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Carbon delusions and defective models

By Viv Forbes - posted Monday, 11 April 2016


The relentless war on carbon is justified by the false assumption that global temperature is controlled by human production of two carbon-bearing "Greenhouse Gases". The scary forecasts of runaway heating are based on complicated but narrowly-focussed carbon-centric computerised Global Circulation Models built for the UN IPCC. These models omit many significant climate factors and rely heavily on dodgy temperature records and unproven assumptions about two trace natural gases in the atmosphere.

The models fail to explain Earth's long history of changing climates and ignore the powerful role of interacting cycles in the solar system which determine how much solar energy is absorbed and reflected by Earth's atmosphere, clouds and surface. Several ancient societies and some modern mavericks, without help from million dollar computers, recognised that the sun, moon and major planets produce cyclic changes in Earth's climate.

The IPCC models also misread the positive and negative temperature feedbacks from water vapour (the main greenhouse gas) and their accounting for natural processes in the carbon cycle is based on very incomplete knowledge and numerous unproven assumptions.

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The dreaded "greenhouse gases" (carbon dioxide and methane) are natural gases. Man did not create them - they occur naturally in comets and planets, and have been far more plentiful in previous atmospheres on Earth. They are abundant in the oceans and the atmosphere, and are buried in deposits of gas, oil, coal, shale, methane clathrates and vast beds of limestones. Land and sea plants absorb CO2 and micro-organisms absorb methane in deep oceans.

Earth emits natural carbon-bearing gases in huge and largely unknown and unpredictable quantities. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and various hydrocarbons such as ethane, methane and propane bubble out of the ocean floor, seep out of swamps, bubble naturally out of rivers, are released in oil seeps, water wells and bores, and are sometimes delivered via water pipes into drinking water. They are also released whenever carbon-bearing rocks such as coal and shale are eroded naturally, catch fire, or are disturbed by earthquakes, construction activities or mining. The vast offshore deposits of frozen methane are released naturally when geothermal heat or volcanic intrusions melt the ice containing the methane.

Earth also entombs carbon in sediments and organic matter transported from the land by rivers and buried in swamps and deltas, or swept from the land into the oceans by typhoons and tsunamis. These will eventually become limestone, shale and coal deposits probably containing fossil evidence of a long-gone human era.

Recent measurements of the distribution of carbon dioxide over the surface of the earth produced surprises – several of the heavy concentrations of carbon dioxide do not follow man's heavy industry but occur over places like the Congo, Indonesia and the Amazon (possibly seasonal emanations from soil or forests).

Earth's crust is flexed daily by the gravity-driven Earth tide – this movement opens and shuts joints and pores in rocks and soil and allows earth gases to be squeezed towards the surface. The crust is also dragged, raised and lowered by sub-surface movements, which release more trapped gases.

Volcanic activity also produces large but variable emissions of carbon dioxide, particularly if igneous rocks intrude beds of coal, oil shale or limestone. The periodic massive outpourings of undersea basalts along the mid-ocean ridges cause large oceanic degassing.

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Oceans and the biosphere are wild cards in the carbon cycle. Warming oceans, rotting vegetation, ruminants and termites all expel large and unmeasured quantities of carbon bearing gases. And cooling oceans and growing animals and plants take up carbon compounds. And if there is more CO2 in the atmosphere, oceans and plants will take up more, thus providing a natural stabilising effect. Eucalypt forests extract carbon dioxide for growth, but also emit hydrocarbons from leaves, producing the blue haze on distant hills on hot days. Soil carbon comes and goes depending on weather, biological activity and farm management practices.

Where are the measurements of the production and consumption of atmospheric carbon compounds by the vast herds of antelopes and reindeer, cattle and sheep or zebra and wildebeest? Who measures the effects of termites and locusts, droughts and floods, bushfires and biofuel plantations, bacteria and fungi, algae and krill, seaweeds and sardines, oceans and volcanoes, grasslands and forests, decomposing rocks, sedimentation and underground waters? And what about the heat, CO2 generated and waste products buried by huge cities?

Earth's total supply of carbon does not change – it just moves continually around the great carbon cycle residing temporarily as gases, liquids or solids in the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere and lithosphere.

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About the Author

Viv Forbes is a geologist and farmer who lives on a farm on the Bremer River.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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