CO2 and Temperature

By Andy May

I had a very interesting online discussion about CO2 and temperature with Tinus Pulles, a retired Dutch environmental scientist. To read the whole discussion, go to the comments at the end of this post. He presented me with a graphic from Dr. Robert Rohde from twitter that you can find here. It is also plotted below, as Figure 1.

Figure 1. Robert Rohde’s plot of CO2 versus global temperature and a logarithmic fit.

Rohde doesn’t tell us what temperature record he is using, nor does he specify what the base of the logarithm is. Figure 2 is a plot of the HadCRUT5 temperature anomaly versus the logarithm, base 2, of the CO2 concentration. It is well known that temperature increases as the CO2 concentration doubles, so the logarithm to the base 2 is appropriate. When the log, base 2, goes up by one, it means the CO2 concentration has doubled.

Figure 2. The orange line is the log2CO2, use the right-hand scale. The multicolored line is the HadCRUT5 land + ocean global surface temperature record, it uses the left scale. The different colors identify the periods shown in the legend.

In Figure 2 we can see that the relationship between CO2 and temperature is close to what we expect from 1980 to 2000, from 2000 to today, warming is a bit faster than we would predict from the change in CO2. From 1850 to 1910 and 1944 to 1976 temperatures fall, but CO2 increases. From 1910 to 1944 temperatures rise much faster than can be explained by changes in the CO2 concentration. These anomalies suggest other forces are at work that are as strong as CO2-based warming.

Figure 3 is just like Figure 2 but the older non-infilled HadCRUT4 land plus ocean temperature record is used.

Figure 3. HadCRUT4 and NASA CO2. Unlike Figure 2, this record shows the pause in warming from 2000 to 2014.

The HadCRUT4 record is not infilled, just actual data in sufficiently populated grid cells, and it shows the well-known pause in warming from 2000 to 2014, shown in green. Compare the green region in Figure 3 to the same region in Figure 2. They are quite different, even though they use essentially the same data.

So, with that background let’s look at a plot like Robert Rohde’s. Our version is shown in Figure 4. The various periods being discussed are coded in the same colors as in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 4. Our version of Robert Rohde’s plot. We use the HadCRUT5 temperatures and NASA CO2. Note NASA’s CO2 record reverses from 1941-1950. This makes the plot look funny.

The R2 (coefficient of correlation) between Log2CO2 and temperature is 0.87, so the correlation is not significant at the 90% or 95% level, but it is respectable. Here we need to be careful, because correlation does not imply causation, as the old saying goes. Further, if CO2 is the “control knob” for global warming (Lacis, Schmidt, Rind, & Ruedy, 2010), then how do we explain the periods when the Earth cooled? The IPCC AR6 report also claims that CO2 is the control knob of global warming on page 1-41, where they write this:

“As a result, non-condensing greenhouse gases with much longer residence times serve as ‘control knobs’, regulating planetary temperature, with water vapour concentrations as a feedback effect (Lacis et al., 2010, 2013). The most important of these non-condensing gases is carbon dioxide (a positive driver)”

AR6, p. 1-41

Jamal Munshi compares the correlation between temperature and CO2 to the correlation between CO2 and homicides in England and shows the homicides correlate better (Munshi, 2018). Spurious correlations occur all the time and we need to be wary of them. They are particularly common in time series data, such as climate records. Munshi concludes that there is “insufficient statistical rigor in [climate] research.”

Figure 5 shows the same plot, but using the older HadCRUT4 record, which uses almost the same data as HadCRUT5, but empty cells in the grid are not infilled.

Figure 5. The same plot of Log2CO2 versus temperature but using the HadCRUT4 record.

In Figure 5 the coefficient of correlation is worse, about 0.84. This record also has the same problem with reversing temperature trends as CO2 increases. HadCRUT4 shows the pause better than HadCRUT5, but oddly, the trend is a better match to the CO2 concentration.


I’m not impressed with Rohde’s display. The coefficient of correlation is decent, but it does not show that warming is controlled by changes in CO2, the temperature reversals are not explained. The reversals strongly suggest that natural forces are playing a significant role in the warming and can reverse the influence of CO2. The plots show that, at most, CO2 explains about 50% of the warming, something else, like solar changes, must be causing the reversals. If they can reverse the CO2-based warming and overwhelm the influence of CO2 they are just as strong.

Works Cited

Lacis, A., Schmidt, G., Rind, D., & Ruedy, R. (2010, October 15). Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature. Science, 356-359. Retrieved from

Munshi, Jamal (2018, May). The Charney Sensitivity of Homicides to Atmospheric CO2: A Parody. SSRN

Published by Andy May

Petrophysicist, details available here:

85 thoughts on “CO2 and Temperature

  1. Interesting. I wonder what sun spot activity cross plotted with “cooling” and “warming” deviations would look like?

    1. Fred, they of course indicate a correlation between solar magnetic intensity and climate.…/fs-0095-00.pdf
      “An early association between sunspots and terrestrial phenomena was the observation that the number and intensity of aurora borealis sightings were greatest during sunspot maxima when the sun was most active (active sun), and lowest during sunspot minima (quiet sun). Another terrestrial observation was that the Maunder Minimum coincided with the coldest part of the Little Ice Age.”

      What is even more remarkable is this correlation extends to the historic Japanese earthquake records. To be exact, at the end of the Little Ice Age the records that the Japanese have so carefully compiled show an abrupt increase in activity continuing to the present age.

      There were only five 8.0 earthquakes noted in Japanese records during the 265 years (1603-1868) of the Edo period. As opposed to the 11 quakes that occurred in the much shorter 161 years since 1850 (2011 Great Sendai). This works out to one single 8.0 earthquake every 53 years on average for the Edo period vs one single 8.0 earthquake every 15 years on average for the period that followed it to the most recent events.

      But what could be the connection between solar, climate and seismic phenomena?

      The answer is actually quite simple; we just don’t have the correct model for Plate Tectonics to be able to understand it. The Sun and Earth’s magnetic field generators are mutually inductively coupled, this means the Earth’s inner and outer core will respond thermally to the varying magnetic field strength of the two coupled generators. This thermal expansion/contraction requires the mantle to respond in kind, as is seen in the Japanese records. The mantle’s thickness imposes immense strain energy differential forces to its outer surface (earthquakes) that causes mantle’s surface to be stretched and torn, releasing strain energy as heat (climate warming) into the oceanic basins and volcanic boundaries (mid-ocean ridges). The increase in climate temps and earthquakes began when the solar magnetic energy began to increase at the end of the Little Ice Age.

      When the Sun and Earth’s magnetic field generator’s energies eventually lower and the mantle subsides again, the real source of the Earth’s plate movement energy is revealed, but you will just have to go to my site and read it for yourself.

      Plate Tectonics: A history of a changing climate through geologic forcing.

  2. I cannot agree with your conclusion draw from your reasoning above.
    1) R²≃0.8 (in fact 0.85 or 0.84!) means that about 80% of varations in CO₂ concentration are correlated with the variation in temperature (or the other way around). This is called “covariance” in multivariate regression analyses.
    2) About 20% of the variance in the one may be correlated to one or more other variables (air pollution, solar activity, … you name it; these can explain the deviations).
    3) This indeed is not a proof of a causal relation from temperature to CO₂ or the other way around.
    4) Applying some fundamental laws of physics (conservation of mass and energy, radiation laws of Planck and Stefan-Boltzmann) provide a mechanism that could explain why temperatures would go up if CO₂ concentrations increase.
    5) The observed (80%) covariance during 120 years (1900-2020) between CO₂ concentration and averaged global temperatures is consistent with the expectation from applying these fundamental laws of physics. Hence it provides evidence that these fundamental laws indeed explain the observed covariance.
    Causality thus follows from physics, not from statistics. In other words: statistics provides evidence supporting the understanding from physics.
    6) In science the only way to show that it is not the causal relation derived from physics (“CO₂ causes warming”) is falsification. There is no falsification anywhere for the period 1850 to present. 7) Even in these 120 years, CO₂ is not the only variable causing warming, but it is in this time period causing about 80% of the observed warming, via relatively simple physics. On geological time scales other variables may be more important.

    1. Tinus,
      The R^2 is a very poor statistic for time series data due to the danger of spurious correlation. See the paper by Jamal Munshi referenced in the post for a detailed discussion. R^2 is often misused in time series, especially in climate science. Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick have made a career on this.

      Remember homicides in England correlated better than temperature to rising CO2.

      For falsification, I refer you to:

        1. What variables would or even could cause the observed covariance (≠correlation!) to be spurious

          That is easy, correlating two time series, that both increase, always results in a spurious correlation. There are ways to analyze this and get correct statistics, but I don’t have the time now. I will do it later. For now read this:

          My understanding of multivariate statistics is fine.

          1. Tinus, Oversimplified nonsense. Earth’s surface temperature varies from over 41 degrees to less than -57 degrees on any given day. Yet you speak of it as if it were a golf ball. The circulation and heat transfer that takes place on the surface makes a huge difference in its global average temperature. Clouds, water vapor, ocean currents, and ice make a huge difference on where and when radiation is emitted from the various climate systems around the planet.

            Over longer periods of time, the position of the continents makes a huge difference. Are the tropical oceans in communication? If so the average surface temperature will be over 20C. If they are not, like today, the average temperature will be less than 16 degrees.

            The radiation leaving and received at the TOA is important, but far less important than what happens in the atmosphere and the oceans.

            You need to think before you write. And stick to the subject of the post!

        1. Tinus,

          simple fundamental laws of physics

          Please tell us all how these fundamental laws apply over the 2/3rds of the Earth’s surface that is cloudy.

          Even over the 1/3rd of the surface that is cloud free, the situation is made more complex by the behaviour of water vapour. When there are clouds, it’s the behaviour of water in its various forms that comes to dominate. Getting that behaviour right is very tricky – it isn’t clear that the general circulation models get it right – they parameterize it. I don’t think that Arrhenius in 1896 had any better understanding of what happens with respect to clouds than we do today.

          1. The clouds influence the distribution of energy within the system. Not the energy balance of the earth system as a whole. That is determined by the balance of incoming solar radiation and outgoing black body (infrared) radiation.

          2. Tinus, this discussion and the post are about the surface, NOT about the TOA. If you want to comment, keep the comments pertinent to the discussion.

        2. The clouds influence the distribution of energy within the system. Not the energy balance of the earth system as a whole.

          That statement is simply nonsense. Clouds have a bigger overall effect on the climate system than CO2 has. Clouds are fundamental to the energy flows that occur in the earth system and they have a major impact on surface temperatures. It is not possible to calculate the impact of increasing the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere without taking into account what happens in the cloudy areas of the earth – which happen to be the majority of the earth’s surface.

          Unfortunately, calculating what happens in cloudy areas is very, very complex, if not impossible.

          1. Good point. In addition, clouds also make up a significant part of Earth’s albedo. As they go up, the albedo goes up. That changes the amount of solar radiation that the surface receives.

  3. Hi Andy,
    Please download the document available here

    It’s called ‘The Movement of the Atmosphere’

    Have a look at chapter 2, 4 and 11.

    Plainly, surface temperature is determined by the flux in surface atmospheric pressure and has no relationship with CO2 whatsoever.

      1. Tinus,

        conflict with the law of conservation of energy, the first law of thermodynamics

        Clearly you do not understand thermodynamics or the law of conservation of energy. You keep saying this like a religious mantra, but never explain yourself.
        Read the definition here:

        Notice that the change in internal energy is equal to the heat added to the system and the work done. In the atmosphere, the work is the convection. Examples: wind, or rising air due to evaporation and the change in density. When GHG absorb OLR, they get excited and have more collisions, increasing the heat of the air around them, causing work to be performed. No loss of energy, but a lot of energy conversions.

        Your comments regarding the first law are utter nonsense, explain yourself clearly and stop with the epithets.

          1. You have to apply the conservation of energy at the top of the atmosphere, not at the surface of the earth, to cover the whole system.

            This is so absurd I’m speechless! Conservation of energy applies to Earth’s surface and everywhere else for that matter.

            Why would you care about what is happening at the TOA? Get with the program, this post and the whole discussion has nothing to do with TOA, we are talking about the surface and discussing measurements taken at the surface.

            I have many posts on the TOA and on satellite data, but this is not one of them. That is a different environment, there are no clouds, water vapor, or ice at the TOA. It is a radiation environment, but not pertinent to this discussion.

          2. Yes you are right, but the problem is not at the interface of the earth’s surface but at the interface between the earth system as a whole and empty space. The only possible energy exchange at that interface is by radiation.

          3. climate change problem is caused by a radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere. Whatever happens at the surface influences the distribution of the additional energy and does not repair the imbalance.

            The IPCC estimate, from a model, of the imbalance at TOA is 0.5 W/m^2. Satellite measurements are +-2 W/m^2. Thus, even if their model is correct, we wouldn’t know it. There is always an imbalance at the TOA. The average surface temperature on the surface is is just over 12 degrees in January and just under 16 degrees in July. There is never a balance. You spouting nonsense about something that can’t be measured.

            How could the imbalance cause anything? The IPCC claims that the problem is with CO2 emissions on the surface and they are horrified that the global average temperature has risen 1 degree in 170 years, it change 3 degrees every single year!

            So if you deny that there is a radiation imbalance at the top of the atmosphere, you are in conflict with the conservation law.

            I don’t deny it at all, the incoming versus outgoing radiation at the TOA is never in balance and it will never be in balance. It also doesn’t matter. The IPCC may even be correct about the average imbalance being 0.5 W/m^2, but it doesn’t matter and can’t be measured.

            That is the basic, simple physics that you apparently refuse to accept.

            Personal insults will get you nowhere here. Here you need data and good references. You claim to have a Ph.D. in physics, with what you’ve written here I would never be able to tell.

          4. Since we are talking on climate and given the time constants in much of the processes within the surface/atmosfeer interactions, you must look at the balance of averaged (multiyear) balance at the TOA. Not to short term values.

          5. OK, I do not have a plot of the net radiation at the TOA, but I do have a plot of the net cloud radiative effect at TOA from 2000 through 2019. That should be long enough. Month-to-Month it varies about 10 W/m^2 and year-to-year about 1 W/m^2. On average clouds have a cooling effect of 19 W/m^2. By convention cooling is negative so the yearly average runs around -19. Compare this to the theoretical value of 0.5.

            More details here:

          6. You make things much more complicated than necessary.
            If more outgoing infrared radiation is absorbed and partly re-emitted downwards, there is simply less radiation going out to space. That is all you need to know to understand why the radiation balance is disturbed.

            I will not answer any more remarks from you. You clearly do not understand climate science and you try to hide that by bringing irrelevant details in the discussion. I will not further respo d to your nonsense

          7. You have to apply the conservation of energy at the top of the atmosphere, not at the surface of the earth, to cover the whole system. There is no other energy or mass exchange between the earth system and the empty universe than radiative energy. So at the top of the atmosphere, incoming solar radiation must equal outgoing infrared radiation in term of Joules to reach a stable, not changing climate system. Whenever outgoing radiation is decreased, the system must warm to compensate.

            And what happens if the outgoing radiation is increased?
            You are right that the TOA is the only place where heat can be exchanged between system Earth and its environment (the Universe) and there radiation is the onliest way.
            I do not see any reason for a one-way direction.

          8. Outgoing radiation can only be increased by decreasing infrared absorbing (greenhouse) gases in the atmosphere or increasing the temperature of the earth’s surface (“black body radiation”)

            Completely false, a tiny imperceptible increase in cloud cover will reflect more solar radiation than human greenhouse gas contributions add in backradiation over the past 300 years. This is acknowledged in AR5, and probably AR6 as well, although I don’t remember seeing the statement in there. In any case, it is clearly true. If we go from 67% to 68% cloud cover, all human contributions are negated.

          9. Ah, Lucas Bergkamp, a well known science denier,.

            No name calling, Lucas is very nice and very helpful. Let’s leave epithets out of it. When you resort to them you demonstrate that your arguments are so weak, you have to make personal insults. Debate the argument, not the person.

          10. Yes, but why is the cloud cover changing? This is one of the feed back mechanisms, not the main causal relation. The main cause is the changing overall radiation balance at the TOA.
            You are confusing cause (CO₂) and effect (changing cloud cover).

            Clouds are a feedback to surface warming, they also have a large net cooling effect. Whether the feedback is cooling or warming is unknown. Actually in one cloud, different parts can be doing both. Clouds warm the surface at night and cool it during the day. The long term change in cloud cover is also unknown.

            That is why cloud feedback is the largest uncertainty in climate sensitivity to CO2, which could be either warming or cooling. 70% of the uncertainty in the IPCC’s climate sensitivity estimate is due to cloud uncertainty. The plot is made from data from Ceppi, et al, 2017.

          11. Nope, it limits warming a bit by emitting a bit more Planck radiation. But to do do, the surface must increase its temperature, otherwise Plank radiation will not increase.
            That is also where you are in conflict with a few fundamental kans of physics.

            A bit! The Plank feedback is the largest feedback! Read the AR6 plot of feedbacks I just posted.

      2. Tinus Pulles, so your appraisal of an 80 page document discussing the potential influences and effects of various climate events upon global weather is expressed in your single sentence. I’m afraid that you come across as a “science denier”.

