Taylor Dome: Ice Core Analysis

I was recently involved in a discussion with a website that strongly promotes global warming and playing nice with skeptics.  I have not been involved in discussion with that group before and was a little surprised by some of the discussion.  That was perhaps my fault.  The specific discussion was about defining CO2 as a pollutant.  While some may argue that “natural” gases cannot be labeled a pollutant, I disagree as ozone is clearly natural, but also a pollutant when in the lower atmosphere.

In order to be a pollutant there has to be some hazard.  Of course the main hazard for CO2 is global warming.  That is where the discussion got a bit out of hand as many other topics came into play.  Dana Nuccitelli did a very thorough article on the legal aspects of defining a pollutant.  It was a well written and detailed article.  One thing that caught my interest was the Taylor Dome CO2 chart that was prominently displayed showing the last 10,000 years of CO2. This was very interesting to me as the correlation between CO2 and temperature is a superficial confusion between cause and effect.  The Taylor Dome data would nicely show that.

As I had never before reviewed the Taylor Dome data for the stable isotope (what is used to determine past temperature) I wasn’t precisely sure what to expect, but my review of many other data sources made me confident that the Taylor Dome would show declining temperatures while it also showed increasing CO2.  Even I was surprised by how opposite the behavior was.

Inconvenient Skeptic

Taylor Dome: 10,000 Year Reconstruction

I used Dana’s CO2 direct source and then I found the stable isotope data at the University of Washington (I did smooth the data). A very rough estimate of the stable isotope data indicates each full point of change is close to 2 °C temperature change.  I based that on about a 6 point change in the ratio from the coldest point of the last glacial to the peak warmth of the interglacial.  That temperature change was about 12 °C, so 2 °C/stable isotope change is reasonable.  Not precisely accurate, but close enough for this analysis.

As almost every ice core on Earth shows, the Earth started cooling about 6,000 years ago.  The last 4,000 have been much colder than any of the previous periods before that.  CO2 continues to increase over the entire 10,000 year period, even though the temperature has continued to drop the entire time.  This disconnect between CO2 levels and temperature is the norm.  I have not found a single ice core that would indicate that CO2 is the cause of temperature change.  If you are aware of one, feel free to let me know which one so I can look at it.

In addition, the past 1,000 years have shown 4 very distinct warming and cooling periods.  Any statement that the current period is the warmest of the past 1,000 years based on this ice core record is… flawed.  To add insult to injury, the very last data point for the Taylor Dome indicates that as of 1990 the Taylor Dome indicates that temperatures are dropping.    So much for tree ring proxy reconstructions!

To analyze even farther back, the period from 6,000-10,000 years ago was MUCH warmer than the Earth is today.  While that data might be inconvenient to Dana and those at the warmist site, that is what the data says.  I understand that other factors drive the climate.  If anyone says that the AMO or El Nino is the other factor that caused 6,000 years of cooling, then we are in lots of trouble.

The point is that the data does not show a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature.  If the CO2 data from the Taylor Dome is to be trusted, then so should the temperature data from the same source.  Temperature does not show any dependence on CO2 levels in that ice core.  None of the ice cores show that dependence.  Why should anyone believe it if the data does not support it?   The answer is simple, they shouldn’t.

Posted in Cap & Trade and Skeptic by inconvenientskeptic on October 4th, 2010 at 11:30 pm.


This post has 20 comments

  1. inconvenientskeptic Oct 5th 2010

    Here is what I posted on the warmist website:

    Clearly I got off to a bad start here. I do take science very seriously. Clearly there are some hot button topics that should not be mentioned without causing an uproar. So I will try to avoid those.

    In place of that I will focus on the Taylor Dome data. Since Dana chose that for the CO2 data I will hope that using it’s data will not be considered foolish. I rearranged the schedule of posts on my site and the next post will be that of the temperature (via stable isotope ratios) and the CO2 levels of the Taylor Dome ice core.

    Taylor Dome

    Again, the problem for me remains is that there is no correlation between the CO2 levels in the ice core and the temperature trend. That makes the statement “increasing CO2 levels causes temperatures to increase” unproven. I do not disagree that CO2 does absorb infra-red. It does so very strongly at 14-16 micron. That this causes warming is not proven by the Taylor Dome data, or any other for that matter.

