Posts Tagged 'CO2'

CO2 Enrichment and Plant Nutrition

It was noted in previous posts that for crops with C3 photosynthetic pathway the current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are limiting to plant growth. Crops are currently starved of CO2 in a similar way to being starved of water, nitrogen, phosphorus, light etc. Current atmospheric levels of CO2 can thus be regarded as a plant stress, which weakens them and makes them inefficient. At higher levels of CO2 this stress is reduced, and the plant copes better with all other types of stress, including heat and cold, atmospheric pollution, root pathogens, as well as shortages of water, minerals etc.

Sylvan Wittwer (Professor emeritus at Michigan State University, who directed the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station for 20 years and chaired the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council) has remarked:

There has been and still remains, a great reluctance on the part of many climatologists and ecologists, and especially environmentalists, to accept the concept that the rising level of atmospheric CO2 could be more beneficial than harmful for plant growth, food production, and the overall biosphere…Yet the scientific evidence is overwhelming.

Summary data from 279 published studies is shown below in which plants of all types were grown under paired stress (red) and unstressed (blue) conditions. For resource-limited plants the benefits of increased CO2 are astounding.

ResourceLimited

Wittwer points out that of the hundreds of scientific reports documenting the benefits, Al Gore carefully selected five reports and a personal communication to emphasize possible negative aspects to enhanced CO2 on plants. Gore knew what he was doing, of course – he either deliberately rejected the facts, or gave instructions to researchers for his book only to cherry pick papers that support his alarmist agenda. Again we see him as a lying propagandist.

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Missing Fingerprints

According to the climate models used by the IPCC and other climate alarmists, the mid-troposphere should be rapidly warming if increasing CO2 is a forcing for warming. If this warming does not occur roughly as predicted then the climate models are proved to be worse than useless. The ‘fingerprint’ evidence of anthropogenic warming due to increasing CO2 is predicted to be a pronounced ‘hotspot’ in the troposphere between latitudes 30N and 30S (which comprises exactly half the surface of the earth) at a height of around 10km (cruising altitude for jet planes), see below for expected change during the 20th century from the latest IPCC report. Obviously, if anthropogenic global warming is going to ‘take off’ this century, then this hotspot will be considerably more pronounced in the 21st century. The models used by the IPCC predict warming of the troposphere some 12 km high at the rate of 4-5 degrees per century for this century. This hotspot is absolutely essential if the climate models have any validity at all.

Fingerprint

Other climate models predict the same thing: here are four others (showing effect of doubling of CO2). Note that all predict a pronounced tropospheric ‘hotspot’ 10km up and between the tropics.

FourModels

However, this hotspot has never been found – if it had been, we would certainly have heard about it, shouted from the rooftops by the climate alarmists. This missing fingerprint that they are peculiarly silent about (for obvious reasons) invalidates their models. It shows their models and their whole hypotheses to be trash. Below are the actual measured anomalies, and it is evident that not the slightest hotspot can be found.

AbsentFingerprint

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Growth of Crops, Weeds, CO2 and Lies

The USA has its own Climate Change propaganda. The latest is Obama’s first big scientific report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, signed off by Obama’s appointed President’s Science Advisor, John Holdren, the neo-Malthusian who has espoused forcible sterilization and abortion for reducing the US population. As expected, it’s a classic but crude piece of propaganda peppered with images that are designed to scare, but which are unrelated to the matter under consideration – for example pictures of floods from Hurricane Katrina, which has nothing whatsoever to do with climate change, but which was merely the result of a hurricane making landfall directly on New Orleans. The Space and Science Research Center in Florida put out a press release on July 13 with a call for Holdren and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenko to be removed from office because

These two individuals and other agency heads orchestrated and then signed off on the recently released government report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. This report was a piece of blatant, politically motivated bad science and pure propaganda…

And in a letter to Senator Boxer, the SSRC opine that it is

an international embarrassment of American scientific expertise and is so full of misleading data, false assumptions, and invalid conclusions that it simply cannot be relied upon as a policy making reference.

The report cites 569 references, but how many readers are going to go to the trouble of looking any of them up to discover that they don’t support the position of the text, or have been so selectively quoted that they are relied on to say the opposite to what was meant?

Unscientific

We can’t deal with the whole report, so we will mention one example from the chapter on agriculture (PDF here) as we have been considering the effects of elevated CO2 on plants. This example will demonstrate the lying propaganda, and the disregard and crafty twisting of the evidence; and this example is typical of the whole report, which is a compendium of lies.

