Color me antediluvian

Hmmm. Maybe I am really older than dirt:

This is a great headline: Carbon dioxide levels highest in recorded human history.

OMG! That’s a long ti… wait, how long is the “recorded human history” of carbon dioxide levels anyway?

But then we’d have to read the article, which says:

The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has steadily risen from 317 parts per million in 1958, when measurements began, to 400.

Emphasis added. It takes a certain amount of bravado / innumeracy / cranial-rectal inversion [choose as many as necessary] to come up with a definition of “recorded human history” that lies entirely within my lifetime. Or, for that matter, Al Gore’s.

You want to know why we have low-information voters? Because we have no-information media. And they’re damn proud of it, too.


  1. Roger Green »

    14 May 2013 · 7:49 am

    Unnecessary swipe at Gore aside, I agree that too many media outlets seem to have no contextual understanding and just read the press release.

  2. Mark Alger »

    14 May 2013 · 8:44 am

    Speaking of context. That reading was taken at Mauna Loa. It represents one of several hundred records kept of CO2 concentrations (which do go back a bit farther than 1958, to be fair). Most of them are in the high 200’s. Mauna Loa, you see, is a volcano — one of the prime sources of CO2. Why it’s the “official” reading for the planet is beyond me. But the concentration is NOWHERE NEAR uniform.


  3. McGehee »

    14 May 2013 · 10:03 am

    Why it’s the “official” reading for the planet is beyond me.

    You have a cynicism deficiency.

  4. Mark Alger »

    15 May 2013 · 2:37 pm

    McG: Heh.


  5. fillyjonk »

    15 May 2013 · 4:03 pm

    Actually, I think there ARE CO2 levels for earlier time periods, involving stuff like samples from air pockets trapped from deep within glaciers. IIRC, it WAS much higher like 200 million years ago.

    (IIRC – from my environmental geology class. No, I wasn’t around during the Triassic.)

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