“Something Serious Is Happening…”

The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million for the first time in May, 2013. Now, it has been consistently over that number for the last month, which is higher than it’s been in millions of years.  “…crossing that threshold makes it impossible to ignore that something serious is happening.”  Read the article by Kate Sheppard.   Oh, and Happy Earth Day!



2 comments on ““Something Serious Is Happening…”

  1. mikestasse says:

    Last time CO2 concentrations were this high was 800,000 years ago, not ‘millions’….. better edit your credibility!

  2. davidm58 says:

    Mike, thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I didn’t fact check it, but was just attempting to provide a very brief summary of the article I was pointing to. The figure came from a direct quote of a senior scientist at NOAA:

    “In May 2013, it was big news when, for the first time, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit 400 parts per million. Now, researchers say that number has been consistently above 400 for the last month.

    “This is higher than it’s been in millions of years,” said Pieter Tans, a senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Monitoring and Diagnostics Laboratory.” ”

    After reading your comment I looked at just one other news story on the web to corroborate. It seems that 800,000 years is as far back as our measurements go, when it was not over 300 ppm. However, it is estimated that CO2 was likely over 400 ppm during the Pliocene, several million years ago. From National Geographic News:

    “The last time the concentration of CO2 was as high as 400 ppm was probably in the Pliocene Epoch, between 2.6 and 5.3 million years ago. Until the 20th century, it certainly hadn’t exceeded 300 ppm, let alone 400 ppm, for at least 800,000 years. That’s how far back scientists have been able to measure CO2 directly in bubbles of ancient air trapped in Antarctic ice cores.
    But tens of millions of years ago, CO2 must have been much higher than it is now—there’s no other way to explain how warm the Earth was then.” – Robert Kunzig, National Geographic News

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