Is Global Temperature Driving The Rise In Atmospheric CO2?

The question asked in the last posting was “ If CO2 Emissions Are Not Rising, Why Is Atmospheric CO2 Rising At “Unprecedented” Rates?” The latest news is that the human emissions are flat lining but curiously the record shows that for the last four years, the atmospheric CO2 measured at Mauna Loa, has risen faster than ever.

The warmers tell us that there can be no ambiguity about why the atmospheric CO2 is climbing. It is because the “natural” carbon in the carbon cycle is perfectly balanced and addition of unnatural carbon, in the form of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels is the cause.

For several years, several skeptics have ventured that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is due to the gradual rise of global temperatures. This thinking coincides with the results of the Antarctic Ice Core data that indicates for hundreds of thousand of years when temperature rises or falls CO2 responds to the change in temperature by rising or falling to match the temperature.

Dr. Murry Salby has been lecturing on his findings that show atmospheric CO2 coincides with changes in global temperature and shows no coincidence with increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. In a nutshell, Salby’s theory says, the rate of change of CO2 in the atmosphere can be described by an equation that demonstrates that it only depends on temperature change.

Looking at Salby’s charts***—The first chart looks at atmospheric CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa from 1990 to 2014 and the second chart looks at  fossil fuel emissions for the same period:




Beginning in 2002 (blue vertical line), one can see that the fossil fuel emissions ramped up in 2002.   But the upper chart shows the rate of change of the atmospheric CO2 continued unchanged.   The man-made global warming theory says that the CO2 from fossil fuels in the atmosphere are the cause of global warming. And that the more fossil fuels produced CO2 that goes into the atmosphere, the result is  higher global temperatures.   The warmers know that Salby’s finding are a man-made global warming theory killer.

Salby constructs a chart showing the net measured global emission of CO2 from 1980 to 2008. Salby’s data source shows 5 gigatonnes of human carbon that are thoroughly mixed with the 150 gigatonnes of natural carbon.  The net emissions are the total increase (or decrease) by year of CO2 in the atmosphere.

The following chart  shows the net global emissions increase and decrease. However the net emissions over time are slightly positive, thus the atmospheric CO2 is increasing.

15salbyWhen the human emissions (red line) are superimposed upon the net global emissions chart, one can see there is no correlation between human emissions and net emissions as shown on the following chart.

6revisedsalbyHuman caused emissions do not resemble the actual net carbon emissions.

The next chart looks at the correlation of surface temperature to net carbon emissions:

7revisedsalbyClearly the temperature is primary driver of net CO2 emissions. The natural sources of carbon emission (ocean and land) and human emissions, well mixed, increase or decrease net emissions depending on changes of the global surface temperature.

Salby’s video presentation can be viewed by clicking here. (Ignore the “Crock of The Week” comment.)  He provides much more in the way of explanation than I have space to use. Further he looks into the issue of CO2 residence time in the atmosphere. The current warmer belief is that a molecule of CO2 put into the atmosphere will take 200 years to depart the atmosphere.   Salby believes the time is more in the range of 10 years or less.

Salby has not published his work in the technical journals citing his inability to access his supporting data that Macquarie University in Australia will not release. He was terminated by the University saying Salby acted improperly.   According to a number of observers, it was because he was a skeptic in among a big group of warmers. Further, assuming Salby is right, it could probably blow up the theory of man-made global warming .  This site prefers to use peer reviewed science where possible, hence I had not previously not written about Salby’s concepts. He is not without independent review, however, with a recent posting on The Hockey Schtick titled: “ Swedish scientist replicates Dr. Murry Salby’s work, finding man-made CO2 does not drive climate change”


***Pardon the look of the charts and the space used .   They are screen captures from his video presentation.



One response to “Is Global Temperature Driving The Rise In Atmospheric CO2?

  1. Here’s the textbook version (literally) of what you’ve written above. Excerpts from Dr. Salby’s 2012 college level textbook Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate

    “Together, emission from ocean and land sources (∼150 GtC/yr) is two orders of magnitude greater than CO2 emission from combustion of fossil fuel. These natural sources are offset by natural sinks, of comparable strength. However, because they are so much stronger, even a minor imbalance between natural sources and sinks can overshadow the anthropogenic component of CO2 emission.” pg. 546

    “The vast majority of that [greenhouse] warming is contributed by water vapor. Together with cloud, it accounts for 98% of the greenhouse effect.” pg. 249

    “Surface temperature depends on the atmosphere’s optical depth. The latter, in turn, depends on atmospheric composition through radiatively active species. Water vapor is produced at ocean surfaces through evaporation. Carbon dioxide is produced by decomposition of of organic matter. These and other processes that control radiatively active species are temperature dependent.” pg 249,250

    “The resemblance between observed changes of CO2 and those anticipated from increased surface temperature also points to a major inconsistency between proxy records of previous climate. Proxy CO2 from the ice core record (Fig 1.13) indicates a sharp increase after the nineteenth century. At earlier times, proxy CO2 becomes amorphous: Nearly homogeneous on time scales shorter than millennial, the ice core record implies virtually no change of atmospheric CO2. According to the above sensitivity, it therefore implies a global-mean climate that is “static,” largely devoid of changes in GMT and CO2. Proxy temperature (Fig. 1.45), on the other hand, exhibits centennial changes of GMT during the last millennium, as large as 0.5–1.0◦ K. In counterpart reconstructions, those changes are even greater (Section 1.6.2). It is noteworthy that, unlike proxy CO2 from the ice core record, proxy temperature in Fig. 1.45 rests on a variety of independent properties. In light of the observed sensitivity, those centennial changes of GMT must be attended by significant changes of CO2 during the last millennium. They reflect a global-mean climate that is “dynamic,” wherein GMT and CO2 change on a wide range of time scales. The two proxies of previous climate are incompatible. They cannot both be correct.” pg. 254

    “Revealed by natural perturbations to the Earth-atmosphere system, the sensitivity accounts for much of the observed variation of CO2 emission on interannual time scales (Fig. 1.43). It establishes that GMT cannot increase without simultaneously increasing CO2 emission – from natural sources.” pg. 253

    “The results for the two periods are in broad agreement. Together with the strong dependence of CO2 emission on temperature (Fig. 1.43), they imply that a significant portion of the observed increase in r˙CO2 derives from a gradual increase in surface temperature.” pg. 253

    “Warming of SST (by any mechanism) will increase the outgassing of CO2 while reducing its absorption. Owing to the magnitude of transfers with the ocean, even a minor increase of SST can lead to increased emission of CO2 that rivals other sources.” pg. 546

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