Scientists: We Lack A ‘Quantitative, Mechanistic Understanding Of How The Ocean Carbon Sink Works’

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Recent research has emphasized that “critical mysteries remain” in our ability to quantify or even understand carbon cycle processes as they relate to Earth’s water bodies.  Observational constraints prevent the detection of an anthropogenic signal in ocean carbon uptake trends on decadal timescales (McKinley et al., 2017).  Many new papers even contradict the IPCC-endorsed conclusion that the oceans are a net sink for CO2 emission rather than a net natural source.  

The “We Had No Idea” Terrestrial Carbon Cycle

Since the mid-1980s, the Earth’s coasts and land area have been expanding (Donchyts et al., 2016), meaning there is more land mass above sea level today than there was three decades ago.  Sea level rise has not been rapid enough to keep pace with the natural shifts in Earth’s geological processes.

Net growth in global land and soil area could significantly affect the Earth’s carbon budget, especially since “Earth’s soil is releasing roughly nine times more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than all human activities combined” (Carey et al., 2017).

Scientists frequently “discover” terrestrial locations that are new, unaccounted for sources of natural CO2 emission that “we had no idea” about.  They also routinely “discover” terrestrial surfaces that are deemed new CO2 net sinks that they never knew existed (Bastin et al., 2017).

Furthermore, scientists acknowledge that “the heterogeneous and sparsely measured terrestrial biosphere cannot be directly measured” (McKinley et al., 2017).

With new carbon sources and sinks “discovered” on a routine basis, as well as the very limited availability of direct measurements, why should there be any confidence that our land area carbon budget estimates are reliable?

Earth’s Water Bodies: “A Mechanistic Understanding of Carbon Sink Variability Requires Substantial Additional Elucidation”

Scientists have recently acknowledged that “critical mysteries remain” in ocean carbon uptake processes such that we lack a detailed, quantitative, and mechanistic understanding of how the ocean carbon sink works” (McKinley et al., 2017).

Observational constraints do not even allow us to confirm that the alleged ocean carbon sink has been growing in recent decades due to anthropogenic emissions.


McKinley et al., 2017

“That the growth of the partial pressure of CO2 gas in the atmosphere ( pCO2 atm) drives a growing oceanic sink is consistent with our basic understanding that, as the globally averaged atmosphere-to-ocean pCO2 gradient increases, carbon accumulation in the ocean will occur at an increasing rate. This behavior has been illustrated clearly with models forced with only historically observed increases in pCO2 atm and no climate variability or change (Graven et al. 2012, Ciais et al. 2013). Nonetheless, critical mysteries remain and weigh heavily on our ability to quantify relationships between the perturbed global carbon cycle and climate change.”
The current inability to accurately quantify the mean CO2 sink regionally or locally also suggests that present-day observational constraints are inadequate to support a detailed, quantitative, and mechanistic understanding of how the ocean carbon sink works and how it is responding to intensifying climate change. This lack of mechanistic understanding implies that our ability to model (Roy et al. 2011, Ciais et al. 2013, Frolicher et al. 2015, Randerson et al. 2015), and thus to project the future ocean carbon sink, including feedbacks caused by warming and other climate change, is seriously limited.”
“First, substantial uncertainty remains on the mean sink (∼30% of the total flux). Formally, the quantitative estimate of the 1980–1989 sink (−2.0 ± 0.7 Pg C y−1) is not statistically distinguishable from that for 2000–2009 (−2.3 ± 0.7 Pg C y−1). Reducing this uncertainty is absolutely critical to global partitioning of anthropogenic carbon sources and sinks. Each year, the Global Carbon Project (http://www.globalcarbonproject.org) estimates global sources and sinks of carbon, but because the heterogeneous and sparsely measured terrestrial biosphere cannot be directly measured, its flux is estimated by difference from estimated anthropogenic sources and the ocean sink (Le Quer´ e et al. 2015). In these budgets, land use change uncertainty is at least 50% of the mean flux, and uncertainty is growing for emissions from fossil fuel burning and cement manufacture (Ciais et al. 2013). Reduction in ocean sink uncertainty could therefore help to compensate from a global budgeting perspective.”
“The sum of the available evidence indicates that variability in the ocean carbon sink is significant and is driven primarily by physical processes of upwelling, convection, and advection. Despite evidence for a growing sink when globally integrated (Khatiwala et al. 2009, 2013; Ciais et al. 2013; DeVries 2014), this variability, combined with sparse sampling, means that it is not yet possible to directly confirm from surface observations that long-term growth in the oceanic sink is occurring.”
“Globally integrated variability fluctuates with ENSO. Yet, at regional scales outside the equatorial Pacific, these modes tend to explain less than 20% of the large-scale variance in pCO2 ocean and CO2 flux (McKinley et al. 2004, 2006; Breeden & McKinley 2016), indicating that much variance remains undescribed. Consistent with the limited amount of variance explained, the mechanistic connections of these modes are not well understood, except in the equatorial Pacific with ENSO. In the North Atlantic, a variety of studies have suggested a connection of the NAO and AMO to pCO2 ocean and CO2 fluxes, but whether these changes occur through convection or advection remains an open question. In the Southern Ocean, the SAM has been linked to pCO2 ocean and CO2 fluxes through impacts on wind-driven ventilation and subduction; however, since the mid-2000s, the clear relationship to SAM has substantially weakened (Fay & McKinley 2013, Landschutzer et al. 2015). In the North Pacific, the relative influence of the PDO ¨ as opposed to ENSO requires further study. Particularly as observations in the high latitudes have become more abundant, evidence has grown that climate modes do not adequately explain carbon cycle variability and that mechanistic understanding of carbon sink variability requires substantial additional elucidation.”
“[T]his CESM-LE analysis further illustrates that variability in CO2 flux is large and sufficient to prevent detection of anthropogenic trends in ocean carbon uptake on decadal timescales.”

The Earth’s Water Bodies: Net CO2 Source Or Sink?

Observational analysis has indicated that water bodies release more of their stored CO2 as they warm and retain more of their stored CO2 as they cool.

This has been borne out in Mauna Loa CO2 records as they relate to a “warm water year” versus a “cold water year”.


Flohn (1982).

The recent increase of the CO2-content of air varies distinctly from year to year, rather independent from the irregular annual increase of global CO2-production from fossil fuel and cement, which has since 1973 decreased from about 4.5 percent to 2.25 percent per year (Rotty 1981). … Indeed the cool upwelling water is not only rich in (anorganic) CO2 but also in nutrients and organisms. (algae) which consume much atmospheric CO2 in organic form, thus reducing the increase in atmospehreic CO2. Conversely the warm water of tropical oceans, with SST near 27°C, is barren, thus leading to a reduction of CO2 uptake by the ocean and greater increase of the CO2. … A crude estimate of these differences is demonstrated by the fact that during the period 1958-1974, the average CO2-increase within five selective years with prevailing cool water only 0.57 ppm/a, while during five years with prevailing warm water it was 1.11 ppm/a.  Thus in a a warm water year, more than one Gt (1015 g) carbon is additionally injected into the atmosphere, in comparison to a cold water year.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has nonetheless claimed the oceans are a net carbon sink  rather than a net source.

Recent research analysis has challenged this conclusion, including several new (2018) published papers.

Astor et al. (2013), for example, found that 72% of the attribution for the increase in CO2 emission for the studied region arose from warming sea temperatures, and thus they concluded “the ocean is primarily a source of CO2 to the atmosphere”.

A Partial List Of Papers Indicating Earth’s Water Bodies Are A Net Source Of CO2

Below is a very non-comprehensive compilation of 12 recently-published papers that challenge the IPCC conclusion that the oceans function as a net sink for CO2.

This list would appear to support the conclusion that “critical mysteries remain” in our ability to quantify or even understand carbon cycle processes as they relate to Earth’s water bodies.


Astor et al., 2013

“Based on these observations, 72% of the increase in fCO2 sea in Cariaco Basin between 1996 and 2008 can be attributed to an increasing temperature trend of surface waters, making this the primary factor controlling fugacity at this location. … An increase/decrease of 1°C is usually followed by an increase/decrease of 16–20 matm of fCO2sea. Thus, the SST increase of 1.3°C between 1996 and 2008 accounted for 16 matm increase in fCO2sea explaining around 72% of the fCO2sea observed variation. This suggests that the changes measured in fCO2 sea were primarily the result of surface-ocean warming in Cariaco Basin. … These observations confirm that this area is a consistent source of CO2 to the atmosphere. The main process controlling the long-term changes in surface fCO2sea at CARIACO was temperature, with net community production playing a secondary role. … At the CARIACO site, the ocean is primarily a source of CO2 to the atmosphere, except during strong upwelling events.”

Ikawa et al., 2013

We estimated that the coastal area off Bodega Bay was likely an overall source of CO2 to the atmosphere based on the following conclusions: (1) the overall CO2 flux estimated from both eddy covariance and pCO2 measurements showed a source of CO2; (2) although the relaxation period during the 2008 measurements were favorable to CO2 uptake, CO2 flux during this period was still a slight source; (3) salinity and SST were found to be good predictors of the CO2 flux for both eddy covariance and pCO2 measurements, and 99% of the historical SST and salinity data available between 1988 and 2011 fell within the range of our observations in May–June 2007, August–September 2008 and November 2010–July~2011, which indicates that our data set was representative of the annual variations in the sea state. Based on the developed relationship between pCO2, SST and salinity, the study area between 1988 and 2011 was estimated to be an annual source of CO2 of ~ 35 mol C m−2 yr−1. The peak monthly CO2 flux of ~ 7 mol C m−2 month−1 accounted for almost 30% of the dissolved inorganic carbon in the surface mixed layer.”