          1. scientific studies and assessments have taken all known real and potential influences into account and have now a very well established understanding of all physics, chemistry and biology of the atmosphere and its interactions with empty space (radiation only) and within the earth system as a whole.

            Wow! You are gullible. The technical flaws in AR6 are too numerous to list, but several of us around the world are putting together a volume (perhaps volumes) to list them all in detail.

          2. Tinus, We did bring all the problems to the attention of the IPCC when we reviewed the second order draft (SOD). I suspect our comments are available on the IPCC web site somewhere. I have all of them in spreadsheet form.

            Our volume describing all the problems is being prepared. It should be out in a few months, the various chapters are being reviewed now. I wrote two of them and will review all of them, along with the other editor, Marcel Crok. It will be published by clintel ( and announced by them when it is out. I will announce it here as well.

            Nothing really to share now, although I do comment on AR6 a bit in this post on the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM):

          3. You did not bring it to the FOD?
            We’ll see your comments. If these are including similar misunderstandings and problems with fundamental physics as you have shown here, I understand why IPCC did not take your comments on board.
            I’ll wait and see what happens with Clintel’s AR6 review. I have offered to review it before publication, but did not receive an answer (, in Dutch).

          4. Climate sensitivity is measured by the data in the plot by Rohde and amounts (all included) 2.3°C for doubling CO₂ concentration.

            Already answered with a post and by Mushi’s paper cited in the post. But, as your reading skills are poor, I will translate Munshi’s slightly technical post on R^2 of two autocorrelated time series into some high school level pictures that you might understand.

            You don’t seem to retain anything and you repeat yourself endlessly.

      1. Al Gore received the Nobel peace Prize. This year’s Nobel Prize for Physics(!) Is in part for the climate models.
        Al Gore did not receive his Prize for scientific work!

          1. They are not falsified, neither by the authors you mention, nor by anybody else.

            The strange idea here is that governments would not be very happy if IPCC’s assessments were wrong. If so, governments would have a much easier job. They would not need to solve the climate problem. They would immediately discard all agreements and protocols under UNFCCC. Nobody is happy with climate change occurring.

        1. There is no falsification of these models.

          Then either you did not read McKitrick and Christy’s paper our you do not understand basic statistics. From the paper:

          “CMIP5 model runs warm faster than observations, in most individual cases the discrepancy is significant, and on average the discrepancy is significant. The test of trend equivalence rejects whether or not we include a break at 1979 for the PCS, though the rejections are stronger when we control for its influence. Measures of series divergence are centered at a positive mean and the entire distribution is above zero. While the observed analogue exhibits a warming trend over the test interval it is significantly smaller than that shown in models, and the difference is large enough to reject the null hypothesis that models represent it correctly, within the bounds of random uncertainty.”

          This is acknowledged as true in AR6. on page 3-24:

          “In summary, studies continue to find that CMIP5 and CMIP6 model simulations warm more than observations in the tropical mid- and upper-troposphere over the 1979-2014”

          They claim that they are only warming 0.1 deg. too high, but it is actually much more as shown in the attached figure from BAMS State of the Climate Report for 2019.

        2. have no evidence whatsoever that the reports of IPCC WG II (AR5, AR6 is not pobliished yet) provides an inaccurate picture of the effects of global warming.

          The proof that the AR5 and AR6 reports are incorrect is in this thread, the proof is statistically significant and, while you do not believe it, it is correct and neither you nor anyone else has disproven it. AR6 is publicly released and it acknowledges that McKitrick and Christy are correct, so does the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), whose independent plot is also in these comments. Thus, you have a lot of work to do to disprove all of them. I know of no one who agrees with you.

          Your graph on “deaths” is a clear example of cherry picking.

          Deaths are pretty important to humanity.

          Much more can be seen here:

          A Dutch lawyer helped me with the post: Dr. Lucas Bergkamp, a Dutch lawyer with Hunton and Williams, and Emeritus Professor of Environmental Liability Law at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

          The post also discusses the work of Nobel Prize winning Yale economist William Nordhaus who has shown (definitively imho) that trying to curtail fossil fuels today to prevent temperatures rising 1.5 degrees, assuming that the IPCC is correct in all respects, would cost the world 50 trillion dollars out of a GDP of 88 trillion dollars and would impoverish the entire world. He recommends mitigating to 4 degrees of warming as the economically ideal path.

          Personally, I don’t any reason to mitigate anything, since the IPCC is clearly incorrect.

        3. wrong in my simple physics explanation.

          What question have I not answered?

          All your nonsense about radiation balance is easily answered with one word “clouds.”

        4. My spell checker cheated on me, sorry. “ancient” should read “increasing” and refers to the Planck radiation that according to Wim “cools the surface”.

          Planck radiation does cool the Earth. That is a simply physical fact. Following is from AR6 and illustrates it very clearly:

        5. The simple explanation is:
          1) the solar radiation warms the earth’s surface.
          2) the warmer surface increase its infrared radiation into the atmosphere
          3) CO₂ absorps part of this radiation and re-emits it in all directions, including back to the surface
          4) the earth system as a whole then emits less radiation into space
          5) as a consequence more energy remains within the system, making it as a whole warmer.
          6) this continues until the outgoing radiative infrared energy equals again the incoming solar radiation in a new equilibrium.
          7) as long as CO₂ concentrations continue to increase, the system must increase its temperature to compensate for the increasing amount of infrared radiation that is absorbed and re-emtted by the increasing CO₂ concentration.

          All are very clearly answered, often multiple times in this thread. But, your reading comprehension is poor, so I see why you don’t think they are answered. If you read the whole thread you will see my answers.

    1. They are not falsified, neither by the authors you mention, nor by anybody else.

      I suspected you did not understand statistical analysis, now I know you don’t.

      The strange idea here is that governments would not be very happy if IPCC’s assessments were wrong. If so, governments would have a much easier job. They would not need to solve the climate problem. They would immediately discard all agreements and protocols under UNFCCC. Nobody is happy with climate change occurring.

      The governments just want more power, by pretending that fossil fuels are dangerous, and buying off developing countries with our money they can increase their power.

      Everybody should be happy with the the recent warming, I’m very happy with it. Our climate is far better than it was in the Little Ice Age, excuse me, I mean the “preindustrial.” That preindustrial Little Ice Age was the coldest period in the entire Holocene and an awful time to live.

      People go mad in crowds and only regain their sanity one by one.

        1. Nobody is happy with climate change occurring.

          Then “everyone” is going to have to be unhappy, since climate change is always occurring, on whatever timescale you care to examine. To imagine that you can stop climate change is like imagining that you can stop the tide coming in and going out twice a day. Modern politicians have much to learn from King Canute in this respect.

          What is there to be unhappy about with respect to current climate change? Despite all the hullabaloo about the 1.5C “target” ( and the 2C target before that), even if global average temperatures exceed that, the climate still will have not reached the warmest point since the end of the last ice age – that occurred in the Holocene climactic optimum several thousand years ago. Despite all the scaremongering, the Earth and humanity seemed to get through that warmth without any problems at all. It’s the subsequent cold periods that have caused all the problems.

          Meanwhile, we should all remember that we live in the middle of an ice age and the next glacial period is well due. Warming is wonderful compared with that.

          1. Tinus,

            Regarding temperatures over the past 150 years or so:

            a) We don’t know how accurate any of the global average temperature series are. One significant discrepancy is that between the UAH lower troposphere satellite data and the surface based data such as HADCrutX. Agreed that they don’t measure exactly the same thing, but they have different trends, which is surprising. The satellite data does average over the whole surface of the Earth, while the surface based data has to use various infilling techniques. I suspect that the surface based data is reading too hot.

            b) Papers such as the recent one by Willie Soon et al indicate a number of things. One is that the surface based temperature records are affected by UHI – they claim to use techniques to deal with that, but the Soon paper shows that these techniques may not be effective. The massive urbanization of the past couple of centuries has created a UHI problem for many reporting stations, causing them to read too warm. Soon’s paper also identifies that there may well be a significant solar influence on surface temperatures.

            c) The detailed examination of the past 20 years of CERES satellite data done by Vahrenholt et al (recent paper) seems to indicate that the surface temperature changes are being driven by changes in clouds, not through changes to long-wave radiation fluxes caused by increasing CO2. So “the physics” doesn’t match the theory.

            All this should serve as a warning that CO2 is almost certainly not the only influence on global climate – I don’t claim that it has no influence, rather that its influence is a lot less than is often claimed. The climate system is a complex beast and the idea that there is a single “CO2 control knob” I find incredible. It is an idea not supported by the evidence.

            As for rising temperatures “causing more and more problems for our children and grandchildren” – what do you think that those problems really are? Much of what is discussed is a pile of scare stories without any scientific basis (go read the recent IPCC report – even that admits little scientific backing for the “extreme weather” scenarios).

            I pointed out to you that even if the 1.5C “target” is breached, the Earth’s temperature will still not exceed the highest temperatures since the end of the last ice age. These occurred only some 8000 years ago (or so) – hardly “geologic timescales” – and there is little evidence that there were any “problems” that these temperatures caused our ancestors. Quite the reverse at least in some parts of the world.

            Rationally, some modest warming such as has occurred over the past 150 years is much preferable to the effects of cooling that would impact us if the climate enters a new glacial period. The “Net Zero” policy that is proposed has the potential to put us on a path back to an 1850’s climate where a downturn to the next glacial is all too possible. Our grandchildren would not praise us for achieving that.

        2. Tinus,

          Climate is changing during the last 1.5 century or so, mainly because hunans burn more and more fossil fuels, emitting fossil CO₂ into the atmosphere. If we do not end these ever growing emissions, temperature will continue to rise, causing more and more problems for our children and grandchildren.

          CO2 causes some warming, but no knows how much. Earth’s cooling processes are too complex. As Mike has written, climate change is normal and natural. This weird idea that human CO2 emissions control climate change has never been observed. Earth is unusually cold right now, 5 degrees below normal according to the Smithsonian Institution.

          The warming to date is beneficial to humanity and it will remain beneficial for the foreseeable future. If you think otherwise, you will need to prove it, and so does the IPCC and COP. There have been 6 IPCC reports and 26 COPs predicting doom, and still we are far better off climate-wise since the first ones in the 1990s. Even Aesop’s boy who cried wolf only got two cries before the villagers ignored him. Why aren’t we ignoring the IPCC and COP? The burden of proof is on them and you, my man.


          1. That is why warming of the atmosphere is not through radiation but through convection.

            ??? Convection is a cooling process.

        3. How do you explain the covariance (R²>0.8)?
          2) Is this coincidence?

          Spurious correlations are common when comparing two long, monotonically increasing autocorrelated time series. You always get a high R^2 and it takes work to see if the correlation is real. This has been done by Munshi (referenced in the post), if you had the necessary background in statistics you would already know this.

        4. 4) Why are you mentioning a possible effect variable (deaths) in a discussion on global temperatures, covarying with CO₂ concentrations? No arguments on this anymore?

          Climate deaths are down 99%, this is a measure of the impact of climate change on humanity, perhaps the most important one. It also shows the advantage of adaptation over mitigation. We have more people now, and more of us live in vulnerable areas, in more expensive homes, yet economic damage, as a fraction of GDP, is down. This is another important measure of climate impact. Much more on these topics here:

        5. Above I’ve asked you to either confirm or falsify my “simple physics” expkainig why tge erth’s surface (averaged over the globe and afew years) must increase when outgoing radiation is decreased.

          The statement is true if incoming radiation to the surface stays the same, but clouds cover 67% of the surface as you can see in the image below. The estimated imbalance in net flux at TOA is less than 0.5 W/m^2 (0.1%). This is a tiny immeasurable change in cloud cover. The imbalance, as I’ve said before is well below the accuracy of our instruments. We don’t even know whether the current imbalance is positive or negative. We assume it is positive because global average surface temperatures appear to be increasing, but the surface is a small part of the global climate system. The heat content of the lower 2 meters of the atmosphere is only 0.00002% of the total. Even the ocean mixed layer is only 2% of the total.

          Remember the climate system just went through its coldest period in the Holocene during the preindustrial period (LIA), and perhaps in the Phanerozoic during the last glacial maximum, only 19,000 years ago.


        6. “autocorrelation” completely wrong, but you also confuse some fundamental physical quantities like heat content and temperature.

          Autocorrelation is the correlation of a time series with itself, that is exactly what I meant. Most of the R^2 between two autocorrelated monotonically increasing time series is due to autocorrelation, everyone knows that. Removing the autocorrelation from both series properly is the only way to truly find the R^2.

          Exactly how did I confuse heat content and temperature? Explain.

        7. Where is the additional energy going?
          And where is the energy coming from to increase the ancient radiation from the surface?
          And if the surface cools, how can Planck radiation increase (to cool it as Wim Röst claims)?

          The first sentence makes no sense, you need to clarify it.

          The second sentence is absurd. Are you drinking? You make no sense.

        8. My grandchildren live at or a few meters below current sea level. And yours?

          A perfect example of adaptation. At the current rate of sea level rise, roughly 3mm/yr +-5 cm, you might want to consider increasing the height of the dikes 30 mm in 100 years, or maybe put it off for another 200 or so.

