Unpleasant news in the keeping-the-heat-up category — appears as if global concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere are way-quickly approaching ‘the point of no return,’ making the nefarious 400 parts per million (ppm) a ‘permanent’ fixture, and on the plus side, too.
James Butler, director of the global monitoring division at the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (the Guardian this morning): ‘“We’re going into very new territory.”‘
CO2 concentration is the primary driver of climate change, and it’s just normal sense that higher the concentration, the more-shitty the environment…
(Illustration above found here).
More from the Guardian:
When enough CO2 is pumped into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, the seasonal cycles that drive the concentrations up and down throughout the year will eventually stop dipping the concentration below the 400ppm mark.
The 400ppm figure is just symbolic, but it’s psychologically powerful, says Butler.
“We wouldn’t have expected to reach the 400ppm mark so early,” said David Etheridge, an atmospheric scientist from the CSIRO, which runs the Cape Grim station.
“With El Nino, the ocean essentially caps off it’s ability to take up heat so the concentrations are growing fast as warmer land areas release carbon. So we would have otherwise expected it to happen later in the year.
“No matter what the world’s emissions are now, we can decrease growth but we can’t decrease the concentration.
“Even if we stopped emitting now, we’re committed to a lot of warming.”
Over in Hawaii, the Mauna Loa station, which is the longest-running in the world, is sitting above 400 ppm, and for the first time, might never dip below it again.
“It’s hard to predict,” Butler told the Guardian.
“It’s getting real close.”
The CO2 concentrations are driving what appears to be runaway climate change around the world.
This year has seen record hot global ocean temperatures, which have caused coral reefs all around the world to bleach and devastated Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Air surface temperatures have also been shocking climate scientists.
Yearly and monthly temperature records have been breaking regularly, with many of the records being broken by the biggest margins ever seen.
“It’s pretty ugly when you look at it,” Butler said.
Cries of warning — from last Saturday and Climate Central:
A United Nations panel of scientists seeking ways for nations to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius should not dissuade governments from concentrating on bleaker scenarios of higher temperatures as well, its former chief said.
Nations should be considering the potential impact of temperature rises of as much as 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit), said Robert Watson, former head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
And we fiddle…