Levy et al., 2013

“Although they are key components of the surface ocean carbon budget, physical processes inducing carbon fluxes across the mixed-layer base, i.e. subduction and obduction, have received much less attention than biological processes. Using a global model analysis of the pre-industrial ocean, physical carbon fluxes are quantified and compared to the other carbon fluxes through the surface mixed-layer, i.e. air-sea CO2 gas exchange and sedimentation of biogenic material. Model-based carbon obduction and subduction are evaluated against independent data-based estimates to the extent that was possible. We find that physical fluxes of DIC [Dissolved Inorganic Carbon] are two orders of magnitude larger than the other carbon fluxes and vary over the globe at smaller spatial scale. At temperate latitudes, the subduction of DIC and to a much lesser extent (<10%) the sinking of particles maintain CO2 undersaturation, whereas DIC is obducted back to the surface in the tropical band (75%) and Southern Ocean (25%). At the global scale, these two large counterbalancing fluxes of DIC [Dissolved Inorganic Carbon] amount to +275.5 PgC y−1 for the supply by obduction and -264.5 PgC y−1 for the removal by subduction [net +11.0 PgC y−1] which is ∼ 3 to 5 times larger than previous estimates.”

Reimer et al., 2013

“The study of air-sea CO2 fluxes (FCO2) in the coastal region is needed to better understand the processes which influence the direction and magnitude of FCO2 and to constrain the global carbon budget. The near-shore region was a weak annual net source of CO2 to the atmosphere (0.043 mol CO2 m-2 y-1); where 91% of the outgassed FCO2 was contributed during the upwelling season.”

Rutherford et al., 2016

“Continental shelves account for a large proportion of global primary production, and potentially a disproportionate fraction of the carbon dioxide (CO2) flux between atmosphere and ocean. The continental shelf pump hypothesis proposes that continental shelves at high latitudes act as net sinks of atmospheric CO2. However, direct measurements on the Scotian Shelf, off eastern Canada, indicate that this shelf region acts as a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere.”

Brown et al., 2015

“Complex oceanic circulation and air–sea interaction make the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETPO) a highly variable source of CO2 to the atmosphere. … Inter-annual variability was observed within the region, with the location of the western extent of the freshpool moving westwards considerably between 2010 and 2014. Previous work within this region suggest that changes in thermocline depth related to ENSO are likely to influence pCO2 within this region. The region is a net contributor to atmospheric CO2, with average sea to air fluxes (over the four years of observations) of 1.6 mmolm−2d−1, with all regions of the ETPO outgassing year-round, except the rainfall diluted Gulf of Panama/Freshpool region.”

Xue et al., 2012

“Air–sea CO2 flux computations indicated that the NYS acted as a net CO2 source with respect to the atmosphere in each season, annually releasing 0.63 ± 0.10 mol C m− 2 to the atmosphere. In combination with the CO2 efflux rate (1.68 ± 0.33 mol C m− 2 yr− 1) reported in the southern Yellow Sea (SYS), we estimate that the entire Yellow Sea, including both the NYS and the SYS, was a net CO2 source at a rate of ~ 1.49 mol C m− 2 yr− 1, annually releasing ~ 6.78 Tg C to the atmosphere (1 Tg = 1012 g).”

Sisma-Ventura et al., 2017

Seasonal pCO2 variability was studied in the Southeast Levantine (SE-Levantine) during 2009–2015 with the aim of quantifying air–sea CO2 fluxes in this ultra-oligotrophic, warm and highly evaporative marginal sea. Mixed layer pCO2 varied significantly between 560 ± 9.0 μatm in August (summer) and 350 ± 8.7 μatm in March (winter). Comparison of pCO2 to Sea Surface Temperature (SST) yielded a strong positive correlation (n = 135, r 2 = 0.94), suggesting that the seasonal variations are the result of a thermodynamic effect on the carbonate system in seawater. Using the coupling between pCO2 and SST, we calculated the mean monthly values and the air-sea fluxes in this region. These calculations indicated that this region is a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere over an annual cycle, with an average flux of 845 ± 270 mmol C m2 y−1 (~0.98 Tg C y−1 ).”

Biswas et al., 2018

“The era of global warming and increased emission of greenhouse gases can be marked by the beginning of the industrial age. It is also true that under several conditions, natural ecosystems can be equally responsible for CO2 emission like any other anthropogenic activities which continuously release heat-trapping gases in the process of development. … East Kolkata Wetland (EKW) is an urban or peri-urban wetland located on the outskirts of the Kolkata City which performs multi-facet activities, carbon sink being one of them. The raw waste from the city is naturally treated in this wetland system, however, the aquaculture ponds situated in these wetlands which make use of this waste water for fishery is rarely studied. The present study aims to see whether the aquaculture ponds of EKW complex are acting as a source or a sink. Airwater carbon dioxide (CO2) flux was estimated for three consecutive seasons in a year and it was found that the system is acting as a CO2 source in all the three seasons.”

Wang et al., 2018

“We conducted a free‐water mass balance‐based study to address the rate of metabolism and net carbon exchange for the tidal wetland and estuarine portion of the coastal ocean and the uncertainties associated with this approach were assessed. We measured open water diurnal O2 and dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) dynamics seasonally in a salt marsh‐estuary in Georgia, U.S.A. with a focus on the marsh‐estuary linkage associated with tidal flooding. We observed that the overall estuarine system was a net source of CO2 to the atmosphere and coastal ocean and a net sink for oceanic and atmospheric O2.”

Li et al., 2018

“Our calculated CO2 areal fluxes were in the upper-level magnitude of published data, demonstrating the importance of mountainous rivers and streams as a global greenhouse gas source, and urgency for more detailed studies on CO2 degassing, to address a global data gap for these environments. …  Rivers have been widely reported to be supersaturated in carbon dioxide (CO2) with respect to the atmosphere, and are a net source of atmospheric CO2 (Butman and Raymond, 2011; Raymond et al., 2013).”

Rosentreter et al., 2018

“Although the overall status of mangroves [creeks] is net autotrophic (Alongi, 2002), mangrove sediments and waters have been shown to be a large source of CO2 to the atmosphere due to large organic matter inputs from diverse sources such as the mangrove biomass itself, other terrestrial detritus, nutrients from land, microphytobenthos, phytoplankton and the exchange of organic matter with the open ocean (Lekphet et al., 2005; Borges et al., 2005; Bouillon and Boschker, 2006; Kristensen et al., 2008). … The vast majority of mangrove CO2 gas exchange studies found surrounding waters were supersaturated in CO2 with respect to the atmosphere, hence, a net source of CO2.”
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86 responses to “Scientists: We Lack A ‘Quantitative, Mechanistic Understanding Of How The Ocean Carbon Sink Works’”

  1. Bitter&twisted

    Yes the “science is settled”.
    97% of scientists agree.

  2. Science is never settled! – Truth is difficult but essential; to find, to understand, to accept

    […] The “We Had No Idea” Terrestrial Carbon Cycle […]

  3. Georg Thomas

    A brilliant synopsis of a very important topic. Thank you, Kenneth Richard, your masterful posts provide a great service to anyone who is not an expert but willing to stay up-to-date with the science and when needed actually probe deeper into the scientific discourse conducted through papers such as these that you give us access to.

  4. Robert Folkerts

    Relating to the concept of co2 increase following temperature rise,
    have you noticed how Elon Musk plans to try to build an atmosphere on Mars?
    By heating the planet to release stored co2!
    Now there’s a novel idea. Perhaps even Seb should tell him he is nuts!

    1. SebastianH

      Since you mentioned me by name, why should I tell him he is nuts?

      1. Robert Folkerts

        Well seb,
        you tend to rubbish claims on this blog that temperature rise on earth precede atmospheric co2 level increase. With the implication increased temperature causes the increase in atmospheric co2.
        So, do you think Musk is anti science? It is an admission atmospheric co2 level increase follows temterature increase, isn’t it? Otherwise why would Musk be discussing it with NASA?
        Kind of the opposite of co2 increase causing temperature to rise!

        1. SebastianH

          1) heating rock/soil will release CO2
          2) CO2 concentration follows temperatures
          3) higher CO2 concentrations (and density for Mars, obviously) would cause an increases Greenhouse effect and warm the planet further

          I have the feeling you don’t understand how the mechanisms work. Do you think climate scientists (or NASA or Musk) have this problem too? 😉

          Maybe you should call them and tell them how increasing temperatures causing increasing CO2 concentration excluded higher temperatures from happening due to increased CO2 concentration. I’m sure they’ll be very interested …

          1. spike55

            ” higher temperatures from happening due to increased CO2 concentration.”

            There is ZERO evidence that is the case, seb

            Feel free to stop making scientifically unsupportable cackling sounds and produce some evidence.

          2. Robert Folkerts

            Seb says
            1) heating rock/soil will release CO2
            2) CO2 concentration follows temperatures
            3) higher CO2 concentrations (and density for Mars, obviously) would cause an increases Greenhouse effect and warm the planet further

            So, one of the main tenets of the AGW meme that co2 drives temperature is not quite as simple now?

            That heating releases co2, and co2 causes heating, which causes the release of more co2, which causes more heating and on and on.

            Best Elon doesn’t get to try his ideas on Mars, all that co2 might make the place uninhabitable, in no time at all!

          3. SebastianH

            So, one of the main tenets of the AGW meme that co2 drives temperature is not quite as simple now?

            It has never been simple.

            That heating releases co2, and co2 causes heating, which causes the release of more co2, which causes more heating and on and on.

            You have no idea how this works. Right or wrong?

          4. spike55

            Seb, you KNOW there is no evidence that CO2 causes any warming, anywhere, anytime.

            You certainly have NO IDEA how it really works,

            and you CERTAINLY cannot produce any evidence about how you were told by the AGW scammers that is IMAGINED to work.

            PRODUCE THE EVIDENCE, seb.

            Answer the questions, seb.

            Q1. In what way has the climate changed in the last 40 years, that can be scientifically attributable to human CO2 ?

            Q2. Do you have ANY EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE at all that humans have changed the global climate in ANYWAY WHATSOEVER?

  5. SebastianH

    The “We Had No Idea” Terrestrial Carbon Cycle

    The thing is – and we had this discussion many times now – that you don’t need to know how big natural carbon sources/sinks are to determine that human emissions are causing the CO2 concentration increase. If you have a wallet which multiple people can access and have “no idea” what they put in or take out, you can still determine that is was you who caused the current amount of money to be $100 higher than last time you looked, because you put more than $100 in without taking anything out.

    Flohn (1982). “Thus in a warm water year, more than one Gt (1015 g) carbon is additionally injected into the atmosphere, in comparison to a cold water year.”

    That seems like a wild statement considering that the oceans are a net sink. In warm years less is absorbed than in cold years. Far from “additional injections”. Maybe the 80s were different for climate science though … who knows.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has nonetheless claimed the oceans are a net carbon sink rather than a net source.

    Because they are. Citing an incorrect paper from 1982 doesn’t “contradict” that fact. A fact that your quoted McKinley et al., 2017 paper also presents well enough for even you to understand.

    Recent research analysis has challenged this conclusion, including several new (2018) published papers. […] Below is a very non-comprehensive compilation of 12 recently-published papers that challenge the IPCC conclusion that the oceans function as a net sink for CO2.

    You got to be kidding … you list papers about specific locations that are sources for CO2 and claim that this would “support the conclusion that critical mysteries remain”. WTH?

    Actual oceanic CO2 source regions
    Astor et al., 2013: Cariaco Basin.
    Ikawa et al., 2013: Bodega Bay
    Reimer et al., 2013: California coastal region
    Rutherford et al., 2016: Scotian Shelf (Canada)
    Brown et al., 2015: eastern tropical Pacific Ocean (ETPO)
    Xue et al., 2012: Yellow Sea
    Sisma-Ventura et al., 2017: Southeast Levantine Sea

    Other source not related to oceans (feel free to correct me, I have taken just a quick look)
    Levy et al., 2013: another “we don’t know the natural CO2 fluxes” paper
    Biswas et al., 2018: East Kolkata Wetland
    Wang et al., 2018: “in a salt marsh‐estuary in Georgia, U.S.A.”
    Li et al., 2018: rivers as a source of CO2
    Rosentreter et al., 2018: mangroves

    Yes, the oceans are both a source and a sink for CO2. It depends on partial pressures and temperature. And yes, life (in the oceans) can also absorb CO2. Nevertheless, the global oceans are a carbon/CO2 sink. As your quoted Kinley paper indicates we don’t seem to know for sure if that sink grows with our emissions. If it does then good for us (and bad for acidification accelerating in this case), if it doesn’t then CO2 concentration increase will accelerate the longer we don’t manage to stabilize and decrease our emissions.

    1. spike55

      “considering that the oceans are a net sink.”

      The ZERO EVIDENCE yapping from seb continues.

      K produces scientific evidence.

      seb replies with EMPTY zero-science rhetoric.

      Be VERY GLAD there has been an increase of atmospheric CO2, it allows the world to be fed.

      And if humans are responsible for even part of that increase, ALL THE BETTER, because the world emissions of CO2 will continue to climb for many decades, thus so will atmospheric CO2.

      This is GREAT NEWS for ALL life on this CARBON BASED planet of ours.

      1. SebastianH

        “considering that the oceans are a net sink.”

        The ZERO EVIDENCE yapping from seb continues.

        K produces scientific evidence.

        You are kidding, right? Kenneth produces a paper that says the oceans are a net sink in this very post. That’s the evidence if you will.

        1. spike55

          But YOU didn’t produce the evidence, did you?

          ONE paper saying a that in some circumstances there is a net sink

          MANY saying not so.

          Evidence free yapping.. your trademark.

          1. Yonason

            Do you think he gets paid by the number of times he posts, or by the word? Whatever it is, he’s not worth it, unless he’s just being paid to annoy, in which case he’s moderately successful. Of course, whoever is paying him should deduct for the amusement value, because some of his posts are positively hilarious. Sadly for him, though, it’s unintentional.

          2. spike55

            I think he just has a very unhealthy pathological NEED to be a mindless anti-science troll.

            Its probably the only thing he considers worthwhile in his life.

            So sad, so PATHETIC…

            So seb

          3. Yonason

            @spike

            If that’s all it is, then what a waste of a life.

            I’d rather he were getting paid for trolling. That way his paymasters would be getting nothing for their trouble, so he’d just be a parasite draining their resources. But doing something like that for free would be such incredible folly that it’s hard to imagine anyone being THAT stupid.

          4. SebastianH

            And that’s the “defense” you guys come up with? “This guy must surely be paid” otherwise “what a waste of a life”.

            Are you guys getting paid or are you coming up with that nonsense all on your own?

          5. tom0mason

            “Kenneth produces a paper that says the oceans are a net sink in this very post.”

            And SebastianH does not counter it. Just blathers on with distraction and nonsense. As usual empty SebastianH.

          6. SebastianH

            And SebastianH does not counter it.

            Why on Earth would I want to counter it?!

            Is this another example of reflexively being against anything your opponent says? Or the intentional dullness you wrote about?

    2. spike55

      “CO2 concentration increase will accelerate”

      This is WONDERFUL NEWS for the planet, seb

      You do know that there is ZERO EVIDENCE that enhanced atmospheric CO2 does ANYTHING apart from enhancing plant life, don’t you ?

      Why do you want to continue to starve the world’s plant life, seb??

      Is it hate, spite or ignorance?

    3. spike55

      More great news from China, seb.

      in Q1, Thermal power increased by 176.9 TWh, wind only 42.6 TWh

      in Q2, Thermal power increased by 78.4 TWh, wind only 22.4 TWh.

