First-ever decrease in atmospheric CO2 concentration

(ORDO NEWS) — For the first time, researchers have detected short-term regional fluctuations in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) around the world, driven by reduced emissions from human activities.

For the first time, scientists have noticed that the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has decreased, but does this mean victory over global warming?

Using a combination of NASA satellites and atmospheric modeling, the scientists conducted a first-of-its-kind study of human-made CO2 changes.

In the new work, the scientists used data from the Carbon Observatory Orbital (OCO-2) to measure the decline in carbon dioxide emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These emissions data, which have only just been made public, will now allow tracking of anthropogenic influences on CO2 concentrations in near real time.

Previous studies have examined the effects of lockdowns at the start of the pandemic and have shown that carbon dioxide concentrations have declined somewhat in 2020.

However, by combining high-resolution OCO-2 data with modeling and data analysis tools from NASA’s GEOS Observing System, the authors of the new work were able to narrow down monthly changes due to human activity as well as natural causes on a regional scale.

As a result, scientists have confirmed that the concentration of greenhouse gas in the Earth‘s atmosphere has indeed decreased.

Is global warming cancelled?

The team’s measurements showed that in the Northern Hemisphere, anthropogenic growth in CO2 concentrations declined from February to May 2020 and recovered during the summer, consistent with a global decline in emissions of 3-13% per year.

In the Southern Hemisphere, the signal was not as clear due to another record climate anomaly, the Indian Ocean Dipole (DIO). DIO represents a cyclic cooling of the oceans in Southeast Asia and a warming of the oceans in the eastern Indian Ocean.

In late 2019/early 2020, these events heavily impacted the carbon cycle and made it difficult to detect the signal from COVID-19 lockdowns, but also demonstrated the potential of GEOS/OCO-2 to track natural CO2 fluctuations in the future.

Despite this small drop, it should not be assessed as a positive trend in the decrease in carbon dioxide concentration, because this is caused by the introduction of lockdowns around the world.

With the lifting of restrictions, all human activity has recovered, factories have been operating at full capacity and there is a chance that concentrations will continue to grow at an even faster rate.


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