Links of the day: 4 April 2012

The Reg of all places notes a successful prediction from climate science ca. 1981


The NCDC Online data sets

Followers of the climate soap opera will especially appreciate Eli’s exegesis of Roger Pielke Jr.’s latest effort (with a brief cameo appearance from mt):

New evidence is that increases in global temperature did NOT in fact precede increases in CO2. So people who have been saying “this is what we expect” has some ‘splainin’ to do. I, on the other hand, am happy about this result because while I understand feedbacks and delays operate, the asynchrony in the Antarctic data was still pretty disconcerting to me.

And via Andrew Sullivan, psychologist Jonathan Wei asks “Why Is It Socially Acceptable to be Bad at Math?” beginning with a disconcerting quote form Michelle Obama.


  1. 'Splain please then: By what mechanism could CO2 be liberated prior to any warming?

    Finding that the CO2 came out in response to warming earlier and faster than previously thought, on the other hand, seems plausible.

  2. From the supplement:

    "The results indicate Antarctic temperature led CO2 by a
    small amount throughout the deglaciation (Figure S25a). The global temperature stack, on the other hand, was synchronous with or lagged CO2, except at the onset of deglaciation when it led (Figure S25b)."

  3. The Nature paper seems to reinforce what I understood to be the standing explanation: that local Antarctic insolation and temperature increases lead and lead to more CO2 (from the Southern Ocean, IIRC), which lead to global temperature rise.

  4. I think of the Southern Ocean theory as speculative; I had thought that max solar insulation in northern summer was the trigger for deglaciation.

    I saw a presentation on the Southern Ocean as the leading mechanism by Toggweiler some years ago that I found unconvincing, partly because he did not tie it to Milankovic, and partly because I thought he had too many free parameters in his model so it could do about anything.

    But I am possibly out of date on this. Do you have recent references?

  5. Yale E360 has a good summary which answers my question:

    The initial trigger to the end of the Ice Age was a change in the tilt of the Earth’s axis, which warmed land masses in the Northern Hemisphere and melted Arctic Ice, releasing huge amounts of cold, fresh water that changed global ocean circulation. That in turn warmed the Southern Hemisphere, which melted sea and terrestrial ice there, releasing CO2 trapped under the ocean and land, the study said.

  6. My understanding too was that the Southern Ocean as CO2 source wasn't as robust as the sequence of events.

    Maybe I have to read the paper more carefully (paleo isn't my job either), but, you know, press releases....

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