Amazing Tale of Two CO2 Graphs
The most politically charged topic in science is climate change. It should be a matter of pure science, but it isn’t.
That is because human-caused global warming (AGW) theory was invented by a political organization with a vested self-interest… The United Nations.
The UN not only invented the theory, but proposes solutions to fix the problem costing $100s of trillions of dollars that it can siphon off to help the emerging nations.
Since the UN blames the developed nations, it passed the legally binding Kyoto Agreement to force them to reduce their “carbon pollution”. Those same nations must also pay emerging nations to offset their costs for fighting human-caused global warming. The UN is uniquely qualified to conduct that symphony.
In politics, truth – even scientific truth – is often misrepresented to achieve a political goal.
That’s the lesson learned from a tale of two CO2 emission graphs plotting the same data!
The Heart of AGW Theory
Here are two graphs plotting exactly the same set of carbon dioxide (CO2) data. Click on either one to see full sized views.
The data begins in March 1958 when Mauna Loa Observatory first started taking readings.
The left graph is one of the most famous global warming graphics in the world. The one on the right isn’t. That is because the right-side graph is author-made and plotted just this morning from imported NOAA data.
Both graphs plot the amount of atmospheric CO2 (in parts per million) measured at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory. Both plot the same data in the same units from the same source.
The left-side graph is so fundamentally important to AGW theory that it is among the very first shown in the IPPC’s shiny new climate report, “Summary for PolicyMakers”, in Figure SPM.4.
It is crucial because, according to the IPCC, the rise in atmospheric CO2 is the main driver of climate change since 1950.
The left-most plot and the data that it comes from are published by NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory under “Trends in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide“.
Astonishing to number geeks, NOAA does NOT publish this data in tabular format for ready use in spreadsheets. They publish it as strait text. How crude!!!
As author, I first converted the 655 text lines and 4,585 data elements into spreadsheet format before proceeding. That was the hardest part, but made easy knowing tricks of the trade. 🙂
Why is the Author Graph Flatter??
Ahhh… therein lies the rub! The rightmost graph is way flatter!!
The author plot is flatter because it properly uses ZERO ppm as its y-axis starting point, not 300 ppm as NOAA does. It’s better because it visually displays the accurate rate of CO2 increase. That is the whole purpose of the author graph.
The NOAA plot is perfectly fine for an audience of scientists. They understand that its y-axis starts at 300 ppm. They know that it makes the graph look much steeper than it really is.
Non-scientists like politicians, policymakers and the general public who are the UN’s target audience for the graph do NOT understand. They see a steep graph like that and exclaim, “Oh My Gawd! We’re all gonna die!!”. Newspapers, magazines and TV news reports stoke the flames by republishing the NOAA graph countless times for their non-scientist audiences.
Its no wonder the average person thinks greenhouse gas buildup is going upwards at breakneck speed. NOAA’s plot makes it look that way.
But if non-scientists saw the realistic author graph then they’d say, “Heck, that ain’t so bad”. And they’d be right.
Besides a couple cosmetic differences, like the title, the author graph is the same scale as the NOAA graph for a true apples-to-apples comparison.
The NOAA graph, though, is two plots in one. The red squiggly line is made from monthly measurements and the other black line shows the yearly mean average.
The unneeded black yearly plot would wash out the monthly data in the flatter author plot, so it was omitted.
The red lines are squiggly because of growing season cycles. That is when plants absorb a lot of carbon dioxide. Other “carbon sinks” contribute.
The IPCC vs. The Real World
Lets be clear. Global warming is real. Atmospheric CO2 has been rising and it is a greenhouse gas that can trap heat and make the earth warmer. The signature of human-activity in the CO2 is present.
Earth’s measured temperature has risen about 0.85°C since 1850, according to the latest IPPC report just released. Since 1958 It has risen 0.5°.
Therefore, it’s logical to think that human-caused CO2 is to blame.
That being said, very little in AGW theory is based on actual measurements. Its forecasts are from models whose predictive track record since 1988 have been abysmal. The newest IPCC report is chucked full of Rube Goldberg explanations for model prediction failures.
For the sake of discussion, though, let’s assume that AGW theory is correct and that all CO2 and temperature increases are human caused.
Given that, what does real world data, not the models, tell us about future global warming?
According to NOAA’s Mauna Loa data, CO2 has increased by 21% in the last 55 years. That means, at it’s current unchecked rate, it will double 1955 levels in the year 2171.
It has a wide range, but the IPCC says doubling carbon dioxide will raise earth’s temperature by about 2.7°C.
In 1958, the earth’s average global temperature was around 14.0°C. Now, in 2013, the current Earth temperature is 14.5°C. Earth’s global temperature has risen +0.5 degrees in 55 years.
The IPCC has targeted a +2°C threshold as the maximum safe rise in earth’s temperature before irreversible effects start.
At the current rate of temperature increase the +2° threshold will be reached in the year 2178… 165 years from now. And that is if we do nothing.
Mother Nature and the IPCC disagree. IPCC models say climate changes will arrive much sooner than fundamental measurements indicate.
NOAA’s graph makes the IPCC look credible. The author graph provides visual confirmation of nature’s handiwork.
Nature tells us that destructive climate change is a more distant proposition than IPCC models predict. No rise in earth’s temperature in over 15 years suggests IPCC models are flawed..
Who are you gonna believe, Mother Nature or IPCC computer models?
That is the $580 trillion question.