A talk by Macquarie University’s Murry Salby where he opines that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is natural is gaining some attention. (See, for example, Gavin Schmidt, Judith Curry, and Things Break). Unfortunately, we just have the audio and Salby has not responded to my request to provide the slides from his talk, so I’ve used a graph from Open Mind to illustrate this post.

A graph like the one below is Salby’s key argument. It compares the annual change of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere (black line) with anthropogenic emissions (the red line is 55% of emissions). Salby observes that the black line goes up and down while the red line is steady and concludes (at 15:45):

“Net global emission of CO2 changes independently of CO2 [emissions by humans]“.

i-2c58701a28f92004bd14a33444018143-taminodco21.jpg

Salby goes on to calculate the correlation between temperature and annual net emissions of CO2 and concludes that it is temperature causing the increase in CO2 rather than the other way around. The trouble with his argument is that by looking at the annual emissions he is looking at the first difference of the concentration and has removed any long term trend. Yes, since human emissions vary little from year to year they don’t cause short-term variations in net emissions. But what matters is the long-term trend and Salby’s analysis tells us nothing about that. If all this seems familiar, that’s because it’s the same mistake John McLean made. If anything, Salby’s error is worse, since he also ignores the conservation of mass: The increase is atmospheric CO2 mass is less than the mass of anthropogenic emissions, so what does Salby think happened to all that CO2?

Nor is Salby’s argument novel: you can see it debunked at Skeptical Science last year after someone at Watt’s blog advanced it.

Update John Nielsen-Gammon comments:

I was lucky enough to attend Murry Salby’s talk at the IUGG conference in Melbourne. The thesis is not quite so simple as a correlation between CO2 rise and short-term temperature variations, because he found corroborating evidence in the change of CO2 slope over time. This made the argument not so easy to dismiss out of hand, although Salby was extremely careful not to draw any conclusions in his public presentation.

It was quite good sport to play “spot the flaw” in real time. Fortunately, the talk was the last of the session, and both Alan Plumb and myself chatted with him right afterwards. Aside from whether a statistical argument makes physical sense, it also must hold water statistically by being applicable beyond the time frame of model development. In discussing what his model would mean for past variations of temperature and CO2, it eventually became clear that he believed all paleoclimate data that supported his statistical analysis and disregarded all paleoclimate data that countered his statistical analysis, even though the latter collection was much larger than the former.

Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppm CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative.

That was enough for me.

Comments

  1. #1 chris
    August 10, 2011

    Really HR? I suspect it’s not going to be an “academic book”, but we’ll see. As for Salby not “getting famous”, I suspect he would beg to differ. He seems to be piling on the fame!

    Anyway, I’m interested to see you describing him as a “denier”. I wouldn’t go that far yet. I think we probably agree he’s attempting to “sell” misrepresentations of the relevant science, that he’s rather disgracefully insinuating incompetence (at best) on other scientists, engaging in puerile and illogical analyses that are so dull as to make us wonder how he supposes he can get away with them, and rather sadly treating his audience as chumps.

    But I suspect he’s doing this to drum up interest in his book. Perhaps he has some political agendas that feed into his presentations. So far we’ve only listened to his podcast, and we should wait and see how he responds to proper criticism before we use your “d” word!

  2. #2 chris
    August 10, 2011

    HR: August 9, 2011 11:35 AM

    “…Mark Serreze’s rush to find death spirals in the arctic..”

    Peter Williamson: August 10, 2011 3:11 PM

    “…Mark Serreze’s arctic death spiral…”

    Singing from the same hymn sheet? …and perhaps looking for a little bit of something like moral equivalence?! (do I sound a little like Stuey there?)

    I think Mark Serreze was commenting on the fact that the Arctic sea ice is melting, and is projected to melt to the extent that summer sea ice may disappear sometime this century. He said something like:

    “There are claims coming from some communities that the Arctic sea ice is recovering, is getting thicker again,” Mark Serreze, director of the American center, told Postmedia News. “That’s simply not the case. It’s continuing down in a death spiral.”

    It’s a bit of a sound bite to be sure, in response likely to a reporter cold call, but we don’t really need to play at contrived indignation! We could read a little more detailed analysis from one of his commentaries (e.g. M. C. Serreze & J. C. Stroeve
    Nature reports Climate Change doi:10.1038/climate.2008.108):

    “With sharply rising atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the change to a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean seems inevitable. The only question is how fast we get there. The emerging view is that if we’re still waiting for the rapid slide towards this ice-free state, we won’t be waiting much longer.”

    And if we’re still raising ourselves to dizzy heights of indignation, we could read the abundant science that informs his point of view, including lots of his own papers listed on his website (http://nsidc.org/research/bios/serreze.html).

