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Local CO2 levels - where is the data?

Regular readers will remember that I highlighted Ernst-Georg Beck's paper and data on 180 Years of atmospheric CO2 Gas Analysis by Chemical Methods which suggested that past CO2 levels varied and were higher than the "official" figures and that the historical figures have been suppressed.
Critics such as Eli Rabett point out :Coby Beck's A Few Things Illconsidered where Coby dealt with Diplom Beck's complete misreading of early CO2 mixing ratio records. If you don't want to go read either post, the measurements were real, but they also were about as irrelevant as measuring CO2 at the top of a smokestack and thinking that it would be representative of the atmosphere. If that does not make sense for you, go read the posts or Charles Keeling's history of the Mauna Loa CO2 measurements.

CO2%20growth.jpgGraph Source

So the story is that we are to just trust the steadily rising graph from Mauna Loa - local measurements elsewhere are likely to be widely fluctuating especially near conurbations.

I thought it would be interesting to see what some of the many thousand of monitoring stations data looks like to see if they show how unreliable their data is. If they continue to show the sort of variations that Beck found in his historical data that could be compared to the "global figure". Because the variation is meant to be due to local conditions, ie whether the wind is blowing from where the cement plant is, then we should be able to see that the data independently varies. Of course if it is a global phenomenon then it wouldn't. (The graph of CO2 growth also shows a strange variability in rate of growth, some years 1%, some years 3%, why?)
So I started searching and found lots of Google hits for local testing, lots for local emission data but datasets of what the CO2 levels are, I can't find.

(Apart from Phoenix AZ where there is a an urban CO2 Dome which contributes a small amount of warming.)

So where is the data? Surely if you want the good people of say Oxford to cut their CO2 emissions putting "the scores on the doors" would be a good idea. They collect the figures so why is it:
"Statistics on local levels of green house gases such as CO2 levels are not currently available."

I'm not picking on Oxford - the story is the same everywhere I looked - why? What do the figures show?

UPDATE: A comment from Ernst Beck:

Please look at this graph from Schneider at al. ( on my suppl. website).
Modern ice core temperature records vary , the IPCC ones do not. And my
historical CO2 data fit to the varying part, the Mauna Loa do not.



Sorry? Have I got this right? Rather than trusting a large number of tests spread widely in both time and space, this chap is suggesting that we base our whole future on the results of a series of tests conducted in one place over a much shorter time span?

Okay, Eli does make the argument that earlier measurements were taken largely in industrialised Europe where local CO2 concentrations may have been higher, but what we are looking for is trends on a global scale. For that I would have thought that one would need a massive dataset. Regular (daily?) readings from sites spread across the world; some urban, some rural and some downright isolated.

As for the argument that the old readings are akin to taking the readings from the top of a smoke stack: all I can say is "so what makes the top of an active volcano better?". Surely if one wanted to find an isolated location somewhere like South Georgia or Midway would be more suitable. Of course whatever advantages they may have in terms of scientific purity, they lack in surfer babes, mai tais and tourist luaus. but surely dedicated scientists wouldn't let that sort of consideration sway any decision.

First there are large data sets. The reason everyone cites Mauna Loa is that it is the longest continuous set. The site is well characterized as is the method. That includes studies of any volcanic contamination, suffice it to say that has been taken care of and published.

You can find lots of CO2 data from many sites (or links to it) at the US DOE Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis.

You might be especially interested in the Ameriflux network, and I am sure there are equivalents elsewhere in the world. You would also benefit from reading Keeling's article, "The Rewards and Penalties of Monitoring theEarth" in Annual Reviews which I excerpted and linked to . It answers many of the questions asked here, and shows why many of the assumptions behind those questions
are themselves questionable.

Oh yeah, btw, the site comment form does strange things with Safari. FWIW

Mauna Loa is downstream of rapidly developing China. Might not the measured increases reflect increases in China's CO2 emissions?

John, take a look at the other sites in the cdiac databases which are NOT downstream of China.

BTW, not sure what that figure means, for one thing what the appropriate scaling of the temperature and CO2 should be, but we note that:

a. Only the peaks at ~1855 and 1945 match.
b. The peaks in the temperature at 1810, 1830, 1870, 1900, 1920 don't match the Beck CO2 curve let alone the instrumental measurements of CO2 after 1958.
c. People pattern match on large peaks.
d. Among other things, why the large variation in response (you pick which is the driver and which the driven, CO2 or T) between the peaks

My question is, why is Mauna Loa, which is downstream of the world's most prolific CO2 emitter (China will surpass the US this year or next), taken as the gold standard for measuring CO2? What effect does China's rapidly accelerating CO2 emission have on the measuring site directly downstream?

While the IPCC have placed great faith in the ice core data, as an engineer, I find great difficulty in giving it any credence at all. Yes, when the ice was originaly frozen, the gases contained in it might bear some resemblance to the atmosphere composition at the time, but continuous action on the surface ice, with thawing and re-freezing, movement and cracking, this is likely to change . Then consider the mechanics of taking an ice core. There is a large, hollow drill bit turning, which will produce heat. There is a flow of some sort of coolant around the core. There is the unfortunate fact that pressurised ice with the CO2 dissolved into clathrates will break down with the release of pressure and who knows how much is released in the handling, disection, sawing up and other treatments. Frankly, the results must be viewed with not just considerable restraint, but frankly with considerable doubt. And when other cores of deep silt etc deposits yield very different results, well, you tell me.
What also keeps getting left out of the arguements is that, one, the response to increasing CO2 and the absorption is logarithmic on a reducing scale, two, most of the few reflection windowa are already occupied by the 800 lb gorilla in the room, yes, water vapour and clouds, three, CO2 is airborne fertiliser, not pollution. I was most surprised when googling CO2 and greenhouses to find that there are companies who sell CO2 enrichment equipment to the users of commercial greenhouse to, not just keep it up to normal when serious reductions take place in the winter, but to increase the levels to 5,6,700 ppm. This can produce large increases in growth and productivity.
Anyway, writing from the BVI, my arthritis does much better in the warm thatn in the cold, so bring it on.


All I know is you don't decide to start a multi-million dollar mine using a geological model based on one borehole.

Especially if cynics could say one reason the borehole in question was located where it was could be its proximity to the bar.

Historically, global warming is associated with higher food yields, increasing population, economic take-off and civilizational flowering. Global cooling with starvation, invasion, death.

All the debates about science are irrelevant when just about any attempt to control such large systems as are involved in climate is simply insane even to conceive.

Great stuff, thanks.
D. Ox

Okay well........ and about algae producing biodiesel utilizing CO2 in a closed loop? I sure would like to know how to go about buying CO2 in large quantities? Anybody?

the graphs need work...

you should create a graph on c02 levels in china.

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