Home > analysis, controversy, Modelling > Strong evidence for linear law removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide

Strong evidence for linear law removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide


Figure 1


Figure 2

Figures 1 and 2 are demonstrating both northern[1] and southern[2] hemisphere decay from a Dirac injection[3] of a test signal. The consequent effect is very close to perfectly linear, proportionality between pressure and effect of pressure over more than an order of magnitude of data variation (hence linear law). This seems to destroy IPCC claim of a non-simple law. Deviation is <1%

In addition the effect is a simple low pass filter on all kinds of atmospheric carbon dioxide. A later article might cover this in detail.

There are few readily available 14CO2 datasets.

Figure 1 is as labelled, from inside the Arctic circle near to the Soviet test site at Novaya Zemlya. Figure 2 from New Zealand, nearer to western test sites and differing in largely ocean environs. Both data are irregularly sampled, both have non-trivial breaks, both have changes in the method of collection and sample measurement. For example, the Norwegian data used the older decay event counting where later on the count integration period was increased to 4 days. This may account for the slight change in the apparent noise level.

Normal circumstances

The earth is irradiated by cosmic rays, a few of these impact atmospheric atoms, in these case the important one is nitrogen, breaking out a proton and then it is literally transmogrified into an isotope of carbon, carbon 14. (12, 13 and 14 exist)

Free carbon and free oxygen will combine in the atmosphere forming a molecule of radioactive carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere as well as interchange mechanisms being present.

The data has been compensated for the slight removal by radioactive decay (half-life ~6ky, back to nitrogen), diffusion present in the collection mechanism (chemical capture) and reference change. (data [1] presents both raw and compensated)

As a consequence of this, air contains a very small proportion of 14CO2, the amount set by a balance between formation and removal.

There are three removal mechanisms

  1. radioactive decay , this is negligible because 2 and 3 dominate for the atmosphere
  2. update by photosynthesis where the 14C is combined into new molecules which are part of dead plant, or shell or whatever
  3. dissolves in water, such as the ocean

2 and 3 are interchanges with CO2 also being emitted

At this point I need to mention the matter of fossil fuel usage. Because of it’s age it contains near zero 14C and therefore usage dilutes atmospheric 14CO2, leading to a reduction in the isotope ratio in the atmosphere. The effect is small and contentious.

The bomb spike

Decode of the exponential decay is simply done as a linear regression on the natural logarithm of the Y data. I chose 1966 as the start to avoid the excess annual variation. r2 of fit is 0.99 in spite of the additional excess injection by later bomb tests (which will elevate levels slightly)


Figure 3

A simple graphic method of determining time constant is take the tangent of the curve and measure the time to origin. In this case is broadly based on the Norwegian data.

Roughly, northern ~15 years, southern ~17 years, near enough the same. Both are R2 > 0.99 of exact law.

The bombtest curve and its implications

IPCC etc. insist CO2 remains in the atmosphere for a very long time yet that is in bald conflict with the curves shown, particularly an assertion of an elevated oceanic impedance to flow.

There is no sign of further time constants in these results, which would result in curvature.

A typical example of establishment thinking is here at Yale

It turns out that while much of the “pulse” of extra CO2 accumulating in the atmosphere would be absorbed over the next century if emissions miraculously were to end today, about 20 percent of that CO2 would remain for at least tens of thousands of years.

State lifetime 5 to 200 years and note “c”

c No single lifetime can be defined for CO2 because of the different rates of uptake by different removal processes.


So how does bomb CO2 distinguish?

This brief PDF says 400 years

If these plots are taken at face value?

There are two recent collections of PDF produced by specialists in slightly different fields, both strongly disputing the establishment opinion.

Readers may have seen both.

The first a trio of on-line papers by “Gösta Pettersson, Chemical Center, University of Lund, Sweden”, where someone has published on a blog about page

Gösta Pettersson, born Nov 24 1937

Professional carrier at the University of Lund, Sweden

Ph D in biochemistry 1966
Professor assistant in biochemistry 1968–77
Professor in biochemistry 1978–2001

So we have a veteran biochemist. Web site is here and has been done specifically to publish these papers. I’ll put safety copies on the Talkshop.

Pettersson uses the bomb test data as part of criticism of the IPCC view on carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

I pick up specifically on page 5 of paper one, highlighting mine.

This means that the Bern model overestimates the final equilibrium amount of airborn carbon dioxide by a factor of about 15. Since the
hydrosphere is the predominant sink for an excess of atmospheric carbon dioxide, one could say that the Bern model makes carbon dioxide about 15 times less water soluble than it has been empirically established to be according to the carbon cycle data reported by the IPCC [9].

Gösta Pettersson papers
Blog site http://www.false-alarm.net/, HTML content and PDF papers.
Local copies [4]

Secondly a short while ago I highlighted a triplet of papers by David Coe [5] who has a slightly different specialism in atmospheric gases.

This work is complementary to Pettersson’s where at the end of part 3 Coe writes

In stark contrast this fingerprint evidence, along with seasonal variations of atmospheric CO 2 and O 2 and interannual variations of CO 2is explained in a rational and consistent manner by a theory based solely on the precept that transport of gases is governed simply by variations
in partial pressure between the deep ocean, the sea surface and the atmosphere.

Model used here

As with an innovative work on lunar temperature I have used SPICE to model a process where there is an exact dual in a different field, merely needing unit of measure translation.

An involved model could be derived, excellent for what-if quick investigations.

For example for illustrative purposes


Figure 4

A parametric run produces a family of curves plus one near straight line. (parametric, software repeats analysis using a range of parameter values)


Figure 5

As I mentioned, any deviation from a pure law will show curvature on a log plot. Far more complex schemes could be produced.

Post by Tim Channon

1. Norwegian data is part of the CDIAC archive

14C archived “bomb” data

14C archived complementary data for ocean content

2. Baring Head 14CO2 dataset (ascii file)

NIWA website, same data available.


WDCGG (World Datacentre for Greenhouse Gases), part of WMO (World Meteorological Organisation) is carried by JMA (Japan Meteorological Agency)[1]

“CREDIT FOR USE: This is a formal notification for data users. “For scientific purposes, access to these data is unlimited and provided without charge. By their use you accept that an offer of co-authorship will be made through personal contact with the data providers or owners whenever substantial use is made of their data. In all cases, an acknowledgement must be made to the data providers or owners and the data centre when these data are used within a publication.”

3. Dirac pulse (has other names too) is a theoretic concept, an infinitely large and short pulse which acts to stimulate an associated system, responding in some dynamic manner from which information can be deduced about the system. Classic example is the man who taps railway wheels and listens to the result, looking for cracks in the steel.

4. Copies of Gösta Pettersson papers

paper1 paper2 paper3

5. Coe papers
Original article here http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/coe-on-ocean-co2-regulation-ipcc-flat-wrong/

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