Arctic emissions cause Arctic warming?

Apparently desperate to stop the race for the Arctic’s resources, climate alarmists will attempt to link Arctic emissions with Arctic warming, according to the Washington Post.

But carbon dioxide is pretty uniformly mixed throughout the atmosphere. There is some slight variation of atmospheric CO2 levels around the globe, but that variation appears to be mostly within a range of 10 parts per million. CO2 “hot spots” around the globe don’t seem to have anything to do with local emissions.

While polar regions may be more affected by rising CO2 levels (i.e., CO2 can compete more successfully for re-radiated infrared radiation in drier air), CO2 levels in the polar regions will still be largely driven by global emissions — which don’t seem to be having much of a temperature effect anyway.

BTW, the Post article is yet another one-dimensional Juliet Eilperin report — i.e., all alarmist with no alternative views.

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4 responses to “Arctic emissions cause Arctic warming?

  1. Well, if you read the article and the abstract of the paper (http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/11/5305/2011/acp-11-5305-2011.html) (how nice of the Washington Post for NOT providing a link to it), it doesn’t say a thing about CO2 concentrations.
    The closest I could find is, diving into the actual paper:

    “The potential increase in Arctic activities and emissions will not only have an impact on the global climate, but may also impact on regional temperature trends. Several studies have shown that the forcing and temperature response can be dependent on the location of emissions (e.g., Berntsen et al., 2006; Shindell and Faluvegi, 2009; Hansen et al., 2005),
    but the sensitivity of the Arctic to regional emissions is not well known. Short-lived components are found to be relatively important for the Arctic and could explain some of the recent warming compared to the global average (Quinn et al., 2008; Shindell and Faluvegi, 2009; Hansen et al.,
    2005)”

    and in their Conclusions:

    “In future work studies using chemical transport, radiative transfer, and climate models will be used to help understand the forcing and climate response due to emissions occurring in the Arctic compared to those occurring outside of the Arctic.”

    Which is more of a “we don’t know the impact of this findings” than am “attempt to link Arctic emissions with Arctic warming”.

  2. timetochooseagain

    Daneel, yes the paper itself isn’t making such an unwarranted link, just yet. WaPo, on the other hand, is, and probably at the suggestion of some researcher who is not afraid to jump the gun on the findings. Published papers have to be much more careful than “science by press release” so it is no surprise that alarmists prefer the less reasoned and careful approach.

    • Actually, the report on the WaPo pretty much concludes the same as the paper:

      “Scientists are now looking into whether a spike in emissions in certain parts of the Arctic, which is warming much faster than the rest of the globe, will affect the region disproportionately. “Those calculations are ongoing,” Peters said.”

  3. There goes that cart again, pushing those horses around!

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