Thursday, March 08, 2007

Did CO2 Precede Warming or Vice Versa?

Any aspiring or junior deputy economists of the more scientific strain know the answer?

I saw this chart and unfortunately I do not have the time to go and find the data, but just eye-balling it, it looks like CO2 follows the temperature, not precedes it, ergo is not causing it. And since the data points are in excess of 400,000 even a small shift to the left would indicate a couple score of years.


Anonymous said...

I noticed this awhile ago. That chart gets shown all the time when people start talking about the link between CO2 and global warming, but no one ever explicitly stated which way the causation went.

The best I could find, when I was looking was that the CO2 actually trailed the warming by 100s of years.

But, that's not conclusive evidence of anything. The warming may very well start, then cause the CO2 to start rising, which in turn eventually causes the temperatures to go higher.

As best I could find though, no one really knows the answer to that question, it's all speculation, all they do seem to know for sure is that the initial warming precedes the rise in CO2.


Anonymous said...

This shouldn't be a surprise. One of the main reasons for the rise in CO2 production is the loss of plant life- deforestation for some of it but mostly the loss of kelp in the oceans due to various reasons, particularly due to seafloor churning (things like that stupid island building in the Indian Ocean and drudge fishing).

But the biggest thing here is that all of those eco-psycho-liberals are feeding everyone a load of crap that it's humans causing it OR that humans can do anything to stop it, since the "global warming" issue has happened repeatedly in Earth history ( However, it is possible that humans can accelerate the warming with chemicals or whatnot that thin the ozone layer- sorry, but that part really is true-

but, seriously, the earth is warming because it does go through hot and cold cycles but there is no basis for eco-liberal BABBLE.

Anonymous said...

I followed the links provided above and found these two pages also helpful.

The second one in particular really shoots down all of those "warmest temperature in the past million years" claims. The temperatures are supposedly from original data.

The source for the chart,, has other graphs that show 'reconstructed' temperatures that look suspicious. For example, they show the medieval warm period as looking mighty cool compared to other charts I've seen.

Anonymous said...

It’s possible that the rise in temp preceded the rise in CO2 concentration. However, as I learned in my undergrad physical chemistry class, the pi bonds in CO2 readily absorb the long wavelength sun light that hits the earth in the form of infrared radiation. The pi bonds of CO2 then vibrate at a higher frequency, thus causing an increase in the kinetic energy of the gas molecule. Interaction of these excited CO2 molecules with other atmospheric gases can transfer this energy (for example, gaseous water can store the energy in both vibrational and rotational modes. Rotational degrees of freedom is how microwaves heat food- by making water molecules rotate faster). For an increase in atmospheric temperature, some gas (be it H2O, CO2, etc.) needs to absorb solar energy and store it in vibrational, rotational, or translational energy states. Now, CO2 doesn’t necessarily have to be that gas, but it's concentration seems to vary over time more so than other infrared-absorbing atmospheric gases. Perhaps it was really methane? Too many farting cows in Wisconsin- eat more beef!!

Anonymous said...

sorry, but this is TOO appropriate with this discussion:

it's like a mass hypnosis/hysteria, like the witch burning period in history, but now it's it's caused by all the inhalation of toxic gases from combustion engines.

You know, it's got to prove something when the entire scientific community says that the earth is warming naturally but all of the political leftists are saying it's warming because of burning fossil fuels.

Wait, oh wait, I think that they _might_ have changed their story since the 1980s where it was CFC production from hairspray and aerosol cans that were causing this.

Hmmmm...I think that critical examination of the facts shows that the human race is freaked out that the earth is changing and they're grasping at anything they can to put the "blame" on it.

Capt, wasn't that the "big brother" theory in your show a while back?


Captain Capitalism said...

Cool, thanks for the info all.

The_Bad said...

The ozone layer. It’s been a while since I’ve heard anyone roll out that old canard. When I was younger, that was the ecological disaster at-hand. Much like “Global Climate Change” is scaring the hell out of kiddies today; they were bloating “Hole In The Ozone” back then.

All of it amounts to the same thing: lots of theory with nearly no science. What amazes me the most is that there is far less science to “Human-Caused-Global-Climate-Change” than there was to “Human-Caused-Ozone-Depletion”. One might think that our scientific abilities would increase over time, but this is certainly not the case when you mix politics with science.

One main fact that debunks the whole Ozone theory is that the largest decrease in stratospheric ozone over Earth’s Polar Regions occurs seasonally; leading one to theorize that nature plays the significant role rather than your aerosol deodorant.

It is my humble opinion that the ultra-liberal ecological doomsayers create these horrifying End-Of-Days scenarios in order to indoctrinate young children and the foolish to follow their overall ideology of socialism. Someone really needs to tell Al Gore to stop frightening the grandchildren.

Anonymous said...

It's a bad generalization to say all liberals (which I don't consider to have a bad connotation) are preaching doomsday.

Why do ecologists always use CO2 for global warming?

Because we can reduce how much we put out.

Are there other causes of global warming?


Does temperature rise preceding CO2 rise mean CO2 doesn't cause warming?

No. Firstly, we know that CO2 is capable of being a greenhouse gas. Secondly, because there are other contributors to warming, it's likely CO2 is a positive feedback. In other words, CO2 doesn't trigger the process (of global warming) but is both an effect and a continuing contributor. If you look at the graph, it resembles a positive feedback. Sharp rise, less sharp decline.

Global warming is not an either-or thing. You can't say that just because a natural effect can cause greater warming than human pollution that we aren't contributing to global warming. In statistics, for example, even a few percent could be considered significant.

That's one thing that the global warming skeptics love to do. They think that proving a natural source of global warming exists will disprove that humans are contributing. All they did was prove an additional source of global warming exists. It doesn't eliminate other sources.

