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Author: Windchasers Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 59036  
Subject: Re: I underestimated the risks of climate change Date: 2/5/2013 1:35 PM
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"In contrast to recent claims, trends in the airborne fraction of anthropogenic carbon cannot be detected when accounting for the decadal-scale influence of explosive volcanism and related uncertainties."
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I don't get it. Yes, volcanism can affect the climate through the release of aerosols that partially block out the sun and tend to counteract the effects of greenhouse gases. But how does that change the amount of anthropogenic carbon going into the air or change the action of the CO2 sinks?


Well, volcanoes release a significant amount of CO2, too. According to this paper, the absorption of the released CO2 depends on the climatic conditions (ENSO, mostly), and on a multiyear timescale. See this line from the abstract:

Ensemble simulations with the Earth System Model CSM1.4-carbon predict that the atmospheric CO2 response is ~60% larger when a volcanic eruption occurs during El Niño and in winter than during La Niña conditions.


All-in-all, the paper says that we don't yet know if the carbon uptake rate is changing or not. From the conclusions:

However, analysis of trends in the airborne fraction, as described in this study and elsewhere [Le Quéré et al. 2009; Canadell et al. 2007], are insufficient to make firm conclusions about whether the land and ocean uptake of anthropogenic carbon have slowed-down due to recent climate change. As pointed out by Gloor et al. (2010), trends in the airborne fraction are not identical with changes in the ocean and land carbon sinks.
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