A Science Question for Ben and Steven (Updated)

Russ Steele

If the admission to the school of your choice, be it Cornell, or lets say Columbia or Harvard, depended on you answering this question — “Given the facts presented in the chart below, is CO2 driving the Earth’s temperature?” — how would you answer it?

And the answer is?

H/T to Joe Bastardi for the questions and the graphic showing the disconnect between CO2 and Temperature.

Update (09-03-12, 0920): The Sun is still slumping, with declining sunspots. One has to wonder are the declining temperaturs related to the declining sunspots. More details at the Next Grand Minimum.

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About Russ Steele
Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.

26 Responses to A Science Question for Ben and Steven (Updated)

  1. stevefrisch says:

    Can you source the graph please and point to the academic paper and research that describes it?

    • Russ says:

      Steven,

      You will note in the graphic the temperature source data is listed. HadCRUT is the dataset of monthly temperature records formed by combining the sea surface temperature records compiled by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and the land surface temperature records compiled by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. Both the 3 and 4 versions are listed. The CO2 data is taken from the NASA data base on CO2 emissions.

      The graphic is from this paper published in Global and Planetary Change finds that changes in CO2 follow rather than lead global air surface temperature and that “CO2 released from use of fossil fuels have little influence on the observed changes in the amount of atmospheric CO2” The paper finds the “overall global temperature change sequence of events appears to be from 1) the ocean surface to 2) the land surface to 3) the lower troposphere,” in other words, the opposite of claims by global warming alarmists that CO2 in the atmosphere drives land and ocean temperatures. Instead, just as in the ice cores, CO2 levels are found to be a lagging effect ocean warming, not significantly related to man-made emissions, and not the driver of warming. Prior research has shown infrared radiation from greenhouse gases is incapable of warming the oceans, only shortwave radiation from the Sun is capable of penetrating and heating the oceans and thereby driving global surface temperatures.

      I hope this is the information you were looking for.

  2. Barry Pruett says:

    In the graph CO2 rises and temperature modestly rises. There is no causation evidenced in the graph. In fact, temperature increase could be causing CO2 level increase. You cannot tell from the graph.

  3. Ben Emery says:

    Russ,
    Today I am focused on Promoting Democracy and Celebrating Labor. Please show some respect for those who pick up your garbage, fix your plumbing, who make sure power comes one when you flip the switch, the mechanics who work on your vehicles, the food server, social worker, the nurse and health worker who takes care you in your time of need, the teacher who spends more awake conscious time with the youth of America than many parents, and everything in between. Labor and Nature are the only two things that create wealth. The struggles of labor and democracy are one in the same and it is a timeless battle due the never ending pressures from the powers that be to suppress the rights of those who create the wealth. Here is one of the all time great Hollywood Speeches on Democracy.

  4. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Cue the crickets.

  5. Ben Emery says:

    Russ,
    As I have stated here before, I am not climatologist and don’t have a great passion for the subject. So I generally don’t make scientific arguments about Global Warming/ Climate Change. Without wanting to spend to much time searching because I know it does not matter whet evidence is put forward it will be seen as “Junk Science”. So I go to the source of NASA, which many here claim is not credible source. Well I do so here is a link and the last three paragraphs summarizing the cause and effect of CO2 and Global Temperatures. Earlier it is mentioned that CO2 accounts for 20% of greenhouse effect.

    Excerpt

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/co2-temperature.html

    “The study ties in to the geologic record in which carbon dioxide levels have oscillated between approximately 180 parts per million during ice ages, and about 280 parts per million during warmer interglacial periods. To provide perspective to the nearly 1 C (1.8 F) increase in global temperature over the past century, it is estimated that the global mean temperature difference between the extremes of the ice age and interglacial periods is only about 5 C (9 F).

    “When carbon dioxide increases, more water vapor returns to the atmosphere. This is what helped to melt the glaciers that once covered New York City,” said co-author David Rind, of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “Today we are in uncharted territory as carbon dioxide approaches 390 parts per million in what has been referred to as the ‘superinterglacial.’”

