400ppm [and a climate changed by 330ppm]

400ppm CO2 in our atmosphere is significant because we have 10 digits but it is a collective milestone nonetheless. But the climate change we see now is not caused by 400ppm: the oceans cause a lag of around 40 years in human driven climate change. Quite simply we will not see the fruits of our industry today until 2053. The changes that are measurable today [no computer models needed] are effectively driven by 330ppm.

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Curiously there was no need to highlight the CO2 levels in history that are affecting us now as the data collection process changed 40 years ago.

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5 thoughts on “400ppm [and a climate changed by 330ppm]

  1. Presumably the ’330′ number is just a backwards count to 1973 on the basis of the 40-year lag to which you refer – but how do we know the lag on CO2 forcing is 40 years? And I’m not sure what you mean on the collection process changing 40 years ago, either. Not saying you’re wrong; just interested in the sources.

    • I was going to photoshop a ‘we are here’ arrow pointing at 40 years ago, as it happened the switch as to who maintained the data from SIO to NOAA happened 40 years ago. The 40 year lag is a generalisation- some effects a quicker some longer- I believe up to 100 years. Also added to the 330ppm ‘effect’ is currently levels of positive forcing of other GHG of about 60ppm CO2 equivalent and the subtraction of China/Asia cooling particles [which could be washed out in a year or so if they stopped] but then add the black carbon soot.

      But if the weather is this crazy at 330ppm imagine 400ppm.

    • Edit ‘collection process’ to change of US agency who did collection- [i will edit]
      the 40 year lag is the consensus on how long heat absorbed by the oceans takes to warm up the atmosphere. My cuppa tea has a 10 min lag from being nice and hot to being room temperature and in the process has just warmed the room temperature up a bit.

      Remember the whole energy can’t be destroyed bit thingy? A scientist was explaining science with tea analogies. I boil water and energy makes all the water molecules get over excited, it goes into the cup and these excited water molecules race around banging into things and make them excited too and they bang around too. If they are the cup then being solid means they can’t whizz around but instead vibrate banging their neighbours [oh er misses] this causes the cup to get hot which when picked up cause my hand to be excited with vibrations. Those vibrations then head in all directions- into the occasional table- across to another plate with cakes on- which get very mildly vibrated. Above the cup the water molecules leap into the air warming gas molecules that then go off and bonce around transfering their vibratiness.

      so that is clear- I feel better for getting that off my mind- so think sun= cooker, um- oceans= nice cup of tea, atmosphere= a nice cup, and saucer, and the tea is all the world’s vegetation that ends up back on the compost heap.

      Perhaps this ‘climate lag for dummies’ could be a visual educational poster?

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