There goes the neighborhood (UPDATED)
UPDATE: 10/25/2007 - the paper has appeared http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0702737104v1
ABSTRACT: The growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), the largest human contributor to human-induced climate change, is increasing rapidly. Three processes contribute to this rapid increase. Two of these processes concern emissions. Recent growth of the world economy combined with an increase in its carbon intensity have led to rapid growth in fossil fuel CO2 emissions since 2000: comparing the 1990s with 2000–2006, the emissions growth rate increased from 1.3% to 3.3% y–1.The third process is indicated by increasing evidence (P =0.89) for a long-term (50-year) increase in the airborne fraction (AF) of CO2 emissions, implying a decline in the efficiency of CO2 sinks on land and oceans in absorbing anthropogenic emissions. Since 2000, the contributions of these three factors to the increase in the atmospheric CO2 growth rate have been 65±16% from increasing global economic activity, 17±6% from the increasing carbon intensity of the global economy, and 18±15% from the increase in AF. An increasing AF is consistent with results of climate–carbon cycle models, but the magnitude of the observed signal appears larger than that estimated by models.All of these changes characterize a carbon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate forcing.Thanks to Hank Roberts for the pointer. He's right it is bad news in many ways (see comments).
Via Stoat who stole it from In It for the Gold, a recent article claims that the North Atlantic is not absorbing as much CO2 as it warms, a reasonable proposition. Still there are doubters and one of our furry friends remarks :
But airbourne fraction is still about 55%, so this can't be happening globally.Sadly yes, Virginia, it is happening globally
Contributions to accelerating atmospheric CO2 growth from economic activity, carbon intensity, and efficiency of natural sinksMore tomorrow when the actual paper is available.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , October 2007.
Josep G. Canadell, Corinne Le Quere, Michael R. Raupach, Christopher B. Field, Erik T. Buitenhuis, Philippe Ciais, Thomas J. Conway, Nathan P. Gillett, R. A. Houghton, and Gregg Marland
Carbon sink slowdown contributing to rapid growth in atmospheric CO2
This study finds that the recent swift increase in atmospheric CO2 is due to faster economic growth coupled with a halt in carbon intensity reductions, in addition to natural sinks removing a smaller proportion of emissions from the air. Efficiency of natural sinks to remove emissions from human activities has been declining for 50 years.
While rising anthropogenic emissions due to increased economic growth have been established as the driver of accelerated atmospheric CO2 this study shows that both the slow down of natural sinks and the halt to improvements in carbon intensity are contributing more than one third of the increase.
UPDATE: 10/23 - Well the Joesep Canadell's paper still moulders in the grave of not for attribution, and has not been released on the PNAS web site, which is curious, but it is all over the news. Some more meat from Scientific American
Specifically, oceans and plant growth absorbed only around 540 kilograms per metric ton (1,190 pounds per short ton) of the CO2 produced in 2006, compared with 600 kilograms per metric ton (1,322 pounds per short ton) in 2000. Coupled with an emissions growth rate of 3.3 percent—triple the growth rate of the 1990s—the atmospheric burden is now rising by nearly two parts per million of CO2 a year, the fastest growth rate since 1850, the international team of researchers reports in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA.but as they say there is a lot of noise in a lot of data but google is your friend (although Eli gratefully acknowledges another friend who has provided a preprint), so our paws did the keyboarding and found a recent presentation by Canadell that has a lot of the information in the paper. The key point is that the amount of CO2 emitted each year is going through the roof. The fraction of the carbon emitted each year going into the atmosphere has increased over the last half century
and the amount going into the oceans has decreased about the same amount while the land fraction stays about the same.The sharp eyed bunnies should look at what happened to the fraction of emitted CO2 that went into the land during the huge 1998 el Nino year. It plunged faster than the Arctic sea ice coverage this September. The take home is that theCO2 fertilization effect combined with higher temperatures will not save the day.
but, perhaps Mighty Mouse can. Eli is going for one of those beers you guys hid in the bathtub with the ice.