velocity to get to the Antarctic.
    Next, water vapor is known to scrub dust out of the air, so, the inclusion of water vapor has not been considered.

  28. I would not discount the Milankovitch cycles yet. If dust does have this amount of effect (2 degrees per dust doubling according to the log plot) it implies a strong positive feedback (possibly through GHGs and albedo), or more likely in my opinion, the temperature is changing and the dust is following, and the positive feedback is GHGs.

  29. Doc Martyn,
    within the +2 and -10 °C relative temperature variability band that has been observed via the ice core record of the last 800,000 years.
    When the earth was at +2, it was a time when the ice was melted and Ice Albedo was low.
    When the earth was at -10, it was a time when the northern latitudes were covered with miles thick ice sheets and Ice Albedo was high.
    When Ice advances earth cools. When Ice retreats earth warms.
    It snows more when earth is warm and the Arctic Sea Ice is gone and Ice naturally advances.
    It snows less when earth is cool and the water frozen and Ice naturally retreats.
    Put this in the Climate Models and they could run for ten thousand years and stay in bounds.
    Put this in the Climate Models and they could run for 800,000 thousand years and stay in bounds.
    CO2 does go up and down naturally with temperature, just like in a soft drink can. Open a hot one and it spews like crazy. Open a cold one and it don’t spew much. Dust also is cleared by precipitation and not cleared when there is a lack of precipitation.
    CO2 did not drive temperature and then temperature drive ice.
    Dust did not drive temperature and then temperature drive ice.
    Ice drove temperature and temperature drove CO2 and precipitation took care of driving dust.

  30. I feel the need to say something….

    “Don’t know much about history”

  31. The Dust Albedo impact might be important.

    But the Snow and Ice and Grassland and Desert Albedo impact was at least 20 times bigger.

    See if you can estimate that part.

  32. Doc Martyn

    Some posters here are raising the question about the reliability of ice core data and paleo-climate reconstructions in general.

    The ice core data are what they are.

    Certainly better than reading tea leaves.

    I think as long as one does not cherry-pick specific periods in our geological past to glean dicey data, which one then interprets subjectively in order to provide evidence for a preconceived hypothesis, these kinds of data are OK.

    As I wrote earlier, I enjoyed your Part I and am looking forward to the sequels.


    • Max

      The ice core data ‘are what they are’ but are they meaningful?

      For a forthcoming article I have been examining them in some detail and would put their apparent accuracy as a proxy some way below that of tree rings. If anyone can point me to an article citing their robustness as regards accuracy to fractions of a degree, dating and co2 measurements (likely to be a separate study) I would be greatful to see them.

      Perhaps additional ice core information will appear in Dr Martyn’s future articles?


      • Apart from Jawaworski, my own two cents is tied to tree ring proxies, and how those affect our understanding of ice cores as proxies.

        I was involved in discussions at ClimateAudit in recent weeks, having to do with comments in the Climategate 2 emails about “The Divergence Problem” (DP). I was able to read quite a number of peer-reviewed papers about that problem (it is the specific problem that was behind “hide the decline”). After reading the peer-reviewed literature, I came away with a very, very dim view of tree-rings as proxies for temperature, either in the last 70 years (the duration of the DP) or ANY of the previous periods. Climatologoists simmply have no good understanding of why tree-rings and temperatures have been diverging since 1940, and this casts much doubt on the applicability in the periods when the correlation seemed strong. As we all know, correlation does not mean cause-and-effect. The alarming thing is that the climatologists, and not even many of the dendrochonologists (!) have ever had any clear understanding of WHY tree-rings and temperature seemed to have a linear correlation. Few dendros even understand the mechanisms of tree-ring formation (this according to one of their own).

        And what does that have to do with ice cores? As I understand it, tree-rings were used to calibrate ice cores. (If I am wrong on that, please correct me and lead me to a link/source.) At least in the tree-ring proxy period (which only goes back “reliably” – I have to use that term guardedly – about to 1550 or so), if the tree-rings aren’t so very reliable, what does that do to proxies that are tied into tree-ring correlations?

        We ARE all taught that proxies are reliable indicators. Here we have the two main proxies, both of which are founded on suspect assumptions. I found out that the scientists themselves are in a quandary***, and I expect some shockers to come out of that uncertainty some time in the upcoming years.

        …I would also point out that the very first time tree-rings were used as proxies, they weren’t proxies for temperature at all. They were proxies for precipitation. And they are still used as such.

        I leave it up to you to ask yourself, “Can one characteristic [be it tree-ring width (TRW) or tree-ring density (MXD)] be used as a proxy for two separate and unconnected ’causes’?

        *** To my knowledge, Jawaworksi’s critique of ice cores is not very widely accepted, so unless his arguments are flat out wrong, there is no current quandary in the ice core field.

    • Max –
      I’d toss this into the fray:


      It is Zbigniew Jaworowski’s article in 21st Century Magazine, “Ice Core Data Show No Carbon Dioxide.”

      He is very qualified to have an opinion. He states this at :

      For the past 40 years I was involved in glacier studies, using snow and ice as a matrix for reconstruction of history of man-made pollution of the global atmosphere. A part of these studies was related to the climatic issues. Ice core records of CO2 have been widely used as a proof that, due to man’s activity the current atmospheric level of CO2 is about 25% higher than in the pre-industrial period. These records became the basic input parameters in the models of the global carbon cycle and a cornerstone of the man-made climatic warming hypothesis. These records do not represent the atmospheric reality, as I will try to demonstrate in my statement.

      He goes on to say

      Determinations of CO2 in polar ice cores are commonly used for estimations of the pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric levels. Perusal of these determinations convinced me that glaciological studies are not able to provide a reliable reconstruction of CO2 concentrations in the ancient atmosphere. This is because the ice cores do not fulfill the essential closed system criteria. One of them is a lack of liquid water in ice, which could dramatically change the chemical composition the air bubbles trapped between the ice crystals. This criterion, is not met, as even the coldest Antarctic ice (down to –73°C) contains liquid water[2]. More than 20 physico-chemical processes, mostly related to the presence of liquid water, contribute to the alteration of the original chemical composition of the air inclusions in polar ice[3].

      One of these processes is formation of gas hydrates or clathrates. In the highly compressed deep ice all air bubbles disappear, as under the influence of pressure the gases change into the solid clathrates, which are tiny crystals formed by interaction of gas with water molecules. Drilling decompresses cores excavated from deep ice, and contaminates them with the drilling fluid filling the borehole. Decompression leads to dense horizontal cracking of cores, by a well known sheeting process. After decompression of the ice cores, the solid clathrates decompose into a gas form, exploding in the process as if they were microscopic grenades. In the bubble-free ice the explosions form a new gas cavities and new cracks[4]. Through these cracks, and cracks formed by sheeting, a part of gas escapes first into the drilling liquid which fills the borehole, and then at the surface to the atmospheric air. Particular gases, CO2, O2 and N2 trapped in the deep cold ice start to form clathrates, and leave the air bubbles, at different pressures and depth. At the ice temperature of –15oC dissociation pressure for N2 is about 100 bars, for O2 75 bars, and for CO2 5 bars. Formation of CO2 clathrates starts in the ice sheets at about 200 meter depth, and that of O2 and N2 at 600 to 1000 meters. This leads to depletion of CO2 in the gas trapped in the ice sheets. This is why the records of CO2 concentration in the gas inclusions from deep polar ice show the values lower than in the contemporary atmosphere, even for the epochs when the global surface temperature was higher than now.

      I leave it up to you to accept his arguments or reject them. But that is his two cents on ice cores.

      • See this paper for a discussion of the clathrate issue. Also, there are many studies (e.g., Siegenthaler et al., Ahn et al.) that address the potential chemical reaction problems that Jaworowski mentions. In other words, not only are these issues well known, but they are being addressed in constructive ways.

      • This may just be a phrasing thing, but what it this mean exactly, when you say

        “…not only are these issues well known, but they are being addressed in constructive ways”?

        It sounds like the issue has not been resolved, the way the sentence reads. “Being addressed”? And what are “constructive ways”? The latter has a suggestion not dissimilar to bodging things to make sure they “help the cause.” I would much rather not read this that way, but the term “constructive” is very ambiguous, in that it tends to mean constructive toward some particular end, which is why I am addressing it here, so I don’t get your meaning wrong.

        I will get to the papers in a bit.

      • Sorry for the ambiguity. The main point is that, in many cases, quantitative limits can be placed on the effects of the CO2 reactions that Jaworowski is worried about, and that these limits preclude significant distortion of the CO2 record.

      • I still don’t get it. Jawaworski was talking about real cracks that did form, not something in a formula somewhere that had limits on values. He was talking about drilling fluid that DID contaminate, and cracks that did form. Cracks in real ice, not modeled ice cracks. And real migration of liquid water and real clathrates forming.

        I still haven’t had time to read the articles. Later tonight…

  33. ET dust as potentially a major factor in Pleistocene glacial/interglacial dynamics appears to have had some popularity a few decades ago (Richard Muller was one of the proponents), but more recent data have failed to support the concept. An example is from Winckler and Fischer 2006:

    Science 28 July 2006:
    Vol. 313 no. 5786 p. 491
    30,000 Years of Cosmic Dust in Antarctic Ice
    Gisela Winckler and Hubertus Fischer


    Polar ice provides an archive for the influx of cosmic dust. Here, we present a high-resolution, glacial-to-interglacial record of cosmic dust using helium isotope analysis of the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (EPICA) ice core drilled in Dronning Maud Land. We obtained a relatively constant 3He flux over the past 30,000 years. This finding excludes 3He as a pacemaker of late Pleistocene glacial cycles. Rather, it supports 3He as a constant flux parameter in paleoclimatic studies. A last glacial-to-Holocene shift of the 4He/non‐sea salt Ca2+ ratio appears to indicate a glacial-to-interglacial change in the terrestrial dust source.

    The data do not exclude a minor contribution from extraterrestrial sources but tend to rule out such dust contributions as a quantitatively important contributor relative to orbital parameters and other forcings.

    • The last paragraph above was my comment and not from the paper.

    • Thank you, Fred. There is a reason we keep you around here.

      If ET dust were causing ice ages every 80k years or so, we would have found evidence of it. If there had been some super-volcano erupting every 80K and spewing enough material into the atmosphere to cause ice ages, we would certainly have known that by now. The ET dust theory don’t fly. However, Pats II and III should be interesting.

      • I’ve also reread the Introduction and it appears to present a confused picture of what are thought to be factors responsible for glacial/interglacial cycles and the relevant climate sensitivity. To the extent that the initiating factor is orbital forcing due to variations in Earth/sun geometry (eccentricity, obliquity, and precession), that forcing is estimated to be quite small, and so it is feedbacks that supply most of the impetus for the ultimate temperature changes. Of these, a dominant one is albedo change due to ice sheet expansion (glaciations) or contraction (interglacials). Changes in greenhouse gases (mainly CO2) also contribute a substantial feedback, but still mediate only a fraction of the observed temperature changes. However, the resultant climate sensitivity is estimated not at about 3 C (mid range value) as stated in the Introduction, but rather at about 6 C for doubled CO2. It is often referred to as Earth System sensitivity rather than the Charney sensitivity typically applied to changes occurring over decades to a few centuries.

