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Discussion > Headlines, much bigger than the story

: CO2 Now over 400ppm !
: Arctic Ice Free NOW !

- GreenTeam journalists have already got these stories in the computers, ready to press send. (They will of course be illustrated by steam coming off cooling towers & cute polar bears)

- CO2 is near 400ppm at the beginning of May, "so that means continue up, maybe 405ppm in June etc." Err NO.. when you check the graph you see that CO2 reaches a peak at the beginning of May each year (almost always an increase on the previous year), but then it drops down.
(actually the daily average number seemed to peak last week so it may not cross 400 until next year.
... and anyway daily averages don't count "Day-to-day numbers can fluctuate due to variations in the air masses moving over Hawaii. That’s why researchers look at monthly averages which tend to smooth out these synoptic events")
.. see the 2 year graph

- OK what about those predictions "Arctic will be Ice Free by X year". (One BBC prediction is 2013) "So that means that there will be no ice in the Artic ocean and you'll easily be able to sail from Scotland to cross the North Pole... and that's it after then there'll be no more ice in the Artic as the world get's warmer and warmer"
..Err NO 2 big problems there.
1. "Ice Free", doesn't mean "Ice Free". It's is a technical term meaning ice down to less than 1 million square Km from annual peak or about 15m SqKm
2. The predicitions don't apply to the whole year, but rather the moment at the middle of September when the years accumulated heat makes an ice minimum.
- Activists who believe the meme "Artic is melting" think that since there has been a downward trend coverage gets less and less each year. However it seems it has low years then recovers, but these pessimists never predicted any recoveries hence their way off forecasts.
(The graph shows 2012 was a recent low of 3m sqKm, which is about half the 27 year average, it was low also in 2007, but other recent years were all above 4m sqKm)
... The Met-Office has recently changed their forecast from 2020 to 2060-80

References : The keeling Curve shows the pattern of CO2 at Mauna Loa Observatory : Daily Twitter update
: The WUWT sea-ice reference-page

May 4, 2013 at 12:05 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Oh ..does anyone know why CO2 reaches a peak in the atmosphere at the beginning of May each year ?
- I might guess that since most CO2 "lives" in the ocean, and most of the ocean is in the southern hemisphere, that is when the ocean contains most heat having accumilated it through the southern summer and the entrapped CO2 has a higher chance of escaping ..but me I know nothing.

May 4, 2013 at 12:53 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

StewGreen CO₂ is absorbed by plants in summer when they grow; in winter the leaves fall and CO₂ is released. Winter is over by May. There is much more vegetation in the northern hemisphere. Fill in the gaps.

On ice, you made no mention of decreasing ice thickness - ie the continual reduction in multi-year ice.

May 4, 2013 at 1:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

That should read, the northern winter is over by May.

May 4, 2013 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

Yawn .. has anyone got a credible answer ?

May 4, 2013 at 3:32 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Stew, I think BB is right. There's more land mass in the NH and hence more photo synthesis, which is greater in the NH summer. Absorption and emission by the SH summer may play a role too.

May 4, 2013 at 5:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeremy Harvey

Oh you wanted the credible answer, why didn't you say? Mauna Loa is a volcano and everyone knows that volcanoes expire CO₂ from October to May and inhale from June to September. So the variation is due entirely to volcanic respiration, as it is known. It is also a little known fact that the mountain goat population on Mauna Loa has exploded in the last half century going from a few hundred in the middle of the 20th to many thousands today, increasing at a constant rate throughout the period. The increase in CO₂ measured by the observatory is the direct result of the increase in mountain goats. Worldwide, levels CO₂ measured in reliable facilities not situated on volcanoes and without mountain goats (for example at the Watts chain of observatories) are constant and vary neither seasonally nor anually.

May 4, 2013 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitBucket

@Jeremy Harvey yes I note that 's what Wikipedia says, but Is more CO2 absorbed by land based plants than the sea, ? I heard it was the other way around that most photsynthesis biomass is in the ocean : plankton/photosynthesising bacteria etc.(which grow and reproduce rapidly, so a small mass can have a fast rate of primary production.....Prochlorococcus is possibly the most plentiful species on Earth)

..As I understand it ALL biomass (plant, animal and bacteria) absorbs CO2 quickly as it grows & emits it as it rots slowly, so I would expect the peak of CO2 locked up in biomass in the Southern hemiphere to be March/April after that the biomass is dying so emitting more CO2, than absorbing until its peak in its Spring September
(As Much as 1/3 of Earth's Biomass Lives Beneath the Ocean Floor

1 - A point the activists could make is that most people live in the NH and so emit more CO2 in heating during the NH winter.. so their heating CO2 starts falling in the NH Spring

May 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterstewgreen

I predicted that Co2 might not reach 400ppm this year
but I forgot that in Climate Science figures can be magically ADJUSTED upwards after the event

May 5, 2013 at 3:45 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Butt, you've goat to be kidding BB!

May 6, 2013 at 12:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoyFOMR

Scripps have just issued a post saying Ocean CO2 doesn't make it into the atmosphere.
- They are the experts, and normally I trust experts.. but when it comes to Climate Science, that's not enough as there have been so many cheats in the past.

- They are pretty certain about it : "At all sites, there is an accelerating upward trend in CO2 levels driven mostly by fossil fuel burning. "
hang on I just checked the signature at the bottom : "Kelley Gallagher is a fourth-year student "

May 9, 2013 at 2:54 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Anecdotal evidence from my environment suggests that the mini ice age we have been experiencing in the the NH has caused the trees to bloom a good few weeks later then normal. Surely this has had a material effect on the peak CO2 value for 2013, as photosynthesis kicked in later than normal and so a higher peak was possible?

May 16, 2013 at 12:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR