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CO2 and Statistics

Posted by David Keelan on Monday, April 21, 2008

A reader and local scientists looked at Carbon Dioxide emissions and applied statistical systems to them, specifically the Correlation Coefficient.

Here are his findings:
Wednesday, April 9, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Statistics of Climate Change – I downloaded and reviewed data for carbon emissions, atmospheric carbon dioxide (not ice core data), global temperatures, sunspot number, and solar irradiance. Using Excel spreadsheet statistics functions, I came up with the following correlation results:

Comparison Correlation Coefficient

CO2 Emissions vs. Temp. 0.85
CO2 Emissions vs. Atm CO2 -0.04
Atm CO2 vs. Temp. 0.26
Solar Irradiation vs. Temp 0.80
Sunspot Number vs. Temp 0.29

Correlation Coefficients (CC) range from -1 to 1. A CC of -1 is the strongest inverse relationship, while a CC of 1 is the strongest direct relationship. A CC of 0 is the complete absence of a relationship. Anything is basically up to user discretion; however, my standard is anything above >0.75 or <-0.75 is a strong relationship. All other CC values are various degrees of a weak relationship.

As you can see, the CO2 Emissions most closely correlate to temperature. However, CO2 Emissions do not correlate to atmospheric CO2 measurements. Furthermore, atmospheric CO2 measurements do not correlate to temperature. This last fact is true for recent and geologic time scales. So why do CO2 Emissions correlate to temperature — coincidence. The industrial age coincides with the end of the “Little Ice Age” from the late 1600s to about 1850 (widely accepted event). As a result, temperatures have been increasing naturally before the industrial age and continued during it.

However, solar irradiation tracks very closely to temperature (CC = 0.80). A review of solar irradiation graphs vs temperature graphs clearly indicates that all temperture minima and maxima of since 1850 (time period for which I have data) have coincided with solar irradiation fluctuations. The evidence sufficiently clear that anyone logical person can see that solar irradiation affects temperature to a much higher degree than CO2 ever could. You can see this phenomenom in late 20th and early 21st Century temperatures because, as reported, temperatures have been decreasing since 1998. Solar irradiation level have likewise been decreaseing.

Posted in David Keelan, General, statistics | 2 Comments »