back to article CO2 warms Earth FASTER than previously thought

The time lag between increased quantities of CO2 reaching or leaving the atmosphere and global temperature change may be far shorter than previously thought, according to a new paper, Tightened constraints on the time-lag between Antarctic temperature and CO2 during the last deglaciation published this week by Climate of the …

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  1. Mme.Mynkoff

    Relax...

    It's only a computer model.

    And the sound of drunken Aussies plugging their dying Global Warming meme again.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Relax...

      The first of what I expect to be many one-sided posts has already arrived.

      There will be those who say there is nothing to worry about (see comment above), and there will be those who say things are going horribly wrong (see comments below - soon). Neither group really knows the truth because more research is still needed.

      What we have here is a study which looked at cores from multiple locations in a way that hasn't been done before, and in doing so it brings us a bit closer to knowing the truth: this study should therefore be welcomed by all.

      1. Tom 13

        Re: Relax...

        The 3 core thingy is more illusionist distraction. The heart of the research is still the computer model they feel is more accurate than those previously used.

    2. The BigYin

      Re: Relax...

      The first post? Flippin' hell.

      I'm an AGW agnostic. I'm not sure if the science is right or not. I'm not sure if things will be as bad as they say. But neither am I an expert on stats, climate, ecology, computer modelling or any number of other related disciplines.

      What is the risk of being wrong? What is the risk of doing what is suggested?

      1) We are, as a species, dead. The environment is so loopy that we can't grow enough food and die off. On the scale of "Bad things" that's up around eleventy-billion. It's really is not good.

      Or

      2) We develop new technologies, better integrate public transport, create new jobs (lose others jobs), pollute less, live with natural rhythms more, stop exploiting people in the third world, reduce our dependency on energy imports, have cleaner water, less particulates in the air and thus less lung issues...the list goes on. Yes there will be problems and yes it might not be necessary. But in the great scheme of things - it's no big.

      I put it to you - outcome 2) on it's own is a "Good Thing"(tm) regardless of AGW or not. So why are people so deathly afraid of option 2)? You don't have to go and live in a hut or anything. A bit of insulation, recycling, water-butt and other simple measures are a start. It's really not that hard.

      You wouldn't shit where you sleep, yet that is exactly what we are doing on a global scale; and that simply cannot be sustained.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Re: Relax...@ Big Yin

        1) We are, as a species, dead. The environment is so loopy that we can't grow enough food and die off. On the scale of "Bad things" that's up around eleventy-billion. It's really is not good.

        Oh really? How exactly? Or are you making a wild overstatement? If only 10% of the worlds population lives near enough to sea level to be killed by a 10 METER rise (disclaimer wikipedia) then the other 90% are all right. Lets be pessimistic and suggest extreme weather pattersn and their impacts will kill another 40%.

        Will it be a global disaster - on the individual level absolutely - will it be the end of our species - NO!

        You do realise the the human race has be brought to the brink faster before than any climate change can possibly act - and survived - See black death, flu pandemics etc. Yet Im willing to be we are spending a fraction of the money on pandemic research that we are spending on climate change and its various costs.

        Lets just keep some perspective eh?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Relax...@ Big Yin

          @Gordon 10 - Something like 90% of the world's population lives near the coast, look at major world cities, they're pretty much all costal.

          1. a cynic writes...

            Re: Relax...@ Big Yin

            Fortunately living near the coast and living less than 10m above sea level are not synonymous.

            Have a look at http://flood.firetree.net/ where you could dial in sea level rise and see the effect. I was slightly stunned to realise even a 13m rise would leave my village untouched given that between us and the sea is just a couple of miles of reclaimed salt marsh.

            1. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

              Re: Relax...@ Big Yin

              Sure, no worries, my building is less than 50m from the waterfront, at the bottom of a steep slope... apparently a 13m rise would leave it dry. I think the low resolution of their data might lead to misleading results.

              Anyway, on the 23rd floor, I'll be way above it.

              (note to self:

              1. Check foundation resistance to erosion

              2. Check slope landslip risk

              3. Buy a dinghy )

        2. jdv

          Re: Relax...@ Big Yin

          Oh. Well, that's all right, then.

      2. Mme.Mynkoff

        Re: Relax...

        BigYin: "I'm an AGW agnostic"

        But as the rest of your comment makes clear, you think humans are evil and we mess up the one thing that matters, Mother Nature. This worries you more than infant mortality rates or poverty - things that make human life crappy.

        BigYin: "live with natural rhythms more"

        Mate: I've got some crystals to sell you.

        1. The BigYin

          Re: Relax...

          But as the rest of your comment makes clear, you think humans are evil

          And lo! A straw man did descend from upon high and claimed himself lord! The good people, knowing his form, did set fire to him and burned his fallacy unto the ground.

          we mess up the one thing that matters, Mother Nature

          Well now, y'see that's where I'm a bit of an agnostic on the whole thing. Is it AGW? Or is it just GW? Are we making it worse? Or better? Will it be as dreadful as for told, or just a bit uncomfortable? Either way, I'm happier to take steps that might just keep things in a zone that suits us best. Oh whoops - does that make me evil?

          This worries you more than infant mortality rates or poverty - things that make human life crappy.

          But behold! Upon seeing the ashes of the straw man on the ground; the great beast False Dichotomy did raise his head and roar! Only for the good people the rip out the beast's tongue and stab it to death.

