Monday, May 12, 2008

A 650,000 Year Record

387. That's a record for the past 650,000 years (sorry Steve, sorry Stockwell). We've now pumped atmospheric CO2 levels to 387 ppm (parts per million). That's an increase of about 40% since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

From The Guardian:

The figures, published by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on its website, also confirm that carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is accumulating in the atmosphere faster than expected. The annual mean growth rate for 2007 was 2.14ppm – the fourth year in the past six to see an annual rise greater than 2ppm. From 1970 to 2000, the concentration rose by about 1.5ppm each year, but since 2000 the annual rise has leapt to an average 2.1ppm.

Scientists say the shift could indicate that the Earth is losing its natural ability to soak up billions of tons of carbon each year. Climate models assume that about half our future emissions will be re-absorbed by forests and oceans, but the new figures confirm this may be too optimistic. If more of our carbon pollution stays in the atmosphere, it means emissions will have to be cut by more than currently projected to prevent dangerous levels of global warming.

Martin Parry, co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's
working group on impacts, said: "Despite all the talk, the situation is getting worse. Levels of greenhouse gases continue to rise in the atmosphere and the rate of that rise is accelerating. We are already seeing the impacts of climate change and the scale of those impacts will also accelerate, until we decide to do something about it."


Anonymous said...

And not only that.....Global Diming is causing less evaporation and is the reason for less rain fall.

The Mound of Sound said...

Precipitation patterns are incredibly complex. Simply heating the earth increases evaporation rates. Wind patterns and sea temperatures also come to bear. And, of course, the warmer air becomes the more water vapour it will hold.

Right now our greatest water problem appears to be the "feast or famine" phenomenon where some regions endure decadal drought (or worse) while others receive unnatural seasonal flooding (look at England last year). Imagine the homeowners in California who had to evacuate their homes because of raging brush fires only to have to evacuate those same homes a few months later due to mudslides and flash floods.