starts his odyssey on global warming with the Keeling Curve - the chart
of steadily increasing CO2 levels measured off the top of Mauna Loa. Very
compelling and the cornerstone of the case for anthropogenic (man-made)
global warming (AGW). Early this year, however, the annual rate of increase
was the lowest measured, and on a monthly basis seemed to be coming to a
dead stop - which means after seasonal adjustments would show a down trend.
Now it appears there is a down trend in the CO2 levels. See chart. If this
continues it spells the coup de grace for the goofy AGW case.
core of the AGW case is industrial CO2 spews out and stays in the atmosphere,
accumulating faster than natural processes can handle, and causing ever-increasing
warming. Over the past few decades we have been emitting 4 ppm of CO2 per
year, and the atmospheric levels have been increasing by 2 ppm. We continue
to spew, but if CO2 levels drop, it means something else is going on.
I have discussed some of the problems with
the CO2 case previously. The simplest rebuttal is that the vaunted ice core
data that Al Gore touts shows CO2 lags warming. Also, CO2 is a trace gas,
measured in parts per million. It isn't even the most important greenhouse
gas - that honor goes to water vapor, which is 25x more prevalent and is
measured in parts per thousand. This is why the theory of AGW has always
been a bit goofy.
Another fact that is hard for the AGW theory
to explain away is shown in this graphic: the models for the greenhouse
effect require warming in the upper atmosphere where the greenhouse effect
occurs, but satellite measurements say that isn't happening. Consequently,
whatever has been warming the planet since the end of the Little Ice Age
250 years ago is NOT the greenhouse effect.
The IPCC climate models have a deep secret
that the AGW advocates try to obscure: they do not assume the minute increase
in CO2 itself (remember - parts per million) is directly causing the greenhouse
effect; instead they add a 'climate sensitivity' to the models to make the
CO2 increase fit the actual warming. A little CO2 goes a long way. Scarier
is that the models have positive feedback so as more CO2 accumulates, the
warming effect accelerates.
Here as well the theory is in deep trouble.
This climate sensitivity can be measured, and not merely be a plug in a
model to make it work. Prof. Lindzen of MIT has done the measurement, and
found that the actual climate sensitivity is much less than in the models.
This chart is a bit complex but the measured sensitivity is about 0.65 rather
than 1.2 or higher as assumed by the models. This means (right axis) that
the measured feedback is negative, not positive as in the models. This makes
a huge difference - not only is warming less, but it will not become a runaway
(positive feedback) process, like a nuclear bomb.
7/23: Lindzen has issued his analysis in a note, reported by WattsUpWithThat.
Positive feedback is another reason why the AGW theory is goofy. We have
had periods of much higher CO2 in the atmosphere than now, and not turned
in a hothouse like Venus. Some natural process limits the greenhouse effect.
These IPCC models need to assume a runaway feedback in order to take the
minute increase in CO2 and make it cause warming.
Some AGW advocates have moved beyond CO2
to Methane (CH4) as an even more pernicious greenhouse gas, caused by SUVs,
industrial activity and too many cows. Methane is measured in parts per
billion, so is even more of a trace gas than CO2. Here again the AGW crowd
is in trouble with their theory. While spewing of CH4 continues (although
in the US at least at a lower rate), atmospheric CH4 has been plateauing.
Maybe there is an alternative way to square
all this data. The most ardent AGW advocates, James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt
of NASA have put a marker down that an ocean temperature alternative could
scuttle their theory. In their words: "Confirmation of the planetary
energy imbalance can be obtained by measuring the heat content of the ocean,
which must be the principal reservoir for excess energy” (p. 1432).
We have put out sea bouys since 2003 to
measure ocean temperatures, and the data is coming in. The chart makes it
clear that sea temperatures are decreasing.
oceans can explain a lot of the mystery, since the oceans can absorb a huge
amount of heat (emphasis added):
any given area on the ocean’s surface, the upper 2.6m of water has
the same heat capacity as the entire atmosphere above it! ...
Ocean heat touches on the very core of the AGW hypothesis: When all is said
and done, if the climate system is not accumulating heat, the hypothesis
Writing in 2005, Hansen, Willis, Schmidt et al. suggested that GISS model
projections had been verified by a solid decade of increasing ocean heat
(1993 to 2003). This was regarded as further confirmation the IPCC’s
AGW hypothesis. Their expectation was that the earth’s climate system
would continue accumulating heat more or less monotonically. Now that heat
accumulation has stopped (and perhaps even reversed), the tables have turned.
The same criteria used to support their hypothesis, is now being used to
is evident that the AGW hypothesis, as it now stands, is either false or
Degassing of CO2
of this decrease with the CO2 levels at Mauna Loa suggest that atmospheric
CO2 is directly related to ocean temperatures. When oceans warm up,they
release CO2. When they cool off, they absorb CO2. This is not disputed:
solubility of CO2 in sea water is well established. Warmer waters dissolve
less CO2. In fact, as the oceans warm they outgas CO2 to the atmosphere.
Could it all be as simple as, something was warming the planet other than
CO2, and as the ocean surface warmed, the oceans outgassd CO2? This explains
why CO2 lags warming. And now, something is cooling the planet off, and
CO2 is being re-absorbed into the oceans?
Trend Since 2001
The recent cooling trend is quite clear in satellite data, but less so in
surface station data. GISS is the NASA surface data, RSS and UAH are satellite
data. The source says:
"Since the beginning of 2003, RSS has been dropping at 3.60C/century,
UAH has been dropping at 2.84C/century, and GISS has been dropping at 0.96C/century.
Something is apparently off in the GISS data. It is provided by James Hansen,
one of the most ardent advocates of AGW. It needs to be adjusted to take
out the urban heat effect, as over time many ground stations have become
surrounded by asphalt and concrete. The impact of these adjustments is now
so huge that the whole data set is becoming suspect.
Maybe GW is caused by computers? Take a
look at this animated comparison: