The latest real-world measurements of carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere show that it's increasing at breakneck speed, despite some preliminary efforts in some parts of the world to rein in fossil fuel burning — the main source of the surplus greenhouse gas.
The new data reported in Tasmania last week shows there were 7.9 billion tons of carbon emitted in 2005 and that the 1 percent per year carbon dioxide concentration increase rate of the 1990s has already jumped to 2.5 percent per year. These numbers all point to a worst-case scenario greenhouse effect and global warming.
"There is an agreement between emissions and concentrations," said atmospheric researcher Mike Raupach of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO).
The data, as well as other data on rising global temperatures and sea level rise, are reaching the point where they can be used to check the models.
"People are now able to do comparisons between the way aspects of climate change are playing out and how the models predicted," said Raupach.
The documented rise in carbon levels was revealed as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether or not the Environmental Protection Agency should regulate carbon dioxide emissions. Currently, carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping pollutants have not been classified as pollutants by the federal agency.
The new data could add some urgency to the Supreme Court's arguments.
Six climate scenarios were modeled in the late 1990s for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2000 report. The IPCC scenarios range from a world that vigorously curtails its fossil fuel addiction, to one in which greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow unchecked.
"The emissions are tracking the two uppermost of those scenarios," said Raupach. "That’s not good."
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Greenhouse Gas Is Ramping Up Fast
From Discovery News, Greenhouse Gas Is Ramping Up Fast: