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Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog : Save the Keeling Curve! | Weather Underground

Save the Keeling Curve!

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 2:13 PM GMT on March 11, 2014 +48

Climate change’s most iconic research project is in danger–a victim of budget cuts in an era of increased government belt-tightening. The Keeling Curve is a measurement of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere made atop Hawaii’s Mauna Loa, begun in 1958 by Dr. Charles Keeling. It is the longest-running such measurement in the world. The curve was instrumental in showing how human emissions of carbon dioxide were steadily accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere, and raised awareness that human-caused climate change was an ever-increasing threat to the stability of our climate. After Keeling’s death in 2005, the measurements were continued by his son, Ralph F. Keeling. Support from NSF, NOAA and NASA is being diminished or withdrawn, and Keeling has turned to crowd-funding to help raise funds to continue these important measurements. I hope you can join me in making a donation.

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Figure 1. The Keeling Curve: climate change’s most iconic image. The curve’s steady year-by-year increase in CO2 due to burning of coal, oil, and natural gas has wriggles on top of it, due to the natural seasonal cycle in CO2–plants suck in CO2 during the Northern Hemisphere growing season, then release it during the winter. Image credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography, USCD.

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Figure 2. Dr. Charles Keeling posing at the entrance to the Charles Keeling Building at Mauna Loa, Hawaii. Image credit:NOAA/ESRL.

CO2 Levels Hit 401 ppm
The latest data from the Keeling curve website shows that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are surging upwards in their usual late winter push, as plants return CO2 to the atmosphere before the Northern Hemisphere spring growing season hits. CO2 levels reached 401 ppm (parts per million) last week on top of Mauna Loa, setting a new record. CO2 levels were at 280 ppm in 1870, increased less than 1 ppm per year in the 1960s, then accelerated to 2 ppm per year during the 2000s. Less than 1% of the increase since 1870 has been due to natural sources, such as volcanoes. The last time carbon dioxide levels reached 400 ppm—between 2.5 and 5 million years ago during the Pliocene Era—the Earth was 3.5 to 9° F warmer (2 to 5° C), and sea levels were 65 to 80 feet higher.

Links
There is a hashtag #savetheKeelingCurve
Eli Rabett’s post, Shaking the Cup for Science
What Does 400 ppm Look Like? December 2013 blog post by Robert Monroe of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

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Senate holds all-nighter on climate change
A group of 31 U.S. Senators pulled an all-nighter last night on the floor of the U.S. Senate, taking turns from 9 pm Monday night until 9 am Tuesday morning to promote policy actions on climate change. Many of the Senators involved issued tweets using the hashtag #Up4Climate. The all-nighter was another indication that politicians are becoming increasingly bold about speaking up on climate change.

Latest Version of our WunderMap App Now Includes WunderPhotos
Weather Underground has released today a new version of our WunderMap app for iPhone and iPad. The main new feature that we’d like to highlight is the WunderPhotos layer–now users can view, share, and submit photos all from within the app. Here are a few of the features of the new version of the WunderMap app:

◦ Improved Weather Station display, and both station size and station spacing are now adjustable (Weather Stations Layer ⇒ Settings).
◦ New WunderPhotos layer! View, share, and submit beautiful weather photos.
◦ Fixed incorrect elevation for some Personal Weather Stations.
◦ Swipe-to-delete search history items.
◦ “Terrain/Satellite” and other map options made more prominent.
◦ Bug fixes (crashes, visual glitches, and usability enhancements).
◦ Optimized performance across all devices.

The latest version is available to download for iPhone and iPad at https://itunes.apple.com/app/wundermap/id364884105?mt=8.

Jeff Masters

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Dr Jeff Masters Cyclone Lehar November 25, 2013

Dr Masters blog and the Wundergound Tropical page are both very helpful in understanding and tracking these dangerous storms.
Dangerous Category 1Cyclone Lehar is intensifying as it heads west-northwest at 8 mph towards India’s Bay of Bengal coast. Satellite images show that Lehar–which is the Hindustani word for “wave”–has developed a large Central Dense Overcast (CDO) of high cirrus clouds over its center, which is characteristic of intensifying tropical cyclones approaching hurricane strength. With wind shear a moderate 10 – 20 knots and ocean temperatures a very warm 28 – 29°C, Lehar is expected to continue to intensify to a major Category 3 storm until just before landfall, which is expected to occur near 03 UTC Thursday, November 28 in the Andhra Pradesh state of India. This is the same portion of the coast that Cyclone Helenhit on Friday as a tropical storm with 40 mph winds. Helen’s heavy rains killed elevenpeople, caused widespread severe agricultural damage, and left the soils saturated, which will make the rains from Lehar doubly dangerous. Also of concern is the storm surge, which will impact a portion of the coast that is heavily populated and low-lying. The India Meteorological Agency (IMD) is predicting that Lehar will generate a storm surge of up to 1.6 – 2.9 meters (5.2 – 9.5 feet) to the right of where the eye makes landfall.

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Figure 1. Cyclone Lehar over the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal at 04:25 UTC November 25, 2013. At the time, Lehar was at Category 1 strength with top winds of 75 mph. Image credit: NASA.

An unusually active tropical cyclone season for India
In addition to Cyclone Helen, India’s Bay of Bengal coast also was hit this year by Tropical Cyclone Phailin, a Category 4 storm with 140 mph winds, which killed 44 people and did $1.1 billion in damage on October 12, 2013. It’s unusual for India to get hit by so many named storms in one year; the last time three or more named storms did so was in 1996, when six storms of at least tropical storm intensity hit. Only four Bay of Bengal tropical cyclones have hit India at hurricane strength since 2000, if we include Cyclone Phailin from 2013. The others were:

Category 1 Cyclone Ailaof May 25, 2009, which hit near Kolkata, killing 96, causing $553 million in damage.
Category 1 Cyclone Thane, of December 30, 2011, which hit Southeast India, killing 48, causing $376 million in damage.
Category 1 Cyclone 05B, which hit Southern India on November 29, 2000, killing six.

The last major tropical cyclone to hit the portion of the coast that Lehar is threatening occurred on June 14 1996, when Category 4 Tropical Cyclone 07B struck, killing 731 people. Wunderground’s weather historian Christopher C. Burt has a detailed post onIndia’s tropical cyclone history. During the past two centuries, 42 percent of Earth’s tropical cyclone-associated deaths have occurred in Bangladesh, and 27 percent have occurred in India (Nicholls, R.J.N., N. Mimura, J.C. Topping, 1995, “Climate change in south and south-east Asia: some implications for coastal areas,” J Glob Environ Eng 1995;1:137–54.)

You can read the rest of this post at- http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=2587

Dr Masters blog is here-http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/show.html

The details and up to date info on Cyclone Lehar csn be found at-http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/northern-indian/2013/tropical-cyclone-Lehar

The Tropical Weather page is here-http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/

Please share info with those in the danger areas and stay safe if you are there!

As always, for everyone who prays, lets join together in praying for the safety and support of all in the path of Cyclone Lehar.