        The main reason for the difference in sensitivity is the albedo feedback from ice sheets, although dust changes are also thought to play a role. The principle is that if any forcing is given millennia in which to operate, the ice sheet feedback will significantly amplify the response that occurs during shorter intervals when the ice sheets have had almost no time to change.

        My comment is not intended to review all the evidence bearing on each of these factors, but rather to clarify the importance of ice sheet changes in contributing to temperature change and climate sensitivity estimates as opposed to the role of greenhouse gases alone. Readers interested in details and evidence can find these in articles on orbital forcing and Milankovitch cycles; there’s a huge literature on this.

    • Fred, with the greatest of respect, things are not as simple as you seem to believe.
      Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

      3He is indeed an excellent extraterrestrial marker.
      However, during entry into the atmosphere particles undergo heating and sublimation, the composition of the elements in the particles changes as they heat and sublimation occurs.
      During the ‘boil-off’ elements with the lowest sublimation temperature are lost.

      • You can’t support a theory with that. Absence of evidence, usually is evidence of absence. Especially, when you are talking about a large recurring phenomenon that should leave some substantial footprints.

      • Don – I agree completely. Absence of evidence is almost always evidence of absence. This statement, which is true, has unfortunately been confused sometimes with another true statement: Absence of proof is not proof of absence. Both statements are correct, because it’s almost never possible to prove the non-existence of something with 100% certainty, whereas the improbability of its existence can be demonstrated when enough searches where it should be found turn up negative.

      • I think the 3He evidence is compelling. For the particles to differ very greatly in quantity (and therefore 3He flux) between glacial and interglacial intervals, but then to have that difference largely obliterated by an atmospheric process that affected 3He very differently in one interval vs the other requires a remarkable set of assumptions about unidentified mechanisms that somewhow distinguished between one set of particles and another. It’s much more likely that the atmospheric changes you refer to act fairly similarly in each case, and so the small differences in 3He reflect differences in particle quantity that were small. An extreterrestrial dust source as a major contributor seems quite implausible, and I gather that the waning of interest in this possibility reflects the weight of evidence.

      • And I agree completely with this 3He stuff, Fred. I was about to say the very same thing myself. This is the first time we have agreed on anything, Fred. It’s the first time that you have got it right :)

    • I would just throw in that 3He is a marker for ET impacts, when found in the ejecta or at the impact site. I have no idea offhand how well it is read globally for impacts.

      BTW, the full Science article is at http://epic.awi.de/14764/1/Win2006a.pdf

  34. Jim D has mentioned the Milankovich celestial cycles, with which the Quaternary glacial-interglacial oscillations can be matched fairly closely. This close correlation does suggest a celestial influence from the cycles on the glacial-interglacial climate changes. It can’t really be the other way round. I think Doc Martyn may have have his work cut out to convince either warmers or sceptics about another extra-terrestrial control which fits the bill as well as the Milankovich cycles do.

  35. Does this mean that there will be more ET dust on one side of the moon than the other?

  36. I have looked at the Milankovich cycles and I have looked at ice core data and I do not see a fit.

    • You should look at Roe (2006, GRL). It shows a fit of the ice volume rate of change (rather than volume itself) to the solar forcing that works very well.

      • Ice Volume and Ice Volume Rate of change are directly related. if they disagree, one is wrong. Consensus Climate Science does have the Ice Wrong. Do you have a link to Roe (2006, GRL)? I will look at it.

      • Use Google Scholar to search for Roe 2006 “in defense of Milankovitch”.
        The correlations work better for rate of change of volume. It should gibe you a PDF.

      • Jim D – It don’t matter much if they got good correlations with ice volume and Milankovith or with rate of change of ice volume and Milankovith. They have the ice volume wrong. Ice volume was created in the early part of the ice age when oceans were warm and the Arctic Ice Free. Once earth got cold, water froze and for the rest of the cold part of the ice age, ice volume was decreasing. There was no source of moisture for the snow that is required to build ice volume in that time. Without liquid water, you don’t get precipitation, rain or snow. Milankovith Theory is wrong. It may have provided some forcing, but you build ice volume during warm times. Look at the DATA! This is not MY Data, this is Ice Core Data!

      • The ice ages are defined by glacial extent. Your graph doesn’t show that the glaciers used to cover Canada and northern Europe with kilometers of ice. This is what ice volume means. Your graph only shows what is expected, which is that precipitation increases when it is warmer, which in certain parts of the world means more snow accumulation.

      • More snow accumulation in warm times does mean the the ice volume for the major ice ages was created when the oceans were warm and the ice melted and the Arctic open.
        They create much of the ice volume when oceans are colder and the surface frozen. It can not happen that way.

      • Yes, ice volume increases only when it gets colder. This allows the ice albedo feedback to make it even colder leading to more ice volume. Only orbital changes can bring it out of this kind of cold phase.

      • The ice is not a feedback, it is the driver.

      • You seem to be saying that ice albedo makes it colder, but being colder doesn’t make more ice. This is a feedback loop.

      • You do not make more ice when it is colder.
        You make more ice when it is warmer, that is why it does get colder.
        You stop making ice when it is colder, that is why ice melts and it does get warmer.

      • This is why earth has temperature limits.
        It can not get too hot because it snows when earth oceans are warm.
        It can not get too cold because the snow stops when oceans are cold.

        Think about it. This makes good common sense and all that other stuff does not.

      • You don’t explain why there is more sea ice in the winter.

      • Winter is colder than summer. There is more sea ice when it is colder.

      • Contrary to what you said at 2:35pm.
        This was my understanding. Colder means more ice. I can’t believe we are debating this.

      • More excellent, free-wheeling debate at Climate Etc.!

      • When water is frozen it does not get into the atmosphere to provide for snow. Cold does make more sea ice, but warmer makes more land ice. ice on land provides the high albedo to cool the earth. it snows when the oceans are warm and the arctic is open. the ice piles up on land and cools the earth. the oceans get cool enough to allow the northern waters to freeze and that makes more sea ice but turns off the snow. when it is cold, it don’t snow, ice melts and retreats and that is when earth warms.
        during the past 800,000 years for which we have ice core data.
        when earth was warm, it always, always, got cold.
        when earth was cold, it always, always, got warm.
        Read my climate theory and learn why this has happened.

      • Consensus Climate Theory has the ICE WRONG.
        The build the ice volume WRONG and they melt the ice volume WRONG.
        Maurice Ewing and William Donn did build the ice volume right and they did melt the ice volume right.
        My “Pope’s Climate Theory” follows and advances their theory into the modern stable period that is different.

      • In the modern period, the ice is still advanced during warm ocean times when the Arctic Sea Ice is Gone.
        In the modern period, the ice is still retreated during the cold times when the Arctic is frozen.
        The temperature limits on this cycle have been tightened. It will not get as warm as previous interglacial’s and it will not get as cold as previous major ice ages.

      • Jim D – Earth comes out of a cold phase of a major ice age, after the ice sheets melted and thinned and the ice extent retreats and albedo increases an warms earth.

    • Herman: the primary evidence is the correspondence between summer insolation in the northern hemisphere (as calculated from the Milankovich cycles) and the oxygen isotope record from deep-sea sediment (which is thought to reflect ice volume). There is also a reasonably good correspondence between the Vostok isotope data and the deep sea record, at least back to 125 ka or so.

  37. An attempt to explain the 800 KYr temperature behavior from Dome C ice cores, and not even a hint that the author is aware of the role of orbital forcings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital_forcing).

    • Heh, iron dust attracted by magnetic phenomena associated with orbital forcings.

    • The orbital forcings bite the dust when you look around 400ka, with the highest ice core spikes and minimum variation in Milankovitch variations. A second major problem is that the dominant 100K ice core cycle is only 1ma old, which is not an identified milankovitch wobble. So essentially we have no idea yet what causes this 100ka cycle, but interestingly enough it is also seen in the gas eruption scars at the continental slope in the Nordic sea for the last 500K years. Bryn et al 2005 Link below. Wondering about causality, what causes what?


      • Another small problem is that ice ages are very new geologically but M-cycles are as old as earth. Maybe the low CO2 levels triggered the ice age cycles. All we have are climate speculations, at all scales of interest.

      • LeftTurn and David: Milankovich-type cycles must indeed be as old as the earth, but the further back one goes in time the more uncertainty creeps into the calculations. There is after all some error in all the measurements. AFAIK beyond a few million years we have little idea of the actual Milankovich-type pattern.

  38. Maybe also a few loose remarks.

    At first one may wonder if a biologist concerned with ice ages also did some research about biological evidence supporting the ice core suppositions about 10-20 degrees tempeture fluctuations. There may be some surprises.

    Secondly, when it is dry, it gets dusty, normally, winds carrying dust over thousands of kilometers. If you study all data of the ice cores, you’ll see that there is a very strong correlation between “temperature” (but actually isotope ratios) and accumulation rate of snow/ice. So cold-dry, dry-dusty.

    The question is if “cold” is really part of the equation, for instance if dry/heavy isotopes relate then we could also eliminate cold: dry-heavy isotopes-dusty.

    It just so happens that isotope ratios (d18O and d2H) are mainly determined by condensation temperature in the clouds (and rayleigh effect). Condensation temperature is also known as dewpoint and is mainly determined by the absolute humidity of the air. Now it gets interesting.

    • so essentially more dust because the atmosphere isn’t washed out as much? that kind of thing?

  39. also shouldn’t the moon be waist deep in dust by now? I dunno maybe it compresses, just throwing that one out there

    • Thomas Gold, he of similar wacko skeptic heritage, claimed the lunar lander would sink without a trace due to the dust.

      Thinking about this theory about dust shows just how sensitive to perturbations the earth’s climate is. Mankind has had a huge impact on the environment, and in a much shorter time than dust.

      • randomengineer

        There are perturbations and then there are perturbations. Just throwing this out there, but it seems to me that orbital changes and angle of incidence to the nearby gigantic ball of nuclear fire would probably have more effect than release of some CO2. Some levels of climate change belief structure seem to require a great deal of hubris — not all perturbations are equal.

      • Hubris is thinking that you can eyeball the significance of the various contributions to the radiative forcing of the climate, totally ignoring the vast scientific literature on the subject backed by reams of hard data.

      • Perturbations plus positive feedback. Last time I checked, orbital changes don’t create a feedback loop, and neither does angle of incidence. Those are known perturbations, with an easily estimated forcing function. The factors such as co2 and ice / snow albedo do have the positive feedback potential.

      • randomengineer

        Web, if ice ages are caused by phenomenae like orbital wobble etc. then this says there’s a feedback loop initiated that creates a new equilibrium state. Hard to envision how a state change works otherwise.

      • Hard to imagine that you don’t understand what feedback is in this context.

      • I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying, WHT. Solar forcing doesn’t amplify solar forcing, but it can trigger other forms of positive feedback, including CO2 release and changes in albedo. What distinction are you making here?

      • That’s exactly what I am saying Robert. Others are trying to say a perturbation alone will cause a climate change. Metastable systems are often positive feedback driven by slight perturbations. The climate likely fits into this category.

      • Ice ages and interglacials certainly look like state changes, each state being pretty stable. If M-cycles drive all this no one knows how. All there is, is a correlation based on ice cores. Even worse, ice ages are very recent geologically but M-cycles are as old as earth. If positive temp feedbacks trigger interglacials then negative feedbacks trigger ice ages.

