Easter on Jaworowski and CO2

I wrote earlier on Zbigniew Jaworowski’s piece claiming that measurements of pre-industrial CO2 were wrong. Now Jim Easter has written a masterful post, detailing twenty-two false or misleading statements made by Jaworowski. Go and read, it’s beautiful work.


  1. #1 Al Bundy
    May 25, 2005

    Okay, out of 22.

    1. Hmm, possibly misleading – but a lie? No. 1/2 a point.

    2. Ad hominem attack – always a poor argument. Score 0 on this one.

    3. From Jaworowski’s paper

    “This criterion, is not met, as even the coldest Antarctic ice (down to -73oC) contains liquid water[2].”

    That [2] refers to the Mulvaney, Wolff Oates study. In other words, Jaworowski appears to be using it to support his claim about water in ice, not CO2/H2O chemistry. 0 points.

    4. “Instead, the list of “20 physico-chemical processes” turns out to be a laundry-list of undefined mechanisms supposed to affect the reliability of ice-core measurements, with no theories offered as to how they might affect results, or suggestions as to how they might be mitigated or compensated.”

    Er, okay…I’ll run with the ‘how they might affect results’, but I think the idea that Jaworowski is supposed to offer up mitigations and compensations to the technical shortcomings of bubble fiddling before he can quote his own paper on the empirical limitations on the science as of 1992 is a hell of a stretch. So let’s just stick with the ‘how’ problem, shall we?

    To examine the Boojums criticism of that, let’s look at the link offered ( http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=18 ). Hmm, it’s got lots to say about bad faith on the part of Jaworowski for ignoring advances in the science and not offering substantive arguments – kinda like that Boojums post itself, which provides as a substantive argument a single link and an argument about the gradient in heavier isotope concentration down to the transition layer. In fact, Easter also reckons:

    “For example. they cite the discovery by Mulvaney et al. of liquid sulfuric acid at grain boundaries as providing “conditions for diffusion of gas from bubbles to or from the intergranular liquid.” To describe this as speculative may be too kind, given the extremely tiny volume of the liquid inclusions, and the absence of any evidence (or even a plausible mechanism) for the proposed effect.”

    No, I don’t follow. For a start, we know that CO2 and water under pressure have something of an affinity for each other? ( http://www.answers.com/topic/lake-nyos-tragedy ). And we also know that the while the volume of liquid water might be tiny, so are the absolute quantities of CO2. You’d have to offer up something with a few more numbers in it to park this sucker on the scorecard.

    No, despite its length, point 4 doesn’t really offer up much at all. I’m giving it 1/2 a point.

    5. This one really jumped out at me. Easter links to this Indermuhle et al article: ( http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/taylor/indermuehle99nat.pdf ) as evidence that decompression of clathrate crystals and fractionation have been taken into account in the removal of ice cores for experimental purposes.

    Again, I remind you of what Easter has to say in his supporting link from above ( http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=18 ):

    “For example. [Jaworowski et al] cite the discovery by Mulvaney et al. of liquid sulfuric acid at grain boundaries as providing “conditions for diffusion of gas from bubbles to or from the intergranular liquid.” To describe this as speculative may be too kind, given the extremely tiny volume of the liquid inclusions, and the absence of any evidence (or even a plausible mechanism) for the proposed effect”

    Oh dear, the section in the Indermuhle et al paper which deals with clathrates isn’t quite so dismissive of chemical interactions at grain boundaries resulting in changes in CO2 concentrations that render accurate measurement difficult:

    “The reconstruction of atmospheric CO2 concentration from ice cores is not a straightforward procedure owing to the following difficulties. High-resolution measurements of CO2, and the comparison of CO2 records from different ice cores, have shown that the atmospheric CO2 signal can be masked by CO2 production in the ice matrix; such in situ production is most likely due to chemical reactions between impurities, collectively referred to as natural
    artefacts. The physics and chemistry of these processes, documented in ice cores from Greenland, are little known, but two possible candidates are being investigated. (1) Acid carbonate reactions 14,16,17 and (2) oxidation of organic matter by H2O2 (ref.18). The probability of a reaction depends on the concentration of the impurities and their location in the ice (for example, at grain
    boundaries or associated with dust particles)”

    Hmm, that’s a pickle. I think I’m going to have to deduct that 1/2 point I awarded on point 4.

    Well, I s’pose I could go on, but tallying up the first four revelations in Easter’s 22 powerful insights has scored only half a point out of a possible four. It would be cruel to go on.

  2. #2 Jeff Harvey
    May 25, 2005


    If Jaworowski’s arguments have such credibility, why is he not publishing in credible peer-reviewed sources? Why does he pop up several times in crap like 21st Century Science and Technology, which from any angle is a joke. Why did he take the effort to provide an introduction to M. Mikhel Mathiesen’s atrocity, “Global Warming in a Politically Correct Climate”, which cites only about 25 articles in total (covering several complex research areas), only 3 of which are in credible sources? The rest come from abominations like Dxie Lee Ray’s “Trashing the Planet” and (you guessed it) 21st Century S & T.

    This information alone vanquishes Jaworoski’s credibility in any scientific debate. I award jim Easter 22 well-earned points.

  3. #3 Tim Lambert
    May 25, 2005

    Al, nobody said there were 22 lies, that’s your straw man. There were 22 false or misleading statements. Going through your statements.

    1. Definitely misleading. 1 point. You scored this wrong.
    2. Not ad hominem – J is being misleading by claiming to be an authority in an area where he is not. 1 point. You scored this wrong.
    3. Once again J’s statement is misleading — the tiny amount of water is insufficient to “dramatically change the chemical composition”. 1 point. You scored this wrong.

    Three wrongly scored out of the first three. You are disqualified as a judge.

  4. #4 Dano
    May 25, 2005

    “Al” may be disqualified as a judge, but his check still cashed.


  5. #5 Brian
    May 25, 2005

    There should also be a point awarded to #5, since the Indermuhle article does take clathrates into account, just as Easter claims. In addition, after the part quoted by “Al Bundy” refering to possible artefacts, the paper goes on to discuss why these are believed not to affect the measurements too much, especially for the Antarctic cores.

  6. #6 Brian S.
    May 26, 2005

    Slightly off-topic here, but I just want to clarify that “Brian” and “Brian S.” are not the same person. I think I’ll switch to signing as “Brian Schmidt” in the future.

    Nothing against what “Brian” has said, just clarifying…

  7. #7 Eli Rabett
    May 26, 2005

    The link has a link to the text of the letter that Oeschger wrote to ESPR… http://www.someareboojums.org/blog/?p=12

  8. #8 Hans Erren
    May 31, 2005

    The last word on stomatal density has not been written yet:

    Roth-Nebelsick, A. (2004). Reconstructing atmospheric carbon dioxide with stomata: possibilities and limitations of a botanical pCO2-sensor. Trees – Structure and Function,doi 10.1007/s00468-004-0375-2

  9. #9 Eli Rabett
    May 31, 2005

    Hans, as a visit to any (digital)library shows, the last word has never been written on anything:), otherwise how would assistant professors get tenure and the tenured get even?

  10. #10 Hans Erren
    June 1, 2005

    The argument was that Reid refutes the stomatal CO2 proxy, as argument against Jaworowski. I showed the answer is not that simple.

    I agree with you that the last word has never been written on anything (including climate change). ;)

  11. #11 Louis Hissink
    June 2, 2005


    I have just looked at the SEM images cited above.

    Back off now please, you have just wandred into areas you, and your fellow travellors, know aught,

    I mean it,

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.