The poster boy of the agricultural section of the report is the following image, which also appears on the associated website. The report text states

The most widely used herbicide in the United States, glyphosate (RoundUp®), loses its efficacy on weeds grown at carbon dioxide levels that are projected to occur in the coming decades (see photos below).
Higher concentrations of the chemical and more frequent spraying thus will be needed, increasing economic and environmental costs associated with chemical use.

HerbicideEffectiveness

What this is supposed to show is that as CO2 increases, the effectiveness of a common herbicide decreases. Notice anything strange? The experiment is completely unrepresentative of an agricultural situation since it is evident from the picture that there are no crops present. Well, who sows and grows fields of weeds, and who wastes time and money spraying weeds with herbicide where there are no crops growing? Who cares about weeds where crops aren’t grown? No-one.

Don’t be deceived. What the picture actually shows is that weeds, like all plants, thrive under elevated CO2, can better utilize available resources, and can overcome stresses better (in this case, the application of herbicide, which is an extreme stress). This is expected, and we pointed this out in previous posts (World Food Supplies and Carbon Emissions, and Photosynthesis and CO2 Enrichment). The picture says nothing whatsoever about what would happen to the weeds under herbicide stress when they have to compete for the same resources (water, nutrients, light, CO2 etc) as herbicide-resistant crops growing in the same patch. What we find in the real world (as we will demonstrate below) is that in a competitive environment (which is the only real-world agricultural scenario worth considering) the fertilizing effects of enhanced CO2 on crops far outweigh any slight mitigation of herbicide stress on weeds. The result is that in elevated CO2 environments, crop yield is far higher for a given application of herbicide, or alternatively for a given crop yield the herbicide requirement is considerably reduced. Thus the report is lying, the scientists who compiled it are lying, and they know very well that they are lying. The trouble is, we’re not supposed to be informed well enough to know it. We will now prove it.

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Death by Eco-Fascism

Our beautiful world is being vandalized by eco-fascists and those with very dangerous motives. This CO2/climate change scam is the propaganda cover for massive social change, and it is utterly shameful that scientists are prepared to prostitute themselves to this new religion.

FirstChurch

As the renowned climatologist R.A. Pielke Sr, (Senior Research Scientist, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado in Boulder, and Professor Emeritus of the Department of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University, Fort Collins) has declared about the scientists behind the latest UK government climate report UKCP09:

The scientists who present the viewpoint of skillful multi-decadal regional predictions to policymakers are deliberately and dishonestly misinforming the public and policymakers.

Why the deliberate disinformation campaign? Digging into a recent study How to get climate policy back on course by the Institute for Science, Innovation and Society at the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and Political Science’s Mackinder Programme makes chilling reading in the light of 20th century history:

…climate policy has come to serve many other political and social functions beyond its declared formal objective. Thus, undeclared political, religious, ethical and wider lifestyle and social purposes are being fulfilled…

Because climate policy performs so many other sorts of political, religious and psychological work, it has tremendous momentum within it.

…current conventional wisdom [for reducing CO2]…is grounded upon policies that have not worked in the past and which we know never to have been politically feasible except through the application of unacceptable political forces.

So, there are policies that will not achieve their objectives (the presently declared ones that we are supposed to be suckers for) and then there are policies that will achieve their ends through use of totalitarian force. Fascism pretends to allow private ownership, but controls everything to serve statist agendas, and ultimately morphs into a brand of socialism – not for nothing were German fascists known as ‘Nazis’, short for Nationalsozialisten.  Hitler said in 1927, “We are socialists, we are enemies of today’s capitalistic economic system”, and in 1931 declared, “…every owner should feel himself to be an agent of the State… The Third Reich will always retain the right to control property owners.”

The fascist method is to get the population hooked on the ends (e.g CO2 reductions) and actually lobbying the government to take action, and when the merely unpalatable policies are seen to be largely ineffective, the populace will then accept the unthinkable. Thus in Nazi Germany – get the population to buy in to the aim of Aryan purity, and when it cannot be achieved by mild social engineering, the population will eventually accept mass sterilization, euthanasia, confiscation, war and genocide.

