Global warming: Monthly average atmospheric CO2 levels exceed 400 ppm at remote sites for the first time on record

‘The path we’re on is foolish and dangerous and will lead to unacceptable changes’

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY —Underscoring the inexorable increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide pollution, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported today that average monthly concentrations of CO2 in the air around Barrow, Alaska reached 400 parts per million for the first time ever.

Carbon dioxide, emitted by fossil fuel combustion and other human activities, is the most significant greenhouse gas contributing to climate change.

The record-high readings came in April and May, at a time of year when CO2 levels are highest in the northern hemisphere just before plants start to absorb the gas as part of their growing cycle, but are worrisome nonetheless as an indicator of global CO2 levels.

“The northern sites in our monitoring network tell us what is coming soon to the globe as a whole,” said Pieter Tans, an atmospheric scientist with NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder. “We will likely see global average CO2 concentrations reach 400 ppm about 2016.” Continue reading

Climate: CO2 decline linked with ice cap formation

Ancient algae remnants offer climate clues

Seabed core samples show a clear link between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and formation of the Antarctic ice cap. PHOTO BY BOB BERWYN.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Studying remnants of ancient algae from seabed cores has helped scientists from Purdue and Yale universities pinpoint a link between a drastic drop in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and formation of the Antarctic ice sheet.

Based on their research, the scientists said declining CO2 levels appear to be the driving force that led to formation of the Antarctic ice sheet.

The key role of the greenhouse gas in one of the biggest climate events in Earth’s history shows how important carbon dioxide is in past climate change and implicates it as a significant force in present and future climate. Continue reading

Global warming: Runaway temperature increase unlikely

Paleoclimate data suggest some constraints to warming trend

Global temperatures anomalies for Oct. 2011 as compared to averages from a 1951 to 1980 base period.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — By reconstructing global temperatures during the peak of the last ice age, a team of researchers say they’ve narrowed down the window of climate sensitivity, helping to quantify how much temperatures will increase as carbon dioxide levels rise.

The results suggest that the rate of global warming from doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide may be less than the most dire estimates of some previous studies – and, in fact, may be less severe than projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report in 2007. Continue reading

Increased plant growth could slow rate of global warming

Vegetative changes still a wild card in climate change models.

New NASA model quantifies ‘negative feedback’ effect on climate change

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will undoubtedly speed up plant growth — and that could help slow the rate of global warming slightly, according to a new NASA computer model that’s helping refine climate change predictions.

After crunching the numbers, the NASA study concluded that the cooling effect would be about .5 degrees globally — enough to slow, but not stop global warming. Continue reading


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,008 other followers