The Carbon Cycle, Nature or Nurture – Part 2
By Ed Caryl
In the last post, The Carbon Cycle, Nature or Nurture, sea surface temperatures were shown to have a large influence on CO2 rise in the atmosphere. This influence is so large, that changes in fossil fuel burning cannot be seen. In this article, the sea surface temperature influence will be subtracted to examine what remains in a continued search for man’s impact.
To begin that search, the first step is to annualize the sea surface temperature and the change in CO2. This results in Figure 1.
Figure 1 shows the annualized data for sea surface temperature and CO2 change.
Figure 2 is a scatter diagram of annualized SST anomaly versus CO2 change. Note the R2 value near 0.69.
1960 is near the beginning of the modern rise in CO2 that concerns everyone. It is assumed for this exercise that the sea surface temperature before the CO2 rise began was 0.1°C below the temperature anomaly baseline, and that the SST trend of 0.0105°C equals the CO2 trend of 0.0542 Gigatons per year. With those values assumed, the SST influence can be subtracted, resulting in Figure 3.
Figure 3 is the change in CO2 with SST influence subtracted.
The features on the blue trace are dominated by volcanic activity. From left to right, the negative, cooling peaks are due to Mt. Agung in 1962 to 1964, Fuego in 1971 and 1975, Mt. St. Helens in 1980, El Chichon in 1982 to 1984, Mt Pinatubo in 1991 to 1993, and a cluster of volcanoes in 2000 to 2002, dominated by Soufriere Hills and Nyamiragira. All these were large stratospheric sulphur dioxide sources. Mt Pinatubo was the largest, injecting 20 Megatons of SO2 into the atmosphere.
Oh yes, I nearly forgot. What about man’s influence?
Figure 4: Man’s influence on CO2 in the atmosphere after subtracting SST. R2 = 0.019.
That near zero R2 illustrates that man’s changing carbon emissions do not appear in the overall CO2 data, especially after removing SST influence. Man’s contribution is totally absorbed in the biosphere in real-time. There is no anthropogenic signature. Any carbon emission change is invisible in SST driven change and the continuous noise provided by volcanoes. There is no persistence, no CO2 lifetime beyond the present year. Man does not add to the load. All the “green” efforts are silly, misguided, but hideously expensive exercises in futility. Nature is producing all the CO2, and when the sun stops driving sea surface temperatures, CO2 will fall again.
“The true beauty of nature is her amplitude; she exists neither for nor because of us, and possesses a staying power that all our nuclear arsenals cannot threaten (much as we can easily destroy our puny selves).”
Stephen Jay Gould, in Bully for Brontosaurus (1991), Prologue