Record Greenhouse Gas Levels

Tuesday 09th Sep 2014 by theWeather Club

Image: Atmospheric CO2 levels in the IPCC 2013 report (Source: IPCC Fifth Assessment Report - Figure SPM.3: Multiple observed indicators of a changing global climate)

According to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin released on 9th September 2014, greenhouse levels reached a new record high in 2013 as carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million, 142% of the pre-industrial era (1750), and methane and nitrous oxide reached 253% and 121%, respectively. At the current rate of increase, the global annual average CO2 concentration is set to cross the symbolic 400 parts per million threshold in 2015 or 2016.

The measurements made by WMO’s Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) network showed that CO2 levels increased more between 2012 and 2013 than during any other year since 1984, with preliminary data linking this with reduced CO2 uptake by the earth’s biosphere in addition to the steadily increasing CO2 emissions.

The Bulletin also showed that between 1990 and 2013 there was a 34% increase in radiative forcing (the warming effect on our climate) because of long-lived greenhouse gases such as CO2 - which accounted for 80% of this increase - methane and nitrous oxide.

The report highlights the even greater urgency for international action against accelerating and potentially devastating climate change.

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