Atmospheric CO2 Increases Have Hit a 30-Year High

Illustration for article titled Atmospheric CO2 Increases Have Hit a 30-Year High

Don't panic (you should panic) but the rate at which the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are rising just hit a 30-year high—and if rates don't slow, then we'll soon breach the levels that experts claim are safe.

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The levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide rose faster between 2012-2013 than they have done since 1984. If the rate of accumulation doesn't slow, then the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will reach 400 parts per million in the next two years. Just for your information, that's above the threshold of 350ppm that most climate scientists believe to be tolerable.

Why the dramatic rates of increase? Well, the World Meteorological Organization points out that the seas have long been swallowing carbon and, as they do so, acidifying. The only problem with that otherwise useful process—for our atmosphere, at least, not necessarily the contents of the oceans—is that with increased acidity comes a reduction in their capacity to take on more carbon. The Organization points out that the "current rate of ocean acidification appears unprecedented at least over the last 300 million years," and as a result our atmosphere is shouldering the burden.

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With a stream of UN reports laying the rise of carbon emissions at human kind's feet and the knock-on effect of large-scale climatic shifts now being inevitable, then today is fine day indeed to panic. Or, you know, actually do something to save the planet.

Image: Shutterstock / Joshua Haviv

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DISCUSSION

It's cute the way people like this author just don't quite get what they're saying, isn't it? There are only about 300 articles out there noting how the earth's temp hasn't risen in almost 18 years — yet the CO2 inexorably continues to climb.

And that 18 years is just a minimum, depending upon which criteria you use. Others say 19 years, still others say 24. Here are a few recent articles on the subject:

http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andr…

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/sep/…

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/…

As for the arctic ice, like hurricanes have 30-year cycles, arctic ice has 40-year thick-thin cycles, with the last thick peak being in the late 70's, not coincidentally the height of the "global cooling" craze. 2012 was the peak of the thin end, and now we're going back the other direction:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ar…

And to end on an up note, remember all those species that were going to die off because the earth's temp went up a few degrees? Of course, they never explained why that would cause species to die out, rather than, say, flourish, but never mind those pesky details.

"Seychelles snail, thought extinct, found alive"

http://news.yahoo.com/seychelles-sna…

"A snail once thought to have been among the first species to go extinct because of climate change has reappeared in the wild."

It's a miracle!