Keeling Curve – Measuring CO2 levels at Mauna Loa

Climate.gov just posted an interesting video on Charles David Keeling and his ground-breaking measurements of CO2 levels in the atmosphere. The observatory was located on Mauna Loa, on top of the second highest peak in the Hawaiian Islands.

The idea behind the site was to keep it far removed from any nearby sources of CO2 resulting from human activity. Because of it’s location and longevity, it is our best measurement of the background CO2 levels in the lower atmosphere. Here is the link to the Mauna Loa Observatory records and trends.

Dr. Keeling received his undergraduate degree here at the University of Illinois in 1948 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry at Northwestern in 1954. There is a brief bio here.

2014 – Warmest on Record for World, 6th Coldest for Illinois. Wait, What?

I could see this one coming. While Illinois had its 6th coldest year on record, three major groups (Japan, NASA, and NOAA) have noted that 2014 was the warmest year on record. Check out this map from NOAA of the temperature departures for 2014 (red is warmer, blue is cooler). The area from the Great Lakes and southward to the Gulf of Mexico was the only place over land that was colder than average. All the other land masses and most of the ocean surface was warmer than average. In other words, relatively speaking, Illinois was one of the coldest places on earth in 2014.  Continue reading