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Record-breaking increase in CO2 levels in world’s atmosphere

🌈 Abstract

The article discusses the record-breaking increase in the global average concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth's atmosphere, which has significant implications for climate change.

🙋 Q&A

[01] The Largest Ever Recorded Leap in CO2 Levels

1. What is the key finding about the increase in CO2 levels?

  • The global average concentration of CO2 in March 2023 was 4.7 parts per million (ppm) higher than in March 2022, which is the largest increase in CO2 levels over a 12-month period on record.

2. What are the factors that have contributed to this record-breaking increase?

  • The periodic El Niño climate event, which has now waned
  • The ongoing and increasing amounts of greenhouse gases expelled into the atmosphere due to the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation

3. What is the current global CO2 concentration and how does it compare to pre-industrial levels?

  • The global CO2 concentration has reached around 426ppm, which is a 50% increase from the pre-industrial level of around 280ppm that prevailed for almost 6,000 years of human civilization.

4. What are the potential consequences of the rapid rise in CO2 levels?

  • The rapid rise in the heat-trapping gas threatens the world with disastrous climate breakdown in the form of severe heatwaves, floods, droughts, and wildfires.
  • Recent research suggests that CO2 levels were last this high around 14 million years ago, causing a climate that would appear alien to people alive today.

[02] The Ongoing Increase in CO2 Levels

1. What is the typical annual increase in CO2 levels, and why is it still concerning?

  • A more standard annual increase of around 2-3ppm is likely to return following the end of the latest El Niño event, but this is still concerning because to stabilize the climate, CO2 levels need to be falling, which is not happening.

2. What is the researcher's perspective on the human-caused rise in CO2 levels?

  • The researcher, Ralph Keeling, expresses sadness over the fact that human activity has caused CO2 to rocket upwards, stating that "it makes me sad more than anything. It's sad what we are doing."
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