Saturday, April 27, 2024

CO2 keeps accelerating

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, reported a daily average carbon dioxide (CO₂) at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, of 428.63 parts per million (ppm) on April 26, 2024, as illustrated by the image below. 

This is the highest daily average on record at Mauna Loa, which is the more remarkable since the annual CO₂ maximum is typically reached in May, so even higher values are likely to be reached over the next few weeks. 

The image below, adapted from NOAA, shows that the weekly mean CO₂ at Mauna Loa was 427.94 ppm for the week beginning on April 21, 2024, i.e. 3.98 ppm higher than the 423.96 ppm for the week 1 year earlier.

The image below, adapted from NOAA, shows that the daily mean CO₂ at Mauna Loa on April 26, 2024, was 428.59 ppm, a difference of 4.7 ppm from April 26, 2023.


The image below, adapted from NOAA, shows that the annual CO₂ growth at Mauna Loa in 2023 was 3.36 ppm, the highest annual growth on record.

The image below shows the daily average carbon dioxide recorded by NOAA over the past few years at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. 

Clouds Tipping Point

The image below illustrates that a polynomial trend (red) follows the recent acceleration in CO₂ concentration in the atmosphere more than a linear trend (blue). Data used are NOAA Mauna Loa weekly average CO₂ data through the week starting on April 21, 2024 (data downloaded April 28, 2024). 

The image below is the same as the image above, except that the canvas is zoomed out to show all data on record with trends extended to 2060 (X-axis) and CO₂ concentration going from 300 ppm to 1200 ppm (Y-axis). 

The red polynomial trend also illustrates how rising CO₂ can cause the clouds tipping point at 1200 ppm to be crossed well before 2060, i.e. earlier than anticipated in IPCC models (inset).

Moreover, the clouds tipping point could be crossed much earlier than 2060 when also taking into account methane. Monthly methane is approaching 2000 parts per billion (ppb) at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, as illustrated by the image below.

A methane concentration of 2000 ppb corresponds, at a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 200, with a carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e) of 400 ppm. Together with the above daily average CO₂ concentration of 428.63 ppm this adds up to a joint CO₂e of 828.63 ppm, i.e. only 371.37 ppm away from the clouds tipping point (at 1200 ppm CO₂e) that on its own could raise the global temperature by 8°C.

This 371.37 ppm CO₂e could be added almost immediately by a burst of seafloor methane less than the size of the methane that is currently in the atmosphere (about 5 Gt). There is plenty of potential for such an abrupt release, given the rising ocean heat and the vast amounts of methane present in vulnerable sediments at the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, as discussed in earlier posts such as this one.

Already now, local peaks can at times reach very high levels. The image below shows that the NOAA-20 satellite recorded a peak level of 2432 ppb at 399.1 mb on April 25, 2024, am. 

The MetOp-B satellite (also known as MetOp-1) recorded a peak methane level of 3644 ppb and a mean level of 1944 ppb at 367 mb on November 21, 2021, pm, as illustrated by the image below. 
[ from earlier post ]
[ from earlier post ]
Catastrophic crack propagation is what makes a balloon pop. Could low-lying clouds similarly break up and vanish abruptly? Could peak greenhouse gas concentrations in one spot break up droplets into water vapor, thus raising CO₂e and propagating break-up of more droplets, etc., to shatter entire clouds?

Could a combination of high CO₂ levels and high peak levels of methane suffice to cause the clouds tipping point to be crossed?

Moreover, nitrous oxide is also rising and there are additional elements that could further speed up the rise in CO₂e, as discussed at the Extinction page and this earlier post that warn about the potential for a temperature rise of well over 18°C to unfold as early as 2026.

A 2018 study (by Strona & Bradshaw) indicates that most life on Earth will disappear with a 5°C rise. Humans, who depend for their survival on many other species, will likely go extinct with a 3°C rise, as illustrated by the image below, from an earlier post.

Environmental crimes

The accelerating growth in carbon dioxide indicates that politicians have failed and are failing to take adequate action. 

Current laws punish people for the most trivial things, while leaving the largest crime one can imagine unpunished: planetary omnicide!

[ from earlier post ]

The image below is from the post Planetwide Ecocide - The Crime Against Life on Earth, by Andrew Glikson

If we accept that crimes against humanity include climate crimes, then politicians who inadequately act on the unfolding climate catastrophe are committing crimes against humanity and they should be brought before the International Criminal Court in The Hague, the Netherlands.

[ image from earlier post ]

Climate Emergency Declaration

The situation is dire and the precautionary principle calls for rapid, comprehensive and effective action to reduce the damage and to improve the situation, as described in this 2022 post, where needed in combination with a Climate Emergency Declaration, as discussed at this group.


• NOAA - Carbon Cycle Gases - Mauna Loa, Hawaii, United States

• Scripps Institution of Oceanography

• NOAA - Weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

• NOAA - annual mean carbon dioxide growth rates for Mauna Loa

• NOAA - greenhouse gases at Mauna Loa 

• How long do we have?

• Blue Ocean Event 2024?

• Potential temperature trends

• Co-extinctions annihilate planetary life during extreme environmental change, by Giovanni Strona and Corey Bradshaw (2018)

• CO2 rise is accelerating