    I guess it depends whether you really want to know about this stuff…or whether you’ve other fish to fry…

  3. #3 Mike Pollard
    August 10, 2011

    Murry Salby is at the same institution (different department) as Colin Prentice. Prentice’s bio lists him as the “chief author of the chapter “Carbon cycle and atmospheric carbon dioxide” in the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”. I wonder what Prentice thinks of Salby’s work?

  4. #4 dhogaza
    August 10, 2011

    Peter Williamson:

    I’ll give you a concrete example to work on. Mark Serreze’s arctic death spiral seems to have been put to bed for the moment, was the initial pronouncement.
    1) Junk science 2) politically motivated. 3) Naively rushed conclusions. 4) Intended to mislead 5) Part of a left wing conspiracy 6) Has his once search for knowledge been overtaken by ideology 7) and on and on and on

    How about the initial pronouncement was right on, and there’s been nothing in the data in the intervening years that would suggest he should back off from it?

    I vote for its being an accurate statement.

    If you don’t like volume, extent loss seems to be accelerating, too.

    If asked to choose between “sea ice is recovering”, or “death spiral”, which would you choose as being most accurate, Peter?

  5. #5 Sean
    August 10, 2011

    With all this talk about the Arctic death spiral, this recent post by Joe Romm seems relevant.

    http://thinkprogress.org/romm/2011/08/09/291788/arctic-death-spiral-sea-ice-tipping-point/

  6. #6 peterd
    August 10, 2011

    Jeff Harvey@95: we may have to agree to disagree about Engelbeen. I know that he is a “sceptic”, in the sense that he does not accept the “IPCC consensus” about the amount of warming to be expected from the anthropogenic CO2 loadings. However, he appears not to be a full-blown “denialist”, as I might use the term, in that he accepts much of what I would call the bedrock of climate measurement: the validity of the modern CO2 data and methods, as perfected by Keeling Sr and others, ice-core data, and the implications of the isotopic measurements. For that reason, I am very happy to see him patrolling Nova’s site and trying to set the know-nothings (of whom there appears to be no shortage there) straight. I think there’s more value in someone of his ilk doing that than there would be in (say) me doing it. And, frankly, I don’t have the time. He does. Enough said.

  7. #7 dhogaza
    August 11, 2011

    Jeff Harvey@95: we may have to agree to disagree about Engelbeen. I know that he is a “sceptic”, in the sense that he does not accept the “IPCC consensus” about the amount of warming to be expected from the anthropogenic CO2 loadings. However, he appears not to be a full-blown “denialist”

    He did point out, over at Curry’s, that Salby’s full of doo-doo, and didn’t pull punches.

    The full-blown denier category has gone downhill, so even F.E., a previous member, can’t abide by some of the current ultra-stupidity.

    Tells you something about the decreasing quality of denialist arguments, IMO.

  8. #8 Jeff Harvey
    August 11, 2011

    PeterD,

    To reiterate, I had a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with Engelbeen over Bjorn Lomborg’s lousy book, TSE, almost 10 years ago, and frankly he was making observations in fields that were well beyond his competence. He has little or no expertise in most of the fields covered superficially in the book, and yet was a real Lomborg supporter at the time. Perhaps he’s changed; you will have to ask him. But try googling ‘Lomborg and Engelbeen’ and you will get my drift. I co-reviewed Lomborg’s book for Nature with Stuart Pimm and before I knew it I had every pseudo- or non-scientific ‘authority’ racing to Lomborg’s defense, including Engelbeen. I am quite content for him to wade into other areas where he also has little apprarent expertise (e.g. publications in the scientific literature), such as climate science, but take a lot of it with a huge grain of salt. If you check his web site he still tries to muddy the waters when deciding if there is a link between atmospheric C02 concetrations and climate warming. And two of his four web-links on the subject are to WUWT and Climate Audit, as if these sites have some sort of merit.

    So my views on him are still very ‘guarded’. Besides, why not refer to the scientific community by-and-large, instead of relying on web pundits like Engelbeen, for your information? I say this irrespective as to their leanings on the subject. I am not a climate scientist (although I look at the effects of warming on ecological communities and plant invasions in some of my research) and so I defer to the views of the vast majority of climate scientists who are doing the actual research. They broadly agree that there is an indelible human fingerprint on both atmospheric C02 concentrations *and* recent trends in global (and regional) temperature patterns, irrespective as to what outliers like Salby are saying. That says enough for me; I don’t need pundits like Engelbeen to influence my views on the topic one way or another.

  9. #9 GS
    August 11, 2011

    I’m not sure anybody gets rich or famous from writing academic books even one’s that appeal to old, rich, white guys.