          You know what could cause a massive rise in infant mortality? Crop failure. Drought. Guess what AGW is being fingered for...oh my yes; that and more.

          And by "[living] with natural rhythms more" I meant more eating locally (i.e. seasonally), wasting less, and generally reducing our footprint from all that (plus a bit more).

          I put it to you that struggle of resources will cause more infant mortality and increase poverty more than trying to solve the potential problem. Why are you so afraid of option 2)? Is it because you would have sacrifice? Not some nameless poor bastard in Botswana? Is it because you (and if you are posting here, you are probably one of the richest people on the planet, with one the highest standards of living and life expectancy; i.e. you are a Westerner or in the developed East) might have to pay a teensy-weensy, ickle-wickle little more for that cafa-mocha-latte?

          But it's me who some kind of human-hater simply because I don't want to shit where I sleep and mess up my only home.

  2. haloburn
    FAIL

    High resolution

    "Utilising a recently developed proxy for regional Antarctic temperature, derived

    10 from five near-coastal ice cores, and two ice core CO2 records"

    What was the selection process seems like a small sample set.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: High resolution

      You must realise that in climate science you always select the data sets that give the desired results and abandon all others.

    2. rh587 Silver badge

      Re: High resolution

      Have you any idea how much time and expense goes into collecting an ice core? Especially in Antarctica you are constrained by time, the short summer, funding, as well as the capacity of the refrigerated lockers in the transport to bring those cores back to somewhere with the lab facilities to properly analyse them. 5 or 10 cores is a very decent sample provided they're taken from a stable site where the ice has built up consistently and not melted/re-frozen or been otherwise contaminated or compromised. To get the deep cores you can be drilling for quite some time to go back a few thousand years. Given the expense of getting to Antarctica, driving or flying a drill rig to the selected site, camping and being supported at that site, and then getting the cores back uncompromised, they tend to be at a bit of a premium.

      Also bear in mind this is refining work that was probably done using different ice cores, so the total ice cores used in the overall development of this paper will be higher.

      The selection process was probably "the ones that were available". One can't be picky when you're looking at data sources of this value and rarity.

      As an oceanography student my dissertation on currents in a bit of the English Channel started off by describing the experiment that I'd like to do, and then went on to describe the buoys I would actually be getting data off and their limitations for the task at hand. Obviously most BSc students do not have a 7-figure budget with to go and deploy their own monitoring array for their dissertation, although I did get to play with someone else's non-ideal 7-figure array.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: High resolution

        Perhaps 5 to 10 cores is a good sample, but even if that's so you should still be concerned about the selection process. If they just used all the cores they had access to, that's fine, state that. If they had 50 cores available and just picked 5 to 10 by a completely random method, that's also fine, but they should explain the difficulties involved in using more/all or why 5 to 10 is good enough.

        On the other hand, if they had 50 cores available and looked at 20-25 during the course of their research but only used 5-10 in their published paper, then you should be very curious why they decided to eliminate the others. You should also ask how different the results might have been if an AGW denier had access to the same set of 20-25 using the same model and getting to pick his own 5-10. Maybe it makes little difference, but it's possible being able to select the cores makes a very large difference in terms of getting the conclusion you wish to reach. Since ice cores most likely would tend to be taken near coasts or research stations, perhaps there aren't and never will be 50 well geographically dispersed samples available, but this in itself is another potential source of bias you may wish to note.

        I'm not suggesting they picked their samples to reach a desired conclusion, but given how politically charged the debate is, researchers on both sides would ideally look very closely at their research from the point of view of those who wish to tear it down, and use methodology and provide information to make it as bulletproof to such attacks as possible. Going that extra mile would provide a good signpost to determine which research those who aren't doing it themselves should give extra weight to, versus research targeting a predetermined outcome.

        Because like it or not, there is plenty of such research on both sides of the debate already being done. Since we wouldn't usually find out what's being funded by Greenpeace and what's being funded by the Koch Brothers, making research as difficult to come up with viable attacks on seems the best way of getting yours heard above all the noise. At least in theory. In practice, making research that takes extreme ("we're on the edge of disaster!") or controversial ("nothing humans could ever do will change the climate in any way") positions makes for better headlines. They are also probably more likely to be adopted by politicians who may base their decisions on which side they support on many factors, but science or lack of science is almost never one of them.

  3. MondoMan
    FAIL

    Reg author seems to have misunderstood paper...

    Errr, "lagged" means "came after," not "came before," so your article title should be "Increased earth temperature boosts CO2 faster than previously thought".

    (hope I'm not wrong here, not having read the paper myself...)

    1. Asiren
      Headmaster

      Re: Reg author seems to have misunderstood paper...

      Unless the article has been re-written, "lag" here refers to the reaction time between increased CO2 (the cause) and the increase in temp (the effect). In the same way there's a lag between you reading the article, and comprehending what the author means.

      :-D

      PEACE!

      1. MondoMan
        Stop

        Re: Reg author seems to have misunderstood paper...

        Asiren,

        Nope, if you read the article (and are somewhat familiar with paleo temp and atmosphere data), "lag" refers to the delay between increased or decreased global temperatures and the changes in CO2 concentration that *follow*. Check it out, read my more complete description below, or read the paper itself.

        1. Asiren
          Coat

          Re: Reg author seems to have misunderstood paper...

          My bad. I was going by the use in the (El Reg) article, and not the actual source material.

