The Biggest Control Knob: CO2 in Earth's Climate History

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:05 PM GMT on March 24, 2010

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It's been a busy past two months of weather and climate change news, and I haven't found time to blog about the research presented at December's American Geophysical (AGU) meeting in San Francisco. That is the world's largest scientific conference on climate change, and the place to be if you want to get the pulse of the planet. The keynote speech at the AGU meeting was given by Dr. Richard Alley of Penn State University. Dr. Alley is the Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences at the Pennsylvania State University, and one of the most respected and widely published world experts on climate change. Dr. Alley has testified before Congress on climate change issues, served as lead author of "Chapter 4: Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground" for the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and is author of more than 170 peer-reviewed scientific articles on Earth's climate. He is also the author of a book I highly recommend--The Two Mile Time Machine, a superb account of Earth's climate history as deduced from the 2-mile long Greenland ice cores. A standing-room only audience of over 2,000 scientists packed the lecture hall Dr. Alley spoke at, and it was easy to see why--Alley is an excellent and engaging speaker. I highly recommend listening to his 45-minute talk via a very watchable recording showing his slides as he speaks in one corner of the video. If you want to understand why scientists are so certain of the link between CO2 and Earth's climate, this is a must-see lecture.


Figure 1. Dr. Richard Alley of Penn State University, delivering the keynote speech at the 2009 AGU conference on climate change.

The Biggest Control Knob: CO2 in Earth's Climate History
Earth's past climate has been shaped by a number of key "control knobs"--solar energy, greenhouse gas levels, and dust from volcanic eruptions, to name the three main ones. The main thrust of Dr. Alley's speech is that we have solid evidence now--some of it very new--that CO2 has dominated Earth's climate over the past 400 million years, making it the climate's "biggest control knob". Dr. Alley opens his talk by humorously discussing a letter from an irate Penn State alumnus. The alumnus complains that data of temperatures and CO2 levels from ice cores in Antarctica don't match:

"CO2 lags Earth's temperature...This one scientific fact which proves that CO2 is not the cause of recent warming, yet...Dr. Alley continues to mislead the scientific community and the general public about 'global warming'. His crimes against the scientific community, PSU, the citizens of this great country, and the citizens of the world are significant and must be dealt with severely to stop such shameful activities in the future".

Dr. Alley explains that the irate alumnus is talking about the Antarctic ice core record, which shows that as we emerged from each ice age, the temperature began increasing before the CO2 did, so increased CO2 was not responsible for the warmings that brought us out of these ice ages. Climate change scientists and skeptics alike agree that Earth's ice ages are caused by periodic variations in Earth's orbit called Milankovich Cycles. "There's no doubt that the ice ages are paced by the orbits", says Dr. Alley. "No way that the orbit knows to dial up CO2, and say 'change'. So it shouldn't be terribly surprising if the CO2 lags the temperature change. The temperature never goes very far without the CO2. The CO2 adds to the warming. How do we know that the CO2 adds to the warming? It's physics!"

Dr. Alley then discusses that the physics that govern how CO2 absorbs and re-emits heat energy, when plugged into state-of-the-art climate models, show that about half of the observed 5 - 6°C natural warming that occurred since the last ice age ended was due to extra CO2 added to the atmosphere. At the peak of the Ice Age, CO2 was about 190 ppm. By the end, it was about 280 ppm (Figure 1). Earth's orbital variations "forced" a warming, which caused more CO2 to escape from swamps and oceans, with a time lag of several centuries. The increased CO2 reinforced the warming, to double what it would have been otherwise--a positive feedback loop. "Higher CO2 may be forcing or feedback--a CO2 molecule is radiatively active regardless of how it got there", says Dr. Alley. "A CO2 molecule does not remember why it is there--it only remembers that it is there". In other words, the fact that higher CO2 levels did not trigger an end to the Ice Age does not mean that the CO2 had no warming effect. Half of the the observed 5 - 6°C natural warming that occurred since the last ice age ended was due to the extra CO2 added to the atmosphere. So, the irate PSU alumnus was half right. The CO2 does lag temperature. However, we can only explain approximately half of the warming since the last ice age ended if we leave out the increase in CO2 that has occurred. "If higher CO2 warms, Earth's climate history makes sense, with CO2 having caused or amplified the main changes. If CO2 doesn't warm, we have to explain why the physicists are so stupid, and we also have no way to explain how a lot of really inexplicable climate events happened over Earth's history. It's really that simple. We don't have any plausible alternative to that at this point".


Figure 2. Ice core record from Vostok, Antarctica, showing the near-simultaneous rise and fall of Antarctic temperature and CO2 levels through the last 350,00 years, spanning three ice age cycles. However, there is a lag of several centuries between the time the temperature increases and when the CO2 starts to increase. Image credit: Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences: Global Warming Facts and Our Futures, originally provided to that site by Kurt Cuffey, University of California, Berkely.

CO2 and temperatures rise and fall in synch
Dr. Alley continues with a discussion of how CO2 and temperature levels have risen and fallen in synch over most of geologic time. But for many years there was still a mystery: occasionally there were eras when temperature changes did not match CO2 changes. But new paleoclimate research, much of it just in the past two years, has shown that nearly all of these mis-matches were probably due to suspect data. For example, the mismatch in the Miocene Era has significantly improved, thanks to a new study published this year by Tripati et al. Another example occurs during the Ordovician Era 444 million years ago, as discussed in a recent post at the excellent skepticalscience.com blog.


Figure 3. Atmospheric CO2 and continental glaciation, 400 million years ago to the present. The vertical blue bars mark where ice ages have occurred. The length of the blue bars corresponds to how close to the Equator the ice sheets got (palaeolatitude, scale on the right side of the plot). The left scale shows atmospheric CO2 over the past 400 million years, as inferred from a model (green area) and from four different "proxy" fossil sources of CO2 information. This is Figure 6.1 of the Palaeoclimate chapter of the 2007 IPCC report.

Is there anything else we should be worried about?
Dr. Alley continues with a discussion of other influences that may be able to explain global warming, such as volcanos, changes in solar output, and cosmic rays. A whole bunch of the competing hypotheses don't work", says Dr. Alley. "When there's a bunch of big volcanos, they make it cool. If volcanos could get organized, they'd rule the world. There might be a tiny bit of organization due to flexing of the crust, but they're not controlling the world".

Regarding solar changes: "When the sun changes, it does seem to show up in the temperature record. As far back as we can see well, the sun is friendly, it doesn't change much. If the sun changed a lot, it would control things hugely. But it only changes really slowly--as far as we can tell. The record doesn't go back as far as we'd like, and there's work to be done here--but it just doesn't seem to be doing much".


Figure 4. Greenland ice core proxy measurements of temperature (top curve) and cosmic ray flux (bottom curve) for the past 60,000 years. The Earth's magnetic field weakened by 90% 40,000 years ago, for a period of about 1,000 years, but there was no change seen in the temperatures in Greenland.

Regarding cosmic rays: "The sun doesn't change much, but the sun modulates the cosmic rays, the cosmic rays modulate the clouds, the clouds modulate the temperature, and so the sun is amplified hugely. It's really interesting hypothesis, there's really good science to be done on this, but there's reason to think its a fine-tuning knob". He goes on to show an ice core example from a period 40,000 years ago (Figure 4) where the Earth magnetic field had near-zero strength for hundreds of years. This allowed a massive flux of cosmic rays to penetrate to the Earth's surface, creating a huge spike in ice core Beryllium-10, a radionuclide made by cosmic rays. If cosmic rays were important to climate, we would expect to see a corresponding major swing in temperature, but the ice core shows no change during the period of enhanced cosmic ray bombardment 40,000 years ago. "We had a big cosmic ray signal, and the climate ignores it", Dr. Alley comments.

How sensitive is climate to a doubling of CO2?
The IPCC report talks extensively about computer climate models' calculations of "climate sensitivity"--how much Earth's climate would warm if CO2 doubled from pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm, to 560 ppm (we're currently at 390 ppm). A mid-range number from the 2007 IPCC report often used by climatologists is that the climate sensitivity is 3°C for a doubling of CO2. Dr. Alley takes a look at what paleoclimate has to say about the climate sensitivity to CO2. "The models actually do pretty well when you compare them to the past. The best fit is 2.8°C.

Dr. Alley concludes, "Where we really stand now, is, we're not quite at the pound on the table, this story is very clearly not done. But an increasing body of science indicates that CO2 has been the most important controller of global average climate of the Earth."

I'll have a new post Sunday or Monday.

Jeff Masters

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Imani looks annular
Member Since: March 29, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 2382
@ 269. Levi32 5:49 AM GMT on March 25, 2010

Let's look at this another way...

Science, like most human activities is basically a game. And like all games, it has rules. If someone refuses to abide by the rules of a game, then I am justified in refusing to play with them, because no one should be obligated to play a game with someone who is known to cheat. In this case, I refuse to "play" by refusing to take seriously (or even to read) the offending paper. Why? Because if I cannot trust someone to abide by even the most basic rules of civil discourse, then I certainly cannot trust them to abide by the rules of scientific argumentation. Which means EVERYTHING in that paper is suspect, to the point that I cannot be certain that ANYTHING in it is accurate, truthful, or correctly and fairly presented. Anyone who would stoop to Ad Hominem attacks has NO ethics whatsoever, or at least none that I can count on. Anyone who is capable of such a gross violation of the rules is certainly capable of many lesser indiscretions. So with all the other good papers in the literature, it's just not worth my time... I simply trash that one and move on. You should, too.
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pretty nasty squall line
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while y'all were debating:

Tornado Warning

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE AUSTIN/SAN ANTONIO TX
109 AM CDT THU MAR 25 2010

TXC187-250630-
/O.CON.KEWX.TO.W.0001.000000T0000Z-100325T0630Z/
GUADALUPE TX-
109 AM CDT THU MAR 25 2010

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 130 AM CDT FOR EAST
CENTRAL GUADALUPE COUNTY...

AT 105 AM CDT...NWS METEOROLOGISTS CONTINUED TO DETECT A TORNADO.
THIS TORNADO WAS LOCATED OVER EAST CENTRAL GUADALUPE COUNTY...OR 8
MILES EAST OF SEGUIN...MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 30 MPH.

THE TORNADO WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE OVER RURAL AREAS EAST OF SEGUIN
AND WILL LIKELY WEAKEN TO BELOW SEVERE LEVELS BY 130 AM.

