Quantifying the anthropogenic contribution to atmospheric CO2

by Fred Haynie

I conclude that, the IPCC’s model assumptions that long-term natural net rate of accumulation is constant and anthropogenic emission rates are the only contributor to total long-term accumulation of atmospheric CO2, is false.

All the data I have analyzed are evidence that reported monthly averages are measurements of a global distribution of background levels of CO2. Event flask measurements that were exceptionally high (that could be from local anthropogenic sources) have been flagged and were not included in monthly averages. The result is a consistent global uniformity with no significant variation with longitude and a latitude dependent seasonal variation. That seasonal variation is the greatest and relatively constant north of the Arctic circle. There are similar but lesser seasonal variations in the Antarctic.

The Scripps data set from sites that were selected to represent background, http://scrippsco2.ucsd.edu/data/atmospheric_co2.html, has the longest time coverage for both CO2 and 13CO2 index. Much more data measured around the globe are published at the World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases . The seasonal variations are caused by natural processes which are temperature dependant. Anthropogenic emissions are not temperature dependent. Therefore, evidence for an anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2, is more likely to be observed in long term changes with the seasonal variations factored out.

Year to year increasingly negative 13CO2 index values indicate that the atmosphere is accumulating the lighter CO2 faster than it does the heavier. Since the lighter is more from organic origin and the heavier more from inorganic, it has been assumed that the consistently increasing burning of fossil fuel has caused the difference. This assumption does not consider long-term changes in natural source and sink rates. The long-term proxied ice core data for atmospheric CO2 concentrations indicate that these natural changes are significant and should be considered in any mass balance type of calculation.

The C 13/12 ratio is calculated as:

Delta C13= ((C13/C sample)/(C13/C PDB)-1)*1000.

If we assume that all the CO2 from organic origin can be represented by an average Delta C13 value of somewhere between -15 and -30, and that from inorganic origin has a value of 0 represented by the PDB standard, we can make a first estimate of the organic origin fraction by dividing the index by say -20. Actually, both fractions have ranges of values and there are inorganic fractionation processes that can produce values within the organic range. To get a better estimate of the average organic origin index value, regress the measured values of atmospheric concentration on the measured index values. The resulting concentration coefficient is an estimate of the average organic origin index value for the time period regressed. The ratio of the measured 13CO2 index to this value gives an estimate of the organic fraction. This simple conversion of the Delta C13 index to an organic fraction has no effect on the accuracy of values and reverses the sign so that the accumulation is shown as positive.

The Arctic data has both the highest background concentration values and the greatest seasonal variation. The seasonal variation is likely the results of the ever-changing unfrozen sink area (both ocean and land biosphere). We should be able to get a more accurate CO2 mass balance using these data from this primary sink area. Nearly all of the CO2 is coming from the south and is being delivered in the upper atmosphere.

AIR FLOW MODEL
So what do the Arctic data tell us? Take a look at what I have found at the two sources referenced above. The following plots are based on the monthly averaged data from all the land based measuring sites located north of 60N.

arctic co2

Fig 1. Arctic background CO2 concentrations as a function of time.

The above plot is point to point on averages of monthly averages of 18 sets of data. The average of all the two standard deviations is only 2.2 ppm. Any locational differences appear to be insignificant.

A similar analysis of 13CO2 index data yields the following plot.

13co2

Fig 2. Change in 13CO2 index in the Arctic as a function of time.

This plot is based on eight sets of flask data from the same region north of 60N. The observed variations in both plots appear to be mirror images as one should expect.

To reduce the error estimates and improve the signal to noise ratio, both sets of data were smoothed by calculating running three months averages. Since we want to determine the relative natural and anthropogenic contributions, and anthropogenic emissions are rates, we are more interested in accumulation rates rather than the amount accumulated as shown in the above plots. The total seasonal short-term rates were calculated as running two month differences (i.e. 6*(Mar. – Jan.). The long-term values are running twelve month differences (i.e. Jan. 2000 – Jan. 1999). Anthropogenic Emissions assumes uniform global distribution with no sink rate and is shown for comparison with the net measured rates.

net arctic co2 accumulation

Fig 3. Comparison of net short-term and long-term accumulation rates with anthropogenic emissions.

LT net Acc Rate co2

Fig. 4. Comparison of net long-term accumulation rates with anthropogenic emissions.

The seasonal variations (running 2 months) in all of these plots are orders of magnitude greater than the year to year variations (running twelve months). The two months net rates primarily reflect natural processes but may include anthropogenics that have cycled through the system.

The following are similar plots for the smoothed 13CO2 index values.

long and short 13co2

Fig. 5. Short and long-term rates of change in the 13CO2 index.

lt rate of 12 co2 change

Fig. 6. Long term rates of change in the 13CO2 index.

Both sets of running two months differences fit a triangular wave form (cosine function with one harmonic) and an interaction with time term. The resulting R squares are greater than 0.99. Regressing the short-term CO2 accumulation rates on the 13 CO2 index rates and time times the index yields an index coefficient of -19.78 with 2 standard deviations (95% confidence limits) of 0.13. This is a best estimate of the organic fraction average 13 CO2 index mostly from natural sources. With this value I was able to calculate the organic and inorganic fractions of the natural annual cycles and estimate the relative contributions of each.

organic and inorganic contributionsFig. 7. Relative contribution to Arctic CO2 concentrations from organic and inorganic sources.

The long-term linear trends accumulation rates are 1.17 ppm/year for organics and 0.57 ppm/year for inorganics. The seasonal variation of the organics is greater than the inorganics and with an opposite phase.

The running 12 months difference data indicate much lower rates that change significantly from year to year. The contribution of anthropogenic emissions should be evident in these data but does not account for the variability.

Regressing the long-term CO2 accumulation rate on both the long-term rate of change in the 13CO2 index, anthropogenic emission rates, and their possible interaction
yields the following results.lt regress results

Table I. Results of regressing long-term CO2 accumulation rates on long-term 13CO2 index rate of change, anthropogenic emissions, and their interaction.

The following plot graphically presents these results for the anthropogenic contribution to the total long-term accumulation rate of atmospheric CO2.

LT Anthro contribution

Fig. 8. Relative contribution of anthropogenic CO2 to the long-term rate of accumulation in the Arctic.

I used the anthropogenic emission rate coefficient and related estimate of error to estimate the accumulation of anthropogenic CO2 in the atmosphere/surface system. The surface includes water, soil and biosphere that are affected by cycles with wave lengths of less than around 500 years. For example, the decay of forest litter has a cycle wave length of about 10 years. Phytoplankton decay is expected to cycle CO2 faster. The results are shown in the following plot.Anthro Accumulation

Fig 9. Estimate of anthropogenic CO2 accumulation in the global atmosphere/surface system from Arctic atmosphere data.

Subtracting the anthropogenic accumulation from the total long-term accumulation (with seasonal variations factored out) gives the net natural long-term accumulation. the following plot shows the results for the Arctic.

ANTHRO ACC CONTRIBUTION

Fig. 10. Estimated contributions to atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the Arctic.

Both anthropogenic and natural emissions have been rising, with anthropogenics rising faster than naturals. This relative rise rate is shown in the following plot.

relative contribution

Fig. 11. Relative contribution of anthropogenic emissions to the atmospheric accumulation of CO2 in the Arctic.

This plot indicates that lowering global anthropogenic emissions to 1990 levels would likely lower the accumulation in the Arctic by less than 5%.

To show that the Arctic is representative of the global distribution of atmospheric CO2, I similarly analyzed both the Mauna Loa and Antarctic (south of 60S) data. There are multiple data sets of CO2 and 13CO2 index for both locations.

The following plots compare the results with that obtained from the Arctic data.

long-term global co2 roa

Fig. 12. Global long-term rates of accumulation of CO2 for Mauna Loa and Antarctica compared with Arctic.

The trends are similar but the Arctic data is much more variable and the peaks appear to lag by a few months.

LT 13CO2 roc

Fig. 13. Global long-term rate of change in the 13CO2 index for Mauna Loa and Antarctic compared with Arctic.

The same differences are observed in these results, but they are not as pronounced. Like the Arctic data, there is a strong relationship between the CO2 accumulation rate and the 13CO2 index for the Mauna Loa and Antarctic data. The latter should be a better global signature for atmospheric CO2 distribution and composition. I used the strong correlation ( R > 0.99 ) to calculate 13CO2 values back to 1957 (beginning of Scripps CO2 measurements). I then regressed the long-term CO2 values on anthropogenic emissions and an interaction term between anthropogenic emissions and the long-term rate of change in the 13CO2 values. The results are in the following table.

regression table

Table II. Results of regressing long-term CO2 accumulation rates at Mauna Loa and the Antarctic on anthropogenic emission rates and an interaction between anthropogenics and long-term rates of change in the 13CO2 index.

Comparing the results in Table II. with those in Table I. shows the correlation for Mauna Loa/Antarctic is better than for the Arctic. R is greater and the error terms are significantly less. The anthropogenic coefficient for Mauna Loa/Antarctic is less with less associated error, but well within the lower 95% confidence limit for the Arctic anthro coefficient. This coefficient is a better estimate of the fraction of anthropogenic emissions that is accumulating in the earth’s surface environment (water,soil, and biosphere). This coefficient was used to calculate the values for the following plot.Global Nat and anthro rates

Fig. 14. Natural and anthropogenic emissions contributions to global long-term rates of accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. The natural contribution is the total long-term rate minus the anthropogenic emissions accumulation rate.

The natural component global signature looks like it was written by ENSO with matching variations and long-term change. I downloaded the NCDC v4 ERSST for the ENSO area (20S to 0 and 120E to 280E) from Climate Explorer, smoothed it with a 13 month running average, and regressing the long-term natural CO2 accumulation rates on these values and a cylical time function. The best fit is obtained with the CO2 accumulation rates lagging the SSTs by two months and a longer term lag associated with a 30.9 year wavelength cycle. The results are shown in the following plot.SST relation

Fig. 15. Relation between natural long-term CO2 accumulation rates and sea surface temperatures in the ENSO area (20S to 0 and 120E to 280E) cycles lagged.

The two months lag indicates temperature is controlling natural emissions of CO2 rather than CO2 concentrations controlling temperature. The mechanism is likely the processes of evaporation/condensation/absorption/convection/freezing that occurs in tropical thunderstorms. These clouds are pumping air containing water vapor and CO2 out their tops where the water freezes and releases CO2. Much of the cold water returns absorbed CO2 to the surface in rain. This cyclical process tends to fractionate the CO2 isotopes with more of the lighter isotopes going out the top. The concentration of the lighter fraction in the upper atmosphere should be a function of the number of cycles. By the time that upper atmospheric air reaches the Arctic, CO2 will have gone through many cycles, resulting in the highest concentrations of the lighter fraction. This effect is added to the biological fractionation effect that, also, is temperature dependant.

To place the relative contributions to global long-term accumulation of atmospheric CO2 in perspective, I used the rates to back calculate 95% confidence limits for both natural and anthropogenic components . The results are shown in the following two plots.

net acc

Figure 16. Global net accumulation of anthropogenic emissions and natural emissions of co2 in the atmosphere.

RELATIVE ANTHRO CONTRIBUION

Figure 17. Global long-term relative anthropogenic emissions contribution to atmospheric CO2 accumulation.

Both natural and anthropogenic emissions have been increasing for over 50 years. Although anthropogenics represent a relatively small fraction of the total accumulation, that fraction has nearly tripled in the same time period. So what should we expect in the future and what effect would controlling anthropogenic emissions have on Global concentrations?

I did curve fitting on both the 95% limits of observed total long-term accumulation of CO2 and the estimated accumulation that is probably associated with anthropogenic emissions. I used a Fourier series type model for the total accumulation and an exponential model for anthropogenic emissions. The regression results for the total accumulation are given in tables III and IV.

lower acc regression

Table III. Lower 95% limit for global long-term accumulation of atmospheric CO2.

upper 85% acc

Table IV. Upper 95% limit for global long-term accumulation of atmospheric CO2.

The anthropogenic emissions CO2 accumulation best fits:

Lower 95% Limit = exp(-42.851+.0231*t),and

Upper 95% Limit = exp(-42.486+0.023*t), where t is years.

Both fits have R squared values greater than 0.999.

These relationships can be used in “what if” calculations to project what we may probably expect in the future. For example, the following plot indicates that atmospheric concentrations will peak out around 450 ppm around 2060 if emission rates continued as trended.

PROJECTIONS

Figure 18. Projected contributions of natural and anthropogenic emissions to the long-term global accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere.

These should be rather good projections for areas around 15S latitude where seasonal variations are relatively insignificant. Seasonal variations at other latitudes are additive to these long-term projections.

I conclude that, the IPCC’s model assumptions that long-term natural net rate of accumulation is constant and anthropogenic emission rates are the only contributor to total long-term accumulation of atmospheric CO2, is false. It should be a simple matter for IPPC programmers to include these “what if” inputs in their models to see if they can produce more realistic projections. Also, they can enter lower anthropogenic emission rates to see how much (or how little) difference it makes in the value and time that atmospheric CO2 is expected to peak out. Economist could have a field day with cost/benefit modeling.

JC note:  This was originally posted on Fred Haynie’s blog, where there are some good comments.  This post was mentioned in the comments on a previous thread, where a request was made to discuss this topic at CE.  As with all guest posts, please keep your comments relevant and civil.

Update:  I’m interested in Fred’s analysis for these reasons:

  • an interest in understanding the role of the Arctic in the carbon cycle
  • an interest in understanding the role of multidecadal oscillations in the ocean in the carbon cycle (i.e. natural decadal variations)
  • and of course, the stadium wave links the two previous points together to some extent

I am making no personal judgment on Fred’s analysis; I find Greg Goodman’s comments and ensuing discussion with Fred on the original blog post to be interesting.

Bottom line is that I think the traditional method of analyzing all this leaves out multidecadal natural variability which is relevant on the timescales of interest. Same problem I have with sensitivity analyses (the recent Lewis/Curry paper accounted for some of this in a limited way)

2,119 responses to “Quantifying the anthropogenic contribution to atmospheric CO2

  1. Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    Interesting analysis appears to be real science! So that means no one will consider it.

  2. Danny Thomas

    Mr. Haynie,
    Thank you for your work and for sharing. Would you be willing to offer a bio? This might be of value in addressing Centinel2012’s concern.

    • From Fred’s LinkedIn profile: environmental engineer, retired, formerly with the US EPA ASRL, research expertise on the effects of air pollutants.

    • This is an interesting article that will need time to digest
      Maybe the EPA background explains why our engineer freind thing running averages and running diffs are a low-pass filter of choice.

      Taking fig 6 as an example we see that there is still considerable sub-annual variability in the 12 month diff.

      This should have be been removed by a decent fitler. In fact most of it will be corrupt, inverted data that this kind of ‘filter’ produces. I would suggest a simple 6month gaussian which would give a much clearer plot and help to see the longer term changes.

      I discussed this in an article here on CE a couple of years back. My original is here and provided links to some alternative filters, including gaussian.
      https://climategrog.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/triple-running-mean-filters/

  3. The “natural” contribution looks suspiciously highly correlated with the anthropogenic part, presumably because “nature” guessed what Man was going to do and just did the same, or it is just a coincidence. The future projection curve-fitting uses a hoped for Fourier match for this “natural” part rather than the more obvious upward exponential. This bends it down, even when there is no sign of such a thing happening so far.

    • CO2 stayed above 400 ppm for a month for the first time in March. Half of the rise has been since 1980, which coincidentally is also the period of half the emissions.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/05/06/carbon-dioxide-400-ppm_n_7224088.html

      • Yes. Something doesn’t seem quite right.

        While I’m highly skeptical of the ice core CO2 data (taking a quick look at emissions and concentrations, it doesn’t seem plausible that CO2 levels were as low and stable as shown), I think it is very unlikely that most of 20th C is natural. I doubt much more than 30 or 40 ppm are in the normal multi-decadal/centenial variability.

        But Jim, his point is that natural process determine how much CO2 ends up in the atmosphere regardless of origin.

        I think there is a bit of a miscommunication here, I think we need a better summary of what is happening.

      • Aaron,

        From Fig. 16 it looks as though this model says that from 1960 to 2010, about 5/8 was natural and 3/8 anthropogenic. Is that the way you read it?

      • Eyeballing, looks about right. About 50ppm natural and a little over 40ppm anthro. But fig 9 looks like anthro over half.

        So, what I think he’s saying is that antro emissions are growing, natural emissions are growing, and sinks are growing even more.

        I think non-linearity in all of these make his conclusions overconfident/overstated.

        I think that precipitation, convective processes, ocean mixing, bio activity probably have more to do with CO2 level than temp. Temp just happens to correlate strongly with these.

    • Jim D: The “natural” contribution looks suspiciously highly correlated with the anthropogenic part, presumably because “nature” guessed what Man was going to do and just did the same, or it is just a coincidence.

      This is not the first time that it has been pointed out that the measures of the hypothetical human effects are correlated with the measures of the hypothetical natural effects. Getting them clearly disentangled will be hard, and until there is something that can disentangle them unequivocally the estimate of the size of the human effects will always be dependent on the hypotheses about the sizes of the natural effects. That’s among the facts that some people attempt to deny outright.

      • As someone else said, it is very odd that after millennia of flat CO2 levels, some “natural” effect kicked in just as fossil emissions started to increase and that continues to follow the shape of emissions, but some people appear to believe that is what has happened. The fact that Man has emitted twice as much as the atmospheric increase seems not to sway their view either. It shows a complete disregard of the carbon budgets in nature.

      • maksimovich1

        During the so called little ice age,the northern peatlands were sources of emission not sinks due to decreased PAR and lower temperatures.[Charman 2013]

        Total carbon accumulated over the last 1000 yr is linearly related to contemporary growing season length and photosynthetically active radiation, suggesting that variability in net primary productivity is more important than decomposition in determining long-term carbon accumulation.Furthermore, northern peatland carbon sequestration rate declined over the climate transition from the Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA) to the Little Ice Age (LIA), probably because of lower LIA temperatures combined with increased cloudiness suppressing net primary productivity

      • Jim D: , it is very odd that after millennia of flat CO2 levels,

        Where is the evidence that the atmospheric CO2 concentrations were constant for millenia? With the oscillation in the global mean temperature over the last 11+ millenia, it is unlikely to have been flat, and accurate estimates are not available.

      • Matthewrmarler.

        There are several lines of evidence available:
        The 13C/12C ratio does distinguish between organic (fossil or recent) and inorganic sources.
        The oxygen balance (and the zero 14C content) does distinguish between fossil and recent organics.

        The 13C/12C ratio excludes the oceans as source:
        If the increase in the atmosphere was from the oceans, the δ13C level in the atmosphere would go up, but there is a firm decline in δ13C level in the atmosphere and the ocean surface layer, in complete lockstep with human emissions:

        All what happens is that the permanent exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere and the deep oceans of ~40 GtC/year dilutes the human “fingerprint”, which makes that Fred Haynie’s “natural” contribution is no contribution at all…

        The oxygen balance excludes the biosphere as source:
        One can calculate the oxygen use from burning fossil fuels from fuel sales and burning efficiency. That shows that there is slightly less oxygen used than calculated. That means that the biosphere as a whole is a net, growing source of O2, thus a net sink for CO2 and preferentially 12CO2, thus not the cause of the CO2 increase, neither of the δ13C decline.

        All other possible sources (volcanoes, rock weathering,…) either too small or too slow…

        All what is left as sole source are human emissions, which fit all observations…

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen: The 13C/12C ratio excludes the oceans as source:
        If the increase in the atmosphere was from the oceans, the δ13C level in the atmosphere would go up, but there is a firm decline in δ13C level in the atmosphere and the ocean surface layer, in complete lockstep with human emissions:

        I did ask for evidence over multiple millenia: what are the estimates of CO2 concentration during the previous warm periods and the cool periods in between, during the Holocene?

      • matthewrmarler,

        Sorry, I am completely lost in all the loose ends here…

        Ice cores of different resolution cover the Holocene:

        The most detailed core over the full Holocene (~40 years resolution) is Taylor Dome, data can be found at:
        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/data-access/paleoclimatology-data/datasets/ice-core

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen: The most detailed core over the full Holocene (~40 years resolution) is Taylor Dome, data can be found at:

        Thank you. That’s telling.

    • Jim D, I only can agree: 800,000 years of reliable (be it smoothed) ice core data which show 8 ppmv/K change, suddenly start to increase from natural causes at exact the same moment and in exact ratio as the human emissions. Not only CO2 but also CH4 and N2O…

      There are high resolution ice cores like Law Dome with a resolution of about 20 years which show a ~6 ppmv drop for the ~0.8 K drop in temperature between MWP and LIA, but a similar (or smaller) warming since the LIA would give half of the 110 ppmv CO2 increase?

      There are much more solid arguments to discuss the overblown “projections” of climate models and the resulting dire predictions.
      Discussing the origin of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere is the worst thing to do for skeptics: that is a lost battle, where all observations fit the human cause and climate science is unusually solid. See:
      http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_origin.html

      • Ferdinand, yes, you have an informative graphic here.

        Skeptics will say correlation isn’t causation, but when it is 0.9966, they should at least pay attention, and not dismiss it completely. They are all grasping at this being just a coincidence, which just looks like the usual denialism in the face of evidence. This one is typical of all their arguments against the evidence.

      • Danny Thomas

        Jim D,
        “Skeptics will say correlation isn’t causation”…………seriously? Who would say it is? Steven Mosher might refer to this as a “weak argument” and one that shouldn’t be used.

      • Danny, correlation is evidence of causation. Don’t you think so? In this case, pretty strong evidence.

      • Danny Thomas

        Jim D,
        Only part of the picture and you know that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Correlation_does_not_imply_causation

        http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-see-correlation-is-not-causation-20140512-column.html

        Understood what you meant, but giving you a hard time about what you said.
        (have fun with the second link, think you’ll enjoy)

      • In this case, the skeptics who deny that CO2 has risen almost entirely because of anthropogenic causes (which seems to be almost all of them here) have to explain why Nature wants to do something that is so correlated, beyond chance, with Man, or vice versa.

      • Don Monfort

        “This one is typical of all their arguments against the evidence.’

        You were having a good day and you had to say that, little jimmy dee. Very small of you, jimmy. Your stature is shrinking. You must be living close to a stature sink.

      • Don M, the skeptics are self-inflicting this one on themselves. Reasonable people can just look on with pity.

      • Don Monfort

        True dat, little jimmy. But what you said does not reflect well on your character and intelligence. I would say you have not acquited yourself well, despite the opportunity you were handed on a gold platter.

      • Don M, this whole natural CO2 thing is a good example of the motivated reasoning and groupthink that Judith keeps talking about. If a skeptic deviated and said that the main post was junk, they would have got a battering and lost club membership, so they either toe the line or keep quiet.

      • Don Monfort

        You are digging deeper, yimmy. You must have missed what I said and several others. Do you think I am on your side? HELLO! YIMMY!

      • Don M, it is a sad state here when you are the lone voice of reason.

      • Don Monfort

        There you go again, jimmy dee. You are shrinking. Smaller and smaller, in an ever deeper hole.

        I could coach you and get you out of the deep crevace you are in. Your presentation is all wrong. No wit, no humor, no finesse. Just the same old rote dogma punctuated with links to huffpo and pal reviewed papers that no one will read. You desperately need to up your game, jimmy. Start by telling the truth, occasionally.

      • Dany,

        I am very skeptical about the “projections” of climate models as I am pretty sure that climate models do overestimate the effect of 2xCO2 (and aerosols) and underestimate natural variability.
        But I am as sure that the current CO2 increase is almost completely caused by human emissions.
        Indeed correlation is not necessary causation. But if all evidence points to one cause and that possible cause is delivering twice the amount that is found back in the atmosphere, it would be a hell of a coincidence that some natural cause started at the exact moment and increase rate as human emissions, without violating one observation (which is impossible)…

      • “In this case, the skeptics who deny that CO2 has risen almost entirely because of anthropogenic causes (which seems to be almost all of them here) have to explain why Nature wants to do something that is so correlated, beyond chance, with Man, or vice versa.”

        One can also ask why only approx. 50% of anthro emissions “accumulate” and that this appears to remain true over roughly an order of magnitude increase in emissions. Nor does this appear to be levelling off as “sinks saturate”. How very odd that nature seems to have anticipated our output and adjusted to match…
        Or one might compare the residuals on C ratios vs ppms and question why these appear to match the “random, natural” variations better than the more nearly straight-line anthro emissions – surely highly suggestive that it is sinks, not sources, causing the decline.
        Yes, there are many questions yet to be answered in climate research. And while indicative your evidences may be, definitive they are not, so ignoring counter-factuals doesn’t help understanding – rather the opposite.

      • kneel, the proportionality is what is expected from chemistry considerations. There is no saturation, just a ratio between the air and water. The ratio also depends a little on temperature, and that affects the annual accumulation too. So, yes, Nature does adjust to Man because Nature obeys chemistry laws.

      • blueice2hotsea

        Ferdinand Engelbeen,
        it would be a hell of a coincidence that some natural cause started at the exact moment and increase rate as human emissions, without violating one observation (which is impossible)…

        ok. Which of the following are impossible or helluva coincidences?

        Medieval Warming Period:
        1) Very strong regional NH warming
        2) Increased Methane clathrate release
        3) Awakening of dormant vegetation decay CO2
        4) Sinking of 2) & 3) by open Arctic ocean

        Modern Warming Period:
        1) MWP CO2 released after 800 yr delay.
        2) Strong global warming
        3) Arctic Ocean opens.

        Follow-up questions:
        1) Is the MWP CO2 source > or < modern Arctic CO2 sink?
        2) By how much?
        3) Is interest in regional quantification anti-science?

      • David Springer

        Jim D | May 9, 2015 at 12:19 am |

        “Danny, correlation is evidence of causation. Don’t you think so? In this case, pretty strong evidence.”

        Ugh. No. It’s a clue of where to look for causation.

        For instance shoe size is positively correlated with income. The bigger the shoe the more a person earns. Is foot size a cause of higher earnings? Of course not.

      • Jim D:

        Danny, correlation is evidence of causation. Don’t you think so? In this case, pretty strong evidence.

        Absolutely not the case. If you have two unrelated quantities, both with a linear trend, you will get nearly perfect correlation every time.

        This is regardless of whether you are correlating atmospheric CO2 concentration versus anthropogenic CO2 emissions, or CO2 concentration versus annual number of plants sprayed by male cats.

        Evidence for causation is established by the presence of a model that predicts a correlation between two quantitates, which is then empirically confirmed to exist.

      • Ferdinand Engelbeen:

        [snip] I am pretty sure that climate models do overestimate the effect of 2xCO2 (and aerosols) and underestimate natural variability.

        It’s my impression this is a sentiment shared by a great number of scientists and engineers (including myself, though perhaps we might disagree by how much the models are overstating ECS).

      • Jim D: Skeptics will say correlation isn’t causation, but when it is 0.9966, they should at least pay attention, and not dismiss it completely.

        “Pay attention”: that is what I advocate.

      • blueice2hotsea

        Medieval Warming Period:
        Points 1-4 are good for an increase of ~6 ppmv in the atmosphere. Measurable only in high resolution ice cores.

        Modern Warming Period:
        1) MWP CO2 released after 800 yr delay.
        Hardly: there is little influence of the small increased CO2 level during the MWP on the sinking waters. If that comes back to the surface now, that may give 1-2 ppmv extra.
        2) Strong global warming
        Good for 5 ppmv extra.
        3) Arctic Ocean opens.
        Should give more sink capacity.

        Follow-up questions:
        1) Is the MWP CO2 source > or < modern Arctic CO2 sink?
        The Arctic together with the Antarctic removed ~40 GtC/year at steady state. Currently increased to ~43 GtC/year. Extra upwelling from the MWP maximum 0.5 GtC/year.
        2) By how much? See 1)
        3) Is interest in regional quantification anti-science?
        Why would that be anti-science? We know the total balance with reasonable accuracy, we roughly know the largest fluxes and reservoirs, but there are lots of details which are far from quantified and many may not even be known… Thus far more reason to look into regional and local balances than to sit back and say "we know everything what we need to know".

      • Jim D: If a skeptic deviated and said that the main post was junk, they would have got a battering and lost club membership, so they either toe the line or keep quiet.

        That is absurd. There is no “club membership” or any other enforced “line”.

  4. So that natural CO2 lags temperature is confirmed in paleo. Does anthropogenic CO2 drive trmperature?

    • Paleo has examples of leading too (volcanic eras like the Permian-Triassic boundary). This one is much like those.

    • David Springer

      Not to any degree that we need to worry about it. The benefits far outweigh the consequences.

      Warming from aCO2 is occurring predominantly over land, at night, in higher latitudes, in the winter.

      If we were to wish for a global climate more friendly to living things we would wish for warming at night, over land, in higher latitudes, in the winter.

      The reason the AGW is distributed unevenly across the globe is CO2 has the greatest greenhouse effect where there is the least water on the surface available for evaporation and the least water vapor in the atmosphere to compete with CO2 for the limited number of photons in the narrow CO2 absorption band.

      Add to that great benefit to the primary producers in the food chain of longer growing seasons in the colder latitudes plus the acceleration in plant growth rate afforded by higher CO2 concentration plus the reduced water requirement per unit of plant growth (which helps in places where soil water content is a limiting factor) and it becomes clear that CO2 is a boon to life in general.

      The only real downside appears to be sea level rise and then only to one species that stupidly built a lot of immovable concrete and steel nests close to sea level. That species will need to abandon some ill-placed nesting sites. Fortunately sea level is rising so slowly there is plenty of time to migrate to new nesting locations on higher ground.

      • That species will need to abandon some ill-placed nesting sites. Fortunately sea level is rising so slowly there is plenty of time to migrate to new nesting locations on higher ground.

        Or, perhaps, adopt a new another approach to nest-building.

  5. I see a lot of curve-fitting, but I don’t see any meaningful effort to examine the validity of the resulting curves. There are all sorts of unexplored parameters in this. Outside the parameters explicit to the models themselves, there are all sorts of issues about the data transformations, the time periods chosen (especially since we’re shown different time periods for different data sets), and the very nature of the models themselves.

    How are we supposed to know these fits aren’t spurious? While the post emphasizes the “strong correlation ( R > 0.99 )” in its fits, the reality is results like those almost always indicate a model which has been significantly overfit. I’d wager that’s the case here.

    I’m really struggling to see how this is more than meaningless curve-fitting. That’s especially true for the future accumulation rates given at the end.

    • “I’m really struggling to see how this is more than meaningless curve-fitting.”

      Could the same question be asked of the IPCC’s models of the climate?

    • Steven Mosher

      brandon go read it at his site and read the comments.

      This is pretty bad to make it on to Judith’s. its begining to feel like WUWT..

      • Don Monfort

        Judith likes to step in some doo-doo, every so often. Maybe she just gets bored.

      • I know this may sound crazy, but simply because a paper is wrong doesn’t mean it shouldn’t ever get published. I think Judith realizes that wrong science is not a virus (it does not infect you and then you die for example).

        This article is made much better when you see the comments on Fred Haynie’s blog post..

        Greg Goodman harps on the evils of running averages (he and I had some back and forth here that people might be interested in).

        As usual, I appreciated Ferdinand Engelbeen’s comments on that blog. I think Ferdinand has pretty well nailed the issues with Fred’s post. Fred did not unfortunately seem receptive to admitting error, but sometimes that can be instructive when it happens too.

      • Carrick, I’m okay with wrong things being published. I don’t see a way to exclude papers as “wrong” without causing all sorts of undesirable effects. I just also don’t see what there is to learn from this post.

        Actually, I think this post could provide a good learning experience if people would address the problems in it. A good critique/rebuttal of the post’s approach could be informative. It doesn’t accomplish much to say, “It’s wrong,” but sitting down and demonstrating how it is wrong could teach people quite a bit.