      How will it take wind to catch up at that rate.? 😉

    4. tom0mason

      So according to seb
      “Yes, the oceans are both a source and a sink for CO2. It depends on partial pressures and temperature.”

      Now join the dots and realize that the oceans are source and sinks for many atmospheric gases and not just preferentially for CO2, and the atmosphere is not an utterly sable gaseous environment — the atmosphere varies in volume and pressure (and you’ve probably got an unsupported theory for that too).

      So seb, all your blather is just that. The atmosphere and oceans interaction do not conform to a (computer modeled) simple theory, that is why more observation based research is required.

      Back to a Medieval Climate Optimum?

    5. wert

      The thing is – and we had this discussion many times now – that you don’t need to know how big natural carbon sources/sinks are to determine that human emissions are causing the CO2 concentration increase. If you have a wallet which multiple people can access and have “no idea” what they put in or take out, you can still determine that is was you who caused the current amount of money to be $100 higher than last time you looked, because you put more than $100 in without taking anything out.

      It is like putting $100 in the church donation box, and later finding only $50 there, and then claiming those $50 are yours.

      Try again, this was a fallacy. You need a detailed calculation to show what happens. Won’t fly here.

      1. SebastianH

        It is like putting $100 in the church donation box, and later finding only $50 there, and then claiming those $50 are yours.

        Nope, it is not about claiming that the money found is yours.

        Try again, this was a fallacy. You need a detailed calculation to show what happens. Won’t fly here.

        name the fallacy and try again.

        This really boils down to very simple math and you guys try to make it more complicated in an effort to do what exactly? “Prove” that we aren’t responsible for the CO2 concentration increase?

        1. spike55

          yawn..
          ___________________________________________________

          1. Yonason

            Higher CO2 and (allegedly) warmer temperatures are wreaking havoc with food production – IT’S INCREASING!!!!
            https://www.thegwpf.com/benefits-of-global-warming-us-forecasts-record-soyabean-crop/

            OH NOOOO! IT’S MORE THAN A faux-GREENIE CAN BEAR!

            ==========================

            Narrative . . . must . . . go . . . on.
            https://chaamjamal.wordpress.com/2010/05/16/171/

            ==========================

            Meanwhile, in the imaginary land of Oz (Down Under), I hope its Munchkins are slaving and saving for others, because eco-terrorist parasites MUST be appeased.
            https://ipa.org.au/publications-ipa/media-releases/paris-agreement-to-cost-australia-52-billion

            ==========================

            WOULD YOU BELIEVE…

            Record Temperatures!!!!

            ………….almost, but not quite.
            http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/fb-6047751/How-Britains-temperatures-got-75F-47-days-row-prolonged-heatwave.html

            ==========================

            Now, would any “Climate Scientist” or one of their faithful lab assistants care to blow some smoke our way?

          2. Yonason

            Dr Ed shows how wrong SebH’s “analogy” is, in his response to Keith Pickering, here.
            https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/murry-salby-atmospheric-carbon-18-july-2016/

            (I don’t think Kenneth gave that link in his response to SebH. If not, then it’s supplemental material. If so, then sorry for duplication.)

          3. SebastianH

            Yonason, I find it funny that you don’t like Carbonbrief links but have no problem with the kind of links you post. You are on a very one-sided source diet … get out of your bubble and read some real news, not the conspiracy/tabloid kind of news.

            Dr Ed shows how wrong SebH’s “analogy” is, in his response to Keith Pickering, here.

            Your hero Dr. Ed Berry … how can he ever be wrong … *sigh* 😉

          4. spike55

            “how can he ever be wrong “

            When he says something you agree with.. the chances rise to nearly 100% that he will be wrong.

            It is noted you have ZERO science to back up your ranting, yet again EMPTY.

            Poor seb, still sighing like a jilted pre-pubescent teenager, I see,. !!

          5. SebastianH

            Kenneth,

            Says the person who believes that 30,000 species are going extinct every year.


            “We’re in the midst of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction crisis. Harvard biologist E. O. Wilson estimates that 30,000 species per year (or three species per hour) are being driven to extinction. Compare this to the natural background rate of one extinction per million species per year, and you can see why scientists refer to it as a crisis unparalleled in human history.”
            link … E.O. Wilson was a Professor at Harvard. Do you think he is wrong?

            You are welcome to provide a substantive argument that supports your position that Dr. Berry is wrong. We notice that you prefer to use name-calling and semantic marginalizing with the argument from authority instead.

            Kenneth, please go to https://edberry.com/blog/climate-physics/agw-hypothesis/human-co2-not-change-climate/ and read the analogies Ed Berry wrote up at the beginning of his blog article. If you aren’t skeptic enough to see what is wrong with those analogies and what he says that the IPCC is claiming … well, then what is the point in arguing against your hero scientist?

            Or should I reply to anything that you write now with “Says the person who thinks that we are not causing the CO2 increase” because some old guy who is confused about residence time says so? Come on, Ed Berry even references the junk paper Harde (2017) … you know the “Harde to believe” paper 😉

            If you really need more to stop believing “scientists” like this, then why do you call yourself a skeptic? Become skeptic of Ed Berry! I certainly am … the first hint was the usage of your (the pseudoskeptics community) language.

