Carbon dioxide concentrations have officially surpassed the 400 ppm benchmark. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported on Wednesday the current atmospheric situation regarding the concentration of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide (NOAA, 2015). For the first time in millions of years, our atmosphere has reached a level of CO2 never before witness by humans.
And, for the first time since humans have been recording atmospheric CO2, the levels have now reached a monthly average of over 400 ppm, according to NOAA. The record was first breached in the spring of 2012, when scientists noted that all of the sites in the Arctic recorded values over 400 ppm. Then in 2013, “NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory first crossed the 400 ppm threshold” (NOAA, 2015).
The time has come now to realize that we are now looking at anthropogenic caused increases in greenhouse gas levels. The evidence is clear, especially when now that we know the average CO2 levels have risen by more than 120 ppm since before the Industrial Age. And half of that rise has occurred since 1980 (NOAA, 2015).
According to James Butler, director of NOAA’s Global Monitoring Division, “it would be difficult to reverse the increases of greenhouse gases which are driving increased atmospheric temperatures” (NOAA, 2015). He suggests that even eliminating 80% of the fossil fuel emissions would stop the rise in CO2, but that lowering these levels will be a very slow process–and that further reductions in fossil fuel emissions are necessary.
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