        But that doesn’t seem to be happening.

      • Brandon, yes it’s absolutely necessary for wrong arguments to get published. Otherwise, for example, their refutation never sees light of day. In those cases, the bad arguments just linger on and on and never really die.

        The main thing this post has done for me is to draw attention to Ferdinand Englebeen’s post, which I hadn’t actually see before.

        But I agree more could be done. My biggest objection to many of the comments and arguments presented here and elsewhere (on either side) would be their lack of a quantitative nature. So in the end they just amount to vigorous hand-waving.

        As a counter point, Lucia’s blog has had a number of constructive model-driven discussions on CO2, see for example this one, which nicely demonstrates the folly of just using verbal argument and hand waving to try and argue quantitative points.

        Unfortunately for lay people, there is a limit to what you can really accomplish without resorting either to accepting somebody’s word as an authority or without writing down a physically-reality constrained mathematical model.

        The problem with using just words is you can either describe a precise physical theory…or you can with equal ease describe a wild fairy tale with no anchoring whatsoever in reality.

      • Steven,

        Many years ago you made a comment that it would be beneficial if some funding could be made available to locate and validate some historical climate observations. This morning my wife, who has been doing some genealogy research, gave me a print out of page 76 of the History of El Dorado County (published in 1883) as she thought I’d be interested in “Table of Rainfall at Shingle Springs (Altitude 1,350 feet)” as it covers “19 years” of data by month “beginning with September, 1849 and being continued to April , 1868.” Thought you might want the reference for your files. The data was compiled by Dr. J. R. Edwards.

        As we are in a drought you might find this info of interest: “The heaviest rainfall in any year was 77.8 inches, during 1861/2; the lightest, 17.20 inches in 1850/1, the average 31.64 inches.”

        The last sentence on page 76 says this: “As the results of careful observations and registrations from the time of the first settlement, this record is worthy of permanent preservation.” Pg 77 contains a data table with rainfall by month for the 19 years. Hopefully the info will be of some use to you.

    • Brandon S? (@ Corpus no Logos): I’m really struggling to see how this is more than meaningless curve-fitting.

      You can’t be sure that it is. Perhaps it will stimulate someone to examine other sources of data to distinguish natural from man-made. As the author noted, looking at the isotope ratios seemed for a while like a way (he didn’t put it that way), but they turn out not to be unambiguous.

      • Don Monfort

        We do know that nature isn’t driving around in SUVs and operating fossil fueled power plants. How much CO2 do you figure that humans add to the atmosphere in a year?

      • matthewrmarler, I’m all for people examining the issue. I just don’t see how bad work improves the situation. If people weren’t examining the issue before, will doing bad work really make them start? I don’t see why it would.

        I wouldn’t even be bothered by the curve-fitting if it were presented as such. Curve-fitting can be useful for exploratory purposes. One could use a similar approach in a way which is constructive. The problem is this post doesn’t do that. it doesn’t treat its work as exploratory, suggesting paths of discovery. It draws strong conclusions. That’s not right.

      • Brandon S?(@Corpus no Logos): it doesn’t treat its work as exploratory, suggesting paths of discovery. It draws strong conclusions.

        I agree, but that’s easily fixed with a modest amount of rewriting. Hopefully the author will revise a bit when he submits for publication. That is pretty standard for this field, wouldn’t you say — both sentences? Consider Michael Mann’s (and co-authors’) paper on re-estimating the Atlantic and Pacific multidecadal oscillations; was it written as exploratory, suggesting paths of discovery? I wrote a similar comment when he put up the post at RealClimate: if you make an assumption about the signal, you can re-estimate the noise, and refine your model of the signal; if you make an assumption about the noise, you can re-estimate the signal, and refine your estimate of the noise. In both cases, and in many such cases, you can not be sure that what you have accomplished is more than meaningless curve-fitting. That will require out-of-sample data, probably of multiple kinds.

        In the larger context, the entire “anti-CO2 alarmism” was started before anyone tried seriously considering, let alone trying to model, natural variability. It was simply assumed to be negligible, something like low-variance stationary white noise. Now we have multiple demonstrations that the extant data are compatible with large amounts of natural variation and negligible anthropogenic effects.

  6. Up until now, I have not seen any attempt to distinguish anthropogenic CO2 accumulation rates from natural CO2 accumulation rates and that natural sources and sinks have never been clearly quantified. So from this POV alone, I consider that this paper to be of more than usual interest.

    While I remain sceptical that CO2 is the main driver of climate change it still seems to show that the current global warming is not mainly derived from anthropogenic emissions of CO2 in any case. Global warming, slight that it may be, seems more related to other factors such as changes in cloud, wind and ocean currents

    • Peter Davies: So from this POV alone, I consider that this paper to be of more than usual interest.

      My reaction as well. Maybe it will stimulate more research that will eventually disentangle natural from anthropogenic effects.

  7. Watching Dr Salby’s video on this, I relized a big issue with the isotope data. If the earth’s natural churning of CO2 is 10-20X higher than man’s emissions…shouldn’t the anthropogenic CO2 be almost entirely removed and replaced with CO2 already in the system?

    And that being the case…perhaps the isotope change could also be a result of the natural sources as the earth warmed from the little ice age.

    • The roughly 210 GT of atmospheric turnover vs 830 GT of atmospheric carbon (5.6 year mean lifetime) vs 9.8 GT of emissions means you are looking for a small signal in a lot of noise.

      There are 2 GT of emissions from burning rainforest every year as well.

  8. Pingback: Quantifying the anthropogenic contribution to atmospheric CO2 | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  9. “I conclude that, the IPCC’s model assumptions that long-term natural net rate of accumulation is constant and anthropogenic emission rates are the only contributor to total long-term accumulation of atmospheric CO2, is false.”

    This post is incomprehensible. For heavens sake, start with documenting a few things. What model are we talking about? What did the IPCC assume, and what did they say? What in all that rigmarole says that it is false.

    And then please explain, if there is some other cause of long term accumulation, why hasn’t it been accumulating. It’s been steady for many centuries.

    • Don Monfort

      Come on, nicky. It’s comprehensible. A joke. Get it?

    • Nick Stokes: This post is incomprehensible. For heavens sake, start with documenting a few things.

      Don’t be absurd — he starts with a clear statement of his result, then presents a comprehensible development.

      • “he starts with a clear statement of his result”
        That’s what I quoted. Clear? OK, do you know what model he’s talking about? Or what the IPCC assumed? Or how he disproved it?

      • > Don’t be absurd — he starts with a clear statement of his result […]

        Not only that, but the post also ends with a clear statement of his conclusion:

        I conclude that, the IPCC’s model assumptions that long-term natural net rate of accumulation is constant and anthropogenic emission rates are the only contributor to total long-term accumulation of atmospheric CO2, is false.

        The very same sentence.

        That surely means something.

      • what it means is that I copied his conclusion to the beginning of the post, so people knew what the post was about.

      • > what it means is that I copied his conclusion to the beginning of the post, so people knew what the post was about.

        One does not simply reblog an edited post, Judy. This induced Matt to believe that the author “starts with a clear statement of his result,” which is false.

        Please use typographical tricks to separate your edits from the author’s text.

        ***

        This also means that your admission makes this comment false:

        Reblogged this on Climate Etc. and commented:
        by Fred Haynie

        https://retiredresearcher.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/quantifying-the-anthropogenic-contribution-to-the-global-background-level-of-atmospheric-co2/#comment-76

        Simple reblogs are not exactly guest posts.

        ***

        This is not science, but it is important.

    • Don Monfort

      This is not like going up against McIntyre, nicky. You got a winner here. This stuff is straight from Denierville. Don’t let them intimidate you, nicky.

      • Don Monfort: This stuff is straight from Denierville. Don’t let them intimidate you, nicky.

        Formally, it is like Vaughan Pratt’s modelling. With some semiquantitative hypotheses about signal and noise (or anthropogenic and natural), he worked out quantitative refinements, and showed that with the data at hand it is possible that a certain statement is true: in Pratt’s case, he ended with refined estimates of background noise and the human signal in warming; in Haynie’s case, he ended with refined estimates of background noise and human signal in atmospheric CO2. About Pratt’s result I wrote that he might have found the “Holy Grail” of the CO2-climate relationship, or it might just be the latest result from a long line of curve-fitting on an extensively examined set of data. About Haynie’s result I wrote that you can’t tell whether the result is true or just the result of a bunch of curve fitting.

        The fact is that the principle human agency and the background variation have large co-occurred during the warming since 1880. If you knew the background variation you could estimate the human signal; if you knew the signal, you could estimate the background variation. As it is, you can make a hypothesis about the size of one and then estimate the implied size of the other — there is a symmetry.

        Some people fall back on pre-conceived notions, exactly what they believed before reading the data analysis — what Bayesians call “priors”. If you have a strong belief that such a large increase in atmospheric CO2 can’t possibly have a non-human origin, then you largely disregard this analysis. If you think that such a large increase in atmospheric CO2 must have a largely non-human origin, then Haynie has computed a reasonable estimate of the amount that is of human origin. If there is a clear case one way or another, I have not yet come across it; all the arguments have liabilities.

        It wouldn’t be a good idea to believe that Haynie has presented an accurate estimates of the natural and human contributions. But I think, or at least hope, that other people will look for more ways to distinguish between the human and natural combinations.

      • very well said:

        “It wouldn’t be a good idea to believe that Haynie has presented an accurate estimates of the natural and human contributions. But I think, or at least hope, that other people will look for more ways to distinguish between the human and natural combinations.”

      • I agree. Both the rise in ENSO temperatures and anthropogenic emissions are covariant over the range of available data and it is hard to partition the relative contributions. If these are the only contributers in a model both are contributing but which is more significant and best fits the data on any time scale? More work by better minds is required to get a final answer. If CO2 follows ENSO temperatures by say 20 or thirty years and is a major contributor, one would expect a decrease in the rate of accumulation some time in the climate change future. I don’t expect to live to see it within the next twenty years but I can estimate what to expect next year or five years from now.

      • Don Monfort

        Matt, we pretty much know how much CO2 we have added to the atmosphere and will continue to add. It’s a lot. If natural variability can significantly in a short time frame either add to, or subtract from the amount of CO2 that get’s retained, we are still in the same boat, or maybe worse off. How does not knowing about natural variability change our policy choices?

      • Don Monfort: Matt, we pretty much know how much CO2 we have added to the atmosphere and will continue to add.

        What we don’t know are: (a) how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is due to the human additions and (b) how much a reduction in human CO2 will reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration

        How does not knowing about natural variability change our policy choices?

        My policy prescriptions are: (a) more construction of well-designed flood control and irrigation projects; (b) constructing greater resilience to other kinds of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, fires, and cyclonic storms; (c) continued R&D on energy sources to replace fossil fuels. I doubt that a rapid build-down of fossil-fueled power plants will produce a good effect any time soon. So the policy choices are about the same, but this analysis might increase doubt that rapid elimination of fossil fuel use will produce good results.

      • Don Monfort

        “What we don’t know are: (a) how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is due to the human additions and (b) how much a reduction in human CO2 will reduce the atmospheric CO2 concentration”

        What we do know is that we put a lot of CO2 into the atmosphere and it’s got to be someplace. It either remains in the atmosphere, or it is in a natural sink. This is in addition to the natural CO2 that is either in the atmosphere, or in a sink. We know that CO2 content in the atmosphere has varied considerably in the past, at times a lot higher. Not much lower. If we suppose that natural CO2 is responsible for some significant part of the recent rise in CO2, does that make us less worried about human CO2? If we listen to Fred, don’t we have to now worry about natural variability of CO2 as well as the human part? It’s worse than we thought.

      • > If we suppose that natural CO2 is responsible for some significant part of the recent rise in CO2, does that make us less worried about human CO2?

        Mr. T asks himself the same question.

        ***

        Less than 50% can still be significant. Think in terms of election turnout:

        The numbers are far from finalized at this point, but voters showed up in droves at the polls on Election Day in Alberta, posting the strongest showing in decades in the province.

        Early estimates show that 59 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot, which is a huge improvement from the 50.9 percent average across the last six elections.

        While it didn’t break the 60 percent mark, that saw Ralph Klein elected premier in 1993, it sure did come close.

        http://calgary.ctvnews.ca/voter-turnout-the-strongest-in-decades-in-alberta-1.2361119

        High turnouts get progressive parties elected in Alberta.

        Fancy that.

      • Don, the implication is that sensitivity is low.

    • This post is NOT incomprehensible, but I fully agree that documentation and support for assertions is lacking. It needs to be far more rigorously presented IMO, I think Greg Goodman’s remarks on his blog to be an excellent review.

    • 1. There is about 2 GT/Y of rainforest emissions
      2. There is about 0.5 GT/Y of carbon sink destroyed.
      3. The net carbon sink destroyed since 1900 is about 40 GT/Y of sinking capacity – over 8 times the annual rise in CO2.
      4. The atmospheric absorption is increasing twice as fast as emissions (180% vs 80%)..
      5. The rate of atmospheric increase in CO2 is virtually constant in the face of an exponential increase in emissions.
      6. The post 1900 warming would have increased net emission from the ocean (a 38000 GT carbon sink).
      7. The post 1900 warming woud have increased net emission from land due to various decay processes.
      8. The exchange between ocean/land and atmosphere of 210 GT/Y dwarfs the 9.8 GT/Y carbon emissions.

      So:
      1. The net rate of accumulation is not constant. Claiming it is is an outright lie.
      2. The anthropogenic emission rates have little or no relationship to the actual rise and don’t correlate all that well.

      The anthropogenic emission rates are part of the picture but it isn’t clear how big a part.

    • The contention that there is a strong relationship between emissions and CO2 is just ludicrous.

  10. Pingback: Quantifying the anthropogenic contribution to atmospheric CO2 | Climate Etc. | WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  11. Steven Mosher

    This post was already taken apart when it was first posted.

    jeez.

    • Greg Goodman seemed to like it.

    • Where was it taken apart? I read Greg Goodmans excellent responses to it on his blog. The main problem as I see it (and touched on by Nick Stokes) is lack of references or further support and justification for some assertions, and the appearance of over fitting.

      It seems more a problem of presentation rather than substance. Or is that what you meant by it being “taken apart”? If so then I think that’s an unfair characterisation, since “taken apart” is often implies “discredited”. That would be ironic if you were yourself being unclear in criticising someone for not being clear enough.

      • > “taken apart” is often implies “discredited”

        Unless one presumes that as soon as an error gets spotted, it becomes common knowledge, I don’t think that these two words are synonym.

        For instance, here’s one possible source of the taking apart:

        The basic problem with your calculation is a much common problem encountered when discussing the human contribution to the recent increase in the atmosphere.

        You are completely right that the fraction of human incuded CO2 is small compared to the total CO2 in the atmosphere, but still near 100% of the increase is caused by the human emissions…

        https://retiredresearcher.wordpress.com/2011/11/03/quantifying-the-anthropogenic-contribution-to-the-global-background-level-of-atmospheric-co2/#comment-5

        looks a lot

        Then Ferdinand goes on to explain what he believes is the basic problem with the calculation.

        That ze Moshpit believes Ferdinand has taken apart Fred’s calculation seems more natural to me than to believe there’s a problem of presentation.

        Now, assuming that Ferdinand’s right (I guess Willard Tony’s fans know how often he wrote such a comment) about Fred’s calculation, one possible effect is that the calculation gets discredited. However, that effect does not follow ipso facto. For instance, it has been reblogged here and elsewhere.

        Reblogging cascade, anyone?

        ***

        In any case, as long as it induces people to look for alternative ways to do attribution, Mr. T’s happy. As a bonus, Judy gets some crowdsourcing effort for her forthcoming post.

        What’s not to like about that post?

        Hope this helps,

        W

  12. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me: “The seasonal variations are caused by natural processes which are temperature dependant [sic]. Anthropogenic emissions are not temperature dependent.”

    Here in northern New England, anthropogenic emissions sure seem to be temperature dependent to me! We use a lot of oil, wood, and some gas for heat in the winter, and don’t need a whole lot of cooling in the summer. You also don’t get out in your car as much in the winter because not a whole lot is going on (remember “cabin fever”), but summertime is vacation time. I can see how such factors might mostly cancel out globally, but I don’t see how the described methodology could generate a baseline non-anthropogenic CO2 concentration that doesn’t vary by lattitude or longitude.

  13. When the CO2 concentrations were around 7000 ppm, some time ago, the anthropogenic component was zero, the natural component 100%.

    No runaway greenhouse effect since then. The Antarctic managed to freeze.

    CO2 levels in the past have risen and fallen. Assuming that Nature has lost the ability to cause a rise in CO2 levels, is somewhat naive.

    In that case, there is no way of quantifying any anthropogenic long term change. As the Earth doesn’t seem to be warming overall, it appears CO2 levels below 1000ppm are no particular cause for concern, regardless of the origin.

    • You’re forgetting the Sun, which was fainter when CO2 was around 7000ppm than it is now. Strange that, given that it’s almost always the Sun, except when it’s not.

      • ATTP,

        So the Sun got brighter after the advent of Man? How much brighter, would you say? How much did the Antarctic warm owing to this brighter Sun?

        The Antarctic remains frozen, in spite of the warmer Sun. I’m forgetting nothing. The GHE didn’t work for four billion years, and it doesn’t work now. Sorry about that.

      • Mike,
        No, stars get brighter as the move along the main-sequence. A star like the Sun was probably about 3-4% fainter 500Myr ago than it is now. So, that would reduce solar forcing by maybe 10W/^2. A CO2 concentration of 7000ppm would produce a radiative forcing of around 17W/m^2 relative to pre-industrial times. So, the slightly fainter Sun would imply that the Earth would have been cooler than today, but the higher CO2 compensates for that, to produce a net increase in forcing of around 7W/m^2 relative to pre-industrial. This is about 2 doublings of CO2 relative to pre-industrial times and is consistent with temperatures being about 10C higher then than they are now.

      • ATTP,

        Unfortunately, the Antarctic froze over much more recently than 500Myr ago. The oldest ice is apparently only 1.5 million years old, with most being younger than that.

        Before that, ice free, obviously.

        Maybe your Sun got colder at that point, but has increased brightness since. All very confusing, because the Antarctic ice cap refuses to melt.

        All a bit reminiscent of circular orbits, cycles, and ever more complicated epicycles to explain observations.

        You see, as the temperature dropped from a molten surface to the present, it had to be at some point 10C warmer. No need for GHE at all.

        Occam’s razor, and all that.

      • ATTP. It’s been known for a long time that insolation variation alone can’t account for the temperature variations. But the Sun has more attributes than visible photons. UV, magnetic effects, solar wind effects, … those sorts of things have to be eliminated as a hypothetical.

      • ..and Then There’s Physics | May 7, 2015 at 5:29 am |
        Mike,
        No, stars get brighter as the move along the main-sequence. A star like the Sun was probably about 3-4% fainter 500Myr ago than it is now. So, that would reduce solar forcing by maybe 10W/^2. A CO2 concentration of 7000ppm would produce a radiative forcing of around 17W/m^2 relative to pre-industrial times. So, the slightly fainter Sun would imply that the Earth would have been cooler than today, but the higher CO2 compensates for that, to produce a net increase in forcing of around 7W/m^2 relative to pre-industrial. This is about 2 doublings of CO2 relative to pre-industrial times and is consistent with temperatures being about 10C higher then than they are now.

        Lets fact check this:

        I was going to fact check ATTP then realized he wasn’t laying out his own case correctly which is why his numbers didn’t make sense.

        The 7000 PPM should be using the IPCC ECS (3x forcing) so the forcing was about 51 W/m2. Even at the Cambrian/Ordovician boundary there was still 42 W/m2 of CO2 forcing (using the IPCC ECS). There has to be about 4 W/m2 of forcing to explain each 1°C of temperature difference.

        However this doesn’t explain the Cretaceous temperatures.

        And it takes 57 Watts to go from 288K to 298K (10 degrees warmer). The 3.7W/K is a short term linear approximation.

      • And it takes 57 Watts to go from 288K to 298K (10 degrees warmer). The 3.7W/K is a short term linear approximation.

        “SIgh”., what was I thinking. The 1K change is 5.45W vs the 10 K change of 57.1W isn’t that significant. The 3.7W/K.figure is equal to an assumed 0.68 average emissivity.

      • Mike,
        I’m afraid you’ve rather lost me. You mentioned 7000ppm, which was the level around 500 million years ago. You should probably also read up a little on the concept of Occam’s razor.

        PA,
        Again, not quite sure what you’re getting at either. 7000ppm relative to 280ppm (i.e., pre-industrial levels) is a change in forcing of 5.35ln(C/Co) = 17.2 W/m^2. If, during that era, Solar forcing was 10W/m^2, then the net change in external forcing was just over 7W/m^2, or about two doublings of CO2.

        Of course, this is only the change in forcing. If the ESS (Earth System Sensitivity) is about 4-5C per doubling of CO2, then that would imply about 10C warmer than pre-industrial times.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        @ATTP-

        “to produce a net increase in forcing of around 7W/m^2 relative to pre-industrial. This is about 2 doublings of CO2 relative to pre-industrial times and is consistent with temperatures being about 10C higher then than they are now.
        Of course, this is only the change in forcing. If the ESS (Earth System Sensitivity) is about 4-5C per doubling of CO2, then that would imply about 10C warmer than pre-industrial times.”

        You are forgetting that there were also higher CH4 and N2O levels, not to mention that the continents were in very different locations, which generally allowed for a more equitable distribution of global temperature (which both has a stefan-boltzman effect and has an albedo effect, which allows for a higher global average temperature for a similar level of greenhouse gases and solar irradiance).

        I don’t think that ECS an ESS are as high as you think they are.

      • You are forgetting that there were also higher CH4 and N2O levels, not to mention that the continents were in very different locations, which generally allowed for a more equitable distribution of global temperature.

        Any chance we can avoid the pedantry? My very simply point was that you can’t ignore the evolution of solar insolation when describing how the system responds to different levels of atmospheric CO2. If you want to add other complexities, go ahead. This started with a simple claim that CO2 has been 7000ppm in the past and we didn’t undergo runaway. Well the Sun was a few percent fainter then.

        I don’t think that ECS an ESS are as high as you think they are.

        Yes, I know you do, but it’s not all that important. Make them smaller and add in your CH4 and N2O if you want to. The point (which I thought was trivial) is that there is more than just CO2.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        @ ATTP –

        “My very simply point was that you can’t ignore the evolution of solar insolation when describing how the system responds to different levels of atmospheric CO2.”

        Fair enough. I agree with you.

        “This started with a simple claim that CO2 has been 7000ppm in the past and we didn’t undergo runaway.”

        Even with the increase in solar irradiance, runaway global warming is not even close to being feasible. I think Arthur Smith provided a link that showed that Runaway cannot occur until a temperature of well over 600 K (at which point water will reach boiling temperature given the increase in atmospheric pressure due to all the extra water vapour). Maybe runaway global warming is feasible in say 2 billion years when the sun gets bright enough, but there is no sudden tipping point after which the Earth goes into runaway warming regardless of how much people like Hansen want to claim it exists. CO2 will make the planet warmer, and this will be amplified by feedbacks, and then a new equilibrium will be reached.

      • The sun might have been fainter in the past when CO2 was 7000 ppm but the climate was warmer in the past when CO2 concentrations were less then 7000ppm even though the sun had the same intensity.

      • Even with the increase in solar irradiance, runaway global warming is not even close to being feasible.

        I know. I wasn’t suggesting that it was. Jesus!

      • http://www.biocab.org/Carbon_Dioxide_Geological_Timescale.html

        As one can see the temperature went up in the distant past when CO2 concentrations went down and vice versa. The sun ‘s faintness not a factor.

      • The sun ‘s faintness not a factor.

        Not a factor in what? Are you disputing the role that the Sun plays?

      • iiequalsexpipi

        “I know. I wasn’t suggesting that it was. Jesus!”

        My mistake. I apologize.

      • blueice2hotsea

        iiequalsexpipi

        re: runaway warming & James Hansen

        Guess what? Hansen no longer holds that a Venus-like runaway is possible in less than a billion year time-scale. Reason: improved accounting of “non-radiative vertical energy transport”.

      • ..and Then There’s Physics | May 7, 2015 at 11:00 am |

        PA,
        Again, not quite sure what you’re getting at either. 7000ppm relative to 280ppm (i.e., pre-industrial levels) is a change in forcing of 5.35ln(C/Co) = 17.2 W/m^2. If, during that era, Solar forcing was 10W/m^2, then the net change in external forcing was just over 7W/m^2, or about two doublings of CO2.

        If you are going to play global warmer you have to go “Whole Hog” global warmer.

        ECS is 3X Fco2 so Fancient_fimes = 3 * 5.35 * ln (7000/280) = 51.6 W/m2

        With Fa_t = 51.6 W/m2 you can make some of your temperature claims.

        But it still doesn’t explain the late Cretaceous temperatures when the temp was 10°C higher and the CO2 was only 1000 PPM or less.

      • PA,
        You should probably familiarise yourself with the terms “forcing” and “feedback”.

      • ..and Then There’s Physics | May 8, 2015 at 1:06 pm |
        PA,
        You should probably familiarise yourself with the terms “forcing” and “feedback”.

        In the magic IPCC world there isn’t much of a difference.

        If I was doing an analog simulation of a realistic system model – then these fine distinctions are important.

        Climate science doesn’t have anything approaching a realistic system model.

      • In the magic IPCC world there isn’t much of a difference.

        They have definitions, even in IPCC world. Maybe you should try looking them up.

  14. Jeepers, seriously? Read Eli’s post if you can’t get this. The basic formula is

    Delta = AE + NE – NS

    where Delta is the increase in atmospheric CO2, AE is the anthropogenic emissions, NE is the natural emissions, and NS is the natural sinks. Clearly, Delta and AE are positive, and AE > Delta. This allows you to write

    Delta – AE = NE – NS,

    which must be less than zero. Therefore, the natural sinks are greater than the natural emissions and, consequently, the source cannot be natural, and must be anthropogenic.

    • Judith

      Is there some special point in posting this at this time?

      I see the original article dates back to 2011. It was then revised last February. Presumably that was because it was found to be incorrect, at least in part?

      Without knowing the nature of the revisions, why they were made and why this has been resurrected at this time it is a bit difficult to make any substantive comment.

      tonyb

      • Fred appeared on a previous thread, linking to his post. It looked interesting and some denizens said they would like to discuss at CE. Fred agreed to do a guest post for CE. Note the comments on the original thread are interesting. Fred said he would participate in the comments here.

        Regarding revisions, journal articles go through many revisions (before and after submission for publication); its the end product that is relevant for evaluation.

    • ATTP,

      You’re forgetting that plant growth increases with the availability of additional CO2. NS therefore increases, and your assumption is clearly incorrect.

      Sorry about that, also.

      • You’re forgetting that plant growth increases with the availability of additional CO2. NS therefore increases, and your assumption is clearly incorrect.

        No, it’s not and suggesting that it is particularly silly. That NS goes up makes it even harder to argue for a natural source. Think about this. There is more CO2 in the oceans and in the biosphere than before we started emitting. How can they be the source if they’ve absorbed more CO2 than they’ve emitted? This is not even all that complicated.

      • ATTP,

        And just where does all the CO2 we emit come from? When the atmosphere was 95% CO2, where did it all go?

        Releasing the energy associated with sequestered carbon produces heat and CO2. Eventually the CO2 is once again sequestered as hydrocarbons and so on. The heat is lost to space, of course, quite quickly.

        Sorry about that. On the positive side, assuming no GHE (which is backed up by long and short term averages) gives us one less thing to worry about.

    • You defined Delta to be an increase, but then you define the terms AE, NE, and NS to be totals, not deltas.

      So the equation for Delta should be:

      Delta = delta(AE) + delta(NE) – delta(NS)

      • They were all meant to be over some time interval – annual, for example.

      • ATTP,

        Try a time interval of four billion years. Tell me how much the Earth warmed. Or maybe the time interval from the time when Antarctica was ice free to now.

      • Mike,
        We’re talking about the period during which we’ve been burning fossil fuels. It started in about the mid-1800s, which is a time interval significantly shorter than four billion years.

      • Whoops. Now posted in correct place. Attack of fat finger. Sorry.

        ATTP,

        You’ve moved the goalposts a bit. First it was 100Myr, now it’s only from the mid 1800’s.

        Can you go a little further, and specify a year, and the global average surface temperature at that time. Please specify the precision and accuracy of your baseline measurement.

      • You’ve moved the goalposts a bit. First it was 100Myr, now it’s only from the mid 1800’s.

        No, I haven’t. You need to try reading harder. Well, unless you’re intentionally trying to sound silly?

    • The incredibly stupid so-called “mass-balance” argument rears its ugly head again.

      NS dynamically responds to atmospheric concentration. It is thereby a function of both NE and AE, NS = NS(NE,AE).

      We can observe that NE – NS(NE,AE) is less than zero, but that does not imply that nature on its own is a net sink. To establish that, you would have to demonstrate that NE – NS(NE,0) is less than zero.

      If you remove the human forcing, NS declines back to the level NS(NE,0) due to natural forcing alone. That means NS(NE,0) is less than NS(NE,AE). And, that means that just because NE – NS(NE,AE) is less than zero, it does not preclude NE – NS(NE,0) being greater than zero.

      This so-called “mass-balance” argument is the province of naive simpletons who have no experience with dynamic systems analysis.

      • The incredibly stupid so-called “mass-balance” argument rears its ugly head again.

        Ahhh, Bart, we’ve been through this before, I think.

        We can observe that NE – NS(NE,AE) is less than zero, but that does not imply that nature on its own is a net sink.

        The suggestion isn’t that nature is a net sink. The suggestion is that in the presence of AE, nature is a net sink. If, in the presence of AE, nature is a net sink, it can’t be the source.

        NS declines back to the level NS(NE,0) due to natural forcing alone. That means NS(NE,0) is less than NS(NE,AE). And, that means that just because NE – NS(NE,AE) is less than zero, it does not preclude NE – NS(NE,0) being greater than zero.

        I think you’re ignoring that NE has a dependence on AE too. So what we have is

        Delta = AE + NE(NS,AE) – NS(NE,AE)

        You’re suggesting that we need to show that

        NE(NS,0) – NS(NE,0) <= 0 in order for the mass balance argument to be valid.

        Well, no, that's rather silly.

        If NE(NS,AE) – NS(NE,AE) < 0 then in the presence of AE, the natural sinks cannot be a source, therefore the rise is anthropogenic.

        This so-called “mass-balance” argument is the province of naive simpletons who have no experience with dynamic systems analysis.

        My gut feeling is that anyone willing to say this is also unwilling to acknowledge their own errors. How can you backtrack from calling those who disagree with you simpletons. Doing so would then imply that you’re the simpleton and that might just be too much to acknowledge?

      • attP,

        No, the natural sinks and sources don’t have to relate the same ways. The sources could be due to decreased albedo, increased upwelling nearly independent to aghg forcing and atmospheric concentration, while the sinks could be more dependent on atmospheric concentration, precipitation, ocean mixing and photosythensizing light.

      • Not even close. As I stated, this so-called “mass-balance” argument is the province of naive simpletons who have no experience with dynamic systems analysis. You have self-identified.

      • Aaron – yes, the sinks respond dynamically to the overall concentration in the atmosphere, whether it is due to anthropogenic or natural input. Natural inputs are exogenous.

      • It’s true that natural variability of the CO2 concentration might be significant also on multidecadal level, but the regularity of the observed increase of the concentration seems to tell that natural variability contributes little over periods longer than the ENSO cycle.

        It’s also true that details of the carbon cycle are not well known according to the IPCC AR5 report.

        All that has, however, an almost negligible effect on the main conclusion that the increase in the CO2 concentration is due to the anthropogenic influence. The uncertainties are simply very small in the cumulative effect up to now.

        The most important uncertainty concerns the behavior of the rate of removal over long periods (from 50 years to centuries). That may be very important for the ultimate warming that CO2 will produce and, in particular, for the long term changes in sea level.

      • Don Monfort

        Thank you, Pekka. An adult has arrived on the scene.

      • This is all assertion, Pekka. The “evidence” which has been taken account of is silly arguments like the “mass-balance” above, and circular reasoning starting with the premise that the rise is due to humans.

      • Bartemis,

        Mass balance is an excellent argument, when the masses considered are large enough to assure that uncertain factors cannot distort much the conclusions. This is a perfect case of that.

        The cumulative anthropogenic release and the cumulative increase in the atmospheric CO2 are so large that it’s virtually certain that other factors have negligible influence on the interpretation of those numbers.

        Sometimes common sense allows for reliable assertions.

      • “it’s virtually certain”

        Here we go again. lol

        Andrew

      • Don Monfort

        Bart:”This is all assertion, Pekka.”

        He’s got you there, Pekka. What proof do you have that humans emitting gazillions of gigatons of CO2 to the atmosphere has actually caused the concentration of CO2 to rise? Don’t show us any charts of any so-called measurements. We want real proof.

      • “Mass balance is an excellent argument, when the …”
        Oh, Pekka. I used to have a better opinion of you.
        “What proof do you have that humans emitting gazillions of gigatons …
        Natural inputs are way more than that. This is a really bad argument from incredulity.

      • stevenreincarnated

        “The suggestion isn’t that nature is a net sink. The suggestion is that in the presence of AE, nature is a net sink. If, in the presence of AE, nature is a net sink, it can’t be the source.”

        Mathematically it can:

        C’ = (Eneq + Enchange + Ea) – {Eneq + (Enchange + Ea)f}

      • Pekka Pirilä:

        Mass balance is an excellent argument, when the masses considered are large enough to assure that uncertain factors cannot distort much the conclusions. This is a perfect case of that.

        Where has it been shown that the unknown fluxes are ignorable? This is a perfect case for showing that the unknown fluxes are so large as to swamp the effort to identify the fossil-fuel- burning component.

      • Don Monfort

        Matt:”Where has it been shown that the unknown fluxes are ignorable? This is a perfect case for showing that the unknown fluxes are so large as to swamp the effort to identify the fossil-fuel- burning component.”

        Don’t we have a pretty good idea on the amount of ACO2 that has been emitted into the atmosphere? How has that been swamped by unknown fluxes? It got eaten up and it’s gone? If you got a bucket with a some holes in it and nature is adding some amount of H2O that we can’t measure and some guy is adding H2O, and we know about how much water he is adding, and the level of the H2O is rising, who done it? Did I forget to mention that the man has added twice as much water as would be necessary to raise the level of the H2O to where it is now?

      • “Did I forget to mention that the man has added twice as much water as would be necessary to raise the level of the H2O to where it is now?”

        It is immaterial to the question. I walk through just such an argument here at Apr 20, 2015 at 6:50 PM.

        Don, you are really embarrassing yourself. You clearly have no familiarity at all with the evolution of dynamic systems.

      • Don Monfort

        barty, barty

        With the humans adding twice as much ACO2 as is necessary to account for the increase in atmospheric CO2, it would seem to be incumbent on the dynamic systems genuises to explain what happened to all the ACO2. Did it vent to outer space? If it is in a natural sink, did it not crowd out some natural CO2 that would have otherwise occupied that space? Does ACO2 create it’s own little sink? You got a lot of esplainin to do, barty. But you have said, you don’t have the time.

      • Don Monfort

        Ferdinand destroys you, barty.

      • “If it is in a natural sink, did it not crowd out some natural CO2 that would have otherwise occupied that space?”

        No, Don, it doesn’t. That really is the whole point. The sinks are not static, and they are not random. They respond systematically to the level of forcing. That is how a feedback system works. It is very elementary.

        “Ferdinand destroys you, barty.”

        Uh, that’d be no. Ferdinand is a great cataloger of facts and factoids (things that appear to be facts, but really aren’t), and a really nice fellow in general, but his math skills are at best marginal (sorry, Ferdinand, it’s just the truth).

      • Come on, Don Don. You don’t seem to know Bartemis. Are you sure you “read the blog,” as bender implored? Here:

        You are too inexperienced to understand…. and refuse to read for comprehension anything I have written to explain where you have gone wrong.

        http://climateaudit.org/2011/09/08/more-on-dessler-2010/#comment-303619

        Please bow to your formal master.

      • Don, Bart indeed is a master in math, but has no idea of natural processes. My math is completely rusty, but I have 37 years of experience of implementing theoretical processes in a real chemical plant, with all the problems involved: theory doesn’t always (mostly not) work in the real world…

        Bart simply calls everything that is counter his (spurious) match of natural variability and slope of the CO2 increase with temperature as just conjecture. Human emissions simply disappear in space…
        In this case, his theory is of a huge natural source out of the oceans. But that violates about all known observations like the drop of 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere and ocean surface.

        More to the point:
        Human emissions increased a fourfold since 1960.
        The observed increase rate in the atmosphere increased a fourfold since 1960
        The calculated net sink rate increased a fourfold since 1960:

        If some natural cycle was the cause, that cycle MUST have increased a fourfold since 1960 to overwhelm the influence of human emissions. Not a threefold or fivefold. For which is not the slightest indication in any observation, to the contrary…

      • David Springer

        Don Monfort | May 7, 2015 at 4:06 pm |
        Bart:”This is all assertion, Pekka.”

        He’s got you there, Pekka. What proof do you have that humans emitting gazillions of gigatons of CO2 to the atmosphere has actually caused the concentration of CO2 to rise?

        ———————————————————————

        What proof do you have that natural sources emitting a thousand times more CO2 than humans hasn’t gone up or that natural sinks of a thousand times more CO2 than humans emit haven’t decreased in uptake?

        Step away, Donny. You’re way outside your pay grade grade in this argument.

    • I made a comment earlier which was fairly critical of this post, and my opinion of the post has gone down since. Despite that, I have to say this “rebuttal” is wrong. Anders concludes:

      which must be less than zero. Therefore, the natural sinks are greater than the natural emissions and, consequently, the source cannot be natural, and must be anthropogenic.

      But that in no way rebuts what this post says. The argument Anders presents merely states that natural sources cannot be the only source of the rise in CO2. It does not rule out the possibility changes to the natural sinks/emissions of CO2 could play some role in the rise in CO2 levels.

      Either Anders has misunderstood some very simple equations, or he has posted an argument he knows does not address the argument raised in this post.

    • What I am disputing is your claim that the reason why temperatures were colder in the geological past when CO2 concentrations were higher was because the sun was fainter.

      Data shows CO2 concentrations faint sun or no faint sun do not correlate with the global temperature.

      • What I am disputing is your claim that the reason why temperatures were colder in the geological past when CO2 concentrations were higher was because the sun was fainter.

        I didn’t say they were colder. Try reading harder!

    • “Therefore, the natural sinks are greater than the natural emissions and, consequently, the source cannot be natural, and must be anthropogenic.”
      If NS > AE, then it would be all natural CO2 variation. I think this a semantic difference, with the correct answer in the middle. I wouldn’t say we did it all when we don’t have the sufficient accounting to support that. To take the average CO2 level which seems pretty well established and say, We did that. I think there’s a problem with glossing over what we can’t account for, yet still moving ahead using simplifying assumptions about the CO2 cycle.

  15. The IPPC assumes that there has been no significant increase in natural emissions in the last fifty years and that anthropogenic emissions have been more than enough to account for all the atmospheric accumulation of SO2. They then accomplish a “global mass balance” by assuming sink rates are increasing and taking out about half of the anthropogenics. What I am doing is a vertical mass balance on different regions. Take a look at Fig.4. If you regressed the total accumulation rate only on anthropogenic emissions, you would get a coefficent of around 0.5 that the IPPC uses in their models. However, that regression does not account for the larger variations in the long term data that are not anthropogenic. Those unaccounted for variations are most likely natural and a function of regional temperature.

    As to curve fitting and over fitting. A lot of people do it, including the IPPC.
    Over fitting occurs when ratio of factors to degrees of freedom is too small. So fitting data to a Fourier type series becomes over fitting when too may terms are included in the series. I have avoided over fitting by including only the harmonics that produced statistically significant coefficients. Over fitting in models also occurs when you include more so called fixed factors in your model than the degrees of freedom in the data can account for. The IPPC models are a good example of this type of over fitting. I have simply included only two factors (natural and anthropogenic). I would greatly appreciate comments from statisticians on my efforts.

    Projecting any models beyond the limits of the data is risky business. However, based on probabilities, I am betting my projections are better than the IPPCs.

  16. For consistency, I’ll say here what I’ve said elsewhere. If there is one thing related to climate science about which we have virtual certainty, it is that the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic. This is not in dispute and is accepted by almost everyone who understands this topic. In my opinion, it is irresponsible to promote – without comment – a suggestion that it might not be anthropogenic. There is sufficient mis-information about this topic without exaccerbating it further. One might excuse sites ilke WUWT or Bishop Hill because the hosts have no formal experience in climate science and, despite years of writing about it, appear to still have little actual understanding of the topic. For a site run by a professional climate scientist to do so is, in my view, remarkably unfortunate. I do think that professional scientists have some responsibility to distinguish between scientific views that are still under debate, and those that are not; even more so if it is a topic which has significant societal relevance.

    • “In my opinion, it is irresponsible to promote – without comment – a suggestion that it might not be anthropogenic.”

      I’m not sure why this is so terrible.

      Andrew

      • I mean, this is science right? Claims are supposed be open to scrutiny, testing, etc…

        Andrew

      • I didn’t say “terrible”. However, there are certain things in science about which we have virtual certainty, and others that we don’t. That the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic is one thing about which we’re virtually certain. To not at least make this clear on a science blog about this topic, seems remarkable to me. How do we benefit by not distinguishing between what is certain and what isn’t, especially when this topic is societally relevant?

      • “there are certain things in science about which we have virtual certainty”

        This is just a claim. It needs to be given to the treatment of science. Which means I can’t just accept it because you say so.

        Andrew

      • This is just a claim. It needs to be given to the treatment of science. Which means I can’t just accept it because you say so.

        It has been. That you don’t realise this doesn’t make it not so. I’m also not planning on doing your homework for you.

      • “It has been.”

        Another claim. Got anything to reference?

        Andrew

      • ATTP’s issue is, there’s no “virtual certainty” in anything he could possibly reference, and therefore cant post any links for me.

        Andrew

    • Judith has long promised that she would weigh in on Salby’s theories. Although she hasn’t done so, maybe she will provide some details related to her scientific perspective on the theories outlined in this post.

      Personally, I see no problem with her offering up material for discussion – but it would seem beneficial if she were to at least add her scientific analysis to the discussion.

      • I’m interested in Fred’s analysis for two reasons:
        • an interest in understanding the role of the Arctic in the carbon cycle
        • an interest in understanding the role of multidecadal oscillations in the ocean in the carbon cycle (i.e. natural decadal variations)
        • and of course, the stadium wave links the two previous points together to some extent

        I am making no personal judgment on Fred’s analysis; I find Greg Goodman’s comments and ensuing discussion with Fred on the original blog post to be interesting.

        Bottom line is that I think the traditional method of analyzing all this leaves out multidecadal natural variability which is relevant on the timescales of interest. Same problem I have with sensitivity analyses (the recent Lewis/Curry paper accounted for some of this in a limited way)

        I’m going to add this statement to JC notes in the main post

      • Bottom line is that I think the traditional method of analyzing all this leaves out multidecadal natural variability which is relevant on the timescales of interest.

        I don’t think that the natural variability is not considered. I think that it is considered, and that it is quite well understood. It, however, does not – and cannot – explain the long-term rise in atmospheric CO2 which is very obviously anthropogenic.

      • You should have told that to nasa before they spent all that money on their new satellite.

      • I didn’t say it was completely understood. However, it’s my understanding that the goal of the NASA satellite is to better understand the carbon sinks which – of course – is an important part of understanding how the atmospheric concentration will grow if we continue to increase our emissions. I do not think that it was launched with the goal of establishing if the rise is anthropogenic or not.

      • yes, Greg made quite extensive comments on the original post. What do you think about the changes that Fred made in light of those criticisms? Do you think that Fred has successfully addressed the points that Greg made?

      • Don Monfort

        Judith:”Bottom line is that I think the traditional method of analyzing all this leaves out multidecadal natural variability which is relevant on the timescales of interest.”

        How relevant is natural variability on the timescale of interest?

      • Well there is plenty of natural variability on timescales of a decade to centuries. The anthro CO2 effect on temperature shows up in the ‘fingerprints’ after about 1980. Seems to me that natural variability on these timescales could be playing an important role in what is going on. We don’t really know how the carbon cycle feedbacks work (this budget stuff is really zeroth order too simplistic IMO)

      • Don Monfort

        Ferdinand Englebeen also made comments challenging Fred’s analysis. Here is Englebeen’s comprehensible and I think persuasive analysis of the CO2 increase:

        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

      • Steven Mosher

        Yes Don, Ferdinand Englebeen is not only clear he is a saint when it comes to dealing with this type of crap.

      • Don Monfort

        Judith:”We don’t really know how the carbon cycle feedbacks work (this budget stuff is really zeroth order too simplistic IMO)”

        That seems like a vague but potentially serious argument for ending fossil fuel use in a quick hurry. At least we have some control over that. If natural variability in the carbon cycle results in more natural source CO2 being retained in the atmosphere coincident with our pumping it out, we could be in deep doo-doo.

      • Mosher

        Contrary to being academic malpractice, it might be a helluva a teachable moment. I would much rather see students bang their head against the consensus and maybe really learn the depths of the subject rather than go along with the lemmings and yawn all the way relying on everyone else to wet nurse them through the exercise. Climate science has too many conformists and that is why it is a mess. Let the students learn the hard way. Being wrong is not always a bad thing.

      • Mosh

        Yes, Ferdinand IS a saint with his clarity and patience. He also doesn’t believe that increased anthropogenic co2 has that much to do with rising temperatures.

        tonyb

      • I just read the interesting exchange between Englebeen and Bart on Salby’s latest presentation at Bishop Hill, many relevant issues (related to mass balance models)

        http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2015/4/14/the-salby-lecture.html

      • Bart is I. The case is crystal clear. There is no evidence of the phase distortion which would necessarily be evident if the trend in temperature were not forcing the trend in dCO2/dt. Therefore, the trend in temperatures is causing the trend in dCO2/dt.

        There is also a trend in emissions. It is already accounted for by the temperature relationship.

        It is therefore impossible that human inputs can be a significant driver.

        This is a very ordinary response of a feedback regulatory system – it tracks the equilibrium level set by natural boundary conditions, and strongly attenuates external disturbances such as the tiny input from human activity.

        It’s not even a close call. A lot of people are going to have egg on their faces when the truth is finally realized.

      • Bart, have you done any quantitative analysis on this topic? I agree with you that the mass balance approach is naive zeroth order. I would welcome a guest post on this

      • Salby has, though IMO, he is taking a very cautious approach. But, perhaps that is best. Like the measurement of electron charge, it’s going to take a long time to get people to climb down from the previous “expert” opinion. Trying to push it all the way at once would probably just result in complete dismissal. Better, I suppose, to get people to start confronting the evidence in bite-sized chunks.

        Sorry, I cannot take the time to do a proper treatment. I live in a world in which I have to design systems that work, and quickly. Once I have identified the problem and how to correct it, I have to move on to the next project.

        Here, I have identified the problem to my satisfaction. I am seeing very typical behavior which leaves me with no doubt what is going on. I only post on the topic when I can, generally when waiting for huge simulations to finish running. I only keep at it because it annoys me no end to see so many people making a hash of things, and attacking a guy like Murry Salby, for whom I have the utmost esteem.

        If that sounds like a cop out, well, sorry. It’s the best I can do. I just hope at some point, someone will pick up the ball and run with it.

      • Judith and Bart, thanks for the B.H. link and discussion. It’s a bit wonkish for us laypeople but a good lesson and perspective. Also thanks to Don Monfort for Englebeen s web. Learning a lot here from a supposed bogus blog :-)

      • I would agree with Judith’s comment about natural variability not being very well understood.

        Another way to put what ATTP was driving at would be that “natural variability is well enough understood to bracket the range of possible natural emissions”. In this case, you wouldn’t have fully understand natural variability before you could attribute the increase in CO2 to human activity.

      • Steven Mosher

        tony

        “Mosh

        Yes, Ferdinand IS a saint with his clarity and patience. He also doesn’t believe that increased anthropogenic co2 has that much to do with rising temperatures.”

        really, you mean he has both true and false beliefs. say it’s not so!

        I’ll put it differently Even Ferdinand who isnt smart enough to understand that c02 drives temperature isnt dumb enough to disbelieve that man has caused almost all of the rise in c02

      • Don Monfort

        OMG!

        “I’ll put it differently Even Ferdinand who isnt smart enough to understand that c02 drives temperature isnt dumb enough to disbelieve that man has caused almost all of the rise in c02”

        Steven is on a roll.

      • Steven Mosher:

        I’ll put it differently Even Ferdinand who isnt smart enough to understand that c02 drives temperature isnt dumb enough to disbelieve that man has caused almost all of the rise in c02

        I don’t think that’s actually Ferdinand’s belief though. I think tonyb didn’t accurately represent Ferdinand’s views on this, and that Ferdinand would more properly be characterized as a “lukewarmer”

        [Insert wise crack about Steven Mosher not vetting his sources.]

      • and Then There’s Physics: I don’t think that the natural variability is not considered. I think that it is considered, and that it is quite well understood.

        Natural variability was assumed to be negligible and dismissed before there had been much study of it. Now that it is being more thoroughly studied, it looks as though it had been dismissed too soon, and it might not be negligible.

      • “Natural variability was assumed to be negligible and dismissed before there had been much study of it”
        Where on earth do you get this stuff from. Please give some documentation.

        The silly thing is, GCMs have long proceeded on the basis that future CO2 was unpredictable within the model. That’s why they use scenarios, to cover a range. They have in mind the unpredictability of decisions on fuel use, but it certainly allows natural variability.

      • Nick Stokes: Where on earth do you get this stuff from. Please give some documentation.

        It is hard to document what isn’t there. If there are examples of where the natural fluxes of CO2 were extensively studied, I would appreciate links to them. They certainly would render the present post redundant, or at least inform the discussion a lot.

        I think my statement is correct: natural variability in the natural CO2 fluxes was considered to be negligible before there had been much study of them. I follow up most links that are supplied to me.

      • “It is hard to document what isn’t there.”
        No, you said (as did the lead post) “Natural variability was assumed to be negligible and dismissed”. Who made that assumption? Who dismissed? When and where?

      • Judith,

        Indeed Bart and I have a long standing (already years) dispute about the influence of temperature on the trend of CO2 in the atmosphere. According to Bart, all rise is caused by the small temperature rise of 0.6°C since 1960. According to me that is impossible: the long term increase based on ice cores, but also on Henry’s law (no matter if that is static or dynamic) is 4-17 ppmv/°C for a change in temperature from one steady state to the next. Thus the increase in temperature since 1960 is good for ~5 ppmv increase, that is all.
        The main problem with Bart’s approach is that he sees the variability and increase in CO2 rate of change as caused by the same process. That is proven wrong: the short term variability is the influence of temperature variations on (tropical forests), as can be seen in the opposite CO2 and δ13C changes. The long term increase is NOT the result of vegetation: that is a net, increasing sink over time, the earth is greening… Different, independent processes at work.
        Further, a fixed, continuous CO2 increase caused by a small sustained temperature offset from an arbitrary base is impossible without a negative feedback from the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere…

      • Don Monfort

        Amen, brother Ferdinand! End of story! Barty is stuffed! What was Judith thinking?

        Fin.

      • “Thus the increase in temperature since 1960 is good for ~5 ppmv increase, that is all.”

        In the modern era since at least 1958, atmospheric concentration and temperature are related by the differential equation

        dCO2/dt = k*(T – T0)

        It is an integral relationship, i.e., integrating both sides of the equation, we see that CO2 is proportional to the integral of re-baselined temperature anomaly. The sensitivity k is in ppmv/K/unit-of-time, so the impact accumulates over time. Thus, Ferdinand’s argument fails. Henry’s law, which applies to steady state systems, is not directly applicable here. Every second of every day. new CO2 is upwelling from various sources, especially the oceans, and every second, old CO2 is being taken out, particularly via oceanic downwelling. Any imbalance between those two rates causes a change in the quantity at the surface available for the atmosphere.

        No matter how many times Ferdinand insists on a static relationship, the data flatly contradict him.

      • Bart has no idea what the dynamics of the ocean-atmosphere CO2 exchanges are. His formula:
        dCO2/dt = k*(T-T0)
        completely ignores the feedback from the CO2 increase in the atmosphere. It is like adding a continuous fixed stream of water into a basin with an open drain and assuming that the level will go up unabated.

        The real formula for the reaction of the oceans on temperature increases is:
        dCO2/dt = k*(T-T0) – ΔpCO2
        where ΔpCO2 is the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere since t0.
        At the moment that dCO2/dt = 0:
        ΔpCO2 = k*(T-T0)
        Which is what Henry’s law says.

        The deep oceans release about 40 GtC as CO2 in the tropic upwelling zones which return to the deep oceans in the sink zones near the poles.
        With increasing temperatures, the ocean release increases and the sink capacity is reduced. That gives an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, but that is a transient response: dCO2/dt approaches zero when a new steady state is reached at ~8 ppmv/K increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. At that moment the original in and out fluxes are restored.

        The role of vegetation is an entire different story: It is the main response on temperature on seasonal and opposite on short term (1-3 years) CO2 rate of change variability. But on longer term, vegetation is a small net sink for CO2…

      • Nick Stokes: No, you said (as did the lead post) “Natural variability was assumed to be negligible and dismissed”. Who made that assumption? Who dismissed? When and where?

        It was assumed (implicitly, as we say) without the assumption being expressed explicitly. If you can find where someone wrote with an explicit claim that natural variability was not ignorable, in the consensus view, I would appreciate your citing it or linking it. The first attempts at explicitly addressing the natural variability were in critiques of the consensus, as far as I can tell. In the Cook-Lewandosky-Oreskes crowd, references to “natural variability” are treated as cognitive liabilities blinding some of us to the truth.

    • blueice2hotsea

      It is certainly possible, perhaps likely that the head post has mistakes and reaches an incorrect conclusion. So how best to resolve the question?

      There’s the physics of proper analysis and clarity.

      And then there’s the physics of pounding the table and telling everybody to shut up and go home.

      • There’s the physics of proper analysis and clarity.

        And then there’s the physics of pounding the table and telling everybody to shut up and go home.

        And then there’s the physics of doing some work yourself and discovering something that has been obvious to many for a very long time.

      • blueice2hotsea

        As an educator, I suppose Dr. Curry is less likely than others to simply tell the confused to shut up and go home.

        Why not have a little tolerance for diversity of style? Not everybody is cut out to be loud authoritarians.

      • Steven Mosher

        “As an educator, I suppose Dr. Curry is less likely than others to simply tell the confused to shut up and go home.”

        look if your graduate student came to you and proposed disproving the case that the rise in C02 was human caused, it would be academic malpractice to encourage them.

        Its not a matter of telling fred to shut up and go home. But someone of Judiths stature does have a moral responsibility to guide people away from nonsense or at least to tell them their odds of success will be vanishingly TINY.

        encouraging talented people to waste their time is abhorrent to me.

      • Don Monfort

        Steven, are you suggesting that this is like the O.J. case. All the evidence points to he done it, but it coulda been a Columbian drug dealer.

      • blueice2hotsea

        I agree that the memorization of the well trod paths is an invaluable time-saver. Perhaps you feel your time with BEST was a waste of your time but you have my gratitude.

        JC apparently feels this space has not been fully explored and remember all science students explore already well-covered territory anyway. Not to poke holes, but to experience the depth, breadth and beauty of science. Solving a problem from a variety of angles and getting the same answers improves confidence in the answer and improves problem solving in general.

      • Steven Mosher: look if your graduate student came to you and proposed disproving the case that the rise in C02 was human caused, it would be academic malpractice to encourage them.

        A thorough review of all the relevant literature, and a review of ways to simultaneously estimate human and natural sources, would be a good academic exercise. If it were followed by a strong case that a never-before-used statistical method would provide better estimates or use more of the available data, a method like co-integrated vector-autoregressive modeling for example, it might be even better; or if it proposed measuring something that had not yet been measured that would strengthen the estimate of one cause or another, that also would be worthy.

        If I recall correctly, you don’t have a college degree in science and have not written a thesis proposal or “capstone” project in science.

      • I’ve collected 100+ papers (recent) on this general topic that challenge aspects of the consensus on this topic, or describe unaccounted for feedbacks. I would love for someone to assess these, not sure when I will have the time. But there is a lot of research out there that IMO has not been appropriately integrated into our reasoning on this topic.

      • Steven Mosher: look if your graduate student came to you and proposed disproving the case that the rise in C02 was human caused, it would be academic malpractice to encourage them.

        Academic advice seldom ends with one interchange. A very good approach would be to encourage the student to prove that the rise in CO2 was human-caused; and then later encourage the student to prove that it was all human-caused; and then later, … . On present evidence, you can’t prove it either way without making unjustified assumptions; with unjustified assumptions, you can prove it either way you choose. Seeking out the minimal set of most reasonable assumptions to prove something or its opposite is respected academic work.

      • oops: first prove none was human caused; then prove all was human-caused.

      • Moshpit, “Encouraging talented people to waste their time is abhorrent to me”

        Well knowing you a little I believe you really feel that way. OTOH nobody appointed you god to determine waste of talent. If those of talent are really that smart don’t you think they could reason their way through those pitfalls. You ought to be able to make your case without being so dismissive and out right slandering the dude. I know you don’t have the people patience that Englebeen exhibited (although you directed me there T.Y.) but with your english background you should be able to express a rebuttal in short order without the belittling dismissiviness.

      • What about measuring C14 bomb pulse concentration in the more recent emissions vs fossil energy emissions which is C14 depleted from eons ago? Is that useful in sequestration of recent fossil emissions vs recently natural emissions from land or environmental sources?
        Scott

      • curryja:

        I’ve collected 100+ papers (recent) on this general topic that challenge aspects of the consensus on this topic, or describe unaccounted for feedbacks. I would love for someone to assess these, not sure when I will have the time. But there is a lot of research out there that IMO has not been appropriately integrated into our reasoning on this topic.

        I spent some time trying to understand the relative contributions to the rise in CO2 levels. I gave up because I could find few good resources on the subject, and a lot of material that might have been worth looking at was paywalled. I know people say you can go to a nearby university (assuming they’ll allow non-student access to their library), but that’s a significant burden.

        I think it’d definitely be interesting to see a systematic review of the work on the subject. I doubt a layman interested in the subject would ever find more than, “Humans cause it,” and I think that’s a shame. If global warming is as serious a threat as people say, it should be made easy for people to examine any aspect of it they’re interested in.

        For instance, I’ve long wondered just how much of the current CO2 levels are caused by methane emissions. When methane breaks down in the atmosphere, it converts into CO2 (and other things). I’ve never once seen a paper try to quantify the amount created that way.

        Not only is that sad, it causes an oddity when estimating the radiative forcing (RF) of various greenhouse gases. In things like the IPCC report, methane’s estimate RF is slightly increased to account for a couple secondary effects it has. One of those effects is the creation of CO2 molecules. That means the IPCC increases methane’s RF to account for the CO2 it creates, but it then includes that CO2 when looking at the RF of atmospheric CO2. I find that strange.

        Anyway, I don’t expect these sorts of issues to have significant effects on our understanding of global warming, but they should certainly be well-understood. They’re basic aspects of the global warming issue, and they’re relatively simple. If the answers for them aren’t clear, why would the answers for more complicated matters be clearer?

        But I still don’t see that this post improves our understanding of anything.

      • Steven Mosher

        In this comment I will prove that 2+2 = 5

        “It is certainly possible, perhaps likely that the head post has mistakes and reaches an incorrect conclusion. So how best to resolve the question?”

        1. First question your OBLIGATION to resolve the question. You don’t need to correct every bad piece of reasoning you come across.
        2. Stop reading, you have more important things to do.
        3. Tell the person to think harder.
        4. Point the person to literature
        5. Find their actual mistake.
        6. Give the correct explanation.

        which is best? best for who? best for what purpose?

        questions, I got bags of questions.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        Dr. Curry,

        http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/co2/lawdome.html

        “For these three parameters, each core displayed clear, well-preserved seasonal cycles allowing a dating accuracy of ±2 years at 1805 A.D. for the three cores and ±10 years at 1350 A.D. for DSS.”

        Does that not indicate that ice core data for the past 1000 years has decadal time resolution?

      • resolution gets worse the deeper (older) the core. Here are some stats quoted by noaa paleo program:

        Dating is a difficult task. Five different dating methods have been used for Vostok cores, with differences such as 300 years per meter at 100 m depth, 600yr/m at 200 m, 7000yr/m at 400 m, 5000yr/m at 800 m, 6000yr/m at 1600 m, and 5000yr/m at 1934 m.[24]

      • iiequalsexpipi

        sorry, I posted in the wrong location. :(

      • iiequalsexpipi

        Dr. Curry,

        Thank your reference. I take it that you took this from wikipedia (that’s where a google search of your reference got me).

        Reference #24 from the wikipedia article just sends me to the noaa page on ice cores, so I have difficulty tracking down the claim made by wikipedia. I tried searching for ‘Vostok ice core timescales’ (which is the text description of reference #24 provided by wikipeda) in the noaa search bar.

        The first result (after just a redirection to the page I was just on) is http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/reports/trieste2008/ice-cores.pdf. Under timescale uncertainty, I get “In the 200-year-long U.S. ITASE ice cores from West Antarctica, they showed that while the absolute accuracy of the dating was +/- 2 years, the relative accuracy among several cores was <+/- 0.5 year, due to identification of several volcanic marker horizons in each of the cores".

        So not only does it suggest that temporal uncertainty for recent years is low, but it can be greatly reduced by calibrating the data to known years of major volcanic activity. So the past 1000 years of data should at least have decadal temporal resolution, no? That pdf is from 2008, where as the reference 24 from the wikipedia article says it was retrieved in 2005, so might be out of date.

        The other thing to mention is that your reference refers specifically to data from Vostok ice cores, where as Law Dome or Dome C data may have much better temporal resolution. Also, just because five different methods have given large discrepancies in dating, doesn't mean that the temporal resolution is small (perhaps one of the dating methods used was very poor).

      • I agree that Law Dome or Dome C, with more snowfall, appear to have better temporal resolution, but this is still disputed. I think the biggest issue is the discrepancy between ice core and stomatal estimates of CO2 variations, this remains unresolved.

      • I think the biggest issue is the discrepancy between ice core and stomatal estimates of CO2 variations, this remains unresolved.

        Hasn’t Salby proposed a solution? Based on diffusional “flattening” of short-term variation in ice?

        Has that solution been actually written up in rigorous fashion anywhere? Available online?

      • Here is a pretty good article on ice core uncertainties, from eric stein (who supports the consensus). ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/ice-cores.pdf
        There are others who would say uncertainties are even larger

        See also http://robertkernodle.hubpages.com/hub/ICE-Core-CO2-Records-Ancient-Atmospheres-Or-Geophysical-Artifacts

      • Of course, to be fair, it seems to me that the assumption that stomatal behavior in a “species” is identical over thousands of years is pretty much unwarranted (IMO). Short term genetic changes, either “drift” or adaptive to some unknown factor, could easily have caused the differences. But the assumption that they actually did would be equally unwarranted. IMO.

