EPA Climate Change Indicators: Evidence of Warming All Around Us

I left the following comment at  http://throughagreenlens.com/2010/04/28/epa-climate-change-indicators-evidence-of-warming-all-around-us/

Hope I get an answer


Does the EPA know that excellent direct measurement of atmospheric CO2 concentrations exists since 1812?

What the EPA is basing their conclusions are graphs published by IPCC and others which use proxies previously before about 1957. Proxies are measurement deducted from ice cores, tree rings etc which naturally are subject to a wide margin of error.

Here is the graph typically used by the IPCC of atmospheric CO2 using proxies til 1957 http://www.whrc.org/resources/online_publications/warming_earth/images/Fig2-CO2-Temp.gif “Global Temperature & CO2 Concentration Since 1880. Data from NOAA’s National Climate Data Center (NCDC) & Oak Ridge National Laboratory.” (Note the use of ice core proxy until 1957)

Here are the direct measurements of atmospheric CO2 taken since 1812. http://rogerfromnewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/co2-1812-2004-chemical.jpg

Notice a few minor differences?

Here is a summary of the paper explaining the direct measurements. http://rogerfromnewzealand.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/180_years_accurate_co2_chemical_methods1.pdf

Question: If these data has been available all along, and there can be no doubt that the accuracy has to be infinitely superior to that of proxies, why are they not used by the IPCC  AND the EPA?

Cheers Roger


PS This comment and reply will also be posted on http://www.globalwarmingsupporter.wordpress.com

David R. says:

April 30, 2010 at 1:22 pm

The question assumes that the accuracy of measurements prior to 1957 is, in fact, “infinitely superior” to that of the ice core samples. It could be argued that measurements made when our understanding of climate systems was less complete have a wide margin of error themselves.

RealClimate lists some problems with the early CO2 readings, specifically Ernst-Georg Beck’s paper. Other comments from experts can be seen here.

If you want to prove that CO2 is not causing the current warming, you would have to either show that the ice core readings are wrong (and thus human emissions are not affecting the overall concentration) or that another factor is causing warming. In the second case, you would have to explain why an increase in warming-inducing gases does not produce warming.


David R,

Sorry about the time since you answered my comment. I seem to have missed it somehow.
I know Beck’s work is criticised, but i still maintain that it is better than ice-core data.

All data has its problems, including ice core data.

I spent sometime searching for any publishing of the calculated error or uncertainty of the ice core records especially with respect to CO2 (such as are published for the direct measurement in Beck’s papers).

I found no such figure, if you come across such figures in a proper research paper, please let me know.

The refusal/neglect to publish any study of the uncertainty of this data is deeply suspicious in itself. I personally think that this is incredibly unscientific and misleading. I can only include that there are absolutely no callibration studies carried out on ice core data which is used by the IPCC and THEREFORE THE ACCURACY IS COMPLETELY UNKNOWN.
Ice-cores suffer from several problems. The major one is the chronological problem. It is difficult to calculate which years the trapped gases refer to.

This above serious enough in itself but CO2 in ice core samples, especially being a water soluble gas , suffers from diffusion and can be dispersed an unknown distance through verticle layers etc. And worst of all the ice-cores are subject to contamination from the very drilling, transport and storing process. See Steig 2008 https://globalwarmingsupporter.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/ice-cores-co2-diffusion.pdf

I am aware of only one other study of these problems which is quite old, but no doubt relevant for even today.

Oescheger, Stauffer, Neftel, Schwander and Zymbrunn


On page 3. and others the author discusses how the released data were selected from the scatter of data provided by the ice cores. Note the scatter is as much as 170ppmv but the policy is to use the minimum values, and near the conclusion, the given reason for this policy is that it gave the BEST FIT FOR THE CURRENT KNOWN DATA.

This means that he could have just as easily taken Beck’s data  as the base value and it appears then that he would have been very close to duplicating Beck’s results.
There appears to be no attempt at a regression or even a use of the mean values.

This does not of course prove that Beck’s data is correct but it does not disprove it either. However in the mind of a reasonable person, it must blow a large hole in the credibility of ice records.

If you read my blog http://www.rogerfromnewzealand.wordpress.com you will see that the planet has been warmer than at present, a number of times IN RECORDED HISTORY.  This obviously from natural cycles of which not much is known, but as anthropogenic CO2 was at that time negligible, and total CO2 appears to be lower than the present, one can rule out the greenhouse gas effect. The most likely theory is the Maunder studies which advocate that sun spot activity varies the radiation from the sun in a cyclic fashion.

You last assertion that I should prove “why an increase in warming-inducing gases does not produce warming”.
I’m afraid the CO2 in the atmosphere at about 380 ppmv, which is .038% of the atmosphere, is only an unproven theory in itself. Actually the facts in my blog disprove that theory.

So thanks for your answer. It is generally an intelligent line of questioning.



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