Well, here we are going down the road that 97% of scientists have told us we’re going to travel.  And it is happening faster than scientists were comfortable telling us would be the case but warned was very possible.  And yet we allow a small, but vocal, group of people who either deny that these scientifically proven events are occurring or obfuscate the issue for other reasons, to keep us from moving faster (fast) to mitigate the tsunami that is headed straight for us.  Or maybe more accurately, in my case, my kids and grandkids.
What’s so hard about this to understand?  CO2 traps heat.  We are creating more and more of it.  It lasts in the atmosphere for generations.  Measurable levels of it are the highest they’ve ever been, by far, for millions and millions of years.  Temperatures are rising.  More precipitation is falling in some places and droughts are happening in others.  Billion dollar of damage climate events are happening more frequently.  Ocean levels are higher and more acidic.  Fresh water sources are drying up.  Hello!  Duh!!  
So what sense does it make to facilitate mining the worst oil on the planet, destroying the forest that processes CO2 in the process, ship it across our precious water tables, send it overseas?  Who gains?  Not the environment.  Not the economy as there will be only a handful of jobs (less than 400 permanent jobs).  Not our national security since none of the oil will be staying in the US.  Not us as consumers since it will not lower the cost of gas and in fact may actually, counterintuitively,  INCREASE the price of gas in the Midwest.  Well, I guess the oil companies and politicians who get their contributions will be delighted.  And the Koch brothers.  But what do YOU get out of this????  Just the cost of cleaning up the spills, a tornado or hurricane in your neighborhood, tons of rain that collapses the cliff behind your house and buries you in mud, malaria if you live in the south.
And a final note, yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound in Alaska that is still polluting the entire area and where fishing has collapsed.  Nebraska… are you next?  

CO2 concentrations reach 400 ppm 2 months earlier this year

In May 2013, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations at Hawaii’s famed Mauna Loa observatory hit 400 parts per million for the first time. This year, it only took until March.
“We have had five [days over 400 ppm] in the last week,” said Pieter Tans, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who monitors the readings. “Some of them went over 401 [ppm], which is higher than we had any day last year.”
Carbon dioxide concentrations, which have been steadily rising since the industrial age, also increase and decrease over the course of a year due to natural biological cycles. That peak, where the highest concentrations are measured, usually comes in May, Tans said.
Last May, a few of the Mauna Loa daily measurements clocked in at above 400 ppm. This year, Tans expects there will be an entire month that averages over 400 ppm — another ominous first for the record, which was begun in 1958.
“It’s the longest-running high-accuracy direct atmospheric measurement of CO2,” Tans explained.
It is even possible that March may average above 400 ppm, but Tans is placing his bets on April as the first month where the average CO2 concentrations hit that level.
“We will certainly be over 400 for the monthly mean in April, that is almost certain,” he said.
In 2012, NOAA recorded 400 ppm concentrations of CO2 in its Arctic monitoring sites.

An appeal for funds

Because of where CO2 is emitted and how long it takes for the gas to mix and spread through the atmosphere, the Mauna Loa station reached that concentration a year later than the Arctic stations. Measurement stations on the south side of the equator will take longer still.
“The Southern Hemisphere sites have not broken 400 ppm yet. But they will. You can count on it,” Tans said.
Along with the NOAA measurements at Mauna Loa, which continuously measure CO2 concentrations, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography is responsible for a parallel set of measurements.
Run by Ralph Keeling, whose father, David Keeling, began the measurements in the 1950s, the graph of those measurements of steadily increasing CO2 has become known as the “Keeling Curve.”
“The Mauna Loa record is kind of like the stock index, like the Dow Jones or something, because it is a remote site and picks up information from a large part of the planet and gets a representative picture of the whole planet,” Keeling said.
Recently, however, Keeling’s program has run into funding shortages.
In December, the researcher posted a “letter of appeal” online laying out the case for funding the CO2 and oxygen measurements at Mauna Loa. The project, which had been supported by a patchwork of federal grants, was coming to the end of some key support, leaving its future uncertain.

‘Critical’ need for redundant measures

Keeling’s project has even turned to crowdsourcing through the University of California, San Diego, website, raising $17,600 that way — a significant amount but far short of the $1 million needed annually to run the program.
Although the program Keeling runs measures many of the same things as the NOAA one, including CO2 concentrations, both Tans and Keeling said that having a duplicate measure is valuable from a scientific perspective, particularly since the Mauna Loa CO2 measurement is so well-known and perceived as a benchmark.
“Usually, you look at redundancy as being wasteful, but in the case of doing observations over time that have a critical value, you only get one chance to make the measurements and things inevitably go wrong, so it is really important to have that redundancy,” Keeling said.
Additionally, the instruments and the algorithms the two projects use are different, so the fact that they have very similar readings serves as an independent corroboration.
The oxygen readings Keeling’s program takes are also useful climate data, enabling researchers to prove that the extra carbon dioxide is coming from fossil fuel sources and to understand how much CO2 the ocean is absorbing.
Keeling noted that funding for long-term measurement projects is often difficult to come by, since such monitoring is not always viewed as new research. While some new sources of funding have recently come to light, the future of his research program is far from certain.
“We’re just trying to get through this year for now,” he said.

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