Humanity May Never See < 400 ppm CO2 Ever Again

Discussion in 'Weather' started by xcel, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    [​IMG] The total number and rate increase is accelerating.

    [​IMG]Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – June 10, 2016

    The Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) is an atmospheric research facility that has been continuously monitoring and collecting data related to atmospheric change since the 1950's. The undisturbed air, remote location, and minimal influences of vegetation and human activity at MLO are ideal for monitoring constituents in the atmosphere that can cause climate change. The observatory is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL) - Global Monitoring Division (GMD).

    In March, NOAA reported that the annual rate of atmospheric CO2 measured at NOAA’s MLO in Hawaii jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest single year-to-year increase in 56 years of measurement and research.

    2015 was also the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 ppm.

    Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network:
    Levels of the greenhouse gas number and rates of increase were independently measured by NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory and by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    In February 2016, the average global atmospheric CO2 level stood at 402.59 ppm. Prior to 1800, atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm.

    The last time the Earth experienced such a sustained CO2 increase was between 17,000 and 11,000 years ago, when CO2 levels increased by 80 ppm. Today’s rate of increase is 200 times faster.

    The big jump in CO2 is partially due to the current El Niño weather pattern, as forests, plantlife and other terrestrial systems responded to changes in weather, precipitation and drought. The largest previous increase occurred in 1998, also a strong El Niño year. Continued high emissions from fossil fuel consumption are driving the underlying growth rate over the past several years.

    By all appearances given the slope and normal October lows, global citizens may never again experience < 400 ppm of CO2 concentration ever again.

    58 years of Monthly Mean Atmospheric CO2

    Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii ​

    The carbon dioxide data (red curve), measured as the mole fraction in dry air, on Mauna Loa constitute the longest record of direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere. They were started by C. David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in March of 1958 at a facility of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [Keeling, 1976]. NOAA started its own CO2 measurements in May of 1974, and they have run in parallel with those made by Scripps since then [Thoning, 1989]. The black curve represents the seasonally corrected data.

    Data are reported as a dry mole fraction defined as the number of molecules of carbon dioxide divided by the number of molecules of dry air multiplied by one million (ppm).

    1 year of Monthly Mean Atmospheric CO2

    Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii ​

    The above 1-year graph is updated weekly and shows as individual points daily mean CO2 up to and including the week (Sunday through Saturday) previous to today. The daily means are based on hours during which CO2 was likely representative of “background” conditions, defined as times when the measurement is representative of air at mid-altitudes over the Pacific Ocean. That air has had several days time or more to mix, smoothing out most of the CO2 variability encountered elsewhere, making the measurements representative of CO2 over hundreds of km or more.

    We are beyond the belief stage as this single number and its rate of growth as measured at MLO should be enough to scare anyone concerned about the long term viability of humanity given the fast changes taking place before our very eyes.
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  2. rhwinger

    rhwinger Well-Known Member

    We all probably know someone, when presented with this kind of info, will, even now, continue to say: "Yes - but I believe...."

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  3. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    We could have carbon sinks - if we brought back all our native grasslands around the world - we would drop to below 350ppm in less than a decade. If we made biochar from all the dropped branches and dead trees, etc, this would sink a lot of carbon from the atmosphere - and put it in the soil where it would be hugely beneficial. We could stop using artificial fertilizer if we had enough carbon in the soil.
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  4. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Artificial fertilizer is mainly NPK. So how is the requirement for NPK eliminated by C rich soil? And who feeds the world if we put all the farmland into native grasses?

    Just asking. I know that native grasses don't usually require added fertilizer. But can 8 billion of us eat a grass fed paleo diet?

    Wouldn't it be simpler to push renewable energy and not have to char and bury every stick and abandon agriculture?
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  5. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    About 25 years ago
    it was suggested that seeding the oceans with "just 20,000 tons" of iron
    would create big enough algae blooms
    to "significantly drop" atm CO2
    ALGAE would pull CO2 out of air-and water- turn it into something like cellulose(glucose polymers)
    then they would die
    sink to the bottom of oceans-NOT decompose much so little O2-get covered with sediment
    and become sequestered for 100,000,000 or more years
    Oh-small tests were done-it didn't work-blooms didn't "bloom"-but perhaps it might be tried again
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  6. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    Carbon does multiple things in the soil - all of them good:

    Soil life love to live in carbon
    Carbon bonds with all chemicals, so it holds onto organic material and the bacteria makes nutrients for about 1000X longer than without the carbon
    Carbon holds water far longer

    Plants store nutrients in the soil, and soil life also build the soil.

    Look up terra preta. When soild has a high proportion of carbon - it grows more soil and boosts the nutrients - ALL the nutrients; not just the major ones.

    Grassland add lots of carbon to the soil, if it is grazed every year or two. Think American bison, and 6 FEET of topsoil - this is how it happened.

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  7. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

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  8. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    picturing 6' of bison poo...
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  9. ksstathead

    ksstathead Moderator

    Thanks, Neil!
    Very interesting. Haven't watched the 3rd one yet.
    xcel likes this.
  10. TheFordFamily

    TheFordFamily Well-Known Member

    This makes me incredibly sad. I think, that we as a species, have screwed it all up for everyone else.
    xcel likes this.
  11. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    It is the grass roots that are ~50' deep, that are abandoned after grazing that pumps the carbon into the ground.
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  12. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    I was being obtuse... :)

    Edit: my apologies, Neil
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
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  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    I am updating the thread as we have passed the average weekly low and it was > 400 ppm. This is not a good sign by any means.

    The low that occurs in late September though early October appears not to have fallen below 400 for the first time in history. :(

    This is the weekly averages from late August through early October.

    The "average" column contains the monthly mean CO2 mole fraction determined from daily averages. The mole fraction of CO2, expressed as parts per million (ppm) is the number of molecules of CO2 in every one million molecules of dried air (water vapor removed). If there are missing days concentrated either early or late in the month, the monthly mean is corrected to the middle of the month using the average seasonal cycle.

    Start of week - CO2 mol fraction (ppm) #days

    Aug 28, 2016 - 400.98 5
    Sep 04, 2016 - 400.97 5
    Sep 11, 2016 - 401.33 5
    Sep 18, 2016 - 400.87 7
    Sep 25, 2016 - 400.72 5
    Oct 02, 2016 - 400.91 7


    The graph, updated daily, shows as individual points daily and hourly mean CO2 for the last 31 days. Daily average CO2 values are computed from selected hourly values that satisfy 'background' conditions, i.e. stability and persistence of CO2 concentrations (read below for more information). That means the daily averages shown on the plot are likely computed from a subset of the hourly averages. These daily average values may also change as a result of the selection process as additional data become available.

    The daily means are based on hours during which CO2 was likely representative of “background” conditions, defined as times when the measurement is representative of air at mid-altitudes over the Pacific Ocean. That air has had several days time or more to mix, smoothing out most of the CO2 variability encountered elsewhere, making the measurements representative of CO2 over hundreds of km or more.

    The selection process is designed to filter out any influence of nearby emissions, or removals, of CO2 such as caused by the vegetation on the island of Hawaii, and likewise emissions from the volcanic crater of Mauna Loa. We require low variability within each hour and between successive hourly averages, as well as a degree of persistence of the likely valid "background" hours between successive days. Thus, some of the hours that are initially designated as background, may still be flagged as unlikely to represent background conditions as information about the following days becomes available.

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  14. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    Anyone 35 or younger - have never experienced what our climate used to be. And even worse, we will see an acceleration of warming, because what we used to call "permafrost" is not permanent - it is melting and releasing methane and carbon dioxide. We know that the ocean has been absorbing carbon dioxide - and we know that warmer water can hold less gas in solution than cold water. So, eventually ocean water will be releasing the gas it has been holding in solution - carbon dioxide and oxygen included.

    We had better hope that the clathrate ice - frozen methane - that is on the Arctic Ocean floor doesn't melt.
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  15. BillLin

    BillLin MASS: 2018 Bolt EV and 2017 Prime

    Time to start working on terraforming technology... Might be more cost effective than colonizing Mars and moving there.
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  16. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    There is a possible great outcome is that we change our agriculture into a permaculture - we can use carbon farming methods to take the carbon dioxide out of the air, and put it in the ground <b>where is becomes a huge benefit</b>.

    If we increase the carbon content in the top 6" of only the farmland all over the world - BY JUST 1% - we could be back below 350ppm in the atmosphere. We would then not need to use artificial fertilizer, because carbon in the soil holds onto nutrients and water and it provides space for all the soil biology that builds the soil.

    More carbon in the air is a bad thing, but plants can take carbon from the air - this is how they live - and put it in the soil. When we do things right, some of that carbon STAYS in the soil.

    Native grasslands would also do this:
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  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    In the mean time...

    Climate Change Indicators: Sea Level

    This indicator describes how sea level has changed over time. The indicator describes two types of sea level changes: absolute and relative.


    This graph shows cumulative changes in sea level for the world’s oceans since 1880, based on a combination of long-term tide gauge measurements and recent satellite measurements. This figure shows average absolute sea level change, which refers to the height of the ocean surface, regardless of whether nearby land is rising or falling. Satellite data are based solely on measured sea level, while the long-term tide gauge data include a small correction factor because the size and shape of the oceans are changing slowly over time. (On average, the ocean floor has been gradually sinking since the last Ice Age peak, 20,000 years ago.) The shaded band shows the likely range of values, based on the number of measurements collected and the precision of the methods used.

    Compare the CO2 Concentration over the last 10,000 years.


  18. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member


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  19. NeilBlanchard

    NeilBlanchard Well-Known Member

    The chart posted just above - is bunk. It is not based on data. And Mr Happer is simply wrong.

    Here is a science reporter, with a video series that debunks the myths:

    xcel likes this.
  20. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

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