By Elmer Beauregard
About a month ago I put up a post called Will Minnesota be lower than Mauna Loa? because I had a theory that Minnesota might have less atmospheric CO2 than Mauna Loa Hawaii, but I was dead wrong.
I looked all over the internet to try and find what atmospheric CO2 levels are in Minnesota but I found nothing. So I figured I would just start my own CO2 level reading station here at the Minnesotans For Global Warming World Headquarters. So I purchased the USB CO2 Probe Data Logger K-30 model from the good folks at CO2meter.com.
I got the CO2 meter right away so why did I take so long to post the results?
First, being a mac guy I had to find a PC laptop to run the software. After doing that I messed with the calibration settings on the CO2 probe which I shouldn’t have done.
Turns out there are 2 ways to calibrate the K-30 one way is to bring it outside and zero it out to whatever the atmospheric CO2 levels are. It assumes the CO2 level is around 400ppm then it measures all CO2 levels relative to that such as inside a building.
This is what I originally did but that was wrong because I wanted to measure the outside CO2 level and I don’t want to assume it is 400ppm.
The other way to calibrate it is in a 100% Nitrogen environment which is how it came shipped but I didn’t know that. So I tried creating a 100% Nitrogen environment to recalibrate it but that, turns out, is hard to do. I went to a welding supply store who sells 99.9% Nitrogen gas but the other .1% was probably air which was enough to throw off the calibration. Remember we are taking about .03% of the atmosphere. So I sent it back to the good folks at CO2meter.com and they recalibrated it in a 100% Nitrogen environment.
I got it back yesterday and I plugged it in this morning and took the first measurement which I feel is pretty accurate and to my surprise CO2 levels in Minnesota are higher than I thought.
Drum roll please…….
The first measurement as of August 24th in Minnesota the atmospheric CO2 level is 413 ppm. This is about 18 ppm MORE the Mauna Loa Hawaii. Now to be honest the model I purchased has an accuracy rating of ± 30 ppm but the guy I talked to said it is really around ± 10 ppm. Regardless, my assumption was wrong. I thought that in Minnesota in the summer that we would have less CO2 than Hawaii but we have more a lot more.
The question now is, why is it that Minnesota has more CO2 than Hawaii but is much colder?
UPDATE: I may have posted this article prematurely. I am checking the CO2 meter now at 2:50 Central time and it seems to have bottomed out at 390 PPM which is about the same as mauna Loa Mauna Loa is now at 392.45
It is surprising to see a 10% shift in one day when I first started this morning it was in the 330s. The vegetation off-gases at night and gobbles it up when the sun comes out. I will track it through the day and post a new chart tomorrow.