Whether Global Warming or Climate Change, it ain’t CO2!

Written by Dr Tim Ball

In 2011 a Japanese Research Institute published an important 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. At the time John O’Sullivan (Principia Scientific International) correctly drew attention to this dilemma, however, the results are logical if known science is applied.

Figure 1 (top): 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 carbon dioxide (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.

Lag Time for Short Record 1958 to 2009                                              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.

Diagram and Caption by Ernst Beck

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.

With Original Caption and Source

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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Comments (3)

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    Dan Pangburn


    The influence on average global temperature of a ghg molecule depends on how many different wavelengths of EMR the molecule can absorb/emit. Water vapor molecules can each absorb/emit at least 170 different wavelengths in the wavelength range of terrestrial radiation (p 499 of http://articles.adsabs.harvard.edu//full/1938ApJ….87..497E/0000499.000.html ) compared to only one for CO2. There are about 30 times more WV molecules in the sea level atmosphere so it is at least 170 x 30 = 5100 times more likely that EMR absorbed by CO2 and thermalized will be reverse-thermalized to water vapor.

    Thermalization of all absorbed radiation and the complete dominance of water vapor in reverse-thermalization explain why CO2 has no significant effect on climate. Terrestrial EMR absorbed by CO2 is effectively rerouted to space via water vapor with the result that CO2 has no significant effect on climate. http://www.climatedepot.com/2016/12/20/study-solar-activity-oceans-cycles-water-vapor-explain-98-of-climate-change-since-1900-not-co2/

    Identification of the three factors, in an equation which matches average global temperature (98% 1895-2015), is at http://globalclimatedrivers2.blogspot.com


  • Avatar



    Hi Tim, thought provoking article as always. Just one point, if I may play devil’s advocate. While I don’t believe that CO2 plays a major role in controlling climate, I accept that it is responsive to certain wavelengths of infra-red radiation. Do you also accept this and, if so, do you think that it should therefore intercept some of the outgoing radiation from Earth. Would this not have some small effect on Earth’s temperature?


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      “Would this not have some small effect on Earth’s temperature?”

      Which temperature – surface or air ?

      I say it cannot possibly increase the surface temperature as a hotter surface is always emitting more. The absorption of less than is being emitted cannot possibly increase temperature under any circumstances.

      The absorption of some terrestrial IR will increase air temperature but 99+% of the atmosphere still heats up despite not absorbing any significant IR.

      The argument presented by people such as Trenberth et al is that 83% of Earth’s radiation to space is emitted by the atmosphere.

      Alarmists assert that 99% of the atmosphere absorbs an insignificant amount of terrestrial IR and therefore emits an insignificant amount.

      The amount of energy emitted to space is therefore influenced by the emissivity of the atmosphere and adding IR active gases increases the emissivity with the net result of larger emissions to space NOT less.

      The graph shown at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Nimbus/nimbus2.php shows a positive anomaly for IR emitted to space over the entire period from 1979 to 2005. This is consistent with a warmer temperature but entirely inconsistent with “heat trapping” as clearly more IR is emitted not less.

      Does more IR emitted to space with a supposed “constant” solar input actually equate to “heat trapping” ?

      At http://www.atmos.washington.edu/2002Q4/211/notes_greenhouse.html the university teaches that 239.7 solar + 239.7 back radiation equals 479.4 which equates to the Earth’s surface emitting at a temperature of 303 K.

      This is absurd for several reasons.

      Firstly, the terrestrial radiation at 239.7 W/m2 is claimed to have equal heating power to the solar radiation – that is absurd beyond belief !

      Secondly, there is almost no spectral overlap between these 2 and to claim some sort of equality is also absurd.

      Notice I haven’t even mentioned the absurdity of the 1/4 incident radiation – “You can think of this as spreading out the incident solar radiation uniformly over the earth’s surface “.

      But this is clearly a mistake as this calculates the temperature of an object emitting 1/4 of the incident radiation and not the temperature that incident radiation can induce.

      The cavity radiation experiments show that an object emits radiation proportional to the 4th power of its temperature – full stop. It always emits this amount – always. If you want to believe that back radiation must be absorbed and therefore must increase the temperature then you can believe so. I believe only radiation from a hotter source can increase the temperature.

      I simply do not buy this spurious argument. If the surface is emitting more than it “receives” because it is hotter then it cannot increase in temperature.


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