New Paper: Temperature Increase From Doubling CO2 Is ‘Insignificant Compared to Natural Variability’

Engineering Prof. Questions Temperature

Record, Models, CO2 Climate Sensitivity 

Photo California Baptist University

 Pontius, 2017  

Sustainable Infrastructure:

Climate Changes and Carbon Dioxide

Temperatures Record ‘Unreliable’, ‘Arbitrarily Adjusted’, And Of ‘Poor Data Quality’

Temperature measurement stations have been installed at various locations across the globe. The number of temperature monitoring stations is decreasing and many areas across the globe do not have any temperature monitoring stations. Consequently, average surface temperature is an unreliable metric for assessing global temperature trends.

Computer models are used to analyze data sets. In science and engineering (and this paper) the term “data” refers to actual physical measurement at a point in time and space. In some temperature data sets, however, computer simulated values have been added in or data may have been arbitrarily adjusted long after the physical measurement was taken. Such practices undermine the credibility of the data set.   Computer generated values are estimates, projections, or simulations and are of a different quality than physical measurements. Physical measurements represent a physical quantity whereas computer simulations represent numerical calculation.

The HADCRU, GISTEMP, and NOAA surface temperature archives rely on the same underlying input data and therefore are not independent data sets. Limitations of the GHCN affect all data sets. Sampling discontinuities, urbanization and land use changes have decreased the quality of GHCN data over time. Differences in data processing methods between research teams do not compensate for poor underlying data quality inherent in the GHCN data. A similar situation exists with historical Sea Surface Temperature (SST) data sets which are derived primarily from the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICODADS).

Climate Models ‘Unreliable For Long-Term Climate Prediction’

Computer simulations involve mathematical models implemented on a computer imitating one or more natural processes. Models are based on general theories and fundamental principles, idealizations, approximations, mathematical concepts, metaphors, analogies, facts, and empirical data (Peterson, 2006, Meehl et al., 2012). Judgments and arbitrary choices must be made in model construction to apply fundamental laws to describe turbulent fluid flow. The large size and complexity of the atmosphere prohibit the direct application of general theory.

In general, ensemble model forecasts have been found unreliable for long-term climate prediction (Green and Armstrong, 2007Mihailović et al., 2014).

The forecasts in the [IPCC] Report were not the outcome of scientific procedures. In effect, they were the opinions of scientists transformed by mathematics and obscured by complex writing. Research on forecasting has shown that experts’ predictions are not useful in situations involving uncertainly and complexity. We have been unable to identify any scientific forecasts of global warming. Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.”  –  Green and Armstrong, 2007.
“This analysis, set into context of the climate modeling, points out the fact that there exists set of domains where the environmental interface temperature cannot be calculated by the physics of currently designed climate models.” – Mihailović et al., 2014

Climate Sensitivity To Changing CO2 Concentrations


The global atmospheric system is dynamic and is constantly in a state of change and adjustment. The sun is the primary climate change driving force.  

Using a Climate Sensitivity best estimate of 2°C, the increase in [global] temperature resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 is estimated at approximately 0.009°C/yr which is insignificant compared to natural variability.

CO2 is a non-toxic trace gas constituting approximately 0.04% of the earth’s atmosphere. The global atmospheric concentration of CO2 increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppmv to 379 ppmv in 2005 . The average CO2 concentration at the monitoring station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii for May 2017 is 409.65 ppmv.  A rising concentration of atmospheric CO2 will contribute to warming of the Earth’s atmosphere. The physics of CO2 in the atmosphere is very different than the physics of the heating effect occurring in a physical “greenhouse” for growing plants. The term “greenhouse effect” is commonly used to refer to the warming of the earth from “greenhouse” gases such as CO2 in the atmosphere. The term “greenhouse” is not used here to refer to the Earth’s warming to avoid equivocation.

Estimates of climate sensitivity differ widely suggesting that this characteristic of the climate system is not well-understood (Schwartz et al., 2014).

A simple model predicts that a doubling of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would result in a small increase of the Earth’s surface temperature, from approximately 0.[5] to < 0.7°C  (Kissin, 2015).

“[A] doubling the CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere would lead to an increase of the surface temperature by about +0.5 to 0.7 °C, hardly an effect calling for immediate drastic changes in the planet’s energy policies.” – Kissin, 2015

A best estimate of 2.0°C (Otto et al., 2013) is assumed here. If CO2 increases at the current rate of approximately 2 ppmv per year, a temperature increase of approximately 0.009°C/yr could be expected.

To date the impact of CO2 is assessed universally within a global reference frame. Although atmospheric CO2 has steadily increased the average satellite global temperatures have flattened since approximately 1995.

 From such trends, it must be inferred that changes in global lower troposphere average temperature correspond to fundamental changes in the climate system beyond internal variability.

Riverside, California

The impact of future atmospheric CO2 warming on the Riverside locational reference frame must be estimated.  GCMs [climate models] could be applied to project future global temperatures and those projections could be downscaled to the Riverside area. However, such efforts would be potentially misleading because of the limitations of GCMs discussed previously.  Detailed assessments of the CO2 effect have been performed analyzing the Earth’s energy balance in the total atmosphere column and the reduction of the upward infrared radiation emission at the tropopause. The impact of CO2 on warming of the Earth is expressed in terms of “climate sensitivity,” which is the amount of warming that could be  expected as a result of doubling of the CO2 concentration.

