Wednesday, September 03, 2014

The Kind of Press Release Eli Likes

September 1, 2014 
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego today announced that Wendy and Eric Schmidt have provided a grant that will support continued operation of the renowned Keeling Curve measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. The grant provides $500,000 over five years to support the operations of the Scripps CO2 Group, which maintains the Keeling Curve. 
CO2 Group Director Ralph Keeling said the grant will make it possible for his team to restore atmospheric measurements that had been discontinued because of a lack of funding, address a three-year backlog of samples that have been collected but not analyzed, and enhance outreach efforts that educate the public about the role carbon dioxide plays in climate. 
"I'm very grateful to be able to return to doing science and being attentive to these records. When it comes to tracking the rise in carbon dioxide, every year is a new milestone.  We are still learning what the rise really means for humanity and the rest of the planet,” said Keeling.

Wendy Schmidt, co-founder with her husband of The Schmidt Family Foundation and The Schmidt Ocean Institute, said “The Scripps CO2 Project is critical to documenting the atmospheric changes on our planet and the Keeling Curve is an essential part of that tracking process. As government funding for science in general is decreasing, Eric and I are delighted to work with Scripps to help it continue its benchmark CO2 Project.” 
The Schmidt Family Foundation advances the development of renewable energy and the wiser use of natural resources and houses its grant-making operation in The 11th Hour Project, which supports more than 150 nonprofit organizations in program areas including climate and energy, ecological agriculture, human rights, and our maritime connection.
In 2009, the Schmidts created the Schmidt Ocean Institute (SOI), and in 2012 launched the research vessel Falkor as a mobile platform to advance ocean exploration, discovery, and knowledge, and catalyze sharing of information about the oceans. 
In keeping with the couple’s commitment to ocean health issues, Wendy Schmidt has partnered with XPRIZE to sponsor the $1.4 million Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup XCHALLENGE, awarded in 2011, and the Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE, a prize that will respond to the global need for better information about the process of ocean acidification. It will be awarded in 2015. 
The Keeling Curve has made measurements of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a flagship station on Hawaii’s Mauna Loa since 1958. In addition, the Scripps CO2 Group measures carbon dioxide levels at several other locations around the world from Antarctica to Alaska. The measurement series established that global levels of CO2, a heat-trapping gas that raises atmospheric and ocean temperatures as it accumulates, have risen substantially in the past century. From a concentration that had never risen above 280 parts per million (ppm) before the Industrial Revolution, CO2 concentrations had risen to 315 ppm when the first Keeling Curve measurements were made. In 2013, concentrations at Mauna Loa rose above 400 ppm for the first time in human history and likely for the first time in 3-5 million years. Multiple lines of scientific research have attributed the rise to the use of fossil fuels in everyday activities. 
The measurement series has become an icon of science with its steadily rising seasonal sawtooth representation of CO2 levels now a familiar image alongside Watson and Crick’s double helix representation of DNA and Charles Darwin’s finch sketches. Keeling Curve creator Charles David Keeling, Ralph Keeling’s father, received several honors for his work before his death in 2005, including the National Medal of Science from then-President George W. Bush. 
The value of the Keeling Curve has increased over time, making possible discoveries about Earth processes that would have been extremely difficult to observe over short time periods or with only sporadic measurements. For instance, in 2013, researchers discovered that the annual range of CO2 levels is increasing. This finding may point to an increase in photosynthetic activity in response to a greater availability of a key nutrient for plant life. 
Nuances in Keeling Curve measurements have similarly identified the global effects of events like volcanic eruptions, influences that would have been difficult to discern if measurements were made infrequently or periodically suspended. In addition, the Keeling Curve helps researchers understand the proportion of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the oceans, which in turn helps them estimate the pace of phenomena such as ocean acidification. In the past decade, scientists have come to widely study the ecological effects of acidification, which happens as carbon dioxide reacts chemically with seawater. 
The Keeling Curve could eventually serve as a bellwether revealing the progress of efforts to diminish fossil fuel use. Save for seasonal variations, the measurement has not trended downward at any point in its history.
- Robert Monroe
This is indeed good news and praise is due the Schmidts, but $500K for 5 years is about one NSF grant, and Scripps and Ralph Keeling still deserve the bunnies support.


