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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Carbon dioxide: Part 6

From the last post on this subject, we learned that out of the analogous 3,600 inch long football field, carbon dioxide covers 1 1/8 inch of the stretch. It’s 0.0314% of the total length of the football field or the volume of air. That’s a very small amount.

So why is Al Gore panic struck over this small amount of CO2? It is because this small amount has increased. Check out this chart. This chart is a record of the increase of CO2 from 314 parts per million in 1958 (0.0314%) to 384 ppm presently (0.0384%).

In the last 50 years, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 70 ppm, which is a 22.3% increase. Such an increase is significant number wise, so it is worth investigating. If the trend continues, the Goracle will panic even more because Gaia already has a fever!

It is important to note that the location where the air test is done is significant. Any air sample in a city will yield higher concentrations of CO2 than in the chart. An air sample from Gary, Indiana will have much more CO2 than in Big Sky Country. Winter air has more carbon dioxide than summer air because of dormant vegetation. A sample of a person’s breath also has more than the surrounding air because exhaled air has about 4% CO2, or 40,000 ppm, which is vastly higher than the average mixture of air (384 ppm).

Higher CO2 concentration air is mixed by the wind with lower concentration air throughout the world while CO2 is also being taken out of the air through the several carbon cycles. So it is important to take measurements where there will be a good representative air sample. Atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements are taken at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

The jagged line in the chart referenced above is significant. The CO2 concentration increases during the winter in the northern hemisphere and decreases in the summer because the vegetation is consuming it. Meanwhile, the CO2 concentration is decreasing in the southern hemisphere during the northern winter. Thus the concentration rises and falls annually at opposite times in the two hemispheres. The line drawn through the jagged line is the average between the annual highs and lows.

On our analogous football field, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased from 1 1/8 inch (0.0314% of 3,600 inches) to 1 3/8 inch (0.0384% of 3,600 inches). So the amount of CO2 in the air is now 1/4 inch more than in 1958. And this increase is supposed to cause global warming? Something sounds fishy.

That is 0.007% (0.0384%-0.0314%) more carbon dioxide in the total air. That is not much, but it is more than the combined volume of the 6 gases remaining before we hit the end zone for a TD (that measly last tenth of an inch).

For every 1,000,000 molecules of air in 1958 there were 314 molecules of CO2. Now for every 1,000,000 molecules of air there are 384 molecules of CO2. That is 70 more molecules among the million or 7 more molecules per 100,000. That is not much. Seven pennies among 100,000 pennies are just not worth counting because they are so insignificant in comparison.

So what is all the fuss about? Al Gore is in panic mode over this?!

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