LAT...LON 2964 9768 2950 9777 2957 9795 2965 9788
TIME...MOT...LOC 0608Z 305DEG 25KT 2956 9782

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Quoting Levi32:
Bleh, this is what happens to every paper I post coming at this issue from the other side. Everyone finds their data quite valid and accurate if it supports AGW, but it suddenly becomes noisy and error-ridden when applied to opposing arguments.

You guys write it off because of the authors, you write it off because of the site it was on, you twist what they were trying to prove, and don't even give it a chance. I can't compete with that kind of stone-faced resolve.

It's late anyway and time for me to get off. Night all.

you might understand someday. this them vs. us attitude is usually symbolic of a skewed perspective. for instance, i try to be open to all the evidence with equal scrutiny, and in doing so i see over-shooting doomsday scenarios comfortably passed on as an impending reality. from the far AGW side there is some real crap. so i think it's important to learn the skills of recognizing slant from both the AGW side, but also the other side; apparently your side. but why Take a side? i like that you often come across with your own take on things, using your increasingly expertise knowledge on tropics to self support opinions. i wish for you to do the same with the GW/AGW debate. temper the matter with the full discourse on the subject, and steer clear of wishcasters, doomcasters, and listcasters :)
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Quoting Levi32:
Bleh, this is what happens to every paper I post coming at this issue from the other side.


No, you're wrong about that, Levi. I'll take what you say seriously IF (and only IF) it follows the rules of scientific argumentation and civil discourse. That "paper" you posted does neither. It is JUNK, pure and simple! In fact, more that I think on it, it reads like some of the postings on this blog. It certainly would never have been accepted for publication in ANY reputable scientific journal. I had come to expect better from you than that.

If you have any dreams of entering into a scientific career, then you had better get used to criticism. And VERY CAREFULLY evaluating what you read, write and publish.

Anyway... Goodnight. Hope for a better day tomorrow...
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Quoting Seastep:
I believe models maybe 3 days out. And that's iffy.
totally, so what's the use validating climate model projections? we can use information to sort out the big decisions, but we shouldn't let information make decisions for us. no single source is infallible, so that means the accumulation of all knowledge on the matter is fundamentally built on shaky ground.

facts are hard to come by these days, it seems everything is a projection.
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Bleh, this is what happens to every paper I post coming at this issue from the other side. Everyone finds their data quite valid and accurate if it supports AGW, but it suddenly becomes noisy and error-ridden when applied to opposing arguments.

You guys write it off because of the authors, you write it off because of the site it was on, you twist what they were trying to prove, and don't even give it a chance. I can't compete with that kind of stone-faced resolve.

It's late anyway and time for me to get off. Night all.
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I believe models maybe 3 days out.

Goodnight.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
Quoting ycd0108:
What is YOUR EXPERIENCE?
I grew up in the Okanagan Valley B.C.
We walked on frozen snow from November to March - that was what I thought winter was.
Just got back from there yesterday and there is NO SNOW in the valley. NO SNOW on the mountains
S.F.A. snow this winter
That is Climate Change


And that's happened before. During Jurassic, it was much warmer there.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
you seem less savvy with words, so i will give you a picture.
do you understand i have been talking about this as the absurd one? ok, now apply that knowledge to what i've stated.

then for the one you keep posting, i said stuff like: "then there is the old CDIAC.. did these guys just release a hit and call themselves bigger than Jesus? so what. look at the red line. it goes up. the CDIAC estimate is based on data sets and subject to the limits of knowledge about CO2 sequestration, and climatology for that matter." and "the one you reference makes no compelling argument. that is what it looks like when you map modeled data over actual data. the red line actually looks like a good 'best fit' for the green line." the CDIAC is modeled data. it is their precise model. it is off. and..?
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OK, I admit I haven't carefully read the whole thing. However, a bit near the end leads me to believe I don't need to bother...

Quoting 222. Levi32 3:52 AM GMT on March 25, 2010:
Choosing 1850 as his starting point, Hansen does blame this profile on people, however, perversely convincing himself that the years between 1939 and 1944 must have marked a period of international unity. Read what he says:

"The growth rate of climate forcing by measured greenhouse gases peaked near 1980 at almost 5 W/m%uFFFD per century. This growth rate has since declined to ~3 W/m%uFFFD per century, largely because of cooperative international actions."

By this logic, World War Two was the best of times for greenhouse earth, when the whole world got together and drove the growth rate below zero.


Hello? The quote from Hansen clearly says: "peaked near 1980", followed by: "has since declined". That, in plain English quite clearly means: "dates AFTER 1980", when, indeed there WAS some international effort to reign in CO2 emmissions.

How the hex does WW2 figure into that? Answer: It doesn't. That kind of inflammatory language is added ONLY to get a rise out of the reader. It's called an Ad Hominem attack, and it is one of the classic hallmarks of pseudoscience!

NO reputable scientist would write that and claim that it was a scientific argument. I don't care how many "credentials" they have, and I don't care what you say to try to defend it... That article Is NOT science, and those author(s) are NOT scientists! At least not as those of us who are (or were) in the scientific community use those terms.
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Quoting Minnemike:
i call it absurd because you cannot stack those figures. didn't you get my point that one is the yearly weight and the other is the yearly output? if they wanted to combine the two, they should have added each successive year to show a rising accumulation. that would have made sense. but no, they chose not to do that and show two graphs 'on the same scale' as they say, and leave it to us to figure out why one looks so tiny compared to the other. that's tactic.

then there is the old CDIAC.. did these guys just release a hit and call themselves bigger than Jesus? so what. look at the red line. it goes up. the CDIAC estimate is based on data sets and subject to the limits of knowledge about CO2 sequestration, and climatology for that matter.

is it the work of distinguished science to "(go) on to talk about how AGW scientists continue to try to explain this away by human effects on carbon sinks through environmental damage. They then adjust the curve of human yearly emissions to perfectly fit the actual measured concentrations curve. When they did that, they found that we would have had to been contributing negative carbon-related human activity during two periods in history, which is impossible." as you summed up for me?

for this, my skepticism is warranted.


They did that! What are you talking about? They did the accumulation of each successive year in the next graph down:

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What is YOUR EXPERIENCE?
I grew up in the Okanagan Valley B.C.
We walked on frozen snow from November to March - that was what I thought winter was.
Just got back from there yesterday and there is NO SNOW in the valley. NO SNOW on the mountains
S.F.A. snow this winter
That is Climate Change
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 194 Comments: 4996
do we need model validation to see or step? our cognition, the very thing that wrote the models and the validation algorithms, can play a role too you know.
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i call it absurd because you cannot stack those figures. didn't you get my point that one is the yearly weight and the other is the yearly output? if they wanted to combine the two, they should have added each successive year to show a rising accumulation. that would have made sense. but no, they chose not to do that and show two graphs 'on the same scale' as they say, and leave it to us to figure out why one looks so tiny compared to the other. that's tactic.

then there is the old CDIAC.. did these guys just release a hit and call themselves bigger than Jesus? so what. look at the red line. it goes up. the CDIAC estimate is based on data sets and subject to the limits of knowledge about CO2 sequestration, and climatology for that matter.

is it the work of distinguished science to "(go) on to talk about how AGW scientists continue to try to explain this away by human effects on carbon sinks through environmental damage. They then adjust the curve of human yearly emissions to perfectly fit the actual measured concentrations curve. When they did that, they found that we would have had to been contributing negative carbon-related human activity during two periods in history, which is impossible." as you summed up for me?

for this, my skepticism is warranted.
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Quoting Levi32:


If you're a reader of this blog then you know I do that. I always post data to challenge others, and papers by experts that do this for a living.


These experts might back up their arguments by citing relevant scientific work, not pdfs of "Musings on CO2", which themselves contain only passing references to missing .ppt files on random Norwegian servers.

The saddles in the CO2 could easily be explained if the uncertainty of the values in CO2 mixing ratio in 1940 were shown. Those are ice cores, not atmospheric measurements. The errors are larger. If the authors had any idea of the uncertainty of the values, they'd have plotted them, unless they had a forgone conclusion in mind. Maybe if they'd contacted the provider of the data, they'd get that.

They then blow up the discussion of the apparent increase in uptake rate of the planet with an argument of the damage factor that goes basically nowhere. The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is 1-2 ppm per year. They just plot that tiny number on a scale that has the total CO2 on the wrong axis (once on purpose, once for no clear reason), and say "see".

In the end, they take potshots at Hansen et al., calling him personally myopic, proclaiming he has *perversely convinced himself* his results are valid, and "unable to notice the absurdity" of his own arguments.

So the Sidons and D'Aleo 2007 pdf is an utterly clueless, useless contribution to any discussion of the effect of CO2 on climate. We can have this talk about a useful paper, not some mistake ridden, insulting manifesto these guys did in their spare time. You want to try again?
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Sorry Canada will not be helping:
Harper's Humiliating Muzzle on Scientists
Canada is becoming a global joke as our world-class experts are prohibited from speaking.
Member Since: January 1, 2008 Posts: 194 Comments: 4996
Minnemike - Don't get caught up in the minutia. Predictions either validate or they don't.

Along with Levi's, here's mine in case you haven't seen it. Will be updated after 2010 comes in. Levi says 30 years, but 10 will be plenty statistically, imo. No way the temps rise fast enough. Just not plausible. Of course, that might change in the next 10 years, but I highly doubt it. That trend line should jump less and less over time.

Really no need to get into the minutia, other than for academic purposes. The predictions validate or they don't.

Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
Quoting Minnemike:
no no.. the first combination, when they combine the first two to the same scale. that graphs is absurd. the one you reference makes no compelling argument. that is what it looks like when you map modeled data over actual data. the red line actually looks like a good 'best fit' for the green line.
the levels are rising, the molecules are stagnating, and CO2 is a greenhouse gas. the mechanisms that digest CO2 have always been in place, and they don't seem to be having any increase in impact or effectiveness; not in comparison to the rate of growth shown in 2nd graph of man's global CO2 output. why not chew on that alongside what you are presenting.


The first graph is demonstrating how human contribution can only explain the total increase if CO2 all stagnates up to 200 years, as the CDIAC says it does. That's not an absurd illustration to put in a paper like that.

And no, that green line in the 4th graph is exactly what should have happened based on what the CDIAC says is true about CO2. There is obviously something wrong with their statement that "Atmospheric CO2concentrations had not changed appreciably over the preceding 850 years, so it may be safely assumed that they would not have changed appreciably in the 150 years from 1850 to 2000 in the absence of human intervention", or else the red line wouldn't have such a more gradual curve than what it should have.

