Ten years ago climate experts said this probably wouldn’t happen until after 2020, but fossil fuel polluters proved them wrong. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have surpassed 400 parts-per-million, a level that may be the highest in several million years.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Friday that on May 9 measurements at its Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii showed the daily average concentration surpassing 400 parts-per-million for the first time since measurements there began in 1958.
It marks an important milestone because Mauna Loa, as the oldest continuous carbon dioxide (CO2) measurement station in the world, is the primary global benchmark site for monitoring the increase of this potent heat-trapping gas.
There’s far more CO2 in the air now than there has been during the past 800,000 years. Furthermore carbon concentrations may not have been this high since the Pliocene era about three million to five million years ago, according to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other reports. Today’s rate of increase is more than 100 times faster than the increase that occurred when the last ice age ended,” NOAA said.
Realtors in the desert are salivating over all the beach front property they can sell.
Rate of increase speeding up
NOAA also noted that the rate of increase has been speeding up for decades, going from about 0.7 parts-per-million annually in the late 1950s to 2.1 parts-per-million over the past decade.
“That increase is not a surprise to scientists,” said NOAA senior scientist Pieter Tans, with the Global Monitoring Division of NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado. “The evidence is conclusive that the strong growth of global CO2 emissions from the burning of coal, oil, and natural gas is driving the acceleration.”
Moreover, similar increases of CO2 are seen all over the world by many international scientists. NOAA, for example, which runs a global, cooperative air sampling network, reported last year that all Arctic sites in its network reached 400 ppm for the first time.
These high values were a prelude to what is now being observed at Mauna Loa, a site in the subtropics, this year. Sites in the Southern Hemisphere will follow during the next few years. The increase in the Northern Hemisphere is always a little ahead of the Southern Hemisphere because most of the emissions driving the CO2 increase take place in the north.
Carbon responsible for changes in weather patterns
CO2 in the atmosphere traps sunlight and does not allow it to radiate into space. The oceans absorb most of that heat. This does several bad things. First, it kills coral, disrupts the food chain killing off sources of food for larger species and humans. It increases the acidity of the ocean.
In addition, warm oceans melt the polar ice caps from underneath. This causes sea levels to rise. Warm oceans change weather patterns and this is responsible for severe storms, alternating droughts and floods. All of this costs the government billions of dollars, and raises insurance premiums on everyone. It also costs many their lives.
Once emitted, CO2 added to the atmosphere and oceans remains for thousands of years. Thus, climate changes forced by CO2 depend primarily on cumulative emissions, making it progressively more and more difficult to avoid further substantial climate change.
Congress has no intention of doing anything about this. In fact close to half the members, mostly Republicans, deny climate change. One Senator said “God will not let us destroy the planet.” God apparently will allow buildings to collapse; He is fine with tornadoes and floods killing people, but He won’t let us destroy the planet.
Perhaps the people will wake up and send people to Congress who will stop this before it is too late.
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