      • I’ve read some papers that suggest CO2 is somewhat mobile in ice. Given it has thousands of year to move around, there certainly could be a smoothing of the CO2 signal.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        Dr. Curry,

        Fair enough. Although perhaps that just means that the stomatal estimates are unreliable, where as the ice core estimates are relatively reliable.

      • I suspect that there are problems with both

      • Prof. Curry…

        Thanks for those references. Especially the second, and the references therein.

        I see several potential problems with the use of ice cores in “proving” the role of fossil fuels in the current rise in pCO2:

        The time-scale for diffusional “smoothing” needs to be better quantified. The current observations show a sub-century-scale rise, potentially by a factor of 2 or more (which is potentially anthropogenic). How certain can we be that similar “noise” didn’t occur over the last few thousand years?

        •     If the compaction process takes 1-2 centuries, variations on the order of the current one could well have been hidden, or at least reduced to tiny “wiggles”. OTOH, if it takes 1-2 decades, that increases the post facto probability that the current one is anthropogenic. What is the current estimate? What are the stated uncertainties? How realistic are the latter?

        •     There is considerable evidence of processes that could continue to “smooth” sub-century scale variation. What is the currently estimated magnitude of these processes? What is the stated uncertainty, both overall and between different cores? How realistic are the latter?

        Reading the second reference, I perceive a pattern of a solidifying “paradigm” (sensu Kuhn, roughly). This means that many of the studies more or less assume the absence of substantial decadal or century-scale variation, then evaluate their current results as to whether they are in conflict with the paradigm, rather than how well they support it in the absence of “priors”.

        This could well be an artifact of my own bias (as a “Kuhnian” revolutionary). But paradigms introduce strong circularities, and given the role of the IPCC in producing an artificial paradigm in “climate science”, I wonder if such paradigms are justified in the use of ice cores in demonstrating some supposed absence of sub-century-scale variations in the past.

        IMO this is a subject that deserves a whole lot of study, and funding for such. Given the current uncertainties in the role of CO2, and GHG’s in general, in determining “climate”, any “paradigmatic” certainty that CO2 hasn’t undergone similar variation in the past should be continually reexamined.

        In fact, thinking about it, I realize that this particular issue highlights the one essential difference between “Science for the sake of curiosity” (sensu Kuhn) and “Science for the sake of policy advice”: paradigms require a great deal more frequent and strong re-validation in the latter, because huge policy mistakes could be made based on obsolete paradigms while waiting for the standard “Kuhnian” process to replace them.

      • good point. In previous comment, mosher said we are wasting time revisiting this. I disagree, if there is something wrong with the IPCC argument, it has huge policy implications.

      • I would also question whether CO2 bubbles are in equalibrium with ice and whether it may “‘disolve” in ice in different rates/amounts than other gases in bubbles.

      • WRT diffusion of CO2 and other markers in ice, there are no mechanisms proposed that would enhance a signal. The odds are that the signal is damped. There’s your prior.

      • The odds are that the signal is damped. There’s your prior.

        That’s not a “prior”. It’s just a boundary condition.

        The current (paradigmatic) “prior” is that any damping that exists is trivial. The question is how robust conclusions based on the actual data are to different “priors”. Given the unknowns, even just the “known unknowns”, I would intuitively guess very unrobust.

        It certainly deserves a major looking-into. IMO.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        @ AK –

        “IMO this is a subject that deserves a whole lot of study, and funding for such.”

        I agree with this. In general, it would be nice to see more funding for better reconstructions of the Holocene; because if we can understand climate change over the Holocene, and how temperature and CO2 responded to changes in solar irradiance, then this gives better insight into how much of recent warming is due to the sun and what the temperature-CO2 feedback is. Not to mention what the long run climate response is.

      • Jim2,

        Ice is pretty solid at low pressure, but become more plastic and melts when under pressure.

        (revised from an early comment down thread)

        Also, I would think that being less dense, it would it would have more space to disolve gases. Of course, being that the water dipoles are bonded to eachother, there would be less availible to bond with CO2 molecules, but as it is pressurized, bonds would break and become availible.

        I would guess that at low pressure and being rigid on the way down, little CO2 ends up in the ice when snow is formed and falls.

      • Steven Mosher: In this comment I will prove that 2+2 = 5

        That’s been done many times, usually to illustrate the importance of unstated assumptions.

      • AK – the knowledge that there are no factors that can improve the signals from ice cores but several potential factors that would damp the signal CAN be used as a prior. Or do you object to the warmista’s liberal uses of Bayesian statistics as well?

        From the article:

        In Bayesian statistical inference, a prior probability distribution, often called simply the prior, of an uncertain quantity is the probability distribution p that would express one’s beliefs about this quantity before some evidence is taken into account.

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

      • From:

        aaron | May 8, 2015 at 11:47 am |
        Jim2,

        Ice is pretty solid at low pressure, but become more plastic and melts when under pressure.

        (revised from an early comment down thread)

        Also, I would think that being less dense, it would it would have more space to disolve gases. Of course, being that the water dipoles are bonded to eachother, there would be less availible to bond with CO2 molecules, but as it is pressurized, bonds would break and become availible.

        Water bonds via hydrogen bonds, i.e. protons. Protons are highly mobile, even in ice.

      • Judith,

        About ice cores, there is a good overview of the Law Dome record and its gas age distribution at:
        http://courses.washington.edu/proxies/GHG.pdf

        Ice core CO2 is accurate to +/- 1.2 ppmv (1 sigma) for repeated samples of the same part of an ice core up to +/- 5 ppmv for different ice cores with extreme differences in snow accumulation and temperature.
        The resolution of ice cores is less than a decade over the past 150 years (2 drillings at Law Dome), via 20 year over the past 1,000 years (Law Dome, downslope) to 560 years for the past 800,000 years (Dome C).

        There is no measurable migration in the extreme cold inland ice cores, but there may be some theoretical migration in relative “warm” coastal cores. That gives a broadening of the resolution e.g. in the Siple Dome ice core from 20 to 22 years at medium depth and from 20 to 40 years at full depth (~70,000 years back in time).

        Ice core CO2 are direct, be it smoothed measurements of ancient CO2 levels. Their main drawback is that the resolution worsens with the lower snow accumulation rate, but that allows to go further back in time. Another problem is to find out the exact timing between the age of the ice and the average age of the enclosed air.

        Stomata data are proxies which have all the problems inherent on proxies: they grow locally on land, where there is a variable bias against “background” CO2 levels. That can be compensated by calibrating the stomata (index) data against direct measurements and ice cores over the past century. The main problem is that there is no guarantee that the local bias didn’t change over the centuries due to huge changes in land use, locally and in the main wind direction, over the centuries…

        Thus if the stomata data give a different average CO2 level over the period of resolution of any ice core, the stomata data are certainly wrong…

        BTW, your first reference mentioned Jaworowski, not the most reliable person about CO2 in ice cores:
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/jaworowski.html

    • ATTP:

      Sure – some of the rise is anthropogenic. But how much?

      All of it or just 1/2?

      If humans vanished off the planet as of the mid-1800’s, warming would still have occured naturally (rebound from LIA).

      Warming releases CO2 (some from permafrost, some from the ground under melting glaciers, some from increased wildfires, some from ocean warming) – so it would be a mistake to assume that all of the CO2 increases since the mid-1800’s are human caused.

      All Fred is trying to do is estimate how much of the increase is natural and how much is human.

      I am glad he has posted his analysis.

      • Richard,
        The relationship between temperature and CO2 is something like 10-20ppm per degree C. If we had not emitted 550GtC, the temperatures would maybe have risen a few tenths of a degree since the mid-1700s and CO2 would probably have risen by less than 10ppm. We’ve had 120ppm since the start of the industrial age.

        Warming releases CO2 (some from permafrost, some from the ground under melting glaciers, some from increased wildfires, some from ocean warming) – so it would be a mistake to assume that all of the CO2 increases since the mid-1800’s are human caused.

        There is a sublety here. The balance between the different sinks (atmosphere/ocean/biosphere) does depend on temperature. However, since the natural sinks have absorbed more than they’ve emitted, essentially means that the rise is all anthropogenic.

        Now, if we could have had a 1C degree rise in temperature without a rise in atmospheric CO2, then we’d expect atmospheric CO2 to rise by 10-20ppm due to the relationship between CO2 and T. However, this isn’t what happened.

      • The balance between the different sinks (atmosphere/ocean/biosphere) does depend on temperature.

        And on the level of CO2 in the atmosphere.

        The greater the concentration, the greater the sinks?
        That’s what the ‘uptake’ chart indicates.

        CO2 solubility does depend on temperature:

        But the poles have temperatures that are well below 0C, so the area exposed to cold water probably doesn’t change much so the uptake is determined more by the amount of CO2 to be absorbed than the small slow temperature change.

        Further complication is the practicality of below freezing temperatures which create sea ice, effectively dropping the uptake to zero for these regions.

      • ATTP said “However, since the natural sinks have absorbed more than they’ve emitted, essentially means that the rise is all anthropogenic.”

        Why do you assume all sinks are natural.

        Isn’t it possible the increase in sinks is partially antropogenic?

        We sure have planted a lot of trees in the United States in the last 70 years – maybe some of the increase in sinks is human caused? We are greener today than we were in 1978 (based on satellite data).

        I feel confident that while we have increased emissions, we have also increased sinks as well.

        Are we not growing more crops today than 50 years ago?

        I think it is more complicated than you are assuming – which is why it is good to try to determine how much of the net increase in CO2 in the atmosphere is human caused and how much is natural.

        You also said “Now, if we could have had a 1C degree rise in temperature without a rise in atmospheric CO2, then we’d expect atmospheric CO2 to rise by 10-20ppm due to the relationship between CO2 and T.”

        However, it is not possible to have a 1C degree rise in temperature without a rise in atmospheric CO2 – so it still comes down to determining how much of the warming is human caused and how much of the net CO2 increase is human caused.

        We know we are responsible for some – but what fraction?

        I think 100% will turn out to be the wrong answer.

        It couldn’t hurt to do some projections in which we assume humans are causing 50% of the warming and 50% is natural variability, and see what that does to the projections.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        @ATTP –

        “The relationship between temperature and CO2 is something like 10-20ppm per degree C.”

        The change in atmospheric CO2 between the LGM and the Holocene is roughly 100 ppm. The change in temperature between the LGM and the Holocene is 4.0 +/- 0.8 C (95% CI according to Annan and Hargreaves 2013). This suggests that the temperature-CO2 feedback is 20-30 ppm per degree C. Although the temperature CO2 feedback may have been higher during the ice age than today. What evidence do you have that suggests that the temperature CO2 feedback is 10-20 ppm per degree C rather than 20-30 ppm per degree C?

      • What evidence do you have that suggests that the temperature CO2 feedback is 10-20 ppm per degree C rather than 20-30 ppm per degree C?

        Make it 20-30 then. It doesn’t really matter. It’s still going to be small. The numbers that I’ve seen before are around 18ppm per degree, but I’m certainly not going to waste a great deal of time arguing over a difference of 30% or so!

      • Make it 20-30 then. It doesn’t really matter. It’s still going to be small. The numbers that I’ve seen before are around 18ppm per degree, but I’m certainly not going to waste a great deal of time arguing over a difference of 30% or so!

        Do you have any basis for this?

        Acknowledging that there are uncertainties with the budget,
        the evidence appears to be just the contrary – uptake has quintupled as temperatures have risen.

        Comparisons with the glacials probably are not valid because so much else was different – biology and the increase in windiness if nothing else.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        @ Turbulent Eddie –

        “Do you have any basis for this?”

        I just gave you a basis. Pleistocene Ice core data + Annan & Hargreaves 2013. You can also get similar numbers by taking the amount of water on earth, apply the temperature dependence of Henry’s constant for CO2 in water, and add the effect of thawing permafrost.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        The point is, the temperature-CO2 feedback is less than 30 ppm/C. If it were otherwise, there would be much larger swings in atmospheric CO2 concentrations for ice core data.

      • ice core data does not resolve CO2 at decadal to century time scales

      • I just gave you a basis. Pleistocene Ice core data + Annan & Hargreaves 2013. You can also get similar numbers by taking the amount of water on earth, apply the temperature dependence of Henry’s constant for CO2 in water, and add the effect of thawing permafrost.

        Evidently that relationship doesn’t work very well:

        Not to mention the post-industrial record.

      • iiequalsexpipi

        Dr. Curry, could you please provide me with some information that demonstrates that ice core does not resolve CO2 at century or decadal timescales? I’m aware that ice-core data temporal uncertainty increases with depth, so maybe ice core data from 20,000 years ago doesn’t have this temporal resolution. But I was under the impression that the Law Dome data for the past 2000 years has sufficient temporal resolution such that if the temperature-CO2 feedback was much higher then there would have been a larger change in atmospheric CO2 in response to the medieval warm period and little ice age.

        @ Turbulent Eddie – Your diagram isn’t taking into account polar amplification, which is why I referred to Annan and Hargreaves 2013.

      • ” since the natural sinks have absorbed more than they’ve emitted, essentially means that the rise is all anthropogenic.”

        I hate to have to bring up soils again…per year, 60Gt in, .2Gt out.

      • I hate to have to bring up soils again…per year, 60Gt in, .2Gt out.

        And I tire of pointing this out again. If the soils were a net source of 60Gt/C per year, the biosphere would be dying at the rate of 60Gt/C per year. The total biosphere mass is around 2000 GtC. Let’s see, all gone in about 30 years. Seriously, the biosphere overall takes in 120GtC and emits 120GtC. It is not a source! Look up the carbon cycle. The diagrams are very easy to understand. As Willard would say “scratch your own itch”.

      • > As Willard would say “scratch your own itch”.

        I would sing it if I could. I sometimes shout it. I always stand on the shoulders of giants, since the expression dates back to the Ancient Geeks:

        Scratching your own itch

        The Open Source world embraced this mantra a long time ago — they call it “scratching your own itch.” For the open source developers, it means they get the tools they want, delivered the way they want them. But the benefit goes much deeper.

        https://gettingreal.37signals.com/ch02_Whats_Your_Problem.php

        A more ancient text:

        Raymond points to 19 “lessons” learned from various software development efforts, each describing attributes associated with good practice in open source software development:

        Every good work of software starts by scratching a developer’s personal itch.

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

      • I would think that CO2 solubility would depend on both the temperature of the gas and the water.

        Also, I would think that being less dense, it would also disolve in ice, though more slowly. Of course, being that the water di-poles are bonded to eachother, there would be less availible to bond with CO2 molecules, but as it is pressurized, bonds would break and become availible.

    • Steven Mosher

      ATTP.

      perhaps Judith is trying to innoculate people to science denial by exposing them to weak versions.

      There is no blog post that can serious challenge the conclusion that the rise in c02 is of human origin, so I can’t fathom any other reasn for posting this crap other than to innoculate people.

      No serious scientist, no working scientist would waste their time re litigating this issue. I can only conclude it is posted to embarass skeptics or to get them to waste their time. Instead of focusing on the GOOD ARGUMENTS this is an invitation to waste time.

      Next they will want NSF money to re study the problem. Waste of time and money

      • Steve:

        119 meters of the 120 meter sea level rise since the last ice age is natural.

        I wonder how much of the CO2 rise can be attributed to warming which raised the sea level 119/120ths or 99.17%.

        Perhaps the answer is 0 – but I doubt it.

        Some of the rise in CO2 is natural and some would have happened even in the absence of humans.

        To say “the rise”, which I read as everything over 280 ppm, is most likely completely wrong.

        Maybe I could get a grant to study that?

      • Sorry – I meant to say “Some of the rise in CO2 is anthropogenic . . .”

      • 121 meters of the 120 meter sea level rise since the last ice age is natural

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        Steve ” skeptical science” Cook!

    • and Then There’s Physics: If there is one thing related to climate science about which we have virtual certainty, it is that the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic.

      You probably have no grounds for your certainty. fhhaynie has shown that the IPCC conclusions are based on propositions that can’t be independently tested. after fhhaynie’s development, perhaps someone can present a development that shows via unambiguous evidence that the IPCC assumptions are more accurate than fhhaynie’s assumptions, and thus produce more credible estimates than either his or the IPCC’s..

    • He’s not saying it isn’t anthroprogenic, it looks about 50/50. Don’t think it’s quite right, but I won’t rule it out. The more I think about it, a good bit seems plausible.

    • Bad Andrew, here is a link that explains what ATTP is talking about:

      http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/how-do-we-know-that-recent-cosub2sub-increases-are-due-to-human-activities-updated/

      Although I, like you, would certainly appreciate some links from ATTP as he may not know many of us here are not scientists and probably never even thought of this subject nonetheless doing any homework with regards to it.

      • “One way that we know that human activities are responsible for the increased CO2 is simply by looking at historical records of human activities.”

        This claim from RC can’t possibly be true. Mosher says historical records are unreliable.

        Andrew

      • ordvic,
        Thanks for the link.

        Although I, like you, would certainly appreciate some links from ATTP as he may not know many of us here are not scientists and probably never even thought of this subject nonetheless doing any homework with regards to it.

        Apologies for not providing more information. The issue is that I have spent a good deal of my time discussing this topic elsewhere, almost always without any success whatsoever. Hence, I’ve rather given up trying to explain our certainty about this topic. It’s also not that hard to find good explanations. This post by Tom Curtis is also good. This Bishop Hill Discussion Thread includes some comments from Gavin Cawley that are worth reading.

      • RC claim #2 isotopes – “One of the methods used is to measure the 13C/12C in tree rings, and use this to infer those same ratios in atmospheric CO2.”

        How reliable is this inference?

        Andrew

      • ATTP,
        Thanks for the links! They are very helpful for my understanding, greatly appreciated!

      • Bad Andrew, the historical record pertinent here only goes back to 1880 and since Mosher believes in his BEST (pun intended) then RC and Mosher would be in agreement there don’t you think?

      • “RC and Mosher would be in agreement there don’t you think?”

        Mosher has explicitly stated that historical records are not reliable.

        I don’t know what else to tell ya.

        If you are waiting for him to explain that some historical records are reliable and some are not, you may be waiting awhile.

        Andrew

      • Steven Mosher

        yes, all historical records are unreliable. Since we have to rely on them, we estimate HOW unreliable they are.
        modern measurements are unreliable too.
        you skeptics are not skeptical enough

      • I see Mosher didn’t get rid of the broad brush. Too bad.

      • Steven Mosher,

        If records are unreliable, just ignore them.

        Start afresh. What’s the point of changing an unreliable record to something more to your liking?

        The past is gone. Trying to rewrite it seems pointless, at least to me.

        Either the GHE exists or it doesn’t. If it does, it can be measured. There even seems some difference of opinion as to whether the Earth has warmed over the past 18 years or so.

        It appears that even the most up to date records are subject to interpretation and dispute.

        Can you provide anything useful, in relation to the prediction of future weather (and hence climate)? Or will Nature proceed on her merry way, laughing as she goes?

      • It is what it is.

        The rainforest destruction has added about 180 GT of carbon and destroyed about 40 GT/Y of sinking. The destruction during the late 20th century was about 2 GT/Y emissions and 0.5 GT/Y/Y sink loss..

        The manmade emissions are about 9.8 GT.

        So on paper at the current rising CO2 level is 1/5 due to emissions and 4/5 due to carbon sink destruction.

      • Steven Mosher

        “If records are unreliable, just ignore them.

        Start afresh. What’s the point of changing an unreliable record to something more to your liking?

        The past is gone. Trying to rewrite it seems pointless, at least to me.”

        The past is ALWAYS gone. even when you start afresh the past is gone.
        you dont get it. all records are past. all are unreliable. However if you want to predict you have to rely on the unreliable and characterize how unreliable they are. There is no starting “afresh” because, time, she marches on.

        you are not skeptical enough. be skeptical of the notion that you can ignore the past and that you can start afresh and be reliable. You can be more reliable, less worse, but never certain

      • Steven Mosher,

        Unfortunately, you can’t predict the future. From past records, from crystal balls, from anything. You can make assumptions, if you like.

        Governments require fund managers, at least in my country, to include the words “past performance is no guarantee of future performance” in their advertising. This nonsensical Warmist idea that the past predicts the future is denied by governments around the world, to protect a gullible population from fast talking snake oil salesmen.

        Here’s an opportunity for you. Show that you can predict the future better than I. If you can’t, you’re obviously wasting your time fiddling about trying to rewrite history. You don’t get it – the future is unknowable.

      • > [Y]ou can’t predict the future.

        I predict Mike Flynn will repeat that we can’t predict the future in a not too distant future.

      • willard,

        Maybe you are confusing assumption with prediction. A twelve year old child can predict the Sun will rise, or that Winter will be colder than Summer.

        I prefer useful predictions. Predictions that are better than those which can be made by a twelve year old child, merely by extrapolating the past into the future.

        I predict you can’t come up with a useful prediction. Think about it, and give it a try if you like. Any fool can predict, and many do.

    • …and Then There’s Physics says: “…there is one thing related to climate science about which we have virtual certainty, it is that the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the mid-1800s is anthropogenic….”

      You are quite wrong. You are just parroting IPCC propaganda. Since you think you embody physics, do you understand the physics of greenhouse warming? Let me draw you a picture. First, we do know very well what the atmospheric carbon dioxide is doing from the Keeling curve and its extensions. Its ups and downs are related to the growth and shedding of leaves in the northern hemisphere and are distinctly visible on the curve. If there should be another comparable change of atmospheric carbon dioxide that caused warming it should likewise be visible on the Keeling curve. It so happens that there is just such warming episode that lasted 25 years.It started suddenly in 1915, kept on going until 1940, and then stopped. This segment of the global temperature curve is often shown as part of greenhouse warming caused by carbon dioxide. James Hansen started this when he made it part of a hundred year warming he presented to the Senate as proof of the existence of the greenhouse effect. If that warming really is greenhouse warming its beginning should coincide with an increase of carbon dioxide visible on the Keeling curve. But this did not happen, proving that it is not greenhouse warming and not anthropogenic. This fact is further reinforced by the sudden stoppage of warming in 1940. In order to actually stop greenhouse warming you would have had to remove every molecule of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, an entirely impossible task. This means that we are dealing with a twenty five year stretch of global warming that is quite impossible to assign to greenhouse warming by carbon dioxide. This of course is not the only instance where greenhouse warming is falsely claimed. Much closer to our time is the existence of the hiatus/pause or cessation of global warming for the last 18 years. That means we have been greenhouse free for 18 years. And by the way, have you noticed that IPCC now tells us to start looking for human-caused global warming after the year 1950? It is pretty obvious that they know they cannot include that early century warming as source of their imaginary greenhouse effect. One excuse they gave for starting to look for human influence only after 1950 is that earlier records are hard to see because of noise. That of course is nonsense because the warming from 1915 to 1940 is hard to miss on any global temperature curve. It also means that now they have no proof that warming started with the beginning of the industrial age. I urge you to contemplate these facts before you say one more thing about global warming. It certainly isn’t anthropogenic, it is rather irregular, and it certainly does not parallel the Keeling curve.

      • 1910 to 1940 spans a period from a quiet sun through one of its more active phases. 1910 was a cold anomaly, while 1940 was one of the warmest peaks for hundreds of years to that date, so it went from a relative minimum to a maximum. Since 1940 it continued to warm, however. Two thirds of the CO2 warming effect has occurred since 1950, and that has something to do with it.

      • Arno, ATTP was saying that the increase in CO2 was certainly caused by humans, in which I agree. That says next to nothing about the influence of the increase of CO2 on temperature, that is an entire different discussion.

        The global average seasonal variation is ~5 ppmv for a global temperature change of ~1 K. The total CO2 increase is 110 ppmv while the temperature increase was only 0.8 K since the LIA.
        Thus I agree with you that the influence of the extra CO2 on the temperature increase is minimal…

  17. That should be accumulation of CO2 rather than SO2.

  18. blueice2hotsea

    “Anthropogenic emissions are not temperature dependent.

    This statement is very strong as ACO2 and T are interdependent.

    e.g. Increased temperature has resulted in a longer growing season in the Canadian heartland which enabled a massive increase in fossil fueled agriculture that helps to feed a global population explosion which in turn emits more CO2.

    Would prefer something like: The interdependence of ACO2 and T is assumed to have insignificant influence on the results.

  19. Interesting, but fraught with the same second derivative issues as Salby. I recently took a shot at integrating d13C values into the consensus fluxes and reservoir sizes of the Carbon cycle and got the interesting result that there is way too much light C input to the atmosphere to get the observed -.02 PDB per year trend measured since 1978 and in ice cores before that.

    My model produced over -3 PDB the first year!

    Either we are grossly overestimating light C inputs or we are grossly underestimating heavy C inputs. Assuming our light inputs are roughly correct, the only known source of heavy C that could balance the books is the ocean mixed layer at +2 PDB. According to the model it takes 262 GtC, about five times consensus, from the mixed layer to get the atmosphere down to -.02 per year. This effectively doubles the overall yearly volume of the Carbon cycle.

    Next project will be to evaluate the mixed layer inputs. Strongly suspect there will be serious balance problems here as well that may require submarine volcanic heavy C input.

    • The wordpress image lice have been chewing overtime. Apologies.

    • blueice2hotsea

      Interesting, but fraught with the same second derivative issues as Salby.

      Are sure about this? e.g. CO2 = mt + b contains a “1st derivative” of a sort (slope m), yet the function CO2(t) is obviously not dCO2/dt.

      Similarly a regression equation fit to CO2 rate of change as a function of time will only contain the 2nd derivative, but nevertheless will still be a 1st derivative function – dCO2/dt, no?

      • In case you don’t know the issue, it is basically this. If you consider something like dCO2/dt over a moderately short time interval – a decade, or maybe two – then the anthropogenic contribution is largely constant (1 – 2 ppm/yr) and all the variability is natural. What Salby did was to correlate this with temperature and showed that there was a correlation. Well, yes, that’s clear because the variability is driven by temperature variability. However, this cannot tell you anything about what is driving the long-term rise, which is the anthropogenic contribution.

      • blueice2hotsea

        ATTP. Salby’s possible conflation of a 2nd order effect with 1st order has made me uneasy the times I have tried to follow him.

        Still, is that necessarily the same as a 2nd derivative issue? That was my question to gymnosperm.

      • No, not really sure about that and still very much mulling the second derivative objection. Thinking after I wrote that much delta anomaly/dt stuff we do all the time wears the same shoe.

    • gymnosperm,

      The human input from burning fossil fuels is quite fast spread over the seasonal exchanges with the oceans surface and vegetation, but that is not the main difference, as much of the low 13C returns in another season.
      The main problem is in the deep ocean exchanges: what goes into the deep oceans is the isotopic composition of today, what comes out is the composition of ~1000 years ago. Both including some isotopic shift at the air-water border.
      That makes that the light-carbon fossil fuel “fingerprint” is diluted by the heavy-carbon CO2 from the deep oceans (around zero per mil). The dilution can be calculated: about 1/3rd of the original fossil CO2 remains in the atmosphere, the rest is in other reservoirs. That also allows us to estimate the deep oceans – atmosphere exchanges: about 40 GtC/year in and out:

      The discrepancy in the early years is probably from vegetation, which was thought to have been a small source before 1990…

      • Ferdinand, the deep ocean is 0 to .5 PDB depending who you talk to. Thanks for the graph and I agree that is a clever way to get the flow rate between the deep ocean and the atmosphere. I have used your rate in my model. But I don’t understand the Y axis units which seem reversed in sign. Deep ocean input to the atmosphere adds heavy C as it is 0 to + .5 PDB going into a reservoir at -8 and should trend it less negative.

        The bigger problem is that the atmosphere at -8 and the ocean mixed layer at +2 are completely unstable at those values in the face of the enormous inputs of light C. My first approach was to dump lots more (262 Gt) +2 from the mixed layer to the atmosphere, but that is pretty ridiculous and just shifts the problem to the mixed layer already wildly enriched in heavy C relative to its inputs.

        The problem cannot be solved by flow chart alone and must incorporate the active fractionation going on. The atmosphere can be resolved by adjusting the effective vegetation input from -26 to -10 using the relationship of the observed stable values (-26veg less -8atm=delta 16). This brings the atmosphere/mixed layer exchange back to the accepted 50Gt range and allows us to argue that active fractionation by vegetation to the atmosphere is +16 PDB.

        On to the mixed layer…

  20. to and then there is physics,
    So in your mind the debate is over and the IPPC is correct?

    • What is certain is that CO2 is increasing, and that humans are emitting CO2. The logical reasoning linking these two certainties into a claim that humans are the cause of all of the postindustrial increase in CO2 is what is being discussed. IMO the IPCC sanctioned analysis is over simplistic, and this is a topic worth discussing.

      We don’t understand the spatiotemporal variations in CO2 sources and sinks, which to me implies that we don’t truly understand these processes in a quantitative way. Which is why NASA put up the new Carbon Observatory satellite.

      • Don Monfort

        Judith: “We don’t understand the spatiotemporal variations in CO2 sources and sinks, which to me implies that we don’t truly understand these processes in a quantitative way.”

        We got not idea about the possible contribution of natural sources to the increase of CO2 from 280 to 400ppm? Why didn’t we talk about this before?

      • curryja: What is certain is that CO2 is increasing, and that humans are emitting CO2. The logical reasoning linking these two certainties into a claim that humans are the cause of all of the postindustrial increase in CO2 is what is being discussed. IMO the IPCC sanctioned analysis is over simplistic, and this is a topic worth discussing.

        I agree with you.

        It seems that a lot of people do not recognize that the IPCC has made assumptions (for subsequent derivations) that do not have a lot of empirical support.

      • What is certain is that CO2 is increasing, and that humans are emitting CO2. The logical reasoning linking these two certainties into a claim that humans are the cause of all of the postindustrial increase in CO2 is what is being discussed.

        I’m sorry but I agree with Mosher and ATTP that this article was not up to the standards I have come to expect at this blog.

        To my mind, the changing isotopic ratio is pretty much a smoking gun for anthropogenic emission, absent some large increase in volcanic activity (which there has not been).

        A pretty simple case of Occam’s razor: the simplest explanation works very well.

        We should apply the same standard to evidence no matter where it leads; for the case of CO2, the burden of proof is most definitely on those who claim it is not anthropogenic.

      • fizzymagic | May 8, 2015 at 6:20 pm |

        “What is certain is that CO2 is increasing, and that humans are emitting CO2. To my mind, the changing isotopic ratio is pretty much a smoking gun for anthropogenic emission, absent some large increase in volcanic activity (which there has not been)”.
        Argument on volcanic CO2 production with most volcanoes under sea and not reliably measured is not correct, you should know that and acknowledge that a large increase might be possible [though unlikely].
        The changing isotope ratio is not even a smoking gun due to inherent difficulties in isotope measurement for if it was widely acknowledged as being indisputable it would be an active gun.
        It is not, with more data and reliability it might be.
        Isotope changes are fraught with difficulty.

    • So in your mind the debate is over and the IPPC is correct?

      About the long-term rise in atmospheric CO2? Pretty much. The lines of evidence that support it being anthropogenic are extensive and convincing. The short-term variability is almost certainly mostly natural, but this variability does not contribute to the long-term rise. Understanding this variability is certainly an important part of understanding the behaviour of the carbon sinks, but I don’t think anyone working on this disputes that the long-term rise is anthropogenic.

      • The argument that all atmospheric increase is human can be summarized by this formula by Ferdinand Engelbeen:
        4.5 GtC/year = 9 GtC/year + X – Y
        X – Y = – 4.5 GtC/year
        Where 4.5 is the observed increase, 9 is the human input, X is natural sources and Y is natural sinks.
        The Al gibar is airtight, except that the human source is defined as the variable. If we take another 60GtC substantially one way input, soil microbial respiration, and define it as the variable, the equation then proves that IT is the source of atmospheric increase.

        Humans and microbes are on the same team.

