The CO2 tempest in a teapot scandal

CO2 “crisis” is a “tempest in a teapot” or a “storm in a teacup.”

“Excitabat fluctus in simpulo” ~ Cicero, in De Legibus, circa 52 BC

Consider a pot of boiling water.  If more water is added to the pot, the boiling point of the water does not change.  The time required to boil the water changes and/or the amount of heat required to boil the water changes, but the boiling point does not change.  The boiling point does change under certain other conditions, for example if salt or other substances are added to the water or when boiling water at high altitudes or reduced air pressure.  The boiling point of water (212 degrees F or 100 degrees C) at standard pressure (1 atmosphere) and temperature (25 degrees C) (STP) is an intensive property of matter.   Another example of an intensive property of matter is molecular weight.  Addition or subtraction of an amount of material does not change its molecular weight.

Another example of an intensive property of matter is the solubility of a gas in a liquid.  Gas solubility in a liquid is the ratio of the concentration of a gas versus concentration of that same gas in the liquid where the gas and liquid are in contact and free exchange of molecules at the surface.  That ratio does not change when more of the specific gas is added to the air nor when that gas is subtracted from the air.  The solubility ratio is fixed for a given temperature and combination of gas and liquid, except under certain other conditions as described below.  

The solubility ratio of a gas in contact with a liquid is defined in Henry’s Law, which is described for many different gas – liquid combinations and conditions in the experiments of William Henry in the 1800’s.  Like boiling point, certain conditions apply.

At a specified temperature, in a two-phase system of a gas phase in contact with a liquid phase, and where the gas is a minor component, and when only the gas which has not reacted with the liquid is considered, the Henry’s coefficient is expressed as:  

kH = c(CO2 aqueous) divided by c(CO2 gas)

  • where c(CO2 aqueous) is the concentration in moles of aqueous CO2 gas per mole of water, and
  • c(CO2 gas) is the concentration in moles of CO2 gas in atmosphere per mole of atmosphere.

A mole is 6.022 X 1023 units of anything.  For CO2 concentration, the units are molecules of CO2.  A mole of CO2 is 6.022 X 1023 molecules of CO2 whether those CO2 molecules are in air, water, ocean or beer.  It is known as the Avogadro’s number.  That is 6022 followed by 20 zeros.

To determine the concentration of a gas in equilibrium with a liquid at a specific temperature, the kH ratio for that gas-liquid combination is multiplied by the specified temperature in Kelvin at the gas-liquid exchange surface.  At kH equilibrium for a specified temperature, the number of molecules emitted from the liquid surface equals the number of molecules absorbed in the liquid surface.  Absorption and emission are continuous.  CO2 gas molecules in air continuously collide with ocean surface, and in response CO2 molecules will be emitted into air, thus keeping the kH ratio constant at that temperature. 

The concentration of CO2 in water is inversely proportional to the temperature at the air-water exchange surface, which is primarily the surface of the ocean.  Increasing or decreasing the area of ocean surface at a specific temperature changes the rate of net emission or net absorption. Agitation of surface by waves, currents, storms can increase the rate of change by 10 to 100 times. Colder water absorbs and retains more CO2 gas than warmer water.  We all know this because our soda drink or beer retains its pleasant bubbles when it is kept cold. If your soda pop becomes warm, the fizz is gone. If your soda pop is shaken, the fizz is gone.  

Ocean surface is greater than 70% of Earth’s surface.  Since ocean surface temperatures are changing for many different reasons, CO2 gas concentration in air and ocean surface are continuously changing. Henry’s Law is a dynamic equilibrium.

We find the Henry’s Law coefficient kH in reference books and online for many combinations of gases and liquids, under various temperatures and also under the few additional conditions that apply.  For example, in local conditions, salinity of the liquid becomes a variable.  Salinity includes all the dissolved and ionized minerals in the liquid, for example phosphates, not only sodium chloride salt.  Also the alkalinity or pH of the liquid, and the partial of pressure of the gas in the air are important in local conditions.  Biological activity in local waters is important; some activity such as rotting adds CO2 and reduces pH, while other activity such as photosynthesis by planktons removes CO2. These conditions result in local changes in CO2 concentration and local adjustment to the Henry’s ratio. Conditions other than temperature generally offset each other and cancel in global averages.

The kH is different for each gas and liquid combination and each combination varies with temperature of the surface.  For example, Henry’s law also applies to oxygen O2 and its solubility in ocean and in your blood and in the water in and around tissues in your lungs and gills of fish.   

One implication of Henry’s Law is that human additions or subtractions of CO2 have no medium or long term effect on global CO2 concentration and thus no effect on global warming.  Total CO2 in the atmosphere is around 400 molecules of CO2 per 1,000,000 molecules of air.  As explained in this paper, and contrary to what most people have been taught, human CO2 cannot cause increasing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.  Human CO2 is absorbed and emitted into air and ocean continuously along with all other CO2.  By analogy, humans adding CO2 to the air by using fossil fuels is like adding more water to the teapot.  The boiling point of the water does not change.  The ratio of CO2 in the air versus CO2 in the water does not change by adding more CO2.  Adding or subtracting CO2 changes the time required to re-establish equilibrium. Any CO2 amount absorbed into ocean in excess of the Henry’s ratio is ionized and combines with water to become either carbonic acid or bicarbonate, thus removing the excess CO2 from the Henry’s Law equilibrium. And vice versa. When ocean surface is warmed, the carbonic acid and bicarbonate reactions reverse and aqueous CO2 gas is produced in the water surface, increasing aqueous CO2 gas in the Henry’s ratio, then CO2 gas is emitted to air until the Henry’s Law ratio for that temperature is achieved. This is a continuous dynamic equilibrium.

