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Observed Atmospheric CO2 Hits 400 Parts Per Million 367

Posted by timothy
from the why-hawaii-is-warm dept.
symbolset writes "Over the past month a number of individual observations of CO2 at the Mauna Loa Observatory have exceeded 400 parts per million. The daily average observation has crept above 399 ppm, and as annually the peak is typically in mid-May it seems likely the daily observation will break the 400 ppm milestone within a few days. This measure of potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere should spark renewed discussion about the use of fossil fuels. For the past few decades the annual peak becomes the annual average two or three years later, and the annual minimum after two or three years more."
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Observed Atmospheric CO2 Hits 400 Parts Per Million

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  • Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @08:33AM (#43634139)

    This measure of potent greenhouse gas in the atmosphere should spark renewed discussion about the use of fossil fuels.

    No it won't. It's not like politicians and the public have been just sitting on the sidelines, waiting util a value about 400 PPM was observed. I don't believe the public really doubts that atmospheric CO2 is increasing, and so a wonky measure of it is pretty irrelevant to public sentiment.

  • Seems Odd To Me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 05, 2013 @08:45AM (#43634185)

    Why would you take this measurement in such close proximity to one of the most active volcanoes on the planet?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 05, 2013 @08:53AM (#43634219)

    The lastest IPCC AR5 data confirms there has been no measurable global warming in the last 16 years, something that the IPCC's computer models completely failed to predict:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/12/14/the-real-ipcc-ar5-draft-bombshell-plus-a-poll/

  • Re: Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cplusplus (782679) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:05AM (#43634269) Journal
    Graphs of natural phenomena are rarely linear. This is true for global temperature... this graph of average global temperatures [nasa.gov], however, very clearly shows a trend. Picking small sections of data (portions of a graph) whilst ignoring the rest to try and make a point is scientifically dishonest at best (and wrong/completely inaccurate at worst).
  • Re: Yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tmosley (996283) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:18AM (#43634297)
    I like how the chart at the end actually looks a lot more like a peaking temperature. They set up a strawman to make "skeptics" look ridiculous by having them "believe" that temperature was flat while it was rising. That ridiculous fake argument masks the fact that they are doing a linear extrapolation, and that that extrapolation is pulling away from the moving average. And we all know how linear extrapolation always works as a predictor, right? That's why the DOW is now at 72,000 and Pets.com is the powerhouse of the world economy. Also why my Dad has 11,300 wives.

    Of note is that that temperature chart looks a LOT like a log chart of planetary industrial output [industryweek.com], which has leveled off in recent years. Almost as if the warming hasn't come from a persistent gas who's concentration continues to rise even as production falls, but by a transitory gas that is forced into higher concentrations by continuous industrial output, but which falls quickly with falling production and actually works as a significant greenhouse gas. You know, water vapor. The other product of combustion.

    But that doesn't mean that CO2 isn't a problem. It is a world-killing problem, but not because of some stupid idea like global warming. It is OCEAN ACIDIFICATION that will destroy us all, not balmy temperatures and poorly defined "increases in violent weather". Might want to stock up on canned tuna.
  • by cplusplus (782679) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:18AM (#43634299) Journal
    Sounds exactly like the data between 1960 and 1978! And nothing has changed since then! The temperature has stayed exactly [ucar.edu] the [nasa.gov] same [ornl.gov]! Oh, wait.
  • Re: Yawn (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Snocone (158524) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:36AM (#43634383) Homepage

    Any reconstruction less than Milankovitch cycle scale is cherry-picking. Your link to three decades is not qualitatively superior to the decade and a half of standstill enough to in any way merit "completely false".

    For a particularly fascinating recent paper calling the hypothesis of C02 driving into question, check out:

    http://www.clim-past.net/9/447/2013/cp-9-447-2013.pdf

    Six identified oscillations with NO -- repeat, NO! -- parameter fitting result in an almost spooky close match to instrument records. Not a single model used in any of the IPCC reports can produce backcasting even laughably comparable to that.

    And as an extra bonus, unlike the alarmists who appear to consider no actual observation whatsoever a possible falsification, which makes them priests and not scientists, you will note on page 451 that we have a very specific testable prediction of this theory, namely that temperatures have just begun to freefall in a mirror image of the 70s-90s period where why yes the slope of C02 concentration did coincide with temperature rise for a couple decades. If temperatures don't keep plummeting as this paper predicts, I'll cheerfully agree in a year or two they were clearly wrong. If the global anomaly does drop by half a degree over the next decade or so as this model implies and no CAGW supporter I am aware of admits as a possibility currently, will you agree that they've got climate drivers identified substantially correctly and the idea that 400 parts per million of something had any chance of primarily driving any positive feedback process always was as ridiculous as those of us who are numerate figured out at first glance?

