The Vostok Ice Core sample in East Antarctica; the data from the ice core over 400,000 years of data indicate the warming nutballs have it backward; I give the key graph & you tell me what do you see

by Paul Alexander

You judge for yourself, does CO2 increase and then temperature, or does temperature increase and the CO2?

Historical Carbon Dioxide Record from the Vostok Ice Core

  • In January 1998, the collaborative ice-drilling project between Russia, the United States, and France at the Russian Vostok station in East Antarctica yielded the deepest ice core ever recovered, reaching a depth of 3,623 m (Petit et al. 1997, 1999). Ice cores are unique with their entrapped air inclusions enabling direct records of past changes in atmospheric trace-gas composition. Preliminary data indicate the Vostok ice-core record extends through four climate cycles, with ice slightly older than 400 kyr (Petit et al. 1997, 1999). Because air bubbles do not close at the surface of the ice sheet but only near the firn-ice transition (that is, at ~90 m below the surface at Vostok), the air extracted from the ice is younger than the surrounding ice (Barnola et al. 1991). Using semiempirical models of densification applied to past Vostok climate conditions, Barnola et al. (1991) reported that the age difference between air and ice may be ~6000 years during the coldest periods instead of ~4000 years, as previously assumed. Ice samples were cut with a bandsaw in a cold room (at about -15°C) as close as possible to the center of the core in order to avoid surface contamination (Barnola et al. 1983).’ 


Figure 4 CO2 and temperature appear well-correlated in a gross sense but there are some significant deviations. At the terminations, the alignment is as good as observed for methane. But upon descent into the following glaciation there is a time lag between CO2 and temperature of several thousand years.

‘Ice cores from Antarctica show that at the end of recent ice ages, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere usually started to rise only after temperatures had begun to climb. There is uncertainty about the timings, partly because the air trapped in the cores is younger than the ice, but it appears the lags might sometimes have been 800 years or more.

One could thus argue that CO2 was not the trigger that caused the initial warming at the end of these ice ages.

Read more:

Climate myths: Ice cores show CO2 increases lag behind temperature rises, disproving the link to global warming

Read more: