What does this Number mean?

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By; Rob Monroe

The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide (CO2) record, also known as the “Keeling Curve,” is the world’s longest unbroken record of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. This record, from the NOAA-operated Mauna Loa Observatory, near the top of Mauna Loa on the big island of Hawaii, shows that carbon dioxide has been increasing steadily from values around 317 parts per million (ppm) when Charles D. Keeling began measurements in 1958, to nearly 400 ppm today.

Scientists make CO2 measurements in remote locations to obtain air that is representative of a large volume of Earth’s atmosphere and relatively free from local influences that could skew readings. The quality of data is verified before daily average values are determined.

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Climate and Air Pollution

 

Smog over Shanghai

Smog over Shanghai

Although the United States is one of largest contributors to global warming, it appears that we were late in the game for initiating changes towards energy efficiency. By 2015 however, there have made substantial gains in modernizing power plants, reducing dependency on foreign oil, fuel economy standards, and doubling wind, solar, and geothermal energy.  (The White House, 2015) Surprisingly though it was Japan, Europe, and Germany, who put forth the initial effort in energy efficiency and now it is time for the U.S. to do the same. (Turk and Bensel, 2014)       Continue reading

Food and Agriculture

Livestock made to stand in manure and urine all the days of its life until the day it dies.  This is a Controlled Animal Farming Operation.

Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO). Unlike free range livestock, food is brought to these animals while they wait in manure and urine. Photo Credit: Save Our Rain

Increase in Food production and its Impact on the Environment and Food Safety: 

In the United States, we are fortunate to have an abundant supply of food. However, this abundance is largely due to the advances in agricultural technology, which have in turn created numerous concerns surrounding our food sources.  The first example of an increase of food production within the United States is the  Concentrated  Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) also known as Animal Feeding Operations (AFO) (EPA, 2015)  where animals such as swine, chickens, and cows, are confined in small quarters for a short amount of time before being slaughtered for consumption. While the time it takes for the animal to grow to capacity has decreased due to hormone injections and the genetically modified organisms that are fed to them, the impact of CAFO’s across the U.S. on our environment is substantial.

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