May 11, 2014

The Level of CO2 in the Atmosphere is Increasing


There are many sources of Carbon Dioxide. It is a gas that occurs naturally - always has. But the burning of fossil fuels produces a Carbon Dioxide that is identifiable as different from say human exhalation.  The systems of the Earth are adept at dealing with the exhalation of Carbon Dioxide and other natural sources - Foliage drinks in CO2 and emits oxygen.  We all know this. We should also know that there are scientific methods of measuring the content of the atmosphere and discriminating between different sources of Carbon Dioxide. 

So is there an increase in CO2 in the Earth's Atmosphere?  Well there should be - there are many more people breathing it out and there are less trees to absorb it - right? More asphalt and buildings where green foliage once existed?  We can see through GOOGLE EARTH the massive clear-cutting in major areas of forest across the planet.  It's interesting to download Google Earth and "fly over" to see for yourself these areas that were once massive forests or jungles now 50% and more decimated by clear-cutting.
North of Vancouver 

The Amazon 

We also know that the Oceans are excellent CO2 sinks - meaning they can absorb and hold Carbon Dioxide in massive amounts. So it's not necessarily idiotic to assume that our burning of fossil fuels might not have enough impact on these systems to cause a problem 

So Scientists began measuring the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere decades ago - along with measuring the amount of CO2 trapped in air pockets in ice cores and sediment samples on the ocean floors to get a picture of the historical amounts of those gasses in our atmosphere. 

Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations at Mauna Loa in ppm 

The graph above charts the steady rise of measurable Carbon Dioxide from 1958 thru 2003. 

10,000 years of CO2 measurements charted

This graph within a graph shows the dramatic increase in Carbon Dioxide from 1900 (Industrialization) compared with 10,000 years of measurements. Does anyone doubt we know that we began burning massive amounts of fossil fuels beginning in 1900 and accelerating in 1950?  We also increased the population and began clear cutting more of the jungles and forests. All of those are man made activities. But the measurements show that specific fuel burning CO2 is largest contributor. 

This graph tracks temperature with Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere in Antarctica 

THIS GRAPH READS RIGHT TO LEFT - PAST TO PRESENT and tracks the close association between temperature and Carbon Dioxide 

These graphs show the dramatic increase of measured CO2 to unprecedented levels in human history in the most recent measurements 

The ability to measure temperature and carbon dioxide is not in dispute. They can be measured. The Conspiracy Theorists love to jump on errors in some data in the past but the clear measurements of millions of samples over 100s of reports all show warming and increased Carbon Dioxide. 

The sharp increase in CO2 in the recent past can be attributed to deforestation and population but the largest contributor by far is the burning of fossil fuels for energy. That particular type of CO2 can be identified and measured. But really it's just common sense. We can actually observe the exhaust and smoke that make up the smog. We know when the air quality is bad and we've seen the results of acid rain. 

Real controversy's do exist but the FACT of warming and increased carbon dioxide are only debatable to conspiracy theorists who believe in a massive collaboration by 1000's of scientists with no discernible motive. It's the fossil fuel companies who have the power, influence and money - not the scientific community. 

These real controversies are subject to debate - but not the basic TRUTH of warming and carbon dioxide increases from man-made sources. 

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