    10,000 years ago the CO2 level was about 260 ppm. Prior to industrialization it was 280-285 ppm. That is a about a 9% increase in CO2 levels. In that period of time, the stable isotope ratio of the Taylor Dome dropped from -38.5 to -40.5. That is a 2 point change in the ratio. Based on a 6 point total from glacial minimum to Holocene maximum a 2 point change is approximately a 4 °C drop in temperature. Where is the correlation between atmospheric CO2 and global temperature?

    They seem inversely related based on the Taylor Dome data. I will be posting this comparable analysis on my site. If CO2 is the main forcing agent of the Earth, then why did a 9% increase in CO2 cause a 4 °C (or even 2 °C if you want to be picky) drop in temperature over the course of 9,000 years?

    Why should I believe that CO2 is the main forcing agent of climate when the Taylor Dome and basically all ice cores agree that the Earth has cooled while CO2 has increased? If it is dominant, then the Earth should not have cooled while CO2 was increasing. In science if a results do not support the theory, the theory is incorrect.

    I do think that Dana spent a lot of time putting together a good article. I do not disagree with that. I disagree with the claim that CO2 is the dominant forcing factor in the Earth’s climate. That theory is not supported by the observed data.

    John Kehr

    The Inconvenient Skeptic

  2. inconvenientskeptic Oct 5th 2010

    That comment has been removed from their website. I find it disturbing, but unsurprising that when someone used science to refute the evidence they brought to the table, they respond by attempting to silence the opposition.

    I am not surprised, but I will document each incident of this happening. The above post was #75.

  3. I find it amusing that CO2 is called a pollutant.When it has existed in the Earth’s atmosphere for several billion years.

    During those years the concentration of CO2 was much higher than it is currently in the atmosphere.

    Most people even skeptics are unaware that it has been cooling over all for around 5,000 years or so,after the peak of the warmest period,called the Holocene warm period.

    Here is a revealing chart at my forum that covers it well:


    This one shows that North and South Hemisphere have very different warming and cooling trends,especially in the early part of the Interglacial.


    This would seem to suggest that is it a solar/ocean influence that dominates climate trends.

  4. John R T Oct 5th 2010

    Harrison Schmitt offers strong arguments at SEPP.

    Your science is correct. We have two sources of heat/energy: terrestrial and solar – radiant/ambient and sequestered, petroleum, for instance. Variations in solar activity disturb perceived energy balances.

    Keep up the good work.

  5. Glenn Tamblyn Oct 6th 2010

    John K

    I followed a link to your blog from ScepticalScience so your comment has been posted. Perhaps they deleted it from another thread as unrelayed to that thread, dunno.

    Some general observation. Using a single ice core tells us things about conditionas at that site, not the planet as a whole. And polar rwegions tend to amplify changes. The North Atlantic basin particularly seems to be prone to larger swings than the general climate.

    To take your comments:

    “…I understand that other factors drive the climate. If anyone says that the AMO or El Nino is the other factor that caused 6,000 years of cooling, then we are in lots of trouble.

    The point is that the data does not show a correlation between CO2 levels and temperature….”

    If multiple factors drive climate, then the expectation that you should see a correlation between CO2 and Temperature IN ALL SITUATIONS is false. Would we expect to see a correlation between CO2 and Temps in some situations. Yes. When CO2 is a larger driver we would expect to see better correlatio, when it is a minor driver, less correlation. The relative contributions of different climate drivers is not constant across all circumstances. And if you are looking for the contribution of CO2 you need to correlate to its climate forcing not its absolute level, so use a logarithmic scale.

    The basic question is, given what we know about the factors driving climate, would we expect to see a correlation between CO2 and Temps in this context. Answer, No. CO2 forcing over this scale is low; Ln(280/260) ain’t much. Ice sheet changes are still in play early in this period. Ocean currents are in flux due to ice sheet melt. Milankovitch cycles are imposing a cooling influence. Methane levels are changing with cooling. Vegetation patterns are changing as land exposed by previous ice retreat is being colonised by more than just lichens. And part of the CO2 changes observed would have been due to land use changes due to expanding human civilisation. As would vegetation patterns in human modified land. Not quite the level of impact since the industrial revolution, but still an impact.

