Iconic Figure # 1: CO2 trends

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 9:49 PM GMT on July 27, 2007

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Iconic Figure # 1: "Keeling" CO2


In my class I have a set of figures that I call the "iconic figures" of climate change. There are only a handful of them, and they are the figures that I think all of my students should be aware of and understand. One of the exercises that I suggest for my students is to write a figure caption for each of the figures. (Perhaps an extended figure caption.)

Here is the first figure, which has been mentioned by a number of people commenting on recent blogs. This is often known as the "Keeling curve," named for the C. David Keeling who started to take CO2 observations at Mauna Loa in 1958. These data are now taken and maintained by NOAA's Earth Systems Research Laboratory, Global Monitoring Division. This web site is excellent, provides references, as well as access to the observations. Here is a recent update of the Keeling Curve.

Figure 1: Carbon Dioxide at Mauna Loa Observatory.


There are two obvious things in this record. The first is that there is a steady upward trend of CO2. The second is that there is an annual oscillation of CO2. What is not so obvious on this scale is that the amplitude of the annual cycle is increasing. Here is a link to the NOAA site which has much more information on this figure, as well as global averages and numbers of how much the CO2 increases each year.

The steady upward trend is mostly attributed to the release of CO2 by fossil fuel burning. There has been significant effort to account for all of the sources (and sinks) of carbon dioxide, and the increase both correlates with the increased burning of fossil fuels, and it is generally consistent with amounts that are estimated based on fuel consumption.

Some have criticized the use of these particular observations because they are at Mauna Loa, which is a volcano. While this is true, the observatory at Mauna Loa was chosen because, to a very good approximation, it sees clean maritime air. This is constantly checked. One way it is checked is to calculate trajectories to see where the air being sampled comes from. Here is a link to recent trajectory calculations. If there is active volcanism, then is accounted for in the data quality control. It is found, more and more, that the air at Mauna Loa sees emissions and pollution from Asia. This is much more likely than seeing local volcanism.

There has been some significant effort to calculate the CO2 emissions from volcanoes. In the recent time, last 100 years, this amount is estimated to be more than 100 times smaller than that from fossil fuels. Here is the link to the USGS web site on volcanoes. With satellites and other observing systems, there are not any volcanoes in some hidden part of the world that are unknowingly spewing large amounts of CO2 or SO2 or aerosols into the atmosphere. Really.

Back to the Keeling Curve: The annual cycle in the CO2 is caused by the "breathing" of the terrestrial biosphere; that is, plants. Plants use CO2, and when the northern hemisphere blooms in spring and summer, the plants take up CO2. In fall and winter, there is release of biospheric CO2.

Not completely obvious in this figure, but more obvious in stations from high northern latitudes, the amplitude of the annual cycle is increasing. This increase is directly correlated with the "greening" of both North America and Siberia. Because of the warming at higher latitudes, there is greater growth of trees (easily measured by satellites). This greater growth takes up more CO2. On one hand, this increased "breathing" is consistent with the predictions of global warming; hence, it is part of the finger print that contributes to the validation of the theory. On the other hand, some have maintained that the increased biological activity would "take up the extra CO2." There seems to be no evidence to support this assertion, and the observations suggest that increased biological activity cannot keep up - at least on the time scales we have observed.


While it is possible to substantiate that the Mauna Loa station is not, in general, contaminated by local pollution, this substantiation is not generally accepted as adequate. It needs to be validated. One way to do this is to take observations at many other sites. Here is a list of other sites in the carbon observing network. If you were to study the observations from these sites, you would see a consistent signal. CO2 is increasing; there is biological breathing, and the amplitude of the breathing is increasing. However, the amount of CO2 does vary, especially as a function of latitude. This variation reflects a number of items. First, it reflects the enhanced emissions of the industrialized nations. Second, since these stations are located primarily in the northern hemisphere, there is more CO2 in the north than the south. This difference between the hemispheres can be used to estimate how long it takes the two hemispheres to mix.

I will leave it there. Wait for comments, and ask - what are the differences between the northern and southern hemispheres in terms of CO2?

r

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58. MichaelSTL
3:39 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
no evidence linking the an increase in cyclone activity with climate warming

Very true... but there is a link between warmer oceans and stronger and longer lasting storms (higher power dissipation; or Accumulated Cyclone Energy). And look at this:

The current world record for highest ACE is held by Super Typhoon Ioke at 81.

That occurred in... 2006. And look at this:

Ioke spent longer at Category 4 and higher than any other hurricane or typhoon with a total of 36 (33 consecutive) 6-hourly reports at that strength. The previous records were held by 2004's Hurricane Ivan with 33 (32 consecutive) and 1997's Typhoon Paka with 27 (25 consecutive) 6-hourly reports

Think of all of the other records for tropical cyclone intensity being smashed lately... 2005 in the Atlantic of course, to Monica in the South Pacific last year to Gonu last month in the Arabian Sea (and many more). While it is true that ONE event cannot be attributed to warming, a trend certainly can be.
Member Since: February 22, 2006 Posts: 94 Comments: 32744
57. ZRR
3:37 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
MichleSTL the MWP is an exelent example of the southern hemishere not going along with global warming so far. Think at it this why then would the SH have gone along with "global" or should I say hemispheric warming a thousand years ago. The MWP was a real thing and to discredit its importance because its effect in the SH was not found. Any force that affected North America Europe and Asia like the MWP and LIA is a force to be reckoned with and a force that will likely affect us again. A force likely stronger than increasing man maid CO2.
Member Since: August 9, 2006 Posts: 217 Comments: 332
56. ZRR
3:32 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
ahhh cyclone buster tropical cyclone activity has actually not been that impressive and even trended down on a global level recently, all ocean basins included. There is do date despite many studies and many people with agendas no evidence linking the an increase in cyclone activity with climate warming. Hurricains exist in nature for a reason, they serve a function in maintaining thermodynamic balances the idea of messing with ocean circulations and hurricans to me is like genetically experimenting with humans or developing nuclear weapons. We are not Gods and when we try to become like one, we don't do ourselves any good.
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55. MichaelSTL
3:26 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
According to this, the MWP doesn't exist... as a global event, that is...

Weren’t temperatures warmer than today during the “Medieval Warm Period”?
Filed under: FAQ Paleoclimate Climate Science— mike @ 6:44 PM - ()
This is one of a number of popular myths regarding temperature variations in past centuries. At hemispheric or global scales, surface temperatures are believed to have followed the "Hockey Stick" pattern, characterized by a long-term cooling trend from the so-called "Medieval Warm Period" (broadly speaking, the 10th-mid 14th centuries) through the "Little Ice Age" (broadly speaking, the mid 15th-19th centuries), followed by a rapid warming during the 20th century that culminates in anomalous late 20th century warmth. The late 20th century warmth, at hemispheric or global scales, appears, from a number of recent peer-reviewed studies, to exceed the peak warmth of the "Medieval Warm Period". Claims that global average temperatures during Medieval times were warmer than present-day are based on a number of false premises that a) confuse past evidence of drought/precipitation with temperature evidence, b) fail to disinguish regional from global-scale temperature variations, and c) use the entire "20th century" to describe "modern" conditions , fail to differentiate between relatively cool early 20th century conditions and the anomalously warm late 20th century conditions.

Also see this:

So the logic makes no sense to begin with, but in this case even the premise is wrong! There may have been a warm period during Medieval times, but current studies show that (a) temperatures were not as warm as today, and (b) it wasn't global.


Same for the Little "Ice Age" - it was a regional, not global event. Basically, these events were like say, the cold April in the United States this year, or the record temperatures in 2006 in the U.S.
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54. weatherboykris
3:20 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
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Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
53. cyclonebuster
3:16 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
Stoichiometric Combustion,

Link

There is a reason why all comercial fossil fuel burning plants try to keep Stoichiometric Combustion.
Continius Emission Monitors (CEMS) are placed in the exit flue gas stream to monitor SOX, NOX, and CO.

If we exceed any of the limits we are allowed to have exiting the stack there are fines levied against the companies that are at fault. Sadly I could lose my job over it if that happens! So I take it very serious.

When a furnace is not burning its fuel effiecntly those emissions start to go up!

Bottom line our government wants us to burn the fuel in the most effiecent manner we can.
There is a reason for that. That reason is because it hurts the environment and ecosystem if we exceed those parameters.
If it didn't, there would be no fines! So take it from someone in the know about this! I have been doing it for 27 years now.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20402
52. FtWaltonBch2Tucson
2:57 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
Funny thing about the list I have compiled thus far! Individually they may seem harmless but when when you put them all together you can see very well why there are alarmist out there.

The problem is, the tactics used by most alarmists are counter-productive. People do not respond well to the abusive language, insults and exaggerated facts that I often see from that type of person. There is more than enough actual science out there pointing to the need to change what we are doing for completely practical reasons. The fuels we use won’t last forever. We can’t keep moving into coastal areas without regard to the changing climate. Sea levels have never been constant. Hurricanes have always been a problem: even in the slower seasons, we still tend to see a landfall in the states once a year. Why be an aggressive pain in the rump, only to be dismissed as a troll or a child who never learned manners when you can be polite, use science correctly and probably still make the same point?
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51. weatherboykris
2:56 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
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50. weatherboykris
2:50 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
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49. weatherboykris
2:49 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
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48. FtWaltonBch2Tucson
7:39 PM MST on July 29, 2007
I feel exactly like that! The idea I have can be used by all nations!

Lord knows we can do without more of these.

Link


While I agree that more hurricanes would be very bad, we don't have the global database to know for certain that we aren't looking at a natural cycle with a longer period. Reliable data is only available for a century or so. While looking for better sources of energy is a goal we should have anyways, we have no proof that it will help reduce the number of storms we see on a yearly basis.

While I am for improving our technology so that we are no longer reliant upon energy sources that are finite, I don’t think we can safely make the claim that our current fuels are completely to blame for the changes we see. Of course there would be less storms during a minor ice age than during the return to an inter-glacial climate. The question is, how can use our technology to allow us to build where people seem bound and determined to build to minimize the damage these storms do? There has to be a way to rebuild the protective wetlands and build our homes so that storms do less damage.
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47. cyclonebuster
2:04 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
Funny thing about the list I have compiled thus far! Individually they may seem harmless but when when you put them all together you can see very well why there are alarmist out there.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20402
46. cyclonebuster
1:57 AM GMT on July 30, 2007
"The first thing people have to learn is that alarmist reactions will not help the problem. Calm rational thought into how to start converting our economies to power sources less likely to exacerbate the problem and research into ways to make those sources of energy more readily exploitable by developing countries should be what we focus upon first."

I feel exactly like that! The idea I have can be used by all nations!

Lord knows we can do without more of these.




Link
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45. FtWaltonBch2Tucson
6:50 PM MST on July 29, 2007
Cyclonebuster, less than 1000 years ago the world was warmer than it is today. They could grow grapes in England and Scotland in the 1100's. There are references to France placing a high tithe on English wine because it was better than their own. Even with the increase in temperatures, we still can not grow grapes in Scotland in the modern era. It's too cold.

Yes, the world is warmer today than it has been since we have had accurate measurements. But that is no reason to ignore climate data we can easily do a little research about and estimate what the average temperatures were before the era of modern instruments. Especially when we know that we are coming out of a rather significant cold spell that has been dubbed an “ice age.” Of course the ice is melting.

Is some of the warming man-made? Probably. How much? There is no way to know. We don’t have a second Earth with no humans for comparison. We are well with the normal range of temperatures shown in the fossil record. While the increased temperatures will cause a hardship on man, it is not without precedent. Global Warming (or Climate Change as it’s been dubbed recently) is only a crisis because man does not wish to change his ways. The planet will deal with the temperature changes the way it has for millennia.

The first thing people have to learn is that alarmist reactions will not help the problem. Calm rational thought into how to start converting our economies to power sources less likely to exacerbate the problem and research into ways to make those sources of energy more readily exploitable by developing countries should be what we focus upon first. Screaming about the horrors to come does very little at this stage. People have been bludgeoned to death with the alarmist scare tactics some people use. The time has come to just start acting on what you believe and lead by example. Enough people starting to act will eventually pull the rest of the population along with it.

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44. ZRR
5:10 PM CDT on July 29, 2007
"I think that the Northern Hemisphere is warming faster since it contains 90% of the Earths 6.6 billion population, which (if I did my math right) means 5.9 billion people live in the Northern Hemisphere."

Think how that affects the surface temperature record. Having more thermomters around human habitation has exagerated warming. There are many things that make the SH different. Land/ ocean configuration. Fewer mountainous areas, mountains are a source of high level heat, mountains aslo affect the amplitude and location of longwave troughs and ridges. The southern hemisphere winter also occures when earth is the furthest from the sun.
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43. ZRR
5:08 PM CDT on July 29, 2007
The lower lake superior levels are not surprising seeing how much of its dranage basin has been in significant drought for the last 3 summers. If we had reliable lake surface and subsurface temperatures well before 1979 I would be much more impressed. Durring a nasty cold snap in the winter of 2002-03 lake superior nearly froze over.
March 6th 2003, Lake Superior 90% frozen
Last complete freezover was 1979 and was very close about 95% in 1996
Lake Superior Freezover.
Theres no dought that the northern Hemi has undergone a significant warm up especially in the last 5 years as you can sea the NH sea ice really accelerating. However this corresponds to alot of oceanic warming especially in the north atlantic, witch by the way is related to deep ocean currents to and from the southern hemisphere. As far as models being right about the NH warming faster the SH doesn't seem to be warming much at all. It will be interesting to see how the NH temperature trend will change when we move out of the warm cycle of the AMO. You can't convince me ocean circulation changes (the ocean storing and transporting much more heat than the atmosphere), are less of a factor than increasing trace gasses. Of course land heats faster than water and it also cools faster. A decrease in radiational cooling at the hands of AGW I can understand would affect land surface temps more so than ocean, but the main reason for the warming I sea especially since 1998 has been from heat released from warmer oceans, increased pacific warm events along with the warm cycle of the AMO. When this warming trend levels off and reverses. Had we the same detailed and accurate observations some 60 years ago durring the last warm phase of the AMO it would probably look alot like today.
Another things that would help me be less skeptical would be if we had accurate sea ice coverage data for the last 100 years, as accurate as the satelite measurements me and MichleSTL posted.
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42. WPBHurricane05
5:58 PM EDT on July 29, 2007
We need more research and time to figure out whats up with the southern hemisphere I think we can all agree on that at least.

I think that the Northern Hemisphere is warming faster since it contains 90% of the Earths 6.6 billion population, which (if I did my math right) means 5.9 billion people live in the Northern Hemisphere.
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40. Patrap
3:02 PM CDT on July 29, 2007
An interesting read I came across Ricky..A warming Lake Superior..Link
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39. cyclonebuster
5:55 PM GMT on July 29, 2007
But what about the Earhtquakes, Tsunamis, Volcano's, Desertification,drought,year round hurricane seasons and tornado seasons that this can cause??


Don't worry about it guys! It's ok! This is how we looked back then, when it warms up, we can just revert back to what we once were!
Link
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38. CycleForecasting
4:39 PM GMT on July 29, 2007
Cyclonebuster, 80% of the history of earth has been warmer than today and plant life thrived better than today...yes it is healthier for the planet to have higher temperatures with higher CO2 and water vapor. Your only looking at the past 50 years or so, I am looking at the history of the planet.

Hurricanes and tornadoes are only disasters when they hurt man...man has built cities where they should not be and are thus prone to natural disasters. Because of this, most disaters are actually the fault of man. Hurricanes and tornadoes have always been here...man building on coastal dunes and areas below sea level have not.
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37. cyclonebuster
3:48 PM GMT on July 29, 2007
"Warmer air holds more water vapor, and water vapor holds CO2. And, water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas, not CO2".

Both are bad! Why do we want global warming?

Warmer ocean water creates more water vapor in the atmosphere. This causes more flooding hurricanes and tornados while trapping more solar energy.How is this a Good thing?
We are burning more fossils causing the formation of more CO2. This is an added greenhouse gas that we do not need that is added to the water vapor issue which futher accelerates the warming through the greenhouse effect.This effect alone would warm the water more and cause more water vapor! Combine them both and now we have a recipe for disaster.
Now what about the particulates that the fossil fuels give us? You like breathing in that? Don't let me get started on that! You would hate it if I got particular about the particulates!


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36. CycleForecasting
1:58 PM GMT on July 29, 2007
The earth now has some of the lowest oxygen levels in the history of the earth. And how is oxygen made...from Plant Life...

Plants need warm temperatures to grow and therefore we are seeing more greening of the earth as temperatures increase. And, plants thrive on CO2. Actually CO2 increases naturally as temperataures increase. Warmer air holds more water vapor, and water vapor holds CO2. And, water vapor is the primary greenhouse gas, not CO2.

Check the link provided here and you'll see that temperatures naturally increase cyclically, and so does CO2. They go hand in hand, and CO2 does not increase unless temperatures increase. Link

We really should be asking what the optimum temperature of earth is? Should the earth be even warmer than in 2007. Nearly 80% of the history of the earth has been warmer than today, higher CO2 levels, and more plant life and oxygen than today. The earth is still recovering from a glacial period, %80 of the history of earth has been warmer than today, and with less ice at the poles than today.

Global Warming is a natural good cycle for earth.
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35. reasonableman
8:54 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
the most obvious difference is the ratio between land and ocean. the ocean is a huge sink for nearly anything, including CO2 and heat. without seeing any data, i would expect that the life takeup of CO2 in the oceans is more seasonally constant than land takeup due to the greater difficulty in changing ocean temps.

that leaves us with northern temperate zone variations being larger than southern temperate zone variations. wider swing.

the second reason is a theoretical limit on getting the atmosphere to mix over the equator. because of the earth's rotation, the mixing forces reverse direction at the equator, due to the coriolis effect. in a system at thermal equilibrium, there should be no mixing at all between hemispheres.

the only way to overcome that is thermally. if there is no axial tilt to the sun, there would again be no mixing. a rising parcel of air from the equator would tend to stick to its own hemisphere. since the sun position varies throughout the year, thermal forces can overcome the coriolis forces and exchange air masses. the extent of the thermal exchange influences the carbon equilibrium.

however, i don't see that it is enough to completely equalize everything. CO2 will tend to stay in the hemishpere that produced it. the time constant for the exchange is probably on the order of decades.

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34. hcubed
2:37 AM CDT on July 29, 2007
"Posted By: sullivanweather at 1:58 AM CDT on July 29, 2007.

Some of these so-called climate disasters are just our own stupidity at work."


And because of these disasters, some people want the rest of us to "trust them" about making the right decision. Some "cures" are downright stupid.

Some, however hold promise, until other effects are listed. Take CFL's. Granted, they will save energy. But the 4-5 mg of mercury in them makes them a hazard. So should we ban all incandecents? Possibly. One example: when you open your refrigerator, does the light come on? Imagine replacing it with a CFL. Special ones needed due to low temps, and a breakage might cause you to have to trash your entire fridge. Good idea?
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33. sullivanweather
6:25 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
Many of the bad effects cited in the IPCC report have to deal with overpopulation and land capacity issues.

The amount of people killed by malaria isn't going to go up because the temperature went up 2°C. It will be because there's going to be a whole lot more people for mosquitos to kill in 50 years when the population of said area triples.

Droughts (that already occur now and have before many times in the past) in impoverished undeveloped countries will indirectly kill more people than now because there's going to be a whole lot more mouths to feed by 2080.

People that die or are misplaced from natrual disasters is going to grow in number not because of floods or hurricanes. It is because people incessantly move to areas that are vulnerable to such events (developed countries) and people are pro-creating in record numbers in underdeveloped countries.

If we have a bad flood somewhere in this country that causes some 2 billion dollars damage and kills 50 or so people it get hi-lighted on the 'billion dollar climate disasters' page. But this same event happened some time ago, say 150 years ago, when smart people were around that decided not to build in a certain area because it is a FLOOD PLAIN. Along comes some idiot that thinks this would be a great place to build a town. It grows bigger and bigger until one month of heavy rain and 150 years later it's swept away by a flood. Then all of a sudden it's 'This never happened before' and it's 'The biggest flood in 150 years on the blah blah blah river'. Then comes the 'This heralds climate change' and 'Expect more of this'. Carbon trade this and CO2 tax that.

It's never 'Gee, maybe we shouldn't have built in that part of the city that's below sea-level.', or 'Gee, maybe we shouldn't have developed that sand bar in the middle of the river.'
A city on a barrier island in a hurricane zone?

Some of these so-called climate disasters are just our own stupidity at work.
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32. cyclonebuster
6:11 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
I don't see any good in the future coming from this! There will be consequences for our actions and for what? The bad effects are endless!
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31. sullivanweather
6:00 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
I'm sure that there's a whole host of negative feedbacks in climate system that the IPCC didn't even account for, most likely because they don't know that they exist because they may not have been witnessed yet or are little studied.



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30. cyclonebuster
5:38 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
Ya'll want to look like this again in a 100 years or so go ahead I don't care! Well ACTUALLY I DO!
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29. cyclonebuster
5:18 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
Don't worry about it guys! It's ok! This is how we looked back then, when it warms up, we can just revert back to what we once were!

Link
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28. sullivanweather
5:03 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
IPCC temperature graph - 1000-2100

Here's the global temperature graph put forth by the IPCC.

You mean to tell me that the smoothed mean temperature over the 1000-1850 timeframe doesn't deviate more than .5°C even though there are two distinctly different climatic episodes during the same timeframe? One warm, one cold.

But now we could actually warm 6°C over the next 90 years to a global mean temperature around 20°C?? I mean, we're talking about getting as warm as the Earth has ever been since it was able to support life. Not to mention during those times there weren't miles thick sheets of ice covering an entire continent.

Let's not get carried away here.
Just how much emphasis is put on GHG's in climate models for there to show a 6°C temperature increase globally? Too much.

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27. cyclonebuster
5:11 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
China exceeds us now in Greenhouse Gases 13 years sooner than thought! India is next!
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26. MichaelSTL
12:08 AM CDT on July 29, 2007
This should convince you:



Red includes human influences, blue is without. In addition, models predict (and in the past, predicted) the Northern Hemisphere to warm up faster than the Southern Hemisphere, especially the Arctic, which indeed is what is happening. Also note that land is forecast (and has been observed) to warm faster than the oceans. Also interesting is that 1950 appears to have been the peak of a natural cycle of warming and cooling - and that is starting to rise again, which suggests that the stalled warming/slight cooling in the 1970s occurred before greenhouse gasses became influential enough to overcome that.
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25. sullivanweather
4:53 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
AGGI

Do you really believe that the IPCC considered changes in other climatic variables when making their prediction?

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24. ZRR
11:53 PM CDT on July 28, 2007
Here is the southern hemisphere sea ice anomaly trend. Makes you wonder what a difference a hemisphere can make, but AGW is supposed to be a global phenomena. We need more research and time to figure out whats up with the southern hemisphere I think we can all agree on that at least.
Southern Hemisphere sea ice
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23. ZRR
11:46 PM CDT on July 28, 2007
The difference between the hemispheres in terms of climate is affected in a big way by locations of land masses, and I can believe that CO2 would be higher in the northern Hemisphere but I can't believe that CO2 accounts for a significant difference.
There is more evidence that deep ocean circulations between hempisphere accounts for warming and cooling that is out of phase between the hemispheres. Or looking at it this way, research shows that the hemispheres have climate trends that have been different long long before we burnt fossil fuels. Interesting stuff, maybe we should look more into the local affects of man mad warming.

