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Sun Apr 12, 2020, 02:38 PM

New Record Weekly CO2 Concentration Record Set at the Mauna Loa Observatory 416.45 ppm.

Although I am dealing with some personal grief over the loss of a great friend and colleague in this crisis, the greater crisis before all humanity remains, I'm talking about the real big crisis, climate change.

Over the next few weeks, through some week in May I'll be recycling text related to this topic of setting new weekly records for the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide concentrations in the planetary atmosphere, just changing the numbers to accommodate the numbers associated with the records.

Recycling is good, no? So I've heard.

I did discover a new, and frankly very disturbing way to look at the data this week, which I'll discuss below.


As I've indicated several times before, somewhat obsessively I keep a spreadsheet of the weekly data at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory, which I use to do calculations to record the dying of our atmosphere, a triumph of fear, dogma and ignorance that did not have to be, but nonetheless is.

I had the naive wishful thinking notion that restrictions on automobile traffic with all of the worldwide lock downs would lead to a slowing of carbon dioxide accumulations. Something quite different has been observed with the most recent weekly data.

The data from the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory:

Up-to-date weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

Week beginning on April 5, 2020: 416.45 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 412.67 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 391.12 ppm
Last updated: April 12, 2020

This week's reading, 416.45 ppm is the highest weekly average ever recorded at Mauna Loa, surpassing the record set last week, which was 415.75 ppm.

As I often note in this space the readings are sinusoidal, superimposed on a steadily rising slightly less than linear axis, as this graphic, which I often reproduce, from the Mauna Loa website shows:

Every year, like clockwork, a new all time record is set in May.

Last year's (then) highest ever recorded value, recorded on May 9, 2019, was 415.39 ppm

The increase in this week's reading over the same week 1 year ago is 3.35 ppm.

As of this writing, there have been 2,304 such data points, readings, at Mauna Loa. This week's reading is "only" the 39th highest ever observed.

Of the top 50 such readings, 29 have taken place in the last five years, 36 in the last ten years, and 40 in the twenty-first century.

Noting that this weeks reading is 25.33 ppm higher than the reading ten years ago, I decided to look at the data in a different way than I've been looking at it previously. The ten year figure for change after all, takes out a lot of noise in the measurements. This year, in 2020 for instance, weekly increases have varied from a low of 1.47 ppm over the previous year (recorded on February 23, 2020, to a high a 4.28 recorded in the week beginning in the week of March 23, 2020, the 11th highest data ever recorded out of all 2,304 such data points.

I chose to look therefore at the highest 10 year changes represented in the weekly data.
There have been 7 weeks in which the ten year change was equal to or exceeded 25.00 ppm, recorded in all weekly data points since January 1, 2000.

All of them occurred since January 1, 2019. Four of the seven occurred this year, and we're only in April.

Of the top 20 of the ten year readings, 18 have occurred since January 1, 2019. All of the top twenty have occurred since April 15, 2018.

If the fact that this reading is 25.33 ppm higher than it was ten years ago bothers you, don't worry, be happy.

Head over to Daily Kos and watch a smug scientifically illiterate anti-nuke prattle on about the "'Shovel Ready' Green New Deal". The "Green New Deal" is a proposal to save the world with so called "renewable energy"

Maybe you'll feel better.

I won't.

My impression that I've been hearing all about how rapidly renewable energy has been growing since I began writing here in 2002, when the reading on April 14, 2002 was 375.14 ppm should not disturb you, since it is better to think everything is fine rather than focus on reality.

In this century, the solar, wind, geothermal, and tidal energy on which people so cheerfully have bet the entire planetary atmosphere, stealing the future from all future generations, grew by 9.76 exajoules to 12.27 exajoules. World energy demand in 2018 was 599.34 exajoules. Unquestionably it will be higher in 2019 and in 2020.

10.63 exajoules is slightly over 2% of the world energy demand.

2018 Edition of the World Energy Outlook Table 1.1 Page 38 (I have converted MTOE in the original table to the SI unit exajoules in this text.)

According to this report, the fastest growing source of energy on the planet in the 21st century over all was coal, which grew from 2000 to 2018 by 63.22 exajoules to 159.98 exajoules.

If you think that unlike you, I am worrying and not being happy, you can always chant stuff about how "by 2050" or "by 2075" or "by 2100" we'll all live in a so called "renewable energy" nirvana powered by the sun and tooling around in Tesla electric cars.

Talk about "how dangerous" so called "nuclear waste" is, even if has a spectacular record over half a century of not killing anyone, even as dangerous fossil fuel and biomass combustion waste, aka "air pollution" kills between 6 and 7 million people a year, every year, without stop, about 19,000 people per day, every day.

I may be too jaded to be comforted, having heard this stuff my whole adult life - and I'm not young - but you could try. It's not results that count, but good intentions.

I'm kind of cynical, I guess, because I know how stuff is made.

I'm interested in facts, not fantasies.

Facts matter.

And the fact, is that things are deteriorating, despite the fact that humanity has spent more than two trillion dollars on so called "renewable energy" infrastructure in the last ten years - more than the entire GDP of India, a nation with 1.3 billion human beings in it. I know it didn't work. I know it isn't working. I know it won't work.

I know, for example, that steel is made by reducing iron oxide with coal transformed into coke, by heating coal in coal fired furnaces. I know that the blind faith in tearing up pristine wilderness to make roads for diesel trucks to access wind farms with turbines on massive steel posts is as abhorrent to me as the construction of the Hetch Hetchy Dam in Yosemite was to John Muir when he founded the Sierra Club.

After the last Covid-19 patient on the planet has recovered, the much larger problem of climate change will still be with us.

History will not forgive us, nor should it.

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