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article imageCO2 levels are exploding as world tries to curb emissions

By Karen Graham     Mar 11, 2016 in Environment
U.S. government meteorologists have reported that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increased at a record pace in 2015, raising concerns over one of the world's top greenhouse gases and its effects on global warming.
The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose 3.05 parts per million last year, the largest year-to-year increase ever recorded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report issued on March 9, 2016, found.
According to the scientists, reports EcoWatch, the last time there was such a sustained increase in CO2 levels was at the end of the Ice Age, 17,000 to 11,000 years ago. The current increase is now about 200 times faster than it was then. Last year was also the fourth year in a row the Earth has seen CO2 levels increasing at more than 2.0 parts per million.
NOAA s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
The El Nino weather phenomenon was partly to blame for the past winter's record high temperatures, as reported in Digital Journal earlier this week, and El Nino is partly to blame for some of the spikes in the CO2 levels in 2015, while the rest of the increases are the result of high levels of fossil fuel emissions.
The levels of carbon dioxide in the air have increased 40 percent since the start of the Industrial Revolution and are considered a primary factor in global warming and extreme weather events. The measurements come from two independent sources, NOAA's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
The average atmospheric carbon dioxide level in February was 402.59 parts per million. Prior to 1800, atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm, showing a significant rise over pre-industrial levels."Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years," said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, according to the Business Times.
Source Graphics: Scripps Keeling Curve Website
The continued high emissions from fossil fuel use is concerning to scientists. "The impact of El Nino on CO2 concentrations is a natural and relatively short-lived phenomenon," said a statement by World Meteorological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. "But the main long-term driver is greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. We have the power and responsibility to cut these."
More about co2 levels, El Nino, NOAA, 4th year in a row, Global warming
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