JUN 10, 2019 8:51 AM PDT

Atmospheric CO2 levels top the charts

We all know that the currents atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are not, shall we say, ideal. But according to recent measurements from NOAA’s Mauna Loa Atmospheric Baseline Observatory, published by NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, observations from May 2019 showed the highest seasonal peak recorded in 61 years, reaching a whopping 414.7 ppm.

Scientists use the month of May as a special marker to evaluate atmospheric carbon dioxide levels because it is when these levels are the highest, as plants have just begun blooming in the northern hemisphere and have yet to consume (and remove) huge quantities of CO2 from the atmosphere. This seasonal cycle of CO2 levels is known as the Keeling Curve, after Charles Keeling, who was the first person to notice it.

Compared to measurements from last May, this May was 3.5 ppm higher and records the second-highest annual jump yet. It’s been five years since observations on atmospheric carbon dioxide first reached over 400 ppm in 2014 and they have continued to rise since then. According to NOAA, “The early years at Mauna Loa saw annual increases averaging about 0.7 ppm per year, increasing to about 1.6 ppm per year in the 1980s and 1.5 ppm per year in the 1990s. The growth rate rose to 2.2 ppm per year during the last decade.” There is no doubt that anthropogenic emissions are behind this steep rise.

Photo: Pixabay

Pieter Tans, a senior scientist with NOAA's Global Monitoring Division, commented, “It's critically important to have these accurate, long-term measurements of CO2 in order to understand how quickly fossil fuel pollution is changing our climate. These are measurements of the real atmosphere. They do not depend on any models, but they help us verify climate model projections, which if anything, have underestimated the rapid pace of climate change being observed."

Data from Mauna Loa provides important information for NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, a database that collaborates on climate science projects around the world.

Sources: Science Daily, NOAA

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
You May Also Like
JAN 26, 2021
Earth & The Environment
For the soil, for us all!
JAN 26, 2021
For the soil, for us all!
A recent report released from The Microbiology Society features soil health as one of the most urgent areas of concern. ...
FEB 21, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Electrical Storms, Disaster & Auroras From a Flipping Magnetic Field
FEB 21, 2021
Electrical Storms, Disaster & Auroras From a Flipping Magnetic Field
As we move through space, the magnetic field of the planet, which (the dynamo theory states is) generated by its metal c ...
APR 15, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Tracking phytoplankton to understand nutrient stress in the oceans
APR 15, 2021
Tracking phytoplankton to understand nutrient stress in the oceans
Researchers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a high-detail map to track phytoplankton in the ocean ...
APR 19, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Let's talk magma: how small is too small to detect?
APR 19, 2021
Let's talk magma: how small is too small to detect?
New research published recently in Geology reports on the discovery of shallow pools of magma lying just beneath the Ear ...
MAY 07, 2021
Microbiology
How a Microparasite Can Improve Wastewater Treatment
MAY 07, 2021
How a Microparasite Can Improve Wastewater Treatment
There's water all over the world, but only a bit of it - 0.3% - is useful to us, making wastewater treatment an essentia ...
MAY 11, 2021
Earth & The Environment
Toxic brine injections into the earth from oil and gas production cause earthquakes - but why?
MAY 11, 2021
Toxic brine injections into the earth from oil and gas production cause earthquakes - but why?
New research published recently in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explains that shallo ...
Loading Comments...