As for the CFCs causing ozone (O3) depletion, that is known science. CFCs act as catalysts in the reaction
O3 <---> O2 + O
O + O ---> O2
The argument that it's seasonal doesn't really hold. You don't compare two different seasons; you compare the same season from year to year.

Anonymous said...

If we can trust the graph, it's good to ponder this.

It's also good to ask where the graph came from, who created it, and what kind of margin of error it may have for charting both C02 and temperatures.

Some observations:

If the graph is made to reflect changes in the ice cores, then one has to ask: Does the increased C02 come from the area immediately around the polar ice caps?

In other words, does it come out of the ice, released when some ice melts in polar "summers" or warming seasons? Or do aliens land on the poles and shoot off C02-powered BB guns? Some creationists have claimed that fossil evidence of dinosaurs may not be evidence that dinosaurs existed, but merely God's attempt to test our faith in the bible. Could this explain, also, any lag between temperature and C02? (I didn't think many would seriously think so, but I had to ask, as some creationists are among the global warming skeptics).

Ohterwise, do C02 and other greenhouse gases come from elsewhere on the globe? Volcanoes, decaying matter, dinosaur and wolly mastadon flatulence?

If, as most of us might assume, it does not come primarily from the poles, but from elsewhere on the globe, exactly how long does it take for elevated C02 levels to substantially migrate from the source to the poles, to be captured in the ice?

Next, if it takes a while for the C02 to migrate to the poles and become preserved in the ice, can the C02, starting in NON-polar regions, cause significant warming FIRST, before it migrates to the poles where some gets frozen in the new ice layer, accounting for at least some of what may be perceived as a lag between temperature increase and C02 presence in the ice?

I'm interested in this question of what came first too, and yet, while some have made fun of the idea that oil companies may have paid spokepeople to publish minority opinions, I'm also curious if those publishing the "warming first" positions may be financed indirectly by big oil.

Let me put it this way: If I were in control of one of the largest oil or coal companies in the world, and if some scientific opinion seemed to suggest that the burning of my products may be causing global warming and may lead to disastrous consequences, and if someone suggested to me that I should hire some of the same PR people who handled the tobacco companies' efforts to sow seeds of doubt in the public mind regarding health risks of smoking, I certainly might consider hiring the PR folks to help preserve my profits, and to establish plausible deniability, I might (with a wink and a nod and a large check) donate monies to certain conservative think-tanks, who would then hire experts to publish and promote the contrarian scientific opinion.

If I were a CEO, and my own job and the company's profits depended on it, I certainly might be tempted to take this route--as has been sketched out by the Union of Concerned Scientists in their "Smoke and Mirrors" report:

So in summary:

1. Who made the graph, what's the margin of error, and can it be trusted?

2. Is it possible that elevated C02 levels, originating in non-polar regions, appear and cause significant warming before they migrate to the poles where they are preserved, along with a skewed "what came first, warming or C02?" record in the ice?

3. Is this view being advanced by scientists who are paid by organizations receiving large donations from oil and/or coal companies?

(And are such organizations, foundations, or think-tanks also underwriting the publishing of other scientific views that reflect the percentages of actual scientific opinion, or are they only promoting a certain view?)

Other observations:

Scientific opinion tends to be moving toward stronger consensus that global warming is not only natural, but human-caused:

Climate Scientists Agree on Warming, Disagree on Dangers, and Don’t Trust the Media’s Coverage of Climate Change
S. Robert Lichter, Ph.D, April 24, 2008

As the scientific opinion has moved toward consensus, conservative opinion has moved in the opposite direction:
A view from EcoAmerica
(Lots of good poll results and graphs)

The media sometimes likes to appear balanced (and to promote sensationalism) by enlisting two opposing viewpoints, even if there are 70 scientists on one side of the argument, and 30 on the other:
Journalistic Balance as Global Warming Bias
Creating Controversy Where Science Finds Consensus
Extra! November/December 2004
By Jules Boykoff and Maxwell Boykoff

There has been a clear effort by some Republicans to advance a certain view, regardless of scientific opinion:
On Republican strategy and PR:

I used to think this was mostly about science, but it's also about PR, a sort of information war.

Anonymous said...

Here's another interesting view at the URL below: It's not a chicken-vs-egg issue, not either-or, but both. Writing regarding climate change sometimes talks about "feedback loops" - which means increased C02 could cause warming, which could, in turn, cause more C02 release. This may happen from decay of vegetative matter, and it could occur as melting polar ice caps and warming polar waters release more carbon from oceans in a variety of ways. Snowball effect, in other words.

Here's the link:

Anonymous said...

An afterthought: A green revolution, even if it doesn't have much, or enough, effect on climate change, may be good for many capitalists. The tree-hugger liberal activists may be annoying, but heeding their warnings may lead to a stronger economy and more profits.

Consider that a great deal of money leaves the US to buy oil, and if one does not live in a coal-producing state, a great deal of money leaves your state to pay for coal that plays a large role in energy production in the US. Some economists might describe this as a "leak." It contributes to lower GNP, because GNP equals consumer spending, business investment, government spending, and net exports (which, in the US, in part due to imported oil, is a negative number).

If a larger percent of that money spent on imported oil could be saved and spent locally on solar and wind, or on conservation efforts, geothermal, better insulation, etc., instead of leaked out of the national, state and/or local economy, it would
free up more capital
- for investment,
- for business,
- for consumer savings,
- for paying off credit card and other debt (which contributed to the unstable economy),
- and for other consumer spending that could do more to stimulate the economy than energy spending on oil and coal.

You have to spend money to make money, but in the long run, conservation and renewable energy would be a great boost to US economy and to capitalism in general.

We'd also have more money available to waste on new ponzi schemes....