Thursday, 25 August 2016

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

A quick post from Dr. Heather Graven with her thesis of rapidly dropping C14 levels, below the ancient norm.

The graph makes the Hockey stick projected look reasonable..

There appears to be no attempt to fit the historic dadta for the last 60 years, but she is clearly only interested in the next 80 years.  You should not begin to trust your model of the future until you can accurately reproduce the past, for which we have excellent data.  

More later..

Thursday, 14 August 2014

An average temperature?

One temperature?

The temperature differences which are producing higher CO2 could be quite subtle.
As previously discussed, while you can manufacture an “average” global ocean temperature, averaged over a huge number of situations even over one day and across a planet and seasons, even years, no actual place has that temperature. It is like a stopped clock being right twice a day. It does not mean it is working.
The idea of an average temperature for the planet or the earth or the sky or the oceans may not be enough to explain what is happening on a smaller scale at which thing actually happen. The world result is the sum of a lot of local results with local conditions. For example and as previously shown, CO2 will be higher at ocean hot spots and presumably lower over cold spots. Who knows what is going on in a storm?
No it is possible that a shift upwards of even 1 degree in say the cooler parts of the ocean would produce a 50% increase in CO2. You would hardly notice this in a world average.
The other aspect of the exchange depicted by Henry’s law is that this law is about laboratory situations where the air is stationary, the water is stationary without waves on the surface or currents below and the pressure is constant in the liquid and the gas. None of these conditions are met in a storm or even on a nice day. The air is generally a quite different temperature to the water. The water pressure varies dramatically from one atmosphere to 400 atmospheres as you go down. So Henry’s law is only a guide to idealized conditions, not real life. I guess I am saying when you x50 because the gaseous CO2 dissolved in the oceans is 50x as much in the air, it does not take much disturbance in temperature anywhere to have a dramatic effect, even if the notional average is unchanged.

Estimate the change in CO2 from simple ocean warming. 

However there is another way to calculate the impact, without Henry's law.  WIthout any laws as such, just the observation of the solubility of CO2 in water, something well known to lemonade manufacturers.

From graphs of the solubility of CO2 vs temperature and pressure and a reasonable 8 degrees and a 1 degree change in the temperature of the water.

A change from say 8 degrees to 9 degrees  produces a solubility reduction from 0.2492 to 0.2403 gm CO2 per 100mm of H20.    

This does not seem like much, 3.6% reduction in solubility as CO2 leaves the ocean.     However consider that 98% of the world's free gaseous CO2 is dissolved in the ocean.  If you applied this to a reservoir which is 50x as big as the atmosphere, that would increase atmospheric CO2 by 3.6% x 50 or 180%!    Conversely to get a 50% increase in 100 years, you would need a rise of only about 0.25 degrees C.

A typical solubility table as below.  

Aqueous Solubility of CO2 at 101.3 kPa (1 atm) partial pressure[9]
CO2 volume
per volume H2O
grams CO2 per
100 ml H2O
0 °C
1 °C
2 °C
3 °C
4 °C
5 °C
6 °C
7 °C
8 °C
9 °C
10 °C
11 °C
12 °C
13 °C
14 °C
15 °C
16 °C
17 °C
CO2 volume
per volume H2O
grams CO2 per
100 ml H2O
18 °C
19 °C
20 °C
21 °C
22 °C
23 °C
24 °C
25 °C
26 °C
27 °C
28 °C
29 °C
30 °C
35 °C
40 °C
45 °C
50 °C

It is interesting that the change in solubility is vastly greater in colder water, say 4.5% per degree at 0C.   At 20C, it is only 3%.    This also has an impact on averages as higher values are overrepresented in an average against the median.  

To use this table to show why an 'average' temperature is a silly thing, if say the cooler waters are warmed by 1C while the warmer waters are cooled by 1C, the notional average does not move but the CO2 from cooler waters is substantially increased over the increased absorption of CO2 in the warmer waters, giving a nett effect of an increase in CO2 of 4.5/3 of 50%.
Averages are deceptive.   For example if you answer the question whether the sun was up, using light as your sole measure, you could say on average it was a bright day (with average half light intensity).   It would be a lie.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Humans are part of the CO2 cycle of life

Without CO2, life on earth as we know it would not exist. In fact CO2 was critically low for plants and the slight increase is fantastic. The very idea that a trace gas could change the temperature of a planet is a fantasy.
The temperature is affected the nett energy of radiation in and out and from satellite measurements the radiation out is just fine, so the whole idea is nonsense.

