published on 14 May 2019 in air
New record reached for CO2 in the atmosphere
Saturday 11 May, the Mauna Loa observatory, in Hawaii, recorded a new record level for the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, that is 415.26 ppm (parts per million). This level, explain the experts at the observatory run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is the highest in the past 800 thousand years, the time period for which it has been possible to infer the level of concentration. In 1958, the year in which the Mauna Loa monitoring station went into operation, the level of CO2 was 313 ppm, while in 2016 it was steadily above 400 ppm, and in April 2017 it reached more than 410 ppm. Since data began to be collected, therefore, readings have been constantly increasing, and, more precisely, levels of carbon dioxide have increased by 32%. According to scientific reconstructions, the data collected by the Mauna Loa observatory seem to be comparable only to those that can be surmised in the Pliocene, a geological epoch extending from 2.5 to 5 million years ago, when average temperatures were 2-3°C higher than current ones, the sea level was around 25 metres higher than it is today and the Arctic was completely free of ice.
The record had also been forecast by British scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre, who each year put forward a forecast of the concentration of CO2. According to the report this year, the reading was expected to reach 415 ppm precisely in May, which is when the peak occurs each year. The rate will then drop from now until October by effect of the growth of plants and will then begin to rise again in autumn and winter, probably higher than the present level.