To The Daily Sun,
This is Part 1 of my rebuttal of Don Ewing's recent Climate Change Denial from the Groupthink Clique of Climastrology.
Anthropogenic CO2 emissions began to dramatically rise in 1950, as did the airborne fraction of CO2 that remained after carbon sinks absorbed about 55 percent. Since 1959 we have been able to directly measure atmospheric CO2 while we used ice cores to determine atmospheric CO2 in the past. Humanity's industrial emissions can be estimated from international energy statistics going back to 1850.
All the data points to a monumental jump in both CO2 emissions and airborne CO2 since 1950. There was only a minor rise in CO2 from 1850 to 1950 and then it jumped at a steep angle at the same time industry emissions into the atmosphere exponentially increased. The chart from Petrolog's annual emissions of carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels and production of cement, 1850-2006 is an even more compelling rebuke of Don's claim.
The real explosion of fossil fuel emissions began after World War II with the economy of the 1950s as you can see by both charts referenced.
For a sobering look at just how unprecedented a jump in atmospheric CO2 we see, see this chart of atmospheric CO2 as measured by the ice cores at Mauna Loa, Taylor Dome and Law Dome over the last 10,000 years. Mr. Ewing mentions that atmospheric carbon was at 275 ppm around 250 years ago, but did he also mention that it was at 265 ppm 10,000 years ago or 280 ppm in 900CE? Or 275 in 1500CE?
So with natural fluctuations, atmospheric CO2 remained steady for the last 10,000 years until 1950 when humans began to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, raising a 9,550-year-long 275 ppm average high to 400 ppm in just 50 years.
The other main contribution to atmospheric CO2 is deforestation when plants die. We did that, too. And it gets worse for Mr Ewing's 250 year attempt to distract us from the big picture. The Vostok ice cores measure back 420,000 years.
The atmospheric CO2 in the last 400,000 years hit high points at 400,000 ya (years ago) at 285 ppm, 330,000 ya at 300 ppm, 240,000 ya at 280 ppm, and 125,000 ya at 290 ppm. After the usual dip to around 200 ppm mid-cycle, it took between 25,000 and 75,000 years to peak again. Slowly, so species were able to adapt. But something different his happening this time. There was a sudden and unprecedented spike after reaching the 400,000 year average high that can best be explained by fossil fuel emissions and deforestation.
In the 120 years of 1830 to 1950, CO2 increased by a total of 30 ppm, a paltry rate of 0.25 ppm/yr. In the 50 years of 1950 to 2000 it increased a total of 55 ppm, a rate of 1.1 ppm/yr. In the decade of 2000 to 2010 CO2 increased 25 ppm, a rate of 2.5 ppm/yr, which is 10 times the 1830-1850 rate. Fossil fuel use rose 41 percent between 1990 and 2008 and 29 percent from 2000-2008.
Another Greenhouse gas is in play, too. Vostok ice cores show that methane, a far more powerful greenhouse gas averaged between 400 ppb and 750 ppb for 400,000 years. We are now at 1,750 ppb. . We did that. After 400,000 years of fluctuations of 350 ppb we added a 1,000 ppb in 200 years. Nitrous oxide has almost doubled, too. Bravo.
Don repeats that most of the warming occurred before 1940. Wrong. Globally, of the 14 warmest years on recorded, 13 of them were in the 21st century. In fact, the average global temperatures of 2013 were about 0.9 degrees F above the 1961-1990 average. The 1930s were hot in the USA but its hottest year, 1934, still only placed 52nd in global records. Don says the Earth has warmed 1 degree F from 1850 to 2000. That is misleading because from 1979 to 2009, the Earth warmed a little over 0.9 degree F. This graph shows the temperature record between 1850 and 2005. It warmed 0.3 degree C between 1850 and 1940, mostly between 1910 and 1940 while it warmed 0.85C between 1940 and 2005, mostly between 1980 and 2005. All while the sun was cooling. And that graph doesn't even include the years 2006-2014 which contain the hottest years ever recorded.
Mr. Ewing also claims that the CO2 we breathe is "1/8th of the level at the times of our primate ancestors (about 3,000 ppm)". Which Primate ancestors? Homo Habilis? Homo Erectus? Australopithecus Afarensis (Lucy)? Lucy lived 3.2 million years ago, during the Pleocene and the CO2 was 400 ppm which is also our current CO2 content. Now if Don is speaking of the very first primate ancestor he may be talking about the The Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM) 55 million years ago which is considered an extinction event. A recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences paper stated, "Following a doubling in carbon dioxide levels, the surface of the ocean turned acidic over a period of weeks or months and global temperatures rose by 5 degrees centigrade – all in the space of about 13 years. If our Palaeocene estimates are correct, tropical temperatures at the slightly younger PETM could have reached 38-40 degree C, resulting in widespread equatorial heat-death as recent models and other proxy data have predicted."
Sources disagree on the CO2 ppm 55Myo but the consensus is that this climate would be quite inhospitable to human civilization and is seen as a model of what could happen to us if we continue to heat the place up. I found no scientific source that claimed 3,000 ppm but this article by an actual climatologist is quite interesting about the PETM event . Stay tuned for Part 2 where I will expose the phony right-wing engineered climate gate hoax for starters.