Re: [asa] Southern Ocean Loaded With Carbon Dioxide

From: PvM <>
Date: Sat May 19 2007 - 20:19:15 EDT

On 5/19/07, Janice Matchett <> wrote:
> At 06:48 PM 5/19/2007, PvM wrote:
> Understanding the issues involved may help resolve the apparent conflicts.
> Computer models showed that the southern oceans could absorb CO2 however the
> models rely in the data to accurately predict. Seems that the southern
> oceans have already absorbed CO2 to a higher level than initially realized.
> The results show that the issue of global warming is even more dire than
> expected.
> <quote>Increased winds over the last half-century are to blame for the
> change, Le Quere said. These winds blend the carbon dioxide throughout
> the Southern Ocean, mixing the naturally occurring carbon that usually
> stays deep down with the human-caused carbon. </quote>
> I'll read the two papers and report back on full details. Science is
> seldomly learned from newspapers and press releases. ~ Pim
> @@ Oh my...
> Where to start? Earlier this month we had announcement of a previously
> unknown vortex in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, dramatically increasing
> mixing between surface and deep water -- as yet it is unknown whether this
> might increase or decrease absorption of atmospheric carbon dioxide but it
> certainly shows models do not represent the real world. If the case is one

It shows that the model which had found that contrary to previous
models, there was significant sink for CO2 present.

> of carbon being returned to atmosphere faster than previously estimated then
> the Southern Ocean never was absorbing the amount thought (the "missing"
> carbon is going somewhere as yet undetermined) or, equally likely, this
> mechanism enhances the ability of the Southern Ocean to transport carbon to
> deep ocean layers -- so the Southern Ocean is either less important for
> atmospheric absorption or it's capable of greater absorption than previously
> estimated. Both these possibilities indicate less of a "problem" than had
> been thought.

The idea was that the Antarctic circumpolar current would be able to
absorb more CO2 thus reducing the effect of human caused CO2 emissions
and the subsequent rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere.

In other words an interest idea but what was found from an inverse
model based on actual data that the CO2 uptake by the southern oceans
had not only slown down but was also approaching saturations.
That's bad news of course, since sinks would be quite welcome.

> Let's assume, for a moment, that the above hand-wringer is accurate and the
> Great Southern Ocean is saturating, coming to the end of its atmospheric
> carbon absorbing ways. Implied then is that fears of accelerating oceanic
> acidification are unfounded if the oceans absorb progressively less carbon
> from the atmosphere as they "saturate" and, contrary to recent fears, corals
> and shellfish are quite safe, well able to build their homes as they have
> for hundreds of millions of years, through vastly higher atmospheric carbon

I see, your concern is with the impact on shell fish and corals, which
are already seeing incredible levels of damage. My concern is more
with the fact that a major sink for CO2 is saturating. Sort of like
your toilet starting to overflow :-)

> dioxide levels and the current desperately low ones. Again, a claimed
> "problem" appears less than previously proposed.

An interesting jump from global warming to acidification. However what
the data show is that the southern oceans have already reached their
maximum acidification levels due to CO2

> One thing guaranteed to be endlessly reiterated will be the concept of
> 'positive feedback', the 'magnifier' required to make the negligible
> empirically measured warming from increased atmospheric carbon dioxide into

Negligible by what standards?

> a potential problem. Usually this takes the form of atmospheric water vapor
> increase as both evaporation increases and the atmosphere warms (and can
> thus hold more water vapor), resulting in an increase in the most prolific
> and important of greenhouse gases and net greenhouse effect but it can be
> and is also presented as 'loss of sinks' (absorption capacity) leading to
> more rapid increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide leading to increase in
> greenhouse effect. No one actually knows the net sign of Earth's total
> greenhouse feedback mechanisms but the global warming industry always uses
> positive factors with a median estimate of 2.5 (this is how they make a
> maximum estimate of +1.2 K for a doubling of pre-IR CO2 into a 'median
> estimate' of +3.0 K). Models also use absurdly high 'climate sensitivity
> factors' in the range of 0.75 0.25 K (0.5-1.0 K) per Watt per meter
> squared change in forcing although empirical measure tells us these factors
> are 5-10 times too large. In fact there's no real need to get excited about

Those are unwarranted claims, let alone unsupported.

> models and hypothetical 'positive feedback' when we can simply observe what
> the planet does in response to an unmasked warming event and the heating and
> cooling cycle it undergoes each and every year. The bottom line is that the
> warming effect of increased carbon dioxide is small and declining.

As I stated, a totally erroneous assertion. The warming effect of
increased CO2 is perhaps 'small' by subjective standards but the
change and the increase in temperatures will likely be anything from
small. Now that yet another sink for CO2 has been removed, models will
have to be adjusted as 15% of the CO2 ocean sinks were believe to be
found in the southern oceans.

> We never cease to be amazed at the media's dutiful regurgitation of

For a moment I thought these were Janice's original arguments. What
was I thinking :-) Yet another cut and paste job she will be unable to

The fact is simple, the CO2 balance is determined by sources and
sinks, sources have been increasing and now sinks have been
decreasing. That's a real problem by any standard.

So why I Janice not concerned? She seems to be unfamiliar with the
actual data and research and is just quoting without much ability to
judge the veracity of said claims?

Augustine, move over...

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sat May 19 20:19:49 2007

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sat May 19 2007 - 20:19:50 EDT