Available temperature data from both the Riverside Fire Station No. 3 and the Riverside Municipal Airport demonstrate horizontal trends within a wide band of  variability. Historical evidence of a significant increase in surface temperatures due to increases in atmospheric CO2 is absent from these data.   [C]limate models are useful but limited in their representation of underlying physical processes.  Uncertainties and other limitations discussed previously render such models unreliable for long-term global temperatures or local climate change prediction.

Climate sensitivity may be applied to estimate the warming effect of CO2 on the locational reference frame.  Factors affecting Climate Sensitivity are not well-understood and estimates differ among researchers. Alternatively, a site-specific model could be developed to estimate the future impact of CO2 warming on a particular location. If atmospheric CO2 continues to increase at its current rate the small annual temperature increase expected at Riverside will likely be insignificant (e.g. < 0.01°C/yr) compared to natural temperature variability.

A slight increase in minimum daily temperature is noticeable at Riverside Fire Station No. 3 after 1998 (Figure 8, lower) with a corresponding slight decrease in the daily temperature range (Figure 9). This trend is most likely due to the urban heat island effect (Tam et al., 2015) resulting from increased development within and around downtown Riverside over this extended period.

75 responses to “New Paper: Temperature Increase From Doubling CO2 Is ‘Insignificant Compared to Natural Variability’”

  1. Robert Folkerts

    A little off topic,

    I was just reading, on Zero hedge, about Elon Musk’s plan to colonize Mars.
    Apparently it will require significant changes to be made to the Martian atmosphere to try to make it habitable. (Obviously)
    Seems somewhat ironic that anthropogenic influence on earth is deemed devastating, but on Mars it will be deemed necessary, and a good thing.
    Not to mention, everything needed to sustain life on Mars would have to come from Earth.

  2. Nigel S

    Civil engineers have to deal with the world as it is and design for the worst plausible loads on the structures they build. This, like hanging, concentrates the mind. Some jurisdictions put you in jail if your creation fails and then start investigating the reasons and your guilt or otherwise. This generally has good effects on the honesty and reliability of civil engineers although not all (Yeltsin, Arafat). It might help if a similar system applied to climate modellers.

  3. Richard111

    Still no explanation of how CO2 gas molecules in the atmosphere warm anything. It is quite clear CO2 molecules can radiate through the 13 to 17 micron bands. Problem is slightly less than half that radiation reaches the surface. Next problem is slightly more than 70% of the earth’s surface is water!!! That radiation, long wave IR, does not penetrate water by more than a millimetre or so. The surface water molecules do become excited and tend to break away, the departing water molecule takes energy away from the water surface. A bit like sweating. A cooling effect.
    As for radiation from CO2 molecules in the atmosphere warming the land is simply impossible. Radiation over the 13 to 17 micron bands will only warm up material colder than -30C. Do look up the science. It is all there.

    1. ScottM

      Richard111, he’s not trying to explain the observed temperature increase due to CO2 (the explanation is well known anyway), he’s trying to deny it. If you are looking for an explanation in a blog post on “No Tricks Zone”, you are looking in the wrong place.

      Incidentally, the low transmittivity of water to infrared is due to high absorption, which means the IR radiation warms the surface of the water. A joule is a joule, so that absorbed energy will partially spread through the water via conduction, and partially return to the atmosphere. Of the part returned to the atmosphere, not enough returns to space, and the water warms until the atmospheric effect is overcome and a new equilibrium is reached in which a sufficient amount does reach space.

      “Radiation over the 13 to 17 micron bands will only warm up material colder than -30C” — is simply false. Any radiation striking a material is reflected, absorbed, and/or transmitted in various proportions. Any absorbed portion warms the material, regardless of the material’s original temperature. This follows from the First Law of Thermodynamics (do look it up). Land doesn’t transmit LWIR and is a poor reflector in that spectral range. So guess what? It’s almost all absorbed.

  4. Consensus Science

    co2 doesn’t warm. It delays cooling, which leads to higher temperature. co2 can also make the ocean emit more water vapor. It’s just simple co2 physics. Did you not pay attention in class?

    1. tom0mason

      @Consensus Science,

      Can your “just simple co2 physics” quantify that delay? (Days, hours, minutes, millionth of a second?)
      And is there any example where the observed difference shows effects ((of this CO2 delay) in the convection dominated atmosphere?(As CO2’has risen from being an extremely, very rare gas, to an extremely rare gas in the atmosphere).

      As you say it’s ‘just simple co2 physics’.
      I don’t really want more hypothesis or surmises. Just a few observational records that show 100% any atmospheric warming happening because of CO2. Observations of atmospheric CO2 actually CAUSING something (real good honest science).

      1. John

        “(As CO2’has risen from being an extremely, very rare gas, to an extremely rare gas in the atmosphere).”

        And still 400 ppm or 0,04% does not make any difference at all.
        Only nature benefits from that as it recycles co2 to o2, oxygen!

