Carbon Dioxide Levels Highest in Human History

Federico Mansilla
May 16, 2019

On Saturday (May 11), the levels of the greenhouse gas reached 415 parts per million (ppm), as measured by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

According to measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, atmospheric Carbon dioxide has hit 415 parts per million, eclipsing record highs recorded in Arctic Ice samples that date back 800,000 years.

"Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago". This is according to the Mauna Loa Observatory who have been charting the rise through their sensors.

That was the reaction of meteorologist Eric Holthaus to news that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have reached heights not seen in the entirety of human existence - not history, existence.

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"We don't know a planet like this". Carbon dioxide levels were recorded to have soared past the 400 ppm mark in 2016, reaching 410 ppm in 2017.

According to Tech Wire, the last time the planet came close to matching the climate of today was during the Pliocene Epoch, some three million years ago.

"We keep burning fossil fuels", Ralph Keeling, director of the Scripps CO2, told Science Alert. Of course, other changes were at that time: the Arctic was full of trees, not ice, and the temperatures in the summer were around 15 degrees C, and the sea levels were higher than now. "A human didn't exist.#climatecrisis #climatechange". NOAA says that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is responsible for about two-thirds of the total energy imbalance that is causing temperatures to rise on Earth. Global sea levels during the Pliocene were thought to be an astounding 25 meters (82 feet) higher than today. In addition, Carbon dioxide traps heat near the surface and causes global temperatures to rise and rise with devastating effects planetwide. The last time Earth's atmosphere enclosed this much Carbon dioxide was more than three million years ago, when global sea levels were numerous metres higher and parts of Antarctica were covered in a jungle. Greenhouse gases and the Carbon dioxide releases are raising the global temperature at 1 degree C. A further rise is all but inevitable if more immediate action isn't taken by world governments. This climate catastrophe will bring with it major health risks and risks of wildfires while slowing down economic growth worldwide and boosting poverty. On a Twitter post, dated May 12, Keeling said that "The increase from past year will probably be around three ppm whereas the recent average has been 2.5 ppm".

Around the world, 37% of the population will be exposed to at least one severe heatwaves every five years, and the average length of droughts will increase by four months, exposing some 388 million people to water scarcity, and 194.5 million to severe droughts.

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