Archive for the ‘CO2 and GHG’ category

Water Vapour And Climate Change

July 25, 2010

How is it that a settled science keeps finding things never expected?

For example, the HIAPER Pole-to-Pole Observations (HIPPO) mission was launched in January 2009 and will make a series of five flights over three years covering more than 24,000 miles to sample the atmosphere in some of the most inaccessible regions of the world. Read HIPPO background here.

The goal of the mission is the first-ever, global, real-time sampling of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases across a wide range of altitudes in the atmosphere, from pole-to-pole.

Professor Mark Zondlo of Princeton University has taken measurements of water vapour in the atmosphere, from 14 km high to just above the sea ice, using a vertical cavity surface mini laser hydrometer.

Watch Zondlo video here.

Here are some of Professor Zondlo’s observations so far:

We don’t really know how clouds are formed. Water vapour impacts the climate more than any other gas.

What we are finding is surprising. Large plumes of water vapour exist in areas we never expected to find them.

Learning how this fits into the puzzle is crucial for predicting climate and making smart policy decisions.

What does that mean? It means the climate models used so far were nothing more than junk, thus the same applies for their predictions. They completely neglected the water vapour factor (and who knows what other factors).

Climate forecasting is best left to real forecasters, and not tainted modelers.

Huge Jump in Ocean Acidification Research – Science Assisted by Greenpeace!

July 13, 2010

Ocean acidification research assisted by Greenpeace Esperanza.

35 scientists from 12 countries led by the Leibniz Institute for Ocean Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR) studied for 6 weeks the effects that increasing CO2 concentrations would have on life in the sea. Read here (German). 

Human emissions of CO2 lead to higher concentrations in sea water and thus lower its pH value. The study is led by marine biologist Prof. Dr. Ulf Riebesell, who explains: 

This phenomenon can lead to drastic changes in maritime life systems. Calcium forming organisms like shellfish, snails and microscopic plankton, which are at the base of the food chain, react sensitively to ocean acidification. 

Cold water  can absorb more CO2, and so ocean acidification will occur earlier and more intensely in the Arctic than in other regions, according to the IFM-GEOMAR press release. 

Scientists anchored nine 17-meter long tubes in the Kongsfjord of northwest Spitzbergen. These jumbo sized test tubes held a water column of 50 cubic meters and were subjected to various concentrations of CO2. 

According to Dr. Riebesell: 

We simulated conditions that we expect to see 20, 40 and 60 years in the future. 

As the scientists took measurements and samples daily, they observed changes in the seawater and the enclosed life systems. The simulated ocean acidification led to unexpectedly large changes in the production activity of the plankton with considerable impacts on the release of climate-relevant gases and in turnover rates of important elements in the seawater. 

The scientists took measurements and samples for 6 weeks. Every day 300 liters of water were removed from the large tubes and analysed. With over 60 measurement parameters and tens of thousands values, this will be the most comprehensive experimental data set ever taken in studying ocean acidification, according to the press release. Dr. Riebesell says: 

We expect to make a great jump in the research of ocean acidification. 

Currently the large tubes are now being removed from Kongsfjord. For this job, the scientists are getting assistance from Greenpeace, who have put their vessel ESPERANZA at their disposal. 

Greenpeace is on expedition in the Arctic this summer to record the life systems on the sea floor of the Arctic Ocean for the first time and to continue work on glacier melt in Greenland. (Yeah right! Science by an environmental activist group – I wonder what kind of results they’ll come up with!) 

The Greenpeace ESPERANZA vessel is expected to arrive in Kiel on July 22. The ship will be open to the public at the IFM-GEOMAR pier on July 24-25. 

EPOCA (European Project on Ocean Acidification) started the project in May 2008. The project involves more than 100 scientists from 27 institutes from 9 countries (and Greenpeace). The project will be 4 years long and is funded by the European Commission.

