FIGURE 10 History of changes in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide taken for direct measurements made in Mauna Loa, Hawaii since 1958. SOURCE: Created with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration published data for Global Warming Art by Robert A. Rohde.


Berrien Moore III, dean of the College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences at the University of Oklahoma and the former co-chair of the National Research Council’s decadal survey on Earth science and applications from space and an SSB member, began by commenting that he does not feel part of the “tweet generation” because he and other climate scientists have gotten “hate tweets” ever since Climategate. 3

Moore went on to discuss global climate change and the measurements of carbon dioxide (CO2) at Mauna Loa, Hawaii, since 1957 (Figure 10) that show the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is rising.

Comparing it to the monetary system, he said we are taking carbon out of “central banks” (oil wells and coal mines) and inflating the carbon cycle. Even if CO2 was not a greenhouse gas, the “human perturbation at the global scale is … quite a remarkable change.” Between 2000 and 2008, there was a huge increase in CO2 emissions, but it diminished with the global economic downturn and now is starting to come back. About half—45 percent—of CO2 stays in the atmosphere in any year, and about half of the other half (25 percent) is removed by the oceans. The remaining half of the half (25 percent) is removed by the terrestrial landscape, so land-based CO2 is increasing. More carbon is being stored every year in vegetation, which means the biosphere is increasing. There are two reasons for that: a fertilization effect by making plants more water efficient and land use recovery where forests have been cut.


3 “Climategate” is explained by Dr. Charles Kennel in Session 1.

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