`CO2 Levels in Atmosphere Rise for Seventh Consecutive Year - Olive Oil Times

CO2 Levels in Atmosphere Rise for Seventh Consecutive Year

By Isabel Putinja
Jun. 20, 2019 09:54 UTC

New data reveals that the con­cen­tra­tion of car­bon diox­ide in the atmos­phere rose to record lev­els dur­ing the month of May.

According to read­ings released on June 4, 2019 by the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, car­bon diox­ide lev­els aver­aged 414.7 parts per mil­lion (ppm) in May 2019. This is 3.5 ppm higher than the amount mea­sured at the same time last year.

This is the sev­enth con­sec­u­tive year that car­bon diox­ide lev­els have increased. This year’s lev­els also rep­re­sent the high­est sea­sonal peak recorded and the sec­ond high­est annual rise in the past 60 years.

In the past decade, ris­ing car­bon diox­ide lev­els have been reach­ing an aver­age annual growth rate of 2.2 ppm com­pared to 1.5 ppm in the 1990s. More recently, this fig­ure has climbed even higher and faster.

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Carbon diox­ide lev­els have been mon­i­tored since 1958 at the Mauna Loa Observatory, located in the Pacific Ocean on top of Hawaii’s biggest vol­cano.

It is crit­i­cally impor­tant to have these accu­rate long-term mea­sure­ments of CO2 in order to under­stand how quickly fos­sil fuels are chang­ing our cli­mate,” said Pieter Tans, a senior sci­en­tist at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division. These are mea­sure­ments of the real atmos­phere, and do not depend on any mod­els, but they help us ver­ify cli­mate model pro­jec­tions, which if any­thing have under­es­ti­mated the rapid pace of cli­mate change being observed.”

Increasing con­cen­tra­tions of car­bon diox­ide in the atmos­phere are an indi­ca­tion of an increase in the burn­ing of fos­sil fuels.

There is abun­dant and con­clu­sive evi­dence that the accel­er­a­tion is caused by increased emis­sions,” Tans said.

Global car­bon diox­ide con­cen­tra­tions are mea­sured in the month of May because this is when they peak, just before the start of spring in the north­ern hemi­sphere and the growth of car­bon diox­ide-absorb­ing veg­e­ta­tion.

Carbon diox­ide is a green­house gas that causes global warm­ing and is largely man-made through the burn­ing of fos­sil fuels such as coal, oil and gas.

Many pro­pos­als have been made to mit­i­gate global warm­ing, but with­out a rapid decrease of CO2 emis­sions from fos­sil fuels, they are pretty much futile,” Tans added.

The increase of green­house gases in the atmos­phere has been linked to sea lev­els ris­ing faster than expected as well as pre­dic­tions that droughts may become more preva­lent in North America and Europe.

CO2 growth rate is still very high,” Ralph Keeling, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said. The increase from last May was 3.5 ppm, which is well above the aver­age for the past decade. We’re likely see­ing the effect of mild El Niño con­di­tions on top of record fos­sil fuel use.”

In 2014, read­ings at the Mauna Loa Observatory revealed the car­bon diox­ide lev­els had passed the 400 ppm thresh­old. Scientists warn that con­cen­tra­tions of more than 450 ppm can trig­ger tem­per­a­ture rises and extreme weather events.


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