Instruments measuring atmospheric CO2 at Hawaii's Mauna Loa observatory recently calculated the presence of the colorless, odorless gas blamed for global warming at over 401 parts per million. Ralph Keeling from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego confirmed that readings in Southern California touched 401.6, the new record.
Parts per million is the way of expressing small concentrations of substances in air, water or soil. In this case, a CO2 ppm measurement is is arrived at by taking the number of molecules of carbon dioxide and dividing it by the number of all molecules in air.
"The daily value is higher than any daily value we had last year, and it won't stop," Keeling told CNN. "We're in a period where it's continuing to climb."
Pieter Tans, who runs the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's greenhouse gas measurement program, confirmed that the agency's readings were similar to those recorded at Scripps and Mauna Loa.
Scientists say levels are unlikely to recede any time soon, are will probably continue to rise.
"The real message is that we're still moving in the wrong direction," Tans told CNN. "The CO2 problem hasn't gone away. It continues to get worse every year."