    Would one expect to see a CO2 signal in the mass of other factors in the evidence from this period? Unlikely.

    So this analysis actually says nothing for or against AGW. A case of faulty analysis. Not performing the wrong calculation. More importantly, framing the wrong question.

  6. inconvenientskeptic Oct 6th 2010

    You are correct in much of what you say. There are other forcing factors. The debate about global warming centers around what factors are the biggest and which ones are small enough to ignore.

    Ice cores are a pretty good representation of the ocean temperatures and the path that the water molecules travel to get to the place that they become part of the ice record. That is because of the different isotopes of oxygen evaporate at slightly different rates with the temperature of the water.

    That is why ice cores are capable of recording the global scale changes that happen with glaciation and interglacials.

    I am not saying that the Taylor Dome represents the entire Earth, but it represents more than just that specific location.

    My other point is how strong a factor is CO2 if a 10,000 year trend in increasing levels is so easily offset by Milankovitch cooling. The peak 65N Insolation was achieved 9,000 years ago. Right on schedule the Earth started to cool.

    My argument is that CO2 is not a significant forcing factor in the Earth’s climate. Other ice cores from other locations agree that cooling started 4,000 – 6,000 years ago. There are other items that point to that as well.

    When everything is taken as a whole, I believe there is a very weak scientific argument for the case of CO2 caused global warming.

    No article can explain the whole of what is going on. A book can start to scratch the surface. I am starting off with the simple stuff as I build up a collection of articles that paint a bigger picture.

    Warmists are always welcome here. I hope to be able to continue this discussion further. :-)

  7. cthulhu Oct 6th 2010

    The forcing from a co2 rise from 260ppm to 280ppm is about 0.4wm-2 which would lead to about 0.3C warming (assuming 3C per doubling of co2)

    The temperature drop is about 4C at this pole, globally it would have been about half of that say, 2C.

    So co2 is expected to cause 0.3C warming, but temperature fell by 2C. If there was no co2 rise perhaps it would have fallen by 2.3C, or 2.1C or even 2.5C. Who knows.

    Unfortunately the ice core data is like this throughout, co2 never spikes upward suddenly as it has done in the past 200 years, but is dragged along by temperature over thousands of years and so it becomes nigh impossible to disentangle the temperature change caused by a co2 rise from the temperature change that led to that co2 rise.

  8. inconvenientskeptic Oct 6th 2010

    As you say,

    “it becomes nigh impossible to disentangle the temperature change caused by a co2 rise from the temperature change that led to that co2 rise.”

    Showing that a change in CO2 causes a temperature change is difficult. For that reason it remains a theory. The modern warming is so small in comparison it is also difficult to disentangle it from the ocean oscillations.

  9. Glenn Tamblyn Oct 7th 2010

    John K

    My key point is that looking at data like this to provide the principle confirmation of theories about GH gas induced warming is back to front. Surely you start with data sources that give the clearest signal for the phenomena being investigated. Then you expand your inquiry to look at other data sources that come from more complex sources where any expected influence will be more dilute and possibly not even detectable, even if it is present. So firstly let me put why I think looking at the Taylor Dome data isn’t particularly useful in that inquiry, and then where you should look first for principle confirmation.

    The expected effects of CO2 (and the other GH gases, lets not forget them) along with variations due to Milankovitch cycles are the predominant forcings. By which I mean factors that can INITIATE climate changes. Other factors such as Albedo change, Vegetation pattern changes, soil moisture content changes, water vapour feedback etc are then feedbacks, magnifiers. The questions we need to ask in any particular climate context (and remember we need to ask these questions separately for each distinct context; it isn’t one size fits all in terms of what we expect to see) are: whether all the forcing factors are working in concert or whether they are in opposition. Then what the feedbacks are doing, again working in concert or opposition.