The paper goes on to talk about how AGW scientists continue to try to explain this away by human effects on carbon sinks through environmental damage. They then adjust the curve of human yearly emissions to perfectly fit the actual measured concentrations curve. When they did that, they found that we would have had to been contributing negative carbon-related human activity during two periods in history, which is impossible.

What about this doesn't make sense?

Now, I'm not saying humans aren't contributing anything, because they are, but based on this there is something wrong with saying we are contributing ALL of it. There is likely something else going on which is greatly contributing to the rise.
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the credentials of distinguished scientists aside, the piece reads much more like an op-ed with embellished figures leading tactics. i know nothing about these authors, i can make no assumption of even their affiliation with the carbon-lovers, but there is no shortage of distinguished scientists ringing a CO2 alarm. that point goes nowhere, and source/spin is very pertinent when dealing with internet sourced material.
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no no.. the first combination, when they combine the first two to the same scale. that graphs is absurd. the one you reference makes no compelling argument. that is what it looks like when you map modeled data over actual data. the red line actually looks like a good 'best fit' for the green line.
the levels are rising, the molecules are stagnating, and CO2 is a greenhouse gas. the mechanisms that digest CO2 have always been in place, and they don't seem to be having any increase in impact or effectiveness; not in comparison to the rate of growth shown in 2nd graph of man's global CO2 output. why not chew on that alongside what you are presenting.
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Quoting CycloneOz:
Yeah Levi! I'm looking forward to seeing you soon on here again. You'll be one of four people here that I'll be closely following their updates. Doc, 456, Storm, and You! :)

But before I hit the bed, here's a couple of pictures I found on my hard drives tonight that are pretty cool.

This one is a hand-drawn portrait my Mom and Dad commissioned from John Kemp in 1966 of me and my brothers and sisters. I was 8 years old and all I could think about summer after summer was when would a hurricane hit my hometown of Pensacola. Turns out, one never did until I had left to discover my life. My first intercept was 1975's Hurricane Eloise.



Believe me when I tell you, intercepting hurricanes is no fun. It's all work and pretty much a hair-raising experience. But I need fun, and I've been lucky enough to have alot of things I do that have fun. Rockhounding is just one! :) Here is a picture of me high up in the mountains. The smile you see on my face was not forced. :)



Well, adios! Happy Trails! :)


Wow what a portrait! Which one are you Oz? Lol.

Oh I bet chasing hurricanes is hair-raising. I just hope you're safe this year in your little adventures. Glad you get some fun in too :)

See ya soon!
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Quoting Minnemike:
straight from the desk of ilovemycarbondioxide.com?
i'm a little disappointed... if i started poking the holes i see, i really feel you're going to see your lens alone and dismiss me as an AGW zealot. that said, the stagnation of CO2 would account for the metric ton rise if attributed to man's global output. doesn't this first strike you as questionable given the paper source? second, doesn't it seem disingenuous disingenuous to first combine those two graphs and Then mention the 'stagnation theory'? the graphs are not meant to be combined. one is a measure of yearly metric weight, the other is a yearly Output! are americans not getting morbidly obese when consuming vastly more calories than their bodies can burn? oh sure, they'll lose weight one week, but if they keep it up...

like i've said before. there's reason to be concerned, there's reason to be skeptical, but let's at least be reasonable. i find holes continuing on with the passage and graphs.


Huh? No, the red line is the actual carbon concentrations measured in the atmosphere, and the green line is the projection of actual concentrations that should have occurred based on accumulation and CO2 residence time, preached by the IPCC and CDIAC. There is a clear discrepancy, and they proceed to bring up the AGW people's common way of explaining that discrepancy, and then they attack that theory as well.



And, dismissing a paper written by two distinguished scientists just because of the URL on which it was published is shallow thinking. I don't know much about that particular site, but I know about the people who wrote the article. Talk to me about the content of the paper, not where it was published.

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Off to bed, but just a little food for thought.

If Galileo said the star would be at a point in 5 hours and it was not, would that have worked?

Granted, he had the advantage of a 24hr time frame to demonstrate his theory, but it matched... every time.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
straight from the desk of ilovemycarbondioxide.com?
i'm a little disappointed... if i started poking the holes i see, i really feel you're going to see your lens alone and dismiss me as an AGW zealot. that said, the stagnation of CO2 would account for the metric ton rise if attributed to man's global output. doesn't this first strike you as questionable given the paper source? second, doesn't it seem disingenuous to first combine those two graphs and Then mention the 'stagnation theory'? the graphs are not meant to be combined. one is a measure of yearly metric weight, the other is a yearly Output! are americans not getting morbidly obese when consuming vastly more calories than their bodies can burn? oh sure, they'll lose weight one week, but if they keep it up...

like i've said before. there's reason to be concerned, there's reason to be skeptical, but let's at least be reasonable. i find holes continuing on with the passage and graphs.
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Minnemike - you don't have to delve that far.

Galileo was able to convince the populace of the truth, contrary to the established consensus, because he could predict precisely where the stars would be and they could not. Anyone, no phd necessary, could validate his claims. That settled the matter.

For the hypothesis to be accepted, the results need to match.

