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Virus ‘could provide clues to CO2 rise’

03 April 2020

The global economic downturn due to the Covid-19 pandemic could provide insights into how much of the rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are due to man. In a blog posting, Roy Spencer, a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama in Hunstville, says: “It will take considerable evidence to convince me that the long-term rise in not anthropogenic [due to man]. Maybe the current ‘coronavirus experiment’ will provide some contrarian evidence.” Spencer said the monitoring location for CO2 on Mauna Loa in Hawaii was at a high elevation in a persistent subtropical high pressure zone “that should be able to detect large emissions changes in several weeks time as weather systems move around the world”. “I’ve analysed the Mauna Loa CO2 data (updated monthly) through February 2020 to see if there is any hint of a CO2 concentration downturn (or, more accurately, a reduced rate of rise). The short answer is: No… at least not yet. While an anthropogenic source of CO2 can explain the long-term rise in CO2, the trouble with finding an anthropogenic signal on a timescale of a few months to a couple years is that natural variations swamp any anthropogenic changes on short timescales.” Is the Covid-19 economic downturn affecting atmospheric CO2? Mauna Loa Data Say, Not Yet is available at https://tinyurl.com/s6fjy2n

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