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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Webster's Follies

The relationship between atmospheric CO2 and temperature is a touch complicated.  The cause and effect can easily be confused.  The chart above is CO2 from the EPICA Ice Core with Southern Ocean temperature reconstructions collected at two depths compared with the Tropical Eastern Pacific Bottom temperature of the ocean.  The Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP)is an important region because the Antarctic circumpolar current (CPC) can vary at the Drake Passage between South America and the Antarctic causing huge changes in the deep oceans currents and mixing of the ocean heat at different depths.  The change in the TEP Bottom temperature is small compared to the surface temperatures.  In the chart, the TEPBT is multiplied by 4 and inverted to produce the fit of the curves.

The data here indicates that deep ocean mixing and the CPC are major factors controlling Southern Hemisphere CO2 Concentration.  Since CO2 is a fairly well mixed gas, then the CPC and deep ocean mixing would play a major role in regulating global CO2.

Webster, a denizen on Dr. Judith Curry's Climate Etc. blog has meticulously calculated the CO2 uptake of the oceans and the rate of heat diffusion into the global oceans without considering the mixing that occurs in the southern oceans.  That would make his work useless, but humorous :) 

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