Keeling Was Defunded for Discovering Higher Primary Production

Charles David Keeling (1928-2005) became famous for setting up a worldwide network of CO2 measurement stations that demonstrated annual increases of CO2 in the air.  The iconic Keeling curve, representing CO2 concentrations since 1958, is Exhibit One in every climate-related presentation and one of the very few accurate and reliable datasets in climatology.  Ralph Keeling, his son, is continuing his work as CO2 Program Director in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD.

In September 2011, Ralph Keeling and his co-authors published results of their research, showing that the biosphere absorbs carbon dioxide much faster than was assumed in the IPCC texts. The article was very technical and used non-confrontational language.  A direct quote:

Our analysis shows a rapid recovery from El Niño events, implying a shorter cycling time of CO2 with respect to the terrestrial biosphere and oceans than previously estimated. Our analysis suggests that current estimates of global gross primary production, of 120 petagrams of carbon per year, may be too low, and that a best guess of 150–175 petagrams of carbon per year better reflects the observed rapid cycling of CO2. Although still tentative, such a revision would present a new benchmark by which to evaluate global biospheric carbon cycling models.

This was a very significant result, because higher gross primary production means higher net primary production and a higher CO2 sink rate.  What happened next was not surprising:  the Obama Administration defunded Keeling for these research results because they contradicted the climate alarmism line.

More precisely, the NSF defunded Keeling’s oxygen measurements even before the publication, in 2009–2010, probably after learning about the preliminary results.  Other agencies joined the boycott later.

See Nature, November 2013, Budget crunch hits Keeling’s curves Scientist struggles to maintain long-standing carbon dioxide record and more recent atmospheric-oxygen monitor.  This “budget crunch” was a lie.  The budgets of every research or study supporting or appearing to support the alarm have been skyrocketing in the last 7 years.  From the Nature’s article:

Late last month, officials at California’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography turned to Twitter seeking donations to maintain the iconic ‘Keeling curve’, a 55-year record of rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. …

The complement to the Keeling curve is Ralph Keeling’s atmospheric-oxygen record, which NOAA does not replicate. …

Keeling says that he received around US $700,000 annually for the CO2 programme through paired support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) until three years ago, when the NSF halted funding. With staff cuts, he has been able to maintain operations with a budget of around $350,000.

The NSF claims that it could not find $700,000 in its nearly $7 Billion budget, a huge chunk of which was dedicated to climate studies. Their pants must be on fire.

The primary target of the defunding was the oxygen isotopes record, which allowed Keeling and colleagues to make those inconvenient conclusions about the increased primary production.  But CO2 measurements suffered as well.  In particular, at least some CO2 samples were collected but not analyzed.  Yes, the CO2 measurements reported in 2011-2014 might have been of inferior quality, because the scientific establishment was punishing Ralph Keeling for doing inconvenient scientific research.

In the end, the Schmidt Foundation threw Keeling a few crumbs to continue CO2 (but not O2) measurements, apparently on the condition that he repent and participate in the alarmist propaganda. As announced on the Scripps website, September 2014 (my emphasis):


Supports continued operation of the iconic measurement series

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego today announced that Wendy and Eric Schmidt have provided a grant that will support continued operation of the renowned Keeling Curve measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The grant provides $500,000 over five years to support the operations of the Scripps CO2 Group, which maintains the Keeling Curve.

CO2 Group Director Ralph Keeling said the grant will make it possible for his team to restore atmospheric measurements that had been discontinued because of a lack of funding, address a three-year backlog of samples that have been collected but not analyzed, and enhance outreach efforts that educate the public about the role carbon dioxide plays in climate.

A three-year backlog of samples!  E pur si muove.

Recently, independent research has confirmed increased activity of the biosphere as a carbon dioxide sink.  Further, it became known that IPCC has been intentionally misleading public about carbon cycle.

The IPCC has been Deceiving the Public about the Carbon Cycle from the Start

Empirical Validation of the Exponential Decay for Surplus CO2

2 thoughts on “Keeling Was Defunded for Discovering Higher Primary Production

  1. One more true scientist attacked for sharing results that did not fit with the consensus propaganda. The last few decades will go down in history as the modern inquisition and all involved will be held up to ridicule. It is Keeling and others like him that will be price. To be the Galileos of our time and all those who support this fraud will be shown to be the fools.

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