Thursday, January 21, 2010

IPCC Was Wrong--They Won't Change Opinion

I was bemused by a recent report that Dr. Pachuri, the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has admitted that they might be wrong to say that the Himalayan glaciers would be melted by 2035.

"Theoretically, let's say we slipped upon one number, I don't think it takes anything away from the overwhelming scientific evidence of what's happening with the climate of this earth," he said. "We continue to disagree with the 2035 date and that will be part of the response we are working on."

In spite of this, they don't change their views.

"Despite the controversy, the IPCC said that it stood by its overall conclusions about glacier loss this century in big mountain ranges including the Himalayas. "

It seems that data has nothing to do with the IPCC conclusions.

Monday, January 18, 2010

How energy use warms the earth

One of the things that is very little appreciated is the amount of warmth caused by our energy use. the average American citizen uses 10,380 watts of energy. A watt of energy is a joule/second.

Temperature is a measure of radiation per square meter. The Stefan-Boltzman law relates the electromagnetic radiation to the fourth power of temperature. If you are equationophobic, skip this.

Watts/meter^2 = σT^4

The thing that should interest us is how much does the energy use of the average American warm a small city. The global warming advocates claim that rural areas are not affected by urban heat and they too have warmed. By this the claim is made that the globe's warming is not due to urban heat effect but to CO2.

We are going to test that. Riverton, Wyoming is a tiny town of about 11,000 people in central Wyoming. I lived there for a month in 1973, working on a seismic crew when my career started. Looking on the internet, I find that there are 367 people per square kilometer in Riverton. At 10,380 W per person, divided by the million, that works out, using the above law, to an additional .65 deg C added to the ambient, and natural, temperature. This is exactly what the global warming advocates say the earth has warmed by over the past century. It truly is interesting that the energy use in a small town causes the same warming that CO2 is said to have caused.

Let's look at Dallas, Texas. There are 1427 people per square kilometer, which, at 10380 watts per person, adds 2.5 deg C of unatural warming.

The interesting thing is that GISS and NOAA make all sorts of corrections for the errors in the temperature measurments, but none of them corrcct for the energy use density expected from the high energy lifestyle of modern cities.

Below is a chart showing that energy use affects the temperatures of the cities. The base level is 295 deg K. As population density rises, the heat generated in the city rises as well. And it doesn't take much of a city to cause this heat, as is seen with the 10,000 population of Riverton, Wyoming.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Warming made to order. Look at the maps.

I ran into a wonderful site from Nasa. The maps from this site don't jive with the maps from NOAA's State of the Climate. Nor do they jive with the pronouncements of the Goddard Institute of Space Science.

Indeed, the two sets of maps are so incongruous that we must have separate climatic histories. The NASA site may have started March 2009 as they have no data earlier than that. Let's look at the temperature on land in March 2009--according to NASA

At the bottom of the March 2009 picture I put the quotation of the GISS State of the Climate proclaiming March as a really hot month. It is the 10th warmest, yet the NASA anomaly map shows more blue than read. Seems odd that such a cool month is the 10th warmest. But the map upon which GISS bases that claim is different than the above NASA map. Here is the GISS map.

Africa, nearly blue in the NASA map is turned hot in the GISS map. What a wonderful thing editing is in the hands of James Hansen's group at Goddard. The cool areas around the Himalayas and southern Russia are turned into raging heat by Goddard. Yes, be afraid, very afraid, the Goddard climatologists are going to steal your tax dollars.

Ok, one month. Let's look at April.

This map is probably about even steven between red and blue. But, in the hands of GISS it is proclaimed as the fifth hottest April and the map produced by Goddard looks like:

The broad blue area of cooling from Alaska to Florida is turned into a much smaller area on the Goddard map. The cooling in eastern Brazil, in the Nasa map is almost gone in the Hansen run Goddard map, as is the cooling in eastern Siberia, which is now all warming. Nasa shows cooling in eastern Australia, but Goddard shows warming. Of course, warming is the consensus view so shouldn't everything be warming?

