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Oxygen Isoptopes

3 March 2012

The paper reviewed on the post in front of this (today) at http://notrickszone.com/2012/03/02/emphatic-blow-to-co2-warmists-new-stu… uses high resolution foraminifera based sea temperature data (the shells of plankton) as well as salinity and upper water stratification reconstructions off Cape Hatteras, a region sensitive to thermahaline circulation changes associated with the Gulf Stream. However, at http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/doubting-oxygen-isotopes/ is a piece of musing that might be important – but on the other hand, might be baloney. The chiefio begins by saying the 'settled science' is that by looking at O18/O16 ratios tells you what the temperature has been (in particular during the Ice Ages/Inter glacials). Scientists accept the ratios (from ice cores and from deep ocean sediment cores etc) actually tell the temperature – but do they? Further, how much is it recording non-temperature things, he asks, thinking about droughts and its opposite, excessive rainfall/ snow. Specifically he is concerned with California, where he lives, and the Mid West (and we've all heard of cyclic drought in this region). All these are linked into hot or cold weather events, changes in the jet stream and wind systems, and ocean circulation. Might the difference in O18/O16 reflect rainfall/ moisture patterns rather than temperature, he asks. The argument is developed that the 'settled science' in this instance might be speculation masquerading as data rather than well proven facts about sources and sinks of carbon and their relative isotopic ratios. We might add to that that the cycle of O18/O16 variation is an important part of Ice Age theory (see also http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/02/25/the-trouble-with-c12-c13-ratios/). Large quantities of silicate dissolves into the oceans which adds oxygen to the mix. The basic process in making ice core oxygen is that O18 is heavier so does not evaporate as quickly as O16. More stays in the oceans and less gets into the atmosphere. On top of that there is rain. O18 condenses out more quickly leaving a greater amount of O16. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_isotope_ratio_cycle/ … so what are the ice cores telling us? How cold was it and how much snow was falling over Greenland and Antartica? He then gets into all that bacteria on the sea bed, gobbling up oil and carbon – and oxygen. The implication of all this is important as scientists look at an ice core and find it has a very high O16 content and conclude the air must be depleted of O18 and therefore it must have been 'very cold' and then we find the ice is thicker so it must be snowing a bit, also implying it was cold – but what if the thick now and depleted O18 is due to less Arctic ice and storms are responsible for depleting O18? 

I really like the way this guy prods and pokes around and questions the consensus of all kinds of accepted 'settled science' which is just too sweet when  he comes to the Jurassic/Cretaceous era, when the climate was tropical in the north, and oxygen isotopes appear to contradict all kinds of things. He does not mention Pole shift or continental drift, accepting the status quo regards Plate Tectonics, but why don't the oxygen isotopes fit the facts. Quite how all this impacts on sediment cores from the sea bed is left unanswered, but foraminifera isotopes are central to the theory of regular 100,000 year cycles of the Ice Ages. Is that baloney?

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