Earth's climate notches record carbon dioxide benchmark

"The daily value is higher than any daily value we had last year, and it won't stop," scientist says.
By Brooks Hays  |  March 21, 2014 at 2:50 PM
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A new atmospheric record was recently broken, but don't pull out the champagne. Looking for property along higher latitude lines might be a wiser idea, as scientists say carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere have reached levels higher than ever before.

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."


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