Posted by: jmtoriel | January 25, 2009

CO2 global tracker

I was fortunate to visit the Big Island of Hawai’i this month. Some of the most important observatories for space and the atmosphere line the summits of the highest volcanos on the islands (Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa).

Moana Loa is of particular interest because it hosts the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) observatory: Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO). It is here that the global atmospheric emissions data is collected (and has been since 1958) to accurately measure the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. 

You may recall the now infamous graph in “An Inconvenient Truth” where Al Gore shows the upward trend of CO2 in the atmosphere directly correlating to the effects of Climate Change:

global atmospheric CO2 trend

global atmospheric CO2 trend

This is where the data is being collected on a daily basis to show the monthly and yearly trends of the carbon cycle. As you can see we are well above the comfort zone of 350ppm we surpassed in 1989. 350 is the magic number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide. The tracker below shows the Dec. readings for the past 3 years. We have just surpassed 387ppms this month btw.


Chart of the current trend for atmospheric CO2

You may draw your own conclusions from this, but essentially, the data is indicating an accelerating increase of atmospheric carbon. The consequences are showing themselves in many ways all around the world and now that we have a new administration in Washington DC, the US can take the lead in reversing this trend. 

Here’s hoping.


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