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Atmospheric carbon dioxide in May 1.5 times pre-industrial levels


In May 2022, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 50% higher than in the pre-industrial era, reaching levels not seen on Earth for about four million years, the main US climate agency said on Friday. .

Human-caused global warming, including through fossil fuel power generation, transportation, cement production, and deforestation, is responsible for the new peak, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric said. Administration (NOAA).

May is usually the month with the highest carbon dioxide levels each year.

In May 2022, the threshold of 420 parts per million (ppm) — a unit of measurement used to quantify pollution in the atmosphere — was crossed.

In May 2021, the rate was 419 ppm, and in 2020, 417 ppm.

The measurements are taken at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii, ideally located high on a volcano, which allows it to escape the possible influence of local pollution.

Prior to the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels hovered around 280 ppm, a level maintained for about 6,000 years of human civilization that preceded industrialization, according to NOAA.

The level is now comparable to what it was between 4.1 and 4.5 million years ago, when carbon dioxide levels were near or above 400 ppm, the agency said in a statement. .

At that time, the sea level was between 5 and 25 meters higher than today, high enough to submerge many of today’s major cities. According to studies, large forests also occupied parts of the Arctic.

Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat, gradually causing global warming. It stays in the atmosphere and oceans for thousands of years.

Its warming effect is already having dramatic consequences, notes the NOAA, including the multiplication of heat waves, droughts, fires or floods.

“Carbon dioxide is at levels our species has never seen before – this is nothing new,” said Pieter Tans, a scientist with the Global Monitoring Laboratory.

“We’ve known that for half a century and haven’t done anything significant about it. What will it take for us to wake up?”

[With inputs from agencies]

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Post expires at 7:38pm on Tuesday June 14th, 2022