Energy, Carbon Dioxide, and The Pause

Here’s an alternative way to view The Pause. Rather than analysing temperature trends over time, here I compare temperature with carbon emissions and carbon dioxide concentration, and on the way look at a couple of interesting facts that need highlighting.

I use energy data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015, CO2 data from NOAA, and Temperature data from UAH.

I need to get two important issues out of the way.

Firstly, total energy consumption. Figure 1 shows global energy consumption from all sources for 2014.

Fig. 1: Global Energy Consumption in Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent
energy 1965 2014

I aggregated coal, oil, and gas into one fossil fuel category. It is plainly obvious that fossil fuels are going to be around for a long time, unless there is a massive multiplication of (a) nuclear energy production, which may not appeal to some environmentalists, or (b) hydro-electricity dams, but that may not appeal either, and are there enough rivers?, or (c) windfarms and large scale solar, with storage, to produce 30 times what they produce now just to meet current demand. Cheap, reliable energy supply is going to depend on technological breakthroughs in the next 100 years and fossil fuels in the meantime.

Secondly, the recent increase in carbon dioxide concentrations is almost entirely anthropogenic.

Figure 2: CO2 concentration as a function of global energy consumption from 1965 to 2014:
Energy vs co2

99% of CO2 increase can be explained by energy use in all forms.

Now, before Global Warming Enthusiasts drool all over their keyboards, let’s look at how this relates to temperature.
I have calculated 12 month running means of CO2 concentration and TLT anomalies. From November 1979 to November 2015- CO2 concentration increased from 336.6 ppm to 400.57 ppm. What happened in this period to global lower troposphere temperatures- arguably a better indicator of global warming than surface temperatures because they show what the bulk of the atmosphere is doing?

Fig. 3: Tropospheric temperature anomalies vs CO2 concentration:
TLT vs CO2 78-15

43.5% of the temperature increase over the satellite era can be explained by/ is associated with the increase of about 64 ppm of CO2. The relationship is anything but linear, however the linear trend indicates, if warming continues at the same rate while CO2 increases by 100 ppm, that temperature anomalies will increase by about 0.63C. By this estimate, doubling CO2 concentration from 280 ppm (what many believe to be pre-industrial concentration) will result in a temperature increase from whatever the global temperature was 250 years ago, of 1.76C. According to HadCruT4, we’ve already seen about 0.8C increase since 1850, so we’re nearly halfway there! Not only that, but we’ll stay below 2 degrees of warming without the need for any emissions reductions!

But the temperature increase is not linear. The next plot shows the tropospheric temperature/ CO2 relationship while temperatures have paused.

Fig. 4: TLT vs CO2, from 363 ppm to 400 ppm:
TLT vs CO2 Pause

That, my friends is the true indicator of The Pause: while CO2 has increased by almost 37 ppm (out of 64 ppm), temperature has remained flat. The trend is +0.01C per 100 ppm CO2.

Finally, I’ve separated the record into three phases: before, during, and after the large step change in the 1990s culminating in the 1997-98 El Nino and the following La Nina.

Fig. 5: Temperature vs CO2 during the first phase, when CO2 increased by 20 ppm:
Phase 1

Fig. 6: Temperature vs CO2 during the second phase, when CO2 increased by about 14 ppm:
Phase 2
Fig. 7: Temperature vs CO2 during the last phase, when CO2 increased by about 29.3 ppm:
Phase 3

Therefore I conclude:

Barring a miraculous breakthrough, renewable energy has no hope of replacing cheap, reliable fossil fuels in the foreseeable future- thankfully!
Greenhouse gas increase is anthropogenic;

CO2 increase has probably caused some small temperature increase;

The relationship between CO2 and temperature in the satellite era is weak, with 58% of the CO2 increase occurring while temperatures have paused;

Therefore temperature change is probably caused mainly by natural factors;

Even if the long term “linear” trend continues, this rate is not alarming, and would lead to a temperature increase during a doubling of CO2 of less than 1.8C.

I find it amusing that Global Warming Enthusiasts pin their hopes for an end to The Pause on a strong El Nino- in other words, on natural variability, the very thing that is supposed to have been overwhelmed by greenhouse warming.

The end of the scam is nigh!

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5 Responses to “Energy, Carbon Dioxide, and The Pause”

  1. MikeR Says:

    Hi Ken,

    Where is your TLT data from? Is it UAHv6.4? I have 12 month running averaged the CO2 data and correlated this a variety of satellite and surafce based global data sets .

    For Jan 1979 until October 2015, I get a slightly higher figure for UAH v6.4 of an Rsq of 0.47 (c.f. your value of 0.43) . For UAH 5.6 I get an Rsq of 0.61 while for RSS, RSq is 0.50.

    The correlation coefficients for 12 month running averaged CO2 with GISS is 0.81 and for HadCrut 4 , RSq is 0.79 while for NOAA it is 0.77.

    It looks like the satellite data correlates poorly with CO2 compared to the land based data . If we assume that the correlation implies causation then but about 80 % of the surface based temperature data can be explained by CO2 while for the satellite data it is between 47 to 61%

    The CO2 data is from ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_mm_mlo.txt.

  2. MikeR Says:

    Just a minor correction to the above.

    I correlated the data above until October 2015 but as it was a 12 month rolling average of the CO2 data I should have ended the correlation 12 months earlier.

    The figures are then slightly different and I now get the same RSq of 0.437 for the UAH v6.4 data.

    The correct values are then for UAH v6 an RSQ of 0.61 while for RSS, RSq is 0.48. The figure for GISS is then 0.80 and for HadCrut 4 ,Rsq= 0.78 and for NOAA, Rsq =0.81.

  3. catweazle666 Says:

    Looks good.

    And not a single mention of ‘logarithmic’ anywhere.

  4. auspeterb Says:

    Ken,
    I am confused by your statement re the increase in atmospheric CO2:
    “…Secondly, the recent increase in carbon dioxide concentrations is almost entirely anthropogenic…”
    If this statement were true, wouldn’t the CO2 concentration be an almost exponential rather than an almost linear increase in concentration to reflect the ever increasing output of anthropogenic CO2 production (especially since WW II and again in the last 30-35 years of Chinese production)?
    For the ever increasing CO2 output to have an earth/ocean/vegetation take-up at a rate that always leaves a linear progression is too much for this 70 year old cynic to accept without further evidence.
    Can you help?

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