Telling Numbers: Carbon dioxide levels are now comparable to 4 million years ago

Carbon dioxide measured at the Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, Hawaii, run by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), peaked at 421 parts per million in May 2022. This has pushed the atmosphere further into an area estimated in millions. hasn’t been seen in years, scientists from NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography announced last week.

NOAA’s readings averaged 420.99 parts per million (ppm), an increase of 1.8 ppm from 2021. Scripps scientists independently calculated a monthly average of 420.78 ppm.

Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels were consistently around 280 ppm for nearly 6,000 years of human civilization. Since then, humans have generated an estimated 1.5 trillion tons of carbon dioxide pollution, much of which will continue to warm the atmosphere for thousands of years, NOAA said.

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Compared to the 280 ppm before the industrial revolution, the current 420 ppm is 50% higher than those levels.

“The science is irrefutable: Humans are changing our climate in ways that our economy and infrastructure must adapt,” a NOAA statement quoted as quoted its administrator Rick Spinrad.

Source: NOAA

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