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Earth’s carbon dioxide levels reach highest point in 800,000 years


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Experts blame continuous burning of fossil fuels for enhancing the planet’s natural “greenhouse effect.”

 

Carbon dioxide — the gas scientists say is most responsible for global warming — reached its highest level in recorded history last month, at 410 parts per million.

 

This amount is highest in at least the past 800,000 years, according to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Prior to the onset of the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels had fluctuated over the millennia but had never exceeded 300 parts per million.

 

"We keep burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide keeps building up in the air," said Scripps scientist Ralph Keeling, who maintains the longest continuous record of atmospheric carbon dioxide on Earth. "It's essentially as simple as that."

 

Ralph Keeling and his late father Charles David Keeling have kept carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii since 1958.

 

The average concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 410.31 parts per million (ppm) for the month of April, according to the Keeling Curve measurement series.

 

This marks the first time in the history of the Mauna Loa record that a monthly average has exceeded 410 parts per million. It's also a 30 per cent increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the global atmosphere since the Keeling Curve began in 1958.

 

"As a scientist, what concerns me the most is not that we have passed yet another round-number threshold but what this continued rise actually means: that we are continuing full speed ahead with an unprecedented experiment with our planet, the only home we have," Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, tweeted Thursday.

 

Carbon dioxide is called a greenhouse gas for its ability to trap solar radiation and keep it confined to the atmosphere. It is the most prevalent among all greenhouse gases produced by human activities, attributed to the burning of fossil fuels.

 

The increase in gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide is fuelling climate change and making "the planet more dangerous and inhospitable for future generations," the World Meteorological Organization has said.

 

Increasing amounts of carbon dioxide and other gases are enhancing the planet's natural "greenhouse effect."

 

CO2 levels were around 280 parts per million prior to the Industrial Revolution in the late 1800s, when large amounts of greenhouse gases began to be released by burning fossil fuels.

 

The burning of the oil, gas and coal for energy releases greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases have caused the Earth's temperature to rise over the past century to levels that cannot be explained by natural variability.

 

Carbon dioxide is invisible, odourless and colourless, yet it's responsible for 63 per cent of the warming attributable to all greenhouse gases, according to NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo.

 

Levels of carbon dioxide go up and down each year, reaching their highest levels in May and then going back down in the fall as plants absorb the gas.

 

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rasbridge

It is indisputable that vaccination has made an enormous contribution to human health, especially in the developing world. Mortality from smallpox and measles was massive in the pre-vaccination period with up to a half of the population dying from the former during epidemics and measles was only a little less lethal in susceptible populations.  It took hundreds of thousands of years for the world population to grow to 1 billion – then in just another 200 years or so, it grew sevenfold. In 2011, the global population reached the 7 billion mark, and today, it stands at about 7.6 billion.  This dramatic growth has been driven largely by increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, and has been accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerating migration. Clearly, on Earth, these trends will have far-reaching implications for generations to come.  

 

Will Earth be able to sustain another sevenfold population increase in the next 200 years?  Please share your thoughts...

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This amount is highest in at least the past 800,000 years

I wonder how or who did this measurement? 

 

7 minutes ago, rasbridge said:

Will Earth be able to sustain another sevenfold population increase in the next 200 years?  Please share your thoughts...

off topic here: maybe you could start a new topic on this?

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rasbridge

It is Earth's rising population that is the root cause of the rising carbon dioxide level.  Therefore, a proper discuss Earth's carbon dioxide must include the population increase -- as the two problems are intertwined...

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20 hours ago, rasbridge said:

It is Earth's rising population that is the root cause of the rising carbon dioxide level.  Therefore, a proper discuss Earth's carbon dioxide must include the population increase -- as the two problems are intertwined...

 

Yes this is true to some extent.  When plants take in carbon dioxide and sunlight, they produce oxygen.  Humans take in oxygen and product carbon dioxide.  To make it worse we are reducing the worlds forests to make room for more people.  Natures equation is getting out of balance.

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