Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Oceans, Carbon Dioxide And Climate

I think the idea that the oceans dominate the global climate has a lot of merit. This is due to their immense area and volume, their heat capacity, and the ability of sea water to remove carbon dioxide by precipitating it in the form of carbonate rocks. The oceans also contain huge amounts of carbon dioxide in solution, releasing it into the atmosphere when the water warms, and absorbing it when the oceans cool. In the following article, Dr. Endersbee provides documentation showing man's influence on global warming and climate change is negligible.

Carbon Dioxide and the Oceans
Dr. Lance Endersbee in Focus
Should we try harder to understand the causes of natural climate change instead of assuming present climate change is man-made? In the past, sea temperatures were obtained from measurements by passing ships in the sea lanes of the world. It is only in the past three decades that more accurate data on sea surface temperatures has become available. The analysis of this recent data by the author shows that: � the oceans regulate the composition of the atmosphere; the influence on climate of human-generated carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is negligible; and global climate change has natural causes. The oceans and the atmosphere are quite shallow in relation to the vast surface area of the oceans.

The interaction of the atmosphere and the oceans is essentially a phenomenon of the ocean surface. It would be expected that there would be almost a direct correlation between levels of CO2 in the air and the global mean sea surface temperatures, and that is the case. It is possible to plot an experience curve of the relationship between ocean temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels. In order to do so it is necessary to recognise that the oceans have a vast storage capacity for heat and dissolved gases, and that changes are slow. On the other hand, the atmosphere has a much more rapid response time. If we use a 12-month moving average of atmospheric CO2 and a 21-year moving average of the more accurate recent data on global average sea surface temperatures, a remarkably clear experience curve is obtained. The 12-month moving average of CO2 levels filters out the variations of the annual cycle and, in related analyses, provides a view of the influence of other natural events. The 21-year moving average of sea surface temperature covers the complete solar cycle, including the change in magnetic polarity of the sun, the El Nino and La Nina influences on global climate, and recognises the vast storage capacity of the oceans for CO2 and the slow response time of the oceans.

The chart shows that the CO2 levels in the atmosphere and global average sea surface temperatures are locked together. The correlation is so firm it is reasonable to include it as a condition in the computer simulations used to study climate change.
Se larger image here

It is my view that the present fear of man-made climate change is quite mistaken. We should try harder to understand the real causes of natural climate change.

Lance Endersbee
Emeritus Professor Endersbee AO, FTSE, is a civil engineer and his early professional
career included 27 years in engineering practice followed by 13 years at Monash University. His career in engineering practice included service with the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority, the Hydro-Electric Commission of Tasmania and the United Nations in South-East Asia as an expert on dam design and hydro power development. He is now active on conceptual plans for several major new national engineering projects directed to Australian national economic and social development.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Lance is another “hmmmmmm…”

Firstly, Lance is not a climate scientist (which I’m sure is a shock to find out by this time) but a hydro engineer. Okay, so he should have some sense of how the oceans interact with the atmosphere, granted. But that’s it. He is not a climate scientist and it does not appear that he has done any real work on the subject.

Secondly, what work he has done appears to be largely what you have posted here. Nothing more. The piece reads almost like an editorial or a letter to the editor. Plus I believe he wrote it well after he retired and so it is probably not empirical science done under the auspices of a laboratory and peer-overview / review, etc. but simply an educated opinion on the subject very lightly touched upon. So it is hardly the kind of hard science one would expect applied to a debate as contentious and potentially important as this one.

I will stay away from any implications about his professional life because they are scanty (he developed a number of hydro-electric dam projects and worked as a dean of engineering) but there are sources on the net, which of course one cannot necessarily trust, that claim just the sort of conservative associations as have been objected to with other deniers before…

But most interesting, I don’t really think Endersbee is saying that there is no such thing as global warming, just that it is not so well understood yet and that we are jumping to conclusions too early…at least that is what I think he is implying here….which sounds like good advice to me.