Well, that is only 2 months. What about May? Below are the two maps

Once again, the cooling in Africa on the NASA map is turned into a total raging heatwave on the Goddard map. Hmmmm. Whom should we beleive??? Or is this a case where the uncertainties in the thermometer system make it impossible to know what has happened?

Greenland is not very hot in the NASA map, slightly warm, but the Goddard map makes it look like a beach in Algeria. There is almost no cooling in South America in Goddard, but significant areas of cooling on the NASA map and the location of the coolings in Australia is different on the two different maps.

Well, all of the above is anecdotal. Only 3 months. What about June?

NASA's June map shows slightly more blue than red. But look at how little blue there is on GISS's June map. One gets thirsty from the heat just looking at it.

Africa seems to be the favorite whipping boy of the GISS climatologists. If the data shows cooling there, Goddard always seems to turn it into a raging fever. Greenland turns from NASA's cooling into GISS warming. South America is mostly cool on the NASA map but mostly hot on Goddard's map. What gives with these differences?

Ok, only 4 months. July???

July was very cold across the Northern Hemisphere. In the US, 3000+ low temperature records were broken. But what do the heaters at Goddard say happened in July?

Well, once again, all hints of cooling were removed from Africa--you guys down there must be burning up by now. Goddard also removes all cooling from Australia. The coolng shown on NASA across northern Europe was removed for the most part--we don't want the Europeans to actually think critically about global warming, so Goddard helps them by always making Europe appear to warm. Keep them tax dollars flowing into the coffers of the climatologists.


NASA's map shows more warming than cooling, slightly. But the difference between the two sources for temperature information continue to plague us.

Nasa's August Map.

Goddard's August Map

The broad swaths of cooling across southern Asia seen in the Nasa map are constricted and shrunken almost to the point of nonexistence in the Goddard map. Why?

Once again, cooling in southern Africa is turned into warming by Goddard. Goddard, what do you have against the people of Africa. They deserve not to be burned up. In the NASA map all of Alaska is cooling but, Goddard makes most of it warm. Good job Goddard! You don't want people to notice how you are playing with the data.


In Nasa's map, most of Asia cools, most of eastern North America cools, but in Goddard's Sept. map, they turn most of it into warming. Look at the scorching heat up in Canada, yet Nasa doesn't really see scorching heat. Brazil which cools on NASA's map warms on Goddard's. And Argentina which warms on NASA's map cools on Goddards. Boy, aren't we certain what happened last September?



Poor Africa. Goddard is determined to burn you up. NASA will let your weather cool down every now and then, but not Goddard. Goddard allows no cooling in Asia, while NASA says parts cooled off. No cooling in Brazil is seen on the Goddard map even though it is quite clear on the NASA map. The world has a very uncertain climatic history.


Most of the eastern hemisphere is cooling in the NASA map but warming on the Goddard map. Africa again--they want you African's to burn in hell. Brazil's NASA cooling is warming on Goddard. And while western Australia is cooling on NASA it is warming in Goddard.

December a very cold month.

Note that the northern hemisphere is really cold. Some parts of Siberia are 12 deg C colder than normal. Large areas of the southern hemisphere are cooling as well.

Here it is on a northern circumpolar map.

Goddard isn't finished with causing global warming yet so I can't show you their December map.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Does Solar Magnetism Low Mean Cold Weather?

Over the past few years a theory linking cosmic ray flux on earth with cold and cool temperatures on earth has been advanced by Svenmark. To explain this one needs to know that when the earth is warm, biological activity becomes maximum. Biological activity discriminates agains carbon 13 because it is heavier. Life likes carbon 12. so when the oceans have high concentrations of C13 biological activity is high. Knowing this, Svenmark reasoned that long periods of warmth would have little seasonality and that means that the standard deviation of C13 measurements should be low. So, using this, he created a curve of C13 content of the oceans over the past four billion years. He then compared it with the cosmic ray flux as seen in geologic record of the atomic products cosmic rays produce as they collide with nucleii high in the atmosphere. Svenmark found that these two curves correlate with a .92 correlation coefficient--a really good correlation. Svenmark's chart can be seen below.

