Thursday, January 31, 2013

Single graph demonstrates man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming

Plot for yourself here a single graph that simultaneously demonstrates the clear observational evidence that 
  • temperature drives CO2
  • CO2 does not drive temperature
  • man is not the cause of the rise in CO2 levels
The effect follows the cause; the cause does not follow the effect. Short-term global temperature changes precede CO2 levels by about 1 year as shown by observations, and by 800+ years in ice core data.
Global temperature anomaly shown in green, CO2 levels in red

New blockbuster paper finds man-made CO2 is not the driver of global warming

Highlights of Humlum et al:

► The overall global temperature change sequence of events appears to be from 1) the ocean surface to 2) the land surface to 3) the lower troposphere. 

► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 11–12 months behind changes in global sea surface temperature. 

► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5-10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature. 

► Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 9 months behind changes in global lower troposphere temperature. 

► Changes in ocean temperatures appear to explain a substantial part of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 since January 1980. 

► CO2 released from use of fossil fuels have little influence on the observed changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2, and changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions. 

Ice core data also shows temperature changes precede CO2 changes by 800+ years. Source
from a related comment at WUWT:
Bart says:
“human emissions are accumulating in the atmosphere”
They’re actually not. It’s going to take a long time to seep through the mental block which has accumulated over time, but that was never more than an assumption, for which evidence consistent with it was sought, but falsification was never attempted.
If, however, you actually look at the data, it is clear that temperatures are driving CO2. This plot shows that, since accurate records began, CO2 has evolved to a high degree of fidelity according to the difeq
dCO2/dt = k*(T – To)
where k is a coupling constant, and To is an equilibrium temperature. This is simply a 1st order Taylor series expansion of a continuous transport process for which the rate of change depends on temperature. One such process is the continuous transport of CO2 into downwelling waters and out of the upwelling waters of the thermohaline circulation. With this equation, if you have the starting point and the temperatures in between, you can calculate the CO2 concentration to high accuracy at any time up to the present. You don’t need to know anything about human inputs at all.
The relationship precludes any significant contribution from human emissions. This is because the coupling constant k which matches the variation also precisely matches the trend. Since the rate of human inputs also has a trend, k would have to be reduced to make room for it, but then the variation would not match. The conclusion is necessarily that human inputs are rapidly sequestered, while temperature determines the equilibrium concentration of CO2.



    Evidence that Oceans not Man control CO2 emissions

    Stephen Wilde

  2. Sorry boys (and girls), here you (and Bart btw, with whom I had several fierce discussions at WUWT) are wrong. There is a direct relationship between temperature changes and the rate of absorption of any extra CO2 (whatever the source) in the atmosphere above the temperature driven equilibrium point. That is all what the above graph says. Everybody, including the most rabiate warmists agree on that, see e.g. Pieter Tans from NOAA (a moderate warmist) at from sheet 11 on.
    But it is about the year by year change in SINK rate, not the source rate. See the amount of emissions vs. increase in the atmosphere and what nature absorbs:
    Thus nature as a whole is a net absorber of CO2, not a net source and isn't the cause of the increase in the atmosphere. We all are...

    The above graph says next to nothing about the cause of the increase itself, as you are looking at the rate of change, not the trend and essentially have removed the trend by using the derivative of the trend... But if you look at the accumulated human emissions over the past 160 years and compare them to CO2 found in ice cores (until 1960) and direct measurements (from 1960 on) then there is a perfect match. See:

    Bart (and Prof. Salby) both also couple the trend of CO2 with temperature over the period 1960-2010, by assuming a complete arbitrary baseline where above more CO2 is released (probably by the oceans) and below, CO2 is absorbed. That does match (completely spurious) for that period, but doesn't match for the period before 1960 (especially for the cooling 1945-1975 with cooling temperatures and increasing CO2) and certainly not for glacial-interglacial periods with 100,000 years of cold and still some CO2 in the atmosphere...

    Further, that humans are the cause of the increase is consistent with every known observation. All alternatives I have heard of violate one or more observations:
    - the oceans can't be the cause: the 13C/12C ratio is too high. Any release of extra CO2 from the (deep) oceans would increase the 13C/12C ratio of the atmosphere, but we see a continuous decrease (both in the atmosphere and the ocean surface layer) in ratio with human emissions:
    Further, oceanic measurements show that the carbon content of the ocean surface increases.
    - the biosphere can't be the cause, as the oxygen balance shows that more CO2 is absorbed than released by the biosphere.
    - the mass balance must be obeyed at any time: what humans release is twice what shows up in the atmosphere (in quantity, not as original molecules), thus the other halve must go somewhere. That is in the oceans and the biosphere. Both are net sinks for CO2, not sources...
    See further:

    1. In your 2nd graph CO2 levels follow temp rise and are better correlated to temperature than emissions, which only reinforces the point of this post. The CO2 data prior to 1960 is dicey, so I don't think you have proven your point.

    2. For the short term response (1-3 years), the CO2 sink rate follows temperature quite closely. That is what the initial graph from wood-for-trees shows. The response is about 4-5 ppmv/°C. A similar response can be seen over the seasons: some 5 ppmv/°C from (NH) summer to (NH) winter, mainly caused by (NH) mid-latitude vegetation changes. Long term (1-800 kyears) ice cores with a resolution between 20 and 600 years show a remarkable linear correlation between CO2 levels and temperature of about 8 ppmv/°C. But even if you don't trust ice cores, here the correlations between 1960 and 2004 (need to update them to the past years):
      As you can see, the increase in the atmosphere simply follows the emissions at all times, while temperature is cooling in 1960-1975, increasing 1976-2000 and stalls thereafter (and still does).
      In detail for the emissions:
      from two stations (Mauna Loa and the South Pole): a near perfect match.
      Now (seawater) temperature for 1960-2004:
      If you accept that temperature is the only driver for CO2 levels, then we have a short term response of 4-5 ppmv/°C, as a change in temperature of about halve the scale has hardly any effect on CO2 levels, while the trend over the full scale reaches 80 ppmv/°C over 4.5 decades.

      Maybe, but I don't know of any natural process that reacts fast but modest, then slower but huge and then again a lot slower slower and modest, the latter including eating away the medium fast response.

      If we take into account the best resolution ice core over the past 1000 years: the Law Dome DSS ice core with a resolution of 20 years, then we see the influence of the MWP-LIA cooling: some 6 ppmv for some 0.8°C cooling. Or again about 8 ppmv/°C as over very long term in other ice cores:
      Thus we have conflicting evidence: a modest response seen with a 20-year resolution (and a 50 year lag after the temperature drop in the LIA) and a huge response over the past 50 years from less temperature increase...

      Even if you don't like ice cores for any reason it is near impossible that temperature is responsible for yet over 100 ppmv increase based on less than 1°C temperature increase since the LIA. There is not such a temperature dependent source. The oceans release 16 ppmv/°C into the atmosphere to reach a new equilibrium. That is all. Plants in general grow faster and occupy larger (ice free) areas with higher temperatures, so are increasing the CO2 sink capacity...

    3. 1. I do trust ice cores to show the effect [CO2] follows the cause [temperature]

      2. Your graph shows emissions and CO2 levels are diverging exponentially, whereas temperature and CO2 appear to have more of a linear correlation, thus disproving your claim.

      3. Humlum et al also agree "changes in atmospheric CO2 are not tracking changes in human emissions"

    4. 1. If you trust ice cores for the cause/effect relationship, then you should have noticed that the relationship did break up after about 1850: at the current temperature, CO2 levels should be 290-300 ppmv, not near 400 ppmv.

      2. Both CO2 emissions and increase in the atmosphere are going up slightly exponential over time, that gives a near perfect linear relationship. As human emissions are about twice the increase in the atmosphere, it is quite clear that the emissions cause the increase. The opposite would be very remarkable...

      3. Changes in atmospheric CO2 rate of change don't track the human emissions, but the change in total CO2 perfectly tracks the total emissions. If you have two - and more - variables at work, then one of them can be responsible for the short term variability, while the other can be responsible for the trend. Sea level changes aren't visible at all in the tides and storm surges and needs at least 25 years of data before being - statistically - visible as a trend in tidal gauges. The CO2 data only need 2-3 years to show the trend over the noise...

    5. Another paper published today which refutes your claims


  3. Related comment at MIT Tech Review site:

    CO2 absorption around the world has never been globally measured. We don't have global maps that would show it. Recall that the US satellite that was supposed to make such measurements blew up on launch (I think two years ago or so). The Japanese have made measurements fairly recently (last year?) with their earth observing satellites but haven't completed the data processing yet and the program is in progress. What they put on the web so far were a couple of maps that showed, much to everyone's surprise, that many places around the world absorb more CO2 at some times of the year than they emit, for example, the US in summer, also Australia. In winter, the US becomes a net emitter--obviously. How the balance runs, nobody really knows. Various estimates that have been published, based on "theoretical accounting" are so deeply flawed they are not worth talking about.

    Regarding the ocean and the soil outgassing/sequestration. If, due to the increasing solar activity throughout the 20th century, strongest in the past 9000 years, the ocean has been absorbing more than its usual dose of energy, it would have warmed up above its previous level. The outgassing/sequestration ratio would have changed accordingly resulting in the steady and observed increase of CO2 levels in the atmosphere, to which humanity would have contributed minimally only. If the solar activity is to subdue in years to come, as is expected from Scafetta's model, the ocean will cool and the CO2 level in the atmosphere will correspondingly drop, without human contribution to it either.

  4. The reason carbon dioxide has nothing to do with warming is explained below.

    Some time back I asked people if they could explain how the required thermal energy gets into the surface of Venus. At least 98% of all incident Solar radiation is absorbed by the thick atmosphere there, so the Sun does not heat the surface significantly with direct radiation.

    No one on any climate blog has provided the correct answer, so I guess it's time to explain what does happen.

    The thermal gradient in an atmosphere evolves even in still air. We have proof that it does in over 800 experiments by Roderich Graeff, and it is logical that it would if you consider my thought experiment about a cylinder divided into three sections. If the top and bottom sections are a vacuum and then gas is released from the middle section by removing the dividers, then, at thermodynamic equilibrium, there has to be a cooler temperature at the top and warmer at the bottom. If KE were homogeneous, then the extra PE in the molecules at the top would cause a general propensity for some gas to move downwards gaining KE as it does so. After all, each individual molecule has mass, and thus has KE (as we know) and also PE. So it must obey Newton’s laws in free flight between impacts.

    The Venus surface would not be as hot if all convection moved away from the surface. If that happened we have no explanation as to how the required energy gets into the Venus surface. Because IPCC and cohorts could not conceive this heat transfer by convection, they postulated that back radiation could do the job of raising Earth’s surface 33 degrees, and the surface of Venus by about 500 degrees. But 10W/m^2 of direct solar radiation reaching the Venus surface could hardly produce much back radiation anyway! Surface bound heat transfer by convection is the missing link which we have all been looking for, and no one it seems has previously described this as being the only explanation.

    We must understand that diffusion of KE (even in still air) sets the gradient of the thermal plane in an atmosphere. Then any additional heat absorbed from the Sun (such as when night becomes day) will spread out over that thermal plane (moving away from the source in all 3D directions) just as if it were the level surface of a lake receiving rain (extra water) in some section of the lake. This is the only way we can explain how energy moves up the thermal gradient and into the surface of Venus. Radiation cannot transfer heat from the cooler atmosphere, but non-radiative convection can flow towards the surface over the thermal plane whose gradient is set by diffusion of KE in a gravitational field.

  5. Doug Cotton said:

    "Surface bound heat transfer by convection is the missing link which we have all been looking for, and no one it seems has previously described this as being the only explanation."

    That is exactly what I told you over at Roy Spencer's blog but you contended that I was wrong and that it was downward diffusion.

    Energy is returned to the surface via adiabatic compression of descending air and that is how the surface is kept warm rather than by downward infra red radiation from the atmosphere.

    The net radiative flux is a consequence of the net outturn of all the available non radiative energy transfer mechanisms and is not a cause of anything in itself.

    Fortunately I have that proposition published in various locations on various dates.

    Stephen Wilde.

  6. I've spent a lot of time considering Ferdinand's contentions and have come to the conclusion that the isotope ratio argument is flawed.

    I did set out a scenario whereby the observations could arise from natural causation but not sure now where I set it out.

    Anyway, others are coming to a similar conclusion independently.

    Stephen Wilde.

    1. Hi Stephen,

      The isotope argument in itself is not enough to prove that humans are the cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere, but is definitely a proof that the oceans can't be the cause:
      The 13C/12C ratio of the oceans is between zero per mil d13C for the deep part and up to +5 per mil for the ocean surface (the latter because of biolife that incorporates more 12CO2 than 13CO2). Even taking into account the change in isotope ratio between water and air at the surface, the ratio didn't change with more than 0.2 per mil over glacial-interglacial transitions (as measured in ice cores, sediments and wood) and during the Holocene. Since about 1850, one can see an accellerating drop in 13C/12C ratio in the atmosphere and a drop in 14C/12C ratio - until the 1950's when atmospheric atomic bomb tests increased 14CO2 tremendously. The 13C/12C drop is measured in ice cores, firn and direct measurements in the atmosphere and in the ocean surface, measured in coralline sponges:

      Thus the oceans can't be the source of this drop in 13C/12C ratio, but vegetation can. If and only if there is more decay that uptake. But the oxygen balance (and satellites: the "greening" earth) shows that the biosphere is a net sink of CO2, not a source... That means that they use more 12CO2, leaving relative more 13CO2 behind. That should increase the 13C/12C ratio, but we see a decrease...

      All other possible sources of CO2 are too high in 13C/12C to be the cause: volcanic eruptions, rock weathering, etc...

    2. Hi Ferdinand.

      I think your exposition relies on untested assumptions so I prefer Occams Razor which suggests that the primary reason for long term CO2 changes is the absorption / release balance from the oceans.

      Hopefully some evidence will come to light to resolve the issue in due course.

      Stephen Wilde.

    3. Hi Stephen,

      Untested assumptions? I only used what is measured in nature: the 13C/12C ratio is regularly measured in the atmosphere, together with CO2 levels, methane, CFC's and a lot of other gases. See: and for the 13C/12C ratio:

      They also have series for the oxygen/nitrogen ratio. That shows that the biosphere is a net absorber of CO2.

      For the oceans, regular ocean-wide measurements are made, see:

      That the oceans are not the cause of the increase can not only deduced from the 13C/12C ratio but also from the fact that the total inorganic carbon content (DIC) of the oceans surface increases: see Fig.1 in:
      If temperature was the cause, then the carbon content would decrease, as warmer waters can contain less CO2...

      Further, Henry's Law gives an equilibrium between CO2 in the atmosphere and the oceans that increases with about 16 ppmv/°C. As we have had no more that 1°C temperature increase since the LIA, that is a maximum of 16 ppmv of the 100+ we see today and still increasing (despite of 16 years stall in temperatures...).




  10. Also recommended:

  11. Another single graph: