1. A Common Sense View of AGW

by Eric Grimsrud

The essence of the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) problem is really quite simple and can be viewed in this way.  The Earth contains two very different forms of carbon. We can call one of these “geological carbon” (GC).  GC includes “inert” substances such as the fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and various inorganic substances such a calcium carbonate (limestone). These forms of carbon stay put in and on the Earth essentially forever if they are left undisturbed. 

The other basic form of carbon we can call “biological carbon” (BC).  BC consists of that in all living plants and animals as well as the CO2 in our atmosphere and the CO2 that dissolves in our oceans, lakes and streams. The BC forms of carbon are “active” and continuously cycle through the atmosphere, oceans, plants and animals rapidly on the geological time scale.

The present AGW problem has been caused by the exceedingly rapid rate with which man has been converting GC to BC by the combustion of fossil fuels. While the plants might like the extra CO2 man has been adding to the BC cycle, the atmosphere and the oceans do not.

In the atmosphere, this extra CO2 increases the amount of radiation (heat) that is absorbed as the Earth attempts to cool itself via its emission of infrared radiation. Therefore, just as you get warmer when you put on a heavier coat, the Earth also gets warmer as extra atmospheric CO2 is produced by the combustion of fossil fuels.

Next, consider the exceedingly rapid rate with which man is converting GC to BC.  We began doing this on a significantly large scale in about 1850.  We have become so good at it that we now estimate that the Earth’s known reserves of oil will be gone in several decades and its known reserves of coal will be gone in less than two centuries. If allowed, that would mean that man would accomplish this massive conversion of GC to BC in approximately three centuries, which is to say “instantly” if viewed on the geologic time scale.

Now consider the very slow rate with which this extra CO2 will be removed from the BC cycle and returned to the inert forms of GC. First, it takes many million years to naturally convert plant material to the fossil fuels, so let’s ignore that one. Another means of BC to GC conversion is called the “weathering” of CO2 by which the CO2 dissolved in rain drops or in the oceans comes in contact with rocks that contain calcium oxide (CaO). A small portion of that dissolved CO2 will then be converted to limestone (CaCO3).  Unfortunately this process is also very slow and has a significant effect only over a time scale of several millennia. Another natural process by which carbon can be removed from the BC cycle is by its sequestration into the soil of the Earth via the roots of plants and trees. While increased forestation could help increase the rate of removal of atmospheric CO2 by this mechanism, our planet is clearly not moving in that direction.

Therefore, every single day, with business as usual, we are ratcheting up atmospheric CO2 to a new highest level that is unprecedented during the Age of Man and that change will last essentially forever on the time scale of Western Civilization (say a millennia or two).  That is, we cannot undo what we are presently doing. Today, the atmospheric CO2 level is 35% higher than it has ever been in at least 750 millennia and is increasing at a rate of 0.6% per year. As this rate is further increased by the rapid economic development of other countries (especially China and India), we can expect to see a 50% increase in the pre-Industrial Age level of CO2 by the year 2020 or sooner.  That is only 10 years from now!! Why would anyone who understands the warming effect of the greenhouse gases think that we can get away with that?

Upon reflection of the overall driving force behind AGW related above, we should realize that we are already in big trouble and should not take any comfort whatsoever in the fact that there are indeed some uncertainties still remaining concerning with just how bad things are going to be in the next few decades.  As these details are being increasingly worked out and we beginning to see the initial effects of warming, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise by about 2 parts per million per year to a new, highest million-year level that will last essentially forever on a time scale of relevance to human civilizations. This is equivalent to each of us putting on a continuously heavy coat every single day and not ever being allowed to take it off either in the summer or winter. This fate will then also apply to all individuals in future generations for more than a millenia.

Yes, the essence of AGW is really that simple.  The only rebuttal to this description would seem to be the claim that CO2 is not an important greenhouse gas.  Therefore, I will probably get the opportunity to debunk that bogus claim very soon and look forward to doing so, if required.

Your turn, Ed                                                (EricG  10.9.25)

21 thoughts on “1. A Common Sense View of AGW”

  1. Marcia Turnquist

    Evidence that something exists in high numbers is not evidence of a causal relationship. I could possess a thousand knives and it would not prove me any more a killer than if I possessed one or none.

  2. As an environmental engineer I have designed water treatments plants that use lime soda process that requires the addition of CO2 to convert CaO to Calcium carbonate for precipitation. The process is well defined in any text book on water treatment. The amount of CO2 added is significant and the effect is well monitored to control the process. Now lets look at the absorption of CO2 into the waters of the World both fresh waters as the Great Lakes or into the oceans. When you look at the natural solubility of CO2 in either fresh or salt water from the atmosphere you find that it may be enough to change the pH by 0.001 units. To verify this, I have obtained the intake record of a major Great Lakes city where they have been taking the pH for about 100 years. The digitally available record is about 10 years old (daily reading) but the review shows definite variation corresponding to the lake turn-overs in spring and fall. The values vary from about 7.9 to 7.1 then they go back up, with no significant drop that can be related to increases in CO2. For those that do not know CO2 is more soluble in fresh water that in salt water, check the tables in any Handbook of Chemistry & Physics.
    Another thing to keep in mind if we ban CO2 releases, there goes your soft drinks, and other carbonated beverages – no more beer.

  3. So in essence, the thing that will happen is that CO2 will increase substantially (as such, no controversial issue) and that due to a known absorption mechanism of CO2, less cooling will occur. As far as only this direct effect is concerned, this is qualitatively non-controversial either. The real issue is, then, is the expected effect significant at all? Only if this so, can we qualify the issue at hand as 'a problem'.

    I understand that there is a broad agreement of the isolated effect of CO2-doubling to be a 1ºC rise in average atmospheric temperature. History has shown that this falls well within natural fluctuations. So, until any empirical evidence of enhanced effects can be shown, there is no formal problem as yet. The quantification issue seems vital to me, but there is none in your opening statement.

    To be honest, the main thought I take from your statement is the realisation that it is a shame that we had such a delay in development of nuclear power, since prices will rise at some point obviously.

    1. Correct. We will (future tense, not present) be discussing (some day) whether CO2 is an "important" GG. As a scientific statement, your opening statement ranks very poor in veracity because of the repeated use of superlatives. Scientific facts are black and white, where "very", "exceedingly", "rapid", "many, etc have neither rank, nor importance, nor pertinent significances. Remove all of those and reissue your statement, and I think we will have an understandable statement of the proposed speculation you present.

      I can make a matching speculation:
      "The addition of a polar gas such as CO2 increases the heat conductance of the atmosphere via infrared re-radiation to outer space from atmosphere layers above the weather levels at night and around the poles, such that insulating property in retaining heat of these upper atmosphere levels is diminished, resulting in global cooling. The quantitative aspect of this action remains to be determined."

      Ange

  4. Eric;

    Harley's numbers tell only part of the story. When he says that the warming effect of CO2 is 0.22 °C, he's talking about the effect that the total amount of CO2 has on our climate. But the real issue here is not that CO2 has an effect on our climate, which nobody denies. Nor is it whether or not our climate has been warming since 1850, it has (btw; That’s what usually happens after an ice age.. even a little one) The real issue is only about what effect on our climate that portion of total CO2 that’s made by man’s use of fossil fuels has.

    The first thing anyone looking into this has to understand, is that less than 5% of all CO2 comes from our use of fossil fuels. Our effect on climate change, using Harley's numbers, is therefore only 0.011 °C, which no matter how you analyze it is a statistically insignificant portion of the atmosphere.

    The next most important thing to understand is that CO2, even when added to the dominant greenhouse gas, clouds, is still not the only gas that traps heat. Total CO2 represents slightly less than 4/10 of 1% of the entire atmosphere, or 389ppm. Since less than 5% of that CO2 is man made, that means that man made CO2, represents only 16ppm of our atmosphere. It’s kind of hard to blame all of our imagined problems on a gas that only represents 1 part in 62,500 of our atmosphere, or at least it’s hard to do so with a straight face. All gases in the atmosphere trap heat. Greenhouse gasses may be the only ones that absorb heat by radiation, but what about the other 2 ways in which thermal energy can be transferred, conduction and convection. Since oxygen makes up 78% of the atmosphere, and nitrogen makes up 28%, and both gasses absorb heat from the earth by conduction and convection, all of the greenhouse gasses combined still only play a relatively small part of the atmosphere’s job of keeping the planet warm.

    That’s basically it Eric. Your entire theory is just plain wrong, you got it all bass ackwards. It's the sun that's the primary driver of temperature change, and warming, that causes CO2 quantities to rise, not the other way around as you claim.

    By the way, why exactly is it that you find warming to be something to worry about in the first place? Man has flourished the most during the planet’s warm periods. Warm periods cause all crops to grow far better than they can during cold periods, during which mankind has always suffered and starved. It’s only excessive cooling that we need be afraid of, but the only thing we can do about it is learn to adapt to it. We can’t change it… And painting our roofs black won’t help either. That’s really the ultimate irony of the AGW hoax.

    Warming is good!

  5. To F. Swemson: I and many others are challanging the concept that CO2 causes any warming of the atmosphere. The work in the following references all challenge the existance of the "greenhouse gas effect" One of the first to challenge the existence of "ghg' effect was Kuhn Angstrom, then R.W.Wood wrote a paper that was peer reviewed and published in 1909 that proved that the "ghg' effect could not happen. In the list below are lawyers that have looked at the available data, an employee of the US-EPA and many physicists , that all say that the "ghg effect is a fairy-tale. It time you start getting up to date.
    List of references:
    The paper "Falsification of the Atmospheric CO2 greenhouse effect within the frame of physics" by Gerhard Gerlich and Ralf D. Tscheuschner is an in-depth examination of the subject. Version 4 2009
    Electronic version of an article published as International Journal of Modern Physics
    B, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2009) 275{364 , DOI No: 10.1142/S021797920904984X, c World
    Scientific Publishing Company, http://www.worldscinet.com/ijmpb.
    Report of Alan Carlin of US-EPA March, 2009 that shows that CO2 does not cause global warming.

    Greenhouse Gas Hypothesis Violates Fundamentals of Physics” by Dipl-Ing Heinz Thieme This work has about 10 or 12 link
    that support the truth that the greenhouse gas effect is a hoax.
    R.W.Wood
    from the London, Edinborough and Dublin Philosophical Magazine , 1909, vol 17, p319-320. Cambridge UL shelf mark p340.1.c.95, i
    The Hidden Flaw in Greenhouse Theory
    By Alan Siddons
    from :http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/02/the_hidden_flaw_in_greenhouse.html at March 01, 2010 – 09:10:34 AM CST

    The below information was a foot note in the IPCC 4 edition. It is obvious that there was no evidence to prove that the ghg effect exists.

    “In the 1860s, physicist John Tyndall recognized the Earth's natural greenhouse effect and suggested that slight changes in the atmospheric composition could bring about climatic variations. In 1896, a seminal paper by Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius first speculated that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could substantially alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect.”

    After 1909 when R.W.Wood proved that the understanding of the greenhouse effect was in error and the ghg effect does not exist. After Niels Bohr published his work and receive a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1922. The fantasy of the greenhouse gas effect should have died in 1909 and 1922. Since then it has been shown by several physicists that the concept is a Violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    Obviously the politicians don’t give a dam that they are lying. It fits in with what they do every hour of every day .Especially the current pretend president.
    Paraphrasing Albert Einstein after the Publishing of “The Theory of Relativity” –one fact out does 1 million “scientist, 10 billion politicians and 20 billion environmental whachos-that don’t know what” The Second Law of thermodynamics” is.

    University of Pennsylvania Law School
    ILE
    INSTITUTE FOR LAW AND ECONOMICS
    A Joint Research Center of the Law School, the Wharton School,
    and the Department of Economics in the School of Arts and Sciences
    at the University of Pennsylvania
    RESEARCH PAPER NO. 10-08
    Global Warming Advocacy Science: a Cross Examination
    Jason Scott Johnston
    UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA
    May 2010
    This paper can be downloaded without charge from the
    Social Science Research Network Electronic Paper Collection:
    http://ssrn.
    Israeli Astrophysicist Nir Shaviv: 'There is no direct evidence showing that CO2 caused 20th century warming, or as a matter of fact, any warming' link to this paper on climate depot.
    Web- site references: http://www.americanthinker.com Ponder the Maunder
    wwwclimatedepot.com
    icecap.us http://www.stratus-sphere.com
    SPPI
    many others are available.
    The bottom line is that the facts show that the greenhouse gas effect is a fairy-tale and that Man-made global warming is the World larges Scam!!!The IPCC and Al Gore should be charged under the US Anti-racketeering act and when convicted – they should spend the rest of their lives in jail for the Crimes they have committed against Humanity.
    The only thing more dangerous than ignorance is arrogance."
    —Albert Einstein

  6. Duane;

    Thanks for catching my error on the content of the atmosphere… I'm not sure if it was my dyslexia or just another senior moment, but you're right of course about the numbers…. 78% N & 21% O & 1% for all the rest. (CO2 is about 4/10 of that last 1%)

    I agree that we should leave the physics to the physicists, but there are elements of the hoax that are so obvious and absurd that the scientific details are almost besides the point. They are as follows:

    1: With man made CO2 representing less than 5% of the 4/10 of the last 1% of the atmosphere as noted above, at 16ppm, any influence that it might have on climate change is statistically insignificant. It's been proven that temperatures drive CO2 levels, not the other way around, and that the lag time between the cause and the effect is huge, which is why the AGW proponents can't see the relationship between solar activity and our rising or falling temperatures. As the earth gets warmer, the solubility of CO2 in water decreases, which causes more CO2 to enter the atmosphere, which makes all plant life grow faster. In the last 50 years, our forests have increased by 40%, which leads us to what may be the biggest part of the Global Warming hoax:

    2: Warming is Good! All life flourishes during warm periods, and suffers & starves during cold periods. Don't believe me? Then ask yourself where you'd rather live… On a warm and balmy island in the tropics, or in northern Greenland with the eskimos… The only type of climate change that we should worry about is extreme cooling. But just as we can't prevent hurricanes or earthquakes, we can't stop climate change either, so the only thing that we can do is figure out how we can adapt to it so we can survive.

    3: There is nothing at all unusual about our current temperatures. The planet was several degrees warmer during the Medieval Warm Period (12th & 13th centuries) than it is now, or at any time in the last 700 years. It took roughly 600 years for temperatures to drop from the peak of the Medieval Warm Period, to the coldest part of the Little Ice Age. It's now about 350 years later and we're nowhere near as warm as it was in the 12th & 13th centuries. So where's the crisis? The alarmists switch back and forth between dangerous warming & dangerous cooling ever 25 to 35 years. No definitive long term trends can be revealed in such a time span. Check out the IPCC's 1st Assessment from 1990, page 202 if you doubt the validity of these facts. The fact that the IPCC and other establishment scientists have had to falsify data, and then grossly exaggerate even those stats to demonstrate that our current temperatures are unusual, is sufficient proof to me at least, that they're not, and that it's all BS!

    4: This nonsense has been going on throughout history. Primitive shamans & witch doctors told their flocks that temperature extremes, hurricanes & floods, etc, were a sign that God was unhappy with their sinful ways, & the only way they could save themselves was to do what they were told. Read Alinsky's "Rules For Radicals", (aka the Obama play book) & you'll see that to them it's OK to lie if it's for an allegedly noble purpose… To them, the ends justify the means. Evil people who lust for power over other men, use misinformation, lies & exaggeration to scare the people in order to get them to surrender their liberties and do what they're told. I refer you to an article I wrote for another blog titled "159 Years of Climate Alarmism at The New York Times"
    http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/01/24/159-years

    This current global warming hysteria is the 4th example of climate panic in the last 100 years. In 1974, these same charlatans were freaking out over the coming ice age. In fact they were blaming man in part, for the dropping temperatures back then:

    "Man, too, may be somewhat responsible for the cooling trend. The University of Wisconsin's Reid A. Bryson and other climatologists suggest that dust and other particles released into the atmosphere as a result of farming and fuel burning may be blocking more and more sunlight from reaching and heating the surface of the earth."

    Read the entire article "Science: Another Ice Age" from Time, 6.24.74 @:
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,…

    They were wrong in all of their previous predictions, so why on earth should we take anything they say seriously now?

    Originally, it was the newspapers that were promoting this garbage. Why? It's simple, catastrophes sell newspapers. Today, it's the politicians who are the ones behind the hoax, with the Lame Stream Media happily playing along with the scam. Left to their own devices, real scientists would have no motivation to lie about their findings. What the alarmists in the scientific community are doing is not science, it's grantsmanship. The governments of the world have already spent $50 Billion to buy research reports which validate the BS they're trying to sell to the people. That much money is a pretty powerful motivator.

    As for Eric's response to my previous post, frankly it just doesn't make sense to me. He wrote:

    "Although man-caused emissions by fossil fuel combusion is indeed small relative to natural CO2 emission, the accummulated effect is still very large over time." I don't think so, but I'm open to hear some empirical evidence that supports that premise.

    "It like the puny, less than 1% interest on your savings account can easily result in a 35% gains over a period of 160 years." That statement alone is enough to make me question Eric's ability to correctly analyze statistics….

    "Your suggestion that convection and conduction by nitrogen and oxygen provides an important means by which the Earth cool’s itself can not possibly be correct." ..by which the Earth cools itself….? Come again ?

    One of my favorite science fiction writers, Robert Heinlein, in his "Notebooks of Lazarus Long", said:

    "Climate is what we want, weather is what we get."

    Why is it that everyone complains about the weather, but only the liberal democrats try to legislate it?

  7. I realize I'm late to the debate, but ………….."We have become so good at it that we now estimate that the Earth’s known reserves of oil will be gone in several decades and its known reserves of coal will be gone in less than two centuries."

    And I realize I'm commenting in the early part of the debate, but so far you've put the causation of warming at the feet of the world's use of 'fossil' fuels. Doesn't this imply the issue is self-resolving? With limited resources you assert we have left, wouldn't this imply a maximum amount of CO2 which can be changed to "BC"?

    I'm always amused at the interjection of this statement(or like) because it is, as they say in poker, a tell. It isn't related to the AGW hypothesis(it doesn't assume a limit), yet, proponents almost always feel compelled to interject the statement.

    What this tells me, is your true purpose for engaging has little to do with warming, and more to do with limiting our use of resources.

  8. My comments on this post (for what they are worth).

    Paras 1 & 2: All non-contentious stuff that no-one really disagrees with.

    Para 3: A statement of 100% certainty that: "The present AGW problem has been caused by the exceedingly rapid rate with which man has been converting GC to BC by the combustion of fossil fuels.". Where does this certainty come from? Not even the IPCC claim this to be the case. This leaves me feeling sceptical already.

    Para 4: The "heavy coat" analogy doesn't really work for me. Is this really the way the "Greenhouse Effect" works in the atmosphere?

    Para 5: Not much to disagree with there, except maybe the timescales quoted for oil reserves to be exhausted. "Several decades" sounds too short a period.

    Para 6: No problems here.

    Para 7: Is there convincing scientific evidence that CO2 levels are at their highest "during the Age of Man" and for "750 millenia"? It's a big claim and I assume it can be supported.

    Para 8: I have difficulty with statements like "we should realize that we are already in big trouble", particularly when nothing has been offered to support it. No quantification. It sounds like something Greenpeace or WWF would say. I wouldn't have expected such language from a scientist debating science. What "initial effects of warming" are we already seeing? I have genuinely tried to get a sensible answer to this question. Also, are there ANY benefits to warming or are they all negative as you seem to imply? I don't understand this statement: "the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere continues to rise by about 2 parts per million per year to a new, highest million-year level". Is this referring to the CO2 level today or at some time in the future? Why has the the timescale increased to1 million years? How certain are we of that? Again we get the overcoat analogy which feels wrong to me. Why the emotive language "This fate will then also apply to all individuals in future generations for more than a millenia". Why the use of the word "fate"?. Can it be justified?

    Para 9: "Yes, the essence of AGW is really that simple." – Hang on, it is so simple that you forgot to describe the "essence". A very poor ending to the article with a side swipe at anyone who might disagree. The worst part of the article, by far.

    I look forward to these questions being answered in your future posts, Dr Eric. Until then, I remain unconvinced.

  9. Regarding Eric's temperature average example, (1ya & 5yr), a period I particularly like to inspect is the entire WWII phenomenon. The WW1 period shows lesser effects. On the basis of AGW variables, one expects that if AGW effects are as suspected, both eras should show warming that diminished after peace was declared. I see evidences of that in the WWII era trace, but timing seems to be off. Is each data point abscissa thee beginning, middle or end of the year and the 5-year period?

    I think that the bulk of WWII combat operations occurred from fall 1939 (Poland) to mid-1945 (Hiroshima). Consider the vast amounts of shipping the US did in those years as well. The 5-year maximum for those times peaked around 1942 and bottomed, of all things, in 1945! Likewise for the yearly averages. Our dust Bowl era occurred during a world temperature low… something is not yet understood…

  10. There are numerous unsupported statements here. For instance "Now consider the very slow rate with which this extra CO2 will be removed from the BC cycle and returned to the inert forms of GC. "

    This assumes that we have a clear understanding of CO2 sinks and sources. Numerous credible sources say otherwise. Two samples —

    Woods Hole indicates that some 30% of carbon sinks are "unidentified"
    <>. That is an <cite>extraordinary</cite> amount of unknowns.

    NOAA says that: "huge scientific uncertainty exists in defining the extent and importance of this feedback loop… As yet, though the basics of the hydrological cycle are fairly well understood, we have very little comprehension of the complexity of the feedback loops. Also, while we have good atmospheric measurements of other key greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, we have poor measurements of global water vapor, so it is not certain by how much atmospheric concentrations have risen in recent decades or centuries…" <>

    I don't see any of this uncertainty reflected in Dr. Eric's statements here.

  11. Dr. Eric @26, you can’t think of a quick mechanism of CO2 removal? You need to look around. I have an observation to report.

    It seems to be true that the bulk of atmosphere increases its CO2 content year from year. It is also crudely estimated that Earth system generates and sinks huge amounts of CO2, some 200GT/y. So, technically speaking, if production of natural CO2 somehow stops, all atmospheric CO2 (750GT) could be consumed in three years. This is what NASA says. Many rightfully feel that this scenario is unrealistic.

    However, one need to remember that the bulk of atmosphere is somewhere up, while all CO2 processes actually occur near the planet’s surface.

    To illustrate the scale of real CO2 processes, we need to consider the so-called “Atmospheric Boundary Layer”(ABL), where the most meteorological and biological activity occurs, see
    lightning.sbs.ohio-state.edu/geo622/622_lectures.htm
    Any infusion of carbon must pass through this layer first before being “integrated” by the bulk of atmosphere. It appears that there are some real observations about local behavior of CO2.

    Let’s first consider the amount of local mass of carbon in this layer and its variations. Instead of summing up all conditions of unpredictable weather around the globe, let’s take a local look, say, at a square of 1km x 1km in size.

    This ABL is reported as being 100m to 3000m high. Assuming worst case of the lowest 100m, this layer contains about 1% of air mass, and therefore contains about 7.5GT of carbon, or 7.5E+12 kg. Considering that Earth surface is 5.1E+08 km2, it gives about 1.5E+04 kg of carbon per each km2 of the boundary layer.

    Now let’s estimate daily changes in amount of carbon in this layer of air using observational data. On waters, the following source, http://www.co2.ulg.ac.be/pub/Frankignoulle_et_al_… ,
    says that the day-night variation of CO2 is from 375 to 650 ppm.

    On land, according to http://meteo.lcd.lu/papers/co2_patterns/co2_patte… , the typical observed variations are from 380 to 480ppm. Obviously, as expected, these numbers fluctuate with wind and who knows what else, but fluctuate substantially. These data suggest that every day the local concentration of CO2 (over 1km2 area) varies by about 30% on average.

    This means that every morning the increase in local carbon storage is about 4500kg per km2 of surface area. Then, every afternoon, nearly 4500kg are consumed back by natural processes. This cycling of 1/3 of entire carbon content of ABL happens every day, up and down.

    So, the _observed_ sink of CO2 is 4500kg of carbon per km2 per day. This amounts to global 2GT daily. This means that hypothetically the 750GT of entire atmosphere could be consumed in 375 days. Therefore, considering observational data on more realistic near-surface processes, the estimate shrinks to 1/3 of the NASA estimates of 3 years. Allowing for some fudge, the 3 years seems to be a pretty realistic estimation of atmospheric relaxation time. Incidentally this time is also supported by observations of effects of Pinatubo eruption. So, it is not “hundreds of years”, which is a typical AGW catastrophism.

    Now, the global man-made emissions of carbon are estimated as 7GT/year. This amounts to 38kg of carbon per km2 per day. Therefore, as we see, man introduces about 38kg into local afternoon sink of 4500kg. This is less than 1%. One might even wonder if this minuscule amount can change anything at all in the integral sense.

    More, I took the worst case, only assuming that observed typical variations are only for lowest 100m, while the boundary layer is in fact much bigger. Maybe not all 3km are rapidly changing, but if we consider the 1km layer, all above estimated times would shrink by 10x, giving CO2 elimination time of 5 weeks only, and reduce relative input of human to natural CO2 processes to 0.1%. This does not sound that much at all, considering chaotic nature of processes and relative independence of sources and sinks.

    What would you think about these observations?
    Cheers,
    – Al Tekhasski

  12. Dr Eric:

    I apologize that the links did not get published in #25. They are:
    "web.archive.org/web/20071026084757 /http://www.whrc.org/carbon/missingc.htm" and "lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/gases.html#wv".

    Now regarding your response in #26 and #27, I must be missing something.

    Let's recap the point I made: <cite>there is considerable scientific uncertainty regarding the CO2 process, especially regarding sinks. </cite> These are not my words or opinions, but those of acknowledged experts. Do you dispute that?

    Your answer to that seems to be to acknowledge this fact, but then to assert that it's <cite>my</cite> obligation to resolve this area!

    Dr. Ed: this is not how science works. YOU are postulating the hypothesis. It is entirely YOUR obligation to do a comprehensive, independent, objective, transparent, empirical-based assessment of this hypothesis (read Scientific Method).

    If you and your fellow proponents come to parts where there is "significant scientific uncertainty" then this MUST be carried through to your conclusion as well.

    It is scientifically impossible to come to a conclusion that has more accuracy that its elements.

  13. @ 28 Al,

    Obviously, CO2 is quickly sucked up by plants and the oceans. However, it is also being emitted quickly by dead plants and the oceans. It is the rate of loss of the EXCESS CO2 that is being discussed here – that is, the extra 40% that has resulted from the Industrial Revolution. "Just Looking Around" won't provide that answer. But if you can find a means by which the EXCESS is being remove, please let us know. Again, I am not aware on any such process.

  14. Dr. Eric:

    Again, when you make the hypothesis, you take on the burden of proof. I'm not "commanding" anything — science is. Remember that science is a process.

    You can not simply ignore the fact that there is "significant scientific uncertainty" in the whole business of CO2 sources & sinks.

    The fact that you are unaware of "fast sinks" is irrelevant.

    What IS relevant is that independent qualified sources have concluded that there are significant unknowns in the whole CO2 process.

    What follows from that is that AGW proponents have no scientific basis for just assuming that these significant unknowns have little or no bearing on AGW.

  15. @ John,

    I agree. Actually there are "significant unknowns" in essentially all aspects of science and not just those associated with CO2 processes.

    As in all complex issues whether they involve the environment or whether we should go to war on an other country, there comes a point in time – far short when we have all the answers – when we decide that we should take action NOW because any additional delay might be the larger mistake. While such decision might sometimes turn out to be wrong, they sometimes turn out to be correct. This is how decisions concerning all complex issues have always been made.

    So yes, there are significant uncertainties associated with predictions of AGW. Predictions offered by the 2007 IPCC report range from "possibly manageable" to "out of man's control" by the end of the current century. Those net uncertainties are the sum of the uncertainties associated with all of the inputs to the net predictions.

  16. Dear Dr.Eric @31, thank you for agreeing with me that CO2 can be sucked fast. However, your focus on EXCESS CO2 is misguided, scientifically so to speak.

    As you might be aware, certain huge sources and sinks are spatially separated by thousands of miles, such that warm oceans that emit CO2 are separated from cold waters of polar areas that predominantly suck CO2. Therefore the "sucking" part of Mother Nature knows almost nothing about sourcing part, they are decoupled by relatively inertial "bulk" of atmosphere.

    Simply speaking, there is no such physical thing as EXCESS CO2, even Mother Nature has real difficulties in calculating is, and that's why this "excess" fluctuates wildly from year to year. You are not aware of a process that removes EXCESS CO2 because this object does not physically exist, and therefore that process cannot exist either. The "excess" exists only in inflamed brains of climate disruption statisticians.

    Again, I don't need to "find this process". We know from global experiments conducted by Mother Nature (Pinatubo eruption) that typical system response (which includes ALL feedbacks – aerosols, etc) is about as fast as 1.5-3 years.

    Now, could you please publicly admit that all your concerns about "millenniums" is vastly overblown?

    Now, once the fear of CO2 "staying forever" has been terminated by observational evidence, it is time to move to another topic, why all this fuzz about rising CO2 is largely irrelevant to climate dynamics. I would really love to see you debunking the "bogus claim" that CO2 is not important greenhouse gas. Please begin, Dr.Eric. The opportunity is knocking.

  17. Dear Dr. Eric @36, you ask if I have ever heard about "Keeling Curve". The answer is yes, I am aware of this nice time series of conditionally selected data at a single point somewhere on a volcano.

    More, I am aware of existence of this multidimensional field that varies in time: http://www.barrettbellamyclimate.com/userimages/c
    "Global distribution of atmospheric carbon dioxide", constructed by a NOAA scientist.
    (please don't judge the picture by the place it is placed on Internet, that's all I can find for now).

    On a global scale (and we are talking about global climate, are we?), the Mother Nature experiences the following CO2_EXCESS, see slide 8 of this 16.4MB IOCCP2007 presentation: http://www.ioccp.org/pCO2_workshop/Presentations_
    My dog does agree with me that the EXCESS is not exactly a simple smooth function, which shows that Mother Nature has a difficulty in balancing the budget.

    Also, as I tried to explain to someone else here, this "excess of concentration" is in the same category of "intensive properties" of physics as temperature. I tried to explain before that the concept of property as being "physical" involves an idea that the property must conform or be governed by some physical equation. Therefore it is stupid to ask for a "mechanism" that removes unphysical quantity. As I tried to explain above, all the removal of concentration field happens on Earth surface, where Mother Nature can _potentially_ suck all CO2 in about half season, to which you seem to agree.

    You conclude: "your report will provide the all the confirmation I will require to ignore your input from now on."
    No need for an excuse. You have been already ignoring my "inconvenient" inputs from the very beginning.

    I apologize for this long explanation, it usually takes much less time to explain it to my dog, at least not three times as it takes for some professors.

  18. "Dr.Eric" wrote to Craig (@40): "sorry to inform you of this but we never "know" for sure when dealing with complex issues".
    And in 6@150 he writes:
    "… you do not realize how science MUST WORK when dealing with multivariable complex environmental issues such as AGW. So please try to GET REAL on this point so that your requests are at least ACCOMPLISHABLE. "

    I don't know how good was Dr. Eric at analytical chemistry, but what he is proposing is preposterous. What he essentially said is that you MUST twist scientific method to make his goals ACCOMLISHABLE even if available data cannot warrant any statement to be taken for sure. Instead of refining definitions, narrowing down hypotheses, refining and evaluating assumptions, and suggesting a design of highly targeted experiments and instrumentation that would allow a sure answer beyond reasonable doubt, he suggests to GET REAL, which, as he demonstrated by refusing to provide any algorithmic definitions of major terms, means "GET SLOPPY". I only wish that his research on effects of CFC on atmospheric ozone did not have the same emotional philosophy behind, which is now hard to believe after his exposure here.

  19. Dr. Eric @45, I am just following your advice in @37. I don't expect a dog to respond to an epistemological issue.

    Cheers,
    – Al Tekhasski

  20. Further to my post @40, I am no scientist, but I do have an engineering degree. Even with my limited understanding of the AGW hypothesis, I can see that Dr Eric's post @33 is founded more on emotion than science. Unless I am mis-reading that post, I would say that Dr Eric is invoking the "precautionary principle".

    I am left with the impression that the science around AGW is even more uncertain than I previously thought.

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