Atmospheric CO2 Does Not Drive Major Climate Change
Let’s examine, at a high and salient level, the positive-feedback Anthropogenic Global Warming, Green-House-Gas (AGW GHG) Heating Effect with its supposed pivotal role for CO2. The thinking is that a small increase in atmospheric CO2 will trigger a large increase in atmospheric water vapor. And then the combination of these two enhanced atmospheric constituents will lead to runaway (or at least appreciable and unprecedented) global warming. This theory supposes a powerful positive-feedback and overriding (pivotal) role for CO2. But this theory is unproven. Nonetheless, it is hard-wired into all General Circulation Models of the climate. Models that attempt to predict the far future behavior of a “coupled, non-linear chaotic system”. One is compelled to consider that this modeling effort may, in fact, be impossible.
First, let me make the profound point that this Earth has gone through 60-70 known major climate transitions over many hundreds of millions of years. It did so while maintaining an exceptionally narrow thermal range (~+/- 6-10 OC) throughout all this history. This incredibly tightly controlled behavior can only be understood in the context of a system overwhelmingly dominated by negative-feedbacks. However, these negative-feedbacks are not represented in our current Modeling efforts and their investigation is underfunded to the point of being ignored.
Further, the ice-core analysis makes clear the relative timing of events. And while it is certain that atmospheric CO2 lags temperature in both directions, so as to be an effect and not a cause of temperature change, the one fact that is most uncertain from ice-core analysis is the exact magnitude of the CO2 spike that accompanies each and every interglacial. Why? Because these spikes are, by definition, the highest temporal frequency events. Which, of course, bestows on to them the greatest uncertainty - but uncertainty of magnitude not uncertainty of relative timing. Additionally, this uncertainty of magnitude is further muddied by an incomplete understanding of diffusion processes taking place distributed within an enormous pressure gradient (along with many other poorly understood processes).
However, what is far more important and seemingly wholly under-appreciated is the fact that this uncertainty of magnitude is substantially all in one direction. And that direction is up. The CO2 peaks, as represented from the ice-cores, are the established values obtainable within the finite temporal sampling resolution. If higher sampling resolution could be arbitrarily applied, it could only reveal yet higher peaks (i.e. yet higher frequency events). So while we do know with certainty that CO2 lags temperature, for all we know, atmospheric CO2 has spiked over 1500ppm, for a relatively short period of time, during each and every prior interglacial. The highest peaks - ones that might have durations of only 100-150 years - would not be resolved. These are facts of statistical sampling.
to download PDF file and read the FULL Four part essay - POSSIBLE EXPLANATION OF MAJOR CLIMATE CHANGE by Ronald D. Voisin