Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

Climate Hustle

Mauna Loa and global network of CO2 measurements

What the science says...

Select a level... Basic Intermediate Advanced
The trend in CO2 at Mauna Loa is practically identical to the global trend because CO2 mixes well throughout the atmosphere. The global trend is calculated from hundreds of CO2 measuring stations and is consistent with independently measurements from satellites.

Climate Myth...

Mauna Loa is a volcano
'Mauna Loa has been producing a readout which supports Manning's predetermined goal by showing steady growth in atmospheric CO2 concentrations since 1959. Just thirty miles from the observatory, Kilauea's Pu`u O`o vent sends 3.3 million metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. Pu`u O`o sends into "the undisturbed air" near "the remote location" the equivalent to yearly CO2 production from an average city of 660,000 people.' (Andrew Walden)

The following graph shows atmospheric CO2 levels over the last 10,000 years. It includes ice core data for CO2 levels before 1950. For values after 1950, direct measurements from Mauna Loa, Hawaii were used.


Figure 1: CO2 levels (parts per million) over the past 10,000 years. Blue line from Taylor Dome ice cores (NOAA). Green line from Law Dome ice core (CDIAC). Red line from direct measurements at Mauna Loa, Hawaii (NOAA).

Mauna Loa is often used as an example of rising carbon dioxide levels because its the longest, continuous series of directly measured atmospheric CO2. The reason why it's acceptable to use Mauna Loa as a proxy for global CO2 levels is because CO2 mixes well throughout the atmosphere. Consequently, the trend in Mauna Loa CO2 (1.64 ppm per year) is statistically indistinguishable from the trend in global CO2 levels (1.66 ppm per year). If global CO2 was used in Figure 1 above, the result "hockey stick" shape would be identical.


Figure 2: Global atmospheric CO2 (NOAA) versus Mauna Loa CO2 (NOAA).

The following video is a graphic example of where our data for CO2 levels comes from. It shows surface measurements of CO2 varying over different latitudes from 1979 to 2006. The graph is created by Andy Jacobson from the NOAA and includes a global map displaying where the measurements are coming from, a comparison of Mauna Loa CO2 to South Pole CO2 and the graph expands at the end to include ice core measurements back to the 19th Century.

Satellite data is consistent with surface measurements and present a fuller picture of global CO2 concentration. The next video shows global distribution of mid-tropospheric carbon dioxide. This data comes from the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on the NASA Aqua spacecraft. Superiposed over the global map is a graph of carbon dioxide observed at the Mauna Loa observatory.

Last updated on 9 July 2010 by John Cook.

Printable Version  |  Offline PDF Version  |  Link to this page

Comments

Comments 1 to 3:

  1. I shared an office with Dave Keeling in Stockholm in the early 1960s and can report that Dave was aware that ML is a volcano. The trade wind blows 99.9% of the time with the CO2 station well upwind. When the wind changes the CO2 goes off the chart. The nearest upwind source is about 1500 miles away. The reading stays steady for weeks at a time.
  2. Great anecdote.

    Even Willis of WUWT concedes that Mauna Loa produces good data, the idea that somehow nobody noticed they were standing on the world's largest shield volcano is perfectly diagnostic of the state of awareness of somebody repeating the error. Sadly that won't stop this idea from continuing to rattle around like some kind of perfectly elastic pinball on friction-free table.
  3. Good stuff Dan, and good article Andy.

    The comments at American Thinker are just... argh! So boneheaded! Still, I wont judge all Americans by that - just the ones who let American Thinker do their thinking for them ;-)

Post a Comment

Political, off-topic or ad hominem comments will be deleted. Comments Policy...

You need to be logged in to post a comment. Login via the left margin or if you're new, register here.

Link to this page



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)


© Copyright 2019 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us