          *shamed*

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Reg author seems to have misunderstood paper...

            I thought the author wrote it while drunk or suffered from the various educational changes of the last few years. I am a trained scientist and can speak three languages, including English as my native tongue. I could not understand the bit about lagging. The grammar and random order of words, ommission of prepostions etc. made it unintelligible. the use of "likely" in this context means what? Probably? Perhaps?

            The footnote seemed to be a set of typing mistakes or random cut-and-pastes; but that could be because I did not understand, "carries a three" in the first place.

            Could ER find literate writers with some scientific training for such things?

            1. Steve Knox
              Facepalm

              Re: Reg author seems to have misunderstood paper...

              The footnote seemed to be a set of typing mistakes or random cut-and-pastes; but that could be because I did not understand, "carries a three" in the first place.

              Someone's never done arithmetic on paper before...

  4. Dick Pountain

    What no denial? Is Lewis on holiday?

    1. boltar Silver badge
      Flame

      @Dick Pountain

      "What no denial? Is Lewis on holiday?"

      Even as we speak he's probably furiously trying to dig up some anti GW paper written by some drunk albanian creationist 30 years ago that he can cite as damning evidence against the whole climate change hoax.

      1. Asiren
        Mushroom

        Re: Lewis-bashing

        Can we give it a break? It's not like we *don't* know Lewis' point of view. I think El Reg are trying to do the right thing and get a neutral PoV written and banned Lewis from writing any more AGW articles (the last 3 or 4 have been non-Lewis), and all half the commentators can complain about is that they don't have another opportunity to bash Lewis!

        If you're commenting on here, you're a regular and know what to expect. Now F-off and find somewhere else to troll, your toy has been confiscated!

        1. Jean-Luc Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Lewis-bashing & Asiren

          >I think El Reg are trying to do the right thing and get a neutral PoV written

          Not only that, but I value Lewis' writeups, even if I don't agree with all of them, nor his AGW prejudices. I am believe somewhat in AGW, and have adjusted my lifestyle, more than somewhat. Any convincing news that it was all a bad mistake and I can go back to emitting as much CO2 as I want would be excellent news to me. Haven't heard anything all that convincing, yet, but who knows.

          In a subject as complex as this, I value & trust publications that are capable of presenting conflicting viewpoints.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A shorter Dick Pountain

      "I really believed in Global Warming, but now I look a right tit.

      It gets worse every year.

      Can I have my mega-apocalyptic scare back please?"

  5. MondoMan

    What the paper in question really says...

    Having now skimmed through the original paper (thanks for the link, Simon!), below is my explanation of what's going on. It's not surprising that Simon and others here have misunderstood the paper, as the climate system is quite complex and our current knowledge of past climate more like peering through foggy muck rather than reading a book in a brightly lit room.

    One of the pesky issues that bedevils those who study the history of our atmosphere over geologic time periods is that when global temperatures change significantly, as far as has been determined, this always seems to happen hundreds or thousands of years *before* rather than *after* CO2 levels change, making a simplistic CO2-caused-temp-change mechanism a hard sell, at least to the general public.

    In this paper, they (a) use CO2 data from high-deposition core sites (thicker ice per year means smaller time error bars) and (b) infer Antarctic temperature data from a group of cores around Antarctica rather than a single core from just one region. They claim that this approach allows them (using fancy maths) to correlate the CO2 levels and Antarctic temperatures more accurately and with smaller predicted errors than has previously been done.

    Their result: changes in CO2 came about 160 years *after* changes in Antarctic region temperatures, plus or minus about 220 years. This is shorter than previously thought. Since 160 years - 220 years is -60 years, their results suggest a small but significant chance that CO2 changes actually happened a few decades *before* the temperature changes.

    What does this mean for the current controversy? Not much, directly. However, it places some constraints on global climate models that are different from those previously thought to apply, which in the best of all possible worlds would be quickly used to improve those models and better understand the details of how and why the last ice age ended.

    1. Scott 19
      FAIL

      Re: What the paper in question really says...

      Looking at the headline shame the author could not take the time that MondoMan did to actually read what he was suppose to be reporting on....then again with The Reg and the way it's going down hill fast I bet they don't realise people know what Cut-and-Paste is.

      Anyone know the web site that will tell me where this author cut and paste from?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What the paper in question really says...

      Another misleading headline

      This isn't the first time that the alarmist headline does not match the content of the paper. There's a good example right now on the NASA site headlined "Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt" and reported as such on the BBC "Scientists said the "unprecedented" melting took place...", etc.

      If however you read further down the NASA press release it says "melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time".

      On the other hand, I've noticed that one doesn't normally see headlines of the type "Global Warming nothing to worry about" or "Carbon (sic) good for crop growth, feeds world's hungry".

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What the paper in question really says...

        '"On the other hand, I've noticed that one doesn't normally see headlines of the type "Global Warming nothing to worry about" or "Carbon (sic) good for crop growth, feeds world's hungry".'

        Actually, you do. You need to read more widely. Plenty of people, even industry and MPs, say how wonderful it will be to have the climate of the South of France in Northumberland, with vineyards etc.. Plenty more seem to think increased CO2 will transmute into forests and crops growing at twice the rate in previously unsuitable regions.

        These people neglect to think what the effects may be elsewhere or what the changes may mean for the rest of the biological system.

        1. Scott 19
          FAIL

          Re: What the paper in question really says...

          'Plenty of people, even industry and MPs, say how wonderful it will be to have the climate of the South of France in Northumberland' - Who says this or are you just blowing hot air?

    3. JeffinLondon

      Re: What the paper in question really says...

      Great summary Mondo. Of course this means that CO2 increases AFTER the planet begins a warming cycle. That doth not play well with the CAGW camp, now does it?

      1. Sapient Fridge

        Re: What the paper in question really says...

        Warming oceans release CO2, which then results in more warming i.e. it is a feedback loop and CO2 amplifies natural warming. That means CO2 normally lags the initial temperature rise. The natural cause of that initial temperature rise is the Milankovitch cycles.

        This time CO2 leads temperature rise rather than following it. but that doesn't mean that CO2 won't do what it always does and raise the temperature:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

      2. Steve Knox
        Boffin

        Re: What the paper in question really says...

        Of course this means that CO2 increases AFTER the planet begins a warming cycle. That doth not play well with the CAGW camp, now does it?

        Actually, it plays right into their hands. We already know, experimentally, that CO2 can trap heat, leading to warming. If research shows that warming is likely to increase CO2 as well, then we have a feedback loop. The faster it happens, the more vicious the cycle.

        In short, if step 1 is increased atmospheric CO2 and 2 is warming, we have

        1 -> 2 -> 1 -> 2 -> 1 (repeat ad infinitum.)

  6. itzman
    FAIL

    Two things are worthyof note.

    First of all the headline of the article is completely at odds with the actual source material

    Read this carefully:

    The articles author says :

    "Their conclusion is that when the CO2 arrives, things change – fast – as southern climates respond to events in the northern hemisphere and vice-versa."

    As the paper states:

    “... we show that the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by less than 400 yr and that even a short lead of CO2 over temperature cannot be excluded.”

    That is CO2 is LAGGING the climate change, not LEADING it.

    So the author SHOULD have said

    "Their conclusion is that by the time the CO2 arrives, things have already changed – fast – as southern climates respond to events in the northern hemisphere and vice-versa."

    But he chose to rephrase that in a way consistent with the dogma that climate change is always preceded by and caused by CO2 variations. Rather than the more logical conclusion that a cooling earth would suffer a drastic loss of CO2 absorbing plankton and vegetable life.

    Secondly, the actual paper is one of more and more carefully worded scientific papers that is saying 'er no actually this bit of research does NOT support AGW.' without actually saying it directly.

    Scientists are aware that its not as cool (sic!) to be on the AGW side, as before.

    Desperation on the AGW camp? twisting of reportage to maintain the fiction as scientists desert the creed?

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Two things are worthyof note.

      @mondoman - thanks for the clarification

      @everyone else - Please do not get caught up in the AGW debate, which is frankly irrelevant in the big scheme of things. We need a long-term stable supply of energy, long-term we will run out of fossil fuels, and really it doesn't make too much difference if this happens in 100 years or 200, we need to start working on solutions now. Current Earth consumption is 12 TW and with the rate of population increase AND development in developing countries, we're going to be using at least 20 TW by the end of the century. Globally we need to be adding something like 100GW a year of solar, wind, nuclear etc EVERY YEAR for the next couple of centuries. That should be more than enough reason to invest more and more in non-fossil fuels and start winding down the use of fossil fuels, without needing to get into quasi-religious arguments about whether fossil fuel use is overheating the planet.

      1. despun

        Re: Two things are worthyof note.

        You can't just ignor the AGW debate. There are many ecomonically damaging policies that have been put in place that you would not do on the basis of energy security. Carbon sequestration, carbon credits etc.

        1. The BigYin

          Re: Two things are worthyof note.

          "Carbon sequestration, carbon credits etc."

          I think you'll find that "carbon credits" was just a ruse created by the rich so that they could enrich the rich even more. It's a farce. What are they going to do? Eat their money?

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Two things are worthyof note.

        In the long term, everybody dies.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Scientists are aware that its not as cool (sic!) to be on the AGW side, as before.

      Hmm. I'm not sure that taking a political stance is ever really "cool" for scientists. What scientists do for cool is more like getting excited over the possibilities of graphene, or metamaterials, or quantum computing, string theory, etc. I have no idea what counts as cool in climate science circles, but it might be something like cloud-feedback models, or clever new scheme X to optimize numerical modelling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Scientists are aware that its not as cool (sic!) to be on the AGW side, as before.

        Yep...I know a bunch of climate scientists and none of them want to/like to discuss climate change with people outside of their area, in the same way that I don't discuss backup and disaster recovery/storage with people outside of that area - they just don't understand the subject enough to ask meaningful questions. What does get them excited is working out how to extract data from datasets, how to make use of previously unused data, how to make models higher resolution, how to acquire data from new sources or use existing datasets to show new data. Particularly things like "we've worked out how to see how much water vapour/O3/whatever is in the atmosphere using a decades old satellite which was never intended to do this", really get them going.

  7. despun

    Eh ?

    I must be being dumb here. How can CO2 lag the temperature rise if it is the cause of the rise !?

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Eh ?

      Well, this paper moves the error bars far enough so that it is possible the CO2 is going up before the melting starts, even though the data points are still after the warming occurs.

    2. Sapient Fridge

      Re: Eh ?

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm

  8. twolegs

    What's that bright light in the sky then?

    Are you telling me the tarmac roads are melting because of CO2?

    Put your hand on any black or dark painted metal object during bright sunlit days and then tell me 'heat' comes from CO2.

    CO2 is one of the most misunderstood subjects on the planet.

    Essential for life, absorbed by nearly every form of plant life on the planet, emitted by humans constantly 24 hours a day, every day of their lifespan.

    As an atmospheric gas, its broken down by UV and other energetic emissions from the sun and as a gaseous element is abused more than anything else by climate wallahs on either side of the 'media' climate change argument.

    CO2 acts as a blanket for retaining heat in the atmosphere.

    Try telling that to the elderly freezing to death in northern hempisphere winters and expecting your hearing to come away unscathed!

    Blankets also retain 'cold', being a form of insulation. (Now there's a commercial proposition)

    Some say if we had no politicians, media commentators or climate activists, we'd produce less CO2. Probably right.

    That bright light in the sky warms the earth faster than any other factor. Try sitting on the edge of the hotel pool at midday and tell me otherwise. Then try it again between 3 and 5am in the morning.

    1. Oolons
      Mushroom

      Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

      Wow... The stupidity burns bright in this one...

    2. boltar Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

      "Put your hand on any black or dark painted metal object during bright sunlit days and then tell me 'heat' comes from CO2."

      Partially it does. If there was no CO2 the average temperature of the earth would be about -30C and you probably wouldn't want to touch any outside objects without gloves.

      "CO2 is one of the most misunderstood subjects on the planet."

      As you ably demonstrate.

      "As an atmospheric gas, its broken down by UV"

      No it isn't. Its very stable wrt UV. You're thinking of oxygen which is broken down and forms ozone.

      "Try telling that to the elderly freezing to death in northern hempisphere winters and expecting your hearing to come away unscathed!"

      Try telling that to farmers in africa looking at baked fields and destroyed crops. Oh , and wasn't it a little bit warm in the USA this year?

      "That bright light in the sky warms the earth faster than any other factor. Try sitting on the edge of the hotel pool at midday and tell me otherwise. Then try it again between 3 and 5am in the morning."

      Wow, you're on the cutting edge of science here. You should go and tell the climate scientists of this remarkable discovery of "that bright light in the sky" which they've quite obviously ignored all this time in their theories and models. A nobel prize could be yours!

      1. lambda_beta
        Linux

        Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

        Well done.

        I've been looking at that bright light in the sky at night-time and it seems to come and go about every 28 days.

      2. PatientOne

        Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

        "Try telling that to farmers in africa looking at baked fields and destroyed crops."

        Isn't this more to do with the political situation in the African nations? You know, the various fighting, the lack of people farming, lack of suitable crops, lack of funds for irrigation, stuff like that? It's not as simple as you imply. Equally, the Elderly that are freezing isn't down to CO2, but down to lack of adequate heating as their benefits are cut and they can't afford to keep warm. Again, it's social and political more than climate.

        "Oh , and wasn't it a little bit warm in the USA this year?"

        And it's been very cold and wet here in the UK. Something to do with the Jet stream...

        "If there was no CO2 the average temperature of the earth would be about -30C"

        I'm not certain this is correct. There is a geological ground temperature that I believe is closer to +6C about sea level (this increases as you go deeper into the ground), then there is surface temperature that varies depending on things like wind chill, plus there is the heating effect from the sun. CO2 reflects IR, according to another post, and this is how it holds heat in. Yet the sun also emits IR light, so isn't CO2 reflecting that and so keeping us cooler than if there is no CO2? I don't know the numbers, but it would be interesting to see how much heat CO2 retains per KG, against how much it's reflecting away. It might (hypothetically - I've no evidence at all either way) be that CO2 turns out to be neutral in this regard - that it reflects as much heat in the form of IR from the sun as it retains. Just a thought - be nice if someone's checking this.

        1. boltar Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

          "CO2 reflects IR, according to another post,"

          That other post was wrong.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot5n9m4whaw

          "be that CO2 turns out to be neutral in this regard - that it reflects as much heat in the form of IR from the sun as it retains. Just a thought - be nice if someone's checking this."

          Err, I think you'll find its been checked more than a few times - its basic physics. If you think CO2 is neutral wrt to heat you might want to go find out about Venus.

          Jesus Christ, is it all liberal arts types posting on this subject?

        2. Asiren
          FAIL

          Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

          "Yet the sun also emits IR light, so isn't CO2 reflecting that and so keeping us cooler than if there is no CO2?"

          +1 for attempt at logic, -12 for science fail.

          The CO2 does indeed reflect incoming some of the Sun's IR back out. However, as mentioned in a previous post, it does nothing to stop the shorter wavelength/higher frequency rays, such as light, from getting in. This light is in turn absorbed by objects (the darker the object, the more the absorbtion) and converted to heat. This heat is then re-emitted by said objects *in the IR range*, and therefore the Earth is trying to emit more IR than it receives from the Sun.

          Which the CO2 reflects back in.

          Hence the warming effect of increased CO2.

          "It might (hypothetically - I've no evidence at all either way) "

          Try Google. A lot of scientists have been doing a lot of work on this recently.

          Or just not commenting on a subject you don't understand/follow. Better to stay quiet and be thought a fool, etc...

          1. boltar Silver badge

            Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

            "Which the CO2 reflects back in."

            Strictly speaking it absords IR then re-radiates it later in some random direction which means the odds are against it being in a direction out into space hence the atmosphere retains heat.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

      I really, really hope you're trolling. If not you are a classic - albeit graphic - example of why climate scientists can be arsed with AGW doubters.

      1. boltar Silver badge
        Unhappy

        Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

        "I really, really hope you're trolling. If not you are a classic - albeit graphic - example of why climate scientists can be arsed with AGW doubters."

        Quite. If he's not a troll then his lack of understanding of basic science is probably a damning indictment of the current education system. "Blankets also retain 'cold'," Gawd almighty - I've yet to see a more clueless remark this year on El Reg.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Blankets also retain 'cold',

          Blankets are insulators, and stop heat transmission. They keep us warm since we produce heat,

          and they stop it escaping. They would presumably also keep us cold, were we not exothermic.

          Very crudely: The thing about CO2 is that it's more transparent to visible light than to infrared. Visible light thus zips easily through the atmospheric CO2 blanket like it wasn't there, gets converted to infrared, which is trapped. Thus in effect, CO2 traps heat (infrared) in, but fails to keep the source of that infrared (ie the visible light from the sun) out. Thus the atmosphere is warmed by this in-effect one-way CO2 blanket.

    4. Terry Barnes

      Re: What's that bright light in the sky then?

      "CO2 is one of the most misunderstood subjects on the planet."

      You missed out "by me".

      Your post is idiotic. How does it go again? Something like;

      “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts.”

  9. The Axe

    Temperature rises before CO2

    The report confirms that temperatures rise before CO2 rises. So us pumping out more CO2 and increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by tiny amounts is not causing any global rise in temperature.

    Sounds more like something external to the Earth is causing the temperatures to rise and this is leading to a rise in CO2. Maybe that external factor is the SUN!

    1. DaWolf

      Re: Temperature rises before CO2

      No, this report confirms that in the time period studied, it is likely that CO2 rises lagged heat rises.

      Those heat rises were probably caused by Milankovitch cycles or some such: haven't read the actual report yet.

      However, their report implies that natural feedback effects are likely to increase the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, making the likely impact worse.

    2. Tim Parker

      Re: Temperature rises before CO2

      "The report confirms that temperatures rise before CO2 rises. So us pumping out more CO2 and increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by tiny amounts is not causing any global rise in temperature."

      That does not follow (pardon the pun), think about it.

      "Sounds more like something external to the Earth is causing the temperatures to rise and this is leading to a rise in CO2. Maybe that external factor is the SUN!"

      In a very brief nutshell, the current theory/understanding is that insolation changes due to the Earths orbital cycles cause some warming to take place - that in turn releases CO2 from the seas as they warm, and that additional CO2 then causes some further rises.

      For more details see numerous online references, or for a more detailed examination based on more recent data (last 20,000 years) the Shakun et al 2012 paper.

  10. Robinson
    FAIL

    Hang on a second...

    What is the summary here about? They say CO2 increase LAGS TEMPERATURE BY 400 YEARS. They don't rule out it leading only because they need to pay homage to the paradigm in order to get published and funded.

    I mean you say it yourself IT LAGS TEMPERATURE CHANGE!

    1. Gerry Doyle 1

      Re: Hang on a second...

      Climate change happens, but it doesn't just happen, it always has to have a cause. We know that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, its effects are measurable and predictable in terms of solar radiation received and absorbed versus reflected out again.

      In the distant past, we have seen how rising temperatures due to natural causes have themselves caused a corresponding rise in CO2. That's the natural way it seems.

      In the present however, we have seen a rise in CO2. We have also seen a corresponding rise in temperatures that closely parallels this rise in CO2. We have not seen a change in solar radiation in the same period, nor have we found any other reason for this rise in temperatures. The rise in CO2 is not natural either, being caused by human activities, the normal processes of climate change are not responsible.

      Ice core records show how climate changed in the past, when natural forces alone held sway.

      Things are different now.

      In the very recent past it was actual US government policy to discredit findings on climate change due to human activities and large energy corporations have spent untold billions on enforcing that policy. It has to be said that they got their money's worth.

      1. Scott 19

        Re: Hang on a second...

        @Gerry Doyle 1 - Now that IS good Trolling.

        'Things are different now.' - Madonna has been replaced by Lady GaGa that's diffrent.

      2. Armando 123

        Re: Hang on a second...

        "We have not seen a change in solar radiation in the same period, nor have we found any other reason for this rise in temperatures. "

        Really? IIRC, the temperatures of Earth, Mars, Titan, Saturn, and the Gallilean satellites have all risen since the late seventies, and that solar activity (spots, flares, plages, etc) has increased in the same time, for over three sunspot cycles. (You can't count Jupiter, BTW, since it's still releasing heat from its formation, lo these many years later.)

        1. NomNomNom

          Re: Hang on a second...

          "the temperatures of Earth, Mars, Titan, Saturn, and the Gallilean satellites have all risen since the late seventies, and that solar activity (spots, flares, plages, etc) has increased in the same time, for over three sunspot cycles."

          We only know that temperature of Earth has increased, not those other bodies you mention. We don't have temperature measuring satellites nor surface instruments measuring sufficient area of any non-earth body to determine it's temperature trends.

          More importantly, solar activity has decreased, not increased, since the late 70s (http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1970)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Hang on a second... @NomNomNom

            Solar activity is at its highest for 1,000 years.

            1. Gerry Doyle 1

              Re: Hang on a second... @ AC

              "Solar activity is at its highest for 1,000 years" sez he. Well stop the lights, alert the IPCC.

              How many times do I have to say this - "We have not seen *corresponding* changes in solar activity in the same period **that could account for current temperature changes**, nor have we found any other cause that could account for this rise in temperatures."

        2. Gerry Doyle 1

          Re: Hang on a second...

          We have not seen corresponding changes in solar activity in the same period *that could account for current temperature changes*, nor have we found any other cause that could account for this rise in temperatures.

          Yes, really Armando.

          All that money spent on all that disinformation. Worth every cent - and the best bit is that the dupes think that they are the skeptics.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hang on a second...

      Increases in natural CO2 emissions lagging temperature rise is well established. You are assuming that if A causes B then B cannot cause A; this is a logical fallacy. As temperature rises so does CO2 (e.g. it is less soluble in warm water, so the sea releases CO2). This increased level of CO2 then causes a further temperature rise. Pretty much standard climate science - no conspiracy here, move along.

  11. Lloyd
    Devil

    Welllllllll......

    I like Simon Sharwood but then I like Lewis Page, which one is better?

    There's only one way to find out......

    FIGHT!!!!!!

  12. Livinglegend
    Childcatcher

    When...

    someone makes conclusions from suggestions as stated in the text, then they are not just desperate, they are hopelessly wrong. Just another computer model operating on the 'rubbish in, rubbish out' theory.

  13. General Pance
    Thumb Up

    Science is settled, except when it's bad news

    Any idiot can see temperatures have plummetted across Australia since Gillard introduced the Carbon Tax.

    My only concern is that it will start to heat up again after the winter.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Alan Brown Silver badge

    @ 90% of population lives near coast

    They always have done. There's plenty of evidence for coastal settlements at various locations now a _long_ way underwater (~300 feet)

    On an individual level, rising sea levels are an irritation, but people can always relocate.

    Longer term they'll result in settlements being abandoned. See above.

    Economically it's unlikely that there'll be much impact. Companies and infrastructure can also migrate, given enough warning (which they have). There are modern cities which _should_ be abandoned and some which are in the process of this being done. It's only a matter of time before New Orleans is lost.

    The _real_ unknown is how food resources will be affected. Will enough land become arable to make up for areas lost to sea/desertification, etc. Will there be enough potable water to go around?

    Population movements due to such events inthe past have resulted in warfare or local dieoffs. Whilst it's arguable that a malthusian dieback is necessary for survival as a species, history shows that any rapid drop in human population has been outweighed by a following growth spike as survivors breed to replace lost numbers.

    Whatever happens, humans will survive. Civilisation will also survive, but not necessarily in current form.

    1. Armando 123
      Devil

      Re: @ 90% of population lives near coast

      "There are modern cities which _should_ be abandoned and some which are in the process of this being done. It's only a matter of time before New Orleans is lost."

      Be careful or their coach will put a bounty on your head. #nfl

    2. NomNomNom

      Re: @ 90% of population lives near coast

      populations will try to hold back the rising seas as long as possible and it'll only end when disaster strikes.

      ^^ Doesn't trust mans ability to adapt.

      Eg New Orleans.

  16. Ian Ferguson

    I see that the Reg is suspiciously quiet about NASA's news on Greenland today.

    1. Tim Parker

      Greenland melt surprises NASA Earth-watchers

      Giant slushy attributed to ‘heat dome’

      By Richard Chirgwin • Get more from this author

      Posted in Science, 24th July 2012 23:06 GMT

  17. Armando 123

    Now wait just a ding-dong minute

    I could have sworn that it was proven that CO2 *lags* warming in the atmosphere. Was that study disproved or officially ignored? Not flaming or trolling, I seriously want to know.

  18. NomNomNom

    Like others have said I think this article is wrong. I've only read the paper's abstract but it seems to be about the lag between temperature and CO2 rise (in that order), and doesn't suggest that "CO2 warms Earth FASTER than previously thought"

    Well okay once you go through the feedback warming -> co2 rise -> more warming then yes shortening the first arrow of causality will mean the end result (extra warming) happens sooner. But I think it's a stretch to focus on that and has no obvious bearing on the current CO2 rise which is a result of man, not natural.

  19. Marshalltown
    Thumb Down

    Bassackwards

    The "lag" is a delay between initial atmospheric warming and an increase in CO2 that follows the warming. The original analysis of ice cores such the Vostok cores showed that CO2 increases were delayed compared to global temperature increases by as much as 1,000 years. If you are seriously certain that CO2 causes significant warming, the causality is backwards - and a real problem in any discussion where you want convince people not to run their SUVs. The original AGW explanation was that ice ages ended because of periodic changes in planetary orbital characteristics (Milankovich cycles). Since the CO2 only began to increase AFTER the warming began, the AGW argument was that the end of the ice age was triggered by orbital changes and finished by CO2. The paper just published appears to have been intended to make the lag go away - and thus eliminate the little causality issue. It didn't succeed, but did reduce the average lag estimate to a "few centuries."

  20. Sheff Steve

    CO2 v Water vapor

    Why CO2 is irrelevant:

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

  21. Hubert Thrunge Jr.
    Alert

    Mother Earth knows best..

    I've read the reports of many of these ice core studies, and one thing stands out clearly. The Earth's temperature rises and falls in cycles. It gets hot, it cools down, and so on.

    Considering the time span found in some of the cores drilled at Vostok, for much of the time, in fact in the way of things, mankind was only (possibly or probably is not important right now) a small factor in what was found, because 100,000 years ago, we weren't a significant impact on the planet's ecosystem.

    What was evident that after the peak of every rise, there was an increase in atmospheric dust, followed by a sudden and dramatic fall in temperature. One can only guess that this dust was volcanic, and we therefore went through a period of major eruptions that spewed billions of tons of pumice into the sky, blocking the sun for tens if not hundreds of years, bringing about ice-age transformations.

    We could be at another peak now, or in another year or three thousand. The geologists have been discussing super-volcanoes for a while now, expecting Yellowstone to go up sometime soon (soon in Earth terms could be any time now, or again, in a few hundred, or thousand years) and when it does, they expect a "volcanic winter" to take place, with global temperature drops of anything up to 15, maybe 20 degrees due to the dust occupying the upper atmosphere and blocking most of the sun.

    I have no doubt that what we - humans - do has cause an acceleration in climate change, but what we do is minor to the effect of the sun. It affects sea currents, sea currents affect the jet stream, the jet stream affects our weather patterns. Solar magnetic storms also have an effect on our own earth's core, that in turn has an effect on seismic activity, with also is inter-related to tectonic activity.

    I don't for one moment think the sea is going to rise by the levels the scaremongers keep whining about. Get a glass of ice, top it up to the brim with water. Wait for the ice to melt, now see the level. It will have fallen!! We're not seeing the sea rise, we're seeing the plates FALL in some areas, where they are rising elsewhere.

    And we're allowing people to debate it, and legislate against us, who are thinking of one thing only - taxation of the populous. Climate Change is the new religion. Stone the heretics. Persecute the unbelievers! Praise taxation because it's the only way we'll stop it. Now will someone give King Canute a bigger fork to push the sea back.

    1. Terry Barnes

      Re: Mother Earth knows best..

      Populous was a computer game - I believe you're thinking of "populace".

      Regardless. Governments don't need a bogey man to be able to raise taxes. If they need to raise money, they'll raise it. Seeing climate change as merely a vehicle for taxation is naive.

      If you believe you have a better explanation for what is happening than the scientists do - publish and be peer reviewed. Provide the evidence, have your theory tested and debated. If you are unwilling or unable to do that - you must know in your heart of hearts that it's because your theory is bollocks. Even if you're not a practising scientist, do you have *any* relevant training or qualifications? Any examinations or qualifications in Chemistry, Biology, Geography? If the answer is "no", then you're suffering from the Drunning-Kruger effect. Put simply, you don't know enough to know why you're wrong.

  22. Geoffrey Swenson

    So how this result invalidating anything about human-caused warming?

    If anything, it means it's worse than we expected ... so the CO2 we're adding to the atmophere is likely to cause even more problems than the current models. It invalidates nothing about currently accepted climate research.

    Lately there has been some other results (of course NOT reported in any of the one-sided non-scientific "science" reporting on this website) that have indicated that global warming effects have been worse than previously extrapolated, and that tipping point may very well be closer to the current levels, rather than what has been expected 30 years from now.

    Even though the warming is worse than the models predicted, the reasons why it is worse are largely due to very difficult to model effects of melting tundra, glaciers, warming land, and oceans releasing additional amounts of methane, nitrous oxides, and dying forests burning away -- all of which make the problem worse, but until they start actually happening, it's rather difficult to calculate how much of a runaway feedback they have. It doesn't invalidate the science itself, as the warming effects HAVE happened pretty much as predicted (not that you would know this by reading anything on THIS website), but now that the warming is beginning to happen in a big way, the positive feedback effects are kicking in at a faster rate than predicted.

    That doesn't invalidate the science, it just means that we need to learn more about the many different ways that rising temperatures create these frankly scary runaway effects.

    Of course, the incredible heat wave and droughts in most of the US (and exceptional floods and droughts elsewhere) get no mention in this article, just snarky and rather unjustified critiques of well-accepted climate science.

  23. Al Black

    CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature

    "the increase in CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature by less than 400 yr and that even a short lead of CO2 over temperature cannot be excluded.”

    They think that the CO2 increase may have occurred only 400 years after it got warmer, but the measurement error is high enough that they can't absolutely prove that the CO2 increase didn't occur before the warming. This is the first paper to cast any doubt on the accepted science that CO2 increases have lways lagged, that is came after warming, not the other way around. It doesn't cast much doubt: Essentially they are saying CO2 increase lagged warming by 400 Years +/- 400years.

    This comment was probably inserted to avoid attack from warmists, so they could get their paper published: it just says "this doesn't absolutely disprove AGW."

    In nature, CO2 increases always come after warming, as a result of the increase in living things: warming brings an explosion in life, generating more CO2.

    1. Gerry Doyle 1

      Re: CO2 likely lagged the increase in regional Antarctic temperature

      "In nature, CO2 increases always come after warming..."

      Indeed it does, but this isn't a natural increase in CO2.

  24. PeterM42
    WTF?

    Oh Dear.....

    ...I though all these "GLOBAL DISASTER" doomsayers might have given up.

    IT'S NOT A PROBLEM - REALLY!

    1. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      It's a pity

      el Reg doesn't allow commentators to change the font size - then you really could have gotten your point across.

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