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Unexplained Leap In CO2 Levels 1215

Posted by Hemos
from the when-not-if? dept.
Cally writes "The Guardian is reporting that atmospheric CO2 concentrations have leapt by 4.5 ppm in the last two years. This raises the ugly possibility that the capacity of a large carbon sink (possibly the oceans) has been exceeded, and the worst-case scenario is that a tipping point has been reached and a runaway warming scenario is in progress. Quote from Dr. Piers Foster of Reading University: 'If this is a rate change, of course it will be very significant. It will be of enormous concern, because it will imply that all our global warming predictions for the next hundred years or so will have to be redone.'"
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Unexplained Leap In CO2 Levels

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  • by aborchers (471342) on Monday October 11, 2004 @08:33AM (#10491976) Homepage Journal
    We're in the run up to an election in the US. It's all the candidates hot air...
  • by Harmfulfreeradical (800606) on Monday October 11, 2004 @08:41AM (#10492024)
    I think this 'runaway' global warming effect isn't run away at all. If 30,000 died in last summer's heatwave, why can't we assume that earth is just getting rid of 'excess' baggage? I think earth has a few tricks up its sleeve, and everytime we push her to her limits, she'll fart back and wipe a few of us off until we reach the correct mass again.
  • Convergence (Score:3, Funny)

    by DrWho520 (655973) on Monday October 11, 2004 @08:45AM (#10492053) Journal
    Thirteen hurricanes by the first week of October, and a very active Typhoon season in the Pacific.

    Mt. St. Helens rumbling.

    Earthquakes in California.

    And now, a build up of CO2 in the atmosphere!

    So when are the Tsunamis and land slides do? When will the Mississippi start to flood? The Yellowstone caldera even reaching its theoretical 640 thousand (million ?) year cycling point! Game over, man! GAME OVER!
  • Re:*sigh* (Score:3, Funny)

    by BarryNorton (778694) on Monday October 11, 2004 @08:45AM (#10492060)
    If only we would just hurry up and die then it would stop...
  • by geeveees (690232) on Monday October 11, 2004 @08:46AM (#10492065) Homepage Journal

    so take off all your clothes! Woohoo, girls in bikinis everywhere!

    For the love of Linus! NERDS in speedos everywhere! The goggles! They do nothing!!

  • by TheLoneCabbage (323135) on Monday October 11, 2004 @08:52AM (#10492112) Homepage
    I admit it, it's all my fault.
    I've got 200 SUV's & 500 farting cows in the back yard, cranking out the C02.

    And it's none too soon, winter is comming and it's gonna get way too cold. Anyone want to donate some microwave boritos to help speed up the process?
  • by thrill12 (711899) * on Monday October 11, 2004 @09:02AM (#10492184) Journal
    Leave our cars alone ! Even though they suck in air, burn it with millions years old Dinosaur-meat, then plunge out recycled Dinosaur-meat in the form of CO(2), that doesn't mean they are the problem.

    I think we can only test your far fetched hypothesis by producing new 10-20 liter cars, and decrease the petrol cost by 75% at least. If, after say 25 years, we are imitating the faith of the creatures we now burn, I would say we need to discuss the consequences.

    In the mean time, keep burning that oil folks !
  • by kabocox (199019) on Monday October 11, 2004 @09:03AM (#10492192)
    We're in the run up to an election in the US. It's all the candidates hot air...

    Does that mean if we join that Kyoto thingy, we'd have to have our elections once a decade to meet emissions requirements?
  • by R.Caley (126968) on Monday October 11, 2004 @09:04AM (#10492210)
    How many "leaders" will see it eaiser to reduce the number of humans?

    The people it is easiest to eliminate are the ones whose elimination will have least impact on carbon use.

    Mind you, some kind of flying robot which picks up any four wheel drive vehicle in use in an urban area and drops it and it's driver into a deep ocean trench is a possibility for significant change few people will object to...

  • by Thinkit4 (745166) * on Monday October 11, 2004 @09:09AM (#10492247)
    We will design a cyberthalamus and then what? We won't need the Earth at all. Environmentalism is only important in that it preserves life long enough for it to discover the cyberthalamus and the singularity.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @09:10AM (#10492256)
    to stop mowing my lawn. Excellent!
  • by goldstein (705041) on Monday October 11, 2004 @09:48AM (#10492579)
    Also, it will solve the problem of Florida election irregularities.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:07AM (#10492734)
    Burn fish!
  • by CiXeL (56313) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:13AM (#10492786) Homepage
    Look at China's booming economy and their insatiable demand for oil driving rates up to insane levels and devouring all supply.

    Either that or the ice hydrates in the ocean floor are beginning to thaw in which case we're all fucked.

