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(29,876 posts)
Thu May 31, 2012, 01:43 PM May 2012

Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Levels In World's Air Reach 'Troubling Milestone'

Source: HuffingtonPost

WASHINGTON -- The world's air has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant.

Monitoring stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than 400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. The number isn't quite a surprise, because it's been rising at an accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide. It now stands globally at 395.

So far, only the Arctic has reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow soon.

"The fact that it's 400 is significant," said Jim Butler, global monitoring director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Lab in Boulder, Colo. "It's just a reminder to everybody that we haven't fixed this and we're still in trouble."

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/31/climate-change-carbon-dioxide-troubling-milestone_n_1558561.html

28 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Levels In World's Air Reach 'Troubling Milestone' (Original Post) Purveyor May 2012 OP
They need to use different words! BonnieJW May 2012 #1
You are correct! It took scenes like this to get Congress to act on Dust Bowl relief FailureToCommunicate May 2012 #15
Doomsday loop ErikJ May 2012 #2
A lot of methane is held in the permafrost. The permafrost is melting. alfredo May 2012 #5
A class I took in 1980 taught by Scientists and Nasa glinda May 2012 #7
because they know it's game over, so are scrambling magical thyme May 2012 #14
They say Venus is an example of runaway greenhouse gasses. alfredo May 2012 #16
Methane is at least 21 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere when compared to CO2 solarman350 May 2012 #9
My tomatoes are smiling... n/t jtuck004 May 2012 #3
Maybe not if they are choked out by weeds growing faster also. yellowcanine May 2012 #6
Mulch. But they do have a bit of a leer. I swear I've seen that somewhere b4.... jtuck004 May 2012 #11
Audrey! You're looking hungry! RushIsRot Jun 2012 #24
Then you're exceedingly lucky NickB79 Jun 2012 #20
Having spent the first 50 years in Oklahoma, that just sounds normal to me. jtuck004 Jun 2012 #22
I'm glad it's not a big deal. raouldukelives May 2012 #4
When people realize it is based on their personal consumption, only then will it change. Gregorian May 2012 #8
Kicked and recommended. Uncle Joe May 2012 #10
Good thing it's all a myth... truebrit71 May 2012 #12
This is just an opportunity RoccoR5955 May 2012 #13
Any chance we had at avoiding catastrophic change has come and gone. Odin2005 May 2012 #17
I have to agree. People need to plan how to survive. There will be no change to policies on this. harun May 2012 #19
Doomsday prepping doesn't look so ridiculous now. nt NickB79 Jun 2012 #21
You can gain alot of useful knowledge from the shows Marrah_G Jun 2012 #23
Even a few years ago it would seem awful silly to say those those things but I too harun Jun 2012 #25
I figure if I ever need the skills I will have them Marrah_G Jun 2012 #26
This is why corporations have to be people, so they can continue when all the people die... WriteWrong May 2012 #18
Kick dipsydoodle Jun 2012 #27
K&R! This is extremely important news! Rhiannon12866 Jun 2012 #28


(2,255 posts)
1. They need to use different words!
Thu May 31, 2012, 01:49 PM
May 2012

Troubling, concerned, significant aren't going to cut it. People in this country are reactive not proactive. Words like catastrophic, on fire, epic, cataclysmic would be good for starters. Until Capitol Hill is burning, we won't see anyone lift a finger.



(6,335 posts)
2. Doomsday loop
Thu May 31, 2012, 01:53 PM
May 2012

The hotter it gets, the more air conditioning will be needed which uses a ton of electricity mostly produced from fossil fuels greatly increasing the CO2 concentration requiring MORE air conditioning increasing the concentration more ...and more and more.

In addition perhaps even much worse, they have recently discovered methane bubbles in shallow arctic waters. The warmth is thawing the ice allowing the ancient methane to be released in the arctic. THis will surely increase rapidly as it gets warmer.

Methane is 18 times stronger greenhouse gas than CO2.


