Premise – Carbon Dioxide is measurable


Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is a measurable “greenhouse gas” both in current atmospheric concentrations, and historically through various sampling methodologies, including ice core drillings.

Current atmospheric measurements

Air samples at Mauna Loa are collected continuously from air intakes at the top of four 7-m towers and one 27-m tower. Four air samples are collected each hour for the purpose of determining the CO2 concentration. Determinations of CO2 are made by using an infrared gas analyzer with a water vapor freeze trap. This analyzer registers the concentration of CO2 in a stream of air flowing at ~0.5 L/min.

Ice core measurements – historical sampling

Ice core samples are obtained by drilling a long cylinder of ice (approximately 5 inches in diameter). The core is separated into 5 meter long segments and stored for further analyses. Electrical measurements are performed and stratigraphy is analyzed. Ice from the core is melted to measure the percentage of CO2 and various chemical techniques such as mass spectrometry and gas chromatography are used to analyze isotopic composition. The most widely used ice core data is  the Vostok ice core from Antarctica.

Sources of error in reconstructing climate history using ice core data include determining age of the ice and correcting for gas exchange in snow prior to trapping of gas within bubbles enclosed in the compressed ice.

Premise is accepted

Techniques have been developed for measuring current carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and for estimating historical carbon dioxide concentrations from buried samples such as from ice core drillings. The premise is accepted.