Most of the man-made CO2 caused by man does not remain in the atmosphere, it is absorbed by the oceans and continents. Only about 45% of man-made CO2 stays in the atmosphere. However, the global-warming moonbats have suggested the ability of oceans and plants to absorb CO2 recently may have begun to decline and that the airborne fraction of man-made CO2 emissions is therefore beginning to increase causing the amount of CO2 to increase also .
Many climate models also assume that the airborne fraction will increase. For the moonbats, understanding this number is important for predicting future climate change, it is essential to have accurate knowledge of whether that fraction is changing or will change as emissions increase. Wolfgang Knorr took another look at the available data for atmospheric CO2 and emissions data since 1850, and found that some recent studies were wrong. He found that the airborne fraction of CO2 has not increased either during the past 150 years or during the most recent five decades.
The University of Bristol (Wolfgang Knorr’s school) released the following statement
New data show that the balance between the airborne and the absorbed fraction of carbon dioxide has stayed approximately constant since 1850, despite emissions of carbon dioxide having risen from about 2 billion tons a year in 1850 to 35 billion tons a year now.
This suggests that terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans have a much greater capacity to absorb CO2 than had been previously expected.
The results run contrary to a significant body of recent research which expects that the capacity of terrestrial ecosystems and the oceans to absorb CO2 should start to diminish as CO2 emissions increase, letting greenhouse gas levels skyrocket. Dr Wolfgang Knorr at the University of Bristol found that in fact the trend in the airborne fraction since 1850 has only been 0.7 ± 1.4% per decade, which is essentially zero.
The strength of the new study, published online in Geophysical Research Letters, is that it rests solely on measurements and statistical data, including historical records extracted from Antarctic ice, and does not rely on computations with complex climate models.
This work is extremely important for climate change policy, because emission targets to be negotiated at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen early in December have been based on projections that have a carbon free sink of already factored in. Some researchers have cautioned against this approach, pointing at evidence that suggests the sink has already started to decrease.
So is this good news for climate negotiations in Copenhagen? “Not necessarily,” says Knorr. “Like all studies of this kind, there are uncertainties in the data, so rather than relying on Nature to provide a free service, soaking up our waste carbon, we need to ascertain why the proportion being absorbed has not changed.”
Another result of the study is that emissions from deforestation might have been overestimated by between 18 and 75 per cent. This would agree with results published in early November in Nature Geoscience by a team led by Guido van der Werf from VU University Amsterdam. They re-visited deforestation data and concluded that emissions have been overestimated by at least a factor of two.
Knorr questions why his data is different than others, and suggests that until any carbon absorption data is used in the climate change computer models they need to reconcile the difference between the studies and figure out which is right, I agree whole-heartedly.