El Nino events are ocean currents that periodically bring cold water from deep ocean that is very dense with CO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon. This water warms and expands as it rises to the surface. This can result in aqueous CO2 in ocean surface in excess of the Henry’s ratio and large emission of CO2 into the atmosphere where these El Nino’s reach the surface.

Fortunately, more CO2 is better for the environment, plants, animals, and humans.  But humans cannot claim any responsibility for these benefits nor are humans responsible for any alleged negative consequences of higher or lower CO2 concentration.   Changes in CO2 concentration in air are caused by the many different conditions that affect ocean surface temperature and land surface temperature such as clouds, humidity, seasons, solar and planetary cycles, etc.  Fortunately for all life, CO2 concentration in air is not affected by humans.  Atmospheric CO2 concentration today is the same as it would be if humans never existed.  The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, oxygen, nitrogen, argon and the other gases are beyond our mortal human pay grade. 

Water surface, primarily ocean surface, absorbs any additional atmospheric CO2 which exceeds the Henry’s partition ratio, returning the equilibrium partition ratio for a specific temperature of the air-water interchange surface. Thus, the rate of change of CO2 concentration (i.e., its velocity or time derivative) is a function of the area of the air-water interchange surface at the specific temperature; this is CO2 flux, which is the directional vector quantity of units of mass moving through an amount of surface area per unit of time.  Millions of square kilometers of tropical ocean surface is above 25 degrees C on average year round, day and night.  That ocean surface on average will be emitting CO2 into air.  Offsetting that is millions of square kilometers of ocean surface in northern and southern temperate and arctic zones which are below 25 degrees C.  This colder ocean surface on average will be absorbing CO2 gas.  In both cold water and warm water both emission and absorption are continuous at equilibrium.  It is a dynamic equilibrium mediated by temperature at the air-ocean exchange interface, i.e., mostly ocean surface.   Changes in CO2 concentration closely follow (within months) changes in sea surface temperature (SST).

Voters everywhere should be challenging their politicians, bureaucrats, teachers and media about their continuing misrepresentation of facts and science and the attempt to extract from us, according to the global consulting company McKinsey, more than $9 trillion per year allegedly to reduce human CO2 emissions.  Human CO2 emissions can be reduced, but that will not change or reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration in air and will not change or reduce any global warming alleged to be occurring. The climate change agenda is a fool’s errand and they are attempting to make fools of the entire human population by alleging a non-existent crisis, banning truth tellers, needlessly scaring adults and children and in the process enriching themselves and their cronies.

In the U.S., the EPA’s ruling known as a Final Endangerment Finding must be repealed.  In this ruling, EPA’s administrator defined carbon dioxide as an endangerment to U.S. citizens.  The ruling has never been voted on by Congress.  It is not a law.  Two EPA administrators have refused to turn over to Congress the science or other basis by which the ruling was made.  It was reported that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson was held in contempt of Congress and resigned. No court has ruled or even heard a case on the merits or demerits of the science of EPA’s ruling.  But in the U.S. alone, this EPA Final Endangerment Finding is costing taxpayers many millions of dollars per year in increased debt at all levels of government and increasing the cost of all forms of energy. Increasing energy cost increases the price of almost everything.    

In all countries, wherever you live, your government, most media, most educators, most entertainers, and many companies especially bankers, along with the United Nations, the European Union, the World Health Organization, the World Economic Forum are attempting to scare you so that they can control you, including taking your money, your private property, your freedom of speech and other rights.  If you do nothing, they will succeed.  This tempest has nothing to do with the environment or climate.

Wherever you are, vote against politicians who support the so-called climate change agenda.  Elect politicians who will stop bureaucrats, government and corporations from robbing you.  This taxation without representation must stop.  It is a global fraud and we must elect politicians who will prosecute the fraudsters. Stop schools from miseducating and scaring children and young people with the global warming dogma; this is child abuse.

There is no climate crisis. There is a human-created false narrative, a tempest, a global fraud.


#ClimateChange #IPCC #GlobalWarming #ClimateCrisis #Sustainability #NetZero #EPA #EndangermentFinding #CO2 #ClimatePolicy #EnergyPolicy #FossilFuel #Henry’sLaw

About budbromley

Bud is a retired life sciences executive. Bud's entrepreneurial leadership exceeded three decades. He was the senior business development, marketing and sales executive at four public corporations, each company a supplier of analytical and life sciences instrumentation, software, consumables and service. Prior to those positions, his 19 year career in Hewlett-Packard Company's Analytical Products Group included worldwide sales and marketing responsibility for Bioscience Products, Global Accounts and the International Olympic Committee, as well as international management assignments based in Japan and Latin America. Bud has visited and worked in more than 65 countries and lived and worked in 3 countries.
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4 Responses to The CO2 tempest in a teapot scandal

  1. Pingback: The CO2 tempest in a teapot scandal – Climate-

  2. Pingback: The CO2 tempest in a teapot scandal – ODESSA88

  3. OdessaChoppo says:

    BB, excellent information as always. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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