Thursday, September 29, 2016

Over 400ppm permanently ?!?!

Just noticed this depressing news - CO2 readings from the Mauna Loa Observatory for the month of September haven't dropped below 400 part per million. If you remember the Keeling Curve, the graph that shows how carbon dioxide levels fluctuate with the seasons but overall are increasing through time, you might already understand how this is important.
Keeling Curve
Normally near the end of September measured CO2 readings reach their annual low point. The low point reflects the annual transition between summer and fall, when the uptake of CO2 by vegetation slows and is overtaken by the release of CO2 from soils.

This year - with only a day to go - CO2 levels have remained above 400ppm (the daily average or yellow circles - not the red dots which are hourly averages and vary greatly over the course of the day).

Though it is highly unusual, there have been 4 years (2002, 2008,  2009, and 2012) in which the monthly value for October was actually lower than the value for September. However, the decrease from September to October those years was at most 0.45 ppm, which probably isn't enough to pull the overall average for October below 400ppm. So, um, EEK!  Because this probably means that we are now permanently above 400ppm. Not good news.

And in related EEK!

NASA Global Climate Change reported today that 2016 is on track to set a new global temperature record.

Swell news, huh.

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