          6. spike55

            Poor seb,

            CANNOT let the reality of actual SOLID DATA impinge on his brain-washing.

            List even 10 of the 30,000 species that went extinct last years, seb

            You have about as much evidence to back up your imaginary number, as you do of atmospheric CO2 causing warming

            https://s19.postimg.cc/yjnvc71b7/evidence.jpg

          7. SebastianH

            Please provide us with the list of the 30,000 species that went extinct in, say, 2015. Do you have that data, or are you relying on modeled “estimates” from 2005 in saying we are “already at or over that [30,000 species per year] rate”?

            Yes, those are estimates. You don’t seem to understand what background extinction rates are since you are comparing it to confirmed extinctions. Hmm … however, you successfully highjacked the thread and changed the topic. Congratulations!

            At what point did you employ skepticism in the catastrophic estimates? Or do you just believe anything you read that supports your beliefs?

            Oh please, that is what you do, Kenneth. Zero skepticism towards whatever supports your beliefs. I actually read a bit more about background extinctions rates and the estimates. The low bound is at just a few thousand species per year going extinct, the upper bound is actually higher than 30000, but I went with what a that Harvard Professor said it would be.

            I wonder why the word of an old man and former Professor doesn’t count in this case, but when it’s an old man repeating the pseudoskeptic talking points, then every word must be the truth 😉

            We’re still waiting for you to provide a detailed and substantive rebuttal to Dr. Berry’s explanation of why the pseudo mass balance argument is not supported by evidence.

            Read those analogies and tell me you agree with what he thinks the IPCC is claiming! Explain why his use of the residence time is a valid one. As for rebuttals, that’s easy. His entire claim is based on the residence time of CO2 being roughly 4 years and unfortunately, that’s not the lifetime (or retention time) of CO2 in the atmosphere. It’s the same mistake as has been made in that Harde 2017 paper you so adamantly defended back then.

            Another mistake seems to be that he doesn’t care what makes up the inflow and outflow of his system and that they influence each other.

            And then … read analogy #1 for reference. He thinks 5% human contribution and 95% natural contribution must mean that at equilibrium you’ll find 5% of the CO2 in the atmosphere came from human emissions and 95% from natural sources and thus our contribution to the current CO2 level can only be 5% (or 18 ppm). Just like with the coffee cup. Understood?

            That assumes the outflow of that coffee cup can adjust to the additional milk (human) input accordingly. But it can’t. So far the outflow increased by only half of the inflow increase. Thus we aren’t in that equilibrium state yet. And so far it doesn’t look like nature is increasing it’s absorption rate faster than our emissions increase. And the math for that is simple enough … nope, we are not responsible for only 5% of the total concentration. Not at all.

            But I’m guessing you a searching/waiting for a “proper” rebuttal with scientific papers and such things, right? Words written by someone you call dishonest surely don’t count and don’t animate you to research if anything Ed Berry writes can be even remotely true. So what’s the point?

            Maybe it helps when you consider that he tried to publish that blog post as a paper in October 2017. In February 2018 he proudly claimed it had survived review this long. In April he closed the comments to that post. In August he wrote another blog post on the topic … I suspect he couldn’t publish his flawed model anywhere. At least I can’t find anything in Google Scholar. Yet he still claims his math wasn’t refuted yet and thus he is right 😉

            I do believe that we contribute to the CO2 increase. I also think that nature’s contribution is significant and likely much larger.

            How? Inflow is nature + human, outflow is nature. Since the inflow is larger than the outflow and that difference is smaller than the human emission part, the math is pretty clear.

            Of course you can imagine that somehow nature increased its absorption (+9.5 GtC) to take care of most of our emissions (10 GtC) and also increased its own rate of emission (+ 4.5 GtC) for the CO2 concentration to increase like we observe (+ ~5 GtC per year). I hope you can see that this is equivalent to nature absorbing about half of the human emissions and all of its own increase. Can you?

          8. spike55

            So, ZERO EVIDENCE to counter Dr Berry, just more mindless conjecture and ranting

            “Right now, nature emits 21 times as much as humans emit and it appears natural emissions are increasing faster than human emissions”

            Its really is all just TOO DIFFICULT for you to grasp, isn’t it seb.

            Stick to you brain-hose beliefs, we wouldn’t wanting you have any further mental breakdown by being forced to accept REALITY… your mind is barely functional as it is.

          9. spike55

            Must say that your comprehension of basic analogies is even worse than your comprehension of science and physics. Just DUMB.

            Its as though you live in a hallucinogenic FANTASY world where everything operates in some warped, twisted anti-reality way, that only your addled mind can imagine.

          10. SebastianH

            So, ZERO EVIDENCE to counter Dr Berry, just more mindless conjecture and ranting

            If you think so it must be true … #facepalm

            “Right now, nature emits 21 times as much as humans emit and it appears natural emissions are increasing faster than human emissions”

            Its really is all just TOO DIFFICULT for you to grasp, isn’t it seb.

            That is not difficult at all, but apparently it’s to difficult to grasp that this doesn’t change anything. Again:

            Suppose we are currently at 1000 units. We have two contributors, A who adds 21 units and B who adds 1 unit to the mix. The level increases by 0.5 units thus the outflow C is equal to A+B – 0.5. Correct?