        But it is all speculation at this point. Just another example of the fact that we do not understand natural climate change, on any scale.

      • David,

        The words ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ in terms of feedbacks don’t refer to the direction of change. Positive feedback results in an amplification of any initial force, whether in the direction of warming or cooling. Positive feedbacks act with orbital changes to cause both glacial and interglacial periods.

        The specific effects of orbital mechanics on temperature change are dependent on the configuration of continents so there is no expectation of consistency going back in the millions of years. I think even the positioning of large mountain ranges, such as the Himalayas, is thought to have important consequences for circulation which need to be taken into account.

      • Paul S,

        I think that is what David was thinking, but you have stated it very nicely. Concise and crystal clear. Please stick around for Parts II, and III.

      • Web hub says (4.42): “Last time I checked, orbital changes don’t create a feedback loop, and neither does angle of incidence. Those are known perturbations, with an easily estimated forcing function.” The net annual and global radiative forcing from orbital changes and angle of incidence is indeed close to zero. This fact is used by some people to discount the role of such variations in global climate change. However that argument misses the point, which is that what seems to count is a regional (rather than global) and seasonal (rather than annual) control, namely (as Milankovich suggested) the slow cyclic variation in summer insolation on the earth’s land hemisphere. It is mainly on the NH land areas that the initial positive feedback is felt, with growth and shrinkage of the area covered by snow and ice and attendant albedo changes. So far so good. However the question of how this regional pattern can extend to become a global one is still a matter for further debate. Some people argue that atmospheric CO2 feedback plays an important role; others find that solution unfeasible because of the time lag. At least that’s how I see the situation. There seems to be plenty of scope for further study.

      • Re Thomas Gold’s moon dust, you should get the whole story before ridiculing someone who was a member of the National Academy of Science and a Fellow of the Royal Society.

        From Wikipedia, with note numbers:

        In 1955, he predicted that the Moon was covered by a layer of fine rock powder stemming from “the ceaseless bombardment of its surface by Solar System debris”.[22] This led to the dust being jokingly referred to as “Gold’s dust”.[30] Gold initially suggested that astronauts would sink into the dust, but upon later analysis of impact craters and electrostatic fields, he determined that the astronauts’ boots would sink only three centimeters into the Moon’s surface. In any case, NASA sent an unmanned Surveyor to analyze the conditions on the surface of the Moon. Gold was ridiculed by fellow scientists, not only for his hypothesis, but for the approach he took in communicating NASA’s concerns to the American public; in particular, some experts were infuriated with his usage of the term “moon dust” in reference to lunar regolith.[31] When the Apollo 11 crew landed on the Moon in 1969 and brought back the first samples of lunar rocks, researchers found that lunar soil was in fact powdery. Gold said the findings were consistent with his hypothesis, noting that “in one area as they walked along, they sank in between five and eight inches”. However, Gold received little credit for his correct prediction, and was even criticized for his original prediction of a deep layer of lunar dust.[22]

        I think you owe Gold an apology. 3 cm is about 1-1/8″. That is pretty much exactly what they sank into the dust. What is your problem with him getting it right? Note that NO ONE ELSE got it right; no one else corrected him, and he corrected himself, before the fact.

        Is his sole qualification as a wacko because he might have been a global warming skeptic before he died? Anyone who doesn’t agree with you is a wacko? And you drag out a prediction that he got right on, and laugh at him, when he, in fact got it right – and no one else did.

        Does your foot taste good?

      • AGW faithful do not need to be factually correct to claim to be right.

    • lolwot, your question about dust on the moon make more common sense to me than any question I heard for the last many months

  40. LOL – Good question! Don’t forget that when Apollo 11 went to the moon, they were not at ALL sure the surface wasn’t VERY deep in dust. There were arguments for just that.

    And there IS a decent coating of dust on the moon, though not waist deep. But the depth of that dust should be IMHO an indicator of how much dust has arrived on Earth, too. That said, I’d like to know why anyone’s claim or argument would vary very much from that. On average, what falls on the Earth would also fall on the Moon. Sometimes one or the other screens the other, but even that should average out as a wash, I think. Yes, the Earth has a bigger gravity well, and that might make a difference. But it might also lens the paths of some dust (which is traveling probably at what? 15-30 km/sec?) and bend it around the Earth, and if the Moon is on the back side, it might get more than its share.

    • The point about Thomas Gold was that he was simply a contrarian and kept with his ridiculous arguments in the face of overwhelming empirical evidence, much like the most out-there of the climate skeptics.

    • Cool; dust drifts.

    • The dust layer covering the moon’s surface (the regolith) is the result of meteorite impacts over the whole history of the satellite. The regolith material is a mix of (a) original moon rock fragmented (and occasionally melted) by larger impacts and (b) extraneous material including fragmented meteorites and dust particles. There is some evidence that (a) is the dominant component, as even with the naked eye from the earth one can see that the regolith is not uniform, but varies regionally in composition. This regolith variation must reflect variation in the composition of the underlying solid rocks, as if extraneous material was dominant the regolith would tend to be of uniform composition.
      I have read that the main difficulty that lunanauts had with the lunar dust was that it is so sticky, clogging up equipment in a way that they were not accustomed to with earth dust

    • “And there IS a decent coating of dust on the moon, though not waist deep. But the depth of that dust should be IMHO an indicator of how much dust has arrived on Earth, too. That said, I’d like to know why anyone’s claim or argument would vary very much from that. On average, what falls on the Earth would also fall on the Moon. Sometimes one or the other screens the other, but even that should average out as a wash, I think. Yes, the Earth has a bigger gravity well, and that might make a difference. But it might also lens the paths of some dust (which is traveling probably at what? 15-30 km/sec?) and bend it around the Earth, and if the Moon is on the back side, it might get more than its share.”

      A difference between the Moon and Earth, is a car size rock is stopped by the earth’s atmosphere, on the Moon it directly impacted on the lunar surface. Pea size or even microscopic dust hits the lunar surface at [as you said] 15-30 km/sec. Though the most common impact speed is about 20 km/sec, but there is a wide range of possible impact velocities. The range is +70 km/sec to somewhere around the Moon’s escape velocity [2.4 km/sec]. It somewhat rare to have low velocities of around 2.4 km/sec, but those impacting at those speeds would be affected by the Moon gravity.
      To impact the Moon or Earth at these lower velocities [around their escape velocities] requires that an object be in the same orbit around the sun as the Earth.
      The reason is quite simple, earth is traveling around the Sun at 29.8 km/sec, and most objects are crossing earth’s orbit. So it’s like highway where cars are traveling 60 mph, if you on bicycle going with traffic and you cross the traffic, it’s the car’s speed which mostly determines the impact velocity.
      And the higher velocities involve earth hitting cometary material- if they miss earth they going go out beyond Jupiter. A lot material which hits earth or Moon comes from Jupiter gravity affecting on asteroids in the Main asteroid belt- Jupiter the reason we have a constant supply- without Jupiter impacts would be much rarer then they are.

      As for lunar dust, all the impactors are “gardening” the lunar surface- the turn over or gardening of lunar regolith occurs around every few million years:
      “The lunar regolith, or the uppermost few meters of the Moon, consists of soil and highly fragmented rocks formed by repeated impacts of meteoroids with the Moon’s surface. These impacts eject material from the craters that are formed, and the ejecta are usually deposited nearby. The overall effect of many such impacts is a continual overturn of the regolith, which keeps it well mixed. This can be thought of as a sort of gardening, analogous to the mixing of soil performed by a farmer’s plow.

      The degree of mixing in the regolith depends on the size of an impacting body, with larger impacts mixing material to greater depths. Small impacts are much more common than larger impacts, and so mixing to small depths occurs more often than mixing to large depths. Current estimates are that mixing to a depth of 1 centimeter occurs on average every million years, while mixing to a depth of 1 meter occurs only about once every billion years.”

      Regolith Depth:
      “We find that median regolith depths in
      the mare regions are typically 2-4 m, whereas median
      regolith depths on the farside and non-mare nearside
      areas are typically 6-8 m.”

      The impacting also compacts regolith [or dust], and smaller impactor/micrometeorites sputter the surface. Leaving a thin layer few inches [in which astronaut made all their footprint] which is on top of meters of compacted regolith.

  41. “Contrarian” and “ridiculous arguments” Please read Gold’s Wikipedia article and then say that. He made several predictions of things against the status quo, and that turned out right. He didn’t have a winner with Fred Hoyle and the Steady State Theory. And his abiogenic oil turned out to be superceded by some Russians, who covered it better (with several hundred papers on it), and most people think the idea is not tenable, BUT there is still a sizable amount of scientific work being done on the topic, so the fat lady hasn’t sung yet, not on that topic.

    Is your argument about wacko that he wasn’t right ALL the time? Boy, show me the scientist who was right all the time. Perhaps Richard Feynman. So, ANY predictions whatsoever that turn out not to be true, and that makes someone a wacko?

    If so, the folks at CRU and Mr Mann are going to some day be in YOUR doghouse! Mann – Mr “hide the decline” himself – eating crow. THAT will be a day for partying.

    • Keep it up with your inane cheerleading for Thomas Gold. Seems as if a certain breed of skeptic has a cult of personality complex. Some of us are more interested in the science than promoting outlandish arguments.

      • WebHub, please take the cap of your telescope, so you can see what the grown-up can see; than you can use the word science. So-far, you are only reading what is written on the inside of that cap, by IPCC… Take it off, take it off. The outlandish hypothesis comes from your brains-trusts, from East Anglia and IPCC. If you decide one day to take them to court for ”brains degradation” I will be your witness.

      • Oy vey. You slammed someone, and were DEAD WRONG about it.

        I didn’t bring Gold into the conversation. You did. When I asked you to go read about his actual history, I become a cheerleader. What kind of conversation is that?

        And YOU are the one interested in science? I brought in FACTS, and you are name calling, and I am the non-scientist? When you slam a Fellow of The Royal Society and are WRONG about it? Wow. What a joke. You are sold 100% on global warming, and anyone who doesn’t toe your line is “non-scientific” or a “”Wacko” or a “contrarian” or a “cheerleader” or is “promoting outlandish arguments.” You didn’t bring ONE fact into this discussion. The only “fact” you brought in, a 15-second check of his history showed you were wrong.

        And you couldn’t even acknowledge you were wrong.

        All you could do was throw a temper tantrum.

        HAHAHA When you can’t think of anything scientific to say, you pull out your bag of names.

        You can’t even SEE how ignorant your arguments are. You brought ZERO facts into this. Almost every sentence had an insult. And you think that is science? What science? The science of snarcism? The school of ad hoc attack? The college of turning purple from holding your breath?

        If you think you are representing your side well, you are completely delusional.

        Everyone in this thread is now dumber, for having listened to you. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • I don’t apologize to Thomas Gold for his stupid theory on abiotic oil. To understand why people believe weird things, you have to confront the mentality of those scientists with the seeming highest credentials. Gold enjoyed being a contrarian, and with his refined British accent while teaching at Cornell all those years, he got away with being a charlatan. His is a very interesting story made relevant to this post by his theories on dust.