They are not. And moving farther away. While no one can predict the global temperature with the accuracy of the above analogy, one can show the prediction vs. the observation.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
Quoting CycloneOz:
See you folks down the road. I've got alot of adventures scheduled that will keep me pretty busy for the next month.

This weekend - Carlsbad Caverns, NM (American Rockhound episode taping)

Next weekend - Stanton, AZ gold mining (American Rockhound episode taping)

Two - three weeks of editing / .pdf Guide creation.

...and I may take a few minutes in April to cheer on every other golfer to beat Mr. Woods at the Masters.

So blessings to all! This has been a great day for me personally, as something miraculous happened at work for me, making March 24th a personal day of celebration in tune with July 7th and December 12th.

Enjoy the GW debate...and I'll see you guys when Hurricane Season 2010 is dead ahead.

Peace out... Oz---


Have fun Oz :) I'll look forward to your return.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


I knew you did not right it i was just giving you prompts for the post. Heck you never had the time to right it between your last post unless it was pre-prepared! Can't give anyone credit for a good post even......LOL


Sorry I was just making sure because my last post of a paper got someone acting like I wrote it too lol.

Thanks :)
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Quoting Levi32:


For some reason every time I post a paper people seem to act like I wrote it, even though I put the link and name of the authors clearly at the top....lol.


I knew you did not right it i was just giving you prompts for the post. Heck you never had the time to right it between your last post unless it was pre-prepared! Can't give anyone credit for a good post even......LOL
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20450
Quoting kabloie:


Classic misuse and misunderstanding of what a theory and a hypothesis are. Classic. Straight out of creationist texts. What is a scientific law, perchance?

Your theory is apparently that CO2 has no effect on climate. Prove it. That's how science works. You disbelieve a theory, form a hypothesis you think will test it better than others, and advance your theory, what you believe.

Climate is hard because a test cannot be done empirically, unless, say, you burn billion of tonnes of oil and coal, develop a livestock industry so incredibly massive that methane emissions become sizable in relation to natural sources. You might predict no effect, or a large effect. So far, *Large* effect seems to be the outcome.



Remember Galileo? Hmm, let me think....it rings a bell I guess.

I dunno, some people study climate in Earth's history. Their findings are scientific, they're reported, they're questioned, argued over, and improved if a better theory with arguable hypotheses comes along. Yet, you call them arrogant. You question the scientists, their processes, their motives, and for what? You somehow have developed some greater knowledge of how things work without doing any research, and yet you label others arrogant?


If you're a reader of this blog then you know I do that. I always post data to challenge others, and papers by experts that do this for a living.
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i just caught up to the retraction.. i don't want to take on the bigger picture quite yet. gonna read to correct my take on levi.
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Quoting Minnemike:

seastep, i am just completely lost on where you think that graph ends. i went to the source, do you have a subscription to Science? i could only view the summary and saw no secondary graph or reference to what the ppm value of CO2 tops off at. please clarify in a clear manner, or maybe rub your eyes before looking at the graph again.


See #233. Skyepony identified my misread.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
Quoting TampaSpin:
222. Levi32 3:52 AM GMT on March 25, 2010


AWSOME POST and PIECE OF WORK! It was worth the larger print. Great job LEVI!


For some reason every time I post a paper people seem to act like I wrote it, even though I put the link and name of the authors clearly at the top....lol.
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Quoting Seastep:
Too many don't take scale into account when evaluating.

seastep, i am just completely lost on where you think that graph ends. i went to the source, do you have a subscription to Science? i could only view the summary and saw no secondary graph or reference to what the ppm value of CO2 tops off at. please clarify in a clear manner, or maybe rub your eyes before looking at the graph again.
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Quoting Levi32:


What I am fighting against is the political pollution of scientific objectiveness, all the money-making agendas, and the shutting up and shutting down of anyone who dares try to challenge a THEORY (that's right, not a scientific law, in fact it's only a hypothesis really).


Classic misuse and misunderstanding of what a theory and a hypothesis are. Classic. Straight out of creationist texts. What is a scientific law, perchance?

Your theory is apparently that CO2 has no effect on climate. Prove it. That's how science works. You disbelieve a theory, form a hypothesis you think will test it better than others, and advance your theory, what you believe.

Climate is hard because a test cannot be done empirically, unless, say, you burn billion of tonnes of oil and coal, develop a livestock industry so incredibly massive that methane emissions become sizable in relation to natural sources. You might predict no effect, or a large effect. So far, *Large* effect seems to be the outcome.

Quoting Levi32:



Remember Galileo? The whole world believed differently than him and he was still right. Who are we to be so arrogant that we think we know everything about the earth's climate that has been around God knows how long, has gone through innumerable changes, has been both far warmer and more CO2-enriched than it currently is, and yet life still thrives.


Remember Galileo? Hmm, let me think....it rings a bell I guess.

I dunno, some people study climate in Earth's history. Their findings are scientific, they're reported, they're questioned, argued over, and improved if a better theory with arguable hypotheses comes along. Yet, you call them arrogant. You question the scientists, their processes, their motives, and for what? You somehow have developed some greater knowledge of how things work without doing any research, and yet you label others arrogant?
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I do entirely retract my comments regarding Dr. AllEy.

What's the protocol for that?