    “The bottom line is that atmospheric carbon dioxide acts as a thermostat in regulating the temperature of Earth,” Lacis said. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has fully documented the fact that industrial activity is responsible for the rapidly increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is not surprising” then that global warming can be linked directly to the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and to human industrial activity in general.”

  6. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Yes, but what is Mr. Emery’s answer.

  7. Ben Emery says:

    Art,
    My answer is above. Russ can wheel out as many graphs as he wants but I don’t know enough to be able to filter out it being real, some graph that has been altered, or has stated conclusions that don’t match the data before me. As I said before I don’t care enough about the issue to dive into it for fun. If it were my job, I would be all over it. My job today is scheduled to irrigating our field, to limb a down tree/ cut into rounds, rotate our compost, and feed animals tonight. Getting a good days in while earning a living but not a killing.

  8. And the answer is…:

    On inspection, the graph appears to show a weak correlation between atmospheric temperatures and CO2, but said correlation cannot be used to infer a causality in either direction, nor can the possibility that the apparent correlation is merely coincidental be ruled out.

  9. Ben Emery says:

    Greg,
    That is what the graph shows but I can find a graph that shows something very different. I trust NASA in the field of climatology.
    NASA quote is where my current beliefs fall.
    “The bottom line is that atmospheric carbon dioxide acts as a thermostat in regulating the temperature of Earth,” Lacis said. “The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has fully documented the fact that industrial activity is responsible for the rapidly increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It is not surprising” then that global warming can be linked directly to the observed increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide and to human industrial activity in general.”

  10. Funny, Ben. Why would you go to a government aeronautics and space administration’s webpage for an authoritative statement on climate? You’re just choosing to pray at a church that is telling you want you want to believe.

    NASA GISS is headed by a notorious alarmist who’s been tolerated by NASA because he managed to shake down Congress for a fortune to launch a number of satellites to study the climate. That NASA GISS chooses to focus on terrestrial data that has been corrected (aka fudged or finagled) rather than clean satellite data is both tragic and comic.

    “Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts”- Feynman

  11. Ben Emery says:

    Greg,
    I grew up trusting NASA and outside of extreme partisanship in the last decade have never really heard the validity of NASA questioned in any serious way, especially in the area of climatology. I remember the ice age stuff in the 70′s a little bit but don’t think it was a universal supported in the scientific community with peer review studies.

    Your skepticism of NASA is matched if not dwarfed by my skepticism of Energy Industry science that is trying to secure its record profits. I look at the planet and the crazy weather patterns taking place. I talk with my brother who lives in rural third world nation who works and talks with farmers who pass down knowledge from generation to generation, nobody can ever remember any stories about what we they experiencing today when it comes to weather events. Especially size and strength of storms that are causing massive flooding during the wet season, which erodes top soil among other things. Just look around something big is happening and whether it is something we can affect or not doing nothing or increasing the status quo seems inherently wrong.

  12. Arthur M. Day. says:

    Mr. Goodknight: You don’t understand, it’s a religion thing with Mr. Emery. You are asking him to throw away his holy writ in exchange for some heretical squiggles.
    If you can find a copy of Eric Hoffer’s ‘True Believer’ and read it, it will shine much light on our Devout Democrat.
    I got my paperback copy from Barnes and Noble a few years ago.

    • AMD, in coming to your conclusion that I didn’t understand Ben, you must have skipped over my 9:14AM where I admonished him with “You’re just choosing to pray at a church that is telling you want you want to believe”.

  13. stevefrisch says:

    You do know who Eric Hoffer was talking about when he said fanaticism was rooted in self-hatred, self-doubt and insecurity, and that for the fanatic, being part of a movement is more important than the cause, don’t you Arthur? He was tlaking about the type of guy who calls people, “watermelons.”

  14. Arthur M. Day. says:

    And what did he have to say about people who call people A**holes and simpletons? You do seem to be part of the CAGW movement and you do seem to find it very important, don’t you?