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Photosynthesis and CO2 Enrichment

The benefits of increased atmospheric CO2 on crops are so extensive that a long article or book needs to be written to do justice to the subject and to the results of thousands of research trials. The improvement in photosynthesis efficiency at higher CO2 levels does not tell the whole story, but it is a good place to start, since all plant growth relies on this process.

Photosynthesis is the process by which plants utilize visible light energy (e.g. sunlight) to convert aerial CO2 and water (from roots) into plant matter. This process also requires phosphorus and nitrogen.

There are three photosynthesis ‘pathways’, known as C3, C4 and CAM. CAM is unimportant for food crops, being the method used by cacti, succulents and agaves. Pineapple is the only food crop of any importance to use CAM, so CAM can be neglected for the present purposes. World food security depends on C3 and C4 photosynthesis.

Less than 1% of all plant species in the world use the C4 photosynthesis pathway. Of the 86 plant species that supply most of the world’s food, only five use the C4 photosynthetic pathway, of which only four are of much importance (corn [=maize], sorghum, millet, and sugarcane) yet these four constitute some 20% of all the food crops grown. Because of their high photosynthetic efficiency, the C4 crops corn and sugarcane are favoured for ethanol production by those who want to produce liquid biofuels rather than food, thus increasing food prices and poverty.

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Toxic Seawater Fraud

[Note: some understanding of chemistry (approximately A-Level) is necessary to understand this post, and it will be helpful to read the background in the previous post Ocean Acidification Scam.]

The theory behind the ‘toxic ocean acidification’ scam proceeds like this: as the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases, the concentration in the oceans also increases due to dissolution [true – all other things being equal]. CO2 dissolved in water reacts with water to form carbonic acid, making the seas acidic [a half truth – they become very slightly less basic]. This acidity dissolves the shells of marine life causing mass extinction [an utter falsehood].

As a matter of fact, seawater is alkaline and basic. Dissolving the carbon dioxide from all the world’s known fossil fuel reserves would never make the sea acidic. The climate alarmists coined the phrase “ocean acidification” to make it sound alarming, whereas the process is actually what is known as neutralization. The term ‘acidification’ of course sounds more scary than talking about the oceans becoming slightly less basic or a little more neutral.

To put this into perspective, the pH of seawater is, on average, around pH 8.2. Pure water is pH 7.0, and clean rainwater is pH 5.6. What is more, seawater is a highly buffered solution – it can take up a huge amount of dissolved inorganic carbon without significant effect on pH. There is not the slightest possibility that the oceans could approach the neutral pH of pure water even if all the fossil fuel reserves in the world were burned, so all talk of ‘acid’ oceans is utter nonsense. What sort of change are we talking about? Possibly a change of pH of 0.2 units this century, say from 8.2 to 8.0. That would mean by definition that the concentration of the ‘acidic’ H+ ions would still be no more than 10% of their concentration in pure water.

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Ocean Acidification Scam

cid_image002

The evidence is inexorably mounting that the climate alarmists have been taking us all for a ride. It is only be a matter of time before their agenda is exposed as one of the biggest con tricks of all time. Thus they are already scrambling to breathe new life into the CO2 emissions scare. It will become obvious (by the passage of years if nothing else) that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not, after all, cause any significant climate change, thus it will be necessary to blame CO2 (and hence man) for some other catastrophic event. So, prepare yourself for the coming “ocean acidification” scam.

The media have already entered the fray with lying narratives that sound like science fiction scripts, warning about the catastrophe of ‘acid oceans’ and ‘toxic seas’. The BBC have churned out headlines such as ‘Marine life faces ‘acid threat”, ‘Acid oceans ‘need urgent action” and ‘Acidic seas fuel extinction fears’. Newspapers such as the Daily Telegraph and the Times have got in on the act with scary headlines such as ‘Mussels face extinction as oceans turn acidic’, ‘Pollution to devastate shellfish by turning seas acidic’ and ‘Acid seas threaten to make British shellfish extinct’. Just recently, it has got all the more strident: the Sunday Times (March 8, 2009) chimes in under the headline The toxic sea:

Each one of us dumps a tonne of carbon dioxide into the oceans every year, turning them into acidified soups — and threatening to destroy most of what lives in them.

And from the Guardian (March 10, 2009) under the headline Carbon emissions creating acidic oceans not seen since dinosaurs:

Human pollution is turning the seas into acid so quickly that the coming decades will recreate conditions not seen on Earth since the time of the dinosaurs…The rapid acidification is caused by the massive amounts of carbon belched out from chimneys and exhausts that dissolve in the ocean…the pH of surface waters, where the CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere, has fallen about 0.1 units since the industrial revolution, though it will take longer for the acid to reach deeper water.

Note the continual use of the word acid. Yet there is not the slightest possibility that seawater will turn to acid, or even become mildly acidic, so this is drivel. Note also the claim that pH has changed by 0.1 units over the last 200 years: it was not possible a hundred years ago, never mind 200 years ago, to measure pH to the accuracy necessary to support that assertion, so it’s just posturing. Finally, notice that CO2 is branded ‘human pollution’, though CO2 is an entirely natural and absolutely essential nutrient for plant photosynthesis, without which all life on earth would certainly become extinct very quickly.

As an aside, we should note that if lower alkalinity per se were so unfavourable to shellfish as is claimed then we would have no freshwater shellfish and snails – but we do. The freshwater mussel has lived for thousands of years in waters that are genuinely acidic and with highly variable pH, not only seasonally, but geographically. With spring snowmelt and high rainfall, the pH of rivers and lakes can fall to below pH 5, and experiments have shown that mussels can survive this acidity indefinitely without any deleterious effects to their shells. Note: a pH of 5 has 1,000 times as many ‘acidic’ H+ ions per litre as seawater, and 100 times more than pure water. This is not to say that sea creatures can survive in fresh water – they are adapted to a radically different saline environment – the point at issue is that the idea of a small change in ocean pH due to increased dissolved carbon dioxide having a deleterious effect on marine shells of living organisms is not as obvious as the alarmists make out.

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Greenhouse Nonsense

Last month the Royal Society of Chemistry issued a press release, Downing Street petition demands reversal of catastrophic decline in school science exam standards, about the ‘dumbing down’ of school science exams in the UK:

Armed with the first hard evidence of a catastrophic slippage in school science examinations standards, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has launched a Downing Street e-petition calling for urgent intervention to halt the slide.

The RSC report, also being supplied to industrialists and educationalists, raises major concerns over the disappearance from schools science examinations of vital problem-solving, critical thinking and mathematical manipulation.

However, the RSC is hardly free of blame itself. In this post we will demonstrate how the RSC is contributing to muddle-headedness in teaching. For the background, I’m grateful to a friend who works as a lab technician in an English school who brought to my attention that the RSC promotes an experiment in classrooms about the role of CO2 in ‘global warming’; details can be downloaded from the RSC website. Now, it’s one thing to jump on the global warming bandwagon to try to be ‘relevant’ and trendy; it’s quite another to be a party to promoting disinformation and claptrap about physics. The exercise in question relates to the English National Curriculum. Briefly, the trial compares the increase in temperature of a transparent plastic bottle filled with 100% CO2 and illuminated by a heat lamp, with a control bottle filled with atmospheric air under a similar lamp. As the bottle filled with CO2 is seen to warm faster than the control bottle filled with air, the inference to be drawn is that CO2 is contributing to global warming.

Now this is dumbed down science if ever we saw it, and the test is accompanied by teachers’ notes that contain falsehoods about the physics, which the teacher is encouraged to pass on to the class.

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Alchemy and science

Last night the BBC ran a news item that stated that scientists had ‘proved’ that warming in the polar regions was due to man. Well, considering that scientists have not yet proved anthropogenic global warming to be real, this would prove to be a very interesting find indeed. The findings are published in Nature Geoscience as a letter, Attribution of polar warming to human influence.

Today, the news media are saturated with the hype, from which one would think that something really significant had been discovered. I found over 150 news articles being run from all over the world.

New study another ‘nail’ in debate over warming
Done. Proven. Humans are making the Arctic and Antarctica warm up. Case closed, says an influential group of climate scientists. – Ottawa Citizen

Climate change at the poles IS man-made
Scientists refute sceptics by proving that human activity has left its mark on the Arctic and Antarctic. – The Independent

‘Mankind is responsible for the warming up of the Antarctic, not just mother nature’ scientists say
The first hard evidence that mankind is responsible for the heating up of the Antarctic has been uncovered by Met office scientists. – Daily Mail

It’s Official: People Are Warming the Poles
The verdict is in. Warming near the poles is caused by human activity, according to new research. – Discovery Channel

