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   CO2: Global Carbon Dioxide Levels
    Linked to Human Activity

What do we know for sure?  We know for a fact that CO2 levels are rising and that human activity is the cause.

How do we know this?  A simple calculation. Let's start with the year 1750, generally accepted as the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, when the standard measure for CO2 levels was 278ppmv. We'll begin then, add the known level of human-generated CO2 for that year, then subtract 2.84% of the excess CO2 because that's how fast nature tries to restore the balance. If we do this for 255 years, up to 2005, we get the pink line in the graph below. It fits the black line the actual CO2 level like a glove.
How accurate is this fit? Considering the difficulties of gathering data from centuries past, amazingly close. We know, for example, that up until 1950, deforestation was putting about as much CO2 into the atmosphere as were burning fossils, but it's not easy to know how many trees were chopped down in, say, 1850, and how much CO2 this put into the air. In spite of imperfect data, the fact that a simple calculation predicts the extraordinary shape of actual CO2 so well is clear evidence this can not be a coincidental convergence. Human CO2 emissions must have caused the upsurge is atmospheric CO2.

So what?  The link between human activity and rising CO2 levels is the first step. The next one is between CO2 and global warming. That was predicted over 100 years ago, but the evidence has become convincing only very recently. ZFacts will be adding pages about this during February, 2006.

Where did the numbers come from? CO2 Levels. These come from two sources. From 1958 forward, they are from a weather station high atop the Mona Loa volcano in Hawaii. They are so accurate, they show levels going up every autumn, when the leaves fall, and coming down every spring. Earlier data are from ice cores in Antarctica. The two sources agree remarkably well. (All actual data points are shown in the top graph.) The next graph shows the emissions data.
Fossil Fuel data are from the U.S. DOE, including an estimate that fossil fuel emissions will increase at 1.2% per year until 2030. We assume this rate to 2050. However, the average rate for the last 5 years was about 1.9%, so this may be optimistic. Cement manufacture also releases CO2 from the rocks it processes, so that source is tracked separately.

Deforestation Data. These extended only from 1850 to 2000 so zFacts fitted a straight line to the first 100 years (1850--1950) to extend them data back to 1750. Deforestation peaked in 1991 and from 1992--2000 followed a steep and straight descent. Again a straight line was fitted to predict the future. As can be seen above, this is a dramatic and possibly optimistic prediction.
  More electric power plants run on coal than oil, natural gas or hydro-power, but burning coal produces CO2, one of the gases that cause global warming. New and more expensive technology makes it possible to build coal-burning power plants that could be adapted to "sink" the CO2 underground to keep it out of the atmosphere. Builders of new power plants are divided on using the new technology or just polishing up the old for less money. Proponents of both are pushing for government blessing.more
  Amazing "Synfuel".pdf Gasoline, diesel, jet fuel, and other petroleum products can be made from coal. The conversion process removes greenhouse gases, sulfur, mercury and arsenic; a synfuel plant can generate electricity, make synthetic natural gas and even hydrogen. Ordinary engines can use it. Montana has 120 billion tons of coal which would make the equivalent of one quarter of the oil under the Middle East. Do we need Montana?

Mining Under the Radar.pdf  A proposed Canadian mine would endanger Glacier and Waterton Parks, Flathead Lake and that is just a start.

Synthetic Fuel.pdf  Dreams of reinventing both small town Montana and the fossil fuel industry.

http://zfacts.com/p/194.html | 01/18/12 07:16 GMT
Modified: Wed, 09 May 2007 01:17:59 GMT
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