Carbon dioxide levels in the air will increase beyond the milestone

The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has passed a major milestone — more than 50% higher than pre-industrial times — and is at levels not seen in millions of years, when Earth was an ocean-inundated greenhouse planet, announced federal scientists on Friday.

This was announced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration its longtime monitoring station in Mauna Loa, Hawaii, averaged 421 parts per million carbon dioxide for the month of May, when the key greenhouse gas hits its annual high. Before the Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century, carbon dioxide levels were around 280 parts per million, scientists said, so humans have significantly altered the atmosphere. Some activists and scientists want a level of 350 parts per million. Industrial carbon emissions come from burning coal, oil and gas.


Levels of the gas keep rising when they need to fall, scientists say. This year’s carbon dioxide content is almost 1.9 ppm more than a year agoa slightly larger jump than from May 2020 to May 2021.

“The world is trying to reduce emissions and you just don’t see it. In other words, when you measure the atmosphere, you don’t see anything in terms of changes right now,” said NOAA climate scientist Pieter Tans, who tracks global greenhouse gas emissions for the agency.

Outside scientists said the numbers show a serious climate change Problem.

“Watching these gradual but sustained increases in CO2 from year to year is like watching a train approaching you in slow motion on the tracks. It’s terrifying,” said University of Wisconsin-Madison climate scientist Andrea Dutton. “If we fall by the wayside with the plan to jump out of the way at the last minute, we could die of heat stroke on the tracks before it even gets to us.”


University of Illinois climate scientist Donald Wuebbles said without cuts in carbon pollution, “we’re going to see more and more damaging climate changes, more heat waves, more floods, more droughts, more big storms, and higher sea levels.”

The pandemic slowdown reduced global CO2 emissions a bit in 2020, but they rebounded last year. Both changes were small compared to how much carbon dioxide is pumped into the atmosphere each year, especially considering that carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere hundreds to thousands of years‘ Tans said.

The world puts about 10 billion tons of carbon into the air each year, much of it being sucked up by oceans and plants. Because of this, May is the peak of global carbon emissions. Plants in the northern hemisphere start absorbing more carbon dioxide in the summer as they grow.


According to NOAA, carbon dioxide levels today are about the same as they were 4.1 to 4.5 million years ago in the Pliocene, when temperatures were 7 degrees (3.9 degrees Celsius) hotter and sea levels rose 16 to 82 feet (5 to 25 meters) were higher than today. South Florida, for example, was completely under water. These are conditions that human civilization has never known.

The reason for this was many warmer and the seas were higher millions of years ago at the same carbon dioxide level as today is that in the past the natural increase in carbon dioxide levels was much slower. Because carbon stuck in the air for hundreds of years, temperatures warmed and stayed there for longer periods of time. The ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland have melted over time, raising sea levels enormously and making the Earth darker and reflecting less heat from the planet, Tans and other scientists said.


Scientists at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography calculated the values ​​slightly differently based on time and averaging, putting the May average at 420.8 ppm, slightly lower than the NOAA figure.


Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate


Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears


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https://www.local10.com/news/world/2022/06/03/carbon-dioxide-levels-in-atmosphere-shoot-past-key-milestone/ Carbon dioxide levels in the air will increase beyond the milestone

Sarah Y. Kim

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