CO2 hits 400 parts per million, highest monthly average in human history

The World Meteorological Association announced Monday that the average monthly concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the northern hemisphere exceeded 400 parts per million in April, the highest monthly average on record.

A press release from the United Nations’ weather agency says crossing the “threshold is of symbolic and scientific significance and reinforces evidence that the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities are responsible for the continuing increase in heat-trapping greenhouse gases warming our planet.”

According to the WMO’s release, CO2 levels have risen more than 40 percent, up from pre-industrial levels of around 278 ppm, since human’s began burning fossil fuels. CO2 can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, longer still in the oceans. Because plants absorb more carbon dioxide during summer months when their foliage is more dense and plentiful, CO2 levels fluctuate from season to season and tend to peak in the spring. The northern hemisphere, due to higher levels of human industrial activity than the southern hemisphere, tends to have a more pronounced seasonal cycle.

But even with April’s reading representing a seasonal peak, Earth’s atmosphere hasn’t seen levels as high as 400 ppm for millions of years.

“This should serve as yet another wakeup call about the constantly rising levels of greenhouse gases which are driving climate change. If we are to preserve our planet for future generations, we need urgent action to curb new emissions of these heat trapping gases,” WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said…”Time is running out.”

Scientists are essentially conservative in the methodology they choose to analyze the real world; but, they are relentless. While skeptics prance about and prate this week’s talking points from the Koch Bros and the other fossil fuel barons – real science moves steadily onward. There may be dialectical moments of sharp new understanding. In general, though, the core characteristic is step-by-step until a qualitative level is raised.

And then the process starts anew.

Reserve junk science politics for philistines who put profits before people’s needs.

One thought on “CO2 hits 400 parts per million, highest monthly average in human history

  1. Cassandra says:

    (June 7, 2018): “Carbon dioxide levels measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory exceeded 411 parts per million in May, the highest monthly average ever recorded, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and NOAA announced today. “Primarily driven by fossil fuel combustion, increasing carbon dioxide levels are tracked closely by the world’s scientists as a measure of how human activity is changing the planet’s atmosphere. This year, the average for May peaked at 411.31 ppm, according to Scripps researchers. NOAA’s reading was 411.25 for the month.
    Analysis of NOAA measurements show the growth rate of CO2 in the atmosphere is accelerating. It averaged about 1.6 ppm per year in the 1980s and 1.5 ppm per year in the 1990s, but increased to 2.2 ppm per year during the last decade.”
    “If the current rate of increase holds steady for another two decades, global CO2 will likely be well past 450 ppm in 2038.” Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

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