CO2vid Watch: May

I have been wondering whether the largest real-life science experiment in history will show whether atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations will decrease as a result of the Covid19-induced economic slowdown.

Earlier I concluded:  “I expect there may be a small decrease in the rate of CO2 concentration increase, but it won’t be much, and I will be surprised if it turns negative.  A large La Nina later this year will lead to a CO2 increase a few months later, in which case there will be a larger downturn in annual CO2 change in 2021.

However, if the major cause of CO2 increase is fossil fuel consumption, there will be an extra large decrease in CO2 change in 2020 and 2021- and a noticeable jump if the global economy rebounds.”

(In a coming post I will update my expectations for the end of the year and next year.) 

The CO2 concentration number for May is now published: 417.07 p.p.m. (parts per million).  That’s an increase of 0.86 ppm over the April figure, and 2.41 ppm above the figure for May last year.  Figure 1 shows the 12 month change in CO2 at Mauna Loa since 2015-that is, January to January, February to February, March to March.

Fig. 1:  12 month change in CO2 concentration since 2015 to May 2020- Mauna Loa

Notice the amount of 12 month change has decreased a little.

Figure 2 is a monthly update for 2020 I will show as each month’s CO2 figures become available (and 2021 if necessary):

Fig. 2:  Updated 12 month changes in CO2 concentration for 2020- Mauna Loa

Note that so far this year, 12 month changes are in the normal or even upper range, and there is no sign of any slow down.

Watch for next month’s update, and enjoy the ride!

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4 Responses to “CO2vid Watch: May”

  1. Bill In Oz Says:

    So instead of the expected decrease, Mauna Loa had an unexpected increase in CO2 atmospheric concentration. So effectively the “Humans are causing increased CO2” theory is shown to be false.

    Ken I also wonder about the CO2 being pumped out by the nearby massive shield Kilawea volcano.. Surely this is stuffing up all the Mauna Loa measurements?

    • kenskingdom Says:

      No, apparently all observatories are careful to exclude any readings when the wind is blowing either downhill (bringing CO2 from the vents) or uphill (bringing CO2 depleted air from areas of heavy vegetation). Readings are only taken when the wind is blowing across the slope from the vast ocean. That’s the theory anyway. 10 minute readings and even daily averages jump up and down rapidly however.

      • Bill In Oz Says:

        Ken what have winds to do with it ? The ambient air all around Mauna Loa will be higher in CO2 expelled from Kilawea where the observatory is located.

        I thought they were measuring ambient CO2 across the planet.

        Is there anywhere else on the planet which measures CO2 competently ?

        Mauna Loa seems grossly incompetent. And those who rely on it for accurate data on CO2 crackpots.

        • kenskingdom Says:

          Wind has everything to do with it. Wind is moving air…. containing CO2. If downwind from a source, CO2 will be higher. I have a post coming shortly on CO2 measurements from other places too, comparing Mauna Loa with other sites.

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