Atmospheric carbon dioxide is lower at the weekend.
Mauna Loa observatory: continuous atmospheric carbon dioxide measurements since the 1950s
The climate-monitoring station on Mauna Loa volcano on Hawaii, 3,400 metres above sea level, could hardly be farther away from it all. Yet even here there is no escaping the weekly rhythm of modern life. The observatory records lower concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at the weekend than during the week.
Because there is no known natural cause of such a seven-day cycle, Randall Cerveny of Arizona State University and Kevin Coakley of the National Institute of Standards and Technology in Boulder, Colorado, propose that these observations reflect the weekday bustle and weekend lull in Hawaiis populated regions1.
The daily grind
Established in the 1950s, the Mauna Loa weather-monitoring station now takes continuous measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to help understand how human activities are changing global climate.
The Mauna Loa records show a steady rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over the past few decades, modulated by an annual rise and fall owing to seasonal changes in the natural sources and sinks of the gas (caused by differences in plant growth, for instance). Cyclical changes on shorter time scales are harder to spot in the records, because they are usually much weaker than the seasonal oscillations, and masked by random variations in the data.
Cerveny and Coakley spotted the weekly cycle by calculating the average carbon dioxide levels for each day of the week, after subtracting out changes owing to the seasonal cycle and the gradual yearly rise. They find that the measurements rise to a peak on Mondays and then decline steadily to a minimum on Saturdays.
Crucially, the researchers find no such cycle in carbon dioxide records from the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica, which is far from any sources of pollution. The Antarctic measurements show the same yearly trend and seasonal cycle, but there is no significant difference between average daily values.
The researchers reason that by the time carbon dioxide pollution reaches Antarctica, such short-term variations have evened out. On Hawaii, in contrast, local pollution levels seem to register almost instantly at the Mauna Loa station.
PHILIP BALL | © Nature News Service
The Wadden Sea and the Elbe Studied with Zeppelin, Drones and Research Ships
19.09.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht - Zentrum für Material- und Küstenforschung
FotoQuest GO: Citizen science campaign targets land-use change in Austria
19.09.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
20.09.2017 | Life Sciences
20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy