Environmental News

CO2 Levels Jumped By 3.05 PPM In 2015


According to a press release from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) increased by 3.05 parts per million (ppm) in 2015. It was the fourth year in a row that CO2 levels increased by more than 2 ppm. In the statement, Pieter Tans, as lead scientist as the Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network said that CO2 levels are growing “faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years” adding that the increase is, “explosive” when compared to natural increases of CO2.

Since 1800, atmospheric CO2 levels have increased from 280 ppm to 402.59 ppm. According to Tans, that’s 200 times faster than previous increases. This sudden increase is largely attributed to the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During an ENSO year the water temperature in the Pacific Ocean changes and impacts precipitation and weather around the world. However, steady increases in atmospheric CO2 are directly associated with burning fossil fuels and human energy needs.

High levels of CO2 in the atmospheric lead to increased impacts on the planet from global warming and climate change. This includes erratic weather patterns, sea level rise and increased warming at the poles. Each one of these mechanisms positively feeds into the other, but that does not mean a positive outcome. For example, increased warming at the poles leads to sea level rise due to the melting of ice sheets, glaciers and water molecule expansion due to warming temperatures.

The increase in CO2 levels means that it’s more important now than ever to honor agreements made at COP21.

According to Mashable, the 3.05 ppm increase in atmospheric CO2 was the largest increase documented in the past 56 years. Data according to NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii shows that CO2 levels are now the highest they have ever been within the past 800,000 years. The findings are shocking, especially due to new efforts by global leaders to curb CO2 emissions.

The increase in CO2 levels means that it’s more important now than ever to honor agreements made at COP21.

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