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Author: waterfell Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 59036  
Subject: Re: I underestimated the risks of climate change Date: 2/5/2013 2:20 PM
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The Keeling curve shows the amount of atmospheric CO2 compared to what else is in the air (CO2 in air : total air). We're talking about the amount of CO2 in the air compared to CO2 in the land/water (CO2 in air: CO2 elsewhere).
The trend in the second has not yet been observed to change: IOW, the land, oceans, and biosphere are absorbing as much of the newly-produced CO2 as they were before, as far as we can currently tell.

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Thank you for explaining it. I still think that since the Keeling curve is going up, this shows the abilities of the land and oceans to reabsorb the CO2 are currently being overwhelmed. Trying to measure the ratio of CO2 in the air to total CO2 elsewhere is an interesting exercise, but the CO2 concentration in the air [CO2 in air : total air] is the important parameter with respect to climate change. If we could somehow stop all fossil fuel burning, then eventually the CO2 concentration in the air would go down as the land and oceans reabsorb the carbon. But that isn't going to happen so long as we humans keep putting 35 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. We can argue about how much of a climatic change 450 or 500 ppm will make, but I don't think there is much doubt 450 ppm is going to be seen unless there are some major changes this century.

- Pete
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