Graph shows changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide seem to follow temperature changes (not the other way around)

“I came across a graph of land/sea temperature changes and atmospheric CO2 changes for the past 5 decades (below) , which appears to be devastating to the CO2-centric theory of warming. Am I reading it wrong?”

Read more at Tom Nelson.


  1. Immediately after the release of An Inconvenient Truth, several people showed a similar chart on millenial scale — that CO2 followed temperature shifts by several hundred years.
    I ran CO2 changes against global temps (if that metric is useful, see many articles doubting such) and got an r2 close to .7, which is pretty weak. That was just an Office expert noodling in Excel and I won’t pretend to statistical rigor — bur statistical rigor has never been AGW’s friend.

  2. That is, I ran Mauna Loa delta for CO2 and NASA global temp deltas, roughly 1959-2009. C’mon, I was using internet-handy data. Point was, I’ve seen this noted before and I’ve run easy math to back it up.

  3. To me it’s somewhat ambiguous… we don’t know the hysteresis of the system. Either way, we’re still talking about relatively minor changes.

  4. Here is my take on this graph. As temperature increases, microbiological decomposition will increase (roughly a doubling every 10 degrees C), thus an increase in carbon dioxide.. This temporal increase in CO2 spurs on more photosynthesis as a biochemical equilibrium, which then absorbs the excess CO2 until the next heat increase. Maybe I see this too simplistically but I think this is as valid as anything Al Gore has to say.

  5. The solubility of gases is inversely proportional to the temperature. The aqueous solution chemistry of CO2 is a bit more complex but still follows le chatelier’s principle in solution. You favorte pop (soda or barley) goes flat faster when warm than cold. I’d guess the major contribution to atmospheric CO2 is water temperature and might better explain the lag than biological creation/use. Of course that was before humans took total control of the atmospheric CO2 content.


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