Carbon dioxide hits record level

Posted Jun 3, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Carbon dioxide levels have hit a landmark in the Northern Hemisphere. Half the world has seen a full month at or above the symbolic 400 parts per million (ppm) CO2 level.
The Matterhorn seen seen from the Domhütte (Valais).
The Matterhorn seen seen from the Domhütte (Valais).
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April 2014 was the first month in recorded history with average carbon dioxide levels (CO2) at or above 400 parts per million across the Northern Hemisphere. This according to an announcement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Climate scientists first recorded the troubling peak in the greenhouse gas in the Arctic in 2012 and in Hawaii last year. However, these were short lived and the rest of the world had yet to hit the high mark. The 400 ppm level is largely symbolic but also one used by scientists as a threshold that levels of greenhouse gas are rising. The 400 ppm level represents nearly 150 percent of the CO2 levels of pre-industrial times.
These high levels were recorded at observing stations at lower latitudes including Cape Verde, Germany, Ireland, Japan, Spain (Tenerife) and Switzerland. Each reported monthly mean concentrations above 400 ppm in both March and April.
Although scientists expect CO2 levels to continue rising, the Northern Hemisphere’s month long record for the greenhouse gas should has sounded an alarm in relation to addressing emissions and climate change (at least according to the World Meteorological Organization). From 2002 to 2012, it has been estimated that CO2 levels were responsible for 85 percent of the increase in the atmosphere’s heat-trapping ability.
CO2 is a potent greenhouse gas and plays a vital role in regulating Earth's surface temperature through radiative forcing and the greenhouse effect: CO2 absorbs and emits infrared radiation at wavelengths of 4.26 microns (0.000039 inches).
On the current WMO predictions, scientists expect the entire Earth will experience CO2 levels averaging 400 ppm or higher in 2015 or 2016.