More Proof That Greenhouse Gases Do Not Drive The Climate. Climate Drives The Gases

July 7, 2010

Warming leads to methane emissions from wetlands, and not vice versa. Photo: Wikipedia

There still remains much dispute as to whether warming causes higher greenhouse gas concentrations, or if more greenhouse gas concentrations lead to warming. We can all recall Al Gore standing near his temperature reconstruction in AIT misleading his viewers into thinking that CO2 comes first, and then the warming.

Germany’s Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) released a report about two weeks ago that sheds more light on this. The complete press release can be read here in English.

40,000 years ago there was a rapid temperature increase accompanied by a rapid methane increase. What came first? Alarmists will have you believe that GHG is the driver. The Alfred Wegener Institute and others have looked into this. What have they found? Here are the main findings:

1. 40,000 years ago rapid warming led to an increase in methane concentration.

2. Climate researchers from the Universities in Bern and Copenhagen and from the Alfred Wegener Institute now conclude that the methane increase at that time was largely due to higher methane emissions from wetlands.

3. These natural methane sources produced more methane especially in high northern latitudes in response to the warming.

4. This result refutes the theory that large amounts of methane were released from the ocean sediment and led to higher atmospheric methane concentrations and thus to rapid climate warming.

You can’t get any clearer than that. But now enter German politics.

Still, contrary to their own findings,  the government-funded AWI goes on to insist their results do not imply that methane or other greenhouse gases play no role for climate change. And so they depart from science and start smacking for funding by adding the obligatory:

Our study reflects natural climate conditions during the last ice age, long before mankind affected global climate by emitting greenhouse gases. At that time climate warming caused an increase in methane concentration, generating in turn a more substantial greenhouse effect.

Of course they don’t offer proof for this last statement.

Now if this were true, you’d enter a vicious circle that would eventually spiral out of control. Yet, this has never happened in the history of the planet, let alone the last 100,000 years. Every time some other mechanism (one that many charlatan climate scientists refuse to acknowledge) always prevented the dreaded  irreversible tipping point.

Greenland temperature last 100,000 years.

Does it really take a rocket scientist to tell you that climate conditions today, since 10,00 years, are relatively very stable? Look at the above chart. Looks awfully stable to me.  0.5°C is not unstable.

Weren’t climate conditions far more unstable during the ice age? Did the climate ever spiral out of control in one direction or another, meaning to an unbearble hothouse or a frozen solid ice ball? The answer is of course: no.

Conclusion: It takes a “climate scientist” (quack), not a rocket scientist, to tell you that today’s climate is unstable and spiralling out of control due to man.

Max Planck Institute: It’s Back To The Drawing Board For Climate Modellers. Alarmist Scenarios Unrealistic

July 6, 2010

The Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany has just put out a press release in English on a new study on the role of terrestrial ecosystems in the global carbon cycle: A new balance for the global carbon balance. If anything, the report shows there remains lots of uncertainty in the science that many like to call “settled”.

In climate science the only certainty is uncertainty.

Well worth reading. Some of the main points, according to the authors:

1. In most ecosystems, the photosynthesis rate at which plants fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere changes relatively little as the temperature varies.
2. The respiration of the ecosystems, when flora and fauna release carbon dioxide again, also increases to a lesser extent than has recently often been assumed when the temperature rises.
3. Moreover, this temperature dependence is the same all over the world – even in ecosystems as different as the tropical savannah and the Finnish needleleaf forest.
4. The climate is quite temperamental: countless factors are involved and many feedback mechanisms enhance effects such as the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. This makes it difficult to make predictions, especially as many processes in the Earth system are still not completely understood.
5. Results suggest that the availability of water, in particular, plays a decisive role for the carbon cycle in ecosystems. It is often more important than temperature.
6. Particularly alarmist scenarios for the feedback between global warming and ecosystem respiration thus prove to be unrealistic.”
7. The factor which determines the acceleration of the respiration thus obviously does not depend on the local temperature conditions and the specific characteristics of an ecosystem. “We were very surprised that different ecosystems react relatively uniformly to temperature variations.”
8. “It is still not possible to predict whether this attenuates the positive feedback between carbon dioxide concentration and temperature,” says Markus Reichstein. “The study shows very clearly that we do not yet have a good understanding of the global material cycles and their importance for long-term developments.”
9. “We were surprised to find that the primary production in the tropics is not so strongly dependent on the amount of rain,” says Markus Reichstein. “Here, too, we therefore need to critically scrutinize the forecasts of some climate models which predict the Amazon will die as the world gets drier.”