      • ATTP

        Phil Jones and The Met Office have admitted in recent years that natural variability was greater than they had hitherto realised when promoting the virtually stable climate promoted in the Hockey Stick;

        This from a 2005 paper by Jones and Briffa about the very warm pre AGW period noted in old records and especially CET;

        ” The year 1740 is all the more remarkable given the anomalous warmth of the 1730s. This decade was the warmest in three of the long temperature series (CET, De Bilt and Uppsala) until the 1990s occurred. The mildness of the decade is confirmed by the early ice break-up dates for Lake Malaren and Tallinn Harbour. The rapid warming in the CET record from the 1690s to the 1730s and then the extreme cold year of 1740 are examples of the magnitude of natural changes which can potentially be recorded in long series. Consideration of variability in these records from the early 19th century, therefore, may underestimate the range that is possible.”

        Phil Jones has written several good books on historic climate and is somewhat more sceptical than some might think. In recent years the Met Office has also moved away from their notion of a steady climate until mans influence from 1900, to one in which natural variability is somewhat more centre stage. The biggest Hockey Stick in the CET series from 1659 (and there are several) is the period noted in the article and not the modern period.

        It is an interesting paper – ‘UNUSUAL CLIMATE IN NORTHWEST EUROPE DURING THE PERIOD 1730 TO 1745 BASED ON INSTRUMENTAL AND DOCUMENTARY DATA’. Jones and Biffa. Revised version published 2006.

        http://rd.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-006-9078-6

        They do indeed note that CET (and other sources) indicate a series of mild years in the 1730s, with the period 1729–1738 only 0.3C below the average for the last ten years before publication. But then came 1740, when temps plummeted 2.4C to give the coldest year in the entire series, famine in Ireland, and featuring the coldest May and October in the record. Somebody bent the hockey stick back on itself.

        tonyb

      • If we take another 60GtC substantially one way input, soil microbial respiration, and define it as the variable, the equation then proves that IT is the source of atmospheric increase.

        What? It’s not a one-way input.

      • Tony,
        We’re discussing atmospheric CO2, not temperatures!

      • ATTP

        I meant to plant it next to a comment by Judith above. However, are you now (sensationally) saying that atmospheric Co2 has nothing to do with temperatures? :)

        tonyb

      • I meant to plant it next to a comment by Judith above. However, are you now (sensationally) saying that atmospheric Co2 has nothing to do with temperatures? :)

        No, obviously not. Still not clear what relevance your earlier comment had, though. The variability in temperature is not driven by variability in CO2. Climate scientists don’t think that it is all CO2, despite what some might claim.

      • Hey climatereason, this is off-topic, but a couple days ago I saw something I thought you’d be interested in. I don’t want to start an off-topic discussion here, so would it be alright if I e-mailed you about it?

        If you don’t want to post your address publicly, mine is just my first and last name, separated by a period, at gmail.com.

      • Co2 has nothing to do with temperatures?

        Doesn’t appear so, or at least not significantly on the basis of global average temperature.

        Uptake has increased as global average temperature has increased for the last seven century.

        Likely the bottom water formation takes whatever CO2 is available.
        The more CO2 to take up, the more is taken up.

      • Brandon

        email me at tonyATclimateREASONDOTcom

        tonyb

      • “What? It’s not a one-way input.”

        It is a one way input to the atmosphere less a fraction of a GT from weathering.

      • It is a one way input to the atmosphere less a fraction of a GT from weathering.

        No, I don’t think it is. My understanding is that it is mostly from decomposing matter which was once alive. It would only be one way if plants and animals were dying and decomposing and not being replaced by new plants and animals. As far as the biosphere is concerned, about 120Gt/yr is absorbed and 120Gt/yr is emitted. In fact, with our emissions, slightly more is absorbed than emitted.

      • ” It would only be one way if plants and animals were dying and decomposing and not being replaced by new plants and animals.”

        We have to carve nature at its joints. We have a box for soil, we have a box for plants and animals and we have a box for the atmosphere. If you’re going to say, “it’s all one, man” the discussion is over and even human input is bidirectional because we are pulling Carbon from layers beneath the soil.

        The soil box gets large input from plants and animals. The atmosphere gets a large input from soils with only a tiny back feed to soil from weathering. The soil input to the atmosphere is as asymmetric as the human input, it has a similar 13C signature, and it is much larger.

      • We have a box for soil, we have a box for plants and animals and we have a box for the atmosphere. If you’re going to say, “it’s all one, man” the discussion is over and even human input is bidirectional because we are pulling Carbon from layers beneath the soil.

        Let’s try taking this a bit further. As for decompostion, we have plants and animals that grow and sequester CO2. Then they die and decompose, releasing CO2. The timescale is probably years/decades and – on average – is in balance.

        Now consider our box. We burn fossil fuels. We’ve released 550GtC in the last 130 years. Are we reforming a similar amount of fossil fuels over the same time interval. Obviously, no. So, the only source that is essentially a source, but is not associated with a sink, is our fossil fuel emissions.

      • ” The timescale is probably years/decades and – on average – is in balance.”

        There are definitely timescale differences. Some decomposition takes place in the yearly timescale we are mostly discussing here, but much takes years or decades. In the case of fossil fuel the same process takes millennia.

        We are talking about the atmosphere. Atmospheric Carbon goes to plants, a different box. It does not go to soil significantly. Soil C goes to the atmosphere, a different box, and then to plants. We all understand that sub cycle, but the entire system is ultimately balanced. It doesn’t really matter that human C will take a long time to get back to fossil fuel through swamps and Soil C will get back to plants rather more quickly through the atmosphere. What matters is that both inputs are asymmetric to the atmospheric box we are discussing, and they can equally be put in Ferdinand’s equation.

      • gymnosperm,

        You’re forgetting the plants and animals in the ocean. And bacteria.

      • Gymnosperm,

        We know the balance of the whole biosphere (land and sea plants, bacteria, molds, insects, animals) together: slightly more sink than source. That can be deduced from the oxygen balance: slightly less oxygen is used than is calculated from fossil fuel burning. The whole biosphere together is a net producer of oxygen, thus a net sink for CO2 and preferentially of 12CO2:
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

        Thus the biosphere as a whole is not the cause of the CO2 increase in the atmosphere or the δ13C decline in atmosphere and ocean surface.

        It doesn’t make sense to single out one part of a cycle, the net result of the total cycle is what changes the CO2 (and δ13C) level in the atmosphere. The only exception is human emissions, which are one-way additional…

    • The warmistas like to point out that rising temperatures cause CO2 outgassing from the oceans (paleo ice core evidence) and other short term evidence (but don’t have link right now).

      Since we know temps have been rising, at least some of the CO2 has come out of the oceans, since surface ocean temps tend to increase with overall global temps.

      • The warmistas like to point out that rising temperatures cause CO2 outgassing from the oceans (paleo ice core evidence) and other short term evidence (but don’t have link right now).

        Since we know temps have been rising, at least some of the CO2 has come out of the oceans, since surface ocean temps tend to increase with overall global temps.

        I don’t think so.

        The ocean isn’t saturated and the area of very cold waters is not likely to decline much. And as the image depicts, uptake has risen for 70 years as temperature has increased.

        Much uncertainty, evidently, about the CO2 budget, but the concentration is probably much more important than temperature, especially global average temperature which doesn’t capture the variation.

      • The ocean does not have to be saturated with CO2. If the ocean surface waters get hotter, they can’t hold as much CO2 and it will outgas.

        This is merely a shift in equilibrium and has nothing to do with saturation per se.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry's_law#Temperature_dependence_of_the_Henry_constant

    • Total human emissions are only slightly larger than the noise in the 210 GT/Y global carbon budget.

      The absorption is driven by the atmospheric concentration and has nothing to do with emissions and is gaining on emissions.

      In 30-40 years the absorption is going to catch up to emissions which is about the time supply shortages and high prices will reduce fossil fuel use.

      • PA, human emissions are slightly quadratic increasing over time, which shows up in the near-linear increase of dCO2(em)/dt over time. The net result is that both the increase in the atmosphere as the net sink capacity also increases slightly quadratic over time and thus dCO2(atm)/dt and dCO2(sinks)/dt are quite linear over time.

        As long as human emissions are increasing in the same way, there may be never a catch up of the sinks and the “airborne fraction” would remain about the same. Of course, as long as production can follow demand…

    • “the burden of proof”

      …is always on the people who make the claims. If no proof is provided for the claim, then the claim is just that.

      Andrew

      • Yep, and we are still waiting on the IPCC to make their case.

      • BA,

        …is always on the people who make the claims. If no proof is provided for the claim, then the claim is just that.

        You seem to think that there is some kind of default position that others need to prove wrong? It is natural until proven otherwise? It doesn’t work like that in the physical sciences. A fundamental part of the physical sciences is explaining the physical processes behind what we observe. We don’t start from some assumption of knowledge that we prove wrong. We might start with a hypothesis that we test, but that doesn’t mean that what we choose first has some precedence over what comes later.

      • “It is natural until proven otherwise?”

        I didn’t say that. I said if you claim to know what it is, you get to prove it.

        Andrew

      • ATTP,

        Traditionally, scientists have born the burden of proving their own claims. Are suggesting that should no longer be the case?

        Andrew

      • Traditionally, scientists have born the burden of proving their own claims. Are suggesting that should no longer be the case?

        No, I’m suggesting that “you’re wrong until you convince me that you’re not” is not a claim!

  21. Since the lighter is more from organic origin and the heavier more from inorganic, it has been assumed that the consistently increasing burning of fossil fuel has caused the difference.

    There seems to be 2 assumptions here, and no allowance for volcanic activity as a factor influencing organic vs. inorganic atmospheric carbon concentrations, and the assumed preferential venting off into space of CO2 from organic origin may require a leap of faith.

  22. Are the data and calculations used in this post available anywhere? I’m trying to understand some of the choices used in this post, and I’m not having much luck.

  23. The warmistas like to point out that rising temperatures cause CO2 outgassing from the oceans (paleo ice core evidence) and other short term evidence (but don’t have link right now).

    Since we know temps have been rising, at least some of the CO2 has come out of the oceans, since surface ocean temps tend to increase with overall global temps.

    MY REPLY
    Which is correct . The oceans have been warming releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. This will reverse when the sea surface temperatures start cooling which will be the case going forward.

    The GHG effect is the result of the climate not the cause of the climate.

  24. This is the data ,this is what it shows, and the evidence for what is shows as most likely being correct when contrasted to AGW theory.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/337/6096/809.summary

    The quote below is from the article, NASA satellite data shows a decline in water vapor.

    The quote is radiosonde data shows that upper atmosphere water vapor declines with warming.

    Further from the patriot post article called, Evidence That Demands a Verdict shows quite clearly two items of data of importance one being there has been no warming in the tropical atmosphere at the 12km level or 18 km level and that all the deviations in the upper tropical troposphere atmosphere temperatures are correlated with the temperature in Nino region 3.4.

    I will send this data over on my next post.

    Data also showing thus far no lower tropospheric hot spot has materialized.

    What the data is saying if one tries to incorporate all of this, is first of all it appears that the temperature in the tropical troposphere is correlated to ENSO. When ENSO in in an El Nino phase the temperature in the tropical troposphere increases and vice versa with no long term change in the temperature of the tropical troposphere overall. In addition radiosonde data is indicating that water vapor concentrations are inversely correlated with the temperature of the atmosphere and from the article I posted it said one of the ways in which water vapor may get into the stratosphere outside of the tropics is via convection. Then in addition, with data still showing no tropical tropospheric hot spot here are the objective conclusions that have to be drawn based upon the data.

    The conclusions I take away from all of this is first the temperature of the tropical troposphere is controlled by ENSO not CO2 and that the concentrations of water vapor irrespective of if water vapor is or is not inversely correlated to the temperature of the upper atmosphere is going to be tied to ENSO, not CO2.
    In addition it looks like sea surface temperatures(PDO) /convection may have much to do with the amounts of water vapor which eventually reach the stratosphere all of which destroy AGW theory which said the amounts of water vapor which will reside in the tropical troposphere will be DIRECTLY tied into the strong positive feedback between CO2 and water vapor which would result in two distinct trends developing in the tropical troposphere which would be a steady increase in water vapor which would be in tandem with a steady increasing temperature trend in the tropical troposphere which would be more pronounced with altitude relative to the lower levels, and that this steady increase in water vapor /temperature trend which would be evolving would cause a tropical tropospheric hot spot to evolve, due to an ever increasing negative lapse rate.

    Data however shows no such negative lapse rate trend evolving and no correlation between CO2 and the tropical tropospheric temperature profile, nor no correlation with CO2 and tropical troposphere water vapor profile. Instead data shows the temperature and water vapor characteristics of the tropical troposphere seem to be correlated with ENSO ,and indicate in the case of water vapor (according to radiosonde data) an inverse relationship to temperature all things being equal, but this could be obscured by convection changes in the tropics due to sea surface temperature changes and atmospheric circulation changes all of which AGW theory does not address to any degree whatsoever when it comes to the temperature profile and water vapor profile of the tropical troposphere.

    In conclusion not only does the resultant tropical hot spot as called for by AGW theory not appear but data shows in addition the reasons why it does not appear are because it is not CO2 which governs how the tropical tropospheric temperature/water vapor profile may evolve but rather it is ENSO phases and sea surface temperature changes (PDO phases) along with convection changes in the tropics due to atmospheric circulation changes, that govern the tropical troposphere temperature/water vapor profile.

    This all showing that the central theme of AGW theory which is a strong positive feedback between CO2 and water vapor resulting in a tropical tropospheric temperature/water vapor profile which would give rise to a tropical hot spot is flawed. Hence the theory is flawed.

    T

  25. iiequalsexpipi

    Anyway, I’ll be blunt about the post by Fred Haynie. I don’t buy it at all.

    The Earth’s atmosphere has a mass of 5.15 x 10^18 kg. This suggests that it takes 2.13 gigatons of carbon to increase atmospheric CO2 by 1 ppm when burned. Current global CO2 emissions correspond to nearly 10 gigatons of carbon per year. It isn’t that hard to figure out how much of the observed CO2 increase is natural.

    However, observed increase in atmospheric CO2 is less than anthropogenic emissions. This is because of natural uptake. Natural uptake is dominated by oceans absorbing excess CO2 in order to reach equilibrium (i.e. Henry’s law). In the long run, the oceans can absorb roughly 85% of emitted CO2 due to Henry’s law, and the characteristic decay time towards equilibrium is on the order of a century (though I suspect it may be slightly less than this). Natural uptake has been increasing because the Earth has been moving further away from equilibrium.

    There is a temperature CO2 feedback, but it isn’t that large. Warming water by 1 C will generally result in it being able to hold 1.26% less dissolved CO2 via the properties of Henry’s constant. Then you also have melting permafrost effects. Anyway, if you look at CO2 changes over the Pleistocene, the difference in atmospheric CO2 from LGM to Holocene was ~100 ppm, where as the global temperature difference was 4.0 +/- 0.8 C (95% CI from Annan and Hargreaves 2013). This suggests that the Temperature-CO2 feedback is roughly 25 +/- 5 ppm per C. Although it might be slightly less than this since the Oceans now have at most 1 – (1 – 0.0126)^4 = 4.95% less dissolved CO2 and there is less permafrost left to dethaw than during the LGM.

    • Don Monfort

      iiequalsexpipi, the only flaw in your analysis is:

      If one can blithely ignore human emissions, there’s a good case for “it’s natural”.

  26. I see lots of the same static reasoning in the posts above.

    It’s funny, in a way. Those who claim human attribution are making common cause with the Skydragons.

    The Skydragons say that energy out = energy in no matter what, so CO2 cannot be heating the surface. But, it really isn’t energy in/out, it is power in/out. Power, a.k.a. energy flux. For equilibrium, power in = power out, but that says nothing about where the equilibrium is established. Every second of every daylight hour, new sunlight is being input to the surface. If the atmospheric IR opacity increases, then some of that sunlight doesn’t escape. For purely radiative exchange, with all else held equal, that forces an increase in surface temperature, until such as time as equilibrium between power in and power out is reestablished. Within that time, there has been an increase in the energy stored at or near the surface, and a corresponding increase in temperature.

    Just so, the deniers of natural forcing of atmospheric CO2 claim that temperature cannot be driving the rise, because a static pool of water only outgasses a finite amount due to a change in temperature. But, every second of every day, new CO2 is entering the system, and old CO2 is being taken out. Any even temporary net imbalance between the two increases the amount of CO2 retained. Equilibrium is established when CO2 flux in = CO2 flux out.

    And, that is why we see a sensitivity NOT in ppmv/K, but in ppmv/K/unit-of-time. The relationship is clearly evident in plots of the rate of change of CO2 versus temperature.

    There is no way around it. Humans are not the drving force of atmospheric CO2. It isn’t even a close call.

    • Bart,

      Your plot of CO2 variability vs. T variability is based on the assumption that the variability and the trend are caused by the same temperature driven process.
      That is proven wrong. The dCO2/dt variability is certainly driven by temperature variability, as that is a short response function of (tropical) forests on short term temperature changes (El Niño, La Niña) as the opposite CO2 and δ13C variability shows:

      But vegetation is not the cause of the longer term (1-3 years) trend: the biosphere is a proven sink for CO2.

      The arbitrary match between T and CO2 variability and slopes is quite obvious if you plot the trend lines: either the variability matches, but the slopes don’t, or the slopes match, but the variability doesn’t… It is getting worse for the period after 2000 and even negative for the period 1976-1996…

      Further, the sensitivity of CO2 changes after T changes is ppmv/K NOT ppmv/K/unit-of-time. There is no permanent influx of CO2 for any sustained offset in temperature, without a feedback from the increased CO2 pressure in the atmosphere. Or you violate Henry’s law: any change in temperature gives a fixed change in equilibrium for a static system as good as for the steady state level of a dynamic system, which the ocean – atmosphere exchanges are. The whole influence of the temperature increase since 1960 is not more than 5 ppmv, assuming 8 ppmv/K (4-17 ppmv/K according to Henry’s law), hardly visible in the CO2 trend.

      • ferdinand, “But vegetation is not the cause of the longer term (1-3 years) trend: the biosphere is a proven sink for CO2.”

        That is one point of contention. The “biosphere” has large land and ocean components that are known to have considerable longer term cycles. “all things remaining equal” the biosphere is a net sink on planetary time scales, but currently the land portion of the biosphere is a net source and the ocean portion may be a net source since about two giga tons of carbon are harvested per year not counting knock on impacts, carbon cycle disruption, of that harvest.

        http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/anthropocene.htm

        Basically, human activity is forcing more CO2 through the atmosphere/ocean loop.

      • David Springer

        Ferdinand,

        Do natural sources of CO2 emission dwarf anthropogenic? TRUE/FALSE

        Do you know how much all the natural sources and sinks of CO2 are sourcing and sinking on an annual basis with accuracy and precision much smaller than annual human emission? TRUE/FALSE

        If the answer to the second question is “true” please provide your source for all that information.

        I wasn’t impressed with your writing on WUWT and I’m not impressed with it here either. Your certainty is ill-founded. Correlation does not equal causation. Write that down.

      • “Further, the sensitivity of CO2 changes after T changes is ppmv/K NOT ppmv/K/unit-of-time.”

        Directly contradicted by empirical evidence.

        When theory and data clash, it’s the theory that has to be modified, not the data. This is a dynamic system, not a stagnant pool of water.

      • > When theory and data clash, it’s the theory that has to be modified, not the data.

        Only if you have adamant data, which is seldom the case and an invicible model, which never is.

        Let’s not forget that between theory and data, there’s Bartemis’ interpretation.

        Mr. T always hesitates between ditching between theory, model, data, and usually throws off a bit of everything.

      • “Only if you have adamant data, which is seldom the case and an invicible model, which never is.”
        So, we junk the data, and follow our “feelings”. Great. Now we’ve regressed to Pre-Enlightenment.
        An “invincible model”? The fact that it is vincible is the very point.

      • Captdallas,

        The biosphere as a whole since 1990 is a proven, increasing sink for CO2:
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

        Most plants use photosynthesis which uses CO2 and releases O2. Near all other life uses plant energy, direct or indirect to live from, that uses O2 and releases CO2. What we need is the balance between these two.
        The change in O2 over time can be measured. Most of the change is from fossil fuel burning, but some small part is missing: the biosphere is a net producer of O2, thus a net sink of CO2. That includes land and sea plants, bacteria, molds, insects and animals…
        The earth is greening…

        BTW, land clearing is added to human emissions. I don’t use that in my calculations as that is quite uncertain, but worst case than is that human emissions are underestimated, not overestimated.

      • > The fact that it [i.e. the model] is vincible is the very point.

        The point was rather that when there’s a conflict between data and theory, the theory had to be modified. Unless theory and model are synonyms, the “very point” just shifted.

        Models are more than vincible: they’re all wrong. While some are useful, is yours useful, Bartemis? You seem to claim it’s random.

        To explain regularities by randomness would be quite a feat. Go for it.

        Good luck with that.

        ***

        > Now we’ve regressed to Pre-Enlightenment.

        Considering that you just effed the concept of model, Bartemis, you might be advised to stick to very basic feedback theory.

      • David Springer:

        Do natural sources of CO2 emission dwarf anthropogenic?

        True but irrelevant: as long as the natural sources are fully compensated by natural sinks the net result is zero change in the atmosphere.
        Human emissions are one-way additional.

        Do you know how much all the natural sources and sinks of CO2 are sourcing and sinking on an annual basis with accuracy and precision much smaller than annual human emission?

        False for any individual flux, true for the sum of all fluxes:
        The accuracy of the inventory of human emissions is -0.5/+1 GtC/year
        The accuracy of the CO2 levels in the atmosphere is +/- 0.4 GtC/year
        The accuracy of the net sink rate therefore is -1.5/+1 GtC/year

        Human emissions are ~9 GtC/year and growing, larger than the necessary accuracy ánd the variability (+/- 2 GtC) in net sink rate.

        Sources:
        http://www.eia.gov/cfapps/ipdbproject/IEDIndex3.cfm?tid=90&pid=44&aid=8
        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/dv/iadv/

        I wasn’t impressed with your writing on WUWT and I’m not impressed with it here either. Your certainty is ill-founded. Correlation does not equal causation. Write that down.

        I don’t need or even want to impress anybody, I only do look at ALL available evidence. If all available evidence points in one direction: human emissions as cause of the increase and there is no counter-evidence, then and only then I will display some certainty that humans are the cause of the increase…
        But are you sure that the “Correlation does not equal causation.” is not meant for Bart, whose whole theory is based on an artificial match of two straight lines, while that violates all available observations, every single one…

      • Bart,

        When theory and data clash, it’s the theory that has to be modified, not the data. This is a dynamic system, not a stagnant pool of water.

        Please take your own words into consideration: your theory violates every single observation of all available observations…

        And as Willard said:
        you might be advised to stick to very basic feedback theory.

        If the temperature of the oceans increases, the CO2 in the atmosphere increases. The increase in the atmosphere reduces the increase speed of CO2 from the oceans into the atmosphere. At ~8 ppmv extra in the atmosphere a new steady state is reached for a 1 K temperature increase. I have shown the chain of events and the calculations: 40 GtC going in and out continuously between deep oceans and atmosphere, before and after the temperature increase.

        If you have a different theory about what happens between the oceans and the atmosphere for 1 K temperature increase, will you please give a detailed chain of events, so that a layman here can follow your theory and calculations…

      • David Springer

        Englebeen your sources don’t support your contention that you know enough about the performance of all CO2 sources and sinks with sufficient precision to know that human emission is the cause of the rise in atmospheric carbon reservoir.

        I’d say nice try but it really wasn’t anything more than hand waving.

  27. The future GHG effect may be more due to water vapor concentration changes then CO2 concentration changes if no positive feedback exist between increases in CO2 and water vapor. This angle or approach has not been taken.

    I think it is valid and needs to be looked into.

    Everyone is fixated on CO2 concentration changes and thus future GHG effects while not devoting much time to water vapor future concentrations and the role it may have independent of CO2.

    • You need to look at the total atmosphere for changes in water vapor, not just what is going on in the stratosphere, which warmistas have predicted cooling which would mean a drop in stratospheric water vapor.

      Which means you are going on and on about predictions made and confirmed that support the AGW narrative.

  28. If for instance CO2 concentrations rise while water vapor concentrations fall the GHG effect is going to DECREASE not increase despite increasing CO2 concentrations.

    This possibility is not being considered and should be especially if sea surface temperatures decline which will mean less evaporation less water vapor in the lower levels of the atmosphere while precipitation increases would mean less water vapor concentrations in the upper atmosphere.

    Dynamics of atmospheric circulation and ocean currents means less water vapor in the lower atmosphere does not necessarily have to correlate with lesser amounts of precipitation.

  29. So maybe water vapor concentration changes should be given some considerations instead of solely being fixated on CO2 concentration changes to see what kind of future GHG effect may be present going forward?

    I presented it as a question to see if anyone has any thoughts on this approach.

  30. stevefitzpatrick

    This post is utter rubbish. A simple material balance shows the Earth has been a net sink for man made CO2 for at least as long as the Mauna Loa record. Any ‘analysis’ which concludes otherwise has to be wrong. The post is worthy of the annual Salsby award for nonsensical gibberish.

    Judith, you made a mistake allowing such nonsense on your blog.

    • Don Monfort

      Yeah steve, but if you ignore the fact of the human emissions, it could be natural. We have to discuss this. And we have to give Bartemis his turn. And we hope that guy comes back to give us the missing part 3, of his series on stock prices and climate whatever.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        No Don, we don’t. The Earth has absorbed about half of all human emissions… there is nothing more worth saying.

      • Don Monfort

        Don’t be so hasty, steve. We haven’t yet heard from Dougie Cotton.

      • David Wojick

        No Steve,that is the common fallacy. ALL emissions, natural and human,are absorbed in about five years because the annual flux is huge, about a quarter of the total atmospheric mass. The increases may or may not be due to human emissions but they are certainly not composed of human emissions.

      • Don Monfort

        Well, there you have it steve. The molecules of ACO2 and NCO2 are shuffling in and out of the atmosphere so fast, we can not keep track of what is which. We will never be able to know how much of the increase is ACO2 vs. NCO2. I guess this makes Fred’s case. We can stop now.

      • Don Monfort: We will never be able to know how much of the increase is ACO2 vs. NCO2.

        Once we have accepted that we do not know now, we may be able to, and motivated to, figure out how in the future.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Don,
        We do not need to hear from Doug Algodao. The post is rubbish.

      • “we may be able to, and motivated to, figure out how in the future”
        Why? There are no physical processes that depend on the history of the molecules. They have no memory.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Dave Wojick,

        You are very confused.

      • maksimovich1

        Why? There are no physical processes that depend on the history of the molecules. They have no memory.

        The biological consumers have an evolutionary memory of past atmospheres a significant constraint on future assumptions.

        http://www.biogeosciences.net/4/323/2007/bg-4-323-2007.html

      • > There are no physical processes that depend on the history of the molecules. They have no memory.

        They still could be subject to a funding bias.

        It’s not called a carbon budget for nothing.

        The truth is out there.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Nick,
        Well, what if a Maxwell’s daemon painted the ones which came from fossil fuels bright red? Then you could at least keep track of them.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick: In places, “incomprehensible gibberish” is actually a better descriptor.

      I think sometimes Judith likes to provoke people to think and respond. This may be one of those times.

      If you haven’t seen it, I’d be interested in your take on Ferdinand Englebeen post: Origin Of The Recent Co2 Increase In The Atmosphere

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Carrick,
        Maybe Judith is trying to provoke, but if so, it is a mistake IMO. There is plenty of room at WUWT for nonsensical rubbish, and there is no need to encourage it elsewhere.

        WRT Ferdinand, I have not seen the post you linked to, but Ferdinand usually makes sensible arguments (based on multiple lines of evidence) that the increase in atmospheric CO2 level is certainly due to human emissions. I am honestly not inclined to check Ferdinand’s work; I will trust that he is pretty close to correct. And no matter what Ferdinand says, you just don’t need to go past the obvious: the mass balance is very clear; about half of human emitted CO2 has disappeared.

        What drives me crazy here Carrick is what Steve Mosher has many times pointed out: rubbish arguments tend to keep the conversation from where it should be, and give CAGW advocates easy things to critique. The legitimate arguments about weaknesses in the CAGW case are what need to be focused on, not rubbish arguments about why CO2 is rising. As I have said before, I wish the hopelessly uninformed would stop trying to help so much….. or become better informed.

      • The issue is this. Our understanding of the carbon budget has significant uncertainties, especially the land component. See the global carbon project http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/

        If you look back over the period to say 1900 or even 1920, how large are the uncertainties in those carbon budgets? To understand natural carbon cycle variability on decadal to century scales, we need to understand this, and not simply assume ‘equilibrium’ on decadal to century timescales, especially in the presence of a longterm warming trend since at least the 18th century.

        We don’t have data for any of this. So I am not convinced by simple mass balance attribution arguments based on current observations. I think it unlikely that 100% of the increase in atm CO2 is caused by humans. It is not unreasonable to start from a point of 50-50 (Fred’s conclusion) and see if you can falsify natural variability as large as 50%. It may not be 50%, but I don’t think it is 0%.

      • And then there is the issue of CO2 variability derived from stomatal records
        http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379113000553

        A quick glance at AR5 ch 5 doesn’t provide much clarity on the differences between stomatal and ice cores say for past 1000 yrs

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Judith,
        Honestly, what you are saying makes no sense to me. We have a very good estimate of the total CO2 which has been emitted by human activities. We have a very good estimate of how much CO2 has increased. So we have a very good estimate of how much net uptake of emitted CO2 has taken place. You could argue (for example) that “some of the increase is due to out gassing due to a warmer ocean surface”, but that argument begs the real issue: all that argument amounts to is that an even GREATER portion of the emitted CO2 would have been absorbed except for warming of the ocean surface. There is no argument which refutes the obvious mass balance argument, unless you want to argue that the estimates of total emitted CO2 are very wrong, and I don’t think you are suggesting that.

      • > rubbish arguments tend to keep the conversation from where it should be, and give CAGW advocates easy things to critique. The legitimate arguments about weaknesses in the CAGW case are what need to be focused on, not rubbish arguments about why CO2 is rising.

        The converse has also been observed: libertarian advocates focusing on the easiest things to critique. Sometimes, they even call that “legitimate arguments about weakenesses in the CAGW case,” oblivious to the fact that they insert their own CAGW meme. The Serengeti strategy is generalized.

        ***

        SteveF might agree with Richard Tol on a related matter:

        Judith: Statistics is a branch of mathematics. Right and wrong are strictly defined. These papers are wrong in the mathematical sense of the word. I think you have done a disservice by lending your credibility to these papers.

        https://judithcurry.com/2011/11/07/two-new-papers-vs-best/#comment-134297

      • stevefitzpatrick

        willard,
        Lucia is correct, you seem incapable of composing an comprehensible written comment. I have not the slightest clue what you were trying to say.

      • David Wojick

        Steve, it sounds like you do not know a lot about this. Here are the basics. Natural emissions are around 200 btcy. Human emissions are around 8 btcy. Natural absorption is also around 200 btcy. The atmospheric mass is about 800 btc, so roughly 25% is exchanged every year. The annual increase is 3-4 btcy. Human emissions are a small fraction of the annual flux so it takes some strong conjectures to make them the cause of the increase. But on no case is the increase composed of human emissions.

      • Peter Lang

        Stevefitzpatrick,

        Honestly, what you are saying makes no sense to me. We have a very good estimate of the total CO2 which has been emitted by human activities. We have a very good estimate of how much CO2 has increased.

        How do you know they are good estimates? What are the estimates and 95% confidence intervals?

      • How about the increase in the ocean? Is that also not human-caused? Do you see your argument falling apart yet?

