Important Update on CO2 Concentrations
April 2009: CO2 hits 800,000-year high at Mauna Loa Observatory Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 389.47 parts per million (ppm).
Wednesday June 10th – co2 went up again. It is now at 390.18
Thursday June 11, 2009
CO2 passes 390 to break dangerous, ancient record
Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii (USA) Atmospheric CO2 reached 390.18 parts per million (ppm) in the month of May 2009, according to scientific data just released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States. At the same monitoring location, the Mauna Loa Observatory, atmospheric CO2 was 388.50 ppm in May 2008.
These rising levels are significantly higher than the natural range (~180 ppm to 300 ppm) that existed for at least 800,000 years since the start of the industrial revolution.
Nature needs 100 years to undo past 23 years of CO2 rise
In the past 23 years, atmospheric CO2 has been rising further beyond the upper limit for safe CO2 concentrations, that being 350 parts per million (ppm). CO2 levels rose 40 ppm during this period, from 350.35 ppm in May 1986 to 390.18 ppm in May 2009. Let’s say, for the sake of illustration, that we humans figured out how to completely turn our carbon emissions down to zero. How long would it take for Nature to do her wonderful magic and get atmospheric CO2 back to 350? Here is what the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) tells us:
Complete elimination of CO2 emissions is estimated to lead to a slow decrease in atmospheric CO2 of about 40 ppm over the 21st century.
The problem is far more than the impacts that CO2 is having on the climate system (and the oceans, sea ice, water availability, economies and let’s not forget about other species). It is the fact that CO2 emissions are moving in the wrong direction, further and further away from zero.