(14,807 posts)
7. A class I took in 1980 taught by Scientists and Nasa
Thu May 31, 2012, 02:28 PM
May 2012

people told us that when/if the Permafrost melts it is a chain reaction like not being able to put out a massive fire. It feeds it's self. They said when that happens it is game over so where is the honesty and panic here in telling the world this and scrambling to either discover a way to deal with this or whatever? This totally sucks.


magical thyme

(14,881 posts)
14. because they know it's game over, so are scrambling
Thu May 31, 2012, 04:23 PM
May 2012

to save themselves and their families and servants. The rest of us they want to keep dumb and treading water. Or running on quicksand. Or whatever. Just out of their way.



(136 posts)
9. Methane is at least 21 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere when compared to CO2
Thu May 31, 2012, 02:43 PM
May 2012

This post is just intended to add some support and depth to your claim:

Global Warming Potentials

The concept of a global warming potential (GWP) was developed to compare the ability of each greenhouse gas to trap heat in the atmosphere relative to another gas. The definition of a GWP for a particular greenhouse gas is the ratio of heat trapped by one unit mass of the greenhouse gas to that of one unit mass of CO2 over a specified time period.

As part of its scientific assessments of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) has published reference values for GWPs of several greenhouse gases. While the most current estimates for GWPs are listed in the IPCC's Third Assessment Report (TAR), EPA analyses use the 100-year GWPs listed in the IPCC's Second Assessment Report (SAR) to be consistent with the international standards under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) (IPCC, 1996). According to the SAR, methane is 21 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere when compared to CO2 over a 100-year time period.

Reference Link:


Now, let's see what Wikipedia Claims About This:

Atmospheric methane

2011 methane concentration in the upper troposphere
Methane is created near the Earth's surface, primarily by microorganisms by the process of methanogenesis. It is carried into the stratosphere by rising air in the tropics. Uncontrolled build-up of methane in the atmosphere is naturally checked — although human influence can upset this natural regulation — by methane's reaction with hydroxyl radicals formed from singlet oxygen atoms and with water vapor. It has a net lifetime of about 10 years, and is primarily removed by conversion to carbon dioxide and water

Methane also affects the degradation of the ozone layer.
In addition, there is a large (but unknown) amount of methane in methane clathrates in the ocean floors as well as the Earth's crust. Most methane is the result of biological process called methanogenesis.
In 2010, methane levels in the Arctic were measured at 1850 nmol/mol, a level over twice as high as at any time in the previous 400,000 years. Historically, methane concentrations in the world's atmosphere have ranged between 300 and 400 nmol/mol during glacial periods commonly known as ice ages, and between 600 to 700 nmol/mol during the warm interglacial periods. It has a high global warming potential: 72 times that of carbon dioxide over 20 years, and 25 times over 100 years, and the levels are rising.

Methane in the Earth's atmosphere is an important greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 25 compared to CO2 over a 100-year period (although accepted figures probably represents an underestimate). This means that a methane emission will have 25 times the effect on temperature of a carbon dioxide emission of the same mass over the following 100 years. Methane has a large effect for a brief period (a net lifetime of 8.4 years in the atmosphere), whereas carbon dioxide has a small effect for a long period (over 100 years). Because of this difference in effect and time period, the global warming potential of methane over a 20 year time period is 72. The Earth's atmospheric methane concentration has increased by about 150% since 1750, and it accounts for 20% of the total radiative forcing from all of the long-lived and globally mixed greenhouse gases (these gases don't include water vapour which is by far the largest component of the greenhouse effect). Usually, excess methane from landfills and other natural producers of methane is burned so CO2 is released into the atmosphere instead of methane, because methane is a more effective greenhouse gas. Recently, methane emitted from coal mines has been successfully utilized to generate electricity.

Reference Link:

Set the World on fire already--in a "positive" feedback way!


