Monday, July 11, 2016

Atmospheric CO2 Jumps +4 ppm in June Compared to June 2015


Graphic showing global warming from 1850–2016. Notice the rapid outward spiral near the end (source).

by Gaius Publius

A climate note, to add some perspective to the "very encouraging" or "just in the margins" changes to the Democratic platform, as you prefer to see them.

Last April we noted this — "Atmospheric CO2 Is Rising Off the Chart — Spikes Above 409 ppm on April 10". That number, 409 ppm CO2, was from the daily chart at Mauna Loa, one of the main stations measuring atmospheric CO2. (There's also an hourly chart, a weekly chart and a monthly chart, all showing mean measurements over a stated time period.)

Here's what the hourly chart showed then:

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)

This shows that for April 10, 2016, the daily average atmospheric CO2 was above 410 ppm. In contrast, consider that as recently as 2013 the daily average peaked above 400 ppm for the first time in recorded history and the monthly average was just a hair short at 399.76 ppm.

The monthly data is now in for May and June of this year (monthly peaks are always in May), and the chart below shows that data:

Recent monthly mean CO2 (red line) and the trend (blue line). Source NOAA; h/t Kees van der Leun.

A quick summary of this year's atmospheric CO2 vs. last year's measurement:

Daily mean CO2 at peak, 2015 — 404.63 ppm
Daily mean CO2 at peak, 2016 — 409.34 ppm
Difference — 4.71 ppm

Monthly mean CO2, June 2015 — 406.81 ppm
Monthly mean CO2, June 2016 — 402.80 ppm
Difference — 4.01 ppm

Increase in atmospheric CO2 varies from year to year based on a number of factors. CO2 isn't just pumped into the air; it's also extracted from the air by a number of natural processes (dissolved into the ocean, extracted by plant photosynthesis, and so on). Volcanic activity and the temperature of the ocean are also factors. So there's no guarantee this rate will continue. On the other hand, we could be at the start of a spiraling-out-of-control period.

That said, the average increase in CO2 over the ten-year period ending in 2014 was +2.11 ppm. Over the prior ten-year period, the average increase was +1.87 ppm. The increase this year — +4 ppm — blows those numbers out of the water.

A Simple Calculation

Consider a simple calculation. Most governments that try to show they are interested in ending man-made CO2 emissions have "exit rates" — rates at which humans go to zero emissions — which nonetheless have us increasing emissions as late as 2050. The underlying assumption is that if we start the count at 400 ppm in 2014 (per the monthly chart at the above), then add +2.11 ppm per year, we don't get to 450 ppm for roughly 20-25 years (allowing for modest acceleration in the growth rate). But if atmospheric CO2 growth suddenly zooms to +4 ppm/year starting with this year's 406 ppm, we're at 450 ppm in 11 years.

Eleven years from now is 2027, and 450 ppm is a game-over scenario. Partly because global warming will have shot well past +2°C, producing enough social, political, economic and military chaos to make a global solution impossible; and partly because if we haven't stopped Exxon et al before then, we never will, and the process will go to termination. That is, we won't stop until we're once more pre-industrial, or worse.

Climate Destruction and the Democratic Convention

And that's what's at issue in the Democratic Party's lack of commitment to end (not reduce the rate of, but end) global warming. The degree to which Hillary Clinton, or any Democratic Party official, serves the interests of Exxon and the frackers who finance their campaigns, is the degree to which she and the rest of us doom our grandchildren to go ungently indeed into a very warm, very long, civilization-ending night. With the lights turned off.

For more on that platform fight and its importance, read this:

The title is the bottom line.


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At 11:25 AM, Blogger Glenn Bateman said...

Top 10 Reasons to NOT give a damn about Global Warming:

10. I’m cold!
9. My Exxon stock keeps going up and up!
8. So what if the planet is its warmest in 12,000 years!
7. I’m hoping to live long enough to see South Florida under water!
6. Save on my heating bill!
5. It is still going to be ok while I am still alive!
4. Who needs any damn coastal cities or islands in the Pacific?
3. I hate my children and grandchildren.
2. This planet will be better off when the human race no longer exists on it!
1. The fossil fuel industry tells me it is not real and they have no reason to lie!