Man is to blame for Antarctic temperature rise
Scientists say they now have conclusive proof that warming is due to man’s influence mainly through greenhouse gases and ozone depletion. – Daily Telegraph

Humans to blame for polar warming
Evidence has emerged that human activity, not natural phenomena, is directly responsible for heating up the polar ice caps. – New Scientist

Scientific proof that humans are causing polar warming
A new research has provided conclusive proof that human activity is responsible for significant warming in both polar regions. – Indian Express

Humans Guilty Of Melting Ice Caps
It’s official – humans are to blame for melting the ice caps as natural forces are not powerful enough to do it alone, a new experiment has revealed. – Sky News

So what is this amazing ‘conclusive proof’ from this ‘new experiment’? We find that there is no genuine evidence or proof at all. Quite simply, a computer model has had various ‘forcings’ tweaked – certain input variables adjusted – and when selected variabilities of a selected set of natural variations (e.g. in the sun and volcanoes) were entered, the output did not match the observed temperature, but when selected agents such as carbon dioxide, ozone and sulphate aerosols were added at selected amounts (all variations claimed to be due to man – but this is itself disputable), the model gave the ‘correct’ results. Well, what do you know! If you construct a model that is insensitive to natural variations and highly sensitive to man-made variations, it’s no surprise that the man-made variations create the most significant effect, and practically any effect can be said to be anthropogenic (man made). The authors declare:

We compare observed temperatures with simulations from four CMIP3-coupled climate models…To objectively test for the presence of an anthropogenic or natural response in observations of polar temperature, we use a detection and attribution analysis to compare simulated and observed changes. Such methods, first developed to detect anthropogenic influence on global temperature, have more recently been used to detect anthropogenic influence on temperature on continental scales.

But this is junk science. No climate model has in the past been anywhere close to predicting (i.e. arguing from causes to effects) what will happen to temperature as the variables are adjusted, so climate models are, to date, proven to be completely useless as models of reality. And analysis methods might very well have been ‘developed to detect anthropogenic influence on global temperature’, but they have spectacularly failed to be of any use in that for which they were developed used in conjunction with computer models. Therefore, arguing backwards via a flawed model and/or analysis from effect to cause is insanity, and any claim based on climate models that a certain observed phenomenon is caused by a certain ‘forcing’ (in this case man-made) is certainly spurious – be sure of it.

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A Fortunate Mistake

I return to the issue of the history of climate change ‘science’. The article in the October BBC History magazine by Dr Paul Parsons is a mass distortion of history and science. We gave one example in the post Convenient Lies.

One of the authorities underpinning this article is Spencer Weart, Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics. It looks as though Parsons has cobbled together most of his article from Weart’s book The Discovery of Global Warming. Weart, for his part, has attracted public funding to the tune of $184,177 for studies in the ‘history’ of climate change. One would expect better value for money, because out of such studies emerges a string of scientists with phoney ideas and methods who are now hailed and adopted by the climate alarmists as visionaries because they ‘predicted’ anthropogenic global warming. One such is Guy Stewart Callendar (1898-1964), the steam engineer and amateur meteorologist.

Even the American Meteorological Society have been sucked into this. In 2006 they published The Callendar Effect with the blurb

This is the untold story of the remarkable scientist who established the carbon dioxide theory of climate change. Guy Stewart Callendar discovered that global warming could be brought about by increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide due to human activities, primarily through burning fossil fuels.

But as meteorologists should know, climate warms and cools dramatically quite independently of man’s activities. At the beginning of the nineteenth century the problem was cooling, leading to serious crop failures, riots, and mass migrations, and, in 1816, the famous ‘Year without a Summer’. We are still, in our present day, recovering from these low temperatures, which caused great hardship and famine.

The view from North America in 1818 makes fascinating reading (fuller details at the bottom of the post):

But what may be considered as coming more home to the present generation is, that on ground where the vine once flourished, even the apple has of late years scarcely ripened. It is now sixteen years since the orchards have afforded a plentiful crop.
We are not however, it seems, alone; for in all the northern parts of our hemisphere the mean annual temperature is on the decline: and…in mountainous parts of Europe the accumulation of ice and snow is very sensibly increasing… From America, too, we learn, that, in consequence of the coldness of the seasons, Indian corn will no longer ripen in New England, and that the farmers have consequently taken to the cultivation of wheat, which has succeeded so well as to render it likely to supersede maize.

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