Science News

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Reaches Highest Point In 5 Million Years

Statistics from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) show that for the first time since we started tracking carbon dioxide in the world, its monthly global average concentration exceeded 400 parts per million; this new high was achieved back in March of 2015. The agency says that the last time this happened was up to 500 million years ago.

According to its official website, the NOAA bases the global carbon dioxide concentration on air samples taken from 40 global sites. Together with partner scientists, the agency collects air samples in flasks while standing on cargo ship decks, on the shores of remote islands, and at other locations around the world. It takes some time to compute this global average when a month ends because samples are shipped to the NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado from various locations around the world for analysis.

Ed Dlugokencky, the NOAA scientist who manages the global network indicated that they chose to sample these locations due to the “the atmosphere itself serves to average out gas concentrations that are being affected by human and natural forces.” He went on to explain that at “these remote sites we get a better global average.”

The Washington Post reports that the first time an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of above 400 parts per million was measured was in the Arctic back in 2012. That same threshold was reached at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii in 2013. The Washington Post notes that there is nothing special about 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, but it is a “milestone” which scientists have feared for some time.

Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading said, “Reaching 400 parts per million doesn’t mean much in itself, but the steady increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases should serve as a stark reminder of the task facing politicians.”

Reaching 400 parts per million doesn’t mean much in itself, but the steady increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases should serve as a stark reminder of the task facing politicians.

The results indicate that CO2 levels are increasing faster than ever before, at least as far as recorded history is concerned. NOAA officials expect the global CO2 average to remain above 400 parts per month through May, when carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere peak before fauna blooms across the globe.

In other environment related coverage at Immortal News, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott has denied allegations from reports claiming that his administration has banned the use of specific climate change buzzwords which allegedly included global warming, climate change, and other key phrases related to the controversial topic.

What do you think of the fact that we now have more CO2 in our atmosphere than ever before?

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