December 4, 2009
Greenhouse Gas Observatories Downwind from Erupting VolcanoesBy Andrew Walden
Problems in the collection of atmospheric CO2 data parallel other absurdities in the global warming fraud. The Climategate scandal is exposing the massive and systematic fraud behind the fabrication of the worldwide temperature record necessary to make the case for global warming. But what about the record of atmospheric CO2?
The U.S. NOAA openly admits to producing a CO2 record which "contains no actual data." NOAA temperature stations sited in ways that artificially inflate temperatures have been exposed over the past two years. CO2 observatories have similar flaws. Two of the five NOAA "baseline" stations are downwind from erupting volcanoes. All five are subject to localized or regional CO2 sources.
Climategate collaborator Dr. Andrew Manning worked with Dr. David Keeling, founder of the Mauna Loa Observatory, where atmospheric CO2 is measured. Manning, whose name appears in 37 Climategate emails, tells BBC: (emphasis added)
The goal behind starting the measurements was to see if it was possible to track what at that time was only a suspicion: that atmospheric CO2 levels might be increasing owing to the burning of fossil fuels.
To do this, a location was needed very far removed from the contamination and pollution of local emissions from cities; therefore Mauna Loa, high on a volcano in the middle of the Pacific Ocean was chosen.
Without this curve, and Professor Keeling's tireless work, there is no question that our understanding and acceptance of human-induced global warming would be 10-20 years less advanced than it is today.
Mauna Loa has been producing a readout which supports Manning's predetermined goal by showing steady growth in atmospheric CO2 concentrations since 1959. This record, highlighted in Al Gore's discredited movie An Inconvenient Truth, is known as the Keeling Curve. A graph of the curve is engraved on a bronze plaque mounted at the entrance to the Observatory’s Keeling Building, 10,000 feet above sea level on the rocky north flank of Mauna Loa. According to the Observatory website: "The undisturbed air, remote location, and minimal influences of vegetation and human activity at MLO are ideal for monitoring constituents in the atmosphere that can cause climate change."
For some reason, they fail to mention the erupting volcano next door.
In the world of global warming climate modeling, massive volcanic explosions are tied to short periods of regional or even global cooling caused by the injection of volcanic gases and particulates into the upper atmosphere. For instance, Mt. Pinatubo's 1991 explosion shot twenty million tons of sulfur dioxide into the upper atmosphere, deflecting as much as 12% of the sun's warming rays.
Just thirty miles from the observatory, Kilauea's Pu`u O`o vent sends 3.3 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. That's enough to change local CO2 concentrations without producing the kind of SO2 volumes needed to have worldwide temperature effects. Pu`u O`o has been erupting continuously since 1983. Since 2008 it has been joined by a second eruption even closer to the Observatory -- from Halema`uma`u Crater at the top of Kilauea.
The Nature Conservancy estimate of CO2 produced by human activity is roughly 5.5 tons from each of the world's six billion people. (If you exceed this amount, the Nature Conservancy will "offset" your excess carbon for a tax-deductable $20-per-ton contribution.) Pu`u O`o sends into "the undisturbed air" near "the remote location" the equivalent to yearly CO2 production from an average city of 660,000 people. Air trajectory charts show that most of the air reaching Mauna Loa Observatory first passes over Pu`u O`o and Halema`uma`u.
A USGS fact sheet produced in 2000 describes the effect of "volcanic air pollution" from Pu`u O`o. "On the Island of Hawai`i, the trade winds blow the vog from its main source on the volcano to the southwest, where wind patterns send it up the island's Kona coast. Here, it becomes trapped by daytime (onshore) and nighttime (offshore) sea breezes. In contrast, when light 'Kona' winds blow, much of the vog is concentrated on the eastern side of the island, but some can even reach Oahu, more than 200 miles to the northwest."
Volcanologists have measured CO2 concentrations as high as 48.9% at the Kilauea summit hotspot. After Halema`uma`u began erupting, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared the Big Island of Hawaii to be a federal disaster area. Forty-five of the forty-eight protea growers downwind of the eruptions have been wiped out by VOG.
In spite of the claims about "undisturbed air," there is a clear difference between eruption years and non-eruption years in the rate of growth of Mauna Loa CO2 readings.
It wasn't always easy to win funding for Mauna Loa. Climategate collaborator Manning explains: "Dave Keeling suffered many sleepless nights, even as late as in the 1990s, being forced again and again to justify continued funding of his programme." A chapter of Spencer Weart’s 2008 book The Discovery of Global Warming lionizes Keeling’s efforts. Its title: "Money for Keeling: Monitoring CO2 Levels."
But the funding did start to roll in, and Mauna Loa is no longer alone. A "global network" of over one hundred CO2 stations is now headed by Mauna Loa and four other "baseline" observatories. Their readouts are used to produce a worldwide CO2 readout called GLOBALVIEW CO2.
If localized volcanic activity is affecting CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa, why would the "global network" be following along? Perhaps it's because all of the CO2 stations -- including the NOAA's other baseline stations at the South Pole; American Samoa; Trinidad Head, CA; and Pt. Barrow, AK -- are subject to localized, and in some cases regional, CO2 influences.
CO2 produced by China's massive and growing reliance on coal is being used to justify CO2 controls on the U.S. and Europe. The Pacific bias of these five "baseline" locations is hard to miss. If one were seeking CO2 increases, downwind of China would be the place to go find them.
The NOAA's preference for warm maritime CO2 collection sites on ocean waters between 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south -- including many reached only by boat -- means that "flask network" collections are primarily conducted in highly humid areas. When the flasks are returned to Mauna Loa, the water vapor is removed by heating. This process breaks H2O out of the carbolic acid, leaving behind the CO2 to be measured in the dry air sample. Besides the South Pole, few CO2 flasks are sent to low-humidity desert areas with less airborne carbolic acid to measure as CO2. All of these variables create the opportunity for mischief.
Local CO2 consumption by photosynthesis can produce a profound daylight decline and nighttime increase in CO2 concentrations. Calculations to account for these and other local or regional fluctuations create a lot of room for "hiding the decline," "fudge factors," and the other CRU-style techniques characteristic of politically-driven "post-normal" science.
As the Copenhagen talks approach, the November 23 AP headline blares: "Mauna Loa Observatory's carbon dioxide readings near worst-case scenario." In the midst of the Climategate revelations, the AP replicates global warming front-man Geoff Jenkins' 1996 Climategate scam by releasing "projected" CO2 concentrations of 390 ppm early -- the "highest for the past million years" -- "for the silly season."
In 2008, Mauna Loa readings of 387 ppm were supposed to be "The highest in 650,000 years," according to the U.K.'s Guardian. Can't they make up their minds?
Of course, neither the AP nor the Guardian makes note of the fact that the latest CO2 increases come in the midst of a climatic cooling cycle. Nor are the "paleo"-records of CO2 "for the past million years" questioned, even as "paleo"-temperature records are completely discredited as being the fraudulent work of politically motivated hacks at the East Anglia CRU.
Instead, AP-readers are expected to trust "[t]he Mauna Loa researchers [who] extend their measurements through their 'flask network' -- containers sent to dozens of places around the world each week or carried on commercial ships so people can fill them with air and send them back to be measured for CO2 and other gases."
The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) boldly announces the methodology behind its worldwide CO2 chart created from these "Flask Network" readings:
GLOBALVIEW-CO2 is derived using the data extension and data integration techniques described by Masarie and Tans .
The impetus for the work done by the many cooperating organizations and institutions is to make atmospheric measurements of trace gas species that will facilitate a better understanding of the processes controlling their abundance. These and other measurements have been widely used to constrain atmospheric models that derive plausible source/sink scenarios. Serious obstacles to this approach are the paucity of sampling sites and the lack of temporal continuity among observations from different locations. Consequently, there is the potential for models to misinterpret these spatial and temporal gaps resulting in derived source/sink scenarios that are unduly influenced by the sampling distribution. GLOBALVIEW-CO2 is an attempt to address these issues. ...
In case readers don't get the point, the NOAA also explains (emphasis in original):
GLOBALVIEW-CO2 is derived from measurements but contains no actual data. To facilitate use with carbon cycle modeling studies, the measurements have been processed (smoothed, interpolated, and extrapolated) resulting in extended records that are evenly incremented in time.
Processed, smoothed, interpolated, and extrapolated? Data extension? Data integration? No actual data? Making atmospheric measurements that will facilitate a predetermined conclusion?
This all sounds very familiar.
Andrew Walden is editor of Hawaii Free Press.