The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at a record pace last year, US government scientists reported, raising new concern about one of the top greenhouse gases and the effects of global warming.
The measurement came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.
“The annual growth rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide… jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research,” said a NOAA statement.
Last year also marked the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than two parts per million.
As of February, the average global atmospheric CO2 level was 402.59 parts per million. This is a significant rise over pre-industrial times. Prior to 1800, atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm.
“Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.
“It’s explosive compared to natural processes.”
Assuming written civilization survives climate change, our descendants will be interested in 21st century mythology about things called “forests” and “winter.”