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Published: Monday, Feb. 28 2011 6:00 p.m. MST

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Jash
Clearfield, UT

Re: Stochra

Assume our emissions and deforestation truly "are the only explanation that makes sense" for CO2 increases. How do you account for historical CO2 ppm increases from 200 to 280 ppm 300000, 200000, and 100000 years ago when we were not engaged in these activities?

Also, what confidence do we have that CO2 levels do not decrease in the ice cores over 100000 years.

stochra
Holladay, UT

To Jash - When talking about longer time scales, there certainly are other processes that affect CO2 levels. And I don't have any expertise to talk about the reliability of ice cores.

What I do know is that it is very easy to measure CO2 levels in the air - just look at the amount of absorption of certain frequencies of infrared light. And those measurements have shown that CO2 levels have increased about 25% since the late 1950s at a very steady rate.

The only hypothesis I've heard other than human activity to explain the recent increase is volcanoes. That's just silly, and it is arguments like this that convince me that those who dispute global warming have no case. Why would volcanic activity lead to a steady increase in CO2, as opposed to wild fluctuations from years when there is lots of volcanic activity compared to years where it is minimal? And why wouldn't an enormous volcano such as Pinatubo (which made St. Helens seem like a backyard barbeque) not show up as a big spike on the CO2 record?

Jash
Clearfield, UT

Re: Stochra

1) While ice core records seem to indicate a strong correlation between CO2 and temperature, changes in CO2 lag behind changes in temperature by an average of 800 years.

2) Ice core data has been shown to be more of a low frequency moving-average measurement of CO2 levels. (Van Hoof et al., 2005) In other words, large swings in CO2 levels would not have been captured in this record.

3)Plant stomata data show much greater variability of atmospheric CO2 over the last 1,000 years than the ice cores.

Needless to say, the ice core records have their flaws. 50 years from now, it will be interesting to see how modern analytical records of today compare to ice core records correlating with today.

I do not debate that global temperatures and CO2 levels are increasing. I do debate the two theories most commonly implied with this data: 1) That man is forcing increases in CO2 levels and 2) That increasing CO2 levels force the global temperature to increase. Presently, these two theories are speculative at best.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Like standardized testing, global warming is a tool used to create a need for spending and regulations.

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