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Ian Plimer’s ‘Heaven + Earth’ — Checking the Claims - page 18 / 64





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have animals chomping through plant material at about 2 or 3 times the rate (the Global Net Primary Production of 50 to 100 GtC per year) at which plants remove the carbon from the atmosphere — thus eating all the world’s biomass in a few decades.

88. p. 415: The C14 proportion of total carbon in the atmosphere is decreasing, suggesting that t h e r e i s a n i n c r e a s e d b i o l o g i c a l c o n t r i b u t i o n o f C O 2 t o t h e a t m o s p h e r e . T h e p r o p o r t i o n o atmospheric 14C is decreasing because atmospheric CO2, with 14C from nuclear testing is being taken up into the oceans and replaced by (old) CO2 upwelled from the deep oceans and so uninfluenced by the nuclear testing. Note that this interpretation of the 14C data lies behind some of the estimates of air-sea gas exchange that Plimer mis-interprets as estimates of ‘CO2 lifetime’. f

89. p. 417: ..the observatory was evacuated for a few months and there was a gap in the data

record which represented a period of no measurements.

There are now no gaps in the

Mauna Loa data set. To refer to the Mauna Loa (CO2) data set, is misleading since there are three main records: The Scripps in-situ IRG measurements established by C. D. Keeling; the NO in-situ IRG measurements and the NO flask program which is part of a global network for which flasks of air are shipped back to the central NO laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. The main archive/access location for CO2 data is the Carbon Dioxide Information and nalysis Center (CDI C), in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Other programs such as CSIRO also produce records from Mauna Loa as part of the on- going validation activity. The graphic at: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/graphics/Mauna Loa CO2.jpg shows extensive gaps in

the early part of the Scripps record.


p . 4 1 7 : T h e a n n u a l m e a n C O 2 a t m o s p h e r i c c o n t e n t r e p o r t e d a t M a u n a L o a f o r 1 9 5 9 was 315.93 ppmv. This was 15 ppmv lower than the 1959 measurements for measuring s t a t i o n s i n n o r t h w e s t e r n E u r o p e . M e a s u r e d C O 2 a t M a u n a L o a i n c r e a s e d s t e a d i l y t 351.45 ppmv in early in 1989. The 1989 value is the same as the European measurements 35 years earlier by the Pettenkofer method.... Plimer’s references for the European pro- gram are two papers by Bischof in 1960 and 1962 [footnotes 2094 and 2095 respectively]. o

The 1960 paper quotes annual means of — 1955: 326 ppm; 1956: 321 ppm; ppm; 1958: 315 ppm; 1959: 331 ppm. For such a short passage, Plimer is remarkably high number of errors: i: 1959 to 1989 is 30 years, not 35 years; ii: 15 ppm above 315.9 ppm is 330.9 ppm, close to the annual mean reported Loa for 1975, not 1989. iii: during 1959 the Swedish group switched to the more precise Infra-Red

1957: 323 showing a

for Mauna

Gas nal-

yser (IRG ) with chemical method

precision determined as ±1 ppm, while they found the precision of the to be ±3 ppm — thus the 1959 data were not all from the chemical

method; iv: the whole comparison is biased by comparing a The relevant comparison is with the data reported by

high altitude site with surface data. Bischof (1962), sampling air during

aircraft flights. with a mean of

The values for air from above about 1km are from 314 ppm, very close to the 315 ppm at Mauna Loa.







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