CO2 hovering above and below 400 ppm

An update from the measurements being reported from Scripps that I discussed earlier. Here’s the screen shot when I checked the “box scores” for our favorite greenhouse gasco2-2013-05-07whew! I know if I patiently wait, the CO2 concentration will rise above 400 ppm in earnest since CO2 concentrations have been increasing by about 2 ppm/year

Global growth rate of atmospheric concentration of CO2

Global growth rate of atmospheric concentration of CO2 from 1959 to 2012 (data from NOAA ESRL in link below). 1959 is the start of in situ measurements. The best-fit line is overlaid for reference. You can see that the correlation coefficient is high. In this case, the R2 = 0.43 means that a line captures about 43% of the variance in the annual data. That, in turn, means that a line is a good approximation for predicting where we are going in the near-future.

for a long time with some indication of acceleration in the last few years as the NOAA ESRL CO2 data repository data indicates. Finally, note that hourly measurements of CO2 have already jumped over 401 ppm at times as shown in this figure from Scripps. 400 ppm is inevitable, but what this means for the world is something that science is trying to figure out.mlo_one_week-2013-05-07

About Brian Magi

Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Earth Sciences
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