Temperature and CO2 History

600 Million Year History

Fig. 1A. TOP: Global Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 over Geologic Time. Late Carboniferous to Early Permian time (315 mya — 270 mya) is the only time period in the last 600 million years when both atmospheric CO2 and temperatures were as low as they are today (Quaternary Period ).

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html#anchor83826

http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Carboniferous_climate.html

Temperature after C.R. Scotese http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm
CO2 after R.A. Berner, 2001 (GEOCARB III)

Source: Salamatin A.N., V. Ya. Lipenkov, N.I. Barkov, J. Jouzel, J.R. Petit and D. Raynaud (1998). Ice-core age dating and palaeothermometer calibration based on isotope and temperature profiles from deep boreholes at Vostok Station (East Antarctica), Journal of Geophysical Research. 1-3: 8963-87977

Fig. 1B. BOTTOM: Atmospheric O2.

Oxygen after R.A. Berner, 1999: Perspective Atmospheric oxygen over Phanerozoic time; PNAS Vol. 96, Issue 20, 10955-10957, September 28, 1999 abstract*

400,000 Year History

Here is a temperature record for the last 400,000 years. We are now in the last part of the Holocene warm period shown at the right. This plot shows that the earth spends most of its time as an ice ball. The last 12,000 years has been a good time to live.

Fig. 2. Surface air temperature at Vostok station, Antarctica over the last 400,000 years

Source: Petit J.R., Jouzel J., Raynaud D., Barkov N.I., Barnola J.M., Basile I., Bender M., Chappellaz J., Davis M., Delague G., Delmotte M., Kotlyakov V.M., Legrand M., Lipenkov V.Ya., Lorius C., Pepin L., Ritz C., Saltzman E., Stievenard M. Climate and atmospheric history of the past 420,000 years from the Vostok ice core, Antarctica. Nature, vol. 399, N 6735, 3 June 1999, pp. 429-436.

Contributed by William McClenney:

Fig. 3. ___________________

Fig. 4. Legend as above. (PDF Links are being added. William, you may begin your presentation of these charts.)

24 thoughts on “Temperature and CO2 History”

  1. First of all, the temperature graph is not sourced, so if we could include that it would be nice.

    Looked up the source for the first graph and found an interesting paper, that appears to confirm concerns I have over ice core temperatures. The temperatures would be averages of several years, and due to compaction the amount of years averaged would increase as the data gets older. This would result in much less variability than would normally be seen, especially if compared with annual averages. In order for CAGW to be true, the rate of change needs to be considered. However, if the natural variability is muted, then we are really comparing two very different things.

  2. Do we have a similar insolation graphic?

    Adelady this is a very interesting question and the answer is generally unexpected.
    Actually the answer is no, we don't have and will never have.
    At least for a past farther than a few millions years.

    The reason for that is that it is impossible to compute where the Earth was/will be on its orbit for times exceeding a couple of millions years.
    The gravitational N body system (like the Solar system) has been recognized by Poincare already 100 years ago as being chaotic.
    This means concretely that the uncertainty of the computed orbital parameters increases dramatically with time .
    After a certain time given by what is called the "Lyapounov time" (you can google it) you have no clue what the state of the system was/will be .

    That's why in the first graphic it is impossible to know where the Earth was with relation to the Sun , Moon and other planets in this very far past . As a consequence it is impossible to know what the insolation was because it depends on these orbital parameters.
    Of course it depends also on plenty other things like clouds, volcanoes etc but the orbital chaos is enough by itself to answer your question with a no .

  3. Plate tectonics is a fascinating subject for several reasons, with 2 relating to the current controversy. Firstly, showing a link to a past continental alignment having similar Temperature and Atmospheric CO2 to the present offers a different perspective to the supposed certainties of Global Warming. Secondly, the consensus which delayed the acceptance of plate tectonics itself shows the error in trusting such a consensus.

  4. William McClenney

    @12 Thanks John. I wasn't going to go into all the reasons why stepping beyond the Mid Pleistocene Transition into the past got "messy", but you raise two excellent points. Firming the first one up was the tectonic closing of the Pan-American Seaway when the Isthmus of Panama formed about 3 million years ago and the total reorganization of the Atlantic and Pacific circulations which resulted. Lots of things may have been spurred by this closure, including the onset of the Northern Hemisphere Glaciations as the Arctic had been ice free for many millions of years prior to the NHG. Then there was the climate paced evolution of the first member of the genus Homo at ~2.8 MYA……

  5. William McClenney

    Adelady, Chart 3 is for you as well as providing resolution almost back to MIS-11, which gets us back to the last eccentricity minima. As this thread is about CO2 and temperature, I will simply provide the reference for the paper as you must purchase the paper from AAAS:

    Ice Age Terminations
    Hai Cheng, R. Lawrence Edwards, Wallace S. Broecker, George H. Denton,
    Xinggong Kong, Yongjin Wang, Rong Zhang, Xianfeng Wang http://www.sciencemag.org SCIENCE VOL 326 9 OCTOBER 2009

    Some of you may recognize one of the icons of paleoclimate science in the author listing. in fact more than one.

    I purchased the paper online, along with the supporting material, putting my money where my climate change mouth is to the tune of $2-3k per annum.

    Chart 4 is also from an online purchased paper and supporting material.

    Orbital and Millennial Antarctic Climate Variability over the Past 800,000 Years
    J. Jouzel,1* V. Masson-Delmotte,1 O. Cattani,1 G. Dreyfus,1 S. Falourd,1 G. Hoffmann,1 B. Minster,1 J. Nouet,1 J. M. Barnola,2 J. Chappellaz,2 H. Fischer,3 J. C. Gallet,2 S. Johnsen,4,5 M. Leuenberger,6 L. Loulergue,2 D. Luethi,6 H. Oerter,3 F. Parrenin,2 G. Raisbeck,7 D. Raynaud,2 A. Schilt,6 J. Schwander,6 E. Selmo,8 R. Souchez,9 R. Spahni,6 B. Stauffer,6 J. P. Steffensen,2 B. Stenni,10 T. F. Stocker,6 J. L. Tison,9 M. Werner,11 E. W. Wolff12

    Another landmark paper from a slew of paleoclimate heavies. It provides a look at the post Mid Pleistocene Transition climate from Antarctica and in the upper panel, the correlation between Anatarctic and Greenland cores. I could spend days describing what is visible here. First, for the unitiated, Marine Isotope Stages (MIS) refer to decisive swings in the ratio of (typically) oxygen isotopes 16 and 18, or in this case deuterium versus water. The ratio, expressed typically in parts per mil, or parts per thousand (mostly denoted o/oo), is of the heavier to the lighter isotope. With oxygen (the most common paleothermometer) values above 3.6 o/oo are commonly taken as denoting an interglacial thermal condition. This is because at warmer temperatures the heavier isotope evaporates from seawater more profusely and vice versa.

    In this chart we look at deuterium concentration departing from the present mean temperature. As stated in the paper:

    "We confirm that the early interglacial periods, now including MIS 19, were characterized by less pronounced warmth than those of the past four climatic cycles (1). Whereas peak temperatures in the warm interglacials of the later part of
    the record (MIS 5.5, 7.5, 9.3, and 11.3) were 2° to 4.5°C higher than the last millennium, maximum temperatures were ~1° to 1.5°C colder for MIS 13, 15.1, 15.5, and 17, reaching levels typical of interstadials, such as 7.1 and 7.3. MIS 19 shows
    the warmest temperature for the period before Tv (~ –0.5°C). For MIS 11 to MIS 17, with the exception of MIS 15.1, peak warmth occurred at the end of the warm periods in contrast with the more recent interglacials for which earlier peak warmth was typical (Fig. 2)."

    This is an excellent rendition of the science as related to both polar ice corings which continues to demonstrate that not only were the initial interglacials of the post-MPT period cooler than the last 4 "extreme" interglacials, but that the glacial maxima accompanying the extreme interglacials are also cooler. With the exception of the last 150 years (post-industrial), these abrupt, dramatic and seemingly unavoidable global climate disruptions (to be chic) happen with astonishing regularity.

    As we gird ourselves to remove the CO2 "security blanket" from the late Holocene atmosphere, what you need to understand is not only is it worse than we thought, it is far far worse than we thought. If you set your target to quell the IPCC 2007 AR4 maximum prognosticated anthropogenic attributable sea level rise by 2100, you will likely miss the 100+ meter swings that happen with such regularity we have indeed set our geologic clocks by them. Those of us that understand what we do of these swings sincerely wish you godspeed.

    And you are not just up against say the last termination score of ~130 meters, look closely at the top panel of chart 4 at the Dansgaard-Oeschger oscillations, which are visible in both Arctic and Antarctic records. Jouzel et al state it thusly:

    "The recent high-resolution EDML isotopic profile over the last glacial period has unambiguously revealed a one-to-one correspondence between all these Antarctic Isotope Maxima (AIM) and DO events (2), which with a few exceptions
    holds true for the EDC core over the entire last glacial period back to DO 25 (Fig. 2 and fig. S5). At Dome C, the typical amplitude of larger events is ~2°C, much lower than for corresponding DO warmings in Greenland, which are often larger than 8°C and as high as 16°C (21, 22)."

    Amplitudes as high as 16C? Did you process that? Look closely at the North GRIP core results in the upper panel. You are looking at the remarkably stable climate that exists during a glacial. See how absolutely cold and smooth it is? See how once we get into a glacial, the temperature is rock steady?

    Sorry, just testing the nine times rule on you (the human being is nine times more susceptible to rumor than it is to fact, and since that is a fact, there is only about an 11.1% chance that you will recognize it as one).

    Now look at the interglacials. From MIS-11 to the present (MIS-1), the extreme interglacials all achieved higher interglacial warmth than we have, so far, in MIS-1. Although it is possible, though somewhat unlikely, each of these thermal maxima just might have been the result of repetitive, simultaneous discoveries of beans and salsa during each of the last four (including ours) interglacials, and since we didn't learn how to write until this interglacial, these dietary supplements had to be discovered again and again. Sorry, this just cracks me up sometimes.

    Back from ROTFLMAO, MIS-1 appears to be the weakest of the extreme interglacials, and astonishingly stable for such. Again, the point almost begs itself to be made. Whatever it is that is causing the thermal maxima observed in the extreme interglacials (except ours, so far) is patently unlikely to have been influenced anthropogenetically. Meaning not only does it occur, but has occurred with frequency in our most recent past 3 such cycles. So we not only have to contend with "our" prognosticated effects in order to be climate safe and stable sound, we have mother nature herself to bend to our economic, deterministic will in order to maintain the equable climate of the now long-in-the-tooth Holocene. And just look at the rich, quick and frequent panoply of natural climate change!

    Imagine if we choose a single variable in this climate soup, CO2. We whack it back to 350.org ppm. While we are slapping ourselves on the back, presumably drinking non-carbonated champagne, highly unstable end-interglacial thermal swings resulting in a +6 or +20 meter highstand happen anyway, as they are wont to do, before precipitously dropping into the next glacial.

    So be ever thoughtful of both facts and predictions before LEAPing to a conclusion. It was in fact a LEAP that terminated the last interglacial, the cold Late Eemian Aridity Pulse which lasted 468 years and ended with a precipitous drop into the Wisconsin ice age. And yes, we were indeed there. We had been on the stage as our stone-age selves about the same length of time during that interglacial that our civilizations have been during this one.

    Meanwhile, enjoy the interglacial!

  6. I am frankly dubious of the temperature reconstruction in the first graph. The long sections of flat temperature seem highly improbable to me. Can anyone confirm the methods used to make the reconstruction?

    In the mean time, you may wish to compare that graph with more reconstructions of Paleotemperature, as for example, by Royer at al. 2004 (in particular, see fig 4). http://www.juniata.edu/projects/oceans/Misc_Images/GL111...

    It should also be noted that the reconstruction of CO2 levels does not have a significant resolution, being unable to distinguish between data points less than 10 million years apart, compared, for example. to the 2.5 million duration of the sequence of glacials and interglacials of recent history. As such, excursions of short duration in geological terms do not show up, even if they may result in glaciation. This lack of resolution may account for some of the variety in the results reported by Royer 2006 (figure 1).
    droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/PhanCO2(GCA).pdf
    For a readily available graphic:
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Carbon_Dioxide.png

    Consequently, based on that graph, only periods of extended glaciation can reasonably be predicted, and are, by CO2 content.

    This is seen better by comparing periods of major glaciation with net forcings after compensating for variations in solar output across the phanerozoic, as well as for CO2 levels as predicted by the Geocarb model. Dr Royer shows these in figure 2 of the his 2006 paper (linked above).

    It is also worthwhile seeing a plot of CO2 levels in the Phanerazoic compared to the latitude of glaciation for past glaciations. http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figu...

    Richard Alley discusses this whole issue in a very worthwhile lecture for the AGU (1 hour duration). http://www.agu.org/meetings/fm09/lectures/lecture_videos...

  7. Tom Curtis @19, I agree that the lecture of R. Alley is worthwhile. It is worthwhile to see a stand-up comedian repeating standard AGW slogans and lying about data.

    Regarding attempts to compare isotope paleo proxies with modern temperature data, I sincerely hope that reasonable people do realize how speculative (read: BS) all the scales are. I would recommend the following dissertation regarding interpretations of isotope fractionation data to derive temperature "anomalies": http://www.phys.uu.nl/~helsen/PDF/thesis.pdf
    I prefer original dissertation sources because the text is less subject to political correctness of "peer-reviewed" publication and is more honest in interpretations.

    As you might gather, the interpretation of "deltaO18" data are based on certain assumptions about general circulation of air, certain pattern of precipitation and distillation, leading to certain gradient in fractionation, all depending on particular location of ice borehole. One must realize that even if the basic models in fractionation (pure Rayleigh, with Kinetic isotopic effects, or Mixed Cloud Isotopic Model) are more or less correct, the hemispheric moisture circulation patterns are a wild ass guess when projected into the deep past, and can be twisted to justify any interpretation of dO18 -> T scale.

  8. William McClenney

    @20 Tom, I have read many papers that refer to the existence, though muted as compared to glacial amplitudes, of the D-O events within the present and last interglacials. Here is the first such reference I managed to locate after seeing your comment:

    Quaternary Science Reviews 18 (1999) 331-338

    The role of solar forcing upon climate change

    B. van Geel!,*, O.M. Raspopov", H. Renssen#, J. van der Plicht$,
    V.A. Dergachev%, H.A.J. Meijer$

    From the conclusions:

    Bond et al. (1997) found evidence for ice-rafting events during the Holocene at 1400, 2800, 4200, 5900, 8100, 9400, 10,300 and 11,100 cal. BP and during the Last
    Glacial at a similar timing as the DansgaardÐOeschger events. They identiÞed that these climatic shifts occurred with a cyclicity of 1470 years, and conclude that solar forcing of these cyclic events is "highly controversial", as "no evidence has been found of a solar cycle in the range 1400Ð1500 years". Instead, they favour a driving process
    from within the atmosphereÐocean system, most likely related to the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation. However, Mayewski et al. (1997) showed that a 1450
    periodicity is present in the band pass component of both the *14C residual series derived from tree rings and glaciochemical series from the GISP2 ice core, believed
    to reßect changes in the polar atmospheric circulation. As these authors conclude, this may indeed suggest a link to climateÐsolar variability. Moreover, the GISP2 10Be
    record presented by Finkel and Nishiizumi (1997; see Fig. 2) shows (in our opinion) that periods of reduced solar activity, as possibly indicated by high 10Be values, coincide with cold phases of the DÐO events. In addition, at least two of the recognised Holocene ice-rafting events, viz. the ones around 8100 and 2800, as well as the Little
    Ice Age event, are known to coincide with periods of reduced solar activity as reconstructed with the aid of 14C and 10Be records (viz. EMHT and 850 cal. BC events). This evidence, in combination with the study of Holocene lake-level ßuctuations related to the atmospheric 14C record (Magny, 1993), strongly points to
    solar forcing of global climatic shifts. The amplitudes of the 10Be ßuctuations during the period 40,000Ð16,000 years ago are surprisingly large, especially when compared with the ßuctuations during the Holocene. It is generally accepted that during the glacial period climatic perturbations were amplifed compared to the Holocene, probably due to the existence of large ice sheets (e.g. Mayewski et al., 1997). Thus, the
    glacial climate appears to have been much more unstable than the interglacial climate, so that a relatively small trigger is su¦cient to cause substantial climate changes.
    Consequently, the same variations in solar activity may have caused larger climatic changes (temperature, precipitation) during the Pleistocene than during the Holocene.
    Accompanying these climate changes, shifts in atmospheric circulation occurred, that may have altered the 10Be concentrations in the ice cores through considerable
    precipitation rate changes (maxima and minima of 10Be more pronounced than during the Holocene).

    We therefore postulate, that Ð periodically Ð sudden and strong increases of cloudiness, precipitation (snow) and declining temperatures as a consequence of solar/
    cosmic ray forcing have played a crucial role in the regularly occurring iceberg discharges as recorded in North Atlantic deep sea cores and the synchronous events in the Southern Hemisphere. These changes in climate can be explained by the two mechanisms, operating alone or simultaneously, as discussed in the present paper. Accepting the idea of solar forcing of Holocene and Glacial climatic shifts has major implications for our view of present and future climate. It implies that the climate system is far more sensitive to small variations in solar activity than generally believed. For instance, it could mean that the global temperature ßuctuations during
    the last decades are partly, or completely explained by small changes in solar radiation, as postulated by Friis-Christensen and Lassen (1991) and Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997). In order to fully understand how sensitive climate really is for variations in solar activity, we need to look for additional evidence, and to quantify such evidence, both in paleorecords and in observations of present climate. Moreover, there is a challenge for climatologists to include this sensitivity of climate in their models, as these models are important tools for estimating climate change in the future.

  9. William McClenney

    @19 re: Alley.

    In reading Rickard B. Alley's works up to the last few years, one is struck with an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, the former observational scientist, who chaired the ground(ice?)breaking Committee on Abrupt Climate Change at the National Research Council (which he chaired), often describes the discoveries in the ice cores of the abruptness of natural climate change.

    From the 2003 NRC publication "Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises":

    Briefly, the data indicate that cooling into the Younger Dryas occurred in a
    few prominent decade(s)-long steps, whereas warming at the end of it occurred
    primarily in one especially large step (Figure 1.2) of about 8°C in
    about 10 years and was accompanied by a doubling of snow accumulation
    in 3 years; most of the accumulation-rate change occurred in 1 year. (This
    matches well the change in wind-driven upwelling in the Cariaco Basin,
    offshore Venezuela, which occurred in 10 years or less [Hughen et al.,
    1996].)
    Ice core evidence also shows that wind-blown materials were more
    abundant in the atmosphere over Greenland by a factor of 3 (sea-salt,
    submicrometer dust) to 7 (dust measuring several micrometers) in the
    Younger Dryas atmosphere than after the event (Alley et al., 1995b;
    Mayewski et al., 1997) (Figure 2.1). Taylor et al. (1997) found that most of
    the change in most indicators occurred in one step over about 5 years at the
    end of the Younger Dryas, although additional steps of similar length but
    much smaller magnitude preceded and followed the main step, spanning a
    total of about 50 years. Variability in at least some indicators was enhanced
    near this and other transitions in the ice cores (Taylor et al., 1993), complicating
    identification of when transitions occurred and emphasizing the need
    for improved statistical and analytical tools in dealing with abrupt climate
    change. Beginning immediately after the main warming in Greenland (by
    less than or equal to 30 years), methane rose by 50 percent over about a
    century; this increase included tropical and high-latitude sources
    (Chappellaz et al., 1997; Severinghaus et al., 1998; Brook et al., 1999).

    Then, on the other hand, when I watched this recent lecture by alley I was almost dumbstruck as I listened to Alley relate that the only way they could get the models to work on past climate was to feed in CO2! I simply could not keep the thought from forming that once one trends a bit too deep into the PlayStation world of widely reknowned incomplete matheMANNical models, apparently becoming enamored (blinded?) by the ability to play with the few variables therein, it seems to be something like an addiction. I was almost ashamed to watch and listen to Alley prattling on and on about the efficacy of these models. The notion came back with a vengeance when I read Scaffeta's "In Print" thesis which describes an error factor of at least 3 in the IPCC models with about 60% of climate change easily related to AMDO, PDO, ENSO with the remaining 40% probably related th UHI, solar variability, possibly Svensmark's cosmogenic nuclide theory etc.

    Having started and run a potential fields geophysics R&D center in the 80's, with from-scratch development of state-of-the-art modeling systems one of my primary charges, I am all too aware of how easy it is to make assumptions and program them in or out. Over the past quarter century, I have had inestimable pleasure deconstructing hydrogeologic models used by consultants to make this point or that in environmental torts.

    Although I maintain a keen interest in the literature of climate modeling (my cybrary has 122 papers at this point), the ease with which others have deconstructed these models, not to mention the HARRY_READ_ME.txt confessions, leaves me with an even more egregious appreciation of this nascent field of endeavor. The problem, of course, is the necessary bias attributed to CO2. In looking at the DOE breakdown of GHG effects, total CO2 ranks 3.618%, of which the anthropogenic contribution is ranked at 0.117%. I will have to look for the sources, but from memory (and from a conversation with a PhD climatologist long term friend of mine), models typically use a value of 20% for CO2 for the GHG effect, or a factor 5.5 times what the effect is calculated to be.

  10. William, in #24 you mentioned an article about "shifts in atmospheric circulation". I have a keen interest in learning about what people know about the shifts. It seems widely recognized (even in IPCC report) that various "multi-decadal oscillations" have a profound effect on climate and on "global average temperature", such that they brutally mask the so desired effect of CO2 radiative forcing. The article above also tries to attribute the detected shift to some cosmic force. It is however known that turbulent systems may produce wild excursions in their state by its own internal nature. Why do they think that "global warming" causes the pattern shift, but not the other way around? I wonder why do people think that there must be always a force behind every change. In particular, do you have any references on why people think that the currently identified 3-cell structure of global atmospheric circulation is always the most stable one? Bifurcation do happen in hydrodynamics, depending on small continuous changes in boundary conditions, like polar ice boundary, or something. Are you getting my drift about new theory of ice ages?

  11. Al T @31. Surely a calculation of global temperature is just a proxy for a certain number of joules in the system. There has to be a trade-off somewhere. We calculate a figure covering day and night, summer and winter, tropics and poles – and people can understand that if they live in Darwin their local climate will usually be above that average figure, people in Calgary aren't surprised to be on the other side.

    If we were to talk about joules in the system needed to maintain the agricultural and other aspects of human civilisation, we are talking huge numbers. People might well understand the principle of eat a little too much each year, put on 50 kilos in 20 years. Many might get the notion of a few billion more joules accumulating each year. But anyone who's ever tried to get powers of 10 through the resistant skulls of year 9 school students knows that the general public is not going to grasp a calculation involving gigantic numbers like this – even though they'd probably grasp the notion that not all those joules are going to show up on their own personal doorstep.

    These are convenient representations of reality. The reality is in the oceans and atmosphere which we can neither hold in our hands nor see with our own eyes.

    We do the best we can with what we've got. I'm satisfied that we're tracking fairly well.

  12. No Adelady, the convenient representation of reality is called "Physics". Physics has certain rules established by several generations of smartest people, and these rules are backed up with centuries of experimental observations and paved the road to industrialization and technical progress. Some people still study Physics in certain schools as part of science curriculum.

    The physics says that thermally inhomogeneous body cannot have defined temperature, it can have only a continuous field of temperature, and mathematics says that an infinite-dimensional field cannot be usefully characterized by a single number (unless it has a very-very special symmetry or uniformity). Joules would flow in and out along body's boundary, all in accord with law of physics, but it will not make it's temperature to a single number, sorry.

    What your are expressing is highly ignorant, you are preaching for "post-modern science", wishful politicized thinking, which appears to be physical impossibility. You need to realize that there are certain things that cannot be true no matter how best you might try or wish. You cannot invert ill-posed inverse scattering problem as borehole temperatures. You cannot recover temperature signal when it was convoluted into tree rings with many other signals with degenerate kernel. You cannot have single temperature for a non-uniformly heated globe no matter how hard you try or wish.

    You can construct a single number from a filed, a temperature statistics from several spots at 2m above surface, but you should not expect it to behave in accord with laws of Physics as real temperature, to move "joules" in physics-determined direction. This is exactly what is happening with "average global temperature" as I illustrated by my simple arithmetical example. This is not about huge numbers of small joules, one can always present them in google-joules or something. The problem is that joules are sneaking into system and out in many different forms and shapes, and it is very difficult to account for all of them. Your "global average temperature" is a wishful attempt to account for this complexity. Unfortunately, my example demonstrate that this attempt was unsuccessful. Sorry.

  13. Al Tekhasski

    The physics says that thermally inhomogeneous body cannot have defined temperature, it can have only a continuous field of temperature, and mathematics says that an infinite-dimensional field cannot be usefully characterized by a single number (unless it has a very-very special symmetry or uniformity). Joules would flow in and out along body’s boundary, all in accord with law of physics, but it will not make it’s temperature to a single number, sorry.

    Yes and YES !
    The day people talking here will understand that the climate science is a field theory like electromagnetism or QFT , 90% of the journey will be done .
    Temperature like pressure is a scalar field and the coordinates x,y,z damn do matter .
    From the infinite possible field configurations only one will be realized .
    That's what the field dynamical equations are for !
    A real spatial field average can then be computed for this unique field realization and none other .
    There is no way one could deduce a detailed realised field state from an average, physics simply don't work like that .

  14. Tom Curtis @36, "So, my critic of your critic is standing on very firm ground."

    Really? From Lisiecki and Raymo:
    (a) Foraminiferal d18O is a function of the temperature and d18O of the water in which it forms, and the d18O of seawater is a function of global ice volume and water salinity. (The scaling between d18O and these two factors can vary with patterns of sea ice formation, evaporation, and precipitation.)

    (b) benthic records aligned using a graphic correlation technique … Graphic correlation inherently requires some judgment to determine which features correspond to one another and to distinguish noise from isotopic features.

    (c) Each alignment is evaluated by eye and adjusted, if necessary, by changing
    the sedimentation rate penalties or adding tie points until a good alignment is achieved which agrees reasonably well with previously published age estimates

    (d) we keep sedimentation rate penalties small because little is known about how linear sedimentation rates (LSR) vary with time.

    (e) stacking with graphic correlation does involve two assumptions: that each site records the same global d18O signal with little phase difference and that the alignment procedure is not overly sensitive to noise.

    (f) The alignment process for the stack’s construction is iterative.

    (g) After creating the transitional stack, we make a few adjustments to its age model to eliminate large deviations in the sites’ sedimentation rates and perform a final set of alignments using the transitional stack as the alignment target.

    (h) We construct the LR04 age model by aligning our benthic d18O stack to a simple model of ice volume..Our tuning target is a simple nonlinear model of ice
    volume … The model’s forcing function, x, is the 21 June insolation curve for 65N

    (i) Ice sheet response time and the lag between insolative forcing and d18O are poorly constrained before 0.8 Ma. The largest uncertainty … probably comes from the orbital calculations themselves.

    (j) The LR04 stack is tuned to our simple ice model in a two-step process by the addition of age control points with an average spacing of 20 kyr. The goal of our first tuning is to find the correlation between d18O and ice model minima…

    (k) I am tired ….

    Excuse me, Tom Curtis, is this your solid ground? Give me a break. This is a woo-do science of doo-doo. More importantly, all this bentic business is afraid to attach any temperature scale to all this doo-doo, sediments. Please re-visit my original statement @23 that the _temperature scale_ in PRESENTED pictures is very speculative, very. Your attempt to dazzle me with benthic isotope records without any reflection on temperatures is a bold strawman.

    AGW is all about temperature. If you expect all us to bend over some stack alignment and eye-ball re-tuning of noisy doo-doo and even not providing any temperature estimates, you are sadly mistaken.

  15. adelady @45: "If we followed your argument about climate science in health science,…"

    I think you are conflating two completely different things. In your area of medicine, you have unlimited sample pool, you are experimenting on thousands of people, and you have an immediate feedback to correct your bioengineering. In climate we have only one sample of the system, and the response time is many-many years, up to 100,000. So, please don't push your methods into this area.

    – Al Tekhasski

  16. Tom Curtis #42, you write:

    "All of this is beside the point, however. I did not introduce Liesecki and Raymo to the discussion to employ their temperature reconstruction. Rather I did it because, apparently, you had clearly misinterpreted a graph based on the reconstruction used at wikipedia, and to refute your false claim that dO18 temperature scales in sediment cores are calibrated against ice volumes."

    Ok, I stand corrected: (1) Liesecki and Raymo did NOT provide ANY temperature scale whatsoever, and (2) my claim that they calibrated their "nontemperature" against ice volume is false at least for two reasons, (a) they didn't embark on temperature scale, and (b) tThey calibrated their "whatever" to a MODEL of ICE VOLUME. Do you feel better now? And your point is?

    You continue: "All they can provide us with is a rough indication of global temperatures in a given era. That they are only rough indications is shown by the use of a confidence interval spanning more than 2 degrees c (Royer et al., linked @19), or 10 degrees c (Montanez et al, linked @37). However, those rough indications clearly covary with CO2. Does that covariance prove that CO2 produces warming? No, obviously not – though it does make it more probable using Bayesian reasoning. But what it does do is clearly show that the geological record does not falsify the claim that CO2 is a major controller of the Earth’s temperature."

    And your point again is? If it does not falsify nor confirm anything, what I supposed to do? How do I stack up your "rough indications" with claims of CO2-induced "warming" of 0.1C/decade? Open my pockets to carbon tax so these useless exercises and completely hopeless wild speculations will continue, and thousands of useless intellectual parasites would continue to muddy waters with bogus unsubstantiated claims? I will resist.

  17. Tom @ #44:

    You say: "Quite plainly a clear understanding of the basics of a theory does not imply that you also understand all the detailed implications of the theory."

    Sorry, but there is no "clear understanding of the basics of a theory" in this case. That was what the significant scientific uncertainty was referring to.

    Further, if we don't "understand all the detailed implications of the theory" then we: 1) should scientifically resolve those unknowns, and 2) prior to that we ought to proceed with extreme caution.

  18. Adelady #45—

    Yes I support immunizations — those that are scientifically proven to work.

    Would you support a cancer immunization just because Merck says they want to sell you one at $1000 a pop (not covered by insurance)? I'm sure that you would ask for independent, etc. proof — i.e. apply the Scientific Method — before signing up.

    Now let's say that pharmeceutical lobbyists are successful at convincing the government that such an immunization is a social good that must be MANDETORY.

    The government subsequently passes a law mandating that all citizens must get Merck's $1000 immunization, <cite>at their own expense.</cite>

    Remember, at this point there is NOT scientific proof that this really works.

    Would you apply the Precautionary Principle and say that the potential of stopping cancer outweighs the $1000 cost per citizen + side effects for some citizens + possibility that the immunization is useless?

    If yes, please show me your calculation.

  19. Adelady @#51:

    I noted that you did not answer my specific question regarding the Merck Immuization. Please do.

    1 – we have sginificant scientific uncertainty regarding the entire CO2 sink and source process.

    2 – we have significant scientific uncertainty regarding earlier "annual global temperatures".

    3 – we have significant scientific uncertainty regarding correlation of CO2 and temperatre changes.

    4 – we have significant scientific uncertainty regarding other effects of our climate.

    Etc.

  20. adelady @51, please do not conflate clean science of lasers with applied dirty problem of climate dynamics.

    In lasers everything is clear and under full control.

    In climate, the overall effect comes not from how well we know emission-absorption of CO2 and other GH gases and how their lines are broadened with controlled pressure, but how "not well" we know the pressure and temperature of the buffer gas around GH gases. These conditions fully define the amount of radiation change if GH concentration changes. Unfortunately, the fields of temperature and humidity (and clouds) are in control of Mother Nature, who only told us that she governs all this stuff with Navier-Stokes generalized equations, and we have no means to solve them in any realistic shape and form, especially when they become crudely turbulent.

    The radiative transfer equations work on the top of assumptions about average temperature profiles, which are built on assumptions about other assumptions, and water content is usually used as fudge parameter to get your comfortable livable temperature. Unfortunately, the expected change in this "livable temperature" is even more uncertain because it is a small difference between two big noisy and uncertain global numbers.

    Cheers,
    – Al Tekhasski

  21. Just read this <a>study basically stating that the models of climate do not account for the complexity of the system, and that stochastic approaches should be used instead of the current paradigm.

  22. I read in my newspaper that a recent study shows that there was a systematic change in measured surface temperatures around 1940: before that time it is supposed that (mostly US) merchant measurements were used based on temperature measurements on cooling water inlet, while thereafter the British hauled in buckets of water leading to 0.5 degree systematically lower temperatures.

    I haven't yet checked the order of magnitude whether this is conceivable, but what's your idea on this?

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