Tag Archives: CO2 concentrations

400

Actually, make that 401.33.

An average of 401.33 parts per million CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere for the month of April. The first time (in millions of years, if the science is to be believed) that the world has seen this much planet-warming gases in the atmosphere.

When I first started Beloved Planet, I feared that this day might eventually come. But I had no idea it would be here so soon. It was May 2008 and global CO2 concentrations had reached an alarming 385.97. That was more than 100 ppm higher than the levels enjoyed by the creation throughout human civilization. The US National Academy of Sciences – together with the academies of all of the world’s largest and industrialized countries – was warning that these trends were dangerous and had to change.

But year by year, carbon emissions increased at ever-higher rates of growth. Last year, we had one or two days of readings over 400 ppm. But last month, we spent the entire month on the wrong side of that dreaded threshold. And last week, we were above 402 ppm.

So let’s be clear: Greenhouse gases warm the Earth. We have more of them now than ever before in human history. When we drive our cars, fly on airplanes, charge our cellphones – or any number of activities that burn fossil fuels, we add to that blanket of warming gases around the Earth.

And we’re piling on blankets at a faster pace every year. Those blankets are producing weather disruptions – drought, flooding, intense storms and sea level rise – that are harming the poorest, and those who have contributed least to the global problem.

If you’re like most of us, you don’t spend much time thinking about the chemistry of the global atmosphere, and what current greenhouse gas levels might be. Today, it easy: 400+, and counting. What to do? Talk. Vote. Insulate. Retire (that old fridge). Write (your congressman). Visit our “Act!” page and pick an idea. And above all, please pray.

It’s late but not too late. It’s never too late to do what is right.

 

The World is Getting Hot. So Why am I Freezing?

The results are in, and 2013 ranks as the fourth hottest year for global heat since record-keeping began in 1880. That’s 37 straight years with above-average global temperatures. The last below-normal year was 1976, when I was still in college. All 13 years of the new century have ranked among the hottest 15 ever on record. And nine of the hottest ten on record have all occurred since the millennium.

Wow. I guess it’s really hot, right?

assets-climatecentral-org-images-uploads-news-1_21_14_andrew_10warmestyears-660x372Um, well, let me check. Yup, just like I thought. It’s cold out there, and it’s snowing! With these freak winter storms, the U.S. has registered the second coldest January since 2000, although well short of 2011’s January freeze. And everyone’s talking about that strange new term – the “polar vortex.” It seems something has kicked open the door to the Arctic, and the cold is pouring in everywhere.

Actually, not quite everywhere. While the Central and Eastern U.S. shiver and dig, it’s eerily warm in Alaska and the West. Last Sunday, it was warmer in Homer, Alaska – 55°F – than anywhere in the lower 48, except for South Florida. And last Tuesday, Nome, Alaska, that remotest of Arctic outposts, hit a record 51°F. That’s FIFTY-ONE DEGREES in January! No need for Balto under these circumstances. You could rescue Nome by bicycle.

And it’s not just Alaska. Los Angeles registered average highs of 75°F for the month of January, a full seven degrees above normal. And coupled with the heat, California is in its third straight year of crippling drought, with the state’s reservoirs 30 percent below the long-term average, and widely-publicized forecasts for spikes in prices at the grocery store.

But let’s not quibble. The Central and Eastern U.S. are feeling pretty darn cold just now. After an amazingly warm decade in these parts, what’s up? Are all those scientists still sure about the perils of global warming?

No Question, It’s Been Getting Much Hotter

Both NASA and NOAA – the nation’s twin atmospheric research powerhouses – have compiled the data for 2013, and it was another global scorcher. Using slightly different methods, they ranked 2013 the fourth hottest (NOAA) or the seventh (NASA) – but the difference between the two was a mere 0.02o Fahrenheit. Continue reading