(19,211 posts)
20. Then you're exceedingly lucky
Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:13 PM
Jun 2012

Because the extreme weather swings we've been seeing up here in MN this spring have meant 90F one day, then dropping to 60F the next, with torrential downpours of 4" in ONE DAY, followed by weeks of no rain and high winds to the point that dust clouds roll off of farm fields and obscure the roads.

Hope you have strong tomato cages and a reliable source of water.



(15,882 posts)
22. Having spent the first 50 years in Oklahoma, that just sounds normal to me.
Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:25 PM
Jun 2012

I'm not decrying the problems, and I think we are crazy for not addressing this, but the world is changing, and I think we are far beyond anything but learning to work with what we have created for ourselves.

Part of the problem is that we spent the last 50 years building a country on the back of pollution, now we want to get all moral and tell the rest of the world they need to do something different, have less stuff.

Yeah, that's gonna work.

And coming from a place where we created the Dustbowl, and where tornadoes come through and level - and I mean level - 1/2 mile wide swaths of homes and people, where it can be 103 degrees for 3-4 weeks, with spikes to 110, weather extremes are a fact of life.

Not looking forward to what is coming.


(5,178 posts)
4. I'm glad it's not a big deal.
Thu May 31, 2012, 02:20 PM
May 2012

If it were I'd expect to see my leaders and people around me taking a keen interest in the continued existence of things like people, furry things, trees that kinda stuff.
Luckily they all say invest in the corporations assuring our high milestones and keep consuming as much as possible. All the cool kids are! Drive like bats out of hell in behemoths. Just hurtle around almost nonsensically and spew as much pollution as you can out of the tailpipe of your lives before you depart this mortal coil. Fly everywhere you can. Now! Grab lunch in Miami and dinner in New York. Ah well. You gotta feel for some people. They may lament not leaving behind a great American novel or an NFL rushing title to be remembered by but whenever someone in the future flips the pages in a book showing overflowing gardens and clean, clear waters filled with life they will certainly remember their legacy.


(23,867 posts)
8. When people realize it is based on their personal consumption, only then will it change.
Thu May 31, 2012, 02:32 PM
May 2012

Even if we engineer bridges to the renewable future, we still have huge numbers of people turning on to the modern lifestyle. China and India are still only in their beginning stages.

It's not somebody else's problem. You are in control of it. It means "not doing something". It is a problem, and it's going to take effort to change it.



(12,471 posts)
13. This is just an opportunity
Thu May 31, 2012, 03:23 PM
May 2012

for big businesses to sell us cool, clean air.
WTF- they sell everything else, can capitalism is failing, due to the finite resources on the planet. They have to find something else that they can sell.


(11,348 posts)
19. I have to agree. People need to plan how to survive. There will be no change to policies on this.
Thu May 31, 2012, 11:15 PM
May 2012


(28,581 posts)
23. You can gain alot of useful knowledge from the shows
Fri Jun 1, 2012, 01:34 PM
Jun 2012

Skills are the important thing. I can now knit, crochet, can, garden and make soap My next skill to learn is processing and turning raw wool into yarn.


(11,348 posts)
25. Even a few years ago it would seem awful silly to say those those things but I too
Fri Jun 1, 2012, 02:37 PM
Jun 2012

can now make oil lamps out of clay, garden, grind grain, turn old electric motors in to wind turbines, charge batteries off of solar panels, drill a well with PVC pipes, compost all waste, basic welding and black smithing, etc.

All this from a Software Engineer .

More and more people are seeing they need to CYOA (Cover your own ass). I am definitely not one of these live in the woods the end is nigh types. Just hedging my bets lol.


(28,581 posts)
26. I figure if I ever need the skills I will have them
Fri Jun 1, 2012, 03:10 PM
Jun 2012

And frankly, the learning part is something I enjoy! I am a single mom so if the economy/environment crashes, I need to be able to take care of myself and my boys


(204,325 posts)
28. K&R! This is extremely important news!
Sat Jun 2, 2012, 06:18 PM
Jun 2012

It ought to be in the headlines everywhere, but the "liberal media" is more interested in reporting Mittens' latest faux pas...

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