Sunday, April 15, 2018

Global CO2 Passes 407.5 ppm For First Time

The NOAA ESRL Global CO2 report for January 2018 was released on April 9th. For the first time in 800,000 years we experienced a CO2 concentration over 407.5 ppm, an increase of 2.48 ppm over January 2017.

Since January 1980, global CO2 concentrations have increased from 338.45 ppm to 407.54 - an increase of over 69 ppm or 20.41%. However, if one uses a pre-industrial ice core based concentration of 278 ppm, then we are living with an atmospheric concentration average increase of more than 46 percent.

We continue to experience an increased rise in the rate of concentration. If one considers the five year change in atmospheric CO2, it has increased by 12.68 ppm, a rate which is slowly increasing both during and after La Nina conditions. 

If one compares the decadal difference, we are 22.56 ppm above January, 2008, and at the highest 10 year rate of increase for any month since January 1980, when NOAA ESRL global CO2 records began.

The trend of rising annual rates of growth remain intact, with NOAA ESRL initially estimating an annual increase of 2.34 ppm for 2017. While this is not a record high, it is another step in the rising base or years of lowest CO2 increases. Here is what is meant if one starts with the Mauna Loa annual concentrations, prior to 1980:

The last year of less than 0.5 ppm increase - 1964.
The last year with less than 1.0 ppm increase - 1992.
The last year with less than a 1.5 ppm increase - 2000.
The last year with less than a 2.0 ppm increase - 2011.

The following graphic depicts this by a polynomial trend, what we hope will soon change its slope.

Another way to consider this CO2 rise is the acceleration in passing through each 10 ppm change of CO2. Given the recent trends of CO2 concentration increase, we will likely pass through 410 ppm for a monthly global average in March or April, 2019. That will be only four years since knifing through 400 ppm.

What we need to begin to carefully consider, is that humanity not only has to reduce human caused emissions, but also will have to offset the incremental climate feedbacks and loss of carbon sinks that are beginning to enhance the effects of human climate change activity.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Global CH4:: Decadal Methane Increase Above 70 ppb.

NOAA ESRL published the November, 2017 global methane (CH4) concentraion data on February 5, 2018. Once again we established a record high as atmospheric methane hit its annual peak. 


Last November's concentration was 8.9 ppb above November, 2016, continuing the higher trend after a brief slowdown in early 2017. It is sobering to realize that global CH4 has increase over 13% since November, 1983. There is no slow down in its annual increases since 2007.

Additionally, the rate of concentration increase has not continued to drop after the last El Nino, but is sustained above 7 ppb annually for the last 10 years. While the November, 2017 reading was 8.9 ppb above 2016, it is 43.9 ppb more than November, 2012, and over 70 ppb higher than November, 2007.

Even more sobering is being reminded once again that we live in a 250% higher global methane concentration since pre-industrial(assuming 725 ppb in 1750-1800). 

We also live on a planet, that based upon ice core data, has a higher atmospheric methane (CH4) concentration than at any time in the last 800,000 years.
Source: EPA

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Global CO2 Hits 405.58 ppm in November, 2017 - New Monthly High

On February 5th, the latest NOAA ESRL Global CO2 update was released. The preliminary November 2017 concentration was reported at 405.58 ppm. This is 2.06 ppm above November 2016 and a new high for the month.


Since November 1980, the world has experienced a 19.7% increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. If we assume a pre-industrial CO2 concentration of 278 ppm, then we have undergone a 46% increase.


The annual, five-year and decadal CO2 concentrations remain at historically high rates of increase. The annual change had dipped under 2 ppm during the past three months. The last time that had occurred (less than a 2 ppm increase) was December, 2014. The five year increase rate is back over 12 ppm, a rate first reached in November, 2013. Since November 2007, global CO2 has climbed over 22 ppm, a rate first achieved in August, 2016, and has mostly remained above the 22 ppm increase rate since that month.


If emissions continue at this rate we will experience our first month above 410 ppm in 2019. Here are the historical rates of increase for each 5 and 10 ppm based upon MLO and Global data as it became available, and the table, including an estimate for 2019.

We have blown past any CO2 concentration recorded in the past 400,000 years.
if we continue this rate of increase, we will add about 10 ppm every five years, and even at faster rates will soon move the planet into dangerous climate disruption territory.

While speculative, these business as usual or continued accelerating increases will severely damage global social stability by its impact. One can hope that the international community will soon take steps to slow and reverse the 2% GHG increase which occurred in 2017.
Source: Global Carbon Project

The struggle to balance economic growth while lowering emissions is difficult but necessary since climate sensitivity is creating social destabilization faster than anticipated. More on this another time.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Global CH4 Hits New Monthly High in March, 2017

The March, 2017 global CH4 monthly mean data was released by NOAA ESRL on June 5th. The mean was 1847.8 ppb, up 5.7 ppb above March, 2016.

Source: NOAA ESRL:

The trend of increasing CH4 since early 2007 remains intact, although this has slowed somewhat since the recent high increases of 2014-2016. 

When one looks for milestones in the increases, assuming each 25 ppb increase as a milestone, the trend has been highly variable.

While earlier milestone increases were achieved quickly, there was a long slow down from 1998 to 2007, which delayed reaching 1800 ppb until September, 2010. We have seen another acceleration between 1825-1850 ppb, that may interrelate with recent ocean warming, rice or cattle production. There is still considerable science discussion on causes for the increase since 2007, and perhaps the recent slow down in those increases.

The one, five and ten year trends depict the decline from the recent record increases in 2016. The one year monthly mean change was 5.7 ppb over March, 2016. The five year increase was 37.7 ppb over March, 2012. The decadal change was 68.2 ppb above March, 2007.

Since March 1984, global monthly mean methane has increased by 12.71% or 208.30 ppb. 

While the global monthly mean seems to slow down this month, stations around the Arctic seem to indicate that the acceleration in increases experienced since 2014 continue. Once the 2016 data is verified, then a monthly comparison can be made to see how different the trends might be for each compared to a global monthly mean. For now, a few graphs demonstrate this preliminary finding.

Here Mauna Loa CH4 is substituted as representative of the global trend. The change in the trend in late 2016 into 2017 mimics the global change. However, this is not what is revealed in the Arctic data.
The Barrow CH4 portrays an acceleration of the increase through fall, 2016 and spring, 2017.
Similarly, the Alert CH$ readings depict a similar concentration increase.
The Ny Alesund trend remains generally constant from 2014 through 2017 to date.
Finally, Tiksi also reflects the same accelerating trend from fall, 2016 to spring, 2017.
Given that all the high north latitude stations surrounding the Arctic reflect the same trend change, it seems reasonable to conclude that something is happening to increase CH4 release either in the Arctic Ocean waters, its sea ice cover, or in the permafrost regions in both Russia and North America. Either option presents the possibility of a climate feedback that would be worrisome for the future, if it continues.