  • by Chris Alemany (2877519) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @09:50AM (#43634465)
    Once again I am saddened by The depths to which the Slashdot community has fallen. This used to be a technology site. Technology that could not happen without extremely advanced science. And yet here you are, questioning global warming and the effect of human induced rises in CO2 levels. This stuff has been studied for going on 125 years. There is no doubt what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen. It's Grade School physics for goodness sakes. We should be the ones leading the charge to shift away from Fossil Fuels before great harm to our civilization becomes inevitable. But here we are, mired in the same ridiculously simplistic arguments about stuff that has been proven or disproven by science over and over. This isn't a matter of science being wrong, it is a matter of society not being allowed to trust a very small subset of scientists because they threaten a very profitable economic paradigm. Eventually, that will turn, I hope not before it is too late to avoid catastrophe.
  • by Ironchew (1069966) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:03AM (#43634533)

    Once again I am saddened by The depths to which the Slashdot community has fallen. This used to be a technology site. Technology that could not happen without extremely advanced science.

    As long as I've been here, it's been a technophile site for advertisting consumer electronics.

    This isn't a matter of science being wrong, it is a matter of society not being allowed to trust a very small subset of scientists because they threaten a very profitable economic paradigm.

    You've hit the nail on the head. The Slashdot community as a whole touts the virtues of science, unless it's the kind of science that discovers the uncomfortable reality about capitalism and unlimited economic growth. Then they go apeshit and cover their ears as if it makes the evidence go away.

  • Linear Growth? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:09AM (#43634583)

    Why does rate of increase seem constant. I mean, if it's influenced by human activity (of which I have no doubt), then shouldn't it track closely to the fluctuations in the global economy. Specifically, shouldn't there be a dip or flat corresponding to the Great Recession periods of '08/'09?

  • Re:Yawn (Score:1, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:25AM (#43634671)

    Can someone offer a short and simple explanation for why abnormally cold weather doesn't mean "global warming is a myth"?

    No.

    Because our understanding of atmospheric thermodynamics is pathetically incomplete. Someone might be able to outline one of many hypothesis in simple terms. But the odds are that it will be short lived as scientists discover yet one more factor that they hadn't thought of yet.

    Atmospheric science is interesting and is a field worthy of further study. But we are nowhere near using it to make any sort of useful predictions, let alone as the basis for economic policy.

  • by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:40AM (#43634771)

    I think it's one of the hypocracies of the AGW alarmists that every technology that can help us avoid their worst fears is roundly decried as worse than the global warming itself. The Three Gorges Dam in China was continuously railed against, with some people predicting it was definitely going to fail before it was even finished, others predicting it would fail as soon as the water filled in behind it.

    As far as world-reshaping measures, the really important ones from the alarmists concern reducing the world population by 50-90%. The reduction would undoubtedly not come from the ranks of the environmentalists themselves, but from their ideological opponents. Logically though, anyone who thinks the world would be significantly better off with a lower population should take matters into their own hands and remove themselves from it.

  • Re: Yawn (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Snocone (158524) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @10:52AM (#43634851) Homepage

    Nobody rational disputes that anthropogenic C02 will have a primary warming effect.

    In exactly the same fashion that nobody rational disputes that anthropogenic H20 will raise the ocean level when I spit into it.

    That the magnitude of this effect is concerning -- or even observable! -- any more in the first case than the second, that is unproven and looking less likely all the time as evidence accumulates that the solely positive feedbacks that IPCC-selected models assume are just not in accord with reality.

  • Re:Seems Odd To Me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by KGIII (973947) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @11:03AM (#43634903) Journal

    They have a problem with you asking questions likely because they view it as an assault on their religion. I am not a climate scientist and I leave the debate to them but, as an observer, it is amazing how many people have turned this into their belief system. It is amazing how many people have decided that they understand the science and are qualified to opine on it. It is amazing how many people have come to identify so strongly with a theory that they froth at the mouth even when someone poses a legitimate question. And, worse, it is amazing how many have managed to confuse the difference between political science and climate science.

    When I observe people responding it often includes something akin to, "You're not a climate scientist. There is a consensus so leave it to them. The data is infallible."

    Then they go on to opine on what the various countries need to do. I'm inclined to point out that, "They're not the political scientists, there's a consensus, leave it to them. The data is irrelevant in political science." (Politicians are pretty dumb, that is my opinion and I'm sticking with it.)