      • stevefitzpatrick

        David Wojick,

        Actually, I do know something about the subject, including “the basics”. This is a very simple case of material balance: we know CO2 has been rising, but rising at a much lower rate than humans have been emitting CO2 to the atmosphere (about half the rate of emissions since the late 1950’s when the Mauna Loa record starts). This leads to the inevitable conclusion that there has been a NET uptake of CO2 by the Earth since the late 1950’s, not a net release of CO2 from the Earth. If you don’t see that, then I can’t help you. Like I said, you are very confused.

      • > I have not the slightest clue what you were trying to say.

        Which part of “libertarian advocates focusing on the easiest things to critique” you don’t get, SteveF? All the concepts come from your own claim. I simply replaced “CAGW” with “libertarian.” I doubt the concept of libertarianism escapes you:

        Then, as now, unprincipled people on the left will appropriate any alarming prediction to justify institution of a ‘more fair’ social order. The leftist drum of ‘social justice’ has been consistently beaten for all of my adult life, and I’m sure will continue to be. The ‘justification’ for left wing policies changes over time…. right now it happens to be CO2 driven warming…. but the underlying political motivation does not change.

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/02/15/denizens-ii/#comment-676062

        ***

        As to the Serengeti strategy, your favorite Mike promotes it:

        In his book chronicling the attacks he’s faced, Dr. Mann compares climate contrarians’ strategy to the one used by predator animals he saw in Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. Rather than trying to take on all the world’s climate scientists, they pick out someone from the herd who they think they can attack effectively. He’s faced many over-the-top criticisms of his research—and his character—from the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and a whole host of front groups, political actors and online haters.

        http://blog.ucsusa.org/michael-mann-responds-to-misleading-filings-in-climate-change-lawsuit-641

        What may escape Mike is that predators usually attack the weakest preys, but then Mike’s not the target of the most vicious PR campaign known to mankind for no reason.

        Do you really want me to spell it out more for you?

        ***

        Finally, there’s Richard Tol’s reaction to Judy promoting formal crap. He considers that this “has done a disservice by lending your credibility to these papers.”

        Would you say the same about this blog post?

        ***

        If there’s anything else that I said that you don’t get, please feel free to say so.

        Many thanks!

    • No matter how many times I see it, it always amazes me how people can be so dumb, yet be so smug about it.

    • This (the Earth being a net sink for ACO2 for as long as directly measured) is often brought up as the main argument against the hypothesis that some of the increase in atmospheric CO2 could be naturally caused. That makes no sense – even ATTP agrees (upthread) that at least some of the increase is caused by the warming.
      So, nature can be a net sink and still cause some of the increase and even most of it.

      • David Wojick

        The increase is due to the sum of all changes in sinks and sources, most of which are unknown. One cannot simply pick a single term out of this long equation and call it the cause of the sum, just because that term is larger than the sum. Causality is not that simple.

      • David,

        I have a local bank account where I save $ 200 a month. At the end of the year, the local bank publishes its yearly balance, which shows a net gain of $ 1200.

        According to you, the gain may be not from my contribution, it can be from anyone else who has contributed some money.
        According to me, I will get all my money back as soon as possible and look for a safer deposit…

  31. Judith

    If Bart does not have the time I would imagine That Ferdinand might be interested in producing an article on which Bart could comment thereby ensuring a lively discussion.

    Here is ferdinands home page

    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/climate.html

    Although he believes man is responsible for the increased co2 emissions he is a climate sceptic in as much he is somewhat sceptical of the claimed devastating effects of increased co2

    I met Ferdinand in England four or five Years ago when we attended together a lecture given by Dr Iain Stewart at Southampton university. Dr Stewart presented tv’s ‘ climate Wars’

    We both asked several questions of dr Iain Stewart in the ensuing q and a session.

    I could ask him or perhaps you are already in contact with him? He may well turn up here of course as his antenna is keenly tuned to co2 discussions

    Tonyb

    • Well I’m mainly interested in new ideas for how to approach this problem; there has been plenty written on the mainstream mass budget approach.

      • Frankly I think it’s no use flogging a dead horse, this “problem” is not a problem. The real issue is the postulated sink saturation in the Bern model. That and that alone is responsible for the modeled catastrophic CO2 level at the end of this century under a RCP8.5 emission scenario.

      • It’s election night over here so I will be up all night watching the results. If I have a bright new idea at 4am I will let you know.

        BbC exit poll suggests Conservatives will be the largest party but short of an overall majority.

        Tonyb

      • David Wojick

        Hans, I agree that the bad BERN model is a big policy issue, but it does not follow that the cause of the CO2 increase is not also an unsolved scientific problem.

      • David Wojick

        The only way to approach this problem is to actually measure the ongoing changes in all the major sources and sinks; until then we simply have no data so there is nothing for science to do. It is all just empty conjecture.

      • Peter Dietze and Bern model calculations of CO2
        in the atmosphere.
        http://www.john-daly.com/dietze/cmodcalc.htm

      • Sorry Judith to be a little late on the festivities here: two days and far over 400 comments. Sometimes I have another life beyond discussing mass balances…
        Currently I am preparing a longer article about the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is everything taken into account about 96% human and 4% natural (temperature).
        I have yet one small problem to solve: the variability in rate of change of the CO2 increase is caused by the influence of temperature variability on (tropical) vegetation which needs a response function that is short and zeroes out after 1-2 years, as the longer term influence of temperature on vegetation is opposite to the short term response…
        There is already some food for thoughts here (already mentioned a few times in other comments):
        http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_origin.html

    • tonyb:

      Although he believes man is responsible for the increased co2 emissions he is a climate sceptic in as much he is somewhat sceptical of the claimed devastating effects of increased co2

      That doesn’t make him a “climate sceptic”. That just makes him a sceptic of catastrophic AGW.

      • Carrick

        When he was quizzing Dr Iain Stewart at Southampton University and afterwards in the pub, he gave a very good Impersonation of being a sceptic, which is not to say that he doesn’t have some lukewarming tendancies, as do many sceptics.

        Tonyb

    • Hi Tony,

      Some time ago that we have met…
      Seems that we were right to point Dr. Ian Stewart towards the “hide the decline” in the temperature proxy graphs…

  32. The mass balance approach separates human contribution and treats the rest of the planet as a single box. The planet is really a lot of different boxes with different properties and fluxes between them. Some fluxes between boxes are symmetrical and some are not. The asymmetrical ones are the reason the mass balance approach does not work.

    • I agree, I think.

      An unknown number of boxes, each containing an unknown amount of C, with Nature moving C from box to box, quite possibly in a mathematically chaotic fashion.

      From time to time, Nature may add or delete boxes, or change their sizes.

      But no matter. Some claim they have an equation that takes all the above into account. I’m not so sure.

    • gymnosperm,

      Not completely: the main reservoirs are known and the (seasonal) main fluxes between atmosphere and the other reservoirs are roughly known:
      – atmosphere
      – biosphere: ~60 GtC in and out, seasonal
      – ocean surface ~50 GtC in and out, seasonal
      – deep oceans ~40 GtC in and out, continuous

      Besides human emissions which are one-way contribution, all other fluxes are two-way (except some smaller ones like volcanic vents).

      What is further known with reasonable accuracy is human emissions from fossil fuel burning (based on sales: taxes and burning efficiency).
      The increase in the atmosphere is accurately known.
      The net total result of all natural in and out fluxes is known: that is the difference between increase in the atmosphere and human emissions: more sink than source in the past 55 years.

      The surprising point is that there is little variation in the net sink rate, besides an increase in ratio with the increase in the atmosphere, despite the huge natural fluxes involved: less that +/- 1 ppmv from year to year.

      • Ferdinand, I think the contribution to the atmosphere from microbial decomposition of soil, guestimated at 60Gt, is substantially one way as well. The atmosphere contributes Oxygen to the decomposition process but supposedly only .2GtC by weathering.

    • Don Monfort

      Look, you got a bank with a million customers. The customers put money in they take money out. The bank keeps track of all this activity, keeps an accounting of each account’s activity, balance of each account and the balance of the aggregate. The bank knows the total amount of customers’ money it is holding.

      If you become a customer of that bank and you start at the beginning of the year putting a net positive amount of $100/month into your account, you are increasing the banks deposits by $100 a freaking month, no matter what the other million customers do. At the end of the year the bank closes the books and you know the amount of the bank’s total deposits. If the banks deposits have increased from $4billion at the end of the previous year to $4billion and $1200, guess who did it. If the bank’s deposits have increased by $600, who done it?

      • Don Monfort

        Where’s freddie, bartie et al.? This is a dynamic system with a million and one moving parts. Do you get this?

      • Another investor puts in 600 a month and increases his investment as the economy heats up. Now who done it?

      • Don Monfort

        You did not answer the question, gymnospermie. You fail. Next.

        Let’s see how long it takes someone to lamely offer “What if they bank got the accounting wrong, or there was embezlement, or somebody deposited counterfeit money….?

  33. Made the below comment before/

    What about measuring C14 bomb pulse concentration in the more recent emissions vs fossil energy emissions which are C14 depleted from eons ago? Is that useful in sequestration of recent fossil emissions vs recently natural emissions from land or environmental sources?
    Scott

    Does this make sense in the ratio of modern C vs fossil C based on the C14 bomb curve reduction with increasing concentration from a depleting pool of C14?
    Scott

    • Natural production of C14 might complicate things

      • Bob
        Thanks for the thought. Actually rate of formation of C14 is by cosmic rays and is small vs remaining C14 in atmosphere.from 50’s and 60’s atmospheric a bomb tests. It is a difficult calculation but emissions from vegetation and the surface should be at current concentrations while fossil fuel emissions should be totally depleted. It was used to determine that CO2 smog in grand canyon was from recent fires of vegetation and not fossil fuel emissions from LS. I guess the rate of release from the ancient ocean water would also be fully depleted. Just a thought to try some other avenue. Looking into the turnover of carbon from recent emissions to sequester in forests or tall grasslands vs dangerous pumping liquid CO2 to underground capped basins. Lots uncertain at this point.
        Scott

  34. Emissions amount to nearly 2000 Gt CO2. The rise in the atmosphere from 280 ppm to 400 ppm is 900 Gt CO2. The period and rate of rise correlate strongly with each other. Not only that but the ocean has acidified in the same period due to also gaining carbon. How can anything be more clear cut than that, that there is extra carbon entering the system (still today), and it is coming from fossil fuels which is why CO2 is rising.

    • Nature tucks too much carbon away in fossil fuels. CO2 levels in atmosphere fall. Nature realises mistake. Man created to put CO2 back into atmosphere, and raise levels from dangerously low concentration, otherwise leading to plant starvation and irreversible runaway extinction of both CO2 and O2 dependent life.

      See how clever Nature is! Just the Universe unfolding as it should.

      Phew, just dodged a big one there!

    • We can take two balance sheets with the latter one showing plus 900 Gt. atmosphere and plus 1100 Gt sinks. We can infer the income statement that connects the two, but we don’t seem to know either what the sink number is or what the natural emissions are. Income statement wise, it’s Hail Mary accounting.

      • The ocean is also net gaining carbon. Do you consider that to be natural?

      • The oceans gaining carbon is not all natural. We have ocean sunk amount plus all other sinks equaling total sunk amount, which isn’t known, nor is the natural emissions number. We just know that all the unknowns add up to the balance sheet change from before to now. Most time series we see in climate science use balance sheet to balance sheet accounting. We model the income statements that explain the changes, accurately with some of the numbers some of the time, but not all of the numbers being accurate. It seems with the carbon cycle we are doing that.

      • Do you see that the ocean and atmosphere have each had a net gain? Where did that come from?

      • Yes, a gain in the atmosphere partially man made.

        It’s more unclear what’s going with the oceans. I admit it’s very likely that our CO2 is going into the oceans, but measuring how much is probably difficult. If CO2 can bring us out of a glacier period, I’d bet a fast and sustained source of that is the oceans. Control of the massive ocean CO2 levels seems more difficult than controlling atmospheric levels.

      • Ragnaar,

        Increase of CO2 in the ocean surface is measured at a few fixed station as DIC (dissolved inorganic carbon) and more sporadic ship’s surveys. All show an increase in DIC over time:
        http://www.tos.org/oceanography/archive/27-1_bates.pdf

        The pCO2 in the atmosphere is ~7 μatm higher than the average pCO2 of the oceans, thus the average flux is from the atmosphere into the oceans. See Feely e.a.:
        http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/feel2331/exchange.shtml
        and following pages…

      • It would seem upwelling of CO2 rich water would be required to recycle carbon over the long term. There’s a material amount of carbon in the deep oceans as far as I know. If wasn’t recycled, over 100s of millions of years, we’d run out of it. Here, you can start near the middle of it:

        What’s the source of the far South CO2?

      • For those in the US, next week’s Nova on PBS is about the effect of fossil fuels on the ocean, and its future.

      • Ragnaar, indeed CO2 is recycled from the deep oceans: the deep oceans are replenished with high CO2 levels in sinking cold polar waters and additional planktonic carbonate shells and organic debris dropping out from the surface which dissolves in the deep + bacteria which use the organics and also produce CO2, further subsurface volcanoes also add some CO2. That is coming back via upwelling waters near the tropics, where the combination of high CO2/bi/carbonate levels and high temperatures emit a lot of CO2 (if not captured by abundant bio-life at upwelling zones).

        The net result at steady-state is a continuous flux of ~40 GtC/year out of the tropical oceans towards the poles and back via the deep oceans, be it with a lag of ~1000 years for the latter. With the 110 ppmv extra CO2 pressure in the atmosphere, the unbalance now is ~38.5 GtC/year into the atmosphere and ~41.5 GtC/year out into the deep oceans, a net sink of ~3 GtC out of the ~9 GtC human contribution…

      • Check out the Earth breathing video again. Around Feb/March a large puff of CO2 North of Antarctica as the sea ice minimum is reached. It might be illustrating this: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10724166 by Keeling. The general idea is that Antarctic sea ice can form a barrier to CO2 release to the atmosphere.

  35. Since CO2 is in a quasi-equilibrium between atmosphere and ocean, there will be a partitioning effect of CO2 molecules made up of different carbon isotopes. Ones with 2 12 AWU carbons will preferentially be partitioned into the atmosphere. One with heavier isotopes will tend to stay in the ocean.

    • That is actually the case but it is vastly more complicated. The ocean mixed layer is far richer in 13C than any of the reservoirs that communicate with it. The plankton within the ocean grab every 12C they can get their hands on and leave the water enriched in 13C. Biologically rejected 13C washes from the atmosphere in rain and from land in rivers. Life just doesn’t want the stuff and the ocean winds up with it.
      Evaporation also concentrates 13C. Even though we don’t think of Carbon going along for the ride as some 400,000 GT of water evaporates from the ocean surface every year, it does.
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v316/n6027/abs/316434a0.html

    • “Ones with 2 12 AWU carbons” should have been “Ones with a 12 AWU carbon”

  36. There is this thing called conservation of matter. The increases in carbon in air and sea are a very good fit for the amount of carbon we have extracted from the ground. Not only that, but the isotopic composition of the above ground carbon has shifted exactly as one would expect from our adding fossil fuel carbon to the mix. You can believe that the added carbon is our doing, or you can believe that there is some magical sink for the carbon we have dug out of the ground, and some other magical source for carbon that happens to have the very same isotopic signature.

  37. Pingback: Anidride Carbonica e dintorni | Climatemonitor

  38. Reblogged this on pdx transport.

  39. dikranmarsupial

    Prof. Curry. If the natural environment is a net source of a carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, then the rise in atmospheric CO2 should be faster than the rate of anthropogenic emissions as both nature and mankind would be contributing to the rise. This is true, regardless of what governs natural sources and sinks, it is a matter of accounting for the carbon circulating through the carbon cycle. However, it is clearly not what we actually observe.

    If, on the other hand, the natural environment is a net carbon sink, taking more CO2 out of the atmosphere each year than it puts in, then it is hard to see how that could be described as *causing* the rise in atmospheric CO2 rather than *opposing* it.

    So if you wish to argue that the rise is even partially natural, you need to be able to explain either:

    (i) How can the observation that atmospheric CO2 rising more slowly than anthropogenic emissions be made consistent with the natural environment being a net source of CO2?

    or

    (ii) How can the natural environment be described as a cause of the atmospheric increase in CO2, even though it is a net carbon sink, taking more CO2 out of the atmosphere than it puts in?

    Please could you give a direct answer to either of these questions.

    • The assumption that the natural environment is a net sink is the circular reasoning “fudge factor” in the IPPC’s “mass balance” argument that “proves” about 50% of anthropogenics are more than enough to cause the rise in atmospheric CO2. My analysis suggests that only about 20% of anthropogenics are accumulating in the surface/air environment which requires an increase in natural emissions to match the observed increase in the atmosphere. My analysis puts the mass balance some where between Bart’s all natural, and Ferdinand’s all anthropogenic. Who do you think is closer to the truth?

      • Ferdinand thinks 95% is human.

      • dikranmarsupial

        fhhaynie again your reply strongly suggests that you do not understand the mass balance argument. That the natural environment is a net sink is the CONCLUSION of the mass balance argument, not an assumption. Thus there is no circularity.

      • Making it the conclusion by assuming that anthoprogenic emissions are more than enough to account for all the rise in atmospheric accumulation is the circular reasoning. Try doing a vertical mass balance on the ARCTIC where the cold open surface sink area is constantly changing.

      • dikranmarsupial

        fhhaynie wrote “Making it the conclusion by assuming that anthoprogenic emissions are more than enough to account for all the rise in atmospheric accumulation is the circular reasoning.”

        That is a misrepresentation of the of the mass balance argument. It shows that BECAUSE anthropogenic emissions are greater than the atmospheric growth rate THEN the natural sinks take more CO2 out of the atmosphere than natural sources put in. We know this because otherwise the principle of conservation of mass would be violated. Again you have demonstrated that you do not understand the mass balance argument.

      • Yes, I do understand your mass balance arguement and your continued falling back on natural sinks being greater than natural sources so that about 50% of anthropogenics are retained in the surface/air environment is your circular reasoning. You can get a mass balance (as Bart does) that assumes all the increase is because natural emission rates exceed natural sink rates. I think that the truth is that both are contributing to the rise.

      • Well, the land plants are sinking 120 GT / year.

        35% of this is due to increased (55% increase) CO2 driven growth.

        120 * 0.35 = 42 GT. That is 42 GT for a 90 PPM increase.

        9.8/42 * 90 = 21 PPM. To absorb all of mankind’s annual emissions requires less than a 21 PPM rise in CO2 levels (I haven’t even included the ocean).

        The claim that mankind’s emissions have had more than a 21 PPM effect on CO2 levels is without foundation.

      • 35% of this is due to increased (55% increase) CO2 driven growth.

        How do you know that?

      • Don Monfort

        I don’t like this dikran character even a little bit. But he has got it right. Jimmy dee has got it right. Kenny has got it right. Haynie is dead wrong. If you can’t see that, that’s why they call y’all deniers.

      • Don,

        Just saying people are wrong is Mosher’s schitck. You don’t do it as well as he does. You have to be smugger.

        Andrew

      • Don, “I don’t like this dikran character even a little bit. But he has got it right. Jimmy dee has got it right. Kenny has got it right. Haynie is dead wrong. If you can’t see that, that’s why they call y’all deniers.”

        Haynie is most likely wrong, but I doubt Judith allowed the post because she thinks he is right. The point is that there is uncertainty in several of the variables assumed way in the simple mass balance. About 50% of the estimated ACO2 emissions are staying in the atmosphere, but there is no “law” that requires the 50% remains constant. Land use for example is estimated at about a 1/3 of the emissions and could be off by a factor of two. There was also considerable “pre-industrial” land use change and even the Antarctic ice core CO2 reconstruction indicates the reversal in the Rate of CO2 uptake about 5000 years ago.

        Haynie may be a bad specific example, but there is more to the story than a simplistic mass balance and the magical 1950 start date.

      • dikranmarsupial

        fhhaynie wrote: “Yes, I do understand your mass balance arguement and your continued falling back on natural sinks being greater than natural sources”

        The mass balance argument doesn’t fall back on natural sinks being greater than natural sources, it *establishes* that natural sinks are greater than natural sources, so clearly you don’t understand the mass balance argument if you are unable to distinguish between its conclusion and its assumptions. It assume conservation of matter (pretty reasonable IMHO) and uses observations of atmospheric CO2 and anthropogenic emissions. It doesn’t assume anything else, hence there is no circularity.

        “so that about 50% of anthropogenics are retained in the surface/air environment is your circular reasoning. ”

        Again, you demonstrate that you don’t understand the mass balance argument as it does not explain why the airborne fraction is about a half. To show that you need a more complex model, perhaps starting with the simple first order box model described in my paper.

      • I have simplified my model to vertical fluxes in regions around the globe representing both sources and sinks. Also, I have uniformly distributed anthropogenic emissions assuming they eventually become part of the natural cycle. Try doing your method on a source or sink region.

      • Don Monfort

        Capt, there is not much uncertainty about how much ACO2 has been added to the atmosphere. The uncertainty about natural CO2 and fluxes and sinks doesn’t affect the fact of the ACO2. Twice as much ACO2 has been emitted as would be necessary to account for the rise. Half of the ACO2 is in the sinks and the other half is in the atmosphere. Or all of the ACO2 is in the sinks and it has crowded out an equal amount of natural CO2, which is in the atmosphere. Either way, the ACO2 has caused the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere to rise.

      • don as I mentioned elsewhere the land use portion of emissions has the highest uncertainty and contribute roughly a 1/3 to total emissions. If land use emissions are underestimated, land use mitigation would have a much larger positive impact.

        Dealing with land use, black carbon and the worst of the pollutants would be most cost effective and have the greater impact than any draconian carbon tax that focused on FF only.

        I believe Curry is looking at this with an eye toward directing research and policy recommendations which is just a bit past simplistic modeling.

      • Don Monfort

        Capt., I have seen estimates that land use accounts for less than 10% of ACO2. Anyway, the main argument here seems to be that maybe ACO2 ain’t the villain in the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere. That is a denier argument. If you want to focus on land use, I think you are pretty much alone.

      • Danny Thomas

        Don,
        Land Use (not counting urban) appox. 20-24%. https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/unfccc/sbsta40/AR5WGIII_Tubiello_140606.pdf

      • Most of the surface of the earth is water, Tropical oceans are the big source. The Artic ocean and the south circumpolar current are the big sinks. These rates are always changing and they do not balance out from year to year. Small changes can exceed annual anthropogenic emission rates. That is what I observe in the data.

      • Don Monfort | May 8, 2015 at 11:41 am |
        I don’t like this dikran character even a little bit. But he has got it right. Jimmy dee has got it right. Kenny has got it right. Haynie is dead wrong. If you can’t see that, that’s why they call y’all deniers.

        The total CO2 environmental exchange is 210+ GT in and out of the atmosphere every year.

        The total human emissions are less than 5% (1 part in 20) of the carbon cycle.

        It takes less than a 21 PPM increase to alter the balance of the CO2 exchange to totally compensate for human emissions.

        The CO2 increase is mostly the result of something else. Something else usually includes land use changes and natural warming.

        Once you burn down rainforest that sinking is in the toilet and gone, perhaps permanently.

      • Don Monfort

        PA, the total human emissions that are added to the natural cycle are twice the amount needed to account for the rise in CO2. Live with it. Argue about something else. The strong positive water feedback assumption is a fat target.

      • The total natural emissions of CO2 is at least 20 times anthropogenic emissions. It only takes about a five percent increase in the natural emission rate to more than account for the observed rise in atmospheric CO2. Can you live with that? That is what Bart is doing with his mass balance.

      • Don Monfort

        Thanks, Danny. This source says 8%?

        http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/14/hl-compact.htm

        Anyway, the argument here seems to be different. I don’t think that better land use is controversial.

      • Danny Thomas

        Don,
        Looks like the discrepancy is the GCP separates forestry and refers to deforestation and “land use change” while the IPCC report includes Ag production.
        With you fully on the land use being by far less controversial which leads to a lack of undertanding on focus on that which is doable. But no one asked me.
        Thanks for that link!

      • don, ” Anyway, the main argument here seems to be that maybe ACO2 ain’t the villain in the rise in CO2 in the atmosphere”

        More like fossil fuel related ACO2 isn’t the only game in town. Land use emissions are about 3 times more than you thought and since they went from a net sink to a net source they could have 50% of the impact. The 13C only roughly separates out the FF part, land use is still part of the A team.

      • Don Monfort

        haynie, haynie, haynie

        “It only takes about a five percent increase in the natural emission rate to more than account for the observed rise in atmospheric CO2.”

        How TF do you make that argument and ignore the fact that the amount of ACO2 is twice as much as is necessary to account for the rise in atmospheric CO2? And that is ADDED to the natural CO2. Can you substantiate that the natural CO2 has risen by 5%? Do some thinking.

      • Don Monfort

        Get serious, Capt. I thought the land use contribution is less than 10%. Let’s stipulate that I read a wrong source. Danny’s source says between 20-24%. that ain’t a difference of three times. In any case that’s still ACO2, land use is not the main argument here. Don’t you get that? I am surprised that otherwise intelligent and rational people are hung on this BS.

      • dikranmarsupial

        fhhaynie wrote “The total natural emissions of CO2 is at least 20 times anthropogenic emissions. It only takes about a five percent increase in the natural emission rate to more than account for the observed rise in atmospheric CO2.”

        Whether the rise is natural depends on whether or not total natural emissions exceeds total natural uptake. It is only the difference between natural uptake and natural emissions that matters and while anthropogenic emissions may be 20 times smaller than natural emissions, natural uptake is bigger still. Anthropogenic emissions are not small compared to the difference between natural emissions and natural uptake, which is why anthropogenic emissions dominate.

        Again you demonstrate that you don’t understand the mass balance argument which shows with high certainty that natural uptake is greater than natural emissions.

      • I readily see that you cannot believe that natural emissions can exceed natural sinks. How do you explain those cycles in the net long term accumulation rate data? That isn’t balanced out over time.

      • don, “In any case that’s still ACO2, land use is not the main argument here. Don’t you get that? I am surprised that otherwise intelligent and rational people are hung on this BS.”

        Everyone is allowed a brain fart Don. If land use is responsible for 24% and net ACO2 emissions and was a “natural” sink sink prior to man, land use would be responsible for up to 48% of the CO2 remaining in the atmosphere. If you hadn’t bought into ‘possum’s straw that would be easy to understand. btw less than 10% to 24%+ urban is damn near 3 times :)

        Now Haynie screws up by calling the change in the “natural” sink natural. It isn’t really known and could be primarily man caused. You can’t assume away man’s potential impact on the “natural” sink or the possibility that the “natural” sink can change.

        Take the fertile cresent, looks like a freaking desert to me. You don’t think primitive slash and burn plus goat centric agriculture could have modified things a touch?

      • Don Monfort

        haynie. haynie

        If you have a sizable checking account with a lot of in-and-out activity and you always put in an extra $100 a month, beyond the net of the monthly transactions, what would you think if at the end of the year you only had a net gain in the balance of $50 a month? You would complain that your mass balance was off and the bank would say “Well, you got a lot of transactions, the total of which is a lot bigger than the measly $50 a month you say is missing.”

      • there are no feedbacks in your bank account. Consider this same exercise at the level of a bank with a million different accounts. What does the in activity for your account say about the net assets of the bank?

      • Take that further. Suppose you know someone is depositing a sizable but unknown variable amount each month and someone else is depositing a much smaller but known amount, and you know your wife spends a sizable but unknown amount. Are you going to tell your wife she spent too much if the bank statement shows a decrease?

      • dikranmarsupial

        curryja wrote “there are no feedbacks in your bank account. Consider this same exercise at the level of a bank with a million different accounts. What does the in activity for your account say about the net assets of the bank?”

        The transactions referred to in the analogy represent all natural and anthropogenic emissions and uptake. So one wonders what these million different account represent? The carbon cycles on other planets perhaps, which obviously would have no effect on the carbon cycle on ours.

        It is a shame that all too often when an analogy is used in discussing climate it is almost inevitable that someone will extend it without engaging constructively with the message that is was clearly intended to explain.

      • Don Monfort

        Judith, Judith

        If you put in a $100 a month net of your other transactions, you will increase the assets of the bank by a $100 a month. If somebody else withdraws a hundred dollars a month, your money is still there. It is still an asset of the bank. It ain’t going to get lost or confused with somebody else’s money. If the assets of the bank are increasing, you contributed to the increase in assets, by $100/month, period. If the assets of the bank are decreasing, they would have decreased more without your deposits. This is not at all complicated.

      • Don Monfort

        PS: If the banks assets are increasing by $100/mo, you are doing it.

      • dikranmarsupial

        fhhaynie “Take that further. Suppose you know someone is depositing a sizable but unknown variable amount each month and someone else is depositing a much smaller but known amount, and you know your wife spends a sizable but unknown amount. Are you going to tell your wife she spent too much if the bank statement shows a decrease?”

        If I shared an account with my wife only, and it attracted no interest or bank charges (i.e. it strictly obeyed conservation of money) and I noticed that the balance rose at lest than the rate of my net transactions then I would indeed know that my wife was taking more money out then she was putting in. I would know this even if I didn’t have detailed knowledge of her transactions.

        Of course this analogy is usually extended by introducing bank robbers or other obfuscatory factors, but since my transactions represent anthropogenic emissions and my wife’s represent all natural emissions and uptake, that only leaves extraterrestrial or supernatural influences for the bank robber to represent. Good luck with that!

      • So you would blame your wife for spending too much before you complained to your big depositor for not depositing enough. That certainly isn’t a win-win.

      • > there are no feedbacks in your bank account

        In mine there are.

        Switch to another bank ASAP.

      • Don Monfort

        I am happy that you are enjoying this, willy. You now know how we are amused when we see jokers like you, dikran, kenny et al. put on displays of willful ignorance and stubborn intransigence when you all are attempting to defend the indefensible parts of your dogma.

      • > we are amused

        The majestic we, again. Are you sure your protection services grant you the right to use that trick, Don Don.

        I’m not here to defend anything, BTW, except my own claims.

        ***

        Do you think Judy will link to this post when she’ll post something about and her (?) “circular reasoning” argument about detection and attribution in the AR5?

      • Banking analogies

        This comment is mostly to assist me as I grapple with 21st century technology! However, a possibly useful analogy is the daily interbank market where tens of trillions of dollars etc of deposits are traded (‘churned’). There are comparatively tiny injections of external capital (billions) into the system each day. In the course of a day’s business, banks will create new assets (loans) which typically will lead to new deposits (bank liabilities). How much of these new deposits can be attributed to the tiny external capital injections (anthro CO2) and how much to internal banking activity (natural CO2)? Someone might know the answers, but they are not telling.

  40. dikranmarsupial

    curryja writes | May 7, 2015 at 8:51 pm |

    The issue is this. Our understanding of the carbon budget has significant uncertainties, especially the land component. See the global carbon project http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/carbonbudget/

    This suggests a rather fundamental misunderstanding of the mass balance
    argument. The mass balance argument is used to INFER the difference between total natural sources and total natural sinks FROM observations of the atmospheric growth rate and anthropogenic emissions, both of which are know with sufficiently low uncertainty to be very confident that the natural environment is a net carbon sink (emissions records would need to be halved even for the natural environment to be carbon neutral). The uncertainty in natural fluxes is irrelevant as their values do not appear anywhere in the argument.

    • That is the circular reasoning that causes the IPPC “mass balance” argument to fail. It requires assuming that natural emissions have not increased significantly in the past 50 years or that those increases have been exactly balanced out by increasing sinks. In a out of equilbrium or out of steady-state dynamic system, that is not very likely.

      • dikranmarsupial

        You obviously did not read my comment, the mass balance argument does not assume **anything** about natural emissions or uptake, it is used to **infer** the difference between natural uptake and natural sources.

      • fhhaynie,
        Come on, think about what Dikran is saying. If nature was a source then the rate at which atmospheric CO2 is rising would have to exceed that rate at which we’re emitting CO2. It does not, therefore nature cannot be a source.

      • No. The Mass balance is A+N-Sinks= accumulation or dA/dt+dN/dt+dSinks/dt= accumulation rate. Where dA/dt is the known emission rate, dN/dt is unknown natural emission rates, dSinks/dt is unknown sink rates, and accumulation rates are known. You have one equation with two unknowns. We need another equation that links the two unknowns. That is where the 13CO2 index is used. Otherwise you have to make some assumptions.

      • dA/dt+dN/dt+dSinks/dt= accumulation rate. Where dA/dt is the known emission rate, dN/dt is unknown natural emission rates, dSinks/dt is unknown sink rates, and accumulation rates are known. You have one equation with two unknowns.

        No, we can rewrite it as

        dA/dt + dNat/dt = accum rate,

        where dNat/dt = dN/dt + dSinks/dt.

        We know, or can make a reasonable estimate for, dA/dt, and we know the accum rate. We therefore have an equation with one unknown which is the net natural uptake rate. Since dA/dt > accum rate, it is negative and nature cannot be a source.

    • dik, Natural sources would be a net sink on the way up and a net source on the way down. For some magic mix of temperature, concentration, biological activity and weathering, there might be an equilibrium of sorts. If you know that an equilibrium can exist and that the system is close to that equilibrium, then you can confidently say that a relatively small perturbation is causing this or that. The ratio of c13 to c12 might give you some insight as to where you are with respect to that hypothetical equilibrium.

      In the transition from a glacial to interglacial there is about a 90 ppmv change in atmospheric CO2 concentration. As far as I can tell, none of that is considered anthropogentic and 90 ppmv appears to be significant wrt 400ppmv. Mainly northern hemispheric leaf stoma reconstructions indicate that there is more NH variability in CO2 than there is in ice core reconstructed CO2. There are some question about long term averaging of ice core CO2 since it is a gas and less than perfectly encapsulated in different types of ice/snow accumulation at the ice core locations and there is an obvious lag of CO2 to temperature in the ice core reconstructions. So having another method to reduce uncertainties should be a good thing.

      I have no clue if Mr. Haynie’s post will be useful, but since atmospheric CO2 forcing depends on atmospheric CO2 concentration which depends on the efficiency of the natural sink, I can see where something a little better than a simplistic model might be useful. For example land use is estimated to be responsible for about 1/3 of emissions and the estimated land use emissions can be off by a factor of two. If land use estimates are low, then land use mitigation would have more impact. Conversely, reducing FF emissions would have less impact.

      See how that works? The more you know the better decisions you can make.

      • dikranmarsupial

        cap, the mass balance equation is not a model of the carbon cycle. It is a statement of a constraint that the carbon cycle must obey (and therefore any reasonable model of the carbon cycle). The observations of atmospheric CO2 and anthropogenic emissions show that either that constraint is violated or that the natural environment is a net carbon sink. Nothing you have written addresses that point.

      • dik,You need to move on to the next step. The mass balance by default assumes a balance or equilibrium should exist. It very well could exist, but there is other data and indicates it isn’t as stable a condition as ice cores would indicate. If you are trying to attribute portions of imbalances, you need more information.

        Haynie and what’s his name aren’t the only ones curious about this situation. Lowell Stott also believes there are other things needing to be considered with the southern ocean and the hemispheric seesaw. We are in the strong SH portion of the processional cycle, most of the imbalance in radiant forcing is in the SH and most of the OHC increase is in the SH. At one time Stott estimated that the current situation might produce around 30 ppmv increase in CO2. That would be a significant amount. So if 30 PPMV is “natural” and rest is FF/land use, then 25% of the increase would be unavoidable.

        So your mass balance constraint has a larger margin of error than you are admitting.

      • dikranmarsupial

        cap,

        “The mass balance by default assumes a balance or equilibrium should exist.”

        It doesn’t assume anything is in equilibrium, just that any carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere that isn’t taken up by the sinks must remain in the atmosphere. Here “balance” is just used to mean that the total amount of carbon in the carbon cycle is conserved. It doesn’t mean that natural sources and sinks are either static or in equilibrium (indeed the conclusions of the analysis show that neither is the case).

        We can move on from the mass balance analysis when it has been properly understood.

      • dikranmarsupial

        cap wrote “So your mass balance constraint has a larger margin of error than you are admitting.”

        no, the margin of error of the mass balance analysis depends only on the uncertainties in the estimates of the atmospheric growth rate and of anthropogenic emissions, as those are the only observations involved. If you think otherwise, it is an indication that you don’t understand the mass balance argument.

      • dik, “It doesn’t assume anything is in equilibrium, just that any carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere that isn’t taken up by the sinks must remain in the atmosphere.”

        Right, but the amount of uptake can vary. As I said you need to move on to the next step. If 25% of the amount left in the atmosphere is due to reduction in the sink efficiency do to something other than man’s activities, that is significant enough to be considered.

        Now while you say it doesn’t ASSUME anything it is ASSUMING that the amount left in the atmosphere is do to man’s activities or at least portrayed that way, period end of conversation. The carbon cycle probably isn’t quite that simple. As Dr. Curry said it likely isn’t 50% but it is extremely unlikely to be 0%.

      • dikranmarsupial

        cap wrote “Right, but the amount of uptake can vary. ”

        yes, and indeed it does, however the mass balance argument only shows that the natural environment is a net carbon sink, it doesn’t tell you whether it is because uptake has increased or natural emissions decreased, just that uptake has increased relative to natural emissions.

        As it happens both natural emissions and natural uptake have increased, but natural uptake by more than natural emissions. However the evidence for this is more uncertain, hence the need for satellites, but this is irrelevant to the mass balance argument.

        “As I said you need to move on to the next step. If 25% of the amount left in the atmosphere is due to reduction in the sink efficiency do to something other than man’s activities, that is significant enough to be considered.”

        Irrelevant, the question is whether the natural environment is a net source or a net sink. If it is a net sink it is opposing the rise in CO2, not causing it. If there has been a reduction in sink efficiency, then there must also have been a reduction in natural sources, for there to be conservation of matter.

        “Now while you say it doesn’t ASSUME anything it is ASSUMING that the amount left in the atmosphere is do to man’s activities or at least portrayed that way, period end of conversation.”

        That is a conclusion, not an assumption. If the natural environment is a net carbon sink, which is what the analysis shows, then the rise must be caused by anthropogenic emissions, because the natural environment is opposing the rise.

      • dik, ” the margin of error of the mass balance analysis depends only on the uncertainties in the estimates of the atmospheric growth rate and of anthropogenic emissions, as those are the only observations involved. If you think otherwise, it is an indication that you don’t understand the mass balance argument.”

        Okay, as I said on the way up you have a net sink and on the way down you have a net source. Since your mass balance only considers anthropogenic emissions and atmospheric growth rate. Since you only consider anthropoginic emissions, your simplistic mass balance model attributes all the increase to man. It ASSUMES all changes are due to man. It is kind of like have you stopped beating your wife yet.

        Basic mass balance CO2ppmv versus FF emissions only provides a reference. If the percentage of FF emissions left in the atmospheric changes with time, something else is going on. Some would like to know about the something else. If the rate can be changed to more efficient net sinkage by say planting co2 devouring shrubbery with pretty red flowers, you have an ascetically pleasing mitigation proposal that even dumb republicans might buy into.

        Carbon mass balance gives you a rough estimate, but it is time to move beyond rough estimates.

      • dikranmarsupial

        cap wrote “Okay, as I said on the way up you have a net sink and on the way down you have a net source. ”

        Sorry, I have already explained this further up the thread, and I have no interest in a cyclic argument-by-attrition, so I think I’ll leave it there.

      • Well, about 40 GT of land based carbon sinking was eliminated and 180 GT of carbon released in the process. Land plants currently sink about 120 GT. That is a 55% increase from preindustrial levels, 35% of current land plant CO2 sinking is due to increased CO2 fueled plant growth . So… Part of the rise in the CO2 level is the result of destroyed carbon sinking and the continued destruction of carbon sinking puts upward pressure on the CO2 level.

      • dik, “Sorry, I have already explained this further up the thread, and I have no interest in a cyclic argument-by-attrition, so I think I’ll leave it there.”

        Of course you don;t, you have your simplistic argument that the oceans and biosphere have been a net sink since at least 1950 and every thing has to be due to ACO2. Dr. Curry is concerned with attribution so you are pretty much wasting bandwidth.

      • dikranmarsupial: no, the margin of error of the mass balance analysis depends only on the uncertainties in the estimates of the atmospheric growth rate and of anthropogenic emissions, as those are the only observations involved.

        There are also uncertainties in the ocean/biosphere uptake rates, and the uncertainties in the flux rates of other sources. This is a clear-cut example of other parts of the problem that are not being adequately measured.

      • dikranmarsupial

        matthewrmarler wrote “There are also uncertainties in the ocean/biosphere uptake rates, and the uncertainties in the flux rates of other sources. This is a clear-cut example of other parts of the problem that are not being adequately measured.”

        As the mass balance analysis does not depend in any way on knowledge of the values of these fluxes, the margin of error of the conclusions does not depend on those uncertainties.

      • dikranmarsupial: Sorry, I have already explained this further up the thread, and I have no interest in a cyclic argument-by-attrition, so I think I’ll leave it there.

        You have an analytical scheme that is clearly too simple for the problem at hand. When the ignored complexities are pointed out to you, your response is to deny them outright, rather than explain clearly and with reasonable completeness and accuracy why they are ignorable.

      • “When the ignored complexities are pointed out to you, your response is to deny them outright”
        Exact same experience I had with monkey man discussing the ineptitude of climate models due to the nonlinear nature of the problem.

      • dikranmarsupial: As the mass balance analysis does not depend in any way on knowledge of the values of these fluxes, the margin of error of the conclusions does not depend on those uncertainties.

        Unless you have decided to ignore altogether the problem of evaluating how much of the increase in atmospheric CO2 has been caused by fossil fuel burning, that is absurd.

      • dikranmarsupial

        “You have an analytical scheme that is clearly too simple for the problem at hand.”

        It is sufficient to show that the natural environment is a net carbon sink, but nothing more than that. If I was using it to show more than that, you would have a point, but I am not.

        It is a simple constraint on the carbon cycle, but it is a constraint nevertheless, and that constraint is violated by any hypothesis that involves the natural environment being a net carbon source, given the observation that atmospheric CO2 is rising more slowly than anthropogenic emissions. So if you want to argue that the natural environment is a net carbon source, you need to explain why the carbon cycle violates conservation of matter (good luck with that one) or show that the observations that it actually uses (atmospheric CO2 and anthropogenic emissions) are unreliable.

    • […] very confident that the natural environment is a net carbon sink […]

      When it comes to “net carbon sink”, the “natural environment” is a myth.

      There are individual objects, such as peat bogs, swamps, forests, ocean regions. (Actually, sphagnum leaves, leaves of swamp plants and patches of swampy ground, tree leaves and patches of forest ground, small patches of ocean.) Each has its own behavior, determined by a variety of factors of which atmospheric pCO2 is only one of many.

      For sources, the overwhelming category is respiration, which AFAIK is little affected (if at all) by atmospheric pCO2. For sinks, the relationship between pCO2 and the characteristics of enzymes such as RuBisCO is important, but probably not overwhelming. And, more importantly, different for every detailed sink.

      Thus “global carbon budgets” tell us nothing of use. They’re just artifacts of simplistic models.

      • AK,

        There is an elegant solution for this problem: the oxygen balance. Fossil fuel burning uses oxygen. The amount can be calculated and the oxygen decline in the atmosphere can be measured. Ocean O2 movements are restricted to the influence of temperature on O2 solubility in seawater. But near all plants produce O2 with photosynthesis by taking in CO2 and near all plant use or decay uses O2 to get the energy and produces CO2.

        The O2 measurements show that there is a small deficit of O2 decay based on fossil fuel calculations. Thus the biosphere as a whole (land and sea plants, bacteria, molds, insects, animals) is a net producer of O2, a net user of CO2 and preferably 12CO2. That is quantified:
        http://www.bowdoin.edu/~mbattle/papers_posters_and_talks/BenderGBC2005.pdf

    • The mass balance argument as you describe is zeroth order, consideration of the carbon budget (as per global carbon project) is first order. To really understand this, we need to move beyond this kind of analysis and consider regional variability and feedbacks. The new Orbiting Carbon Observatory will be a big help wrt regional variability.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Thankyou for your reply, however you have not answered my question. If a “zeroth order” constraint shows that the observations are inconsistent with the natural environment being a net carbon source, then we have to accept that.

        Do you accept that the mass balance analysis shows that the natural environment has been a net carbon sink for the last 50 years (for which we have good records of atmospheric CO2 from the Mauna Loa Observatory)?

      • dikranmarsupial

        By the way, conservation of mass is not a “zeroth order consideration”, it is a “zeroth order constraint”. Unless you can argue that carbon dioxide spontaneously disappears without being taken up by the natural sinks, then the mass balance constraint must hold exactly, both in reality and in any reasonable N-th order model.

      • Unless you can argue that carbon dioxide spontaneously disappears without being taken up by the natural sinks, then the mass balance constraint must hold exactly, both in reality and in any reasonable N-th order model.

        So what? It doesn’t have anything to do with why atmospheric pCO2 is rising. It’s just an observational artifact.

      • dikranmarsupial: Unless you can argue that carbon dioxide spontaneously disappears without being taken up by the natural sinks, then the mass balance constraint must hold exactly, both in reality and in any reasonable N-th order model.

        In order for the mass balance argument to be a constraint, you have to show that all the sources and sinks have been identified, and that all are accurately measured. Problems like this arise in statistics (the problem of unmeasured covariates), causal analysis (the problem of unmeasured pathways), pharmacokinetics (unmeasured natural sources and elimination processes).

      • dikranmarsupial

        matthewrmarler wrote “In order for the mass balance argument to be a constraint, you have to show that all the sources and sinks have been identified, and that all are accurately measured.”

        Nonsense, if I have a sieve and pour water into it fast enough for the level of water in the sieve to rise, I don’t need to accurately measure the water flowing out through each hole, or even have counted the holes in order to say that the rate at which the water is rising in the sieve is the difference between the amount flowing in from the tap and the amount flowing out through the holes. That is analogeous to mass balance, which simply says the rise in atmospheric CO2 is the difference between total emissions and total uptake.

      • dikranmarsupial:

        Does your mass balance analysis assume all of the increase in CO2 sinks is natural?

        Don’t we need to look at natural versus anthropogenic for both emissions and sinks increases?

        If humans disappeared in 1600, wouldn’t the world still have warmed?

        Wouldn’t that warming still have caused the CO2 to rise from 280 ppm to some higher number?

        Wouldn’t that in turn increase plant growth, which in turn raises the natural CO2 sink?

        With humans here, we are emitting more CO2 – but are we not also increasing the CO2 sink over and above the natural increase in CO2 sink?

        Does your analysis account for that human CO2 sink increase?

      • Does your mass balance analysis assume all of the increase in CO2 sinks is natural?

        No, that isn’t really relevant. We have 3 reservoirs – oceans/atmosphere/biosphere. The oceans can be both a source and a sink. The biosphere can be both a source and a sink. The other source is our burning of fossil fuels, which is not associated with a sink since we are not creating more fossil fuels to replace those that we’ve burning. If the rate at which the atmospheric CO2 is rising is slower than the rate at which we’re emitting it then we have to be the source.

      • ATTP:

        What confuses me about this argument is wouldn’t everything be true even without humans?

        Again – say humans disappear at 1600 – so no emissions by humans after that.

        The world would still have warmed – naturally.

        CO2 would have risen from 280 – naturally.

        Sinks would rise naturally – but presumably slower than the rise in atmospheric CO2.

        So all the conditions you cite are met by nature.

        So how do we subtract the natural portion out of the anthro portion?

        You just assume the entire increase is anthro – but that cannot be correct (as I see it).

      • dikranmarsupial said “Nonsense, if I have a sieve and pour water into it fast enough for the level of water in the sieve to rise, I don’t need to accurately measure the water flowing out through each hole, or even have counted the holes in order to say that the rate at which the water is rising in the sieve is the difference between the amount flowing in from the tap and the amount flowing out through the holes.”

        Isn’t the situation that we are pouring water into a sieve, but it is also raining into the sieve. Don’t we need to know how much it is raining to measure how much of the the rise is anthro?

      • dikranmarsupial

        Richard Arrett wrote “Isn’t the situation that we are pouring water into a sieve, but it is also raining into the sieve. Don’t we need to know how much it is raining to measure how much of the the rise is anthro?”

        O.K., consider we have two taps pouring water into the sieve, a hot tap (representing anthropogenic emissions) and a cold tap (representing natural emissions). We measure the water flowing in from the hot tap and the level of water in the sieve. If we notice that the water in the sieve is rising at a rate faster than it is being poured in from the hot tap, then we know that water is pouring out through the holes (natural uptake) faster than it is coming in through the cold tap. We don’t need to measure the water flowing in through the cold tap to know this, or the rate at which it is flowing out through the holes (or even the number of holes). This is because we know the system obeys the principle of conservation of matter, any water that is poured in from the taps that doesn’t fall through the holes stays in the sieve.

      • dikranmarsupial: if I have a sieve and pour water into it fast enough for the level of water in the sieve to rise, I don’t need to accurately measure the water flowing out through each hole, or even have counted the holes in order to say that the rate at which the water is rising in the sieve is the difference between the amount flowing in from the tap and the amount flowing out through the holes.

        You don’t have a sieve, do you? As usual, the argument by extremes is irrelevant to the case under consideration. For the CO2 analogy, you have a human source and many natural sources, most unmeasured; you have many sinks, most unmeasured. You don’t have anything corresponding to a sieve. You want a quantitative estimate of how much of the CO2 change in one measured compartment is the result of change in one of the measured sources. Every estimate you can make depends on assumptions about the changes in the unmeasured fluxes.

      • dikranmarsupial:

        Ok – that does make sense, and does address my question.

        Does this also work if humans punched a couple of extra holes in the sieve?

        Do we need to know how much water is exiting through the human made holes?

      • dikranmarsupial

        matthewrmarler wrote “You don’t have a sieve, do you?”

        Its an analogy, and not a particularly difficult one to understand. The sieve represents that atmosphere, in which the amount of CO2 is directly measured. If we know the level of water in the sieve (atmospheric CO2) and the rate at which water is flowing through the hot tap (anthropogenic emissions) then we don’t need to know anything about the nature of the cold tap (natural emissions), or the holes in the sieve (natural uptake) to know that water is flowing out through the holes faster than it is coming in through the cold tap (natural uptake is greater than natural emissions). This is a very straightforward argument, and most are able to grasp it without difficulty, until that is is is applied to CO2!

      • dikranmarsupial

        Richard Arrett “Does this also work if humans punched a couple of extra holes in the sieve?”

        If additional holes in the sieve punched by humans would correspond to CO2 taken out of the atmosphere by human activities, for instance planting forests or carbon capture and storage. However at the present time, the amount of CO2 taken out of the atmosphere is far too small to have a noticable effect on the outcome, and so is normally left out of the analysis.

      • Don Monfort

        “This is a very straightforward argument, and most are able to grasp it without difficulty, until that is is is applied to CO2!”

        End of story.

      • “Its an analogy, and not a particularly difficult one to understand. ”

        Simplistic and fallacious analogies are Dkiran’s game.

        His response at SKS to my pointing out the nonlinear nature of the climate problem and the absurdity of prediction thereof:

        “now consider placing an electromagnet to one side of the (iron) double pendulum. …”

        “So with the double pendulm, its movement is chaotic, but the statistical properties of that movement is deterministic and non-chaotic.”

        Sophistic nonsense.

    • Here is the mass balance argument summarized by Ferdinand.
      4.5 GtC/year = 9 GtC/year + X – Y
      X – Y = – 4.5 GtC/year
      X and Y are natural sources and sinks and the planet is a net sink. Trouble is, ANY natural source greater than 4.5Gt can be substituted.

      Ferdinand does not believe that the actual molecules humans burn are the ones to be found in the increase. He sees it like JC’s stadium wave or an ocean wave where a perturbation moves through the system.

      This seems a different aspect and how it relates to mass balance is not yet clear to me.

      • dikranmarsupial

        gymnosperm, Ferdinand is correct on this point. This is because the vast exchange fluxes between the atmosphere and oceans and biosphere exchange molecules of atmospheric CO2 (including those from anthropogenic emissions) with CO2 from the oceans and biosphere. This is a straight swap and hence doesn’t affect atmospheric CO2 levels, but it does mean that only a small proportion of the excess CO2 is of directly anthropogenic emissions, even though anthropogenic emissions are responsible for the rise. This may sound counter-intuitive, but a proper understanding of the difference between residence time and adjustment time is important in understanding the effects of anthropogenic emissions. There is some discussion of this in my paper:

        Gavin C. Cawley, On the atmospheric residence time of anthropogenically sourced carbon dioxide, Energy & Fuels, volume 25, number 11, pages 5503–5513, September 2011.

        http://theoval.cmp.uea.ac.uk/publications/pdf/ef2011a.pdf

      • Back when Cawley wrote this paper, we had a long e-mail conversation over his methodology. I suggested he have his work reviewed by a qualified chemical engineer who knows how to do a mass balance in a flow system. He mentioned Ferdinand. Google both to find out how qualified they are.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Ah resorting to the ad-hominem, how dissapointing. The mass balance argument also appears in the IPCC report and journal papers (see references in my paper) written by carbon cycle specialists, so if it must rest on anybodies reputation, it should be theirs as they have priority.

      • I suggested he have his work reviewed by a qualified chemical engineer who knows how to do a mass balance in a flow system.

        Is is possible that you’re confusing mass balance in a multi-component system, with mass balance of a single component in a multi-component system?

        Ah resorting to the ad-hominem, how dissapointing.

        Indeed, but not all that surprising?

      • fhhaynie,

        I am a B.Sc, in industrial chemistry, from some very long time ago (1965), calculated a lot of things, including pumping viscous liquids in (batch) reactors to make synthetic resins and some continuous reactors too.

        I suppose that I am “qualified” to judge a mass balance or a steady state process or a (chemical or physical) equilibrium, etc… Be it that it takes more and more time to do the math, as that is completely rusty…

      • I knew of your education and work experience before we started our discussions and have great respect for your environmental concerns and honesty. However, your mass balance model would not have passed a chemical engineering graduate school test, possibly because your math is rusty or you did not take graduate level courses on transport phenomena. I know it is hard for anyone to admit they made mistakes, but it is always best to do so. I may be off in my analysis, but I am willing to bet that I am closer to the truth than either you or Bart. Like you, I am a retired old school environmental researcher with grand children and even great grand children. My concern is for their future.

  41. Don Monfort

    “By the way, conservation of mass is not a “zeroth order consideration”, it is a “zeroth order constraint”. Unless you can argue that carbon dioxide spontaneously disappears without being taken up by the natural sinks, then the mass balance constraint must hold exactly, both in reality and in any reasonable N-th order model.’

    The pouched one is correct. And it doesn’t matter if there is not one ACO2 molecule to be found in the air today. Gazillions of gigatons have been added to the atmosphere and if they are not remaining in the atmosphere, then they are in natural sinks taking up space that would otherwise be occupied by natural CO2.

    • don, does the mass balance tell you what percentage of ACO2 is supposed to be taken up by the natural sinks? The sky is blue is often correct but not very informative.

      • dikranmarsupial

        No, and nobody claims that it does. It does however show that the natural environment is a net carbon sink. There is a simple first-order box model in my paper that is used to show that the anthropogenic CO2 rapidly ends up in the natural sinks because of the short residence time, even though the cause of the rise is anthropogenic. This has been known for a long time and is explained in section 1.2 of the first IPCC WG1 report (about page 8 IIRC).

      • dik, “No, and nobody claims that it does. It does however show that the natural environment is a net carbon sink.”

        well, duh. Right now the natural environment is a net carbon sink. The natural environment can also be a net carbon source. Per Stott at this particular portion of the precessional cycle the environment should be a net source. 5000 year ago there was a shift in the trend from sink to source. The point is how strong a sink should the natural environment be at this point in time.

        As I said you need to move to the next step.

      • Don Monfort

        I don’t care how much of the ACO2 is taken up by the natural sinks. Without the ACO2 the natural sinks would be taking up natural CO2. Are you claiming that the gazzillions of tons of ACO2 have been accommodated by natural sinks without crowing out their natural CO2 cousins?

      • don, “I don’t care how much of the ACO2 is taken up by the natural sinks. Without the ACO2 the natural sinks would be taking up natural CO2. Are you claiming that the gazzillions of tons of ACO2 have been accommodated by natural sinks without crowing out their natural CO2 cousins?”

        If I sprayed agent orange on all of North America I would have one serious impact on the “natural” CO2 sink. When you convert 50% of the land surface of the Earth to something other than “natural” that might have an impact as well. Since man has been busy doing stuff for thousands of years, exactly what is “natural”.

        Mountain top mining Chinese style. That pre-dates “pre-industrial”.

      • Don Monfort | May 8, 2015 at 12:44 pm |
        Without the ACO2 the natural sinks would be taking up natural CO2.”

        By that argument, we are very lucky indeed to have started pumping in CO2 when we did, for otherwise, CO2 would have declined to zero by now.

        So, why is the argument flawed? Because it is static. Because it assumes the natural sinks do not react to the amount of available CO2.
        And, this is wrong. The sinks dynamically expand in response to the ACO2. Take away the ACO2, and the sinks shrink back to a level consistent with the natural input.

        Thus, while is is quite possible to have nature a net sink right now, if you take away the anthropogenic forcing, it does not necessarily remain so. And, it follows that, if you never had the ACO2 in the first place, nature could easily have been the net source that drove atmospheric concentration to its current level.

        What that means is that a portion of the “natural sinks” are, in fact, unnatural. They were induced to form by the anthropogenic forcing. They are as artificial as beer is artificial, even though the yeast excreting it are “natural”. Or, as artificial as a bone graft is artificial, even though the mechanism of bone growth is natural. We induced the natural activity which sucks up the excess input. We created it. Without us, it would not have happened.

        And so, in a very real sense, the sinks are split into “natural” and “artificial” portions. The “artificial” portion is entirely due to our pumping CO2 into the atmosphere. It would not have come to be had we not.

        So, when you say N – S is less than zero, you have to split it, and say N – SN – SA is less than zero. Now, you have one inequality, and two unknowns, and it is impossible to bound the one independently of the other. It is very possible to have N – SN – SA be less than zero, but have N – SN be greater than zero.

        And, that is why the pseudo-mass balance argument fails. That is why it is stupid beyond measure. Really, just dumb stupid. Stupid beyond words. Stupid beyond imagining. Carpet lint stupid. Toenail fungus stupid. Really, really, reallly, genuinely, insanely, immeasureably stupid. Have I made my point?

        Are you claiming that the gazzillions of tons of ACO2 have been accommodated by natural sinks without crowing out their natural CO2 cousins?

        The “bazzillion-gazzillions” of tons of natural CO2? Sure. No problem. It’s a drop in the bucket. We are the proverbial flea on the elephant’s back, and you think we are steering it. Get a sense of proportion.

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Captain,

        Your are utterly wrong. Please think this subject through again carefully.

        There are many interesting questions you can ask about natural sources and sinks for CO2, such as the validity/accuracy of the Bern model, etc., and those questions are real questions which are important to ask and answer. But first you have to accept the mass balance constraint: We are putting much more CO2 into the atmosphere than the measured rate of rise. Therefore, the Earth (in total, net) is (MUST BE!) a sink for CO2, not a source. It can be nothing else. The details what processes are involved do not in any way invalidate the basic mass balance.

      • stevefitzpatrick – You are wrong. This is a dynamic system. The measured rate of rise being less than the sum total of a particular input over time does not establish that input as being the driving factor.

        It is all a matter of sink activity, which expands in response to forcing, whether natural or anthropogenic. If the sinks are aggressive enough, then they can effectively take out everything humans put in, and any observed rise of any significance would then have to be a result of sinks not keeping up with the much larger natural inputs.

        The indications are that the sinks are very aggressive. The rate of change of atmospheric CO2, and hence the level, can be almost entirely determined from the temperature record. Human inputs are effectively superfluous.

        This is very basic feedback theory. Very well established, and not in any way controversial. Not that I think that will convince you. Trying to explain to someone who just can’t understand it is like trying to explain why it is always worth changing your initial choice in the Monte Hall problem. Some people just can’t get past the mental block that says the odds just must be 50/50.

      • Don Monfort

        They have a mental block on that mass balance thing, steve. It’s weird.

      • SteveF, “We are putting much more CO2 into the atmosphere than the measured rate of rise. Therefore, the Earth (in total, net) is (MUST BE!) a sink for CO2, not a source. ”

        And what part of no s$it sherlock do you not understand? The question is how efficient should the sink be. The mass balance constraint by itself doesn’t provide a clue.

      • Don Monfort

        barty says:”If the sinks are aggressive enough, then they can effectively take out everything humans put in, and any observed rise of any significance would then have to be a result of sinks not keeping up with the much larger natural inputs.”

        Ah, the sinks remove the ACO2 first. We should have known that.

      • How is it you don’t understand, Don? If I have two inputs, one equal to 1 unit, and another equal to 99 units, and I uniformly remove 99% of them, then I have 1 unit left over. Of that 1 unit, 0.01 is from the first source, and 0.99 is from the second. IOW, the first input is an insignificant driver of the output.

      • Don Monfort

        barty, barty

        You are assuming that the dynamic system has a desire to keep ACO2 from accumulating in the atmosphere. Prove it.

        “The measured rate of rise being less than the sum total of a particular input over time does not establish that input as being the driving factor.”

        It’s the factor that makes the difference at the margin. Add a pint of water to a 5 gallon bucket that has 4.9 gallons of water in it and it will overflow.

        Would you see it the same way if the additional gazillions of tons of CO2 were coming from volcanoes?

      • Time again:

        The amount of uptake has increased five-fold since 1960.
        If concentration was zero, what would uptake be?

        Uptake is a function of concentration, especially for the sequestering deep water formation.

        There are natural sources, but the natural sinks are larger and are growing with increased concentration.

        Deep water formation slows towards zero where ice is thick enough.
        CO2 update also slows towards zero where ice is thick enough.
        Since there is plenty of cold air formation, much lower than zero degrees, the change in global average temperature is not a big factor in natural uptake.

        Natural uptake driven by concentration will continue to increase, even if emissions slow, meaning emissions and uptake are converging.

      • Actually, this is not bad for illustrating the problem with the “mass balance” argument. Suppose the first input is

        H = 2

        The second input is

        N = 98

        The quantity removed is

        S = 0.99*(H+N) = 99

        The sum total is N + H – S = 1, and H = 2 is twice that, so the remainder is due to H, no?

        No. The remainder is 0.02 from H, and 0.98 from N. The fact that N – S = -1 is negative does not establish that H is responsible for the remainder at all.

        Why? Because S depends on BOTH H and N. The net result from N alone is N – 0.99*N = 0.98. The fact that N – 0.99*(N+H) = -1 is less than zero doesn’t establish a thing about attribution.

      • > And, that is why the pseudo-mass balance argument fails. That is why it is stupid beyond measure. Really, just dumb stupid. Stupid beyond words. Stupid beyond imagining. Carpet lint stupid. Toenail fungus stupid. Really, really, reallly, genuinely, insanely, immeasureably stupid. Have I made my point?

        If hammering the same assertions over and over again counts as having made a point, you bet.

        Or not. Perhaps we’d need another paragraph of two full of “stupid.”

        Stupid, stupid, stupid.

      • Willard – take a look at the illustration above your post. If you do not agree after reading it over that the pseudo-mass balance argument is stupid, if you do not grok my supreme annoyance with it at that point, then I don’t know what more I can do.

