CO2 concentration reaches historic high in May 2021

The levels measured by the researchers are the highest in four million years.

Despite the Corona pandemic, the CO2 concentration in the Earth’s atmosphere last month reached its highest level since measurements began. The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which has been taking measurements since 1958, recorded an average of 419 parts per million (ppm) last month, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Monday.

May is typically the month with the highest carbon dioxide levels of the year. Last May, the average level was 417 ppm. “We add about 40 billion tonnes of CO2 to the atmosphere every year,” NOAA scientist Pieter Tans said. “If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, the ultimate goal must be to reduce CO2 levels to zero as soon as possible.”

CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have been above 400 ppm since May 2013. Despite the Paris climate agreement and growing public awareness of the problem, more CO2 is being released year after year. Even the drop at the height of the pandemic last year was unsustainable.

The last time CO2 levels were this high was 4.1 to 4.5 million years ago, according to NOAA. At that time, sea levels were 23.5 metres higher than today, average temperatures were about four degrees Celsius higher than in pre-industrial times, and there were vast areas of forest in what is now the Arctic tundra….




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