      2. Consensus Science

        Observations? we got 1.2 degrees warmer since 1880. Only co2 explains this. There’s a video on youtube of a 9 year old kid doing an experiment with air vs. co2 trapped in a bottle. The co2 got hotter. A 9yo can figure it out! Why can’t you?

        1. tom0mason

          Observations? we got 1.2 degrees warmer since 1880.

          Good now PROVE that is not a natural event of coming out of the LIA.

          Because that is ALL that happened, a NATURAL result of leaving the LIA.
          NOTHING to do with human’s and their very feeble industrialization.
          Industrialization that hardly leaves a mark on nature but which profoundly help humans.

          1. Consensus Science

            Sure tom, keep convincing yourself that it’s because of coming out of little ice age. Pure speculation. The coming out would have reverted back to coldness, if not for the co2 emissions. You just assumed what you wished. Where is your evidence that the coming out was DESTINED to continue anyway? You have none.

          2. Consensus Science

            Absolute rubbish!


            No solar trend in 260 years!

            Who do you think you’re fooling with your fake data?

          3. Consensus Science

            My data comes from observations. Yours comes from fantasy land. One of the charts shows carbon-14, but labels it “solar activity”. Unbelievable! Your psyentists are just making up solar data to fit their agenda. I’ll stick with the validated sunspot data, and avoid the competion of made-up paleo solar TSI.

          4. Consensus Science

            Sure Ken, the sun manufactures carbon-14. Or maybe carbon-14 drives the sun. LOL. This is bunk

            You haven’t debunked my chart, because you know yours are fake “reconstructions”.

      3. yonason (from my cell phone)


        If I may paraphrase what Scienceless Consensus is asking – “Why aren’t you drinking the Kool-Ade?”

        1. tom0mason

          And my answer to him was he does not understand CO2 or our planet’s atmosphere. He can not fathom how fast the absorption/re-radiation of IR radiation is. It ensures that on the stunningly rare occasion it happens it is so just so fast.

          And that a fine renaming ‘Scienceless Consensus’.

        2. Consensus Science

          Kool Ade doesn’t exist. Spelling is so hard for deniers.
          Tom doesn’t understand that there’s more than one co2 molecule and that they all absorb/re-emit multiple times over. He needs to read a real scientific source like American Chemical Society. They explain how co2 traps heat – a concept that’s been around for 160 years, but deniers deny.

          1. Pethefin

            Please stop feeding this troll who is the weakest I have ever seen. Heck, this troll does not even understand that “consensus science” is anti-scientific political contradiction in terms.

          2. Consensus Science

            Eaeth goes around the sun. Consensus Science. According to trolls, this is a political statement! What rubbish.

    2. ScottM

      I said “temperature increase due to CO2”. You said “leads to higher temperature”. Tomato, tomato?

      Maybe *you* weren’t paying attention.

      1. ScottM

        Oh, my bad,you were replying to Richard111.

  5. ScottM

    The actual rate of increase is about 2.3 (not 2) ppmv/year, which represents about 0.57% per year. According to the rule of 72, it will therefore take 126 years for CO2 to double. 2 degrees C in 126 years is 0.01585 deg C per year or 0.1585 deg C per decade. This matches the observed rate of warming very well.

    There seems to be an erroneous assumption in the article that an increase of 2 ppmv/year means atmospheric CO2 will double in 200 years, and that this doubling time is therefore valid for purposes of the calculation. While we don’t know whether the rate of increase will stay the same, increase, or decrease, the fact that we are dealing with a logarithmic response (constant increase in response to each doubling) means that any calculation to find the current instantaneous rate of temperature increase must be made on the assumption of a time-exponential stimulus. Why? If y = k log x, then dy/dt = (k/x) *(dx/dt) (by the chain rule), and with that equation, constant dy/dt results if x is an exponential function of t. If x = me^(nt), then dx/dt = mne^(nt) = nx, and dy/dt = kn (constant).

    1. ScottM

      And suppose the 2.3 ppmv/year did stay constant for 200 years. Or rather, 174 years (400/2.3). Then we’d get 2 degrees increase after 174 years. However, the rate of increase would start off at 0.57% per year, yielding the 0.1585 C/decade that I calculated above. But in year 174, the rate of increase is 0.28% per year, giving a warming rate of around 0.079 C/decade. The average rate over that period of time will be 0.115 C/decade, but with linear CO2 increase, the temperature increase, while taking longer than the exponential case, is obviously front-loaded. If we assumed 0.115 C/decade for the current rate, using the author’s method, then the decline in the warming trend over time means we would fall short of the initial assumption. Thus, the failure of the author’s method is demonstrated.

  6. Ed Caryl

    Seb doesn’t “know” anything. He “believes”. That’s why he has no numbers for anything. Showing him numbers just bounces off his belief system. It’s like showing miracle statistics to a Catholic.

    1. SebastianH

      Another one who believes the gospel of Kenneth’s misleading quotes … (yeah, delete that comment too)

      1. John Brown

        SebH must be reputed professor of a well known university.

        He might want to show his credentials before someone finds out.

        SebH has studied sciences, has he?

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