The Keeling Curve

The Keeling Curve

It is 1957. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography convinced Charles David Keeling to set up a base in Hawaii. The Mauna Loa Observatory presents unbiased data about the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere since 1958.

Why is this so important?

Because the observations maintain the longest, continuous record of this particular data set.  It is far from other sources of air pollution. Furthermore, not influenced by the fossil fuel burning of the cities, as it is on an island, way above (3000 m) sea level. Within only a few years of Keeling setting base it was very clear, that the carbon dioxide levels are rising in the atmosphere. It is of paramount importance that these reading made it possible to compare the results with those recovered from the past.

Scientist are able to capture data from trapped air bubbles in ice cores. Today they can present data 400.000 years back, and that is just incredible! It is clear from the NASA recording, that during ice ages the atmospheric carbon was around 200 ppm (parts per million). During warmer periods it was closer to 300 ppm. After the 1950s we have reached and left behind this 300 ppm, and never looked back.

We are now at levels never seen before in the last half a million year. This is just not something that we can avoid anymore!

Keeling Curve and photosynthesis

An interesting fact about the CO2 levels on an annual basis. Looking at the graph you can see, the concentration drops suddenly from time to time, and then it climbs back up. And why is that? The considerable decrease happened during spring and summer. It is because that is when a chemical reaction called photosynthesis is the most efficient. Throughout photosynthesis plants absorb carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight, and produce glucose and oxygen.

This is one in a million reason why we need to protect biodiversity, and look after our planet. Plants not just absorb and store carbon dioxide, but release essential oxygen.

Although the report never stated what is the reason for the increase, it is not hard to read between the lines. Anthropogenic activities are pushing the limits of the environment, the only question is:

How long we can keep doing it?

Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat.

Experiment. Fail. Learn. Repeat.

Ever since I was a kid I knew I am just not good at this. All those numbers, equations, chemical formulas, and weird looking people inventing stuff. Well, this is what it meant for me, back then. Let’s be honest, it was a whole load of waffle, without any syrup.

Naturally I was interested in how the universe work around us, however as I couldn’t understand it, eventually I gave up, and admitted defeat. I’ve decided I’m done with this. I don’t care about Newton and his apple, let alone ionic and covalent bonds.

I really only needed a different angle to look at it from, and a different approach I guess. And that is why we are here, to provide you with that different angle.

I will prove it to you, that the world around us is mesmerising, the rules it works by are extraordinary, and that this miracle is waiting for you to discover through this adventure with me.

And to tell you a little bit about Beyond science, it is created to honour something much more powerful than me, you, or anyone else: this truly phenomenal universe.

There will be different sections of this blog for you to browse.

You will be able to learn science, whether it is physics, maths, geology, Earth science, chemistry or climate science. You can also read about companies that makes a difference, and truly worthy for your attention, because they stand up for something and their developments and innovations will shape the future as we know it.

The section possibly closest to my heart will be always written by guest authors. You will find posts written by women who works or studies in STEM. We will read about their stories, what they do, why they do it, and their challenges as a woman in this very competitive sector. I’m really looking forward to these articles, as there are some truly motivating and inspiring women who will share their thoughts with you.