Breaking nearly all records, global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) mark, according to a report published by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Researchers said that such a high CO2 level in the atmosphere is highest in recent history.
To measure the carbon dioxide concentration on a global scale, a team from NOAA collected data from 40 sites including islands dispersed all over the globe. Lead researcher Pieter Tans, NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network said that they had recorded such a high concentration back in 2012 when Arctic regions surpassed 400 ppm mark for the first time in recent history. However, reaching 400 ppm as a global average is a significant milestone, Tans said.
According to researchers, a significant rise in CO2 concentration was witnessed after industrialization. Tans said that nearly 300 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere is suitable for the Earth. However, carbon dioxide concentration has risen by more than 120 ppm since pre-industrialisation on a global scale.
“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times. Half of that rise has occurred since 1980,” said Tans.
The report portrays the fact that smoke coming out from industries and vehicles have contributed to CO2 concentration to a large extent, and if nothing is done to control the air quality now then it might worsen the situation. While explaining Tans said, even if the entire world comes together and achieves success in stabilising CO2 emission, still it would take another 20-25 years to witness a decline in CO2 level in the atmosphere. This relates to the fact that once CO2 gets into the air, it stays there and takes a long time to degrade.
This isn’t the frist time that the earth has seen such a high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, about million a years ago the planet had even worse air quality. However, humans weren’t evolved till then. Today, these figures are very surprising, believes Dr. Ed Hawkins, climate scientist from the University of Reading.
Moreover, NOAA is an American scientific agency that focuses on the conditions on Oceans and the atmosphere. NOAA also warns of dangerous weather, charts seas and skies, guides the use and protection of ocean and coastal resources and conducts research to improve understanding and stewardship of the environment.