This theory has been given some support by the work of Shaviv and Veizer. They say

“Growing evidence, such as the correlations between paleoclimate records and solar and cosmic ray activity indicators (e.g., 10Be, 14C), suggests that extraterrestrial
phenomena are responsible for at least some climatic variability on time scales ranging from days to millennia (Friis-Christensen and Lassen, 1991; Tinsley and Deen, 1991; Soon et al., 1996; Svensmark, 1998; Beer et al., 2000; Egorova et al., 2000; Soon et al., 2000; Björck et al., 2001; Bond et al., 2001; Hodell et al., 2001; Kromer et al., 2001; Labitzke and Weber, 2001; Neff et al., 2001; Todd and Kniveton, 2001; Pang and Yau, 2002; Solanki, 2002). These correlations mostly surpass those, if any, for the coeval climate and CO2. Empirical observations indicate that the climate link could be via solar wind modulation of the galactic cosmic ray flux (CRF) (Tinsley and Deen, 1991; Svensmark, 1998; Marsh and Svensmark, 2000; Todd and Kniveton, 2001; Shaviv, 2002a, 2002b) because an increase in solar activity results not only in enhanced thermal energy flux, but also in more intense solar wind that attenuates the CRF reaching Earth. The CRF, in turn, correlates convincingly with the low-altitude cloud cover on time scales from days (Forbush phenomenon) to decades (sun spot cycle). The postulated causation sequence is therefore: brighter sun => enhanced thermal flux +solar wind => muted CRF => less lowlevel clouds => less albedo => warmer climate. Diminished solar activity results in an opposite effect. The apparent departure from this pattern in the 1990s (Solanki, 2002) may prove to be a satellite calibration problem (Marsh and Svensmark, 2003).”
Nir J. Shaviv and Jan Veizer, “Celectial Driver of Phanerozoic Climate?” GSA Today, July 2003, p. 5

If this theory is correct, then as the sun's protective magnetic field around the earth goes down, we should see more clouds, a rise in the earth's albedo (reflected light) and cooler temperatures. So, what is the sun's magnetic field doing? It is declining to unprecedented low levels.

This site contains the records of the Suns magnetic field. The AP index, is the planetary average of the changs in the earth's geomagnetic field caused by the sun. When the index is low, the sun's magnetic field is weak and cosmic rays can bombard the earth with ease causing clouds. Here is a plot of the AP Index since 1991

The sun is very very quiet magnetially, even with the recent splurge of sunspots. If the cosmic ray/cloud connection is true, we should get even colder if the solar magnetism stays at these levels.

I posted earlier in this blog the work of Livingston and Penn who predicted that sunspots would disappear by 2015 because the sun's magnetic field is dropping and by then, it will be so weak that it will be unable to hold up the walls of a sunspot. Here is the solar magnetism measured by Livington and Penn. Note that if the solar magnetism/cosmic ray flux/cloud connection is real it would explain the cooling over the past 10 years.

One can find that at least up until 2007 the earth's albedo was increasing, according to Palle et al, meaning it is refecting more light and thus should be experiencing cooler temperatures.

And now we see the decline in the Ap index. If it increases the cloud cover, then better stoke up the furnace.

What are the implications of this? Well one thing that comes to mind right now is that since the sun is behaving weirdly right now, we must question whether or not our usual rules apply. On Dec. 21, 2006, Nasa put up a web site predicting:

Evidence is mounting: the next solar cycle is going to be a big one.

Solar cycle 24, due to peak in 2010 or 2011 "looks like its going to be one of the most intense cycles since record-keeping began almost 400 years ago," says solar physicist David Hathaway of the Marshall Space Flight Center. He and colleague Robert Wilson presented this conclusion last week at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

. . .

"It all hangs together," says Hathaway. Stay tuned for solar activity


Apart from being utterly wrong about the future of the solar cycle which turned out to be unusually small, an interesting thought comes up when perusing this prediction of 4 years ago in light of the recent flurry of sunspots on the sun over the past month--not a lot, but a flurry compared to most of 2009. What if we are NOW in solar maximum, and we are still having spotless days--something that doesn't happen in normal solar maximums? If that is the case, then we can expect even fewer sunspots as we go into the normal decline, taking us up to 2015 when the magnetic fields might be too small to support sunspots.

If this happens, you better buy a good winter coat.

One Heck of a Cold Snap

I have a ranch in South Texas. I just got back from it, feeling the need to go and see what, if any, damage the current frigid temperatures might have done to the house. The hoar-frost was beautiful--unfortunately, my wife had my camera so I have no pictures. The interestig thing to me was that my chicken yard water pond was frozen over, almost to the point where it could support my weight. I walked down to the big ponds on the place. The 3/4 acre pond was frozen solid as was the 2 acre lake. I told my neighbors that I was surprised that the lakes were frozen. Their's were as well. They told me that this was the first time the lakes have frozen since 1986. The temperature last night was 20 deg F--in South Texas.

Just for comparison, in 1986 there was 344 parts per million CO2 in the atmosphere compared with 370 today. I wish CO2 would start working and move the record low temperature occurraes upwards so we won't have any more such cold days. After 4 hours in the cold at the ranch, I decided to call it a short day and come back to Houston.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2009 annual report before Dec 2009 report done

For those who look quickly you will see that NOAA has put out the ANNUAL 2009 report on the state of the climate before they did the December 2009 report.

They say:
"NOAA scientists project 2009 will be one of the 10 warmest years of the global surface temperature record, and likely finish as the fourth, fifth or sixth warmest year on record. "

This is like the Queen in Alice who said, "Verdict first; trial later." Given the above quotation, one has to wonder if the climatologists look outside to see that the world is freezing. We had 3000 US low temperature records broken in July. New England barely had a summer this year. We had the 3rd coldest October on record. December is said to be among the coldest in many places in the world, yet, amazingly, 2009 is going to again be up in the hottest on record. How stupid do they think we are?

The picture above shows the drop down list showing that December isn't there yet and the page I am showing and quoting from is the Annual 2009 page. How nice of the climatologists to have prescient abilities, to be able to see into the future without having to actually look at the data.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Water Vapor is Causing Most of the Warming

Many of the global warming hysterics claim that CO2 is the only cause of warming. It is man's fault they say. And when people point out that water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas and it might be causing warming, they all shake their collective, consensus driven, sheeple heads and cluck their tongues about how denialists simply don't know what they are talking about.

But even the IPCC acknoweldges that water vapor is a bigger part of the greenhouse effect than CO2.

"Water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, and carbon dioxide (CO2) is the second-most important one."
"Frequently Asked Question 1.3 What is the Greenhouse Effect?" source

Kenneth Trenbirth, a global warming advocate who is most famous for his comments in the hacked emails which said this:

"The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a
travesty that we can't. The CERES data published in the August BAMS 09 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate." source

also said this:

"As atmospheric temperatures increase, the water-holding capacity of the atmosphere also increases, at a rate of about 4% per degree F. This is observed to be happening over the oceans, where surface water is not limited, and also to a slightly lower degree over land. Water vapor itself is a powerful greenhouse gas and roughly doubles the heating. The result is that global warming is “unequivocal” to quote the IPCC and is manifested not only in temperature increases throughout the atmosphere and ocean, but also through melting glaciers and ice sheets, rising sea level, melting Arctic sea ice, and changes in storms and hurricanes." Kevin E. Trenberth "Impact of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide and Other Greenhouse Gases on Climate since 1940, Including Water Vapor Feedback" Adapted from oral presentation at AAPG Annual Convention, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009 source

Basically, as the world warms, the atmosphere can hold more water vapor, which heats the earth further so it can hold more water vapor. If that happens, then the earth would warm because of WATER VAPOR, not CO2.

So, what is the history of water vapor in the atmosphere? The American Meteorological Society puts out a book each year, accessible from NOAA, which describes the state of the climate. The 2009 book, talking about 2008, had a really interesting chart of water vapor anomalies showing that over the past 20 years, up until 2007, the water vapor content of the atmosphere was increasing. Here it is from page S24 of the August 2009 supplement.