    Anyhow, I truly don't hold much of an opinion (one way or the other) concerning AGW though I see no reason why we shouldn't clean up our atmosphere. As such, an agnostic if you will, I don't tend to join in on the debate (though I do wonder, from time to time, about the validity of placing theoretical fixes on theoretical problems and using a lot of guesstimated and massaged data to reach conclusions) very often because I dislike the aggression when people are so passionate about their belief systems. I suppose I don't have anything to debate with either side actually, I simply don't know and am not a climate scientist. Just observing them, however, leaves a "sour taste in my mouth" type of feeling. It's as if some of them are rabid religious fanatics. One can't have a reasoned debate or change the opinions of people like that and that is a waste of time.

    From the other side, I'd also offer, you have people on the denialist's side who truly are religious and lay claims down such as it is just the Sun, the Earth will take care of itself (which is true in the long run but not in the manner that they're expecting I imagine), and things like that which don't do much more than muddy the waters further. They also seem to want to tie it into their political views as well and, really, science doesn't care what your political affiliations are - it just is. So, no, they're not really helping. Sometimes I see skeptics who appear to have valid reasons for their skepticism, I've seen reports of various underhanded deals, and have seen the responses and found them lacking but that may be because I'm not a climate scientist and I'm not understanding them. But I mostly see nuts in the denialist camp and that's not very helpful for the science either I suspect.

    Either way, I'll be dead and gone before it does much to change life around these parts. I don't know, I don't care to take the time to understand it either, and I have no plans on changing my life further (I'm pretty "green" by default) for this. It is sad to see science bastardized like this though, it is unfortunate that the people screaming the loudest (for either side of the debate) are given the most exposure. The lack of restraint by all involved has made me think that destruction of the human race may be the best thing after all.

  • Re: Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dcherryholmes (1322535) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @12:26PM (#43635345)

    DAILY MAIL ALERT!

  • Re:Yawn (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @12:49PM (#43635513)

    "For every small increase in average temps caused by global warming, larger extreme temperatures are seen throughout the year. Higher highs and lower lows but an overall average of warmer."

    That was the argument... 10 years ago.

    Things have changed. [theaustralian.com.au]

    "Anthropogenic Global Warming" (AGW) advocates repeatedly and consistently stated that a trend of 10 years or more proved their point... now they're saying that a slump in warming of 17 years means nothing.

    That kind of hypocrisy just chaps my ass.

  • Re:Seems Odd To Me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SoftwareArtist (1472499) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @03:15PM (#43636311)

    Sometimes, trying to remain undecided just isn't an option. At least, not a morally acceptable one. In this case, whatever we do or don't do will have a profound impact on the lives of billions of people. So how do you respond? Well, there are a few options:

    1. "This is a really important issue, so I'm going to study the science involved. That'll take a lot of work, but this issue is so important I have a responsibility to do it."

    2. "I don't have time to study the science involved and really understand it. Therefore, I'll accept the judgement of the people who do study it [wikipedia.org]."

    3. "I don't have the time or interest to study this issue and form an educated opinion, but I don't really want to accept anyone else's opinions either. Therefore I'll just use this as an opportunity to look down on people [xkcd.com] on both sides of the issue."

    I submit that what you are doing is basically #3. I also submit that in this case, that's a morally reprehensible way to respond.

    Also note my signature quote, which is remarkably appropriate to this topic.

  • Re:Seems Odd To Me (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @05:04PM (#43636877) Homepage Journal

    OK, without studying the science, you can use other heuristics to guess at the credibility of the people involved.

    On one hand, you have people saying "We didn't know this for sure until late last century, here are our methodologies, here are several different lines of evidence and how similar their results are, here are our error bars".

    On the other hand, you have people saying
    o Global warming is not happening
    o The global warming that is not happening is being caused by natural sources.
    o The global warming that is not happening that is racing ahead because of unstoppable natural forces ended in 1997.
    o The global warming that ended in 1997 is still going on because of carbon dioxide from volcanos.
    o The carbon dioxide levels, which are going up because of volcanic activity, are not really going up.

    Then read a book like _The Climate Coverup_ and find out which side publishes arguments because they test well in focus groups.

  • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ultranova (717540) on Sunday May 05, 2013 @05:14PM (#43636915)

    Atmospheric science is interesting and is a field worthy of further study. But we are nowhere near using it to make any sort of useful predictions, let alone as the basis for economic policy.

    And we never will. No amount of evidence can prove something you don't want to believe, especially if the cost of believing it comes right now while the cost of not believing it comes later. So as long as fossil fuels remain cost-effective, no amount of evidence can ever prove that they do harm - evidence only becomes sufficient after we've switched to something else.

    Add the tendency of people to think of arguments in terms of victory or defeat, and it makes one wonder if humanity is really suited for a technological civilization where decisions have farther reaching consequences than the pecking order of the pack. Hunter-gatherers can afford this level of self-delusional bullshit since they can just pick up and leave if they screw up bad enough, but we can't.

The key elements in human thinking are not numbers but labels of fuzzy sets. -- L. Zadeh

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