2014-03-21. Key climate-change measurement imperiled.

posted Mar 25, 2014, 11:40 AM by Alan Gould
  For GSS Climate Change chapter 5. Excerpt: ...The "Keeling curve," the most famous measurement of the world's rising levels of carbon dioxide for the past six decades, is in jeopardy from funding shortfalls. ...run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, [it] is the longest continuous record of carbon dioxide measurements on the planet. The measurements were begun in 1958 by Scripps climate scientist Charles David Keeling and are taken near the top of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. Keeling died in 2005, and his son, Ralph, is now the keeper of the "curve." ....Carbon dioxide levels were around 280 "parts per million" (ppm) before the Industrial Revolution, when humans first began releasing large amounts into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. They're now near 400 ppm. ...Keeling said ... that the past year was especially difficult because several grants expired. ...All of this comes against the backdrop of last week's CO2 rise above 400 ppm at Mauna Loa for the second straight year. (CO2 levels peak in the spring when plants come alive, then decrease when the plants die in the autumn.) Keeling says that ... "It's just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever," he said. Consistent levels above 400 ppm haven't been seen in human history and perhaps as long as millions of years. "We are living in extraordinary times," Keeling said.... http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2014/03/18/keeling-curve-mauna-loa-carbon-dioxide-scripps/6576803/. Doyle Rice, USA Today.