Clearly water vapor is increasing. In an article designed to shame the 'deniers' Slate author Brendan I. Koerner wrote:

"By mass and volume, water vapor is the most prevalent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. According to both the International Panel on Climate Change and many global climate models, water vapor accounts for somewhere between 60 percent and 70 percent of the greenhouse effect. (The 98-percent figure, much beloved by global-warming skeptics, seems to have been first used in a 1991 article by Richard Lindzen. He cites a 1990 IPCC report as his source, but the report doesn't appear to contain that number.)
Brendan I. KoernerPosted "Is Global Warming Caused by Water Vapor?How to think about the No. 1 greenhouse gas." Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008, at 11:16 AM ET Source

Ok, lets grant him 60%. Given that Wikipedia, a site carefully garded by global warming fanatics, claims that the average water content of the atmosphere is 25 mm source, the half a millimeter of additional water in the atmosphere represents a 3% rise in water vapor. By my calculations, that means that water vapor is accounting for more than half of the 'warming'.

Look at the world map of water vapor.

You can see that in 2008 the air was dry. There are no 'black' regions, but there are corresponding dark brown regions. That means that more long wave radiation can escape, which means that the earth will appear warmer to the satellites, but the earth will get cooler. Both things have happened. Last year was a cooler year, and I expect that when the August 2010 issue of BAMS comes out, 2009 will be even dryer.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Does Algae Reduce the Ice Core CO2?

Above is Beck's compilation of historical atmospheric CO2 measurement. A friend said to look at to see their objections. That is always a good idea to find the objections. After looking over the criticisms of Beck's atmospheric CO2 measurements at,(Beck's short paper and RC and my previous post on Beck's work) and listening to their defense of the CO2 in the glacial ice. I decided to ask some questions about glacial ice and CO2.

Could there be anything that eats the CO2 lowering it in the glacial ice and making the 'pre-industrial level' not be read correctly? There is a reason for asking this. Many of Beck's sources were German chemists and in the late part of the 19th century continuing into the 20th century, they were, in general, the best chemists on earth at that time. So why the discrepancy between Beck's literature search and the ice cores?

The IPCC relies on Etheridge et al. 1996 in which paper Etheridge et al ignorantly say:

"A record of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratios from 1006 A.D. to 1978 A.D. has been produced by analysing the air enclosed in three ice cores from Law Dome, Antarctica. The enclosed air has unparalleled age resolution and extends into recent decades, because of the high rate of snow accumulation at the ice core sites. The CO2 data overlap with the record from direct atmospheric measurements for up to 20 years."Etheridge, D., L. Steele, R. Langenfelds, R. Francey, J.‐M. Barnola, and V. Morgan (1996), Natural and anthropogenic changes in atmospheric CO2 over the last 1000 years from air in Antarctic ice and firn, J. Geophys. Res., 101(D2), 4115-4128

1978 minus 20 is 1958. These guys are acting like Keeling, whose curve starts in 1958, was the very first person on earth to measure atmospheric CO2 content. Clearly this is wrong. And just as clearly, their derived CO2 profile differs markedly from that of the historical atmospheric measurements turned up by Beck. Look at how the ice core measurements above have no correlation with the historical atmospheric measurements. This strongly implies that something is happening down in the ice cores to change the CO2 content. So, let's look at this issue.

I first looked at inorganic processes that might lower the CO2 in the cores but there appears to be nothing in inorganic chemistry which can do it. But…there is always algae and other microbial life.

When I was in Antarctica there were some pinkish/brownish areas of the snow which was caused by algae living just below the frozen surface. These algae live down to -10 deg C. But I was near the coast. See below.

Did they live at Vostok where the cores were taken? Yes, they did.

"Finally, in terms of understanding microbes within the lake, the overlying Vostok ice core contains a diverse range of microbes including algae, diatoms, bacteria, fungi, yeasts and actiomycetes (Ellis-Evans and Wynn-Williams, 1996). These organisms have been demonstrated to be viable to depths as deep as 2400 m (Abyzov, 1993). " Robin E. Bell " Lake Vostok: Background Information" in Robin E. Bell, David M. Karl," LAKE VOSTOK WORKSHOP" National Science Foundation, Washington D.C. November 7 & 8, 1998, p. 11 source

While deep down, photosynthesis can't happen, up shallow it can. But Vostok surface temperatures never get above -25 deg C. That presented a problem for seeing in them a way to photosynthesize the CO2, except in the veins between ice crystals (see below). Would that be enough? I don't know, but there are other mechanisms for giving the algae a proper habitat.

Looking into issues of the past history of temperatures on the mainland of Antarctica, I ran into a 2009 Ph. D. dissertation on UV absorption in the Antarctic ice cap. Kai Rasmus measured albedos and absorptions of UV light. He was trying to see what the increased UV because of the ozone hole might do to the Antarctic Ice shelf. What he found was that the ice could melt because of the increased UV radiation absorbed by the glacial ice and the slow thermal conductivity of the ice. It would melt small areas of the subsurface ice. He says:

"The melt water pool was 1 m thick after a 50-year integration. This increased to 1.5m when the trend in air temperature was applied. For a typical atmospheric warming scenario of 1.5°C in 50 years subsurface changes were found. It seems that these subsurface changes may be unnoticed at the surface, which remains frozen and largely unchanged during the 50 year integration. The ice did not disintegrate even after a 50-year integration." Kai Rasmus " OPTICAL STUDIES OF THE ANTARCTIC GLACIO-OCEANIC SYSTEM " REPORT SERIES IN GEOPHYSICS No 62 (2009) UNIVERSITY OF HELSINKI DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS p.58

If parts of the ice melted, then the algae would live, and would photosynthesize what they could in the dim light. That would reduce the CO2 content of the bubbles inside the ice. It would also mean that the impermeable lock-in zone would move shallower (that is the depth at which no air can diffuse further below). So, we have a mechanism to melt subterranean ice in Antarctica caused by the present ozone hole, caused by man's past CFC production. But of course that can’t affect past CO2 levels. The ozone hole is a present problem, right? Wrong.

In 1859 the most massive solar flare ever seen, hit the earth. Scientists believe that it cut the ozone hole by over 30%.

1859 solar flare, ozone depletion studied
March 22, 2007
U.S. scientists believe an 1859 solar flare destroyed more of the Earth's ozone than did a 1989 solar flare -- the strongest ever monitored by satellite.
Researchers led by Brian Charles Thomas of Washburn University used data on nitrate enhancements from Greenland ice cores to determine the September 1859 solar proton event released 6.5 times more energy than did the 1989 event.

Models using that energy release showed 3.5 times more ozone was destroyed during the 1859 episode than in 1989. And since ozone regulates the amount of harmful ultraviolet radiation reaching Earth, the researchers said understanding intense solar proton events will be important in predicting potential damage to the biosphere.

The study by Thomas, Charles Jackbon of the Goddard Space Flight Center, and Adrian Melott of the University of Kansas appears in the current issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

For comparison with the CFC depletion consider this:

"CHLORINE-catalysed depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer has commanded considerable attention since 1985, when Farman et al. 1 observed a decrease of 50% in the total column ozone over Antarctica in the austral spring. Here we examine the depletion of stratospheric ozone caused by the reaction of ozone with nitric oxide generated by energetic solar protons, associated with solar flares. During large solar flares in March 1989, satellite observations indicated that total column ozone was depleted by ˜9% over ˜20% of the total area between the South Pole and latitude 70° S. Chlorine-catalysed ozone depletion takes place over a much larger area, but our results indicate that the influence of solar protons on atmospheric ozone concentrations should not be ignored." JUDY A. E. STEPHENSON & MALCOLM W. J. SCOURFIELD Importance of energetic solar protons in ozone depletion Nature 352, 137 - 139 (11 July 1991);

Apparently this means that the 1859 event did about over 30% damage—almost what CFCs did. If such natural events happen every couple of hundred years (our current observation period), then every couple of hundred years, we could get pockets of meltwater below the Antarctican surface, which would revive the algae, which would then easily reduce the CO2 in the recovered ice cores. And if this is a possibility, then the IPCC may be using cores depleted in CO2.

Some may say that the melting of the ice occurs above the lock in depth, where ice impermeabilty prevents diffusion with the present atmosphere and thus Rasmus' work is irrelevant. If that is so, then there is even a worse problem for the IPCC who uses ice cores for the past 200 years as a measure of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. Studies at Vostok suggest that the age of the lock-in is 6000 years ago, yet IPCC is using ice core data for the past 200 years. That seems flimsy to say the least, especially when they ignore 150 years of atmospheric measurements.

"One reason for this uncertainty is that the relative timing of temperature and CO2 changes is not accurately known.The temporal relation between these two quantities is difficult to discern because air is trapped in ice at the base of the firn layer (7), where, at low accumulation sites such as Vostok, ice may be 6000 years old." Nicolas Caillon, et al " Timing of Atmospheric CO2 and Antarctic Temperature Changes Across Termination III" Science 299(2003), p. 1728

So, the IPCC and AGW supporters are presented with a problem. If they say that Rasmus's melt mechanism doesn't count because it is shallow before the ice permeability locks in the atmospheric content, then they can't claim that using 200 year old ice cores can possibly give a correct value. If they say that 200 year old ice can represent the atmospheric composition correctly, then they have to explain why algae can't lower the CO2 content of the air in shallow ice cores making their values lower than the historical CO2 measurements, and thus irrelevant to the CO2 content of the world for the past 200 years. The horns of a dilemma are tough.

I would also point people to the picture I took in Antarctica a year ago. In the foreground you can see a tilted layer of snow and ice that have dark blue horizontal streaks just below the surface. The dark blue is solid ice--meaning it is an impermeable layer. Notice how close to the surface it is. That layer may be one of the melt layers spoken of by Rasmus. Such layers would lock in and separate the air from above from the air from below. Here is observational data that supports Rasmus's view.

But beyond all this, shallow metabolism is not the end of microbial life. Price describes a habitat for psychrophiles (beings that love cold) in the water that exists between the ice grains. Ice, when it freezes expels most impurities, so some water exists in the form of either highly salty or acidic waters in the veins in between the grains. Microbes can live in such circumstances.

"In the accretion ice, with an age of a few 10^4 years and a temperature a few degrees below freezing, the carbon and energy sources in the veins can maintain significant numbers of cells per cubic centimeter that are metabolizing but not multiplying. In the 4 x 10^5-year-old colder glacial ice, at least 1 cell per cm^3 in acid veins can be maintained. With fluorescence microscopy tuned to detect NADH in live organisms, motile bacteria could be detected by direct scanning of the veins in ice samples. P. Buford Price, " A habitat for psychrophiles in deep Antarctic ice" PNAS, 97(2000), p. 1247

When melted the viable Vostok microbes engaged in more acetate metabolism than anything else.

"Acetate was respired 800 times more rapidly than was glucose." D. M. Karl et al, "Microorganisms in the Accreted Ice of Lake Vostok, Antarctica" Science 286(1999):2145

This was anaerobic metabolism. The big question is are they metabolizing down below? That is something that is unknown at the present time. Price says they might be.

What do we know about that kind of metabolism from similar microbes living in oxygen free places?

"Acetate was metabolized primarily to methane in the sediments and water immediately above the sediment. Sulfide inhibition studies and temperature activity profiles demonstrated that acetate metabolism was performed by several microbial populations. Sulfide additions (less than 5 μg/ml) to water from 21.5 m stimulated methanogenesis from acetate, but inhibited CO2 production."M. R. Winfrey and J. G. Zeikus "Microbial Methanogenesis and Acetate Metabolism in a Meromictic Lake" Appl Environ Microbiol. 1979 February; 37(2): 213–221.

And there are sulfides in ice cores that could inhibit CO2 formation

"The average COS mixing ratio of the SPRESSO data set is (331±18) ppt (parts per trillion in mol/mol, ±1[sigma], n=100), excluding 6 outliers. These data confirm earlier firn air and ice core measurements indicating that the late 20th century COS levels of 500 ppt are greatly increased over preindustrial levels and represent the highest atmospheric levels over the past 2000 years. The data also provide evidence of climate-related variability on centennial time-scales, with relative maxima at the peaks of Medieval Climate Anomaly and Little Ice Age. There is evidence
for a long-term increasing trend in COS of 1.8 ppt per 100 years. Further ice core studies will be needed to determine whether this trend reflects secular variability in atmospheric COS, or a slow post-depositional chemical loss of COS in the ice core."
M. Aydin et al, "
Carbonyl sulfide in air extracted from a South Pole ice core: a 2000 year record" Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 7533–7542, 2008

The fact that the sulfide increases with time may be indicative that microbes are using it up which would mess up the air chemistry derived from ice cores.

All of these issues are poorly understood yet the IPCC chooses to ignore the historical measurments of CO2 in the atmosphere in favor of what might be more of a chemical brew below in the ice cores than they want to beleive.

And if this is the case, then Beck's measurements may be the better of the two, meaning that the atmospheric levels of CO2 may have been as high as 450 ppm within the past 200 years and all the scare-mongering may not be anything but, well, scare-mongering for political purposes.

I think it is time for the climate scare mongers to explain why they rely solely on ice core CO2 when there is clearly the possibility that UV radiation melted small pools allowing the algae to reduce the ice core CO2. Again, at the top of this post is the chart of the historic atmospheric measurements of CO2 put together by Beck and ignored by the IPCC.

How Synthetic is the Keeling curve?

While tooling around the internet, I ran into a report about an upcoming article in Geophysical Research Letters.

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

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

The research is published in Geophysical Research Letters.


I was surprised to learn that someone thought that CO2 hadn't gone up. After all we have the famous Keeling Curve.

It has wonderful geometric beauty, and that implies a certitude about the CO2 levels.

Now, while I won't necessarily support Knorr's conclusions or methods, he did spur me to look again at the measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. It spurred me to ask a question: Why is the Keeling Curve so geometrical?

Let's start by looking at the CO2 measurements at the South Pole. There is nothing geometrical about it.

How about Baring Head, NZ?

Clearly the Keeling curve looks artificial compared to the other stations on earth. One could say that maybe the other researchers are simply incompetent, but that seems harsh. Why is the Keeling curve so regular, especially since it is sitting on a volcano that occasionally spews out additional CO2? In 40 years has not one single measurment been taken when the volcano was blowing additional CO2 towards the station? That seems highly unlikely.

Below are all the Pacific stations plotted together. Note the scatter. After subtracting the trend of all these temporally aligned measurments, the standard deviation is 6 ppm. Yet the Keeling curve claims, implicitly, accuracy less than 1 ppm.

But these stations all start in the 1950s. What gives? Were there no measurements of atmospheric CO2 prior to that time? Sadly, the IPCC and Keeling, simply ignore the vast literature on previous CO2 measurements.

Ernst-Georg Beck published a paper analysing the 90,000 measurments of atmospheric CO2 from 1812 to the present. It is at Beck, Ernst-Georg, "180 years of atmospheric CO2 gas analysis by chemical methods" Energy and Environment 18,(2007):2, pp. 259-282

The story his analysis tells is a big blow to the climate hysteriacs, who seem never to access or mention CO2 measurments made by chemical analysis over this span. The IPCC uses the ice cores, which, in light of 90,000 atmospheric measurments of CO2 over the past 200 years gives the appearance of cherry-picking. A short version of a peer reviewed paper is found here

Let's first look at Beck's chart showing the historical measurments. One immediately sees that CO2 was higher than the 'consensus' IPCC scientists would allow. They use the ice core data and ignore actual atmospheric measurements.

Now lest someone say that this kind of high CO2 levels were unusual, look at the bi-weekly data from Giessen, Germany for the years 1939-1941.

The IPCC graphs don't mention or show the variations in CO2 turned up by Beck here and see the picture below. The IPCC is clearly cherry-picking the data. Look at the insert below.

At the very least, the IPCC should explain specifically why it is rejecting all these historical measurments of CO2. As it is, they act as if these measurements don't exist.