I do have one question Ricky;
Despite variations in CO2 with lattitude are all lattitudes are trending up at the same rate?

Just to add to the uncertainty and complications of studying past climate, prehistoric climate records in the southern hemisphere are very sparce compaired the northern hemisphere. The more one looks into the climate the more one realizes there much we need to find out, and comming to quick convienient answeres that point to the evils of man is limiting the scientific perspective I believe.
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22. MichaelSTL
11:32 PM CDT on July 28, 2007
predictions are based on just one data set. Not good...

Just one? Like what?
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21. sullivanweather
4:19 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
Simon,

If global warming isn't occuring in 2100 will that make all the GW believers 'knuckleheads' or just wrong?

So many variables make up global climate and predictions are based on just one data set. Not good...
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20. cyclonebuster
4:11 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
Meanwhile they will be drilling for oil in Greenland in 2100 still!
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18. MichaelSTL
10:20 PM CDT on July 28, 2007
the past few years,while above average,have been constant in their temperature.

Not if you only consider land temperatures, which I think is important because models suggest that land will heat up faster than the oceans (in the NCDC reports, they make note of ENSO cycles and ocean temperatures). Also, the past January had the warmest global anomaly in history. Ocean temperature are strongly connected to ENSO since El Ninos result in a large increase in net temperatures because there are no cold areas to compensate for the warming (which is due to a lack of cold upwelling); by contrast, La Nina results in increased upwelling - but there is no warming elsewhere to offset it (on the other hand, downwelling would have to occur to replace the upwelled cold water, causing the oceans to warm at depth).
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17. StormMan
3:06 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
I found a link:

CO2 monitoring station in Antartica

It shows about the same as Hawaii's station.

-J
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16. StormMan
3:02 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
Where are the other CO2 monitoring stations? Surely the entire world is not using a single station (even though CO2 is a 'well mixed' gas).

Right?

For instance, surely there is a station measuring CO2 levels in Antartica, right?

Anyone have a link to that?

-StormMan
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15. weatherboykris
12:31 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
That's odd STL;especially given,as I said,that the past few years,while above average,have been constant in their temperature.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346
14. cyclonebuster
12:25 AM GMT on July 29, 2007
Antarctic ice is disappearing at the rate of about 1 cubic mile per year right now!
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20402
13. MichaelSTL
7:21 PM CDT on July 28, 2007
Also, here is an interesting figure that I found:



Look at the far right side...
Member Since: February 22, 2006 Posts: 94 Comments: 32744
12. MichaelSTL
7:17 PM CDT on July 28, 2007
This means that even if the worst-case scenario is realizes, temperatures in 2100 will not be so far above average, because the new average would be based on recent decades.

I think that we should be concerning ourselves not with the "average" (which is highly dependent on what period you use), but the absolute temperature.
Member Since: February 22, 2006 Posts: 94 Comments: 32744
10. hcubed
4:42 PM CDT on July 28, 2007
"Posted By: weatherboykris at 2:00 PM CDT on July 28, 2007.

Thanks Mr. Rood.Something else I had a question about.Over the past five years,the temperatures have been relatively stable at about +.5C(except for 2005,which I heard would've been lower if not for the switch in observation systems),and it appears 2007 will likely be around there as well,especially given the developing La Nina and the decreasing trend in global positive anomalies over the past few months."


Another question about this (and other charts): who sets zero? It seems to me that there has to be a reference that doesn't change after every new years average, or a 0/0 point at the start of any chart.

The temp chart shown by WBK has the first 70 years (1880 - 1940) as below average, but the chart's name says "anomaly (C degrees) relative to 1901 -2000". Does this mean that there would be a different zero if the entire range of 1880 - 2006 were used (and perhaps show less of a rise above zero?)

I mean, the "zero" shown appears to ignore 20 or so years of lower than "average" temps. Maybe more than that: if the chart started below zero, how long had it been there?
Member Since: May 18, 2007 Posts: 289 Comments: 1639
8. weatherboykris
6:59 PM GMT on July 28, 2007
.
Member Since: December 9, 2006 Posts: 125 Comments: 11346

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.

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