The data series showing the concentration of C02 in the atmosphere will be the most important time series tracked by this blog. I call atmospheric C02 the most important leading indicator in the world. Many thoughts to follow on this subject, but for the time being I will just chronicle the numbers as they come in (this stat out on August 9) with the bare minimum of analysis.
As of end July 2011, atmospheric concentration of CO2 stood at 392.39 parts per million (ppm), up 2.29 ppm year on year (for original data source see here).
If we start trending considerably above previous year-on-year differences, it could mean one of two things: an accelerating year-on-year rise in carbon emissions, which is bad; or the early signs of a saturation of carbon sinks (removal of CO2 out of the atmosphere), which would be very bad.
If we want to remain close to the two degree Celsius rise in temperature level (that is held up as the line in the sand for dangerous temperature rise), then the year-on-year difference should plateau and start to fall this decade. If we are to get into the world of really scary three and four degree Celsius rise, then the year-on-year number will increase as time goes by.
As a markets guy, I am glued to the short term to give me a handle on the long term (note that market players operate at levels of statistical certainty that few scientists would be comfortable with). Lots more to come on this topic.
Meanwhile, for all things CO2, I recommend you take a look at CO2now.org here.