      • “From the 1950s, Gold served as a consultant to NASA and held positions on several national space committees, including the President’s Science Advisory Committee, as the United States tried to develop its space program. At the time, scientists were engaged in a heated debate over the physical properties of the moon’s surface. In 1955, he predicted that the Moon was covered by a layer of fine rock powder stemming from “the ceaseless bombardment of its surface by Solar System debris”.This led to the dust being jokingly referred to as “Gold’s dust”. Gold initially suggested that astronauts would sink into the dust, but upon later analysis of impact craters and electrostatic fields, he determined that the astronauts’ boots would sink only three centimeters into the Moon’s surface”

      • A Malthusian pushing the end of oil ridiculing anyone about a cult of personality is really entertaining.

      • An anti-science vibe as you give off is par for the course.

  42. BTW, do you carry a prayer rug with you and keep track of where UEA is so you can pray five times a day facing your Mecca? You are certainly sold on your religion. Did you laugh at the video a while back of skeptics’ heads being exploded? I’d bet on it. Violence against skeptics is okay? If you didn’t laugh, did you write or call to castigate the makers of the video for being JUST A BIT over the top?

  43. Doc, I was hoping that you will produce some balanced article; instead you are a mouthpiece for IPCC… Their rubbery numbers are your gospel.

    ”They predicted warming of 5-6C by 2060 originally – then they changed it to 2100. That was their most solid prediction; when somebody wanted a grant was going for 7C. At that time China was producing same amount of CO2 as Australia (now they produce CO2 equal to 12 Australias)

    Few days before Copenhagen flop, it was ”climate critical” Because countries didn’t sign on the doted line – day after Copenhagen, they declared to control the temperature only by 2C above present…? As on a Fujitsu air-conditioner… Because the bias media didn’t ask them: please explain, from 5-6C down to 2C is much more, than from 2C down to zero… you are writing your article with confidence that the Urban Sheep are used to serial misleadings; so I am asking you: ”please explain Doc, isn’t all that insult to human intelligence?! Because CO2 increased beyond anybody’s expectation – if there was a milligram of honesty – day after Copenhagen would have declared: ”because CO2 is increasing at an alarming rate – instead of 5-6C warming, will be 12C warming”!!! (you are using their selective numbers with no blushing)

    Therefore, when somebody tells a lie; apologises about the lie, before can be believed anything, why that doesn’t apply to your Warmist camp? . Your text says that you are from that camp, I have proven that CO2 is not a GLOBAL warming gas… have you got enough dignity, to apologize for all the rubbery numbers, so we can take you seriously?!

    • “They predicted warming of 5-6C by 2060 originally”

      [citation needed]

      • “They predicted warming of 5-6C by 2060 originally”

        [citation needed]

        I think I may be able to explain it: http://alialexander.com.au/graphics/Gary_Larson.jpg

      • Robert, you associate obviously only with people that cannot be trusted; if you can’t be trusted, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t trust everybody. I had lots of newspaper clippings from that time for when I was writing my first book. No I don’t keep it for you, if you are interested, you can obtain it.
        Another remark; most of those treads given now; are written after / or avoid to present original transcripts; for panicking reasons. The only reason I got involved, (with my limited English vocabulary) is; for real truth. From now, what I say, you better believe it; I am not one from your camp.

      • You may as well just admit you made the number up. You’re just digging yourself in deeper.

      • Quiz time Robert,

        This is a Hansen quote, “A strong warming trend between 1965 and 1980 raised the global mean temperature in 1980 and 1981 to the highest level in the period of instrumental records. The warm period in recent years differs qualitatively from the earlier warm period centered about 1940; the earlier warming was focused at high northern latitudes, while the recent warnting is more global.”

        Why would I reference that quote?

      • Robert, I don’t make mistakes, because I consult the laws of physics. If it looks as a mistake to you, it’s double proof that I am correct. Now listen very carefully: ozone doesn’t affect the temperature, not one bit, zero, zilch! Ozone, aerosol, helium just spin in the stratosphere, completely useless. Temperature is controlled by oxygen + nitrogen – the warmer they get on the ground, the more they expand and speed up the vertical winds – taking extra heat up to waste – the cooler they are, shrink and circulation slows. Similar as when you rev the engine on your car > releases more heat; but simultaneously the water pump speeds up taking water faster to the radiator for cooling. Only difference is O+N in the troposphere can double in volume = same as doubling the size of the radiator. If you have brains, you will understand what I am saying; but I will never say that you don’t have brains; you must have being informed of that before.

        By how much did Al Gore said that will get warmer planet? He is the first ever in history to get Nobel for lying (that is a new category)

      • How warm was it during the age of the dinosaurs?

        ” Hansen presented results of studies which indicated likely climate canges under different energy policies.

        If there were slow growth in the use of hydrocarbon fuels, the world in the middle of the next century would be as warm as it was 125,000 years ago, when lions, elephants and other tropical animals roamed a balmy southern England.

        Pursuing present plans for coal and oil, Hansen found, the climate in the middle of the 21st century “would approach the warmth of the age of the dinosaurs”

        The Leader-Post, January 9th, 1982.


        “Within 15 years,” said Goddard Space Flight Honcho James Hansen, “global temperatures will rise to a level which hasn’t existed on earth for 100,000 years”.

        The News and Courier, June 17th 1986

        Hey he knocked 25,000 years off the estimate :)


      • Google is your friend:


        “Mean surface temperature over period duration ca. 16.5 °C[3]
        (3 °C above modern level)”


        Depending on the emissions path, we could indeed approach +3C relative to preindustrial temps by the middle of the century. Dinosaurs lived in times a mere +3C compared to the recent past. Which is another common-sense warning sign that we are effecting a radial change in the earth’s climate with unpredictable consequences.

      • lolwot, between 96 -2001 was warming by 5-6C, can obtain it in every newspaper from that time; if you want me to be your secretary and do the search for you, you must buy me high hills shoes first.

        Can obtain it via the net, TV news clips from that time.

      • So you made it up and you don’t have a source?

        Interesting. Deniers will be deniers, I suppose.

      • Actually, Robert, you didn’t read the linked articles, or you would have read the following, though which scientist said it is not spelled out. Hansen was evidently present and did not correct it if it was wrong in his opinion.

        Other scientists gave Senators the same grim picture of the United States with the ozone nibbled away: Average temperatures up nine degrees, sparse rainfall destroying crops, melting polar ice slicing beaches at such places as Atlantic City by 85 feet in 25 years, 2 million yearly cases of skin cancer.

        I think they left out dogs and cats sleeping together.

        Assuming the nine degrees was not C, it would have to be F, and 9F equals 5C.

        I had honestly never read those ridiculous levels of alarmism before. I am just appalled at how thick they laid it on. My stomach turned at the following one. and not at the claim, but at the gonads it took to lie like that:

        “We’ve had enough research,” said Sherwood Rowland, a California chemist who discovered the link to the Greenhouse Effect [caps in the original]. “We can predict the temperature rise will extinguish human life in 500 to 1,000 years.”

        Lordy, God A’mighty, no wonder even Margaret Thatcher was worried.

        Looking back, one would think they were laughing all the way to the bank, slapping each other on the back and guffawing.

        A sucker is born every minute.

      • So “they” turn out to be newspapers, not scientists.

        Irrelevant then.

      • feet2thefire the article you quote confuses the ozone hole with the greenhouse effect. It can’t constitute evidence of what scientists were saying in 1986.

        I don’t trust the cited context of any of the quotes provided.

        Why are you citing an opinion section of a 1986 newspaper anyway? If scientists were really predicting 5-6C global warming by 2060 then why not cite the paper or report that was published in and by who?

        Who was predicting 5-6C warming by 2060?

        That’s a very specific claim. Not 2050, but specifically 2060. A specific claim surely has an easily locatable clear source.

      • “So “they” turn out to be newspapers, not scientists.

        Irrelevant then.”

        lol lolwot. That is a great point. We should stick to peer reviewed papers and scientists should as well. Anything Hansen has said or will say in the future will be stricken from the record since he tainted science with politics by not aggressively pursuing the media for all the out of context use of his quotes.

        Some idiot journalist even said that Hansen thought the US average temperature would be 3 to 4 degrees warmer by 2010 to 2020 than it was in the 1980s. That must have been out of context as well. :)

        Hansen seems to have predicted “uniform” global warming according to the press back in the day.

      • Lolwot/Dallas –

        Have you seen that Hansens talent for prophecy has been passed on to his familiar, Messr Schmidt? –


        It seems like AR4 has got it very wrong – it’s going to be much worse than we thought. :)

      • I really think we should be scared – I mean, maybe 7 degrees over land in northerly latitudes? By 2070? That’s where I live!

      • lolwot

        So “they” turn out to be newspapers, not scientists.

        feet2thefire the article you quote confuses the ozone hole with the greenhouse effect.

        No it does NOT confuse. You are confused yourself. (I feel like I am talking to a remedial class 2nd grader. You have got to be kidding. Are you dim? Reporters do not invent a number like 9 degrees. They rephrase things, but NUMBERS they do not pull out of their rear ends. That number would absolutely have been stated by the scientist, as reported, and noted down (that was before the internet and texting, in case you don’t know it). If you can’t even make that out in the sentence, then next time I will probably have to break it into “See Dick run. Run, Dick, run” kinds of sentences. The 9 degrees will be in the committee transcript, but I do not know how to access such things. And I have NO interest in looking it up for you.

        I did not start all that. I just thought that ONE of us should actually READ the articles, since you two were asserting that the figure was pulled out of stefandeniers’ butt. It wasn’t my link. You both replied that no reference was given, even though two references were linked – two references you obviously must not have not even known how to open, since you couldn’t recognize them as an answer to the question. It never occurred to me that you could not understand a clear statement of fact.

        Statement of fact: Ozone does not affect temperature. Anybody knows that. Ergo, in reading that sentence you have to understand the context of the committee meeting – which you would do if you had read the entire news article in the link. Oops! Two links – too confusing!

        The “ozone hole” reference, if you can read a not-quite simple declarative sentence (which I am completely beginning to doubt), was tossed into the sentence by the reporter, but it had nothing to do with temperatures. I could read that, and I amazed that you can’t. Did you think the reporter was saying the ozone hole was raising the temperature? If so, holy bejeezus.

        If you actually had READ the article – which it is even more certain you didn’t – you would have seen that the ozone hole and the Hansen and Rowland ridiculous temperature predictions were both on the committee agenda, and the reporter was talking about both.

        Today I am becoming amazed at how FEEBLE warmists are at reading anything scientific. I hope it isn’t universal. I have read the godawfullest ignorant comments on this thread I have ever SEEN. It seems very few of you have any scientific education at all. You continually get off-topic and can’t even understand fundamental statements of fact.

        After this exchange, it would not surprise me if you read the Rowland quote – that humans would die out in 500-1000 years – and believed it.

      • The best i can find in newspapers from the late 80s is 5-6 degree F warming by 2050. Which is about 3 degree C

        Yet this was claimed:
        “”They predicted warming of 5-6C by 2060 originally – then they changed it to 2100. That was their most solid prediction; when somebody wanted a grant was going for 7C.”

        No mention of who “they” are or when they changed it, or who the “somebody” is. Sounds very fishy to me as if this is some story being made up as it’s written to paint a desired picture.

        Followed up with this which I missed:
        “lolwot, between 96 -2001 was warming by 5-6C, can obtain it in every newspaper from that time”

        between 96-2001? Huh? I at least gave the benefit of the doubt that we were talking about the early days of predictions in the late 80s, but predictions of 5-6C warming by 2060 made in 1996-2001? I simply don’t believe it. Again we have bizarrely specific numbers (1996-2001) without any source.

