Is CO2 “well mixed”?

Just to pick up an ongoing conversation where we left off over at the recently closed How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic thread, I wanted to provide a more serious answer to a likely unserious visitor because I think myhrr’s issue deserves an answer, even if myhrr obviously doesn’t. Kind of like the “we can’t predict the temp 2 weeks from now” argument, this one has an intuitive appeal to perfectly fine people who are just not well informed for whatever reason.

myhrr is wondering why CO2, being heavier than air, does not just stay close to the ground. Okay, he actually claims entire scientific disciplines are frauds or idiots because they are unaware of this obvious truth, but let’s not talk to him, let’s talk to passers by who might breifly say to themselves, “hey, wait a minute, that’s a good point”.

First things first, we can just sample the air, as has been done at all kinds of altitudes all around the globe and the simple fact is that CO2 is what is called a “well mixed gas”.

You can go here to see dozens of CO2 sampling station records from sea level to mountain top, from pole to equator, that show unequivically that CO2 spreads very evenly throughout the global atmosphere, all theory or prediction aside. We can even see that CO2 rise in the southern hemisphere lags behind CO2 rise in the northern hemisphere by a few years as most anthropogenic CO2 is produced in the north where the majority of fossil fuel combustion takes place and it takes some time to spread around. The annual rise and fall is the natural result of plant growth and die-off as seasons cycle through the northern hemisphere, again where most plant growth takes place.

I note that in the other thread, in his denial of CO2’s mixing properties, myhrr confidently proclaims “all measurements show [CO2] isn’t [well-mixed]“. It is a pretty safe prediction that he will never provide any source of measurements to back this up.

So CO2 mixes, why is this? Pure CO2 is indeed heavier than air and there have even been suffocation deaths caused by volcanic emissions of CO2 many times in human history. The one word answer is wind. The atmosphere is very turbulent (windy) and this turbulence easily dilutes many kinds of gases in the atmoshpere and overpowers any small differences in bouyancy.

A simple sanity check thought experiment shows this must be true for most gases in the atmosphere. The fact is “air” is not a single gas, it is a mixture of many. If the atmosphere layered itself out according to the relative molecular weights of its components we would not have air as we know it anywhere. We would have what adelady amusingly described as

a layer cake atmosphere, ozone as a pastry base, CO2, then big thick slabs of oxygen and nitrogen, icing would be water vapour – all topped off with methane sprinkles.

I think she forgot the delicious, if thin, Argon layer that would be between O2 and N2. Yum!

So, sorry myhrr, but I guess on this point at least, the experts do in fact know just a little more than you do about their topic.

182 thoughts on “Is CO2 “well mixed”?

  1. It’s amusing that “coby” claims CO2 is ‘well mixed’ but then immediately contradicts that:
    “CO2 spreads very evenly throughout the global atmosphere, all theory or prediction aside. We can even see that CO2 rise in the southern hemisphere lags behind CO2 rise in the northern hemisphere by a few years”

    Ok, which is it? Is it evenly mixed or does it lag between hemispheres? Actually NASA claims there is little mixing between hemispheres.


  2. Hi Bob,

    It’s not an either or proposition, evenly mixed or lags beween hemispheres, as the rest of the sentence you truncated makes clear:

    “We can even see that CO2 rise in the southern hemisphere lags behind CO2 rise in the northern hemisphere by a few years as most anthropogenic CO2 is produced in the north where the majority of fossil fuel combustion takes place and it takes some time to spread around. “

    The NASA visualization is about the details of how CO2 mixes and by showing it is not instantaneous does not show that it does not happen.

    Thanks for stopping by and sorry for the delay in moderation.


  3. “Ok, which is it? Is it evenly mixed or does it lag between hemispheres?”

    Both. Duh. Why do they mean differently? Well mixed is not 100% even. Even if you “think” this is somehow devastating to the case.

    But go ahead, tell us what devastating revelation this proves about the CO2 theory?

    Or did you not think that through too well?


  4. Wow granny, easy answer to your question “harm to your CO2 speculation”? Before I give you some enlightment on your mistakes and mental malfunctions re CO2 speculation and the total insignificance of human warming of the air. I give you some education to improve your awful weakness in mastering the English language, as you express yourself almost always ambiguously: “….. bla bla … bla bla ….. well mxed …. 100% … bla bla….”

    2nd: when will that fluid in your skull grasp that CO2 is no theory, but a molecule, you moron. Warming of the air is not a theory, granny, but a pure speculation by science-free climate clowns, currently flooding hostile Paris. I like les parisiennes et les parisiens (that’s french, you monolingual retard) parce que ils n’aiment pas les idiots du climat venu de tout le monde. Toi tu es un véritable imbécile sans honneur et rafinesse. J’emmerde tes abracadabrentesques calomnies autour des citoyens françaises.

    I predict that you, wow granny, will again fail to try to explain in own words, why your wording of “CO theory” is utter nonsense.


  5. kaiborisfreddie, thank you for proving how dumb you are that you can’t even see how wrong that claim is.

    I predict that instead of showing that you understand your mistake you will insist that I’ve proven your asinine claim!


  6. wowtrolo, the morbid climate hysteria watchdog have lost now their job (after COP21) as politclowns have taken all power from “climate science”: as eco-socialist agitpolitics have 100% followed the green hysteria climatologists, these guy are not needed any longer, they will therefore soon disappear from the public as their message is so boring and primitive “it’s getting warmer, stop it”. So nobody needs crooks like wowbrat and other warm blatherers. Therefore my prediction is 100% correct that climate pseudochange deniers are 5:0 in the lead against the mentally impaired climate hallucinists like wowass.


  7. wowchild, you adhere to the most primitive speculation: “it will be warmer”. That’s all what you and your hallucinist peers celebrate as sensational rocket science. Your intellectual malfunction does not allow more: therefore your BELIEF: “it will be warmer”. What a primitive stupid you are: it will be warmer!


  8. November 2015 warmest on record | Earth | EarthSky
    3 days ago … Also, hottest January-November in the 136-year NOAA record. … the seventh consecutive month a monthly global temperature record has been …
    This October Was the Hottest Ever Recorded, Marking Six Months of …
    This October Was the Hottest Ever Recorded, Marking Six Months of Record- Breaking Heat. By Zoë Schlanger On 11/18/15 at 1:08 PM. October Obliterated Heat …

    2015 Hottest Year Ever Recorded … Until 2016, UN Weather Agency …
    Roz Pidcock, Carbon Brief | November 25, 2015 11:19 am | Comments … With two full months still to add in, the global average surface temperature for January to October in 2015 … 2015 set to be hottest year on record: UN, by @nina_larson …

    and, just in case you were thinking of trying your conspiracy theory:

    October was hottest ever by long shot | Fox News…/11/…/october-was-hottest-month-on-record-by-long-shot.html
    20 Nov 2015 … That’s the hottest October on record by a third of a degree over the old … on record, along with the hottest consecutive 12 months on record.
    Global Temperature Report: October 2015: Warmest October in the ……/11/…/global-temperature-report-october-2015-warmest-october-in-the-satellite-temperature-record/
    3 Nov 2015 … … month satellite temperature record, making it the third “warmest” month in ….. + 1 °C for 11 consecutive weeks, equalling the previous record.



  9. wow moron, repetitive copy pasting from green activists is no scientific method. Try better next time, idiot!

    BTW how was mean global temperature 385 before Christ??


  10. wowtrollo, as always you are completely unable to understand even very simple statements “how was mean global temperature 385 before Christ??”? instead you blather idiocies like “unhinge”, “send note”. I give you a next chance to try a coherent answer to the examinations you were subjected. Don’t evade with your usual poor.


  11. wowtrollo, you should start facing facts late in your life, so you are given knowledge to digest now:

    What is “climate science”? From what I have read and observed, most of the climate scientists who perpetuate the AGW hoax are anything but scientists. Pre-eminent among them is Michael Mann, who refuses to release his data and methodology. Mann has no problem suing those who disagree with him, but refuses to answer interrogatories from those he is suing. And rather than debate the merits of their science and findings, the AGW proponents resort to name calling, personal attacks and attempt to stifle debate on the subject through legislative and governmental decree. So to me, “climate science” is on par with astrology and phrenology. In other words, it’s not science. This the first lesson for you , wowtrollo. Try to digest this, but don’t spit and grunt.


  12. wowtroll, the truth is a beautiful thing to most scientists. Not to the climate alarmist crowd. They hate what the truth is telling them, because it threatens their easy money, and their endless all expenses paid jaunts to holiday venues, and their undeserved rock star treatment by a fawning media (they were dweebs and nerds before the ‘dangerous AGW’ scare came along, and they’re not going to easily give up that unexpected and fun lifestyle, and being ‘Mr. Popularity’ for something they consider unimportant, like telling the truth).

    I predict that you will again fail to understand what was explained to you.


  13. Its not like the date Jan 22nd is before this:

    Unmoderated Post on Moderation
    Posted by coby on January 20, 2016

    So I wonder why Craig wanted to complain.

    Actually, I don’t. I know why.


  14. The speculations of laymen like wow, eli et al. of human CO2 warming can be traced to Arrhenius in 1906 when he published a paper proposing that a reduction in atmospheric CO2 caused the ice ages, but instead of offering proof, he expected his critics to disprove it by showing that a reduction in CO2 would not cause the 4-5 Kelvin drop in temperature. This is pseudoscience of the “I am right until you prove me wrong” logic favoured by charlatans and the religious fundamentalists.


  15. “The speculations of laymen like wow”

    Are far more acceptable since they accord and are supported by eperts like Gavin Schmidt.

    Unlike freddykaiboris whose “speculations” are supported by the likes of Mad Lord Monckfish…


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