UPDATE: There’s also some highly interesting background information here on Fluxnet.

Max Plank Institute: Especially Alarmist Scenarios Are Unrealistic – Oops! German Newspaper Takes It Off Its Website!

July 5, 2010
[Update: 6 July – The SZ has reposted its story]

The left of centre German online Sueddeutsche Zeitung had, for a very short time, a quite inconvenient piece up today called, in English: News On Nature’s Respiration, which reported on findings just out from the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemicals in Jena, Germany, on the earth’s CO2 cycle and possible future impacts.

Mysteriously, the SZ suddenly ripped it down from its website! Google provides the link if you punch in the original German title “Neues vom Atem der Natur“. Other news sites link to the original SZ report as well, e.g. here and here.

The SZ reported that scientists had collected and evaluated data from 60 measuring towers located in many countries and various ecosystems and presented their findings in Turin, Italy today.

The scientists determined that plants absorb 450 billion metric tonnes of CO2 through photosynthesis each year, or about one seventh of the total amount in the atmosphere. Almost 60% is absorbed by forests and savannahs in the tropics, 11% by fields for food crops.

Humans, by contrast, emit about 36 billion tonnes through their activities, of which the majority gets absorbed by the oceans and atmosphere.

And every year almost the entire 450 billion tonnes gets released by the plants through falling foliage, decay, etc.

According to the now-disappeared SZ report, researchers led by the Max Planck Institute calculated how much the amount of CO2 released would change if the temperature changed. According to the researchers, a warming of 10°C would increase the emission by 40%. According to the Sueddeutsche Zeitung report:

That is considerably less than what was often assumed earlier. Earlier a doubling or a quadrupling was often discussed. And apparently this low factor applies for everything from the frozen tundra to the tropical rainforests.

The researchers of the Max Planck Institute concluded:

This dampens the fears that global warming could accelerate from more CO2 being released by savannahs and rainforests with every degree of warming.  This means that so far nature is absorbing a part of manmade CO2 year for year and stores it, thus buffering the climate effect.

Dr. Markus Reichstein of the Max Planck Institute is quoted by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung:

Especially alarmist scenarios for feedbacks from global warming and ecosystem respiration are shown to be unrealistic.

These feedback effects were not at all accounted for in the 2007 IPCC-Report.

I’ve tried to find the findings from the Max Planck Institute at their website, but haven’t been succesful yet. I think it’s very strange the SZ report would be up for about an hour, and then taken down. Someone probably didn’t like what it said.

UPDATE: I sent an e-mail to Dr Reichstein, who was indeed very kind to reply – and provided the following explanation:

Dear Mr Gosselin,
thanks for your interest in the topic. A simple web search however reveals that you are not “just a private reader with an interest” – rather you seem to have established a blog “NoTricksZone”, or is it someone else with the same name.

In any a as matter of fact let me just state that indeed the SZ published the article – probably accidentally – before the embargo for such publication lifted (the embargo will lift at midnight tonight). Hence the article was removed temporarily. That is all.

Best regards,
Markus Reichstein

Well, I am just a private citizen doing this blog for fun as a hobby. I’m not funded by anyone except myself. In any case, could be interesting to see if anything has been sanitised. We’ll see in 75 minutes.

UPDATE 2: Embargo has been lifted, the story has been reposted. As far as I can tell, it does not deviate from anything I’ve written. – P Gosselin