Atmospheric CO2 at 400ppm and Counting

Scientist who have since around 1960 been carefully monitoring the levels of atmospheric CO2 report that we are at the threshold of crossing the 400 ppm measure.

Source of image: Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Carbon Dioxide Concentration at Mauna Loa Observatory

Graph and links to multiple related articles on the Keeling Curve at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Concentrations of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere are approaching 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history

This website provides daily updates, analysis, and information on the state of climate
Current reading: 399.72 ppm

CO2 concentration on April 25, 2013

What possible negative affects could this have? How about reports coming out this week that the White House is convening a meeting to discuss the current projections that melting of the Arctic icecap is advancing so rapidly that scientists now project an ice free Summer Arctic by 2016. That is just three years from now, a radical change from projections just a few years ago that we had nearly a century before reaching that tipping point. An ice free Arctic in summer is going to result in vast methane releases, which is expected to intensify the feedback loop from the current warming, and melt even more ice for longer periods.

I guess I have reached the point of total exasperation with the stupidity of the human race. When you become fat and complacent as a society, comfortable in the norms you think you have achieved, apparently it is all to easy to blind yourself to reality. In this case, that is the reality of the threat of anthropogenic rapid climate change, and specifically, global warming.

That most people still refuse to accept the clear evidence of accelerating warming of not just our atmosphere, but our oceans, on a scale and with a speed unparalleled in literally tens if not hundreds of millions of years, is beyond my comprehension. We have members of Congress expressing the beliefs of these people, namely, that it is all a hoax, perpetrated by scientists just to get money for research. I have actually had people say this to me. They firmly believe the myth that all the research is just faked, and that since research grants only go to those who hew the line and accept climate change and global warming, that just keeps the real truth that it is faked from coming out.

Of course these same people refuse to accept the clear and factual evidence that has been repeatedly exposed, namely that the Koch brothers and other wealthy individuals and companies of the corporate oligarchy have for decades been paying a handful of scientists to generate what is demonstrably faked and misleading research denying climate change and global warming. And those same people and companies were the ones responsible for half a century of denial research regarding the cancer causing properties of tobacco smoke.

A secretive funding organisation in the United States that guarantees anonymity for its billionaire donors has emerged as a major operator in the climate “counter movement” to undermine the science of global warming, The Independent has learnt.

The Donors Trust, along with its sister group Donors Capital Fund, based in Alexandria, Virginia, is funnelling millions of dollars into the effort to cast doubt on climate change without revealing the identities of its wealthy backers or that they have links to the fossil fuel industry.

However, an audit trail reveals that Donors is being indirectly supported by the American billionaire Charles Koch who, with his brother David, jointly owns a majority stake in Koch Industries, a large oil, gas and chemicals conglomerate based in Kansas.

nonymous private funding of global warming sceptics, who have criticised climate scientists for their lack of transparency, is becoming increasingly common. The Kochs, for instance, have overtaken the corporate funding of climate denialism by oil companies such as ExxonMobil. One such organisation, Americans for Prosperity, which was established by David Koch, claimed that the “Climategate” emails illegally hacked from the University of East Anglia in 2009 proved that global warming was the “biggest hoax the world has ever seen”.

Robert Brulle, a sociologist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, has estimated that over the past decade about $500m has been given to organisations devoted to undermining the science of climate change, with much of the money donated anonymously through third parties.

Exclusive: Billionaires secretly fund attacks on climate science

When you look at this graph, you will note that since 1960 we have basically ramped up from 310 to 400 ppm. That is nearly 25% of current levels in just 50 years. That is, looked at as a percentage of where we where in 1960, a 33% increase.

If I keep exercising and eating right, just think, I may live to see the Pocylypse myself!

I am reminded of the scene in one of my favorite movies, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, where the children are all gathered round the oldest girl, as she recites the history of their flight and crash in the desert, and their flawed understanding of the apocalypse they survived. Dressed in their tribal paint and feathers and rags, one of them holds up the empty frame from a TV set, as they “does the telling”, so that those who come after will remember.

Come to think of it, if I keep exercising and eating right, I might just live to see pretty much the end of the world and human culture as I have known it. Peak times followed by end times.

Who needs the Four Horsemen, when you can have rising sea levels and inundated coastlines and cities; famine and hunger due to failing crops; and wars over dwindling supplies of not just oil, but potable water.

The Pliocene is the geologic era between five million and three million years ago. Scientists have come to regard it as the most recent period in history when the atmosphere’s heat-trapping ability was as it is now and thus as our guide for things to come.

Recent estimates suggest CO2 levels reached as much as 415 parts per million (ppm) during the Pliocene. With that came global average temperatures that eventually reached 3 or 4 degrees C (5.4-7.2 degrees F) higher than today’s and as much as 10 degrees C (18 degrees F) warmer at the poles. Sea level ranged between five and 40 meters (16 to 131 feet) higher than today.

Richard Norris, a geologist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, said the concentration of CO2 is one means of comparison, but what is not comparable, and more significant, is the speed at which 400 ppm is being surpassed today.

“I think it is likely that all these ecosystem changes could recur, even though the time scales for the Pliocene warmth are different than the present,” Norris said. “The main lagging indicator is likely to be sea level just because it takes a long time to heat the ocean and a long time to melt ice. But our dumping of heat and CO2 into the ocean is like making investments in a pollution ‘bank,’ since we can put heat and CO2 in the ocean, but we will only extract the results (more sea-level rise from thermal expansion and more acidification) over the next several thousand years. And we cannot easily withdraw either the heat or the CO2 from the ocean if we actually get our act together and try to limit our industrial pollution–the ocean keeps what we put in it.”

What Does 400 ppm Look Like?
April 25, 2013


Author: Ron