    Perhaps a decent sustenance is enough. Willie Soon earned a million from Exxon, American Petroleum Insitute and Koch Industries in a decade, and yes, actually has gained some name-recognition in the process. Are you sure this example doesn’t appeal to some of the guys who “write academic books”?

  10. #10 Wow
    August 11, 2011

    You do however earn a place on the lecture circuit where rich old white guys will pay hugely to hear how they’re A-OK.

    Ask Monckton.

  11. #11 Wow
    August 11, 2011

    > in that he accepts much of what I would call the bedrock of climate measurement

    And someone could accept that photographs are a record of what was visible and that you can date them with some accuracy. However, if they still deny that the photos of the holocaust show that Nazis were killing humans, then they’re still holocaust deniers.

    E.g. does he agree that the observed warming so far indicates that anything below the 2C per doubling of CO2 has been shown to be excluded?

  12. #12 Integrity
    August 11, 2011

    I have a graduate degree in a field in the physical sciences and I currently engage in funded, published research unrelated to climate.

    I find it interesting that in this field there is so much emotional name-calling and that you can’t wait for a paper to be published, read it and find the points of agreement and disagreement and engage in proper scientific discourse. There is a real problem when someone who formerly was looked upon as a solid scientist (when they agreed with everything you did) but then can overnight become the subject of such disdain based on a few web posts. I think this really says something about your objectivity. Maybe you watched a few too many episodes of Captain Planet. Think about it and grow up and act like a real scientist, instead of a political activist.

  13. #13 Sean
    August 11, 2011

    Integrity, that sounds like a bit of concern trolling. I really doubt that climate science is all alone in the gossip before the release of a new paper, especially one such as this one that’s being touted by less than trustworthy sources.

    And seriously, if someone in your field of research said they would be publishing a paper that questioned and changed one of the fundamentals of your line of work, wouldn’t you be pretty suspicious and leery?

    As far as being activists, climate scientists are pretty much damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they aren’t shown taking actions in their lives to help stop/slow global warming, then they’re labeled hypocrites. If they do, then they’re smeered as “activists” and not real scientists. Real classy with the Captain Planet reference there too.

  14. #14 Sean
    August 11, 2011

    Integrity, that sounds like a bit of concern trolling. I really doubt that climate science is all alone in the gossip before the release of a new paper, especially one such as this one that’s being touted by less than trustworthy sources.

    And seriously, if someone in your field of research said they would be publishing a paper that questioned and changed one of the fundamentals of your line of work, wouldn’t you be pretty suspicious and leery?

    As far as being activists, climate scientists are pretty much damned if they do, damned if they don’t. If they aren’t shown taking actions in their lives to help stop/slow global warming, then they’re labeled hypocrites. If they do, then they’re smeered as “activists” and not real scientists. Real classy with the Captain Planet reference there too.

  15. #15 chris
    August 11, 2011

    Integrity:

    “I find it interesting that in this field there is so much emotional name-calling and that you can’t wait for a paper to be published, read it and find the points of agreement and disagreement and engage in proper scientific discourse.”

    Yes that’s normally how it’s done Integrity. Oddly, in this case Dr. Salby hasn’t waited for his paper to be published before making public presentations in which he misrepresents scientific knowledge, makes scientifically-deficient (to put it mildly) interpretations that he claims ovetthrows pretty much everything we know about short and longer-term carbon cycle, and insinualtes incompetence amongst whole fields of scientists.

    “Think about it and grow up and act like a real scientist, instead of a political activist.”

    Indeed. Sadly Dr Salby is acting just like a political activist. He’s taken his dismal and flawed message straight to the public. Since his misrepresentations are supportive of some rather dreary political agendas, his presentations have been spread all over the web, and lauded by the “political activists” that you rightly disdain.

    Many of us have “graduate degrees” in relevant sciences and are able to recognise rubbish when we see (or hear) it. Why not listen to Dr. Salby’s presentation and decide yourself whether it deserves to be spread around the internet as an overturning of much of what we know about Earth response to greenhouse gas forcing…

    ..or perhaps you might agree that Salby’s “political activist” style of scientific misrepresentation should be highlighted for the self-serving junk that it is…

  16. #16 Jeff Harvey
    August 11, 2011

    Integrity,

    Who are your exactly referring to? It seems like you’ve got this screed saved somewhere and that you cut and paste it onto web logs whose comments you don’t like. You appear to be trying to take the moral high ground here, but it cuts little ice with me, as I have worked in science for more than 20 years.

    Let’s get some fact straight. First of all, I will agree that bad science is not confined to those in the denial lobby, although much if comes from contrarian ranks. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. What should seem obvious to most scientists is that the data trails of the contrarians usually runs cold very quickly. This has nix to do with holding scientists in contempt when they change their views; on the contrary, it has everything to do with the lack of empirical support for the arguments of a comparatively small number of scientists and the fact that many of the most vocal contrarians do little if any research.

    Peter Williamson: I have explained my position above and elsewhere. To repeat, the vast majority of the scientific evidence thus far supports the argument that humans are forciong climate. Denial takes many forms: there are those, many of whom are in the climate change denial camp, who also downplay volumes of evidence in other areas of Earth and environmental science: the current extinction event, threats posed by overharvesting, habitat destruction, acid rain, invasive species and other anthropogenic assaults. In fact, I have tended to find that many of the most vocal climate-change contrarians also downplay these other threats. Why do you think that this is so? In every one of these fields, a large body of scientists (not all, but certainly a very large majority) are in agreement. My view as a scientist has always been to defer to the opinions of the experts in fields outside of my own, as any cautious scientist should do. But many in the contrarian lobby do not appear to express the same doubts, but express complete confidence in what they say. What do you therefore think motivates this very vocal minority, especially since many of them have little or no expertise in relevant fields?

  17. #17 ben
    August 11, 2011

    so what does Salby think happened to all that CO2?

    Maybe a dingo ate your C02.

    Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppm CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative.

    I don’t see that this is necessarily true. In fact, the opposite may well be true, since mechanisms for absorbing C02 may be less effective when temperatures are low.

  18. #18 Wow
    August 11, 2011

    > Maybe a dingo ate your C02.

    It can’t be a Moose. It’s too full after eating my sister.

  19. #19 dhogaza
    August 11, 2011

    ben:

    In fact, the opposite may well be true, since mechanisms for absorbing C02 may be less effective when temperatures are low.

    Such as the ocean’s ability to absorb CO2? Hmmm …

  20. #20 pough
    August 11, 2011

    I find it interesting that in this field there is so much emotional name-calling…

    Speaking of which, did you honestly just name yourself “Integrity”? Two things: it comes across as more than a little pompous and if you have to tell people you have integrity…

    …you can’t wait for a paper to be published, read it and find the points of agreement and disagreement and engage in proper scientific discourse.

    I think that if Salby’s paper comes out and says something completely different than what’s he’s been saying about it (note that the first person to talk about his paper before release is him) then it will be considered on the merits it contains.

    But why does he get to talk about it and everyone else has to shut up?

  21. #21 Michael
    August 11, 2011

    “But why does he get to talk about it and everyone else has to shut up?” – pough

    It’s a good PR tactic – he can say whatever he wants and no-one definitively gainsay him as there’s no paper or data yet.

  22. #22 peterd
    August 12, 2011

    Jeff@109:
    Jeff, I had written that I had said enough at my last post, but perhaps I need to add a few words. I hope that my comments here can be taken in the right spirit.

    First, I am not here to “pipe up” for Engelbeen. I did not say that I rely on Engelbeen for *my* information about GW, or AGW. You are imputing to me a comment that I never made. I’m quite capable of finding and reading the relevant scientific literature myself, thanks. To reiterate: I am happy for Engelbeen to be over at Nova’s site if he is correcting the misguided folk there who: (a) doubt that CO2 is rising, or question the accuracy of modern CO2 data; (b) doubt that the rise is mainly due to humans; (c) doubt ice-core data on Jaworowski-type grounds; (d) misinterpret C isotopic ratio data to reach conclusions that are not justified on the basis of the available science. I am happy for him to be doing any of this, even if he does, as you assert, “muddy the waters” over the connection between CO2 rise and temperature increase, or even if he is, as you assert, scientifically unqualified to do so.

    I was not successful in finding, after a little searching, a clear example of Engelbeen praising Lomborg’s book. (And, yes, the little I have seen of that book does not lead me to place high confidence in its conclusions.) A quick Google search only led me to websites where hundreds of posts lay exposed, and I do not have the time to trawl through all this stuff. If you can provide a link, well and good.

    What he does write at his website is this: “I think that it is prudent to reduce the use of fossil fuels, not for the amount of CO2, but for other pollutants. And as it is a finite resource, to reduce the dependency of not-so-stable countries. And it is prudent to spend a lot of money into research of fossil fuel alternatives.” I find nothing to disagree with in this, except that I might have written “I think that it is prudent to reduce the use of fossil fuels, even if the CO2-caused AGW effect could be shown to be non-existent…”. How many climate “skeptics” are arguing for a reduction in fossil-fuel use on grounds of their non-renewability?

    His proselytising on behalf of chlorine is perhaps a matter for another day and another thread.
    Cheers,
    P.

  23. #23 peterd
    August 12, 2011

    dgohaza@108: I had not read your post before responding to Jeff.
    The strange thing is that many of the folk deploying these nonsensical arguments think *they* have won!

