Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

July 2011 (Scripps) CO2 Concentration: 392.39ppm

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An average of 392.39ppm CO2 concentration was measured at Scripps’ Mauna Loa, Hawai’i’s Observatory during July 2011.  This reading is from the Scripps’ dataset, not NOAA’s, from which I previously wrote.

That value is the highest value for July in recorded history. Last year’s 390.11 was the previous highest July value ever recorded.  This year’s July reading is 2.28ppm higher than last July’s, which is a significant difference.

The yearly maximum monthly value normally occurs during May. This year was no different: the 394.16 concentration is the highest value reported both this year and all time.

This will likely be the last year that CO2 concentrations will fall below 390ppm during any calendar month. Although it hasn’t happened yet (every month in 2011 has recorded at least 390ppm), the yearly minimum that normally occurs in September is upcoming.  Given the trend from May to September in years past, 2011’s minimum should be ~388ppm.

Our species’ aggressive march toward 400ppm and beyond continues. Keep in mind that scientists have recommended that 350ppm should be the target for which humanity should aim in order to keep climate extremes from overwhelming our civilization and the globe’s ecosystems.  One might think that recent weather extremes should be drawing much needed public attention to the climate crisis that is unfolding.  One would be wrong, unfortunately.  It seems that only extremely large, catastrophic events will be enough to grab the American public’s attention.  By then, it will be too late to make a difference.


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