Apart from Calcium for our bones and water, we are 86% Carbon by weight, the same as plants and all life on earth. CO2 is not just good for us, we are made entirely from CO2 and water. We are carbon life forms.
My point is that plants are all CH2 or 12 + 2*1 or 12/14ths carbon by weight, apart from water. 86%. Your get all your food from plants or from animals which live on plants or animals which live on animals which live on plants. You are made entirely from plants and plants are made entirely from CO2 and H2O. A favorite line is that I am a second degree vegetarian. I only eat animals which eat plants. (except for fish which are almost entirely carnivorous)

I had a comment that we were 65% Oxygen, so we could not be made from CO2 and carbon could not possibly be 86% of our bodies.   The following was given in support of these ideas

From this link.

65%OxygenThis element is obviously the most important element in the human body. Oxygen atoms are present in water, which is the compound most common in the body, and other compounds that make up tissues. It is also found in the blood and lungs due to respiration.
18.6%CarbonCarbon is found in every organic molecule in the body, as well as the waste product of respiration (carbon dioxide). It is typically ingested in food that is eaten.
9.7%HydrogenHydrogen is found in all water molecules in the body as well as many other compounds making up the various tissues.
3.2%NitrogenNitrogen is very common in proteins and organic compounds. It is also present in the lungs due to its abundance in the atmosphere.
1.8%CalciumCalcium is a primary component of the skeletal system, including the teeth. It is also found in the nervous system, muscles, and the blood.
1.0%PhosphorusThis element is common in the bones and teeth, as well as nucleic acids.
0.4%PotassiumPotassium is found in the muscles, nerves, and certain tissues.
0.2%SodiumSodium is excreted in sweat, but is also found in muscles and nerves.
0.2%ChlorineChlorine is present in the skin and facilitates water absorption by the cells.
0.06%MagnesiumMagnesium serves as a cofactor for various enzymes in the body.
0.04%SulfurSulfur is present in many amino acids and proteins.
0.007%IronIron is found mostly in the blood since it facilitates the transportation of oxygen.
0.0002%IodineIodine is found in certain hormones in the thyroid gland.

However you have to take out the H20, which is all your Oxygen. Dried we do not weigh much and burn like paper. So using the figures.

Oxygen 65%    Let us say in the form H2O
Carbon 18.6%  Let us say in the form of CH2 chains
Hydrogen 9.7%
Calcium 1.8%
Now some simple arithmetic to see if the ideas are right
First Oxygen

   H2O is 2+16, so the 65% of Oxygen in the form of H2O. So we should have 2/18*65 of Hydrogen or 7.22% Hydrogen.
Now Carbon
     The hydrocarbons are all CH2 chains, so 12+2 and the Carbon so we should add 2/14th of Hydrogen or 2.57%.
So if I am right the total amount of Hydrogen should be 7.22+2.57 = 9.77%. Voila!  

What this means is that almost all of the oxygen in your system is H2O, water.   It also confirms that the rest of the hydrogens are almost entirely in the form CH2, or I was just lucky.
Everyone is made from plants which are made from CO2 and in photosynthesis, they produce hydrocarbons like CH2 from which all your muscles, cartilage, nerves, all tissues are made.

Also note that I wrote made from CO2 and Water. I stand by that. I did not say made of CO2 and Water.
The show that people are 75% water by weight.   People are made of H2O and CH2 and Calcium. That’s 93.3% all up.
You could say truly that you would not be there without the water but there is almost no Oxygen otherwise.

Personally I find this really challenging and far from obvious.

Our preconception from childhood is that trees and plants are made from dirt and people are made from dirt too. Dust to dust. It is just not true. The trick is the phrase “made from”. We are just not “made from” dirt. Children need to repeat the Van Helmont experiment to understand. Then we would not have this CO2 hatred in the alleged Greens. It is self loathing.

It is ironic, that plants use sunlight to convert CO2 to CH2 chains, hydrocarbons from which we are made but that the O2 goes into the atmosphere for us to breathe. In breathing we reverse the process and use the O2 to burn the hydrocarbons in plants, getting back that original energy from sunlight and the original CO2.

Eventually we turn back into CO2 and CH4, feeding another cycle, not just carbon but a life which revolves around the processing of CO2 to O2 and back to CO2. Even our industrial energy is mostly old sunlight, burning a million years of rotted plant matter every year.

Dirt is largely oxides of metals like silicon, aluminium, iron. We do each have about a six inch nail of iron and small amounts of potassium, sodium, sulphur and chlorine. NaCl and KCL run our electrics and both are critical for nerve activity. HCl digests our food.

However we are far from rocks and hardly anything is made from the stuff of dirt. Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust is really incorrect. CO2 to life to CO2 is much more accurate.

So while this is a long comment, I have not read anywhere else that we and all plant life are in a closed CO2 cycle. If there was no CO2, we would not exist.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013


1. Chemistry is all about equilibrium, a balance between concentrations on both sides of a boundary
2. CO2 is shared between the air, the soil, the plants and the ocean
3. there is 50x as much CO2 in the ocean as in the air
4. It is this balance which chemistry will see maintained.    So new CO2 is split up 50 parts in the ocean to 1 part elsewhere.   If CO2 was doubled overnight you would have an ratio of 2:50 and the extra CO2 would move to the oceans until the ratio was 1:50 again.   The actual increase would be 2%.  T

The question is, how long would this take?   The IPCC say 250 years, so the CO2 just builds up.   However the evidence is unequivocal that they are wrong.    In 1963-65 C14 levels were doubled and this very rare C14 atom in the form of CO2 made its journey around the world.    It cannot be destroyed and takes a very long time to decay to half the numbers, 5740 years.    What happens to this C14 happens to all CO2 with which it is mixed.

To be clear, this graph is NOT a graph of the decay of radioactive CO2.  (In 50 years C14 would have decayed less than 0.8%).  Rather, this graph shows how quickly CO2 from 1965 has vanished from the air.

The C14 enriched CO2 vs time graph shows us

1. CO2 is clearly disappearing from the air very rapidly.   So man made carbon dioxide disappears very quickly, so fast that half is gone in 14 years.   Forget 250 years from the IPCC.   This is 50 years.
2. C14 is not coming back to an equilibrium position above 100%.    It is all permanently gone.   So is the CO2 associated with it.    It does not matter where, but we can guess.
3. the forces of equilibrium which drive this rapid exchange dictate the amount of CO2 in the air.  It is not arbitrary.    As the amount in the sea is always 50x that in the air, we cannot change anything much, even if we burnt all the oil and coal and wood tomorrow.

So why has CO2 gone up?

4. There is only one place such a huge volume can go, the oceans.  According to popular science this is not possible as the deep oceans take too long to absorb CO2.   This might be true for currents of water, but clearly not for gas.   The massive compressibility of CO2 may explain everything.
5. Warming the oceans even slightly will release a lot of CO2 relative to what is in the air.   So the increase in CO2 since 1890 is probably due to solar activity, increased radiation and cloudless days and a very slightly warmer ocean.   The coincidence with industrialization is just that.

This interpretation of proven facts fits perfectly.   It explains everything.    If the CO2 increase is not man made, the whole Man Made Global Warming is busted.   So is its progeny, Climate Change and its distant relative, incidence of extreme weather events.

It also explains why Dr. Murry Salby's discovery works.    Dr Salby has shown the CO2 graph exactly matches the sum of all air temperatures over time, the √≠ntegral.   This is a direct measure of the heat put into the oceans over time.   So ocean heating is a perfect predictor of CO2 levels.    Everything fits.

The graph is also as significant in what it does not show.   If fossil fuel CO2 was around before the bomb, the C14 level should have been diluted to 80%.    In 2010, only 70%.   What we see is a dilution of only 2%, the tiny Suess effect, so the C14 empty fossil fuel CO2 is all gone.   Anyone arguing that it is still around is living in a world of fantasy, as the graph shows this is categorically not true.

If warming produces CO2 rises, why hasn't CO2 gone up before, according to glacial ice samples?

