Citizen Action Monitor

Atmospheric CO2 levels increasing at dramatic rate — Record level of 405.1 ppm set in 2016

“Rate of CO2 growth over the last decade…is a real shock to the atmosphere”

No 1915 Posted by fw, March 21, 2017

“The greenhouse effect, explained: Carbon dioxide is one of several gases that are primarily responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere. This “greenhouse effect” maintains temperatures suitable for life on Earth. Increasing CO2 levels trap additional heat in the atmosphere and the oceans, contributing to rising global average temperatures.”National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

To put the repost below in slightly broader context, consider this supplementary explanation from http://400.350.org/

In March 2016, global levels of CO2 passed 400 parts [CO2 molecules] per million [atmospheric molecules].

Although short-term local measurements of 400 ppm have been recorded previously, this marks the first time since record keeping began that CO2 levels were above 400 ppm globally for a month.

Already we’re seeing the deadly effects of climate change in the form of rising seas, monster storms, wildfires, and extreme weather of all kinds. Passing 400 ppm is an ominous sign of what might come next — and it sends a clear signal that the world must act ahead of the UN climate talks in Paris this December.

The safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. The only way to get there is to immediately transition the global economy away from fossil fuels and into renewable energy

The last time CO2 levels were this high, humans did not exist. Our dependence on fossil fuels is fundamentally changing the nature of the planet — and it’s time to act.

Turning now to a new report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, warning of the significance of the rate of CO2 growth over the last decade, read the repost below or click on the following linked title to read it on NOAA’s website.

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Carbon dioxide levels rose at record pace for 2nd straight year by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, March 10, 2017

Carbon dioxide levels measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory rose by 3 parts per million to 405.1 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, an increase that matched the record jump observed in 2015.

The two-year, 6-ppm surge in the greenhouse gas between 2015 and 2017 is unprecedented in the observatory’s 59-year record. And, it was a record fifth consecutive year that carbon dioxide (CO2) rose by 2 ppm or greater, said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

“The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last Ice Age,” Tans said. “This is a real shock to the atmosphere.”

Globally averaged CO2 levels passed 400 ppm in 2015 — a 43-percent increase over pre-industrial levels. In February 2017, CO2 levels at Mauna Loa had already climbed to 406.42 ppm.

This graph shows the annual mean carbon dioxide growth rates observed at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory. Further information can be found on the ESRL Global Monitoring Division website. (NOAA)

Measurements are independently validated

NOAA has measured CO2 on site at the Mauna Loa observatory since 1974. To ensure accuracy, air samples from the mountaintop research site in Hawaii are shipped to NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, for verification. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which first began sampling CO2 at Mauna Loa in 1956, also takes independent measurements onsite.

Emissions from fossil-fuel consumption have remained at historically high levels since 2011 and are the primary reason atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing at a dramatic rate, Tans said. This high growth rate of CO2 is also being observed at some 40 other sites in NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

The greenhouse effect, explained

Carbon dioxide is one of several gases that are primarily responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere. This “greenhouse effect” maintains temperatures suitable for life on Earth. Increasing CO2 levels trap additional heat in the atmosphere and the oceans, contributing to rising global average temperatures.

Atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm between about 10,000 years ago and the start of the Industrial Revolution around 1760.

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This entry was posted on March 21, 2017 by in climate change, evidence based counterpower, scientist's counterpower and tagged , .
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