          Our grandkids are here in Houston, Chicago and Denver. It is unusually cold in all three cities for this time of year. Thankfully all four houses have plenty of natural gas heat. I hope yours do as well, it may be a cold winter here and in The Netherlands.

        9. But neither time series is autocorrelation!
          Autocorrelation is always within one series of data, never in the relationship between two sets of data.

          Nonsense, both statements are incorrect. You clearly need a course in multivariate statistics. I may have the time later today to demonstrate how wrong you are. It might make a good post. You are a good foil, you make so many basic mistakes.

        10. You mean: you don’t understand it.
          Additional energy is
          (constant solar influx)-(decreasing infrared outflux).

          clouds reflect incoming energy.

        11. You also do not understand engineering.
          Did you design the dikes surrounding New Orleans when Katrina occuured? That explains a lot

          True, I’m a 42-year petrophysicist and geologist, not an engineer. But, even I understand the dikes in The Netherlands are far superior to the dikes in New Orleans. The Dutch dikes are a good example of adaptation and the New Orleans dikes are or were, a very poor example.

        12. How about Bangladesh and many other river delta’s?

          Adapt! That is what humans have always done. Today it is much easier to adapt due to fossil fuels. Take those away and people will be in big trouble. I can’t even imagine how many fossil fuels were burned to build and maintain your dikes.

    2. Nope, because clouds never pass the TOA.

      Are you seriously saying solar SW radiation reflected by clouds does not go to space?? That is absurd.

    3. you still not have answered my simple 7 step physics explaining climate warming.

      I’ve answered every single point multiple times. Seems like the discussion is over. You don’t read what I write or think about it, or understand it, not sure which. I can see why Dr. Bergkamp and Marcel won’t communicate with you, you ignore everything we say and just repeat the same nonsense over and over. A debate includes listening and considering what the other person is saying, not just emotionally reacting. A good debate is a learning experience, you don’t seem to be capable of learning anymore, sad.

      Oh well, I got two good ideas from the discussion. Next I will work on a post on the autocorrelated time series’ CO2 and temperature, and how they actually correlate. Should be fun, look for it sometime in the next few days.

        1. I have done that one, but I’m working on and autocorrelation and joint autocorrelation post right now. I will include some references to spurious correlations. I am total amazed that Tinus and others did not not know about joint autocorrelation and spurious correlations.

      1. you still not have answered my simple 7 step physics explaining climate warming.


        Your “simple 7 step physics” is simplistic. Too simplistic.

        The real climate system is way more complex than your 7 steps. For a start, your 7 steps only apply to a clear sky situation, which accounts for no more than 1/3 of the Earth’s surface. The remaining 2/3 is cloudy – the 7 steps don’t apply there and the physics is also highly complex. Even for the 1/3 clear sky areas, it’s not the same everywhere, as shown in the recent Wijngaarden & Happer paper. Over the clear skies in Antarctica, where there is a major and long-lasting temperature inversion, increasing CO2 actually causes surface cooling since the CO2 increases the radiation to space from the inversion layer.

        You need to come to terms with the fact that the Earth system is highly complex and that it is influenced by many factors. Simple stories may be very appealing, but their applicability to the real world is limited.

        1. Partly true, but at the aggregated level (global and multi-year averages) it must obey the simple fundamental laws of physics. That simpy means that also my “simplistic” explanation must comply with these laws.
          Complexity will never lead to a conflict with these laws when the system is averaged over space and time. All variables within the system are algebraically additive when averaged.

          1. Tinus,
            It’s not “partly true”, it’s completely true.

            As for the fundamental laws of physics, for sure the Earth system obeys those, as do all other entities in the universe. But those laws don’t tell you all that much about complex systems – that is true for biological systems as it is for the Earth system. For such systems, it is necessary to develop a deep understanding of how they work.

            Your simplistic explanation is true, but only for a limited part of the Earth system and even then only under carefully prescribed conditions (e.g. it doesn’t work in Antarctica because of the major temperature inversion there). The Wijngaarden & Happer paper goes into this – it is worth reading.

            Complexity does not conflict with the fundamental laws of physics but it does invalidate simplistic explanations – such explanations simply (!) don’t apply. Averaging does not help explain how the Earth system operates. For example, you can’t “average” in any meaningful way over clear sky and cloudy sky areas – they are different and operate in different ways and you have to account for both separately.

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