Should I remove the original post?
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
Quoting Minnemike:
levi pullin out the guns. i didn't read it, gonna perhaps start to. but my eyes see a lot of graphs that are going up, yet treated to emphasize 'not so muchness' in the rise. and i really liked the one with the two arrows point at very brief dips in an ever climbing trend.
you remind me more of Atmo lately.. giving healthy skepticism that extra little bump. forgive my skepticism of that, gonna dive into the text now.


Dive in and find that what you just said about the graphs isn't what they meant them to be :P
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Quoting NttyGrtty:
WU bloggers. Appologies for wasting so much of your time and blog space today. Many thanks to all those that sent support and recommendations. To the delight of a few, I'm out, for a while...a long while. To you scientists, keep at it. You provide a very valuable input to those of us in harms way come June. Skye, Atmo, Levi, Jeff, Senior Chief and others, thanks. Sport, good luck. Amy, no more drama, at least from me. Bye...Ntty
Will you be back during hurricane season?
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Skyepony - Thanks!

You're right. My bad.

Still doesn't change the ratios, though.

It just changes to 70 vs. 20-30.

Still 300% more than the past either way.

Logic doesn't change at all.

Just the scale. ;)
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418
levi pullin out the guns. i didn't read it, gonna perhaps start to. but my eyes see a lot of graphs that are going up, yet treated to emphasize 'not so muchness' in the rise. and i really liked the one with the two arrows point at very brief dips in an ever climbing trend.
you remind me more of Atmo lately.. giving healthy skepticism that extra little bump. forgive my skepticism of that, gonna dive into the text now.
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Quoting CycloneOz:


I've been honored to have two fellows and three other top U.S. scientists explain GW for my benefit alone.

That was way way way back when I was actually worried about it.

We were all together in a large conference room, I was helping them get stuff ready for their presentations they had to make, and I mentioned it.

In 15 minutes, they had convinced me that I wasting my worry.

Basically, their word to me was that:

A) CO2 is not a poisonous gas.
B) Man is not responsible for increased emissions, the Earth is.
C) Stopping all forms of man-made CO2 would still not lower levels of the gas in the atmosphere. The Earth's output is too great.

So to answer your question...my background in science is that I work for scientists. And these are not publicity seeking alarmists. They're a very level-headed group and to a person they agree that GW, although real in the sense that areas of Earth's climate may be warming, is pure bunk when it comes to what's causing it.


So in 15 minutes, five people changed what you believed for most of your life. I just like people's insight on the topic.
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222. Levi32 3:52 AM GMT on March 25, 2010


AWSOME POST and PIECE OF WORK! It was worth the larger print. Great job LEVI!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 179 Comments: 20450
Quoting Tazmanian:




thanks for the re port you all so have a yahoo IM pop up waiting for you hit ok so we can start chating on yahoo IM


I don't see a pop-up lol. And I don't use IM.
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228. xcool




by xcool .
Member Since: September 26, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 15705
Quoting Levi32:
Ok I'm going to hog the blog again, because a lot of people won't even bother reading this all the way through if I just post the link. I don't really expect you to read the whole thing though, just look at the graphs and the interesting parts if you will.

Carbon Dioxide, The Houdini of Gases, A Paper by Alan Siddons and Joe D’Aleo
September 05, 2007

Looking at the rising trend of carbon dioxide, the U.S. government’s Carbon Dioxide Information
Analysis Center - http://cdiac.ornl.gov - states the matter plainly: "Atmospheric CO2
concentrations had not changed appreciably over the preceding 850 years, so it may be safely
assumed that they would not have changed appreciably in the 150 years from 1850 to 2000 in the
absence of human intervention."

"Safely assumed."

In other words, what people were doing in 1850 is supposedly still exerting an effect today. Having
nowhere else to go, the man-made CO2 tally builds and builds in the air. Even if we all suddenly
stopped driving cars and clearing forests and heating our homes - you name it - we’d have to wait
more than a century to see the same CO2 level that the 1850s saw. For here is what the historical
trend looks like.



In 1750, carbon's weight in the atmosphere was 590 billion metric tons.
By 2000 it was about 790 billion.
And here is CDIAC’s year-by-year estimate of human emissions during that period.



But here are the two on the same scale.



Only by proposing that carbon stagnates in the air, building up year by year, can one make the case
that a molehill like that can spawn such an Everest. So let’s take the figures that CDIAC uses for its
estimate and mount them one on top of another to see what happens. The idea is that 2000’s carbon
level is due to 1999’s carbon output going nowhere, and 1998’s before that, and 1997’s... and so on.
All of those carbon atoms just pile up as we keep pumping out more. Here is what results by
making CDIAC’s figures accumulate, then.



"Safely assumed"?

Notice that even a grand total of CDIAC's numbers fails to mimic the atmospheric carbon curve. A
hypothetical accumulation of anthropogenic carbon undershoots for more than 200 years, and then
rapidly surpasses it. This extra amount would make carbon’s weight in the year 2000 nearly 900
billion metric tons, much higher than the level we observe.
Climate Modelers are aware of this "missing excess" and they account for the discrepancy by saying
that various "carbon sinks" mop most of it up, pulling atmospheric carbon to a lower level. Oddly
enough, however, year by year these sinks must keep enlarging as accumulating man-made carbon
steepens. In effect, nature finds a way to handle increasing spillovers with ever-bigger mops.
How strange.

Yet "carbon sinks" were presumably active between 1751
and 1960, too, when the tally was below the actual curve. Since they
were driving this hypothetical accumulation downward, the
present slope shouldn’t show an excess. So how do we know that
this excess even exists? The fact is, we don’t. It is merely "safely
assumed."



Notice the inherent contradiction, though. Certain prominent authorities propose a very long
residence time for CO2, which creates a buildup. But as to why we don’t see a buildup as gigantic
as the figures predict, they propose that carbon sinks remove it. Thus a considerable amount of
carbon dioxide is being recycled – which means it doesn't have a long residence time!

So let’s rethink all this. Might it be a mistake to blame the rising carbon trend on human emissions
alone? Though one could agree that long-lived emissions don't add up, maybe the problem isn’t
just one of adding carbon to our atmosphere - it might involve a loss of subtraction, too, the
environmental damage we’ve inflicted which reduces earth’s ability to recycle carbon. Thus,
although emissions may not convincingly explain the curve, a damage factor can’t be excluded and
as a result we’re probably still responsible.

What this argument is saying is that anthropogenic carbon is part of the problem and
environmental impact, often called land-use change, is another part. When you look at the carbon
curve, then, you’re seeing a combined effect. So how can one disentangle them?

Well, one doesn’t have to

Just as we took yearly emission figures and saw the odd result of putting them in a big pile, we can
do much the same with a "mixed blame" scenario. So let’s go with the vague premise that "human
intervention" - deforestation, bovine flatulence, carbonated beverages, whatever - has indeed
caused a rising carbon trend. We don’t have to know every detail of what we did to make it
happen, only that we did it - and that the carbon trend is a portrait of our ecological sins.

Rather than a raw accumulation of carbon emissions in the air, it’s an accumulating effect that we
wish to measure this time, including non-emission aspects like land-use changes that also ruin the
atmosphere. As the government’s chief authority says, after all, it’s a safe bet that atmospheric
changes since the Industrial Revolution are due to human intervention. Logically, then, what’s bad
must stay bad if it is to echo across the centuries.

The record to track is right in front of us, therefore: the atmosphere itself. So when we determine
the figures needed to account for an accumulated carbon curve, the result itemizes the damage
we’ve done on a year-by-year basis. Here it is.



The atmospheric carbon slope is reduced to one-tenth scale for comparison. The blue line is the
year-by-year damage estimate, the single profile that fits. Thus, adding 1750's generalized damage
to 1751's, then 1751 to 1752, and onward to 2000, matches atmospheric carbon concentrations
exactly. For remember, "it may be safely assumed that they would not have changed appreciably in
the 150 years from 1850 to 2000 in the absence of human intervention."

Yet as you can see, at two periods in history all carbon-related human activity — smokestack
emissions, cement production, forest clearing, cattle herding, rice cultivation, strip mining —
would have to have fallen to below zero in order to manipulate carbon in the atmosphere.


Not to bore you by stating the obvious, but this is impossible.

The profile emerges from a ‘safely assumed’ scenario of 100% human impact. So once again,
following the accumulation premise leads to a contradiction: in real-life, historically recent carbonadding
human activity has only risen, not declined in any significant way, and certainly never
fallen below zero, whatever that might mean. Going by the profile, for instance, you'd have to
believe that 1880 was equal to 1930 in terms of human additions to carbon in the atmosphere.

By the way, here the carbon slope and damage profile are on the same scale.



In summary, we have seen the following:

• Human emissions are far lower than the actual rise of carbon in the air
• Accumulated emissions exceed the actual rise
• Correcting for the excess necessitates that carbon sinks keep growing
• But an expansion of carbon sinks means that CO2 is getting recycled
• A long-term accumulation profile for total carbon content leads to below-zero outcomes

That’s the evidence, now you decide. Does the evidence support a long-term residence time for
carbon dioxide? Does it support the assertion that changes in the atmosphere have been driven by
human intervention?

***************
As an amusing sidelight, this fictional "damage profile" that we’ve shown you has been published before, in another
guise. It is duplicated in a 2001 publication of NASA’s James Hansen: www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/98/26/14778



Choosing 1850 as his starting point, Hansen does blame this profile on people, however, perversely convincing himself
that the years between 1939 and 1944 must have marked a period of international unity. Read what he says:

“The growth rate of climate forcing by measured greenhouse gases peaked near 1980 at almost 5 W/m² per
century. This growth rate has since declined to ~3 W/m² per century, largely because of cooperative international
actions.”

By this logic, World War Two was the best of times for greenhouse earth, when the whole world got together and drove
the growth rate below zero. (Incidentally, global temperatures were climbing during that period.)

Yes, Hansen is that myopic, unable to notice the absurdity of his premise even when it’s clearly laid out on a chart. But
maybe he’s correct, maybe we ought to drop bombs all over the planet to pull the CO2 level down. Call it Kyoto Plan B.

***************

Our conclusion: People are not responsible for the documented rise of carbon in the atmosphere.
Not only do the numbers fail to match, the numbers can’t be made to match.




thanks for the re port you all so have a yahoo IM pop up waiting for you hit ok so we can start chating on yahoo IM
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Too many don't take scale into account when evaluating.
Member Since: September 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3418

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