Atmospheric CO2 Tops 400 PPM

This year the daily average concentration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere has surpassed the 400 PPM (parts per million) mark. This observation has been recorded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

During the past 800,000 years until the early 20th century, the CO2concentrations have never exceeded 300 ppm. This isn’t good news at all. Before the beginning of the industrial revolution the concentration of CO2 was about 275ppm in the atmosphere.

As the industrial revolution began, the use of fossil fuels added plenty of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The concentration increased by about 40%. Half of the CO2 is used by vegetation, soils and oceans; the other half remains in the atmosphere.

Pieter Tans, NOAA’s chief greenhouse gas scientist said that it is both ‘daunting and disturbing.’ One of the problems of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is that even if we stop burning fossil fuels, the CO2 concentrations would remain in the atmosphere for years. 400 ppm means CO2 levels are increasing faster than ever before in recorded history.

Generally the CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere increased at 0.7% per year. But in the last 5 decades, the world’s population has doubled, the use of fossil fuels have increased manifold and CO2 concentrations increases at 2.1% per year. Human activities add more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than natural processes can absorb. That means the net amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide will never decrease.

The result of this increased concentration of CO2 is that the global temperatures have gone up by 4 degrees. This is leading to the melting of the polar ice caps. Hence the global sea levels are rising; leading to increased floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters.

This is also destroying many wetlands and natural ecosystems. It is in the form of a chain reaction. It is disturbing the entire ecological balance. This rise in CO2 is an indication of the dangerous climatic change that is to happen in the coming future.

Human population is increasing and so is the use of fossil fuels. Global climate, rainfall patterns, pollution, vegetation and the entire natural balance is getting disturbed. It is time that we realise and take active steps to protect mother earth. Unless we come forward and stop using fossil fuels, reduce emissions and stop adding CO2 from our industries, the situation will only worsen.

Use a carbon calculator to get an idea how much your current lifestyle might be contributing to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.