It probably has, but it is also possible ice cores do not show such short, sharp rises and instead average over long periods.   Possibly ice samples lack the resolution on this short time scale due to leaching of CO2 between layers or maybe because of the very warming which allows frozen CO2 (-57) to melt and disappear as gas.    The ice which records these very warm events by definition was at the top when formed and most susceptible to warming which would allow CO2 escape.    It may be easy to trap solid CO2 locked in the ice at -57C but difficult to trap gas CO2 at -56.4C.   Ice cores may not show warm events.

This theory seems to fit the Vostok Ice cores.    Amazingly the average temperature hovers around -56C, a critical temperature for the sublimation of dry ice (CO2).   Plots of temperature are done around -56C.

What this simple analysis also does is exonerates man as, sadly, insignificant.   The association of industrialization and increasing CO2 is a coincidence, nothing more.  The association of CO2 with rising temperatures has stopped completely and it has happened before, so that was wrong.   Basically as a species, in the 20th century we reached the poles, we climbed Mt. Everest and we put a man on the moon.   To think that we therefore control the planet is like ants taking over a golf course.  Send all your available cash to the dear leader.  In general, believe the person who is not asking for your money.

Notes on public documents and the refusal to address the evidence of C14.

1. Deny and put down.   In response to my questions, I received this from ABC Science in Australia.

For the purposes of analysing the proportion of C02 being contributed from the burning of fossil fuels, C-14 levels tell us nothing at all.

We see from your blog that you don't appear to understand radioactive decay. If you understood that C-14 eventually decays into a stable form of Nitrogen, you would know that the entire premise of your blog entry is incorrect.

Yours in Science

ABC Science

2. Overwhelm.  From an Australian Climate Commissioner, the overwhelm approach when presented with a simple question.

Many thanks for sending me your ideas on the fate of fossil fuel-generated CO2. Actually, there has been quite a bit of research done on this over the past couple of decades, and I think it is fair to say that the evidence is exceptionally strong and unequivocal that the ca. 40% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration is due to human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels but also a smaller amount from biomass burning associated with deforestation.

There are many good summaries of this science - much clearer and in more detail than I could do in an email. Probably the best source are the assessment reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In particular, the last three reports (2001, 2007 and 2013) all have chapters on biogeochemistry, which include an analysis of human-driven changes to the carbon cycle. I strongly comment those chapters to you. They can be downloaded from the IPCC website:   

In addition to the assessments themselves, the IPCC reports have a very thorough reference list so if you don't accept the assessment done by the world's best experts on the carbon cycle, you can always go directly to the peer-reviewed literature and make your own assessment of the science.

3. Claim obvious and confuse the issues.

a. The 'obvious' argument
One way that we know that human activities are responsible for the increased CO2 is simply by looking at historical records of human activities. 

Since the industrial revolution, we have been burning fossil fuels and clearing and burning forested land at an unprecedented rate, and these processes convert organic carbon into CO2. Careful accounting of the amount of fossil fuel that has been extracted and combusted, and how much land clearing has occurred, shows that we have produced far more CO2 than now remains in the atmosphere. The roughly 500 billion metric tons of carbon we have produced is enough to have raised the atmospheric concentration of COto nearly 500 ppm. The concentrations have not reached that level because the ocean and the terrestrial biosphere have the capacity to absorb some of the CO2 we produce.* However, it is the fact that we produce CO2 faster than the ocean and biosphere can absorb it that explains the observed increase.

b. Isotope confusion.   (How to focus on tiny C12/C13 differences and ignore C14)
Another, quite independent way that we know that fossil fuel burning and land clearing specifically are responsible for the increase in CO2 in the last 150 years is through the measurement of carbon isotopes. Isotopes are simply different atoms with the same chemical behavior (isotope means “same type”) but with different masses. Carbon is composed of three different isotopes,14C, 13C and 12C. 12C is the most common. 13C is about 1% of the total. 14C accounts for only about 1 in 1 trillion carbon atoms.

CO2 produced from burning fossil fuels or burning forests has quite a different isotopic composition from CO2 in the atmosphere. This is because plants have a preference for the lighter isotopes (12C vs. 13C); thus they have lower 13C/12C ratios. Since fossil fuels are ultimately derived from ancient plants, plants and fossil fuels all have roughly the same 13C/12C ratio – about 2% lower than that of the atmosphere. As CO2 from these materials is released into, and mixes with, the atmosphere, the average 13C/12C ratio of the atmosphere decreases.

a. What is very hard to understand is why so many pages are written about equilibrium, but when you have a simple measure of the entire response of a world wide system in equilibrium, as in the bomb graph, it is totally ignored by the pro warming industry.

b. I can only think ignores C14 because it "accounts for only about 1 in 1 trillion carbon atoms", which is hardly the point.   For radio carbon dating, this is why C14 is so useful.

c. we produce CO2 faster than the ocean and biosphere can absorb it?    Really.   The bomb graph shows unequivocally that half of all CO2 is absorbed each 14 years, but why have facts when you can have models?

Friday, 29 November 2013


In discussions and blogs, I have concluded that people do not understand Isotopes.   So they think Carbon 12, Carbon 13, Carbon14 are somehow different chemically.

Rule: Isotopes are identical chemically.

In the nucleus there are two near identical types of big particles, protons with a positive charge and neutrons which are neutral. (the modern count of subparticles is in the hundreds.)   In forming all the atoms on the planet you can have endless mixes of protons and neutrons from Hydrogen with a single proton to Uranium
with 92 protons and 146 neutrons (for U238).

Rule: the nucleus plays no part in chemistry and chemistry cannot touch the nucleus
The number of protons determines the chemistry as it exactly matches the number of electrons, 6 for carbon, 92 for Uranium.   The nucleus has nothing to do with chemistry otherwise.  It is simply not involved in any chemical reaction but provides 99.9% of the weight of an atom.

Rule: the only measurable difference between isotopes is weight
Isotopes cannot be separated chemically.   The only measurable difference is in the slight weight.   For example, to separate fissile Uranium 235 from the 99.5% of Uranium 238, Iran needs hundreds of very high speed centrifuges.   That does not mean you cannot in special circumstances find a difference, especially with light weight atoms like Carbon, but it is very slight and weight based, not chemical reaction based.

Note all isotopes of a given element have the same name, say Carbon or Uranium or Iodine.   Isotopes are variants of an element with different weight.

Rule: Atomic weight is made up of isotopes
If Carbon had 6 protons, 6 neutrons, a 'mole' of carbon atoms should weigh 12.000000 amu (Atomic mass units)  However it weighs 12.01 amu.  That is because it is 99% weight 12 and 1% weight 13.

Rule: Stable or unstable
Isotopes can be stable or unstable.   C14 is created by cosmic rays and it is unstable.   In 5740 years, half of the atoms will have reverted to N14, when a neutron changes to a proton, emitting an electron.  In another 5740 years, half of the balance will have exploded, leaving only 1/4 and so on.

Rule: Carbon 14 is incredibly rare
Carbon 12 is stable and 99% of all carbon.   C13 is stable and 1%.   C14 is 1 x 10-12%, so one millionth of a millionth of 1%.  If total CO2 is a massive 100,000 billion tons, C14O2 is only one ton.

Rule: Mixed as shown by the bomb graph, what happens to C14 happens to all CO2.

1. C12/C13 ratios.  There are people trying to draw conclusions from the variability of the ratio of the 1% C13 atoms from the 99% C12 atoms.   The variation in this ratio is about 0.15%  or about one part in 600 from dead constant.   Clearly there are subtle differences in behavior of the heavier C13O2 (45) against the lighter C12O2(44) and conclusions can be drawn which are useful.   However they are not as conclusive as doubling C14 and watching it disappear.  For some reason, authors tend to dismiss C14 as good only for radiocarbon dating.  In this they are quite right.   We can radio carbon date the air itself.

2. Those people who try to argue that CO2 made from Carbon 14 is treated dramatically differently in the environment need to appreciate that chemically, this is not possible.   What happens in the bomb graph to C14 in the form of CO2 is that it vanishes somewhere, never to appear again.   This means the air with which it was associated also disappears, which gives a half life of 14 years for the total absorption of all CO2 into the huge oceans.   There is no debate on this.   IPCC predictions of 250 years, predictions which allow fossil fuel to hang around, are completely at odds with the observed fact.   The world's biggest nuclear experiment has proved them wrong.    Those who argue that the C14 laden CO2 is simply exchanged have to explain why this would happen, why the law which covers the exchange does not maintain the old CO2 ratio between air and sea.

