Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sharp rise in CO2 levels recorded

Mankind is changing the climate.

BBC News has learned the latest data shows CO2 levels now stand at 381 parts per million (ppm) - 100ppm above the pre-industrial average.

The research indicates that 2005 saw one of the largest increases on record - a rise of 2.6ppm.

The chief carbon dioxide analyst for Noaa says the latest data confirms a worrying trend that recent years have, on average, recorded double the rate of increase from just 30 years ago.

The precise level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is of global concern because climate scientists fear certain thresholds may be "tipping points" that trigger sudden changes.

"Today we're over 380 ppm," he said. "That's higher than we've been for over a million years, possibly 30 million years. Mankind is changing the climate."

One of these days I am going to sit down and make a blog post containing my predictions for the future along with the degree of certainty I think each prediction carries. One of the predictions will be that, in the not too distant future, mankind will wake up to the reality of the climate having experienced, or clearly entered, a "tipping point". (Yeah, I know, you can't "enter" a "point".)

Among the factors that could change this outcome is a huge human dieoff. But then, even if CO2 concentrations were somehow frozen at today's levels, the warming effects will continue for some time, continuing and accelerating the release of methane from tundra. That we may have already crossed a pre-tipping point, where events were taken out of human hands, seems as likely as any other element in a credible forecast of cataclysmic things like this.


jj mollo said...

We're getting hit by the hockey stick. There are, however, very convincing voices on the other side. Here's an extensively documented discussion of the hockey stick idea, where it came from, why it's wrong. He claims that it only represents Northern Hemisphere daytime record of summer sunlight. He talks about sea level measurements in Tasmania. His view is (was) that the driver for the climate is mostly solar variability, which squashes all the other parameters and is largely unpredictable.

The Junk Science web site also has a number of sceptical viewpoints on what they view as "scare tactics".

jj mollo said...

There's also this meteo professor from MIT, Richard Lindzen who claims that the impact of CO2 is front-loaded. That is, the greenhouse effect is log not linear and the majority of the impact has already been absorbed. His response to the Kyoto protocols would be reflected in this statement, "...if somebody says you should take jelly beans for cancer and you say that’s stupid, and he says, well can you suggest something else and you say, no, does that mean you have to go with jelly beans?"

Steve said...

Oh, I'm not if favor of Kyoto at all. I like the jelly bean analogy. Something far beyond Kyoto is in order.

I'm aware of differences of opinion regarding anthropogenic climate change, but I am completely on the side of Real Climate, and I dismiss Climate Audit. RealClimate are consistent with what I can make out with my senses and think through with my feeble brain. ClimateAudit does nothing but make me think of Karl Rove.

I like this Global Warming Sceptic Bingo page you may have seen.