Whether It Is Warming or Climate Change, It Cannot be the CO2.

by Dr. Tim Ball on November 9, 2011

Recently a Japanese Research Institute published a satellite map of sources of CO2 emissions. It was virtually ignored by the mainstream media, but that has become an inverse measure of its significance to the climate debate. It showed a pattern that most would not expect because of the misleading information presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) amplified by most media. Producers of the research illustrate the problem.

“The head of the research institute, Yasuhiro Sasano, says he hopes the map will help display how much each region needs to reduce its CO2 emissions in the future.”

This is only a politically correct comment because the map illustrates the exact opposite, CO2 emission reduction is not required where the IPCC recommend. John O’Sullivan correctly drew attention to this dilemma, however, the results are logical if known science is applied.

Figure 1: Red is for high CO2 emission: Green (absorbers) no emissions: White is low or neutral emissions.

The information in the article is not surprising if you know anything about CO2 and don’t buy the ‘official’ nonsense. The oceans are the main control of atmospheric CO2 as one of the atmospheric gases in constant flux between the water and the atmosphere. The ocean’s ability to absorb CO2 is a function of its temperature – cold water absorbs more CO2 than warm water. The boundary between the warm polar water and warm tropical water is very clearly defined in most parts of the world and the map generally reflects this pattern. The map is only surprising if you believe that humans are the primary source of CO2.

I was criticized for participating in the book “Slaying the Sky Dragon” but did so because they were tackling a question that few, including most of the skeptics, ignore; the actual role of CO2 as a greenhouse gas. As a climatologist I know all the variables must fit together and interact with each other. The evidence for CO2 as a greenhouse gas simply doesn’t fit. The Slayers had serious problems with the physics and it was essential to put that information into the debate. The map makes it time to revisit why, besides the physics, CO2 doesn’t fit.

There are several misconceptions about CO2, most created because proponents tried to prove the hypothesis rather than the normal scientific practice of disproof. It helped them if the misinformation created unfounded fears. An early IPCC claim said atmospheric residency time of CO2 was at least 100 years. Done, ostensibly, for the political point that even if we stopped production immediately the damage was done. We now know the actual time is at most 5 to 6 years.

The major assumption of the hypothesis says a CO2 increase causes a temperature increase. After publication in 1999 of Petit et al., Antarctic ice core records were presented as evidence. Just four years later proof that the major assumption of the hypothesis was wrong appeared. Somehow it was shuffled aside, probably because of the diversionary claim that the lag was between 80 and 800 years. It doesn’t matter, it still contradicts the basic assumption. Temperature change before CO2 change is the case in every record for any period or duration is studiously ignored by proponent and skeptic. A shorter record showing the relationship is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 Lag Time for Short Record 1958 to 2009

It is logical to assume that if CO2 change follows temperature change in every record then CO2 cannot be a greenhouse gas.

Another misrepresentation is the claim that CO2 is evenly distributed throughout the atmosphere and levels don’t vary much over time. The measuring techniques developed by Keeling for the Mauna Loa site were patented and is the standard measuring technique for the world. It is a questionable technique including the ‘adjustments’ made to the readings. Ernst Georg Beck demonstrated the problems (Figure 3) and the lengths taken to blend the ice core record to the 19th. Century data to the Mauna Loa record. He also shows a lag of five years eliminated by the 70 year smoothing applied to the ice core data that eliminates or masks most diagnostic information.

Figure 3 Diagram and Caption by Ernst Beck

Beck’s work confirms the findings that compares ice core CO2 levels with stomata measures. Figure 4 shows 2000 years of record from 6500 to 8500 years BP. Similarities of stomata readings with Beck’s record include higher atmospheric levels and much greater variability.

The map and the accompanying article create a distortion in its speculation about the amount of human produced CO2 as a fraction of natural production. According to the IPCC, who produce the original numbers, humans produce approximately 9 gigatons of CO2 per year. This is within the error factor for the amount of CO2 from at least two natural sources. Estimates of CO2 from natural sources are very crude as evidenced by the large error factors. Reports with headlines like, “Forests soak up more CO2 than thought” and “Old-growth forests absorb CO2 too: study” keep appearing. In 2010 humans produced 9 gigatons, but ocean output was between 90 and 100 gigatons and ground bacteria and rotting vegetation was between 50 and 60 gigatons according to Dr Dietrich Koelle. Spread the human annual production across the planet and it doesn’t even show on the world map. The pattern confirms this because it reflects natural sources.

Figure 4 With Original Caption and Source

Few, including skeptics, want to confront the problem that temperature increase precedes CO2 increase in absolute contradiction to the major assumption of the AGW hypothesis. It is increasingly obvious that CO2 is not a greenhouse gas and the only group challenging that scientifically are the Slayers, which is why I joined them. Science must be about skepticism, otherwise the science is settled, but then it isn’t science.


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