3. You cannot increase CO2 in the air if temperature and pressure do not change.
No, man made CO2 disappears into the oceans because it is excess to the equilibrium value, so it just goes.
This was deduced by the early C14 radiocarbon dating people to explain the Suess effect, where C14 was very slightly diminished before the bombs, not the 30% people would have you believe but less than 1%.
The disappearance of the C14 shows the operation of a very fast equilibrium system.   This means it is maintaining a level of equilibrium.   The level of CO2 in the air is set by Henry's law across the planet and maintained by it.  The concept that man can fool Henry's law is absurd.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Another look at C14 after the bomb

Making science simple so that people can judge for themselves is a challenge for any teacher scientist.  Many people cannot read a graph.   Formulae mean nothing.   They believe in science but want to know they are being told the truth.     I am amazed to hear lawyers and politicans talk about belief  in 'the science'.  It confirms my worst suspicions.

My approach logically is to separate the issues and keep away from complexities.  Professor Love of Melboure University in the 1970s had a wonderful style.   If someone did not understand one explanation, he would find another and then another.   A talented man.   Most just repeat the explanation which makes sense to them and get louder.   In fact people need to understand things in their own terms, based on what they know to be true or science just becomes religion.  Otherwise it is like shouting at someone just because they do not speak English.    You have to swap to their language, as much as you can.

Anyway, here is the now infamous Carbon 14 graph from Wikipedia.

So once again, we look at what this tells us and it tells so much.   For example, it shows that the atmospheric testing after 1965 doubled C14 in the Northern hemisphere.   By the time it crossed the equator, 2 years had passed and it dropped in intensity.    However they seem to meet around 1970 when the French started atmospheric testing in the Southern Hemisphere, an appalling action in which I and many other physicists signed a petition demanding the French government stop.   These French bombs brought the curves together which meant the Southern Hemisphere radiation, specfically C14 had gone up and now matched the northern hemisperhe and they follow each other.    I have to say here that the disappearing concentration is not decay.   That is 5740 years.    The only way for C14 to vanish is for it to leave the atmosphere and that means all CO2.

CO2 is used by plants, disappears into water, is used chemically and comes back, say when the plant rots or the wood burns or the seas return it.   This graph has settled what would have been a major debate on how long it takes for CO2 in the air cycle through the planet.   Half is gone in 14 years.  100 is the reference so half way is 150.   This is called the half life.  

To explain half life, every half life, another half is gone. So ½ is left after 14 years, ¼ left in 28 years, 1/8th left in 42 years, 1/16th left in 56 years.  What this means is that half of all CO2 is gone in 14 years, all man made CO2, all of it.   We could never have guessed this and it needs explanation.

What is more subtle is that the reference point is the 50,000 year old C14 level on both sides.    C14 is created only by cosmic rays and halves every 5740 years.    The system settles when the amount being created exactly matches the amount vanishing through decay.   This is the equilibrium values used by scientists since the 1950s to provide accurate dates for archeological finds.  If any fossil fuel CO2 was still around, this would not be true as fossil fuel CO2 has no C14.

Even without this, you can see that C14 is vanishing back to the old historic level shown as 100%.   So C14 is our radioactive tracer, the same idea used in medicine to see where things go, including Barium meals and radioactive Iodine.   This C14 graph shows us that all the CO2 disappears and it looks, permanently.   

The other observation is the way the curve approaches its final horizontal destination to line up with the 100% level, the age old C14 level.     

The following diagram is a cut down Bern Diagram.   They can be very complex so I am using the simplest.

CO2 is used, stored and exchanged by all these boxed known as carbon sinks.    

Before studying the diagram, know that received opinion is that because the deep oceans take 1,000 years to mix with the roughly 75 metre thick Surface ocean, CO2 cannot be quickly stored there quickly.    So in the conventional model in working out where the CO2 went so quickly you have only 2 choices, the oceans or the land. (Terrestial biosphere)

Consider that the C14 was really absorbed as well as stored in these proportions the air (1.9%) and the Terrestial biosphere (1.3%) and dead leaves and trees(3.6%) and the Surface ocean (2.4%)  you would still have 1.9/(1.9+1.3+3.6+2.4) or around 20% of C14 still left, 120% of the old level     It is just not true.  The C14 is going straight to 100% not 120%.

This is shown as a diagram, with the historic average taken out because it is known.

You can see the computer model heads to equilibrium at 40%, sharing the C14 in proportion between the 3 sinks and ignoring the deep ocean.   It even drops faster at the start, showing how wrong the shape is.   As elsewhere, the real curve is a perfect straight line on log paper.   This means a perfect e-kt curve and one big sink which takes the lot.

This disproves another incidental idea, the idea just used that the rate at which CO2 goes into these things is determined by the amounts in them.   There is no reason to expect that.  

Also consider the plants.    Sure they absorb our C14 tagged CO2, but when they die, it is often returned quickly to the atmosphere, so there would always be some C14 coming back.   There is none of this.  

No, what is needed to explain the graph is a huge reservoir which can  absorb every last bit of CO2 and its tiny C14 tracer without blinking, a reservoir incredibly bigger than the air and the land and even the ocean surface.   Only the deep ocean qualifies.   Conventional wisdom is that it would take a thousand years for the deep sea to absorb anything, simply because we know the layers of water do not mix.   Clearly this does not apply to the gas CO2.    CO2 is dramatically more soluble at high pressure and low temperature, as in the deep oceans.   Remember 10 metres = 1 atmosphere, so even 100metres down is 10 atmospheres.   Plenty to compress CO2.     Unless someone can explain where all the CO2 goes, the obvious explanation is simple enough.   It disappears into the biggest hole there is. 

Now you could say that every CO2 molecule which enters the water should be replaced with another one coming out.  Sure,  there is exchange in both directions, but why exactly the same?   In fact our life experience is that this is not true.     When you breath air in, the CO2 is 0.04%.   When you breathe out, the CO2 is 5%, 100x as much.   You are a terrible polluter.   The exchange was 100:1.    It is how we survive.    We burn hydrocarbons with oxygen and have to get rid of the CO2.   We take in O2 and get rid of CO2 with every breath using the same process.  Our lives depend on high concentrations moving to areas of low concentrations, both to and from air to blood.

The last idea is that somehow we have to explain the modern increase in CO2 for our conclusions to have merit.   Not really.   That is a separate story.    What is clear is that the CO2 from burning fossil fuels is still in the air is as silly as the idea that man made C14 is still in the air.    You do not have to be a scientist to read that from the graph.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

What sets the CO2 amount?

Having established that CO2 is in continual exchange with the oceans, so fast that half of all the world's aerial CO2 is gone every 14 years, the next question people  have is more difficult.   Why shouldn't the CO2 come back?    Maybe not as fossil fuel CO2, but still CO2.   That way the fossil fuel increase would be maintained.

Equilibrium is not intuitive.   What matters in equilibrium are ratios, in this case the ratio between the amount of CO2 in the air and the amount in the water.   This ratio is fixed for this physical process of gaseous exchange and the only significant other variables are temperature and air pressure.

It is generally agreed that 98% of all CO2 is in the oceans.   That's 50x as much as in the air.  It is this ratio which is maintained in any gaseous exchange.  We have no control over this.

Now apply this ratio.   Say we doubled aerial CO2 suddenly by burning a great deal of old fossil fuel, yes the total CO2 would go up, and there would be excessive CO2 in the air.   Very quickly the amounts in the air would disappear into the ocean until the old ratio was achieved.  It means that 98% of the new CO2 would be moved quickly to the oceans.   Yes, the concentrations would both go up slightly, but the ratio would be exactly the same.  Remember the concentration of CO2 in the air is very small, less than 1/25th of 1%.

Basically 98% of the fossil fuel CO2 would go into the oceans, something confirmed by the lack of any depression in the C14 ratio in the air.   This was noted by Dr Suess who gave this explanation, an explanation attacked recently by some bodies such as the American Institute of Physics.  At least they recognize it is a critical observation by a pre Global Warming top scientist.

If not from fossil fuel, why is CO2 going up?   To increase the amount of CO2 in the air is simple, heat the water by 1C.   Even this slight release of CO2 has a dramatic effect as you x50, increasing CO2 levels in the air by around 70%

PS Remember when we talk global temperatures and for that matter air pressures, this includes summer and winter, stormy and clear days, night and day, the arctic and the tropics.   We are talking average temperatures and average air pressures.   The chemistry changes across the planet, CO2 being absorbed in very cold areas and more released in hotter areas.   This should not change our conclusions.