  24. #24 IA
    August 12, 2011

    I got this email today from Murry Salby’s office (after I asked a few questions):

    From: Jemma Wu [mailto:jemma.wu@mq.edu.au]
    Sent: Friday, 12 August 2011 11:15 AM
    To: Jemma Wu
    Subject: Reply From Murry Salby

    Folks,

    Thanks for your interest in the presentation at the Sydney Institute.
    If not torrential (in some cases invidious), the expressions of interest
    have at least been overpowering. Although I would like to respond individually,
    the volume of inquiries makes that unfeasible.

    Several requested illustrations that were displayed during the presentation.
    Many of those illustrations were included in the broadcast which was
    subsequently aired. Others are under publication embargo.
    When that restriction is lifted, they will be made available.

    Thanks again for your interest and good wishes.
    And to those of more eccentric expression: Good luck with that.
    The observed behavior is what it is.

    Murry Salby

  25. #25 Jeff Harvey
    August 12, 2011

    PeterD,

    Sorry for extending this discussion. You’ve made a lot of good points. If Engelbeen is doing good science a service over in the hornet’s nest at Nova’s site, I commend him. I waded into the storm at ‘Junk Science’ (Milloy’s appalling site) over ten years ago, and the abuse I received from the mob there has made me somewhat more ‘gun-shy’. I therefore restrict my interactions these days to a few excellent sites like Tim’s here, where the majority of posters are sensible, intelligent people who respect good science and understand the many nuances of climate science a heck of a lot more than I do.

  26. #26 Ian Enting
    August 12, 2011

    Chris @99:
    I think McLean’s paper is significant since his co-authors are often treated as credible experts (and not just in Murdoch media).
    Is is also a good illustration of how the type of argument used by
    Spencer fails. My new-found interest is Spencer is as a “proxy” for Salby. I cannot see how Salby can even begin to claim what he does without making the same mistakes as Spencer.
    If I am wrong then I am wasting my time looking at Spencer — so be it – not everything I try works. On the other hand, I should acheive a bit that is useful for me in real carbon cycle research – the feedback from climate to carbon was identified by the iPCC as a major uncertainty (along with ice sheet stability)
    (and an analytic approach is what I need if I am to have any chance of such a spin off).

    This is sort of like my effort on Plimer. The saving grace was that Ian Plimer lies about the content of some really interesting papers.

  27. #27 Chris O'Neill
    August 12, 2011

    pough:

    I think that if Salby’s paper comes out and says something completely different than what’s he’s been saying about it (note that the first person to talk about his paper before release is him) then it will be considered on the merits it contains.
    But why does he get to talk about it and everyone else has to shut up?

    There is a psychological effect whereby if someone is led to believe something that turns out not to be true then it doesn’t matter what disproof is later made, that person will never completely lose their belief and if asked about the issue some time in the future, may always believe there was some truth in the original false claim.

    I guess a lot of this effect is happening with climate science denialism. Salby makes his false claims which are not disproven until later and even innocent people may always believe that what he said was partly true.

  28. #28 George W Nixon
    August 13, 2011

    Sir, there is conservation of energy and conservation of momentum but no conservation of mass; Einstein removed that concept years ago. With regards to the warming of the planet, that argument has been driven originally by fear of ending up like Venus, and by political expediency. Those whom reject the idea that CO2 is the catalysts for impending danger also have logical science on their side of the argument.
    The fact is that either side do not know because we are still at the beginning of our understanding of our environment.
    With regards to myself, I haven’t any academic qualifications but have studied physics for 65 years. My work has relevance to Matter and Associated Mysteries. Regarding the warming and cooling of our planet, I find that there is a Gravitational induced thermal effect that automatically provides answers to all outstanding physical anomalies. If you are interested in such matters it is in book form at Lulu.com titled Matter and Associated Mysteries.

  29. #29 Chris O'Neill
    August 13, 2011

    What is it about nutcases and Einstein?

  30. #30 Bernard J.
    August 13, 2011

    >Those whom [sic] reject the idea that CO2 is the catalysts [sic] for impending danger also have logical science [sic] on their side of the argument.

    Grammar – pronoun usage: fail.

    Vocabulary – plural usage: fail.

    Rhetoric – tautology usage: fail.

    And that’s in just one sentence.

    Why is it that there is such a prevalence of semi-illiteracy and severe misunderstanding of genuine logical thinking amongst denialists?

    I suspect that we may be witnessing a reverse Renaissance – a Denaissance perhaps? Whatever it is, it doesn’t bode well for modern society…

  31. #31 Jeff Harvey
    August 13, 2011

    *I haven’t any academic qualifications but have studied physics for 65 years*

    The first point is clear from the post. The second point, therefore, is meaningless.