    At the top and bottom of Ice Ages, Milankovitch forcings are at the peak and tending to drive the climate the other way. Methane levels in a pre human world are largely temperature dependent. So too CO2 in a pre-human world. Albedo change due to varying levels of ice & snow cover can vary substantially with where we are in a glacial cycle. So the normal pattern you would expect at the peak of an interglacial is that Milankovitch starts to push temps down. Methane starts to drop as well so more downward pressure. CO2 starts to drop due to increased uptake in colder oceans but opposing this is the fact that as ice & snow starts to expand, dieback of plant biomass provides a reservoir of dying plants that can put CO2 back into the atmosphere. So Milankovitch & methane driving with a reduced pressure from CO2 due to lags in the CO2 level declining. And Albedo change is potentially a strong magnifier at this stage. It may take a lot of warming to melt major icesheets, but it only takes modest cooling before snowfall extent starts to expand – 1 metre of snow has the same albedo as an ice sheet a kilometre thick. So the normal pattern coming down from an interglacial is reasonably fast decline with the forcings working in concert, CO2 being a lesser contributor in this context.

    However you are looking at the Holocene, which isnt a normal exit from an interglacial because you are leaving out one factor – Humanity. Just as Milankovitch and Methane are starting to drive a cooling, Human civilisation is growing, starting to clear forests, burn timber, practice firestick farming, etc. We change the balance so that this time CO2 and land use changes start to be working in opposition to the other forcings rather than in concert. So would we expect to see temperatures rising with CO2 during this period? Only if the positive forcing of CO2 and human land use changes is greater than the negative forcing due to Milankovitch and Methane. Can I answer the question of which way that balance tips? No. That is a question way above my pay grade and even the best paleoclimatologists may not have an accurate enough answer.

    But your basic assumption that we would expect to see temperature increase over this period simply because CO2 is rising isnt valid. We can’t quantify the factors well enough to determine whether the net forcing is + or -. So this period of time is among the worst you could choose to look at if you are looking for a clear signal. Earlier Interglacial exits are better but still not great since although the forcings are all in the same direction, disentangling there relative impacts is harder.

    This is why climate scientists don’t regard the paleoclimate record as one of the major pieces of support for AGW. Rather if the Ice core record showed behaviour WILDLY at variance with expectations then it would be evidence against AGW, but if it has the behaviour roughly expected from such a complex system then it is mildly supportive.

    The key area that you need to focus on, and this seems to get very little attention from sceptic critiques of AGW, is the basic Radiative Physics of GH Gases and the evidence in support of this. And this evidence is very strong. Starting with the overturning of earlier ideas about saturation in the 1950’s, observational research in infra-red spectroscopy beginning in WWII, through to the present, high altitude aircraft and later satellite data of Outgoing Longwave Radiation spectra for the planet clearly showing the impacts on those spectra of GH gases, ground based measurement of the corresponding Downwelling Longwave Radiation of some of the ‘blocked’ radiation being radiated back down to the earth, Studies of how this ‘blockage’ has changed over the observation period as GH gas levels have risen, and the capacity of this observation program to produce quantitative measures of of energy balance change for the planet due to these GH gases.

    Simple premise. Follow the energy flow, look at the temperature evidence later.

  10. inconvenientskeptic Oct 7th 2010


    Part of my argument is that the Milankovitch forcing is much greater then the forcing of CO2. The paleoclimate record is the only source that can record a signal at that time scale. That being the case there is no other source of data to use. If the human race survives for the next 10,000 years with comparable technology, then perhaps there will be an instrumental record that is long enough to catch the signal.

    I have looked far beyond the Holocene as well. One of my biggest gripes with the AGW scientific community is the incredible misdirection that some of them entail. My article on Science at it’s Worst details the Vostok record of the Eemian. It is the Vostok record of CO2 and temperature that are primarily used to “prove” the correlation between CO2 and temperature. Meanwhile it is totally incompatible with cause and effect.

    Instead of paying attention to the transition at the beginning of the the interglacial, I paid attention to the cooling at the end of the interglacial. That is where in impotence of CO2 manifests itself. As the Earth was cooling 122,000 years ago, CO2 remained at the interglacial levels for nearly 10,000 years longer before the cooling of the oceans was sufficient to reduce the global levels of CO2. In that 10,000 year period it was utterly incapable of preventing the Milankovitch forcing from starting one of the coldest glacial periods in the current ice age.

    Then you get people like Jeff Severinghaus at Real Climate who goes out of his way to avoid mentioning anything about Milankovitch, but tries to avoid the whole role of the variations in the orbital parameters and puts out one of the most obfuscating articles in history. Any coherent scientist will look at his article on Real Climate as obfuscation.

    That is why people don’t understand even the basics. The common AGW presentation is show a 400,000 year ice core temperature and CO2 level and convince the non-scientist that is proof. There is no cause and effect in that.

    I have the balance down and I have even found a comparable obfuscation in the AR4 about the energy balance. I know how they can justify it, but it remains obfuscation all the same.

    I recognize your honest attempts in this discussion and I appreciate it. I hope that you will also recognize my honest attempts to use simple points to help the people that have not spent thousands of hours researching the topic. Most people will not do that.

    In all the records I find plenty of evidence that CO2 levels are changed by changes to the Earth’s temperatures, but I find no evidence that CO2 is a significant feedback as it changes levels. The Earth needs > 220ppm CO2 for plant life to prosper. At 150 ppm plant life starts to suffocate. At the last glacial maximum the CO2 levels hit 180 ppm. Frankly that scares me far more than a permanent Eemian period warmth.

  11. Glenn Tamblyn Oct 7th 2010


    Happy to continue the discussion, although it might be intermittant – work commitments make my time for blogging erratic

    A few comments

    “It is the Vostok record of CO2 and temperature that are primarily used to “prove” the correlation between CO2 and temperature”

    I feel this is a mis-statement of the problem. What needs to be ‘proved’ is:
    A. The correlation between CO2 concentration and the Radiative Forcing it causes.
    B. The correlation between the Net of ALL forcings, AND associated Feedbacks, and Equilibrium Temperature change.

    A is well demonstrated by 60 years of research into Radiative Physics. B is fundamentally a statement of the Law of Conservation of Energy LCE). However we cannot easily quantify all the factors so while we know the LCE applies (God help us if that is invalid) we cannot easily quantify the various components or their time domain behaviour – rates of Ice sheet advance & retreat for example can be influenced by local topography for example.

    Thus any attempt to use Ice Core data as anything more than supportive evidence is invalid and attempting to use variations in the behaviour seen in the ice core record as evidence against the theory is also invalid. The data is simply to noisy for that. You are trying to look for one signal amongst the interacting effects of multiple signals. – a rather futile quest.

    Next you are arguing based on qualitative judgements about effects. For example “In that 10,000 year period it was utterly incapable of preventing the Milankovitch forcing from starting one of the coldest glacial periods in the current ice age.”


    What was the magnitude of the effects of each component.

    The argument seems to be, and not just from you that “CO2 is supposed to have this big effect today but back then it didn’t have a big effect so that shows it can’t have this big effect now!”

    Faulty, and non-quantitative reasoning. Faulty precisely because it is non-quantitative. Your background according to your Bio is in Chemical Engineering. Mine is in Mechanical Engineering. In both branchs of the discipline, numbers rule. Qualitative reasoning doesn’t count for much. So to use this sort of evidence you have to demonstrate QUANTITATIVELY that CO2 changes of the magnitude observed would be expected to produce changes in temps of the order observed. And as I have tried to show, CO2 is IN THIS CONTEXT only a small part of the picture, and the picture is too complex to unpick much at all.

    Thus my point that the primary source of data needed to start an enquiry into AGW is Radiative Physics.

    As a more general observation. Climate Science is extremely complex, like many sciences. In the process of communicating its insights to progressively less technical audiences, it is iteratively simplified down, like layers of an onion, till you come to very simplistic statements like “The Greenhouse Effect is like a blanket around the Earth”. If, at any level of simplification, one finds they have a problem with what is presented, the trap is to argue against the proposition at the level of simplification that it has been presented. Thus Al Gore says the Ice Cores show a CO2 correlation with Temps. Simplistic and perhaps sufficient for basic exposition, but not strictly accurate. The appropriate course of action is not to argue against the propsition at that level but to drill deeper into the complexity until either your objections have been resolved, or your have drilled down to the warts and all detail. Only then is the dispute meaningful rather than shadow boxing. Instead of Al Gore said, or ‘Warmists say’, the only thing that matters is what the scientific literature says. And I have tried here to identify some of the range of factors that make the perspective from the Ice Cores much more complex than the picture you paint.

