Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Global Warming Measurements, now on Twitter

 
Here's another way of looking at climate change: measuring the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the air. And that's what the Mauna Loa record, which has been kept since the late 1950s, does. It's also known as the Keeling Curve, after Charles David Keeling, who set up the program and directed it for many years. 

Keeler was one of the first climate scientists to discover that the earth might behave with surprising regularity (given the right scale), and the long-term effort to measure atmospheric CO2 grew out of that insight. 
The value of the Mauna Loa record soon became readily apparent. Within just a year or two, Charles David Keeling had shown that CO2 underwent a regular seasonal cycle, reflecting the seasonal growth and decay of land plants in the northern hemisphere, as well as a regular long-term rise driven by the burning of fossil-fuels.
There's some fascinating history at the website of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography here, which was Keeling's academic home. And now Scripps is posting the daily Keeling Curve on Twitter. You can follow it here. What does it mean? Atmospheric carbon dioxide has been increasing steadily. You can see the measure is approaching 400 ppm - a threshold that will mean a different climate. You can read more here.

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