        Ironically stefans initial post ended with: “have you got enough dignity, to apologize for all the rubbery numbers, so we can take you seriously?!”


      • lolwot –

        You can’t even understand plain English:

        I DID NOT CITE THAT ARTICLE. I only read it and posted what was in it. YOU misread what I pasted in.

        In addition the person who DID cite the article did not claim it was a peer-reviewed article, and you know it. They only said, :Hansen said blah, blah, blah…” AFTER the fact, you turned it into some claim that it was Hansen in a research paper.

        I can’t believe that you can’t even remember what happened and in what order and who said what. I mean, it is all laid out in front of you.

        What a ridiculous and time-wasting discussion.

        FACT: Hansen was reported to say TO CONGRESS that the sky is falling, and the temps within 15 years would be higher than in the past 100,000 years.
        FACT: Other SCIENTISTS were reported TO CONGRESS as saying similar things, including that the temps would go up by 9 degrees.

        FACT: It was NOT asserted that Hansen put it into a journal.

        FACT: YOU asked for a citation, even though there was no assertion that Hansen wrote it into a peer-reviewed paper. You may have thought that is what was meant, but you were wrong.

        FACT: stefandenier inserted links to support the earlier assertion about what Hansen said.

        FACT: You said no citation was provided.

        FACT: I clearly understood that stefendenier saying “Hansen said…” did not in any way imply it was a journal paper. I pointed out that stefnadnier DID provide a source for the assertion – two sources, in fact.

        FACT: You insisted again that it wasn’t a journal article. WHO CARES? NO ONE CLAIMED THAT.

        You can’t even read plain English.

      • Feets,

        You have made a large number of factual mistakes in a short time. Notably, you asserted ozone doesn’t affect temperatures (false) and confused global warming with local warming (not the same).

        And in all that mess, you haven’t found a single source predicting 5-6C of warming by 2060.

      • Anteros, question is: are you scared enough, to empty your pockets?! If 7C increase in temperature doesn’t scare you enough, they can increase even more. You should tell them: how many degrees extra warming you need, for your knees to start rattling? BOO!!! BOOO!!!!

      • feet2thefire:

        “Reporters do not invent a number like 9 degrees. They rephrase things, but NUMBERS they do not pull out of their rear ends. That number would absolutely have been stated by the scientist, as reported, and noted down”

        But you have no idea what the 9 degrees was for. The quote with the context is not provided. Is it the eventual warming for a doubling of CO2 or the warming for a certain date like 2050 or 2100? Is it a worst case scenario or a most likely value? Is it for global land and ocean or just global land? Is it even a figure for the globe?

        Given the article confuses the very basics – the difference between the ozone hole and the greenhouse effect – and it’s delingpole style tone I am being very charitable even accepting the 9F figure at all.

        There’s no mention of the elusive 2060 figure I notice.

      • There was 1000 statement just before Kyoto, most were for 5-6C. Because those original statements are avoided now by the propagandist; you have to dig deeper yourself.

        In the original comment, I stated extensively about the age of the ice on Antarctic; different that common belief. Why no comment from you boys on that important statement? Com on, help Doc Martin. I state: if the ice on the bottom on Antarctic is 800 000 years old, the fresh ice on the top would have being touching the moon. Because every year another meter of ice is created there. They don’t take in calculation that the geothermal heat melts about 1m of ice from below every year. Why are you avoiding important statements like that???

      • You still need a citation. Repeating the assertion over and over doesn’t not help your argument.

    • Stefan denies both sides and the middle. You got it covered. You must be right somewhere.

      • Don Monfort, I have proven that GLOBAL warmings are / were phony. I never denied climatic changes. No need for any GLOBAL warming for the climate to change – climate can change for better also; H2O changes the climate, not CO2. Did you ask yourself; why is no GLOBAL cooling when is solar eclipse? Because oxygen / nitrogen shrink when get colder.

        There is no GLOBAL warming; because O+N expand extra if warmed for any reason and fix, to get back to normal in a jiffy. It’s all proven on my website. CO2 is 260-400ppm, oxygen + nitrogen are 998999ppm, they regulate the temperature – that’s why I don’t bark up the carbon tree as all Warmist and most of the sceptics do

  44. Doc, you pointed on my comment in previous page on CH4 instability; if anything is more unstable in nature, is deuterium (H2) I wouldn’t trust that isotope after a month, you rely on it after many thousands of years…?

    2] As for everything in the whole saga; the laws of physics are completely discarded by the people drilling in the ice; but you use their data as factual.

    b] deep down in the mineshaft is 40C from the geothermal heat. That same heat EXIST on Antarctic – is melting the ice from below; day and night / summer and winter; because is protected by the ice from the unlimited coldness in the air. Therefore, about 1m+ of ice is melted every year. By freeze-drying is replenished on the top just as much. That confuses the ”experts” to declare that Antarctic is the driest continent… they see that is about same amount of ice, they don’t see rain or snowing, made their wrong conclusion.

    Can you see what I am aiming at, Doc? The ice that you think is 70 000 yeas old, is only 400 years old. Because freeze-drying of the moisture to replenish the ice ( similar as in the old fridges, with zero rainfall /snowfall – lots of ice for defrosting) 2]Geothermal heat is completely ignored by them. That makes your hypothesis about the dust, the most unreliable. I don’t know about that dust and am not commenting; but using their calendar… ? It’s same as using Jewish calendar, to calculate how long Bin Laden was leaving, by incorporating the Muslim calendar…?. He would have being living more than 4000 yeas.

    Doc, Antarctic is the wettest continent, lots of new ice is created by freeze-drying the moisture from the air – the topsoil on Antarctic has more water in it, IN LIQUID STATE / mud, than the topsoil in Amazon jungle. Doc, the only OLD ICE on Antarctic can be found in the crevices of rocks that are sticking up from the ground – because ice coldness cools that rock from the sides – heat cannot get up to the crevices – there you can find old ice, as gold nuggets. Coordinating your knowledge of dust, with the ”OLD” data the people drilling to keep the fear alive, is not prudent or reliable. But you are doing it… your camp is naughty, Doc!… Laws of physics should be abolished officially by the Obama administration and in UN, before you start relaying on the swarm of vermin collecting data on Antarctic. Friendly advice

  45. For some reason I get a silly happy grin on my face when while wandering the internet I hit a piece that says hello with:

    “This is the first of a three part presentation where I will attempt to explain the climate of the last 800,000 years, drawing on the role of the biosphere’s response to interstellar dust.”

  46. This post appears to be less than a stellar analysis.

    “We find that there is no requirement to invoke ‘greenhouse gas’ driven mechanisms to explain the temperature changes that are recorded in the ice core record. Instead, we show that changes in the reflection/absorption of sunlight by atmospheric dust are plausible in both an historical sense, by correlation, and in terms of the basic physics of radiative transfer.”

    Seems to me like a make believe exercise about make believe climate change in a make believe universe (where the basic principles of physics that we have come to know and understand, need not apply).

    In the real world that we inhabit, there is no actual option to “select” which of the physical mechanisms merit being “invoked”, and those deemed “unnecessary”, in order to explain the temperature changes that are recorded in the ice core record.

    The CO2 changes over the past 800,000 years in the Antarctic ice core measurements, and the corresponding oxygen-18 based global temperature changes, are quite definitive – CO2 trending from about 280 ppm at the interglacial warm periods down to about 180 ppm during maximum ice age conditions, with a corresponding 5-6 °C change in global surface temperature.

    These ice age global temperature and CO2 changes are explained quite well using a climate model that incorporates the greenhouse effect due to CO2 and the other greenhouse gases, including also the feedback effects due to water vapor, clouds, and surface albedo. It is in fact absolutely necessary to include the greenhouse effect because the greenhouse effect is a part of the radiative transfer modeling that is fully understood physics, and is known for sure to be there. To exclude the greenhouse effect from consideration is to deliberately do the problem wrong.

    With the polar temperatures being 20-20 °C colder than present during peak ice age conditions, the Clausius-Clapeyron relation limits atmospheric water vapor to less than half of current climate amounts. Under the dry and windy conditions characteristic of ice age climate, this implies that elevated concentrations of wind blown dust would clearly be expected in the polar regions during ice age conditions.

    Moreover, the radiative effects of wind blown dust on climate are not so easily deduced. The dust will of course reduce the amount of solar radiation incident on the ground. But the effect of the dust on the planetary energy balance (which determines whether the dust will heat or cool the global climate) depends on the absorptivity of the dust and also on the reflectivity of the underlying surface. Typically, dust over the ocean will tend to cool, while dust over clouds and snow covered surfaces will produce warming.

    • That’s clear enough for me. Well explained.

    • A Lacis,

      You have to wait to find out what characteristics he is going to assume for his ET dust. I think there is some resemblance to the climate scientist in this man. We will see how much of a flair he has for making crap up. He may want to switch fields. Go for the big bucks. Fame and fortune awaits. But he will have to learn to toe the party-line.

      • the butler didn’t do it, the cosmic dust did it. Appears to me that the Doc is climatologist’s messenger boy, delivering more smokescreen on their behalf, to confuse the already confused.

        NOT A SINGLE PERSON ON THE PLANET KNOWS HOW WARM THE PLANET WAS LAST YEAR; TO SAVE HIS LIFE, he knows about the correct temperature 120 000y ago…? There is lots of thin air in IPCC’s crystal ball to harvest from… lucky boys.

    • I take it one can explain the reason that women’s skirt lengths cause economic boom and bust?
      Correlation is not causality. One may be able to argue a mechanisms by which two things correlate, which may or may not be true.

      Quite reasonable hypotheses can be slain by ugly facts.

      However, time and time again we are informed that GHG’s are the only game in town with respect to the present day and past, when it comes to explaining temperature variations.

      I have presented an alternative postulate, in which the levels of atmospheric dust (from wherever source) block sunlight and cause cooling. Such a mechanism has intrinsic, limiting, positive feedback character, so that early desertification causes a drop in temperature, disrupts evaporation/precipitation and leads to more desertification. The process continues until all major revealed rocks/soils that can be weathered into small wind blown particles are exhausted. When the geological limit is reached, dust levels drop and temperatures rise.
      It is very simple, is based on physics/geology, and has much data to support it.
      The episodic presence of Iron in dust and the episodic character of the ice-age cycles indicated the possibility of an extraterrestrial source for the initiating event.

      Now all I have to do is to invoke the effects of dust/iron seeding on the biosphere to explain the recorded changes in biotic gasses, CO2, N2O, CH4, DMS/DMSO and NOx; and compare them to changes in known, non-biotic gasses, such as Argon.
      A doddle really.

      • Doc, if cosmic dust, CO2, or anything that causes dimming affect; in the upper atmosphere is warmer during the day – on the ground cooler. Because of less proportion of difference in temp between upper atmosphere and the ground is less > at night COOLING SLOWS. Those two factors cancel each other = end result, milder climate, overall same temperature. Use Brazil compare with Sahara – instead of cosmic dust is H2O, but same affect. Sahara has hotter days but colder nights than Brazil = overall same temp.

        Doc, do you acknowledge that is no 100 000years old ice on Antarctic? That is very controversial extensive comment I made, you and others are avoiding it. Do yo acknowledge that ice is melted constantly by the geothermal heat and replenished by new ice; by freeze-drying the moisture from the air – which none of it is taken in the calculation by the experts drilling into the ice on Antarctic. Therefore, the dates of your galactic dust have no meaning one bit

      • “Do yo acknowledge that ice is melted constantly by the geothermal heat and replenished by new ice; by freeze-drying the moisture from the air – which none of it is taken in the calculation by the experts drilling into the ice on Antarctic.”
        Antarctic average temperature is -49 C. It’s unlikely Antarctic average temperatures has risen above say, -20 C. Within the last million years.
        Antarctic is a large continent, without any doubt there are many geothermal hotspots, but most of the area, is similar to most other land masses.
        Ice is a pretty good conductor of heat:
        Ice (0 C,): 2.18 k – W/(m.K)
        Brick dense: 1.31
        Concrete, stone: 1.7
        Quartz mineral: 3
        Rock, solid: 2 – 7
        Water: 0.58
        Iron: 80
        Copper: 401

        So Ice heat much better than water and is equal to some rock.
        The thermal gradient in rock is:
        “The internal temperature of the earth increases with depth from the surface. Near the surface, the average geothermal gradient is about 25 degrees centigrade (77 degrees Fahrenheit) for every kilometer of depth.”

        And depth of ice cores:
        “Friday’s milestone was reached at a depth of 3,331 meters–about two miles deep–creating the deepest ice core ever drilled by the U.S. and the second deepest ice core ever drilled by any group, second only to the ice core drilled at Russia’s Vostok Station as part of a joint French/U.S./Russian collaboration in the 1990s.”

        hmm. At 3 km depth it does seem questionable. By which I mean I thought I had an easy answer, but I require more information- it would depend upon the site.
        An obvious question is what temperature is the ice cores after they are extracted. If they are within say 10 degrees of freezing there would be problems.

      • Gbaikie. thanks for the details. I’m on a mission to simplify things; it is important what people / majority on the street know – that’s what the politicians do. Warmist are aware of that – reason they complicate everything much more than necessary.= smokescreen for retreat.

        O.K. white ice is full of air; very efficient insulator. 1foot of ice insulates the Eskimo in his igloo from the coldness from the surface wind. 1km thick ice is much better insulation – nothing from the thermal heat reaches the surface. Accumulates and is constantly melting the ice from the bottom. 2] All soil has more or less some of that heat – same heat melts the winter snow in Europe / USA —melts the ice on Antarctic – at average conservative estimate; 1m a year. Anybody taking that melting into account, cannot believe that is 200 000 years old ice on Antarctic.

        For 7-9 months in a year those ”high” cold winds are coming from Antarctic; as heavy picked by the earth’s centrifugal force, goes north up to Port Moresby. Billions of cubic kilometres – to avoid vacuum – moist lower winds are going to Antarctic and by FREEZE-DRYING is renewing the ice deficit. But for shonky experts seeing is same amount of ice – no rain or snow; declared Antarctic as the driest continent – to be wrong on just about everything. it’s more details in my original comment somewhere on this page; much more on my website

      • Here is reference:
        In reference, they mention heat gradients in ice being around 1.5 C per 100 meter depth, They also discuss how surface temperature alter ice temperature at depth relative to time- e.g:
        “Figure 10 shows model calculations of future englacial
        temperature profiles, assuming that the surface temperature
        rises by 1°C during the 20 years following 1980 and then remains constant. After this surface temperature rise , a new steady-state situation will take about 10 000 years to be reached. ”

        Or as I understand it, the temperature at depth of 120 meters, requires
        10,000 years to “adjust” it’s temperature to “reflect” warmer [or colder] average surface temperature.
        Which I take to mean, that ice say, 300 meters deep [or deeper] will still “hold” the last ice age average temperatures- or least it’s temperature hasn’t yet “fully caught up” to the present interglacial temperatures.
        In earlier post I quoted “average geothermal gradient is about 25 degrees centigrade for every kilometer of depth” with rock.
        So apparently it’s somewhere around 15 C per km with ice

        In regards to “..cannot believe that is 200 000 years old ice on Antarctic.”,

        I don’t accept that there is no ice which older than 200,000 years.

        “– nothing from the thermal heat reaches the surface. Accumulates and is constantly melting the ice from the bottom.”

        It seems to me if you had 1 km deep ice- in which it was 15 C warmer at the 1 km depth and if average surface temperature was -10 C that would be the case.

        But I wouldn’t immediately assume that geologist involved with doing ice core aren’t aware of these issues and that they couldn’t find areas in which there are conditions that allow for there to be older ice.

        But considering the evidence of climategate, perhaps such faith may be excessively optimistic.

      • “2] the heat penetrating into the ice you pointed the experiment… gbaikie, I only had a glance to realise that is a sloppy experiment… life is too short…”

        It may be a sloppy experiment. It may require many different location of similar experiment for it to be “better”.
        But it is one experiment- as would prefer a measurement.
        I would rather have measurements in ice “borehole” which was 1 km and more in depth rather than 1/10th of this distance. And would like to have Antarctic and Greenland and elsewhere.
        But I believe one does get a temperature gradient of “somewhere” around 1.5 C per 100 meters of ice depth. And I will assume this until such time as I am presented with better measurements.

        “Now listen very carefully: when temperature increases above the ice – that temperature doesn’t penetrate because white ice as polycrystalline is full of air, perfect insulator – instead all heat is wasted to melt the surface ice.”

        We talking about surface temperature below freezing- therefore melting the ice at the surface is not possible. Though evaporation is possible.
        But even if ice is melting or evaporating you still have a heat gradient.
        And yes the heat does “penetrate”. But also you have the geothermal heat from the earth risng. And it’s probably better to think of it in terms of surface temperature difference and mostly regard it has heat rising from earth surface.
        Or with earth surface of rock, one has heat coming down “penerating” and this is dominates at near surface areas, whereas when talking about depth of hundreds or thousands of meters below the surface the earth’s geothermal heat is the significantly larger factor.
        Or unless you in a geothermal hotspot, the geothermal heat has little affect [but some effect] at the top of surface, the deeper you go that shifts, but there still a very small affect from the surface temperature at great depth.

      • “And it’s probably better to think of it in terms of surface temperature difference and mostly regard it has heat rising from earth surface.”
        I meant: heat rising to the earth surface.

        “b] if they find different temperatures deeper in the ice is because; when that deeper ice was on the surface – the air was a bit warmer when trapped…”

        With borehole in the earth [not ice] one has temperature gradients and these seem to me to be similar to ice. With earth it’s fairly obvious the temperature at time of sedimentation of dirt is not normally a significant factor. With ice it would a bit different and years [maybe months] of colder or warmer periods of snowing maybe be discernible, but mostly it’s about thermal gradient- with overlays of cooler and warmer period imprinting on the thermal gradient

  47. Doc, did you calculated: how can the cosmic dust in Antarctic’s ice tell about the temperature in Europe; because you are referring it as GLOBAL TEMPERATURES. When people in Europe where freezing to death couple of years ago; ON THOSE SAME DAYS, in Australia were 170 people scorched in bushfires ON RECORD hottest days. If is written in the cosmic dust, did it say that year 2009 was warmer, or colder?

    • gbaikie, The tread you recommended talks about ice on the Alps; I was talking about Antarctic.

      Ice on Alps is decreasing and will continue – you my say is human guilt; because Sub-Sahara is expanding; occasionally heat-waves from there and Arabian peninsula go to the mountains > melt the ice + heat-waves decrease raw material for replenishing ice (few years ago they found 5000 y person frozen there – was for the first time exposed out of ice). SAHARA IS TOO FAR FROM Antarctic!!!

      2] the heat penetrating into the ice you pointed the experiment… gbaikie, I only had a glance to realise that is a sloppy experiment… life is too short…
      Now listen very carefully: when temperature increases above the ice – that temperature doesn’t penetrate because white ice as polycrystalline is full of air, perfect insulator – instead all heat is wasted to melt the surface ice

      b] if they find different temperatures deeper in the ice is because; when that deeper ice was on the surface – the air was a bit warmer when trapped… well, after long, long time colder / warmer trapped air disperses gradually; same as coldness from the beer cooler goes out. One thing you shouldn’t forget: AIR IN THE ICE IS PERFECT INSULATOR, O+N !!! Reason air is used for insulation in your cooler, in the fridge walls and anything else. So, if is something unusual, look around for the real offender; Antarctic has different neighbourhood than the Swiss Alps. That’s why, when people read everything that is on my website (which is not much) after that by themselves can correctly pick when something is wrong / correct – which part is correct or wrong and WHY is wrong… rely on the laws of physics and common sense – don’t rely on anything that comes from leading Warmist. They must tell lies, not to expose their previous lies… they have lots of problems. If they start telling one truth, next wrong, next truth – their lies will be exposed; many of them will end up in jail – they are not that stupid. As long as sceptical people consume Warmist B/S, Warmist no need to spit the dummy. It’s Skeptic’s fault for Warmist’ lies; because Skeptics are buying the bull-dung…

    • gbaike, if you can understand and accept that about 1m of ice is melted in a calendar year from below, by the geothermal heat —-about 1m of ice plus / minus in a year is created by freeze-drying moisture from the air… We are on the same frequency. So, if the meter of ice on the top created this year, will be covered on the top by another meter of ice next year. Every year goes / travels deeper by 1m. That means: if is 2km thick ice; the last meter of ice on the bottom is 2000 years old! Not 20 000, not 200 000 years, but 2000years old. Arithmetic is reliable science. Even if is 0,5m a year; is still only 4000years old, not 200 000. I underlined that is old ice as nuggets in crevices of rocks on Antarctic; which they are not looking for. Use your knowledge and common sense; most of the references I have being sent for the last 14 months on the net – I get confronted with some crap. People put anything on the net; if is there doesn’t mean that is correct. Arithmetic will tell you, experiences will tell you, laws of physics will tell you. That’s why, what I say, you better believe it. Usually students do a sloppy experiment – ends up on the net, only creates more confusion. Merry Christmas Gbaikie!

  48. Thank you for your essay DocMartyn. I, as probably many others do, look forward to your future additions.

    Again, thank you for your contribution.

  49. I seem to have lost the links, but you could try Goggle to look for Muller and defense of Milankovitch. His papers involve the change from 40k to 100k ice age cycles and the hypothesis of an asteroid collision created dust lane in the invariant ecliptic that the earth ecliptic oscillates in and out of. I am curious if DocMartyn is familiar with this.

  50. Perhaps dust particles (from somewhere) seeded clouds which changed earth’s albedo (a more powerful effect). Don’t know….just sayin’.

  51. DocMartyn – Thanks for inspiring me to catch up on the record of extraterrestrial dust in the ice cores. Turns out there has been exquisite work in this area since about 2004 (Gabrielli et al.), with the latest reported here. Everything you need to know.

    “[The] relatively constant 3He flux rules out the input of interplanetary dust as a driver of the late Pleistocene 100-ky glacial cycles…”

    • The age limit just captures the end of the iron spike, which is itself associated with small ‘average’ particle size. The major problem is that 3He and the 4He/3He ratios do not reflect all extraterrestrial objects that fall to Earth.
      In the cited study he used a less than optimal filter size, (Osmonics 0.45μm) to collect the samples.

      3He is typically extraterrestrial and typically brought to Earth’s surface by very fine, <50 μm, dust particles. Coarser particles, and dense ones, attain
      higher temperatures during atmospheric entry, causing them to lose most of their 3He before reaching the Earth’s surface. Atmosphere entry filters the particles so only the smallest and least dense retain 3He.

      Here is a nice review.


      So his choice of filer, in the Supplement, was probably less than idea for the task. Pity really.

      Many meteorites with a high Fe content exhibit low 4He/3He ratios. As I alluded to earlier, the sublimation of low atomic weight species in fast moving objects boils off atoms like 3He, but leaves the transition metals, like Iron, behind.


      • Doc – I’m not sure that I understand your objection to the conclusion of Winckler and Fischer (the quote given above), particularly since McGee and Mukhopadhyay (your review paper) cite it approvingly:
        Taken together, these results [including Winckler and Fischer] suggest approximately constant (±40%) 3HeET fluxes over the past 1.6 Myr and minimal latitudinal variations in 3HeET flux…,
        filter size notwithstanding.

      • “Doc – I’m not sure that I understand your objection to the conclusion of Winckler and Fischer”

        1) In http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/313/5786/491/DC1 the authors state that they used a 0.45μm filter to collect dust particles.
        2) they then analyzed the > 0.45μm particles for 3He and 4He.
        3) They found little difference in the levels, and relative levels, of 3He and 4He in > 0.45μm particles.
        4) From this they conclude that there was little change in IPD fluxes over the past 30,000 years.

        However, the heating that IPD upon entry into the earths atmosphere is a function of both size and density.
        Typically IPD in dust particles that are > 0.45μm, the levels, and relative levels, of 3He and 4He are low.
        This fractionation of elements during heating during the passage through the earths atmosphere causes a denuding of He in particles, recovered, at > 0.50μm.

        Therefore, one cannot dismiss the possibility that 3He levels are very much higher in the dust particles that are a) <0.50μm and b) of high density due to being rich in Iron.

        Does that satisfy you Pat? I don not state that they are wrong in their conclusion, only that the dust population they interrogated was less than optimum for answering the important question.

        How much IPD is there in the ice core?

      • Doc,

        “How much IPD is there in the ice core?”

        Are you going to answer your question?

        You seem to think it’s important:

        “We find that there is no requirement to invoke ‘greenhouse gas’ driven mechanisms to explain the temperature changes that are recorded in the ice core record. Instead, we show that changes in the reflection/absorption of sunlight by atmospheric dust are plausible in both an historical sense, by correlation, and in terms of the basic physics of radiative transfer.

        Where does the dust come from?

        Examining the elemental composition of ice core, we speculate that the large levels of dust that are present in periods where the Earth is in the state know as Ice-ages, are of extraterrestrial origin. This postulate, and the periodicity of the ice-age/warm-age cycle, suggests that the solar system may regularly, every 80-82 thousand years, pass through Fe/Cl/Ca rich dust clouds.”

        Is “speculate” the key word there?

      • Doc – The idea that there is a large fraction of helium in particles less than 0.45 microns is awfully hard to reconcile with the size distribution of He-bearing particles documented by Mukhopadhyay and Farley.

      • Pat, nice link. You read the paragraph in the Mukhopadhyay and Farley paper?.

        “Results of the stepwise degassing experiments are listed
        in Table 2. Like previous workers (Fukumoto et al., 1986;
        Matsuda et al., 1990; Hiyagon, 1994), we find that approximately
        half of the extraterrestrial helium is associated with
        the magnetic fraction, while the rest is in the non-magnetic
        fraction. All seven samples display remarkably similar 3He
        release patterns, characterized by a small peak between
        350–400 C and a larger but broader peak between 600–
        750 C (Figs. 3 and 4). Approximately 15% of the 3He is released
        at temperatures between 300 and 400 C, while between
        70% and 80% of the total 3He is released between
        450 and 800C.”

        Heating the dust to >800 C releases all the He.

        Trying to address your point I stumbled on this

        Flux and size fractionation of 3He in interplanetary dust from
        Antarctic ice core samples
        Edward J. Brooka*, Mark D. Kurzb, Joshua Curticeb
        Revision submitted to Earth and Planetary Science Letters
        July 12, 2009

        “Figure 2 shows the size fraction data from the sequential sieving and filtration of particles from Vostok ice samples, revealing that most of the 3He in these samples is present in the 5-10 micron size fraction, broadly consistent with the modeling of Farley et al. (1997) and Lal and Jull (2005).”

        Table three is a gem:-

        Table 3. Helium isotope data for size fractions separated from the 115-118 m section of the Vostok BH-5 Core.
        Sample 3He/4He Total 3He
        > 63 47.2±3.2 22.0±1.5
        20-63 24.7±1.7 21.8±1.5
        10-20 193.1±6.8 44.4±1.6
        5-10a 204.3±2.0 179.4±1.8
        5-10b 223.4±2.7 147.2±1.7

        A size fractionation experiment shows that the majority of 3He in particles in the ice at the Vostok site is present in a restricted size range, 5-10 microns, consistent with the hypothesis that helium in IDPs is implanted solar helium and resides

      • A final copy of this paper, which is one of the nine I mentioned in my post below exists here;


        I found this paper myself prior to reading your replies to this thread, and the link provided above was the one I found, as in it isn’t a draft anymore.

        You also seem to have cut off the sentence you quoted at the end, as it reads;

        “A size fractionation experiment shows that the majority of 3He in particles in the ice at the Vostok site is present in a restricted size range, 5–10 μm, consistent with the hypothesis that helium in IDPs is implanted solar helium and resides primarily in particle surfaces.”

        So SOLAR helium and residues PRIMARILY in particle SURFACES, so why did you leave off the “primarily in particle surfaces” part?

    • Sorry to only half answer. The Gabrielli paper is nice. If only I understood the difference between Ir and Pt I would be happier. Platinum is about 5–100 times more abundant in the iron-meteorites than in the stony-meteorites. Whereas, in the case of iridium Iron-meteorites 4-5 times more Iridium than stoney-meteorites
      Have a look at Gabrielli Fig 1., and look at the change in the Pt/Ir ratio. I wonder if it tracks Fe?

      • The main point is that they are both good tracers of extraterrestrial input, right?

        Pt/Ir is not plotted in Fig. 1 of Gabrielli et al. Presumably any changes are related to the change from dominance of extraterrestrial to crustal dominant fluxes(?)

      • Both Pt and Ir are poor in crust but found in meteorites.
        A high Pt/Ir would point to a extraterrestrial Fe flux.

  52. The heat content of the earth has changed a lot in the last 100 years. How much has space dust changed?

    During the same time period, what has prevented CO2 from absorbing and emitting photons in the area around 15 microns?

    Because, if you are going to propose some alternative explanation for recent warming, you have to not only demonstrate a physical connection between something else and the earth’s energy budget, but you have to explain why CO2 has not had the effect that radiative physics tells us it should have.

    • Radiative physics tells us about radiative physics. It doesn’t tell much about the net influence of CO2 (and variation in its atmospheric ratio). There are convection and evaporation. And many more things than are dreamt in the simpletone CO2GW hypothesis.

      • Hmm, well, evaporation and convection move a lot of energy around the earth system, but do not transport energy from the earth system to someplace outside the earth system. The vast majority of the energy exchanged between earth and space is through radiative processes. If you think otherwise, I would encourage you to publish your work and claim your Nobel.

        If you think that AGW theory lacks complexity, I’m thinking you haven’t been paying much attention.

        BTW, how much has space dust changed recently?

      • Bingo. Reminder to look at the recent Nature Geophysics article that Fred Moolten referenced on energy balance. A fascinating research topic.

      • Evaporation and convection affect radiative processes and vice versa. CO2 obviously does not have the effect claimed by the CO2GW hypothesis. If not now, then for how long we have to wait to see it? We have the highest CO2 concentration since a very long time (according to the “theory”) and human emissions are also highest ever. Even the hypothesis that the atmospheric CO2 growth in the late 20th century is 100% caused by human emissions is questionable.

        What is the effect of the absorbing and emitting photons in the area around 15 microns now? The warming stopped at the highest activity of those photons. It doesn’t look like the Knob to me and it was implausible from the beginning. It’s a travesty some whistle-blowing (and cooling) was necessary to free the science from dogma. At least we could learn a lot from the whole story.

      • Energy transport to the poles and its dissipative charecteristics are well known.eg http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh133/mataraka/polartransport.jpg

        Hence instability in transport (which is poorly known) say such as an enhanced polar vortex can lead to canard appearances in mid latitudes in late winter to early spring.eg chatham station http://i255.photobucket.com/albums/hh133/mataraka/chathamislandstemp.jpg

      • Edim,

        “Evaporation and convection affect radiative processes and vice versa.”

        Indeed, for instance, more energy in the system means more evaporation. More evaporation means more water vapor in the atmosphere. Search “water vapor feedback” in Google Scholar for a more complete explanation.

        “CO2 obviously does not have the effect claimed by the CO2GW hypothesis. If not now, then for how long we have to wait to see it? ”

        In case you haven’t noticed, Arrhenius predicted (based on radiative physics) that more CO2 would result in a warmer earth about 100 years ago, and every temperature record that exists shows a rapid increase in global mean temperature over the same time period that CO2 has increased. The signal of CO2 started to become evident outside of natural variability about 50 years ago, and became clear about 30 years ago. I will refrain from speculating as to why you have not seen it yet.

      • Chris G,

        “Indeed, for instance, more energy in the system means more evaporation. More evaporation means more water vapor in the atmosphere.”

        It’s the leap from the radiative properties of CO2 to the “more energy in the system” that’s fallacious. You agreed that radiation affects convection/evaporation. Changed atmospheric radiation means changed convection/evaporation. The net effect might be significant warming, but also insignificant warming or (in)significant cooling. Both convection and evaporation cool the Earth surface. Atmosphere with more CO2 radiates (cools) more.

        You can model all the atmospheric processes perfectly, but if you miss only one (known or unknown), the whole balance is wrong.

        Reconstructions and records show that, at CO2 peaks (max forcing), warming shifts to cooling and vice versa. This has never failed.

      • Chris G said, “Arrhenius predicted (based on radiative physics) that more CO2 would result in a warmer earth about 100 years ago,”

        How much warmer? Have you ever read his predictions?

        He predicted at 1.5XC, which is about 420ppm, that the globally it would be about 3C warmer over the oceans. We are what about, 0.5C warmer over the oceans? That makes his prediction about 1/3 right. What is the other two thirds?

      • “It doesn’t tell much about the net influence of CO2..”

        Actually, that is exactly what it tells us. Else, where do you think the estimate of 1 – 1.2 K per doubling of CO2, in isolation, comes from?

      • Edim said net influence, not the pointless nothing else exists influence.

      • Meh, it wasn’t clear to me what Edim meant – ‘net’ meaning all things added together or ‘gross’ meaning all things added together.

        OK, if the 2x CO2 in isolation effect can be calculated (based radiative physics) at around 1 K and the vast majority of the evidence indicates that positive feedbacks are larger than negative feedbacks, for any forcing, what does that tell you about the ‘net’ (meaning all things added together) effect of CO2?

    • Chris, there is nothing in the logic of science that say that someone proposing a hypothesis has to explain why all other hypotheses are wrong. That would be an absurd rule.

      • Not exactly, if you can’t show that your hypothesis is better at explaining the natural phenomena than one that already exists, then there isn’t much point to yours.

        BTW, how much has space dust changed over the period that the earth’s heat content has changed?

  53. Quotes from scientific papers (followed immediately by title of said paper).

    “About 40,000 tons of extraterrestrial matter fall to Earth each year. A fraction of the cosmic dust is archived in the polar ice sheets [e.g., (1, 2)], side by sidewith the much more common terrestrial dust.”

    30,000 Years of Cosmic Dust in Antarctic Ice

    “Following a core-specific correction for terrestrial Ir and assuming a chondritic Ir abundance of 500 ppb, we measure an average accretion rate for 0.45 !m to !20 !m particles over the entire Earth of 0.22 (” 0.11) * 10^9 g/yr (kton/yr) for 317 years of ice through the interval 6 to 20 ka. This is consistent with the interplanetary dust accretion rate of 0.17 (” 0.08) x 109 g/yr that we derive from published 3He data for the GISP2 core. Accounting for particles that are larger and smaller than those detected by or experiment, our best estimate of the total accretion rate (including particle sizes up to about 4 cm in diameter) is 2.5 * 10^9 g/yr.”

    Extraterrestrial accretion from the GISP2 ice core

    “The most recent model estimates indicate that global mineral dust emissions by wind-driven erosion over arid and semiarid areas range between 1000 and 3000 Tg yr−1 (Zender et al., 2004; Cakmur et al., 2006; Textor et al., 2007), representing about half of the annual particle emission at the global scale (Forster et al., 2007).”

    Recent progress in understanding physical and chemical properties of African and Asian mineral dust

    “Models simulate global dust emissions between 514 and 4313 Tg yr−1 and dust loads ranging from 6.8 to 29.5 Tg (Textor et al., 2006; Huneeus et al., 2011).”

    “With the eight different setups, the emissions range from 1651 to 3238 Tg yr−1, the load from 22.18 to 36.20 Tg and the life time from 3.98 to 6.19 days.”

    The mineral dust cycle in EMAC 2.40: sensitivity to the spectral resolution and the dust emission scheme

    “According to this we suggest the emissions in the Sahara be between 792 and 2271 Tg/yr and the one in the Middle East between 212 and 329 Tg/yr.”

    Global dust model intercomparison in AeroCom phase I

    “Additional measurements reported here confirm that the late Quaternary 3He flux derived from Antarctic ice samples is similar to 3He fluxes determined from marine sediments. The mean flux from nine replicate ∼1 kg ice samples from the Vostok ice core site (112–115 m depth, age of ∼3800 years) is 1.25±0.37×10−12 cm3 STP cm−2 ka−1 (mean±2se). The large range for the 9 replicates is probably due to the small number of interplanetary dust particles (IDPs) present, and illustrates that large ice samples are required for precise constraints on temporal variations in the 3He flux.”

    Flux and size fractionation of 3He in interplanetary dust from Antarctic ice core samples

    “The dust in SH originates primarily from Australia (120 Tg a1), Patagonia (38 Tg a1) and the inter-hemispheric transport from Northern Hemisphere (31 Tg a1). A small fraction of it (7 Tg a1) is transported and deposited in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica, where dust from South America, Australia, and Northern Hemisphere are essentially located in the boundary layer, mid-troposphere, and upper-troposphere, respectively. These three sources contribute to nearly all the dust burden in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica.”

    Distribution, transport, and deposition of mineral dust in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica: Contribution of major sources

    “We present the first Rare Earth Elements (REE) concentration record determined in 294 sections of an Antarctic ice core (EPICA Dome C), covering a period from 2.9 to 33.7 kyr BP. REE allow a detailed quantitative evaluation of aeolian dust composition because of the large number of variables (i.e. 14 elements). REE concentrations match the particulate dust concentration profile over this period and show a homogeneous crustal-like composition during the last glacial stage (LGS), with only a slight enrichment in medium REE. This signature is consistent with the persistent fallout of a mixture of dust from heterogeneous sources located in different areas or within the same region (e.g. South America). Starting at w15 kyr BP, there was a major change in dust composition, the variable character of which persisted throughout the Holocene. This varying signature may highlight the alternation of single dust contributions from different sources during the Holocene. We observe that the frequent changes in REE composition at the onset of the Holocene (10–13.5 kyr BP) are linked to dust size and in turn to wind strength and/or the path of the atmospheric trajectory. This may indicate that atmospheric circulation dictated the composition of the dust fallout to East Antarctica at that time. Although the dust concentrations remained fairly low, a notable return towards more glacial dust characteristics is recorded between 7.5 and 8.3 kyr BP. This happened concomitantly with a widespread cold event around 8 kyr BP that was 400–600 years long and suggests a moderate reactivation of the dust emission from the same potential source areas of the LGS.”

    A major glacial-interglacial change in aeolian dust composition inferred from Rare Earth Elements in Antarctic ice

    “The dust cycle is an integral part of the Earth system. Each year, an estimated 2000 Mt dust is emitted into the atmosphere, 75% of which is deposited to the land and 25% to the ocean.”

    Dust cycle: An emerging core theme in Earth system science

    For the apparently math impared (e. g. DocMartyn), the above tells me three things, total annual dust transport, airborne fraction of dust at any point in time, and how much of this dust is “extraterrestial dust.”

    From the above we know that most of the dust seen in Earth’s atmosphere at any time over these past 800kyr must be terrestial in origins. 2000 Tg/yr (terrestrial) vs 20 Tg (terrestrial) vs 0.036 Tg/yr (extraterrestrial) vs 0.0025 Tg/yr (extraterrestrial).

    Also the “suggested” 80-82kyr cycle does not match the known glacial-interglacial cycle over the past 800kyr, which is ~100kyr. This means that if 80-82kyr is to be realized, it must be over the entire glacial portion of the ~100kyr glacial-interglatial cycle. Meaning that during the ~10-20kyr interglacials, the “extraterrestial dust” disappears.

    Of all the loopy conjectures ever put forth, this one has got to take the cake, each and every time.

    • I suggest you actually read what I have written.

      • I would kindly suggest that you read what you have written.

        You are simply making stuff up.

        As in an untestable conjecture.

        It fails the falsifiability test, as in your conjecture is NOT falsifiable.

        I’ve reviewed all the relevant papers that you have cited, not a single one even remotely suggests or mentions “extraterrestial dust”.

        Papers that do mention “extraterrestial dust” relative to terrestial dust suggest O(10,000) to O(100,000) terrestial dust to “extraterrestial dust” ratios.

        There are literally hundreds of well respected peer reviewed climate science papers on atmospheric dust, aerosols, and particulates. Not a single one of these even remotely suggests what you are suggesting here, “extraterrestial dust” being any sort of contributor to overall atmospheric dust, aerosols, and particulates.

        Do I need to cite all of the relevant papers? I’ve listed nine papers, please refute those nine papers, before bothering me me with your nonsense about “extraterrestial dust”.

        Something about extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, or some such.

        In other words, please stop making up stuff.

        I would kindly suggest that you should not venture outside your chosen field of expertise, and quite clearly, climate science is WAY outside your chosen field of expertise.

      • Slight correction of the following;

        “Papers that do mention “extraterrestial dust” relative to terrestial dust suggest O(10,000) to O(100,000) terrestial dust to “extraterrestial dust” ratios.”

        Should read;

        “Papers that do mention “extraterrestial dust” relative to terrestial dust suggest O(100,000) to O(1,000,000) terrestial dust to “extraterrestial dust” ratios.”

        In other words dust, aerosols, particulates of terrestrial origins ar 5 to 6 orders of magnitude greater than dust, aerosols, particulates of extraterrestrial origins.

        So to bump up “extraterrestrial dust” to 10 or 100 times the amounts of terrestrial dust, would require a 7 to 8 orders of magnitude increase from published estimates of .”extraterrestrial dust” known to date.

      • “by DocMartyn

        This is the first of a three part presentation where I will attempt to explain the climate of the last 800,000 thousand years, drawing on the role of the biosphere’s response to interstellar dust.”


        “We find that there is no requirement to invoke ‘greenhouse gas’ driven mechanisms to explain the temperature changes that are recorded in the ice core record. Instead, we show that changes in the reflection/absorption of sunlight by atmospheric dust are plausible in both an historical sense, by correlation, and in terms of the basic physics of radiative transfer.

        Where does the dust come from?

        Examining the elemental composition of ice core, we speculate that the large levels of dust that are present in periods where the Earth is in the state know as Ice-ages, are of extraterrestrial origin. This postulate, and the periodicity of the ice-age/warm-age cycle, suggests that the solar system may regularly, every 80-82 thousand years, pass through Fe/Cl/Ca rich dust clouds.”

        Doc, you need to do more than speculate that the large levels of dust…are of extraterrestrial origin. Please get to it, or get off the pot. We wouldn’t sit still, while a warmista engaged in this kind of coy meandering. Show us what you got.

      • So, how much has the dust in the space around Earth changed over the last 100 years or so that we have seen an increase in heat content?

        Would any change not show up as a change in the intensity and spectral distribution of light coming from other bodies, such as the sun, planets, and stars? I’m not an astronomer, but I’m guessing that we’d have heard about any significant change.

  54. Chris G said, “Actually, that is exactly what it tells us. Else, where do you think the estimate of 1 – 1.2 K per doubling of CO2, in isolation, comes from?”

    Actually, most people do not disagree that a doubling can cause about 1 degree of warming. The lowest estimate I have seen was about 0.5 to 1.0. Even realclimate estimates that CO2 may be responsible for about half of the warming from glacial to interglacial. Depending on which estimate for glacial to interglacial change you use, that could be about 0.75C for the tropics on up. CO2 increase follows warming from a glacial, it does not initiate the warming from a glacial.

    While I doubt Doc’s theory, the Glacial/interglacial cycles need a little more push than just orbital, so don’t get lost in condemning a theory he feels may explain what has not been completely explained to date.

    And Happy Holidays :)

    • My understanding is something like: Orbital mechanics triggered an albedo flip, and other feedbacks/forcings, including changes in the carbon cycle (more CO2 in the atmosphere), pushed the earth to a new region of relative stability.

      I’m not sure how much is left to explain. Ice reflecting 90% of the sun’s energy and water absorbing 90% of the sun’s energy, over millions of square kilometers is a pretty substantial amount of extra energy.

  55. Probably already noted but…. typo

    “In Figure 2A, left, we show the actually temperature…”

    very interesting article.

  56. Oops.

    Well it looks like the math impaired will have to explain not only the 800kyr EPICA ice core dust record, but the 4myr marine sediments dust record as well.



    Nope, no “extraterrestrial dust” mentioned anywhere within the above paper.

    Is Fe (aka Iron) explained? You Betcha!

    From now on, I’m going to refer to this loopy conjecture as the “ET conjecture” as in, it was Aliens woot dun it.

    Can’t wait for Parts II & III, as I’ve now amassed hundreds of peer reviewed paperts on dust, all much more deserving of screen time than some loopy ET conjecture.

    • That is a quite beautiful paper and the authors have provided a wealth of data in their supplements.
      Thanks for that EFS.

  57. I thought volcanic ash was a major contributor to atmospheric dust.

  58. I noticed that paper (which led to others) in Related Citations, when I clicked on reference [10] in your post. I assumed that you had seen it. How much research have you done on this, Doc?