      • I think what Bartemis is suggesting is that if you have carbon, you get to make stuff with it. Like plants and people. If you take away carbon you have to make less stuff. It is dynamic. Oil turns into life. A nifty trick.

      • I agree it’s a very nifty trick, Ragnaar, so nifty in fact that I think we could use it to destroy the very concept of causality.

      • Don Monfort

        This is all you need to know about barty:

        ”If the sinks are aggressive enough, then they can effectively take out everything humans put in, and any observed rise of any significance would then have to be a result of sinks not keeping up with the much larger natural inputs.”

        He has his own version of the mass balance argument and he throws in natural sinks that prefer to take out the ACO2, first. What a joker.

      • Don Monfort | May 8, 2015 at 8:18 pm |
        “He has his own version of the mass balance argument and he throws in natural sinks that prefer to take out the ACO2, first. “
        Just, wow. I very clearly showed how this works, and how it is a matter of proportions, and of the sinks acting equally on natural and anthropogenic inputs. You don’t really get math at all, do you?

        willard (@nevaudit) | May 8, 2015 at 7:44 pm |

        That is the so-called “mass balance” argument in a nutshell, Willard. N – S is less than zero, therefore the rise is from H. Only, it very plainly isn’t when S is a feedback depending on the previouslly accumulated CO2, and the feedback is aggressive (factor of 0.99 in the illustration).

        I focused on one step of the iteration

        CO2(k) = CO2(k-1) + N + H – 0.99*CO2(k)

        For N a constant 98 and H a constant 2, then with CO2(0) = 0, we have

        CO2(1) = 100
        CO2(2) = 101
        CO2(3) = 101.01
        CO2(4) = 101.0101

        etc… At each step, we have

        N – 0.99*CO2(1) = -1
        N – 0.99*CO2(2) = -1.99
        N – 0.99*CO2(3) = -1.9999
        N – 0.99*CO2(4) = -2.0000

        At every step, “nature”, as represented by the differences above, is a net sink. Yet, N is responsible for 98% of the rise, and H for 2%.

        The sinks respond to all CO2, both human generated and natural. As long as there is an H input and CO2 is rising slower than the virtual accumulation of H, then natural inputs minus sinks will be negative. But, that does not tell you if the rise is mostly from humans or nature.

      • Willard:
        I am not questioning general causality. We have caused part of the rise.
        We have CO2 and CH2O. Which does Carbon (C) prefer, the first or the latter? Neither, it’s an element. And it seems to prefer the deep oceans as there’s a lot of it there. We might say since it takes energy to get from CO2 to CH20 and things lose energy it prefers to be CO2 rather than the latter. In the presence of sunlight it wants to be part of a carbohydrate I think. But that would mean the Sun would effect the sinks. Since water can combine with CO2 to get CH2O, then precipitation also effect sinking. Generally speaking temperature increases increase CO2 to CH2O conversion, again effecting the sinking. Marching right off the cliff, during a glacial, what form does carbon prefer? We may lack sunlight, humidity and warmth. Then it might best be insulation, CO2.

      • Perhaps “elucidating” was too offensive.

        Let’s try this other route by showing:

        [W]hen you say N – S is less than zero, you have to split it, and say N – SN – SA is less than zero. Now, you have one inequality, and two unknowns, and it is impossible to bound the one independently of the other. It is very possible to have N – SN – SA be less than zero, but have N – SN be greater than zero.

        Why? Because S depends on BOTH H and N.

        If we accept that SA is established as being real, and that SN can’t be distinguished from SA, then we group everything under SA, which I believe means that everything’s anthropogenic, if I follow Bartemis’ notation properly.

        I can live with that.

        ***

        An interlude:

      • Don Monfort

        You sticking with this foolishness, barty:”If the sinks are aggressive enough, then they can effectively take out everything humans put in, and any observed rise of any significance would then have to be a result of sinks not keeping up with the much larger natural inputs.”

        Show us how it works with real numbers, barty. That made up crap is inoperable. We know that ACO2 is gazillions of gigatons. How much is the increase in natural CO2, if any? Show your work. Real numbers this time, barty. Don’t just keep making crap up, barty. Ferdinand is watching you. He is liable to jump in and embarrass you, again.

      • Bart,

        Your reasoning doesn’t fit an equilibrium process:

        If you start at steady state, 98 N is going in, 98 S is going out. A = 1000

        Add 2 H: 2 H + 98 N is going in but 98.2 S is going out, depending of the response rate of the sinks.
        That gives 1.8 from H left in 1001.8 A and 0.2 extra sink caused by H.
        All in mass flows, not original molecules…

        next year:
        Add 2.5 H: 2.5 H + 97.8 N is going in, 98.5 S is going out.
        That gives 1.8 from H left in 1003.6 A, 0.2 less N and 0.5 extra sink caused by H

        etc…

        The point is that the sinks don’t react on momentary inputs, they react on the total increased pressure in the atmosphere, which gives currently a net sink of ~2.15 ppmv for 110 ppmv CO2 pressure above steady state.
        Moreover, the 98 N and 98 S is mainly temperature dependent, while the 2.15 ppmv sink rate is pressure (difference) dependent…

      • Willard – SA is created by the anthropogenic input.

        It’s like feeding tribbles. The more you feed them, the more they grow and reproduce.

        Or, like the fizziness of a soda. The more pressure you put it under, the more CO2 dissolves into it.

        That is how the sinks work. They respond to the ambient level in the atmosphere, and remove a portion of it.

        If that ambient level is increased from any source, then the sink activity increases, too.

        If there were no anthropogenic inputs, SA would be zero. SN and SA cannot be distinguised by content, but one is the result of natural inputs, and the other a result of human activity.

        For nature to be a net sink wholly independent of human activity, then one would have to show N – SN less than zero.

        But, nobody is showing that. They are saying N – SN – SA is less than zero, and then blithely dismissing SA as zero.

        It isn’t zero. It is induced by anthropogenic forcing, and it is some fractional value of it. When the fraction is large enough, it becomes impossible for human inputs to be the driver.

        And, the fraction becomes large when the sinks are aggressive. And, the available evidence does, indeed, tell us that the sinks are aggressive.

      • I tried to point out earlier to Bart that arguing that his analysis is superior on the basis of others’ analyses as being “dumb” might be a sub-optimal approach. But apparently Judith thinks that my doing so isn’t “useful.”

        Will the 3rd time be the charm?

      • Don, I’ve tried to be nice, and to lead you through the steps, but you just insist on being a blithering idiot.

        What can I say? I’m done with you.

        Ferdinand – No. The equations I gave can be considered the perturbation from the equilibrium. Superposition holds for this linear system.

      • Ferdinand – No. The equations I gave can be considered the perturbation from the equilibrium. Superposition holds for this linear system.

      • Don Monfort

        barty, barty: “And, the available evidence does, indeed, tell us that the sinks are aggressive.”

        What we know then is that the aggressive sinks are only eating up half of the increase in ACO2. Case closed!

      • here ya go don,

        “Land Use, Land-Use Change, and Forestry (17% of 2004 global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from this sector primarily include carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from deforestation, land clearing for agriculture, and fires or decay of peat soils. This estimate does not include the CO2 that ecosystems remove from the atmosphere. The amount of CO2 that is removed is subject to large uncertainty, although recent estimates indicate that on a global scale, ecosystems on land remove about twice as much CO2 as is lost by deforestation. [2

        So forestry related land use change could be a swing from 34% sink to a 17% source.

        “Agriculture (14% of 2004 GHG emissions) – global greenhouse gas emissions) – Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture mostly come from the management of agricultural soils, livestock, rice production, and biomass burning.”

      • > SN and SA cannot be distinguised by content

        I don’t think they are, Baremis. They only are distinguished by effect. It cannot be otherwise, since attribution studies are multi-causal analyses.

        My point was that if you work with the only certainty that SA’s not empty, then all you have, if you are to follow your doubts, is SA. To undermine AGW, you’d have to argue the other way around: we can’t say if SA is not SN, therefore there’s no SA independent from SN. Or an epistemic version of the same argument, e.g. we can’t really know &c.

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that your argument is so strong that it undermines any kind of multi-causal analysis whatsoever. All you need is two variables and some plausible argument according to which these two variables may depend upon one another.

        We could even go further and use the argument to destroy any kind of analysis whatsoever. Pick a variable V. Consider the possibility that V may depend upon something beyond your epistemic boundaries. Put that something into non-V and your argument obtains: we have no idea if V is really V, and not non-V, say because it coheres dynamically with everything else that may exist.

        The alternative, of course, is to presume that identity works somewhat faithfully for humans, especially for our case scientists who do attribution studies. These scientists need to assume that the variables they identify could be designed in another way than they do. It just so happens that what they do just works.

        ***

        No scientist can be guaranteed that the manual they use to translate nature is the best one. Some have surmised that it’s always possible to bring another translation manual that would do an equivalent job.

        The tricky part, of course, is to build an alternative manual, not simply handwaving to its possibility.

      • Don Monfort

        Thanks, Capt. Could you help barty find some evidence and numbers for the increasing natural CO2 that has him all excited? He shows us squat, up to now.

      • Willard – You seem to be trying to stretch the point farther than it needs to go. The mass balance freaks insist that N – SN – SA being less than zero conclusively establishes that the rise is dominated by anthropogenic emissions. It does not establish that at all. To establish that, they would have to show that N – SN is less than zero. They cannot.

        A lot of people are hanging their hats entirely on the so-called mass balance argument being conclusive – just look through the responses here to see. If it is not, then the way is opened up to begin actually researching the question in a serious light. I have serious arguments to make on that score, but first, we have to tear down this mental block in peoples’ minds.

      • Let’s add a TL;DR, if only for SteveF:

        Unless Bartemis can show that there’s a significant part of the anthropogenic forcings that return to the natural cycle, the best he can hope for, with his argument, is that attribution studies underestimate them. Even shorter: he needs to show some kind of mutual dependence between SA and SN.

        Returning to Pratītyasamutpāda theory might be more fruitful.

      • > The mass balance freaks insist that N – SN – SA being less than zero conclusively establishes that the rise is dominated by anthropogenic emissions. It does not establish that at all. To establish that, they would have to show that N – SN is less than zero. They cannot.

        I’d like a citation of a mass balance freak, Bartemis.

        I find your argument lacking, and I suspect that your “conclusively establishes” is a bit stronger than the inference being used in attribution studies.

        It may be a vocabulary thing.

      • Don Monfort

        You will never get through to your little friend barty, willy. He doesn’t understand “marginal”. He must have been absent when I explained how the optimum production and sales volume of widgets is where marginal cost=marginal revenue.

        Ask him to pretend that he got a job driving camels. They are loaded with straw bales to take somewhere. Got big frame racks on them and they can hold up to about a 100 bales. But you gotta be careful. Let’s say barty has 98 bales loaded up and the camel is groaning. Barty says another bale is nothing compared to what this beast is already carrying. Yes, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back and got barty fired. And he won’t get this, at all.

      • > Got big frame racks on them and they can hold up to about a 100 bales.

        Easy for you to pretend so, Don Don.

        There are merits to the idea that assuming a wedge between A and N is somewhat arbitrary and can lead to dynamical effects. There are also limitations. One problem, as you seem to insist in hammering, is that even if your box is full of sexy dynamics, it still is basic accounting matter from an external perspective.

        Perhaps the most constructive way out of this would be to look at a real example of a freak who uses the mass argument Bartemis criticizes.

      • Don Monfort

        I ain’t proposing a wedge between A and N, willy. They look the same to me. Like the 99th bale of straw looks just like the other 98. They get added together, mixed well and the sinks deal with the total. Sinks don’t care if they are A or N. Probably don’t even know. It’s the total that counts. If the sinks are used to carrying 98 and they are looking at more than that….

        Clear your head, willy. Barty is a bad influence.

        Ask barty if he knows the answer to this , willy:

        Thermos bottle keep hot things hot and cold things cold. How do it know?

      • Don Monfort

        I am surprised that you are wavering and falling towards the denier side, willy. Ask your denier pals if CO2 has been increasing in the atmosphere since the Little Ice Age. Ask them to explain why it has kept steadily increasing during the long pause in warming. Ask them to actually account for any increase in NCO2. How much and where did it come from?

      • stevefitzpatrick

        Don Monfort,

        You may be right about the mental block. I sure don’t have any other explanation. This entire crazy thread seems to have been transferred in its entirety form WUWT. ‘Weird’ is not a strong enough adjective. I though one could avoid such crazy stuff on this blog…. I was mistaken about that.

      • SteveF, Don and gang, “You may be right about the mental block. I sure don’t have any other explanation. This entire crazy thread seems to have been transferred in its entirety form WUWT.”

        Let me give an example of looking at the next step. Based on Mass balance and general carbon accounting practices “sustainable” fuels like corn ethanol, oil palm, wood chips for Drax etc. have been pushed. Converting land use to fuel crops ends up producing more atmospheric CO2 in many cases since it impacts the sink efficiency and still introduces CO2 into the atmosphere. That increases the “Sustainable” CO2 uptake in the oceans increases acidification. That is a WUWT kind of topic and of course “sustainable” fuels have mass balance constraint supporters.

        Since the overall uncertainty on the sink side of the balance is close to the total emissions value, the land use part of the cycle is so grossly underestimated that action with potentially more harm than benefit is recommended by the mass balance. You need more information or at least more respect for the uncertainties.

      • > Based on Mass balance and general carbon accounting practices “sustainable” fuels like corn ethanol, oil palm, wood chips for Drax etc. have been pushed.

        Citation needed.

        ***

        > You need more information or at least more respect for the uncertainties.

        Uncertainties about what, how much would it cost to reduce them, and what should we expect to gain?

        You always need more information. Sometimes, you just need to do with the information you have.

        Mr. T’s a monster for everyone.

      • willard, >citation needed

        Actually it is research needed. The EPA quote that I emboldened explains there is considerable uncertainty. Most of this “argument” is due to that uncertainty btw. Henry’s “law” is something anthropogenic activity won’t change but the mass balance “constraint” doesn’t constraint the mass balance enough to be useful for determining such things. 13C/12C also is too course to “constrain” changes in the carbon cycle as well.

        If you want to consider Drax though it is pretty simple. The wood pellets on their own would be carbon neutral provided they don’t impact the sink efficiency of the region they are grown. The chips though have to be process, carbon source, and shipped, carbon source and then they are burned, carbon source. That overall process is a small carbon source, however, the trees themselves are a carbon sink, so carbon “neutral” really means a reduction in the land carbon sink and changing the carbon cycle path to atmosphere – ocean. leaving the trees as trees then converting the mature trees to long term carbon storage, i.e. furniture, homes etc. enhances the land carbon sink and actual sequesters carbon.

        Drax wood chips may have less carbon emission impact than low efficiency coal use, but it definitely isn’t carbon “neutral” and it does squat as far as reducing ocean acidification.

      • > Actually it is research needed.

        Research to do what, for what results, and how can you know it’s worth it?

        Mr. T does not come cheap, but sometimes he’s the cheapest money can buy.

      • “Research to do what, for what results, and how can you know it’s worth it?”

        I guess you will just have to ponder that on your own good buddy.

      • > I guess you will just have to ponder that on your own good buddy.

        You guessed wrong, Cap’n. I’m not the who holds that until we do more research, we shan’t trust the mass balance model to make decisions about energy development. Wait, have I just said “model”? Not teh modulz again!

        Damn scientists!

      • willard (@nevaudit) | May 8, 2015 at 10:13 pm |

        “I’d like a citation of a mass balance freak, Bartemis.”

        Good God, look over this page. Anything from “…and Then There’s Physics” (explicitly here for example) or “dikranmarsupial”, Steve Mosher, or Don Monfort or “stevefitzpatrick”. Anything from anyone who invokes the “mass balance” to claim that anthropogenic attribution is a lock. Just search for “mass balance”. You will find dozens.

        I showed you here how the sums do not add up that way when the sinks comprise an active feedback system. That, as long as you have the anthropogenic forcing, the “nature is a net sink” meme is a trivial tautology, which provides no conclusion on attribution.

      • > Anything from “…and Then There’s Physics” (explicitly here for example) or “dikranmarsupial” […] Anything from anyone who invokes the “mass balance” to claim that anthropogenic attribution is a lock.

        Thanks. That’s useful. Looking at one source of AT’s, I’ve found this:

        [To get that nature is not a source,] is only necessary to know two things.

        First that the change in CO2 atmospheric concentration, Δ, is positive. That comes from the Mauna Loa observations, ice cores, you name it.

        Second that emissions due to burning of fossil fuel would increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere more than the observed increase (Δ-He < 0).

        http://rabett.blogspot.com/2015/05/2-3-0-or-why-natural-sources-and-sinks.html

        Do you dispute these two “things”? Please note that Eli defined “nature” as “everything except CO2 generated by burning fossil fuels,” which does not seem very far from the most conservative notion of nature one can imagine.

        ***

        I want to make sure that your argument only contradicts the formal properties of the algebraic accounting, and nothing else. These two “things” are unrelated to your “basic feedback theory” argument. If we can stand them aside, we might isolate the conflicting assumptions behind your argument and the one you attack. Doing so while following the real exposition of that argument prevents us from caricaturing it too much, which seems plausible considering the contempt you’ve exhibited so far toward it.

      • “Do you dispute these two “things”?”

        Absolutely. This is a dynamic system. There is a continuous outward flux of CO2 out of the surface system. So, the claim that “emissions due to burning of fossil fuel would increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere more than the observed increase” is categorically false.

        It depends entirely on the interplay between sources and sinks. If the sinks are very active, then they take out most of what is input to them very rapidly. In that case, H is taken out nearly as fast as it is put in. But, the larger and, since they are unknown, effectively unbounded natural sources must then be the major source of any observed rise,

        Again, I showed above a specific example where the input N is driving the overwhelming majority of the rise, even while nature, by Eli’s definition N – 0.99*CO2, is consistently a “net sink”, with negative values.

      • Just saw this:

        Absolutely [Bartemis rejects these two assumptions]. This is a dynamic system. There is a continuous outward flux of CO2 out of the surface system. So, the claim that “emissions due to burning of fossil fuel would increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere more than the observed increase” is categorically false.

        That clarifies a few things.

        First, Bartemis disputes the premises of the mass argument, not its inference (at least in the paragraph above).

        Second, Bartemis injects his own premise by stating that “there is a continuous outward flux of CO2 out of the surface system.”

        Third, Bartemis explictly rejects the premise that “emissions due to burning of fossil fuel would increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere more than the observed increase.”

        Some questions:

        (Q1) How does the fact that climate is a dynamic system leads to the assumption that there is a (significant) continuous outward flux of CO2 out of the surface system?

        (Q2) How does the asumption that there’s a continuous outward flux of CO2 out of the surface system leads to the rejection of the claim that emissions due of fossil fuel would increase?

        Regarding Q1, I see no reason to infer from “it’s dynamics” that there must be a continuous flux of CO2 out of the surface, or rather that this continuity must lead to some kind of homeostasis between the sinks and the sources. In other words, it does not follow from “climate’s dynamic” that “climate is some kind of internal thermostat that tunes itself whatever inputs it receives.” Which means that Bartemis’ argument does not follow from the definitions of basic feedback theory.

        The same kind of considerations apply to Q2.

        ***

        Something else than maths is being injected here. I’d like to know what it is. At the very least, we need to take into account that a future post may touch upon these considerations.

        This is not science, but it is important.

  42. dikranmarsupial

    cap wrote: “well, duh. Right now the natural environment is a net carbon sink.”

    well, duh indeed. It is a net carbon sink right now, and according to the Mauna Loa observatory dataset it has been a net carbon sink for at least the last fifty years, and the Law/Taylor dome ice cores show it has been a net carbon sink for even longer. That is the point, the mass balance argument shows that the natural environment has been a net carbon sink for a long time and hence has been OPPOSING the rise, not causing it.

    • Well let’s try no s%it sherlock. “Law/Taylor dome ice cores show it has been a net carbon sink for even longer.” Then prior to A anything CO2 should have been going down. For about 5000 years prior to “pre-industrial” it start climbing slowly. Where are the sources that caused that rise?

      • dikranmarsupial

        Land use change has been going on for a lot longer than fossil fuel use, if you look at the data you will find that fossil fuel emissions only overtook land use change emissions surprisingly recently (1950s/60s IIRC). The data is available from http://cdiac.ornl.gov/

      • dikranmarsupial

        “Then prior to A anything CO2 should have been going down. ”

        This isn’t actually true. The carbon cycle has various feedback mechanisms, for instance Henry’s law says that solubility of CO2 is proportional to the difference between partial pressure in the atmosphere and concentration in surface waters, so if CO2 levels go up, solubility increases and uptake increases. However the constant of proportionality depends on temperature, so as temperatures rise, solubility decreases and CO2 levels rise. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, so increased CO2 means increased temperature and so lower solubility. So even in this single aspect of the carbon cycle there is a positive and a negative feedback. Now if there are no external perturbations, eventually the carbon cycle will reach an equilibrium where these feedbacks reach a balance and cancel out. So in the absence of external forcing, there is no reason to expect levels to be rising or falling in the long term.

        We have perturbed the carbon cycle by taking carbon out of the ground and returning it to the active carbon cycle. If you perturb a system in equilibrium, it will usually act to oppose the perturbation to try and return to equilibrium. In chemistry I believe this is known as Le Chatellier’s principle.

      • dik, with land use you get a twofer, changing a source to a sink has a bigger impact than just reducing a source, plus you get other secondary benefits. That gives you more time for energies of the future to be realized.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Cap, that is already taken into account, however for land use to turn from a source into a sink, you need and increase in primary production (i.e. new growth) which is not generally happens when land use changes. I very rarely say anything about policy, so I am not arguing about whether to reduce fossil fuel use or plant trees (or indeed both). The important thing is to make the discussion more productive by at least reaching agreement that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is anthropogenic. It isn’t only the mass balance argument that demonstrates that this is the case, as Ferdinand has been tireless in explaining. The mass balance argument is however enough to show that the natural environment has been a net carbon sink for a long time, which is enough for most people to see that it has been opposing the rise rather than causing it.

      • dik, “The mass balance argument is however enough to show that the natural environment has been a net carbon sink for a long time.”

        Nope, it implies as long as a lot of estimates are correct that it may have been a net sink for a long time.

        That is composite CO2 Luthi et al 2008 with with the borehole reconstruction.

    • FWIW if you take the supposed current yearly volcanic C production (low IMO, and low geologically judging from large igneous provinces) and multiply it by a few billion years it becomes clear that the “natural environment” has been a net sink forever.

      Where did a couple billion GtC go? You will not find it in our current conceptions of reservoirs.

    • Suppose we start with 750GT, have 150GT natural addition and 5GT anthropogenic addition for a total of 905GT. Suppose that during the year 0.165746 of the 905 is removed naturally, which is 150GT removed. This results in a 5GT net increase but 0.165746 of the anthropogenic 5GT addition was removed so 0.83GT of the 5GT net increase was not anthropogenic. Or suppose the same scenario with zero anthropogenic addition. Of the 900GT total 0.165746 would be removed, which is 149.17GT removed, still showing the 0.83GT net natural increase.

      Is this a valid way of determining the anthropogenic contribution: (a) determine what the total would have been without any anthropogenic contribution, (b) determine what the total is with the anthropogenic contribution, (c) the difference is the anthropogenic contribution.

  43. From observing and commenting in this thread, I am drawing the following conclusion, and people can tell me if I’m wrong: There is uncertainty about sources of C02 in the atmosphere. Naturally, Warmers have to defend the position that it’s all or mostly anthropogenic, despite the uncertainties, or AGW theory loses it’s foundation.

    Andrew

    • Don Monfort

      Yeah, it’s funny. The warmists think they have to be right about everything and the deniers think the warmists are wrong about everything. Thanks for playing your part well, Bad.

    • Agree with that. big numbers with large uncertainties. Do recovering forests in the US northeast and tall grass plains sequester more C than increases in fossil fuel use? Do oceans out gas in raising temperatures or absorb more because partial pressure of driving concentrations increase to offset changing ocean T? Amazon forest depletion vs increases in African foliage?

      This is difficult to estimate and errors are unknown unknowns.
      Scott

    • Can you quantify that uncertainty?

      1 ppmv of CO2= 2.13 Gt of carbon
      More than 365 Gt of carbon has been pulled from the ground and emitted into the atmosphere. The atmospheric C content has risen by about 120 ppmv, about 255 Gt. The rest has gone into the oceans, and other sinks.

      How many Gt do you think would have been added to the atmosphere without human activities. Prior to the industrial revolution, there was about 280 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere.

      What do you think the ppmv would be now if there had been no human activity?

      • “Prior to the industrial revolution, there was about 280 ppmv CO2 in the atmosphere.”

        Chris, how do you know this?

        Andrew

      • How do you not know this? Or, what is your ball-park estimate, and what is it based on?

      • “How do you not know this?”

        No one’s ever explained how definitive knowledge of pre-industrial C02 levels in the atmosphere is acquired.

        Andrew

      • No one’s ever explained how definitive knowledge of pre-industrial C02 levels in the atmosphere is acquired.

        If you want to keep eating sausage, don’t visit the sausage factory.

      • http://lmgtfy.com/?q=pre-industrial+CO2+scholar

        What is your best estimate, and how did you base it on?

      • Chris,

        I’m not interested in a google search, because it doesn’t direct me to a link I know gives me good information. Can you refer me to a site that gives an explanation of how definitive knowledge of pre-industrial C02 levels in the atmosphere is acquired?

        You keep using the word ‘estimate’, which concedes some uncertainty. I’d like some information that reduces the uncertainty as much as possible. Do you know a specific place where such information can be viewed?

        Andrew

      • BA, do your own research, come up with your own best estimate, and then we can compare. What is your best estimate, and how did you arrive at it?

        I am not going to engage in a debate of real world observations versus your conjecture.

      • “I am not going to engage in a debate”

        I’m not asking for a debate. I’m asking for assistance.

        Andrew

      • BA,
        You could start with this. Could look at what it cites, or what cites it, if you want more.

      • No, you are looking to cast unsubstantiated doubt on anything that runs counter to your preconceptions. Bring something to the table to talk about; don’t ask others to do all the cooking and then complain that you don’t like the taste.

      • ATTP,

        I’m going to ask one question before I explore these links… Do they contain the method used for how definitive knowledge of pre-industrial C02 levels in the atmosphere is acquired (to the extent that’s possible)?

        Andrew

      • BA,

        I’m going to ask one question before I explore these links… Do they contain the method used for how definitive knowledge of pre-industrial C02 levels in the atmosphere is acquired (to the extent that’s possible)?

        Ahhh, no. One estimates the rate of carbon emission from fossil fuel burning, the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2, and the rate of uptake in the carbon sinks. The other discusses the relevance of residence times. You can probably use them as a suitable starting point if you were willing to actually do some work for yourself.

      • “No, you are looking to cast unsubstantiated doubt on anything that runs counter to your preconceptions.”

        Chris,

        Not at all. I’m actually looking to examine and hopefully reduce the uncertainty that exists in estimating C02 in an atmosphere of the past. Surely someone knows a reliable method to do this?

        Andrew

      • BA,
        Do you know how to use Google Scholar? I typed in “Holocene CO2 concentrations” and found this.

      • “Ahhh, no.”

        ATTP,

        I’ve asked a relatively straightforward question and the responses I’m getting appear to be addressing other things. I’ve repeated the question several times. Perhaps you don’t know where I can get what I’m looking for?

        Andrew

      • BA,

        I’ve asked a relatively straightforward question and the responses I’m getting appear to be addressing other things. I’ve repeated the question several times. Perhaps you don’t know where I can get what I’m looking for?

        Okay, I think I’ve spent enough of my evening looking things up that I thought might be relevant. You should probably have been doing your own homework in the first place, but you can certainly do it yourself given your most recent responses.

    • stevefitzpatrick

      No Andrew, it is much simpler: Has the Earth been a net source or sink of CO2 for the last 70 years? The answer is clear; the mas balance says it has to have been a significant net sink, and NOT a net source. All the rest of the discussion is nonsense mixed with confusion.

  44. How does the author differentiate between anthropogenic emissions and “natural” emissions?

    Our emissions cause a temperature rise. If that temperature rise causes permafrost to melt and decay, and/or destabilizes clathrate deposits, that is a positive feedback caused by our activity. Are we supposed to believe that would have happened without us causing the temperature rise in the first place?

    • Chris

      What has caused permafrost to melt and decay in the recent past, say 1000 years, prior to mans co2 creating activities?
      Tonyb

    • Fire existed before man; therefore, man can not make fire.

      • You’re being a bit mystical there Chris, sure you’re not Willard in disguise?

        If we take the period from say 1000ad to 1500ad we will find instances of melting permafrost in places like Siberia which caused village houses to subside. That period was also thought to have given rise to the travellers tales of such things as will of the wisps caused by the methane released.

        If you can ever get along to the Scott polar institute in Cambridge you will find various papers on this in their archives and also in their library.

        These Events predate mans co2 activities and Came about through previous episodes of warming caused by natural variability.

        Tonyb

      • If you don’t understand the logical fallacy of your argument, I can’t help you.

      • Chris

        Merely pointimg out that temperatures can rise without the input of man.

        Tonyb

      • Yeah, so?
        You know this because climate scientists have told you about it. It has no relevance to the topic of how much of the rise in CO2 is our responsibility and how much is not. We are having a discussion about who killed Abraham Lincoln and you are saying, “But who killed Oetzi?”

        (Do I need to define metaphor?)

      • Don Monfort

        OMG! Who killed Oetzi?

        The climate alarmists have got themselves a target rich environment on this post. Why does she do it?

        I don’t think I have seen this Chris work before. He’s more clever than most of the dogma crowd. You don’t have to make it easy for him.

      • Chris

        Natural variability killed Otzi. I saw him last year during one of my research projects to study the effects of natural variability on our climate which appears to be no greater with enhanced co2 than it was without it.

        Tonyb

      • > Natural variability killed Otzi.

        Sometimes, natural variability has some sharp edges:

        Until two years ago, scientists believed that a prehistoric hunter discovered in the Italian Alps more than a decade ago had frozen to death. But new evidence suggests Otzi, as the iceman is known, was murdered — and he went down fighting. Hear Tom Loy, the University of Queensland scientist who led the research.

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1394753

        Another theory is that at Otzi’s the information about running with scissors had not yet escalated.

  45. David Springer

    Atmospheric CO2 rises by only half anthropogenic CO2 emission.

    When someone can explain exactly why I’ll have a little more confidence that aCO2 is the culprit.

    • Don Monfort

      The other half is being sunk into natural sinks along with the natural CO2. When the capacities of the sinks are reached, what’s leftover stays in the atmosphere. Half of the ACO2 added to the natural stuff is enough to top off the sinks. What would happen if all the ACO2 stopped?

      • “What would happen if all the ACO2 stopped?”
        There would be a very gradual decline in atmospheric and ocean CO2 over several hundred years. Barring Yosemite erupting or something similar, eventually the sinks will balance out the pulse we have added.

      • Don Monfort

        I wanted somebody else to answer, Chris. I don’t think it would take several hundreds of years. Unless the sinks shrink. What they don’t, or refuse to understand is that this is a marginal issue. The ACO2 is operating at the margin. It’s topping off the sinks. Not too many here have studied cost accounting, finance, microecon etc.

        Chris, how about explaining why y’all think that water vapor is a rapid and strongly positive feedback? Where all dat water vapor?

      • “What would happen if all the ACO2 stopped?”

        Not much. The sink capacity would shrink down in response, enough that once settled out, you could see directly that nature on its own is currently a net source, and atmospheric CO2 would keep rising according to the temperature dependent boundary conditions which are driving it.

      • “Unless the sinks shrink. What they don’t, or refuse to understand is that this is a marginal issue.”

        That is incorrect. The sinks are dynamic. With reduced forcing, they do indeed shrink.

        They respond to the atmospheric concentration. The very fact that w