Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere continue to rise according to new data released by the Environmental Systems Research Laboratory (ESRL) with the rate of increase being the fastest for the second year in a row.
Earth breached the 400 ppm (parts per million) threshold of CO2 levels in the atmosphere in October 2016 and just months after those levels, reports indicate that we are fast closing in on our next threshold level of 410 ppm. Data indicates that as of March 9, the CO2 concentrations were at 405.65 ppm.
The levels were measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory where it was found the CO2 concentrations have increased substantially. If we look at data for the year 2016, the growth of CO2 stood at 3.0 ppm in 2016 while the increase in 2015 stood at 3.03 ppm.
The continuous increase in CO2 levels are alarming and call for actions on our part as pointing fingers at natural phenomenon like the 2015-2016 El Nino weather event isn’t going to help. The main reason behind this increase in CO2 levels is the ever increasing emissions and carbon pollution because of our extensive use of fossil fuels.
In 1960 the CO2 levels increased by just under 1.0 ppm in 1960 and by 2010 the concentrations started increasing by 2.4 ppm annually. Year 2015 and 2016 broke all records after registering the fastest annual growth rate of CO2 levels ever.
Researchers are of the opinion that Earth will breach the 410 ppm levels over the course of next few weeks on a daily basis at the Mauna Loa Observatory – something we have never experienced. If the increase continues unabated, the monthly average for the month of May could come close to topping 410 ppm – this is as per the U.K. Met Office’s inaugural carbon dioxide forecast, which was released last week.
According to the UK Met office, Earth will most likely surpass last year’s record by end of next month or even as soon as this month. The UK Met office further said that the question isn’t if, but when.