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Rate of greenhouse gas increase unseen in 30 years

Zachary Toliver | Shale Plays Media

In a recent announcement, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated that Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 2012 and 2013 grew at their fastest rate since 1984.

The WMO figures show that the globally averaged amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached 396 parts per million (ppm) in 2013, an increase of almost 3ppm over the previous year. The safety limit many environmentalists boast for carbon in the atmosphere is 350 ppm.

The BBC reports that The WMO’s annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin doesn’t measure emissions from power station smokestacks but instead records how much of the warming gases remain in the atmosphere after the complex interactions that take place between the air, the land and the oceans.

The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin shows that, far from falling, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually increased last year at the fastest rate for nearly 30 years,” said Michel Jarraud, secretary general of the WMO. “We must reverse this trend by cutting emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases across the board…We are running out of time.

However, as the BBC points out, global average temperatures, although are increasing, have not risen at the same rate as global CO2 levels. This has led some to believe that global warming has paused.

Even so, Oksana Tarasova, chief of the atmospheric research division at the WMO stated that “the climate system is not linear, it is not straightforward. It is not necessarily reflected in the temperature in the atmosphere, but if you look at the temperature profile in the ocean, the heat is going in the oceans.”

Because greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide survive for an extended period of time in the atmosphere, WMO scientists believe oceans are absorbing more of these types of gases.

Oceans taking on more and more has dire consequences to marine ecosystems. Every day, according to the WMO, the oceans take up about four kilograms of CO2 per person. They believe the current rate of acidification is unprecedented over the last 300 million years.

Read the full coverage from BBC environment correspondent Matt Mcgrath- “Greenhouse gas levels rising at fastest rate since 1984.”

Related:  EPA greenhouse gas rule may lay new bet on future natural gas supplies

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