Sunday, April 29, 2007

Crunching the IPCC's numbers

The following analysis was sent to me by an astute reader, who is also a geophysicist, who says that he prepared this:
"only using data that the IPCC agrees with; in particular the long term global temperature and CO2 concentrations back to 1856 which have been published by them in support of their AGW premise. (The IPCC has never disagreed with the lower troposphere temperatures from satellites they only have commented on the differences between the satellite data and the land based data.)

"The kicker is that when their own data is held up to physical reality it shows their entire premise to be wrong."
The emphasis and tables have been added by me. Here are the results of number crunching of the IPCC accepted data:

The year 1990 was selected as the reference year for the Kyoto Accord.
In 1990 human emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels was 21,230 megatonnes.
In 1990 atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 354.16ppmv (year average from Mauna Loa observatory). In 1990 the global temperature was 14.075 degrees C (year average from MSU satellite data for the lower troposphere referenced to 14 degrees C for a relative absolute temperature)

In 2003 the global temperature from this satellite data dropped from 14.317 degrees C of the previous year to 14.272 degrees C. The temperature dropped again in 2004, went up in 2005, and dropped again in 2006 representing a net cooling of 0.044 degrees C over the last four years indicating that global warming is likely over.

In 2003 human emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels was 25,030 megatonnes.
In 2003 atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 375.79ppmv.
In 2003 the global temperature was 14.272 degrees C.

The year 2006 is the last complete year for these data.
In 2006 human emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels was 29,330 megatonnes.
In 2006 atmospheric concentration of CO2 was 381.89ppmv.
In 2006 the global temperature was 14.272 degrees C.
I've added this table to place the numbers side by side for comparison:

YEARCO2 emissions
CO2 concentration
Global Temp
21,230 Mtonnes
354.16 ppmv
14.075 C
25,030 Mtonnes
375.79 ppmv
14.272 C
29,330 Mtonnes
381.89 ppmv
14.272 C
Kyoto is based on the direct relationship between CO2 emissions and CO2 concentration.
From 1990 to 2003 emissions increased from 21,230 to 25,030 megatonnes or 292 megatonnes per year.
From 2003 to 2006 emissions increased from 25,030 to 29,330megatonnes or 1435 megatonnes per year.
This represents an increase in the rate of emissions of 491% (this alarming rate of increase was duly noted at the conference in Nairobi last year using 2001as the pivotal date and “over a four fold increase” stated.)

If there is a direct linear relationship between CO2 emissions and concentration then this same 491% increase should have taken place in the rate of atmospheric CO2 concentration increase.

From 1990 to 2003 the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increased from 254.16ppmv to 375.79ppmv or 1.66ppmv per year.
From 2003 to 2006 the concentration of atmospheric CO2 increased from 375.79ppmv to 381.89ppmv or 2.03ppmv per year.
This represents an increase in the rate of atmospheric CO2 concentration of only 22% yet the emissions rate increased by 491%.
Another table added:

PERIODCO2 Emissions
rate increase

CO2 concentration
rate increase

292 Mtonnes

1.66 ppmv

1,435 Mtonnes
2.03 ppmv
If emissions are increasing at a rate over 20 times greater than the increase in concentration then it is clear that human emissions are not primarily responsible for the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration and consequentially not primarily responsible for global warming for those who subscribe to the Greenhouse Gas hypothesis of global warming.

Since human emissions can be calculated in actual tonnage, simple algebra can show the relative contributions of CO2 to the atmospheric concentration from human and other sources.

In 2006 this equates to humans contributing 1435 megatonnes to the concentration increase and other sources presumably natural (such as out gassing of the oceans and volcanoes) contributing 4836 megatonnes.
This is a clear statement that human emissions are only contributing 29.7% of the atmospheric CO2 increase and therefore any statement that human emissions are the major cause of global warming is clearly false.

Another table added:

YEARCO2 Emissions
from Humans
CO2 Emissions
from other
1,435 Mtonnes4836 Mtonnes

The sharp increase in human emissions took place in 2001 as was pointed out by the IPCC. If the same calculation is done using the 5 years before and after 2001 the human emissions contribution to the atmospheric concentration is reduced to 27%, and if the natural emissions are increasing as would be suggested by out gassing theory this number would be reduced even further.

All of the predictions for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2050 or 2100 are based on emissions not actual measured atmospheric CO2 concentration.
The 2006 concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is 381.89ppmv and the increase from 2005 was 2.15ppmv with the rate increasing at 0.15ppmv/year each year.
In 2050, 44 years from now, the concentration will have increased by 101.2ppmv to 483.1ppmv which is far from a doubling of 760ppmv, and even in 2100 the concentration will only be 598.1ppmv.

Quite simply, the actual physical data indicates that even if we increase our emissions at our current alarming rates we will have met the concentration objectives of the Kyoto Accord by staying well under a doubling of atmospheric CO2 by 2100.

The global temperature change as a function of human emissions is a further indication that the premise for Kyoto is wrong.
The global temperature increased from 1990 to 2003 from 14.075 to 14.272 degrees C or about 0.015 degrees C per year.
The global temperature was exactly the same in 2003 and 2006 indicating zero increase between those years.

Remarkably the zero increase in global temperature took place when the emissions were increasing at over 20 times the rate for the period that the temperature was increasing at 0.015 degrees C per year. By any scientific standard this would negate any possible correlation of human CO2 emissions with global temperature change.

In fact the temperature data over the last 150 years compared to the CO2 concentration data as presented by the IPCC prove that CO2 concentration itself cannot be correlated with global temperature changes.

A close inspection of the temperature graph will show that instead of a continuous temperature rise since the turn of the century there are two almost linear trends of global temperature increase separated by the well documented minor cooling that took place from about 1943 to 1975. The trend from 1975 to 2006 has a slope of about 0.02 degrees C per year. The earlier trend from about 1911 to 1943 also has the near identical slope of 0.02 degrees C per year.

The change in atmospheric CO2 concentration as presented by the IPCC shows an increase of less than 0.3ppmv per year from 1911 to 1943 but that rate increases by over 6 times to just under 2ppmv per year from 1975 to 2006.

PERIODChange in CO2
concentration per year
Change in
Temperature per year

0.02 C
0.02 C

If two concentration rate increases, one six times the other, produce the same rate of temperature increase there are only two possible conclusions; either there is no relationship between CO2 concentration and global temperature; or there is such a rapidly decreasing exponential relationship that it would take several doublings of CO2 concentration to achieve the same amount of temperature increase that occurred from 1975 to 2006.

(While the first conclusion that there is no relationship between CO2 changes and global temperatures is more likely, the second possible conclusion points to the likelihood that the parts of the 4.2micron band and the 13.5micron band that are unique CO2 infrared radiation capture are nearly saturated and additional CO2 concentration has progressively less an less effect in a decreasing exponential fashion.)

In Summary the actual physical data used by the IPCC clearly demonstrates that:
  1. Human emissions are not the primary source for increased concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere and in fact represent less than 30% of the contribution.
  2. Human emissions cannot be responsible for global temperature changes.
  3. Changes in concentration of atmospheric CO2 have virtually no effect on global temperature.
This simple demonstration of basic science using IPCC data begs the question why was this not done by the IPCC scientists who are all top scientists more than capable of recognizing these simple shortcomings of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis?
The short answer is that the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) is not a scientific entity, but a political body. And it's politicians like Mr. Dion, Ms. May, Mr. Layton, Mr. Duceppe and now, sadly Mr. Baird who don't want to recognize these simple shortcomings of the global warming crusade.



Phil_B said...

Re: CO2 global temperature relationship.

Any scientist should know that, while correlation does not prove causation, the absence of correlation is conclusive proof of the absence of causation.

You rightly conclude that without correlation it is not possible for CO2 levels to be the primary driver of climate change (observed temperature increases).

BTW, good post.

Phil_B said...

Re-reading this, I'm not clear where the 4836 megatonnes from natural sources comes from?

I'd also add that the estimates for anthropogenic CO2 emissions are heavily biased toward industrial and consumer emissions.

Global agriculture has a huge and almost completely unmeasured effect on CO2 levels. It probably makes up a large part of your 'natural' sources.

Richard S Courtney said...

The analysis and the comments ignore the fact that IPCC knows that atmospheric CO2 concentration and mean global temperature do not correlate. The IPCC uses a 5-year running average to create an apparent correlation.

I described our carbon cycle model results (Rorsch A, Courtney RS & Thoenes D, 'The Interaction of Climate Change and the Carbon Dioxide Cycle' E&E v16no2 (2005)) in my presentation to the climate conference in Stockholm (September 2006). Its synopsis says;

It is commonly assumed that the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration during the twentieth century (approx. 30% rise) is a result of anthropogenic emissions of CO2 (1,2,3). However, the annual pulse of anthropogenic CO2 into the atmosphere should relate to the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere if one is causal of the other, but their variations greatly differ from year to year (4). This presentation considers mechanisms in the carbon cycle and uses the model studies of Rörsch et al. (2005) (4) to determine if other factors may be significant contributors to the observed rise to the atmospheric CO2 concentration. These considerations indicate that any one of three natural mechanisms in the carbon cycle alone could be used to account for the observed rise. This indicates that the observed rise may be entirely natural; indeed, it suggests that the observed rise to the atmospheric CO2 concentration most probably is natural. Hence ‘projections’ of future changes to the atmospheric CO2 concentration and resulting climate changes have high uncertainty if they are based on the assumption of an anthropogenic cause.

And in that presentation I said;

Figures 1 and 6 provide an apparent paradox. The annual anthropogenic emission of CO2 should relate to the annual increase of CO2 in the atmosphere if one is causal of the other but Figure 1 shows these two parameters do not correlate. However, Figure 6 shows that – using each of these different models – we were able to model the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere as being a function solely of the annual anthropogenic emission of CO2. It is important to note that we did not use any ‘fiddle factors’ such as the 5-year-averageing used by the IPCC (that cannot be justified because there is no known physical mechanism that would have such effect).

The apparent paradox is resolved by consideration of the calculated equilibrium CO2 concentration values, Ce. These are shown in Figure 7. Each model indicates that the calculated CO2 concentration for the equilibrium state in each year is considerably above the observed values. This demonstrates that each model indicates there is a considerable time lag required to reach the equilibrium state when there is no accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere. In other words, one has to reckon with a considerable time lag to reach the equilibrium state Fa = 0 when Fin increases to a certain value with increasing Fem. As Figure 2 shows, the short term sequestration processes can easily adapt to sequester the anthropogenic emission in a year. But, according to these models, the total emission of that year affects the equilibrium state of the entire system. Some processes of the system are very slow with rate constants of years and decades. Hence, the system takes decades to fully adjust to the new equilibrium. And Figure 6 shows the models predicting the atmospheric CO2 concentration slowly rising in response to the changing equilibrium condition that is shown in Figure 7.

Vanity said...

Sorry folks, the trian has left the station. Billions of dollars can be made in carbon offsets by many powerful corporations and governments.
There could be 14 inches of snow in Miami and there would still be consensus on global warming.

Paul Maynard said...


I am not a scientist but I just wonder how, even for industrial emissions, there can be such precision in the amount of CO2. Are these numbers derieved from models?

Jonathan as you are focusing on the stats you should look at Climate Audit by Steve McIntyre and a book I'm reading at the moment, Useless Arithmetic - Why Environmental Scientists Can't Predict the Future by Pilkey and Pilkey-Jarvis. It starts off well but then loses the plot on SLR and CC eh bien


Anonymous said...

Shoes says

If the IPCC is reporting global average temperatures from surface temp records to 3 decimal points, that is sufficient reason to ignore them.

Floccina said...

I am not a believer in AGW (Athropogenic Global warming) but I think that I know what they would say to this analysis. They would say you used too small a time frame. There is too much random noise in such a small time frame. I have to agree with them on that. Now when the AGW believers say that the last few years where the warmest ever I tell then the same thing, too small a time frame, there is too much random noise in such a small time frame. It does not prove anything. Unless they knew ahead of time how warm the climate would have been absent the human added co2 the current temperatures give very very little evidence for or against AGW.

Jim Clarke said...


I am curious to know what it is in the real world you are referring to when you say "...the short term sequestration processes can easily adapt to sequester the anthropogenic emission in a year."

How can they continually do this year after year, only to release this newly sequestered carbon back into the atmosphere at a fairly constant rate, regardless of the magnitude of human emissions?

Is this a modeled theory based on assumptions, or have these processes actually been identified, measured and quantified in the real world?

Steve Bloom said...

Well, Jonathan, I have to say this brought me up short:

"If there is a direct linear relationship between CO2 emissions and concentration then this same 491% increase should have taken place in the rate of atmospheric CO2 concentration increase."

Nobody has ever argued such a thing. I think you need to go find out why. Hint: Look at the global carbon budget numbers. This also pertains to the issue that Jim Clarke raised.

Also, I didn't check but are those MSU temp numbers from UAH? I don't think the IPCC uses those, and in fact there are serious questions about the reliability of any of the MSU data. In any case you should identify your data sources.

Jonathan Lowe said...

fair enough steve bloom,
this wasn't actually my analysis but was sourced from another website (as given down the bottom). The source is from here: