Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere reached a new high in May 2021 - 419 parts per million (ppm). This monthly average is the highest level in more than 4 million years! Yikes! (By the way, last year the highest level ever recorded occurred in May 2020.) Well... we topped that number this year.
The carbon dioxide levels slightly fluctuate daily (they are measured at the Mauna Loa Observatory). But over the years they have been rising (an average of 2.37 ppm per year in the last decade), and each year the concentrations of carbon dioxide in the air are enough to set a new record. Each year more carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) piles up in the atmosphere and oceans, where it remains for thousands of years.
This is of concern not just because the earth is warming (resulting in more extreme weather, wildfires, drought, flooding), but also what higher and higher carbon dioxide levels might do to our thinking processes (thinking gets worse at high levels - think of a stuffy room where it's harder to think). Yes, this is climate change.
Pieter Tans, a senior scientist with NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory said:
“We are adding roughly 40 billion metric tons of CO2 pollution to the atmosphere per year,” said Tans. “That is a mountain of carbon that we dig up out of the Earth, burn, and release into the atmosphere as CO2 - year after year. If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the highest priority must be to reduce CO2 pollution to zero at the earliest possible date.”
The US has rejoined the Paris Treaty (good), but much, much more needs to be done to stop emitting carbon dioxide. Solar energy, wind energy, and other alternative fuels. We can do it if we really want to.
See latest reading of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels - watch it rise month by month. (Check out all the links, and be horrified.)
Excerpts from NPR: Carbon Dioxide, Which Drives Climate Change, Reaches Highest Level In 4 Million Years
The amount of carbon dioxide in Earth's atmosphere reached 419 parts per million in May, its highest level in more than four million years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Monday. ...continue reading "Carbon Dioxide Levels Highest In 4 Million Years"