Carbon dioxide levels now higher than at any time in past 3.6 million years
Posted by Eleanor Imster in EARTH | April 14, 2021
Levels of climate-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane in the atmosphere continued to rise in 2020, with CO2 levels reaching their highest point in 3.6 million years, according to NOAA research, despite the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic response.
According to the NOAA report, released April 7, 2021, the global average for CO2 in the atmosphere in 2020 was 412.5 parts per million (ppm) in 2020, rising by 2.6 ppm during the year. That rate of increase was the fifth-highest in NOAA’s 63-year record.
The rise happened despite an estimated 7% reduction in global carbon emissions due to the pandemic. Without the economic slowdown, the 2020 increase would have been the highest on record, said Pieter Tans, senior scientist at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography released similar findings, also on April 7, saying that atmospheric CO2 concentrations at the Mauna Loa Observatory monitoring station in Hawaii are now at record levels. Their measurements show that the average for March 2021 was 417.14 ppm, which is 50% higher than the average for the years 1750-1800, just prior to the Industrial Revolution.