Skip to comments.The Emily Litella moment for climate science and CO2 ?
Posted on 08/06/2011 4:43:33 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
There is quite a bit of buzz surrounding a talk and pending paper from Prof. Murry Salby the Chair of Climate, of Macquarie University. Aussie Jo Nova has excellent commentary, as has Andrew Bolt in his blog. Im sure others will weigh in soon.
In a nutshell, the issue is rather simple, yet powerful. Salby is arguing that atmospheric CO2 increase that we observe is a product of temperature increase, and not the other way around, meaning it is a product of natural variation. This goes back to the 800 year lead/lag issue related to the paleo temperature and CO2 graphs Al Gore presented in his movie an An Inconvenient Truth, Jo Nova writes:
Over the last two years he has been looking at C12 and C13 ratios and CO2 levels around the world, and has come to the conclusion that man-made emissions have only a small effect on global CO2 levels. Its not just that man-made emissions dont control the climate, they dont even control global CO2 levels.
Salby is no climatic lightweight, which makes this all the more powerful. He has a strong list of publications here. The abstract for his talk is here and also reprinted below.
PROFESSOR MURRY SALBY
Chair of Climate, Macquarie University
Atmospheric Science, Climate Change and Carbon Some Facts
Carbon dioxide is emitted by human activities as well as a host of natural processes. The satellite record, in concert with instrumental observations, is now long enough to have collected a population of climate perturbations, wherein the Earth-atmosphere system was disturbed from equilibrium. Introduced naturally, those perturbations reveal that net global emission of CO2 (combined from all sources, human and natural) is controlled by properties of the general circulation properties internal to the climate system that regulate emission from natural sources. The strong dependence on internal properties indicates that emission of CO2 from natural sources, which accounts for 96 per cent of its overall emission, plays a major role in observed changes of CO2. Independent of human emission, this contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide is only marginally predictable and not controllable.
Professor Murry Salby holds the Climate Chair at Macquarie University and has had a lengthy career as a world-recognised researcher and academic in the field of Atmospheric Physics. He has held positions at leading research institutions, including the US National Center for Atmospheric Research, Princeton University, and the University of Colorado, with invited professorships at universities in Europe and Asia. At Macquarie University, Professor Salby uses satellite data and supercomputing to explore issues surrounding changes of global climate and climate variability over Australia. Professor Salby is the author of Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, and Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate due out in 2011. Professor Salbys latest research makes a timely and highly-relevant contribution to the current discourse on climate.
Salbys talk was given in June at the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysic meeting in Melbourne Australia. He indicates that a journal paper is in press, with an expectation of publication a few months out. He also hints that some of the results will be in his book Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate which is supposed to be available Sept 30th.
The podcast for his talkGlobal Emission of Carbon Dioxide: The Contribution from Natural Sources is here (MP3 audio format). The podcast length is an hour, split between his formal presentation ~ 30 minutes, and Q&A for the remaining time.
Andrew Bolt says in his Herald Sun blog:
Salbys argument is that the usual evidence given for the rise in CO2 being man-made is mistaken. Its usually taken to be the fact that as carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere increase, the 1 per cent of CO2 thats the heavier carbon isotope ratio c13 declines in proportion. Plants, which produced our coal and oil, prefer the lighter c12 isotope. Hence, it must be our gasses that caused this relative decline.
But that conclusion holds true only if there are no other sources of c12 increases which are not human caused. Salby says there are the huge increases in carbon dioxide concentrations caused by such things as spells of warming and El Ninos, which cause concentration levels to increase independently of human emissions. He suggests that its warmth which tends to produce more CO2, rather than vice versa which, incidentally is the story of the past recoveries from ice ages.
Dr. Judith Curry has some strong words of support, and of caution:
I just finished listening to Murry Salbys podcast on Climate Change and Carbon. Wow.
If Salbys analysis holds up, this could revolutionize AGW science. Salby and I were both at the University of Colorado-Boulder in the 1990′s, but I dont know him well personally. He is the author of a popular introductory graduate text Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics. He is an excellent lecturer and teacher, which comes across in his podcast. He has the reputation of a thorough and careful researcher. While all this is frustratingly preliminary without publication, slides, etc., it is sufficiently important that we should start talking about these issues. Ill close with this text from Bolts article:
He said he had an involuntary gag reflex whenever someone said the science was settled.
Anyone who thinks the science of this complex thing is settled is in Fantasia.
Dr Roy Spencer has suspected something similar, See Atmospheric CO2 Increases: Could the Ocean, Rather Than Mankind, Be the Reason? plus part 2 Spencer Part2: More CO2 Peculiarities The C13/C12 Isotope Ratio both guest posts at WUWT in 2008. Both of these are well worth your time to re-read as a primer for what will surely be a (ahem) hotly contested issue.
Im pretty sure Australian bloggers John Cook at Skeptical Science and Tim Lambert at Deltoid are having conniption fits right about now. And, Im betting that soon, the usual smears of denier will be applied to Dr. Salby by those two clowns, followed by the other usual suspects.
Smears of denial and catcalls aside, if it holds up, it may be the Emily Litella moment for climate science and CO2 Never mind
The same point was made by multiple scientists in the documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle”
We just need to keep hammering them!!!
Most of us who have been properly labeled as skeptics have been on the right track for some time.
I forwarded it to some members of the cult of man-made global warming. They all said it was useless because it was a peer-reviewed paper.
Ironically, it doesn’t seem to bother them that the UN based some of its policy on an essay by a college student and an article in a mountaineering magazine.
"Global Warming's Dead, Jim."
Well there's your problem right there.
As the temperature of the oceans rise, the amount of dissolved CO2 they can retain decreases.
Decrease the temperature of the oceans, and they absorb CO2 from the atmosphere.
You can even see it in microcosm, as the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere fluctuates annually with the seasons:
It’s been reasonably obvious to anyone the least bit capable of reading a graph that rising temperatures are a leading indicator of rising CO2 levels and not the other way around.
Anyone who isn’t blinded by political science, that is.
During Earth’s Ordovician Period (488.3443.7 million years ago), the average CO2 level was 4200 ppm(15 times pre-industrial level) and the average temperature was 2deg C higher than today. During that time, Earth had ice caps on the poles and glaciers in the mountains. Just like today.
278 Responses to The Emily Litella moment for climate science and CO2 ?
The ice core data results proven this years ago.
The Hirnantian Glaciation occurred while the CO2 level was 15 times pre-industrial level (4,000+ppm). It lasted about 1.9 million years with CO2 levels that high.
How can intelligent people espouse Global Warming with scientific evidence like this in the books. It's insane!!
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Thankyou for linking to a contribution from Roy Spencer at
As you say, both his CO2 papers on WUWT are pertinent and worthy of a revisit by all considering the work of Salby.
In the thread at the link I post above, I posted a brief outline of some of our findings which directly contradict the Team mantra that We know human activities are increasing the CO2 in the air. To save people the trouble of finding that comment, I copy it here.
Richard S Courtney says:
January 25, 2008 at 8:23 pm
Dr Spencers article reaches similar conclusions to those in
Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle E&E v16no2 (2005).
I expanded on that paper in a presentation at a climate conference held in Stockholm on 11 & 12 September 2006. I could provide Dr Spencer with a copy of it were he to contact me.
There are some surprising similarities between Dr Spencers article and my presentation. For example, his Figure 3 presents the same data in the same way as my Figure 1, and he draws the same conclusion from it as we do in our paper.
Importantly, our paper provides six models that each match the empirical data.
We provide three basic models that each assumes a different mechanism dominates the carbon cycle. The first basic model uses a postulated linear relationship of the sink flow and the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The second used uses a power equation that assumes several different processes determine the flow into the sinks. And the third model assumes that the carbon cycle is dominated by biological effects.
For each basic model we assume the anthropogenic emission
(a) is having insignificant effect on the carbon cycle,
(b) is affecting the carbon cycle to induce the observed rise in the Mauna Loa data.
Thus, the total of six models is presented.
The six models do not use the 5-year-averaging to smooth the data that the IPCC model requires for it to match the data. But all of the six models match the empirical data. However, they provide very different projections of future atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration for the same assumed future anthropogenic emission. And other models are probably also possible.
The ability to model the carbon cycle in such a variety of ways means that according to the available data
(1) the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is not known,
(2) the future development of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration cannot be known, and
(3) any effect of future anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide on the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration cannot be known.
All the best