A 50 Year Record of Atmospheric CO2 and Its Relation to Fossil Fuel Emissions
Date: Monday, September 26 @ 15:00:00 MDT
Topic: The Fate of Fossil-Fuel Emissions

by Steven Piper (for Dave Keeling)

Measurements of atmospheric CO2 began in 1957-1958 at a wide range of locations, including at fixed stations, on ice floes, on oceanic expeditions, and on aircraft flights, with logistical and financial support provided by the International Geophysical Year (IGY) program. Although the measurement effort was reduced in scope immediately following the IGY, today, measurements are made at more than 100 locations. Over this same time interval, emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel combustion increased from 2.3 thousand million metric tons per year (GtC/yr) in 1958 to 7.1 GtC/yr in 2003 [Marland et al., 2005, and personal communication]. More than 90% of this CO2 was released into the northern hemisphere where it lingered before mixing fully world-wide. The atmospheric CO2 concentration, in response, rose faster in the northern hemisphere than in the southern, the interhemispheric difference increasing from near zero during the IGY to about 3 parts per million (ppm) in 2003. For all northern hemisphere stations where our program has measured CO2, the gradient changes relative to the South Pole are generally proportional to the rate of fossil fuel CO2 emissions, disregarding seasonal and short term interannual variability in the CO2 data. Here, we use this fact to diagnose how the carbon cycle has evolved over the past half century.

Link to Abstract
Link to Slides

This article comes from The 7th International CO2 Conference Web Site

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