From "The Science is Settled" Department

Hang on a minute – the debate’s over, you denier you. Science is settled. Move on, nothing to see here. That’s what the warmists want us to believe, but unfortunately, the reality is that the science is far from settled, and we know comparatively little about the immensely complex climate system and the factors that influence it.

Firstly from The Age, a tricky one for the alarmists: the Antarctic ice is melting (debatable, but let’s go with it), but the increased sea area is soaking up more CO2 from the atmosphere.

Scientists led by Lloyd Peck of the British Antarctic Survey said that atmospheric and ocean carbon is being gobbled up by microscopic marine plants called phytoplankton, which float near the surface.

After absorbing the carbon through the natural process of photosynthesis, the phytoplankton are eaten, or otherwise die and sink to the ocean floor.

The phenomenon, known as a carbon sink, has been spotted in areas of open water exposed by the recent, rapid melting of several ice shelves – vast floating plaques of ice attached to the shore of the Antarctic peninsula.

The tally is minute compared to the quantities of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and deforestation, which amounted to 8.7 billion tonnes of carbon in 2007.

But, said Peck, “It is nevertheless an important discovery. It shows nature’s ability to thrive in the face of adversity.

“We need to factor this natural carbon absorption into our calculations and models to predict future climate change,” he said in a BAS press release.

“So far, we don’t know if we will see more events like this around the rest of Antarctica’s coast, but it’s something we’ll be keeping an eye on.” (source)

Then from Bristol University comes a new study that shows that ecosystems and oceans have a far greater ability to absorb CO2 than previously thought:

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. (source)

Just goes to show how ludicrous it is of anyone, including Kevin Rudd, to say that the science is settled on climate change.

Comments

  1. I always love the rather colorful language…
    “areas of open water exposed by the recent, rapid melting of several ice shelves – vast floating plaques of ice attached to the shore of the Antarctic peninsula”.
    They are, of course referring to a couple of ‘smaller’ ice shelves on the peninsula – the bit that sticks up towards South America – and represents just 1.4% of the Antarctic landmass. While there has been some localized warming on the upper end of the peninsula the rest of the continent has been putting on ice and in 2007 reached a record extent according to satellite observations. We are, after all, talking about a land mass of around 14million sq km (about one and a half times the size of the US). Even if the IPCC predictions were true I recon we should see a total melt in about…. oh, 7,000 years!!!

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