Saturday, 5 June 2010

Mauna Loa monitoring

When I first heard of a CO2 monitoring station being placed on an active volcano, my first thought was, not unnaturally; "Well of course your CO2 levels are larger, you're on a bleedin' active volcano my lad." Now over at Wattsupwiththat, guest poster Willis Eschenbach has explained carefully why the placement of the worlds primary collector of CO2 data on an active volcano does not necessarily matter.

The article demonstrates that yes, CO2 levels have risen to almost 390ppm (Parts per million, that's 0.00039 of Earth's atmosphere) in the current 'warm' period since an estimated 280ppm around 1800, in the second half of the Little Ice Age. That cannot be in any doubt whatsoever.

On the other hand, I am as yet unpersuaded as to whether this matters a whit, as the linkage of CO2 levels to climate has yet to be proven. There's still the record of the Vostok ice cores which amply demonstrate that CO2 levels appear to lag temperature rises by some 800 years, not lead as the 'true believers' would have us think. Which would 'prove' their hypothesis. Statistically speaking.

Ergo, the CO2 levels we are seeing have their roots back in the 1200's AD. If what the Vostok cores indicate is true, currently increasing levels will begin to drop over the next century or so to return to the levels of the early 1800's by around 2600 AD. So, panic over. Whew, what a relief, eh?

As far as climate is concerned, particulates causing changes in Earth's albedo seem more likely to alter the climate than a transparent trace gas. There is plenty of empirical evidence to prove that assertion, the most recent of which was the post Mt Pinatubo cooling. In my book that's more 'conclusive' because real measurements trump statistical studies every time.

The only warming I'm really fussed about is that we haven't had yet over here on Vancouver Island. However there is a bit of gossip going round saying our usual warm weather is due to return next week.

I bloody well hope so. My farmers tan needs a top up.

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