            It doesn’t matter if you imagine that A increased by (an example) 2 units and C increased by 2.5 units to absorb the 1 unit added by B and 75% of the increased A value. That’s equivalent to absorbing all of A’s increase and only managing to absorb half of B’s increase.

            Got it? Not that difficult.

            I hope I didn’t write that longish reply above in vain and at least somebody understands the problem with the “arguments” of people like Ed Berry and when he claims that his model is correct while it clearly isn’t replicating the real world. But hey, nobody refuted him, so it’s all good … right?

          11. spike55

            Harde 2017 has not been refuted.

            Certainly NOT by any non-evidence you have put up.

            You were totally unable to counter any fact or science he put forward.

            You are totally incapable of countering any facts or science that Dr Berry puts forward.

            Your mindless ranting and juvenile attempts at understand stuff that it way beyond you, would be really quite comical, if they weren’t so pathetic.

          12. spike55

            roflmao.

            You really are struggling with your fantasy analogies, aren’t you seb.

            Everybody understands your trite low-level comprehension of basically everything, that’s what makes your posts so hilariously funny.

            “Right now, nature emits 21 times as much as humans emit and it appears natural emissions are increasing faster than human emissions

            Stop letting your AGW brain-hosing get in the way of basic comprehension and understanding.

          13. SebastianH

            Harde 2017 has not been refuted.

            Of course it has. And it’s so obviously wrong that one has to wonder how this survived review.

            You were totally unable to counter any fact or science he put forward.

            Excuse me? Please refrain from just repeating that phrase ad nauseam without any meaning behind it. If you want to converse like an adult, counter what I wrote.

            natural emissions are increasing faster than human emissions

            Please notice that I took the time to reply to your “quote” without a source to explain you a concept. You clearly don’t understand it, otherwise you wouldn’t have emphasized this part thinking it would change anything.

        2. spike55

          As I’ve said before, I’m really glad you think that humans are causing the highly beneficial atmospheric CO2 enhancement.

          With all the new coal and gas fired power stations being built around the world, global CO2 emissions will continue to increase for the next several decades, at least.

          This is GREAT NEWS, hey seb 🙂

          Plant life will rejoice, and seb will sulk and continue to run around like a headless chook. !

          And guess what, seb..

          .. none of your manic anti-science, anti-life ranting can do one single thing about it. 🙂

          1. SebastianH

            And he tries to troll me again … another last resort / grasping straws action performed so often by AndyG55/spike55 types …

            You imagine you can annoy me with these kinds of replies, aren’t you?

          2. spike55

            Poor seb

            Do you really DENY that CO2 emissions will continue to increase?

            Do you really DENY that there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that you can do about it ! 🙂

            You live in a warped little fantasy world.

            REALITY has always been beyond your understanding.

            Go and sulk elsewhere, headless chook.

      2. Yonason

        If he were one of my acquaintances, I would CONSTANTLY be checking my wallet.

  6. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #325 | Watts Up With That?
  7. Johannes Herbst

    The papers only show, that there are costal regins which emit CO2, and that warmer oceans emit more CO2.

    But we do not know the sum. And the question remains: Where, when not into the ocean, does the additial human emitted go?

    All into the biosphere?

    1. spike55

      “All into the biosphere?”

      A Whole lot of it, for sure. !

      (Includes the ocean biosphere)

      And the biosphere LUVS it. 🙂

      1. Yonason

        Sure, it goes “into the biosphere,” from where it is available to trees, making them grow faster and larger(**),…
        http://www.plantsneedco2.org/default.aspx?MenuItemID=103
        … consequently removing it from the atmosphere by turning it into cellulose.

        (**) – Note that the growth rings of trees that have grown faster as the result of elevated atmospheric CO2 will be indistinguishable from growth rings of trees allegedly grown in higher temperatures, but lower CO2. In fact, from the visual in the link I posted above, I wouldn’t be surprised if elevated CO2 was far more responsible than a few tenths of a degree rise in the local temperature anomaly.

        1. spike55

          There has been some solar forced warming, ocean distributed.

          But consider the effects of decay of all that bio-matter that could not decay through the LIA. The amount of CO2 released must be HUMUNGOUS.

          Then, termites, one of the world’s top CO2 producers, will have moved into whole new areas, maybe even doubling their CO2 output.

          Many other sources of CO2 on a naturally warming planet..

          And THANK GOODNESS, too.

          These together would absolutely dwarf any human CO2.

          Harde’s 15% human contribution to the increase is almost certainly too high.

          The world should be VERY GRATEFUL for both the slight warming, and the rise in atmospheric CO2, it has made the planet more liveable for a large percentage of the world’s bio-sphere.

  8. Yonason

    @Kenneth Richard 16. August 2018 at 2:32 AM

    Thread too long to scroll up and down, so here’s some aside info on gravitation that you may already know, but others may not. This is only meant for fun, since it isn’t rigorously technical, but it does tell us how long we’ve had direct empirical evidence of how Gravitation works locally. (There’s a longish intro, which is,IMO, at least as interesting as the part about gravity.)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PdiUoKa9Nw

    Enjoy.

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