At 6:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're like people huddling in a blackout, certain that if we just wait, the electricity will come back on its own, or somebody in charge will come by to fix it. If we're especially prepared, we'll light some candles or start a generator.
Except, of course, this blackout is global, and those in charge are nowhere to be found. When what started out as an inconvenience becomes an urgent crisis, nothing can stop the descent into hell.

Governments worldwide have failed, and while powering our homes with solar and grassroots organizing is great, they can't forestall this global disaster.

At 5:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a contest underway to be the one person who owns it all. nothing is going to be allowed to interrupt this game, for the honor of the eventual winner is at stake. How can anyone be so callous as to not care about the well-being of the eventual winner? Keep breathing polluted air, drinking that lead-laced water, eating Frankenfood, and cheer for your choice to the the One Who Onws It All. Choose Wisely! Don't support someone opposed to the one who will soon own you as well.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Craig Dillon said...

It is much worse than you think.
The only way for CO2 to have risen 4ppm in one year, is if nature had added 2ppm of the amount. That means that +4ppm/yr is now the new normal.
At that rate, we will have 500ppm CO2 by 2040.
The rise of global temperatures has only just begun.
It will be getting a lot hotter, a lot faster, than anyone, including the climatologists, has imagined.

At 7:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's much worse than Craig Dillon said too.

This is a resonant cycle. The FACT that it's at 400+ ppm now means that it SHALL be higher, at an accelerating rate, next year. And the FACT that next year will be 400+ +x means that the year after it shall be 400+ + 2x.

And even if humans stop burning shit for power today... and stop raising cattle and pigs for food today... and quit destroying forests and other flora today... it wouldn't stop the rise. It's even arguable that stopping all carbon dumping would not even change the acceleration of the increase.

Couple that with the FACT that nobody, and I MEAN nobody, will ever do one single useful thing to change human behavior (procreating, eating, breathing, crapping, burning, lather, rinse, repeat), and you have a global disaster that won't be avoided.

The superrich think they can manage it. But they can't.

There will be wars as billions face thirst, hunger and so on. And there are plenty of weapons already everywhere to make the killing widespread.

Will humans get smarter (and kill the superrich and their bought politicians first)?

I've seen no indication that humans have any such capacity.

America is in the beginnings of a race war (have you SEEN and HEARD those Rs at the convention?) and as long as there are such limbic distractions, nobody will be looking at climate at all.

At 10:37 AM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

To solve a problem, one must first understand the problem.
This writer, while doing fine work, does not understand the problem.

The problem isn't that humans refuse to stop burning shit for power and using fossil fuels for all manner of other ubiquitous things (plastics, fertilizers and on and on).

The problem is there are just too many goddamn humans on the planet... and the number is ever increasing.

You can substitute renewables for energy all you want. You can go organic for fertilizers. You can even make your plastics out of renewables... you CAN!

But until humankind stops (AND REVERSES!) the constant increase in populution, it won't matter. All those mouths will need to breathe and eat and drink and live in some sort of dwelling. And all those assholes will need to crap somewhere.

And this planet cannot support more than a couple billion, max, of us in any sort of comfort. There are over 7 billion now and it'll be 9 billion before 2050.

Humankind's myths (religions) are anathema to any kind of reasoned discussion about populution, therefore humankind is destined to denude the planet and die of all manner of disease and deprivation created by its own effects on the planet from which it sprung.

If humans in the 21st century refuse to eschew each and every thoroughly debunked religion, they utterly lack the capacity to reason their way to any solution to this.

period. game over. nice discussion though.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger jvb2718 said...

Here is another report to ponder:

Yet this does not even touch the fundamental problem -- too goddamn many humans on earth and ever-increasing populution.

The issue-avoidance is laid bare by the following snippet:

"Decoupling ― the ability of an economy to grow without a corresponding increase in its environmental footprint ― “requires well-designed policies,” the report said. Investments in research and development, as well as improved public policy and financing, will be critical."

The word "economy" is used instead of "population" presumably so as to NOT upset imbecile humans who think their gawds both demand and shall provide for as many humans as we can make.

It is scientific denial = religious myth to presume that an ever increasing population/economy can maintain a static enviro-footprint. The oceans cannot be overfished forever. Eventually they'll be denuded of protein for humans to catch/consume. The same is true for arable land potential and potable water sources. But the most mythical part is human waste products. 10B humans will shit more than 7B do now. period. end of pointless discussion.


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