  15. stevefrisch says:

    Have I occasionally been moved here to call people assholes and simpletons? Yes. In the heat of the moment, but not as an unsolicited insult. Is it my persona? No. I post about Eric Hoffer, who he was, and what he believed, because I now Eric Hoffer’s writing and philosophy. You read Eric Hoffer and see it as a tool to use to attack those who don’t agree with you. Hoffer’s philosophy, the actual meaning of his work, simply escapes you. And if you read Hoffer you will see that it is those who deny science out of ideology who he regularly identified as the ‘true believer.” You don’t know Hoffer, my friend.

    • stevefrisch says:

      By the way, Hoffer spent years on skid row, working the docks and traveling by tramp steamer around the world. I doubt he would be offended by my language.

  16. Ben Emery says:

    Steve,
    What Art is having trouble with is a honest answer that wasn’t wrapped in sarcasm and gotcha like statements. Then we have Greg pooh poohing me for going to a trusted source like it was a bad thing.

    Here is the rest of the excerpt I posted above with the link.

    Carbon Dioxide Controls Earth’s Temperature

    “Water vapor and clouds are the major contributors to Earth’s greenhouse effect, but a new atmosphere-ocean climate modeling study shows that the planet’s temperature ultimately depends on the atmospheric level of carbon dioxide.

    The study, conducted by Andrew Lacis and colleagues at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, examined the nature of Earth’s greenhouse effect and clarified the role that greenhouse gases and clouds play in absorbing outgoing infrared radiation. Notably, the team identified non-condensing greenhouse gases — such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and chlorofluorocarbons — as providing the core support for the terrestrial greenhouse effect.

    Without non-condensing greenhouse gases, water vapor and clouds would be unable to provide the feedback mechanisms that amplify the greenhouse effect. The study’s results will be published Friday, Oct. 15 in Science.

    A companion study led by GISS co-author Gavin Schmidt that has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Geophysical Research shows that carbon dioxide accounts for about 20 percent of the greenhouse effect, water vapor and clouds together account for 75 percent, and minor gases and aerosols make up the remaining five percent. However, it is the 25 percent non-condensing greenhouse gas component, which includes carbon dioxide, that is the key factor in sustaining Earth’s greenhouse effect. By this accounting, carbon dioxide is responsible for 80 percent of the radiative forcing that sustains the Earth’s greenhouse effect.

    The climate forcing experiment described in Science was simple in design and concept — all of the non-condensing greenhouse gases and aerosols were zeroed out, and the global climate model was run forward in time to see what would happen to the greenhouse effect. Without the sustaining support by the non-condensing greenhouse gases, Earth’s greenhouse effect collapsed as water vapor quickly precipitated from the atmosphere, plunging the model Earth into an icebound state — a clear demonstration that water vapor, although contributing 50 percent of the total greenhouse warming, acts as a feedback process, and as such, cannot by itself uphold the Earth’s greenhouse effect.

    “Our climate modeling simulation should be viewed as an experiment in atmospheric physics, illustrating a cause and effect problem which allowed us to gain a better understanding of the working mechanics of Earth’s greenhouse effect, and enabled us to demonstrate the direct relationship that exists between rising atmospheric carbon dioxide and rising global temperature,” Lacis said.”

    • stevefrisch says:

      Precisely Ben; these guys toss insults around as a matter of course, then say, “hey you do it too…” if one responds. It would be a lot nicer if there was just a discussion of the serious issues of the day, but our hosts don’t have the discipline or the desire to create that forum…..

    • “Our climate modeling simulation should be viewed as an experiment in atmospheric physics, illustrating a cause and effect problem which allowed us to gain a better understanding of the working mechanics of Earth’s greenhouse effect”

      Garbage in, garbage out. None of the general circulation models have been verified. ‘We coded up the theory we had and it did what we expected it would do’ isn’t the same as actually comparing it to Reality, which is what the atmosphere is really doing.

  17. Arthur M. Day. says:

    And for 15 years the satellites have persisted in making a liar out of Al Gore: “one thing you can be sure of, if C02 goes up the temp. will go up.”

  18. Arthur M. Day. says:

    “We are angels and you are devils” has gotten exceedingly diaphanous as well.

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