    Go read the Radiative Physics first. It is far more relevent.

  12. inconvenientskeptic Oct 7th 2010

    I understand the time limitations due to work. I am also fairly busy with that today. This is one area were discussion on a blog is useful as time delays are acceptable.

    When I say that the Vostok data is used to “prove” warming, I mean that in the sense that it is shown to the laymen as proof. There is a big difference in the discussion between those that understand science in general and the science involved in climate from those that do not understand science well in general. I agree with your statements on the simplification problem. I just ask that you allow me to also simplify things as I am trying to be more inclusive than just the science type. That is in fact one goal is to present things in a simple matter to help people understand the climate better.

    Radiative physics is a two-edged blade in regard to climate. The focus on CO2 is only one edge. Here is a thought problem for you.

    If the Earth had a comparably dense atmosphere that was pure CO2, how would the greenhouse effect differ?

    If you assume that the starting temperature was the same at 287K then the transmission profile would be the same as it is today. The peak transmission band would be about 10-11 micron. Since the atmosphere would be pure CO2 I am hoping that you will agree that it would fully saturate the 14-16 micron band that CO2 absorbs.

    No energy would escape the Earth in that band. However, ALL the energy in the rest of the transmission bands would escape as there would be much lower or no absorption in those bands. No matter how much CO2 you have the 8.5 to 12.5 micron bands would freely escape to space. The biggest difference would be the 5 – 8.5 micron bands and the greater than 20 micron bands. Those would also freely escape and no longer be absorbed by water vapor.

    The GH effect would reduce as only the bands that are absorbed by CO2 would be absorbed. The LCE allows only the energy contained in those bands to be absorbed. So the amount transmitted in those bands is the maximum amount of energy that can be absorbed by CO2.

    So what is the maximum amount of energy available in that band? My blackbody calculations put it at 9.39% of the total at 287.15K. In the thought problem that would be the total GH effect. Or a total of about 36 W/m2. That is the total maximum absorption of energy by CO2.

    The question is where exactly are we now? This is where the difficulty begins. What concentration causes that point of absorption to be reached, because once it is reached, the GH effect of CO2 has reached its limit?

  13. Glenn Tamblyn Oct 8th 2010


    “The peak transmission band would be about 10-11 micron. Since the atmosphere would be pure CO2 I am hoping that you will agree that it would fully saturate the 14-16 micron band that CO2 absorbs.

    No energy would escape the Earth in that band. ”

    This reflects a fundamental misconception about how the GH effect works. It implies that CO2 simply blocks energy in its absorption bands and stops it getting out. Once it is all blocked, no more can occur.


    When CO2 absorbs in the lower atmosphere, and perhaps even absorbs most or all, what happens then? A CO2 molecule doesn’t just suck up a photon and thats it. It may re-radiate that energy, dropping to a lower energy state. In this case the re-radiated photon could head off in a random direction, up or down. Hence a significant part of the source of Downwelling Radiation. Equally the molecule could collide with other molecules around it – in the lower atmosphere any single molecule will have several billion collisions per second. So the energy absorbed could be distributed to other molecules in its vicinity at the altitude that the absorption occured. These in turn could radiate up or down. Some of this energy may remain as heat, further driving air currents etc.

    The net result is that some energy streams down as DLR, some moves further up as additional upwards radiation, to possibly be absorbed again, or as sensible heat carried upwards by convection for example.

    Eventually the energy that isn’t making it out of the atmosphere from lower down reaches an altitude where the decline in atmospheric density means that the majority of photons radiating upwards are able to escape to space with no further absorption event. And off they go.

    The key point is that the amount of energy in these photons is governed by the Stephan-Boltsmannn Eqn based on the ambient temperature of the gas that is radiating at that altitude, not the ambient temerature at ground level.

    As GH gas levels increase, the altitude at which the path to space becomes sufficiently clear grows higher, and the temperature at this altitude lower. Therefore the emission temperature of the gas that is actually successfully radiating in those bands to space gets lower with altitude.

    When you look at graphs of the Earths emission spectrum, showing the absorption in the CO2 regions, you see substantial drops from the expected Black/Grey body curve for the Earths surface temperature. However if you super-impose Black/Grey body curves for lower temperatures over this you see that the emission levels in the CO2 bands correlate to the curve for much lower emission temperatures – the temperatures at the atmospheric level at which the photons in these bands finally have a clear path to space.

    Hence, as you add more GH gases, you need to add more altitude before the path to space is essentially unimpeded. And hence a lower emission temperature, and hence less energy getting out in these bands. But never zero. A diminishing returns situation that is the basis of the logarithmic nature of CO2’s forcing with concentration. But never zero. So the question of how far we are from ‘no more effect’ is not meaningful. In a diminishing returns situation we are an infinite number of doublings of CO2 from zero additional effect. Just that each increment adds less and less.

  14. inconvenientskeptic Oct 8th 2010


    You missed what I was saying. That statement was for a situation with an atmosphere that is 100% CO2.

    I am asking if you believe that a pure CO2 atmosphere will totally saturate the absorption band.

    What you did was just pull up the next step of “how to talk to a skeptic about blank.” Since I have a slight moment for this let me pose a 2nd case as well.

    What about a situation where the atmosphere is pure N2? So two different cases, one pure CO2 and one pure N2. What happens in each case?

    These cases are not covered in literature so you will have to reach your own conclusions. I have read the argument you are presenting in a dozen different forms and knew we would get here several posts before this. You could say I have been waiting for it.

    John (TIS)

  15. inconvenientskeptic Oct 8th 2010

    To clarify what I am asking, in the pure CO2 case, will 100% of the EM energy in the absorption band that leaves the surface of the planet be converted into thermal energy? At this point I am only asking about the energy leaving the surface of the planet.

    If it is not 100% converted, what % would escape?

  16. Glenn Tamblyn Oct 9th 2010


    It seems you have an argument you are trying to make so lets go with it.

    As a point of reference in this discussion, you might also care to read the following description at ScepticalScience on this subject. It is the advanced rebuttal to the sceptic argument regarding ‘saturation’. Note particularly the second paragraph on E O Hulpert.

    I have read this line of reasoning elsewhere as well.

    Also this which shows the emission spectra for the planet at 20Km
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/images/infrared_spectrum.jpg. Other sources for satellite data are similar.

    So to your point in the second post. First let me clarify what I think you mean when you say saturated. That IR radiation in relevent wavelength bands, leaving the surface of the Earth will be completely absorbed by CO2 at some concentration, you using 100% of current Atm Pressure as an example

    Answer, Yes and No. The wavelengths at the centre of this band are saturated already. It probably doesn’t need much more than 10 or a 100 metres of altitude before they are saturated. Wavelengths at the margins are not saturated, and as they point out, in the article, the range of frequencies involved spreads as the absorbtion coefficient changes.

    The key point isn’t whether saturation occurs low down in the atmosphere. It is what happens higher up.

    You might care to elaborate on what the problem is that you have with this model. And if you are heading towards the question of how much more GH effect can occur, look at the real world graphs of emission spectra. My Mark I eyeball says that in the key band from around 13-17 micron, only 30-50% of the energy has not reached space. The absorption near ground level may have been 100%, but this is counter-balanced by radiation from higher levels.

  17. Glenn Tamblyn Oct 9th 2010


    Small aside.

    Your article on Cuccinelli’s assault against Mann is excellent. As an Australian I doubt my input would help much but well done. Attack the message, not the messenger.

  18. inconvenientskeptic Oct 10th 2010


    I am going to focus on getting the whole thing together and put together an Advanced Skeptic reply to the AGW argument. That is the easier method at this point. It might take a little bit as I will elevate the science content a bit. I will keep you updated.

    I have another big item coming up on Monday (hopefully). As an engineer I think you will like the idea. I am tired of people cherry picking the temperature set that fits their view. My idea will help eliminate that problem.

    Finally, if you could put up how much energy you think CO2 is absorbing in total and then how that total increases with additional CO2. I have found so many versions that knowing which one a person is using is difficult.



  19. Kicker Oct 13th 2010

    їPuedo tomar Foto de su blog?

    (I can take picture of your blog)

  20. Interesante, yo cotizaciуn en mi sitio mбs tarde. (Interesting, I quote it on my site later)
    Have a nice day

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