    D. W. Nixon, you are dismissed.

  32. #32 Robert Murphy
    August 13, 2011

    “What is it about nutcases and Einstein?”

    Don’t forget Galileo.

  33. #33 chris
    August 13, 2011

    Ian @127

    Yes OK (though I don’t quite understand why you’re looking so closely at what Spencer’s doing – are you expecting to learn something or just to identify the flaws?).

    On the feedback from climate to carbon I guess the really nice ice core data that I believe you were involved in anaysis of (Ethridge et al (1996) J. Geophys Res 101, 4115, and the follow up that included delta 13C), must help to set some bounds on the feedback, especially the difference between the high [CO2] around 1200 AD and the low [CO2] around 1600. But I guess that’s complicated by not knowing the globally averaged temperature variations over those times with much accuracy not to mention non-climatic (human) contributions to variations in pre-industrial [CO2].

    However that data, whatever its uncertainty pretty much negates Selby’s analysis. The glacial-interglacial transitions indicates around 16ish ppm [CO2] per oC of temp rise under those conditions, which Selby’s analysis is also entirely incompatible with.

    I guess as global warming progresses the feedback from climate to carbon may become scarily non-linear, but hopefully we and our descendents won’t be foolish enough to sample those potential catastrophes.

    Incidentally, if you haven’t already done so you should write a post/article about the analysis of the Law Dome ice core data (say on SkepticalScience or somewhere like that??). I for one would be really interested in having a description of that science from one of the participants… I think we have a tendency to spend too much of our focus on the dismal rubbish of science misrepresenters (important ‘though that is) at the expense of highlighting the really nice research that properly informs us about important stuff…

  34. #34 Chris O'Neill
    August 13, 2011

    However that data, whatever its uncertainty pretty much negates Selby’s analysis. The glacial-interglacial transitions indicates around 16ish ppm [CO2] per oC of temp rise under those conditions, which Selby’s analysis is also entirely incompatible with.

    The in-denials then argue that the CO2 sensitivity to temperature is highly non-linear. But one piece of data they can’t argue around is that even though it was warmer during the Eemian, the CO2 level was way lower (<300 ppm) than it is now. So what stopped the CO2 level from going up then?

    At that point Salby will just deny the ice-core records.

  35. #35 Ian Enting
    August 14, 2011

    PARTIAL RETRACTION.

    In (80) I said that Salby’s “budget” that fitted C13 would
    get into trouble with oxygen data — I am pretty sure that this is wrong and that the “budget” I proposed in (86) will fit both – simply because in terms of reservoirs, it is the same as the mainstream (over the 20th century).
    What Salby seems to be saying is about causes, so you could have a temperature mediated source of highly variable
    but 4GtC/yr on average, and a 6GtC/yr sink as a response to higher CO2.

    The problems for Salby are:
    (a) as I said in (86) this still has 2/3 of the growth
    “controlled” by human emissions.
    (b) the Salby interpretation collapses in a screaming heap as soon as you look at the last 1000 years (As Chris at 134 has said), hence Salby denies the ice core data (to Chris O’Neill at 135 — he has already done just that in his podcast).

    Regarding the suggestion from Chris, that I post stuff, I
    am going to stick with updating
    http://www.ms.unimelb.edu.au/~enting/echo.pdf
    so that I can patch in material from what i have already done.
    In answer to the specific question, I think that sensitivities estimated from the last 1000 years of ice core data suggest that about 10 ppm of the 20th century CO2 increase comes from feedbacks from “temperature” (or other climate variables correlated to temperature).
    I cite the Scheffer et al paper (where I think there is a factor of ln2 error) — will try to add others ASAP.

  36. #36 Robert Murphy
    August 14, 2011

    “At that point Salby will just deny the ice-core records.”

    He already has; he says the CO2 in each layer was not in the air at the time the layers were formed. IoW, the ice cores don’t document CO2 levels.

  37. #37 Chris O'Neill
    August 16, 2011

    “At that point Salby will just deny the ice-core records.”
    He already has; he says the CO2 in each layer was not in the air at the time the layers were formed.

    Yes, but it was in the air at some time. So why is there a complete lack of CO2 levels > 300 ppm in ice-cores even though there have been four times in the distant past in those ice-cores with temperatures higher than today?

    Of course, at this point the argument becomes too complex for the attention span of those in denial.

  38. #38 Dave
    August 26, 2011

    “Eventually I realized that if 0.8 C of warming is sufficient to produce an increase of 120ppm CO2, as Salby asserted, then the converse would also have to be true. During the last glacial maximum, when global temperatures were indisputably several degrees cooler than today, the atmospheric CO2 concentration must have been negative.”

