(ORDO NEWS) — The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in May was 50 percent higher than in the pre-industrial era, reaching levels not seen on Earth for about 4 million years, the main US climate agency said on Friday.
Human-caused global warming, especially as a result of fossil fuel electricity generation, transportation, cement production or even deforestation, is causing a new high, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.
May is usually the month with the highest carbon dioxide levels of the year.
In May 2022, the 420 parts per million (ppm) threshold, a unit of measurement used to quantify atmospheric pollution, was passed.
In May 2021 the figure was 419 ppm and in 2020 it was 417 ppm.
The measurements are taken at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which is ideally located high on the volcano, which allows it to avoid the possible influence of local pollution.
According to NOAA, CO2 levels were stable at around 280 ppm prior to the Industrial Revolution, and have remained at this level for approximately 6,000 years of human civilization prior to industrialization.
Levels now are comparable to those between 4.1 and 4.5 million years ago, when CO2 levels were around or above 400 ppm, the agency said in a statement.
At that time, the sea level was 5-25 meters higher than it is now, high enough to flood many modern large cities. According to research, large forests also occupied part of the Arctic.
CO2 is a greenhouse gas that traps heat, gradually causing global warming. It remains in the atmosphere and oceans for thousands of years.
Its warming effect is already causing dramatic consequences, NOAA noted, including multiplication of heatwaves, droughts, fires or floods.
“Carbon dioxide is at levels that our species has never experienced before – that’s not new,” said Peter Tans, a scientist at the Global Monitoring Lab.
We have known about this for half a century, but have not been able to do anything significant about it. “What must happen for us to wake up?”
Contact us: [email protected]