Jebediah Hypotenuse said...

$ 500,000 over 5 years.
$ 100,000 per year.

Let's put that into perspective...

Unit cost (1999) of one Tomahawk cruise missile:

$569,000 (AGM-109H/L version)

Heartland Institute budget for FY ending December 2012:

Revenue: $5,329,115
Expenses: $5,444,312

Fernando Leanme said...

Get used to it. Did you know how much the USA spent bombing Kosovo in 1999? How many civilians it killed per day during the bombing? What was used to justify it? And what did it achieve?

I like to mention Kosovo because most of us know Iraq was a huge blunder. But Kosovo got lost in one of those backshelves in the library.

BBD said...


It's a little early to be riding a hobby horse.

Although if the little horse was an Eohippus and the rabbit-hole leads to the relationship between temperature and mammalian body size in the early Eocene, that might tie in to the defunding of the Keeling Curve. Eventually.

Cugelmaus said...

It was Serbia which got most of the bombing, and it was about time too.

Marion Delgado said...

thank you for both the news and the suggestion. this truly is good news, though it boggles my mind that it's not getting lots of government funding. But I thought that about Triana, as well.

Fernando Leanme said...

Cugelmaus was right, the USA and British bombs were liberally dropped in Belgrade, where they struck strategic targets such as a TV station, a hospital maternity ward, the Chinese embassy....

Other bombs obliterated a train and a warehouse full of Albanian refugees, and in one case a US plane dropped cluster bombs on a crowd shopping for vegetables on a Saturday morning.

This of course was justified using lies. Typical US foreign policy. Which brings me back to the original issue, the country spends a lot of money killing people for stupid reasons.

caerbannog said...

Some bits about Ralph Keeling (Charles' son).

Dr. Ralph Keeling is quite the accomplished scientist in his own right -- he developed a technique to measure tiny deltas in atmospheric O2 concentration; he doesn't need to lean on his father's laurels.

That being said, a few months ago when I was standing in line to get a seat at the Charles Keeling Memorial Lecture at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Aquarium, I noticed that Dr. Ralph Keeling was standing right behind me.

The event organizer also spotted Dr. Keeling and said to him (paraphrasing here), "This annual lecture is being presented in honor of your father; since you are a Very Important Person here, you don't need to wait in line -- come right up front."

Dr Ralph Keeling's reply (again paraphrased): "Every person here is important; I'll just wait in line with everyone else".

And that he did. I beat him into the lecture hall.

Dr. Ralph Keeling is truly a gentleman and a scholar.

Kevin O'Neill said...

Fernando - I'm not in the business of defending US foreign policy, but the military action in Kosovo was approved by all the NATO nations and all EU members.

Even the UN didn't really complain loudly - as Kofi Annan said,

" reaction to the decision of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to take enforcement action without seeking explicit Security Council authorization was twofold: I identified the Security Council as having the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security. With equal emphasis, I also stated that it was the rejection of a political settlement by the Yugoslav authorities which made this action necessary, and that, indeed, there "are times when the use of force may be legitimate in the pursuit of peace".

Ethnic cleansing will cause that reaction.

AnonymoJebediah Hypotenuse said...

Fernando Leanme said...
Which brings me back to the original issue, the country spends a lot of money killing people for stupid reasons.

Actually, the "original issue" is this:
$500K for 5 years is about one NSF grant, and Scripps and Ralph Keeling still deserve the bunnies support.

Whether the money the USA spends killing people is for stupid reasons or not, it makes the amount spent on basic science look trivial by comparison.

The USA has spent more than 5.5 trillion $ on nuclear weapons, and still maintains more than 4,800 deployable nukes at a cost of at least 50 billion $ per year (2008 estimate) - but it doesn't seem to have the coins to allow the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to quantify atmospheric CO2.

Now THAT'S stupid.

BBD said...

Thank you, Jebediah.

Anonymous said...

'Now THAT'S stupid."

That depends on who you are.

If you are a defense contractor who stands to make millions (or even billions) on contracts, it's not stupid at all. or if you are a politician whose re-election campaign and/or investments depend on military contracts, it is also not stupid.

in case the obvious may have gone unnoticed: policy decisions in the US are not 'always" based on science and quite often instead based simply on who has the most lobbyists and the most money to give to election campaigns.

That's not likely to change any time soon, especially given the corporate interests of both major parties and the current makeup of the SC.

Jebediah Hypotenuse said...

That depends on who you are.

Not really.

In case the obvious may have gone unnoticed, we all live on the same planet.

Physics does not give a toss whether you are a defense contractor trying to make money, or a politician trying to score votes, or a pacifist socialist activist.

The salient fact is that 500 ppmv CO2 will take human stupidity to a whole new level - on a global scale.

In the not vary distant future, people will wonder why we were so comfortable with the idea that "policy decisions in the US are not 'always' based on science".

The Scripps CO2 Group's important research costs less than the salary of a typical US college football coach. Yet it must rely on the vagarities private funding. But you want to justify the mountains of tax money spent on the absurdities of defense contracting and domestic politics?


Anonymous said...

Oh, if Wendy Schmidt only knew how gullible she really was. Too much to expect from a committed leftist(and a hypocritical one to boot)

BBD said...

Dear Anon.

Oh, if Wendy Schmidt only knew how gullible she really was. Too much to expect from a committed leftist(and a hypocritical one to boot)

Understanding that paleoclimate behaviour demonstrates that physics works doesn't make WS "gullible".

Her political inclination is also irrelevant.

What gives cause for concern is the defunding of elements of climate monitoring. That is stupid.

Even a committed sceptic of the greenhouse effect needs good CO2 data to advance their argument.

Magma said...


Thank you for that uplifting anecdote.

Fernando Leanme said...

Kevin O'Neill, if the NATO membership voted unanimously to bomb Yugoslavia for three months and in the process kill over 600 civilians then it showed NATO members are a collective band of thugs.

However, I happen to know most of them were under heavy USA pressure, and never expected the USA and Britain to commit war crimes. They were also deceived by USA and British lies about the supposed ethnic cleansing and mass graves.

The Kosovo affair was trumped up, based on lies, and both Clinton and Blair can be considered war criminals. Like I told Fergus most of what we think we know is not real.

Marco said...

Fernando, if we had not done anything in Kosovo, we'd be once again guilty of looking the other way when people were being forcibly removed and killed in Europe. Close to a million refugees in Europe, an absolute disgrace after all the continent has gone through.

Civilian deaths are always deplorable, and it is interesting you show no concern whatsoever about the Kosovar civilians killed because, well, because they were Kosovars and not Serbian.

rhwombat said...

FL: My brother did the post mortems on many of the Kosovo victims. They were usually shot in the back of the head with their hands bound, just like Srebrenica. I note that you are not merely a denier of climate change.

a_ray_in_dilbert_space said...

Poor Anonytroll@5/9/14 2:36 PM, having actual data can only inhibit your creativity as you continue to fictionalize the science.

Fernando Leanme said...

A. There was no forced removal of the Albanian population before the USA declared it was going to bomb.

B. Albanians were not killed in Kosovo just like in Sbrenica. 6000 people died in Bosnia prior to the Dayton agreements. That wasn't related to Kosovo. Now I want you to explain exactly how many individuals did your bubba find? I ask because neither NATO, the FBI, nor Columbo were able to find mass graves in Kosovo . The bombing was based on a lie. And this is the reason why Slobo wasn't convicted.

So you see, your reality is a pack of lies. A matrix. They get you to support immoral wars, buy more weapons, and foam at the mouth like self righteous rabid wolves. And then you sit there and wonder why the priorities are screwed up? Hell you yourselves allow the lies to proliferate. You sit there and applaud war crimes, justify endless killing and then bleat "we bomb for human tights". Aack.

Marco said...

Fernando, forced removal was already taking place. You can deny reality all you want, but it does not change reality.

Your claim that no mass graves have been found, well, what to say about that. You can find an easy-to-navigate list of reported massacres here:

Milosevic was never found guilty not due to lack of evidence, but because he died. Or perhaps you can explain why Dordevic *was* found guilty of mass murder at Vucirn, where 98 bodies were later found by the War Crimes Tribunal.

Heck, they found a mass grave of Kosovar Albanians from the town of Meja and Korenica in a suburb of *Belgrado, with around 300 victims.

But no, sirree, Fernando knows it didn't happen and that those mass graves don't exist.

Anonymous said...

BBD, "Even a committed sceptic of the greenhouse effect needs good CO2 data to advance their argument."

Ya know BBD, you are right. Mine was a knee jerk reaction to some of her crazy past actions.

Fernando Leanme said...

Marco, let quote the following

"The original indictment of Milosevic dealt only with his responsibility for alleged war crimes in Kosovo. But as Laughland points out, the wild claims of mass killing and genocide in Kosovo were not sustainable by evidence, and NATO bombing may have killed as many Kosovo civilians as the Yugoslav army. This accentuated the problem that if the Milosevic indictment was limited to Kosovo it would be hard to justify trying him for Kosovo crimes but not NATO leaders, a point even acknowledged by the ICTY prosecutor. So two years after the first indictment, but after Milosevic’s kidnapping and transfer to The Hague, the indictment was extended to cover Bosnia and Croatia. A bit awkward, given that back in 1995 when Mladic and Karadzic were indicted for crimes in Bosnia, Milosevic was exempted"

This was taken from a book review about Travesty, the Trial of Slovodan Milosevic.

The book is reviewed in Global Research.

In 1998 I was living in Russia and had access to Russian sources untainted by USA propaganda. Later I served as a volunteer working for a group of lawyers who worked for Ramsey Clark. They put together a war criminal indictment against Clinton et al.

Milo service was kept on trial by ICTY for many years. And it doesn't surprise me to see that you defend the travesty of justice seen in that case. Once we dig into the whole issue we see the criminal nature of the Clinton and Blair regimes. And we can also establish that propaganda does work very well to create these garbage realities people inhabit.

BBD said...


And we can also establish that propaganda does work very well to create these garbage realities people inhabit.

But arguing that the science of physical climatology, including paleoclimatology, is corrupted by 'propaganda' as you have done was and remains false equivalence. A logical fallacy.

Kevin O'Neill said...

FL writes: "There was no forced removal of the Albanian population before the USA declared it was going to bomb."

Wrong. This is an old canard that has oft been repeated, but it simply is contradicted by the evidence.

More than a year before NATO intervened, Serbian forces engaged in widespread killings of Albanians, destruction of villages, and expulsions of the civilian population. (Report on Serious Violations of International Humanitarian Law in Kosovo in 1998, No Peace Without Justice (pages 25-49), February 1999)

Serbs killed over 1900 Albanians, burned over 40,000 houses and flats, and looted extensively in the year before the NATO intervention ( Report on the violation of human rights and freedoms in Kosova in the course of 1998, Council for The Defence of Human Rights and Freedoms (Prishtina), January 22, 1999).

460,000 people had been expelled from their towns and villages before the beginning of NATO’s intervention (UNHCR Kosovo Crisis Update, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, March 30, 1999).

ligne said...

"In 1998 I was living in Russia and had access to Russian sources untainted by USA propaganda."

indeed -- given their support for Milošević's regime, i'm sure you had all the Russian propaganda you could eat with a shovel.

Marco said...

Fernando, if you think your Russian sources are so much more reliable...ah well, I can't help you anymore.

I prefer to go with people who were actually there, uncovering those "non-existing" mass graves, doing the hard work of identifying these people who, according to your sources, apparently were never murdered. US propaganda? Even the *Serbs* were horrified to find, *themselves*, there were indeed several mass graves of Kosovo Albanians on their own home turf. Again, Fernando: the Serbs *themselves* uncovered several mass graves, with a total of well over 1000 bodies.

rhwombat said...

FL: well that was a spectacular own goal.

J Bowers said...

Note to self: When you see a Nandoism coming up in comments, just get the facepalm over with and scroll on past.