CO2 Reaches Record Levels at South Pole Observatory

coThere is no excuse for denying the impact carbon dioxide emissions will have on the Earth. The South Pole Observatory just reported startling news: carbon dioxide concentrations soared past 400 parts per million (ppm).

This is daunting for the Earth, given the obvious negative effects of pollution and heavy emissions.

The South Pole, given its unique location on the globe, finally reached the same carbon dioxide levels that the rest of the world has experienced. The last point in time that carbon dioxide concentrations exceeded 400 ppm was 4 million years ago.

How will this affect interpretations of climate change? Some may say that carbon dioxide concentrations fluctuate year to year, but the fact is that overall scientists have noticed an upward trend.

The first recording of carbon dioxide concentrations happened in 1958 at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Climate Observatory.  Carbon dioxide levels were at 310 ppm in the late 1950s. The same observatory recorded carbon dioxide levels above 400 ppm in 2013.

The world reached 400 ppm faster than the South Pole, being that emissions arise from the northern hemisphere of the globe. This warming effect will likely increase further over time.

Researcher Pieter Tans at NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network explained, “The far southern hemisphere was the last place on earth where CO2 had not yet reached this mark.”

It is unlikely that readings will change significantly in the near future, perhaps slightly only less than 400 ppm, even if the world greatly cuts back on its emissions. It can take thousands of years for the excess carbon to leave the atmosphere.

Ralph Keeling, a scientist familiar with climate aspects, stated, “we are now in a new era of Earth history.” A reverse button may not exist, but with excessive reductions in emissions, the Earth’s outlook might improve.

 

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