Friday, October 24, 2014 Headlines & Global News

Carbon Dioxide Levels In Atmosphere Reaches All-Time High in 5 Million Years

By Sam Goodwin | Apr 25, 2013 09:30 AM EDT

Health Benefits of Reducing Emissions Outweigh Costs Involved, Study
Health Benefits of Reducing Emissions Outweigh Costs Involved, Study (Photo : Flickr)

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are currently at an all time high in more than five million years, according to a study reported in USA Today. 

According to a study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth System Research Lab the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere is currently at an all time high in more than five million years and could well top 400 parts per million in the Northern Hemisphere next month.

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, keepers of the famed "Keeling Curve," the longest continuous record of carbon dioxide measurements on the planet, were the first to report this increase in carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere.

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The first measurement ever to be made was conducted in 1958 by Scripps climate scientist Charles Keeling and taken near the top of Mauna Loa on the Big Island of Hawaii. During that time, the level read 316 parts per million. According to a reading taken Tuesday, the level was reportedly 398.44 316 parts per million.

While carbon dioxide levels have gone beyond the 400 mark in high northern latitudes last May, the monthly average readings from Mauna Loa have never gone beyond the 400 mark. However, with the way things currently look, the monthly average reading from Mauna Loa this May could well exceed 400.

The level of CO2 has increased in the atmosphere mainly because of the burning of gas, coal and oil that is essential for the functioning of today's world. This has enhanced the natural "greenhouse effect," causing the planet to warm to levels that climate scientists say can't be linked to natural forces.

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