    That’s flawed logic. The converse doesn’t necessarily follow from Salby’s claim. Personally I think people should wait for Salby’s paper to come out before drawing conclusions or “debunking it”. I also found this comment interesting:

    “It was quite good sport to play “spot the flaw” in real time.”

    That’s great – it helps science progress. But, why don’t you apply that same attack mode thinking to papers that offer support to AGW theory? Instead everyone just mutters the “science is settled”.

  39. #39 Chris O'Neill
    August 26, 2011

    That’s flawed logic. The converse doesn’t necessarily follow from Salby’s claim.

    No, that’s not a flaw in logic. It might be a flawed assumption (linear continuation) but it’s not a flaw in logic.

  40. #40 jakerman
    August 26, 2011

    >*But, why don’t you apply that same attack mode thinking to papers that offer support to AGW theory? Instead everyone just mutters the “science is settled”.*

    Firstly hardly anyone (especially not scientists) is/are muttering “the science is settled”. But more importantly, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The extraordinary evidence exists on one side of the argument, so it is fallacious to argue for equivalency (or equivlent treatment) between this integrated weight of evidence compared with every fragmented contrarian claim.

  41. #41 nancy Trombley
    September 14, 2011

    why are we expecting to get good scientific global CO2 data from a site with an active volcano?

  42. #43 chek
    September 14, 2011

    nancy Trombley said: why are we expecting to get good scientific global CO2 data from a site with an active volcano”?

    Well, there could be at least three possible reasons, nancy (sic).

    Firstly, the atmospheric scientists working there could be so stupid that they haven’t realised that a volcano could have an effect.
    The old tax dollars/cheapest contractor effect at work.

    Secondly of course, the plot to impose a socialist/communist/nazi world government would obviously benefit from the sort of elevated CO2 readings you might be forgiven for thinking an active volcanic site provides, in furtherance of their dastardly plans.

    Or thirdly, you might check with the observatory’s website where [such things are explained](http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/obop/mlo/aboutus/faq.html) along with a host of other fascinating facts about the work they do there.

    I suspect any political leanings you may or may not have will be a factor in which option you feel is the most likely.

  43. #44 nancy
    September 14, 2011

    So why have the temperatures been lower of late if CO2 is supposed to increase the temperature and CO2 is still high?

  44. #45 Chris O'Neill
    September 14, 2011

    Sounds like a troll with goalposts being towed around on a trailer.

  45. #46 Wow
    September 14, 2011

    > So why have the temperatures been lower of late

    1) Temperatures have been rising

    2) It’s not just CO2, despite the denialists need to pretend it is

  46. #47 nancy
    September 14, 2011

    John Nielson said that if an increase in temp would increase the C02 level then a decrease would create negative Co2? So he writes him off? this is absurd. That’s like saying if I increase my spending I get more stuff (co2) but if I stop spending I don’t get negative stuff. Does anyone propose the theory that temperature increases decomposition or even decomposition increases temperature, which then releases CO2 so that temperature would increase CO2 thru decomposition rates and not the reverse? I thought I remember something from Gore’s film that CO2 levels were much higher in summer, why would that be if it wasn’t related to temperature? You wouldn’t see that kind of data in Hawaii. Is this why Hawaii is looked at? to null the effect of seasons on the statistics so that human contribution to CO2 could be analyzed closer?
    Where does Bill Gates get off trying to lower population thru altered vaccines and altered corn. This imminent danger stuff is getting old. You know WMD’s in Iraq and all. Our president no longer needs permission from congress to start unnecesary wars, and now Bill Gates or WHO can go and give contraceptive immunizations to people without their knowledge and Libyans are getting beheaded by NATO? And we’re the crazy ones?

  47. #48 chek
    September 14, 2011

    nancy said: “And we’re the crazy ones”?

    To be fair you, Duane Gish et al do make it seem so.

  48. #49 Wow
    September 14, 2011

    > That’s like saying if I increase my spending I get more stuff (co2) but if I stop spending I don’t get negative stuff.

    No, it isn’t like that.

    If CO2 rises with temperature and only temperature as Salby says, then CO2 reduction can only happen when there’s been a reduction in CO2.

  49. #50 Robert Murphy
    September 14, 2011

    Nancy,

    “I thought I remember something from Gore’s film that CO2 levels were much higher in summer, why would that be if it wasn’t related to temperature?”

    There is a cyclical, seasonal fluctuation in CO2 levels because the NH has more land and more deciduous plants. During the NH spring and summer, those plants take in lots of CO2 in order to grow and make leaves. CO2 levels go down a few ppmv. During the fall and winter, those leaves drop off and decompose. CO2 levels go up a few ppmv. This small rise and fall can be easily seen in graphs of CO2 concentrations over many years. So CO2 goes down a little during the NH’s spring and summer, and up a little during the NH’s fall and winter. This affect is less noticeable in the SH. It has nothing to do with temperature’s effects on CO2.

    “Is this why Hawaii is looked at? to null the effect of seasons on the statistics so that human contribution to CO2 could be analyzed closer?”

    The seasonal effect is seen in the dozens of CO2 monitoring sites around the world. Mauna Loa is usually cited simply because it has the longest continual record, but the other sites say the same thing, with only a few ppmv variance.

  50. #51 Bernard J.
    September 14, 2011

    [Wow](http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2011/08/murray_salby_and_conservation.php#comment-5181582).

    With respect to your second point, it can be neatly summarised by framing it as:

    >If it’s not just CO2, then it’s not CO2 at all”.

    Just about any but the most stupid denialatus would have to confront the flawed logic in that. Sadly, it seems that nancy might just fit into that latter category of denialist.

  51. #52 Neil Bates
    September 14, 2011

    First, haven’t people already calculated the baseline (to get started) of how much CO2 is put into the atmosphere by humans and divided that into the atmosphere, etc? Also, the carbon isotope ratios are supposed to show that the increase is anthropogenic (from using burning “old carbon”, less C14 or deduced by C13/C12 ratios, etc.)

  52. #53 Wow
    September 14, 2011

    Yes, Neil.

    To both.

    Pop over to Realclimate or Sks.

  53. #54 George W Nixon
    September 21, 2011

    We are still in the infancy of scientific progress, and there are those amongst us whom have firm opinions regarding a phenomenon that would have been always constantly changing long before the last few second of time that relates to the advent of humankind. Even so, if there were to be a serious attempt to arrive at a scientific consensus (I doubt that there is because there are too many vested interests involved) then the total knowledge of physics should be applied. For instance, how many of those involved can describe the fundamental dynamic nature of the phenomenon we call Gravity. How many can give a complete description of the fundamental dynamic nature of heat energy, also of the masked assimilation of heat energy during a phase change of state, without recourse to assuming hidden rapidity of motion. Also those whom claim knowledge of the cause of continual climate changing must be able to supply the micromechanical process during evaporation and condensation. What is physically happening to the H2O molecule during such phase changes of state?
    The lure of continually obtaining trillions of dollars long term has obsessed governments to the point they ignore the many eminent scientists whom are not convinced regarding CO2; also the successful experiment performed by approximately 60 scientists from many countries and using the Large Hadron accelerator. The referred to scientists found that cosmic rays as generated by the sun could account for a large part of the resent global warming, and possibly all of it. If it was not for the desperate need for money to assist to hide past failings, Governments would be demanding a world conference of scientists to arrange for a non biased group to arrive at a consensus. That group would have to include Astronomers due to the claim regarding causing a disastrous Venus thermal effect to our planet.

  54. #55 Bernard J.
    September 21, 2011

    Oh please.

    Whilst the arcane abstractions of gravity may yet fuel generations of physics enquiry, the basic Newtonian properties are sufficiently well understood that humans can launch rockets and deliver them to planets at the edge of the solar system, to within metres* of the intended trajectories.

    Going from Newtonian to relativistic physics didn’t change the fact that apples fall, nor has it altered many other human understandings of gravity, or of the uses of such understanding. Moving forward from relativity will similarly have no practical effect on the workaday application of the Newtonian model of gravity.

    In exactly the same way, future refinements of scientific disciplines relevant to climatology are not going to change the facts that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, that humans are increasing the concentration of atmospheric CO2, that the planet will warm as a consequence, and that this warming will have significant adverse impacts on humans and on the biosphere.

    The rest of your fantasy about physics is just that – fantasy.

    Take off the tinfoil hat and go have a quiet lie-down. There is no Great Global Scientific Climate Change Conspiracy.

    [*Except when backward-looking countries confuse metric and Imperial measurements...]

  55. #56 Richard Simons
    September 21, 2011

    also the successful experiment performed by approximately 60 scientists from many countries and using the Large Hadron accelerator. The referred to scientists found that cosmic rays as generated by the sun could account for a large part of the resent global warming, and possibly all of it.

    Who told you this? It is wrong.

  56. #57 Flower
    October 3, 2011

    Is it mere coincidence that Salby, Curry and the Pielkes all rubbed hands together at the University of Colorado? I seem to recall Curry stating that she didn’t know Salby very well and then subsequently referred to him as a former colleague.

  57. #58 Chris O'Neill
    October 4, 2011

    George Nixon:

    cosmic rays as generated by the sun

    So cosmic rays are generated by the Sun? Riiiiiight.

    The ignorance of these people is exceeded only by their arrogance.

  58. #59 doskonaleszare
    December 21, 2011