HOME



Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405



Facebook: Digby Parton

Twitter:
@digby56
@Gaius_Publius
@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)
@spockosbrain



emails:
Digby:
thedigbyblog at gmail
Dennis:
satniteflix at gmail
Gaius:
publius.gaius at gmail
Tom:
tpostsully at gmail
Spocko:
Spockosbrain at gmail
tristero:
Richardein at me.com








Infomania

Salon
Buzzflash
Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Slate
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic


Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018


 

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Hullabaloo


Monday, April 25, 2016

 

Atmospheric CO2 Rising Off the Chart, Spikes Above 409 ppm on April 10

by Gaius Publius


Preliminary weekly (red line), monthly (blue line) and daily (black points) atmospheric CO2 averages at Mauna Loa for the last year (my annotation; source; click to enlarge)


I've likely said too many times to count that (1) the degradation in our climate won't be either linear or gradual; and (2) most estimates of the rate of decay are wrong to the slow side, too conservative. The rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 is turning into a prime example.

This is what decadal changes in atmospheric CO2 has looked like through the last half-century (source):


Decade

Atmospheric CO2
Growth Rate

    2005 - 2014   

    2.11 ppm per year   

 1995 - 2004

 1.87 ppm per year

 1985 - 1994

 1.42 ppm per year

 1975 - 1984

 1.44 ppm per year

 1965 - 1974

 1.06 ppm per year

 1959 - 1964
(6 years only)

0.73 ppm per year



For quite a while, climate scientists have been comforted (if that's the world for a very jittery bunch) by the stability of the CO2 growth rate — "only" 2.11 ppm per year. There is some acceleration, obviously. But for the most part that acceleration hasn't been dramatic, aside from the large one-year spike in 1998 (chart here).

We now have another large one-year spike (see chart at the top of this piece; also here), and we're not done yet. The actual yearly peak in atmospheric CO2 is reached in May, a number not yet available, so the April peak (so far) is still shy of the actual number for 2016. (Note that both 1998 and 2016 are El Niño years, but as you'll read, that should not be comforting.)

Keep in mind, CO2 readings barely touched 400 ppm very recently — as a the daily average, in 2013; as a monthly average, in 2014 — and the monthly readings solidly breached 400 ppm only in 2015 (per-month data table here). The May 2014 highest weekly mean was 401.88 ppm. The May 2015 highest weekly mean was 403.94, for a rise of a little over 2 ppm, the average over the last 10 years. The May 2016 weekly average could peak near 410 ppm, and one of the daily averages could exceed it. (If you look at this chart, you'll see the hourly average has already breached 410 ppm. In the hourly measurements, we're already there.)

This is a problem, this spike in atmospheric CO2, and a more immediate one than this generation is prepared to acknowledge. Robert Scribbler comments (my emphasis):
Hothouse Gas Spikes to Extreme 409.3 Parts Per Million on April 10 — Record Rate of Atmospheric CO2 Increase Likely for 2016

Simply put, a rapid atmospheric accumulation of greenhouse gasses is swiftly pushing the Earth well outside of any climate context that human beings are used to. The influence of an extreme El Nino on the world ocean system’s ability to take down a massive human carbon emission together with signs of what appears to be a significantly smaller but growing emission from global carbon stores looks to be setting the world up for another record jump in atmospheric CO2 levels during 2016.

Already, as we near the annual peak during late April through early May, major CO2 spikes are starting to show up. On Sunday, April 10 the Mauna Loa Observatory recorded a daily CO2 reading in the extraordinary range of 409.3 parts per million. These readings follow March monthly averages near 405 parts per million and precede an annual monthly peak in May that’s likely to hit above 407 parts per million and may strike as high as 409 parts per million. These are levels about 135 to 235 parts per million above the average interglacial to ice age range for CO2 levels during the relatively stable climate period of the last 2 million years.
Consider this trajectory of highest daily means from the chart above:
  • 2014 – 2015 = ~3 ppm (402 ppm – 405 ppm)
  • 2015 – 2016 = ~4 ppm (405 ppm – 409 ppm)
Even if we average "just" a steady +4 ppm/year for 10 years (with no more acceleration), we'll be at 450 ppm in the mid 2020s, not the mid-2050s. That spells trouble for this generation, not just the next.

About El Niño...

There's a lot of cheerleading for the end of El Niño, so that the ocean can again take up more of the excess heat. That's not a good thing. Consider that if the sun's excess heat ends up in the ocean, the slower acceleration in atmospheric heat is only temporary, only delayed, since every El Niño year the ocean "burps" its heat back out again. The more heat the ocean stores, the more it has to spit back out. Increasing the rate of emissions increase the total heat retained in the system. It's a literal lose-lose situation.

Look again at this chart and tell me why this train isn't headed for disaster.

Is This an Emergency Yet?

... or can we afford to wait even longer? If this isn't the cusp of a possible near-term species emergency, I don't know what is. Keep in mind, the social chaos could easily precede the full climate chaos, as people see what's coming. Social chaos will make organizing a solution much harder.

If this were a giant asteroid 10 years away with just a 30% chance of hitting the earth, we'd be scrambling every dollar we had to build something to prevent it. I personally think we need that kind of effort now, and arguing for it now is our one best hope.

It isn't over yet though, and there are things you can do now:
  • Sign on the one of the "emergency mobilization" petitions and join their actions. One of those petitions is here.
  • Bernie Sanders is the only candidate talking about a planetary emergency — which seems to be born out by data, and not just the data above — one that may require a WWII-style mobilization to prevent. Consider voting for him.
Blue America has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president. If you'd like to help out, go here. If you'd like to "phone-bank for Bernie," go here. You can volunteer in other ways by going here. And thanks!

(A version of this piece appeared at Down With Tyranny. GP article archive here.)

GP