December 31, 2009

Gas Masquerade

Hatched by Dafydd

One remarkably serendipitous effect of Climategate is that mainstream science publications -- written for laymen, I mean, not scientists -- are beginning to take a hard look at the core contradictions of globaloney: Science-oriented magazines that never before so much as considered the evidence of "deniers* " are now calmly questioning the catechism of the First Church of Fundamentalist Catastrophism.

Here is a perfect example; Science Daily, which appears very "mainstream" -- that is, alarmist and intolerant -- has just published the following without much comment:

[S]ome studies have suggested that the ability of oceans and plants to absorb carbon dioxide recently may have begun to decline and that the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions is therefore beginning to increase.

Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase. Because understanding of the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide is important for predicting future climate change, it is essential to have accurate knowledge of whether that fraction is changing or will change as emissions increase....

In contradiction to some recent studies, [Wolfgang Knorr of the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol] finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.

Let me explain as best I can, given that I'm not an atmospheric scientist (or indeed any other kind of scientist). This doesn't mean that the amount of carbon and carbonoids in the atmosphere is decreasing or even that it's not increasing; the question is, what percent of that carbon dioxide that is generated is absorbed by the oceans and "terrestrial ecosystems" -- plants, essentially -- and what percent goes into the atmosphere?

Generally, 55% of CO2 is sucked up by the ocean and by plants, leaving 45% to enter the Earth's atmosphere... where it could cause warming, if you buy into globaloney. Many true-believers insist, as part of their Anthropogenic Global Climate Change (AGCC) obsession, that human production of CO2 is overwhelming the planetary ecosystem: Our industry and farming practices, not to mention our very existence in numbers larger than the human-hating globaloney hysterics think optimal, are swamping the Earth's ability to cope.

This conjecture demands that the oceans and plants absorb a dwindling percent of the carbon dioxide released. Assume the amount of CO2 created rises by 30%; if the Earth's ecosystem is being "overwhelmed," the sea and the greenery wouldn't be able to absorb 30% more than it used to do -- so it wouldn't absorb its "share," leaving a greater proportion to "pollute" the atmosphere. Thus, an increase of 30% in the rate of creation or release of CO2 would lead to a greater than 30% rise in atmospheric CO2 -- perhaps 40% or more.

The claim by acolytes of AGCC is that the percent of emitted CO2 entering the atmosphere would necessarily rise from the historic 45% of total emissions to a much larger percent. In this example, the atmospheric percent of carbon dioxide would be almost 50%, rather than 45%. It's not much of a difference, but it would have given a needed boost to the evidence in favor of AGCC.

But what Dr. Knorr, Senior Research Fellow and QUEST Deputy Leader at the Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Bristol, found was just the opposite: The percent of emitted carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere has not changed since 1850, nor has it changed in the past five decades... despite the fact that emission of CO2 itself has increased 1,750% during that same period. From the Bristol University newsletter:

New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now. This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.

A greater capacity to absorb carbon dioxide means that the increase is much less likely to cause disastrous problems... in this case, good news is bad news for globaloney!

The newsletter also makes explicit what was only hinted by Science Daily:

The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket. Dr Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol found that in fact the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has only been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, which is essentially zero.

I love the word "expects" in the first sentence; as they say on Mythbusters, "well there's yer problem right there!" Too much of AGCC theory is based, not upon observation and analysis of existing data, but in the expectation that future data will confirm the thesis, regardless of what the dirty, lying, treacherous data indicates today.

Oh, and a final kick in the seat of globaloney's trousers:

The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.

Yes... complex and typically error-riddled and artifactual, if not outright fraudulent climate models.

So once again, the high priests of AGCC and their journalistic groupies discover that facts are stubborn things, the truth will out -- and that reality bites. It couldn't happen to a nicer group of idealogues.


* An AGCC "denier" currently includes any person or agency that wants further investigation on any of the following "settled" questions -- none of which needs any further research, as we've already learnt everything we need to know about them:

  1. The Earth has warmed and is continuing to warm as we speak, and will continue to warm to Venusian temperatures unless -- well, read on.
  2. The warming is primarily due to human industry and technology, with a large chunk of the remainder due to human agriculture and exhalation.
  3. The warming (and the CO2 itself) will lead to a cataclysmal, Malthusian die-off of the human species, and will leave the few remaining people in the condition described by Thomas Hobbes: "Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short." (Kind of like how we'll end up after ObamaCare.)

  4. The negative effects will include racist ocean rises; patriarchal swarms of hurricanes, tornados, and floods; genocidal "Dustbowl" droughts; and the complete collapse of Western civilization.
  5. There will be no positive effects whatsoever; don't be stupid! (Well, maybe one: the complete collapse of Western civilization.)
  6. This pending Armageddon can only be averted one way: By cutting energy production to a tiny fraction of its current level, terminating industry, smashing the looms, and returning to the idylic, pastoral lives we used to lead when there was a world-girdling Earthmother religion, before all those patriarchal, conservative, Republican, Judeo-Christian "penis religions" conquered everything and enslaved the world. This may require reducing the human population from its current six billion to approximately 500 million... but you can't make an omlet without breaking a few legs.


Cross-posted on Hot Air's rogues' gallery...

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, December 31, 2009, at the time of 6:50 PM

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Tracked on December 31, 2009 6:25 PM


The following hissed in response by: snochasr

This looks like my list of the "top four flaws" in the theory of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW). Those are that it's not catastrophic, it's not anthropogenic, it's not global and it's not warming. But it IS a theory. Now, according to the scientific method, all we have to do is test the theory's validity by waiting 100 years and checking the results of the only possible experiment.

The above hissed in response by: snochasr [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 1, 2010 7:57 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


I decided to respond to your last comment with another post. (Actually, I wrote a comment; but it got so long, I parsimoniously decided to turn it into a free blogpost instead.)


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 1, 2010 1:34 PM

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