    *shits on self in fear*

    Someone look that part up in Revelation where the oceans boil?
  • by Vintermann (400722) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:17AM (#10492820) Homepage
    Um, it may be that you are indeed an "informed scientist" in some field, but if you expect this to influence our views, it's probably wise to trade your nickname, "Trailer Trash", for something more impressive, even though that would cost you your five-digit user ID...
  • by southpolesammy (150094) on Monday October 11, 2004 @10:26AM (#10492915) Journal
    It's worked for President Bush so far....
  • by keli (143788) on Monday October 11, 2004 @11:00AM (#10493208) Homepage
    ... continue their quest on attempting to collect more shiny things then their neighbors.
    [emphasis mine]

    Yes those neighbour-collecting neoconservatives can be a pain in the behind. :-P
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 11, 2004 @12:18PM (#10494043) Homepage Journal
    You'd say that, but you'd be stupid and disingenous. There's another side to the statement "poison is bad for you". Won't someone please think of the poisoners!
  • by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Monday October 11, 2004 @12:48PM (#10494433) Homepage Journal
    Actually, I think you're a cum sink.
  • by operagost (62405) on Monday October 11, 2004 @12:55PM (#10494529) Homepage Journal
    Or when he's in Detroit and rattles off all the American-built cars and SUVs in his garage.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday October 11, 2004 @01:55PM (#10495170) Homepage Journal
    Yes, and of course a hundred hurricanes a year will be great for surfers. Recreate!
  • Dear God (Score:3, Funny)

    by Remlik (654872) on Monday October 11, 2004 @02:29PM (#10495556) Homepage
    Please give the poor human population on this planet a sign that will let them know the world is much more complex, and better balanced than we could ever hope to understand. Show us, in some manner, that we as humans cannot destroy our world.

    God: Cue Mount St.Helens eruption.

    Fools.
  • by cylcyl (144755) on Monday October 11, 2004 @02:41PM (#10495678)
    In other news, Bush signs Kyoto Accord and cancels 2004 elections to "abide by international treaties"
  • by tohoward (78757) on Monday October 11, 2004 @03:26PM (#10496170)
    To quote from the book Kicking the Sacred Cow [baen.com] by James P. Hogan:

    The first thing to be said is that the "greenhouse effect" isn't something new, brought about by human activities. It's a natural phenomenon that has existed for as long as the Earth has had an atmosphere. All objects above zero degrees Kelvin radiate heat. As an object gets hotter, the peak of the frequency band that it radiates (where most of the radiated energy is emitted) shifts toward shorter wavelengths. Thus, a warm hotplate on a stove radiates mainly in the infrared band, which while invisible can still be felt as heat. As the hotplate is heated more, its radiation peak moves up into the visible region to red and then orange. The Sun radiates a lot of energy at ultraviolet wavelengths, shorter than the visible. The atmosphere is transparent to certain bands of this, which reach the Earth's surface and are absorbed. But since the Earth is a lot cooler than the Sun, this energy is reradiated not at ultraviolet wavelengths but at the much longer infrared, to which the atmosphere is not as transparent. Atmospheric gas molecules that consist of three or more atoms typically absorb energy at characteristic wavelengths within the infrared band, which heats them up, and consequently the atmosphere. Note that this excludes the diatomic gases N2 and O2 that form the bulk of the atmosphere (78 and 20 percent respectively), and also the monatomic traces, argon and neon.

    This, then, defines the notorious "greenhouse gases" that are going to stifle the planet. The one that gets all the publicity is carbon dioxide, which human activities generate in five main ways: making cement (CO2 being driven out of the limestone used in the process); breathing; rearing animals; using wood (which once harvested, eventually decomposes one way or another); and burning fossil fuels. This translates into the release of about 3 million liters on average of CO2 per human per year, for a grand yearly total of 1.6 x 1016 liters, or 30 billion tonnes. 144 (1 tonne = a "metric ton" = 1,000 kilograms = 0.984 ton.) The other gases, while present in smaller amounts, have a greater relative absorptive capacity that ranges from fifty-eight times that of CO2 in the case of methane to several thousand for CFCs, and the amounts of them have been increasing.

    This all sounds like something that should indeed be a cause for concern, until it's realized that the atmosphere contains something like 1,800 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide already from such sources as volcanoes, the outgassing of oceans, and the natural functioning of the biosphere. In other words, all of human activity adds less than two percent to the gases that nature puts out anyway. And then it turns out that all of these gases put together add up to a minor player, for the greatest contributor by far is water vapor. Although the exact figure varies from place to place and season to season, water vapor is typically present at ten times the concentration of carbon dioxide; further, it is active across the whole infrared range, whereas heat absorption by CO2 is confined to two narrow bands. Without this natural greenhouse mechanism, the Earth would be about 33 deg C cooler than it is, which would mean permanent ice at the equator. Estimates of the contribution of water vapor vary from 95 to 99 percent, thereby accounting for somewhere around 32 deg C of this. The remaining one degree is due to other gases. The effects of all of human activity are in the order of two percent of this latter figure. But, of course, you can't put a tax on water vapor or lambaste your favorite industrial villains for producing it, and so water vapor never gets mentioned in the polemics. Even professionals uncritically buy the publicized line. An astronomer reports that in an impromptu survey, six out of ten of her fellow astronomers replied "carbon dioxide" when asked what was the major greenhouse gas. 145

    I there

  • by Phil Wilkins (5921) * on Monday October 11, 2004 @07:16PM (#10498291)
    Somewhere between zip, and fuck-all.

Make headway at work. Continue to let things deteriorate at home.

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