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Climate Change in the Arctic & around the globe

Arctic CO2 hits alarming levels


The Arctic sea ice - on the wane

The Arctic sea ice - on the wane (photographed off Greenland)

Worrying news from scientists in the USA monitoring the global CO2 concentration. NOAA (The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)  says for the first time ever, more than 400ppm (parts per million) have been measured in the atmosphere in the Arctic. This is a very worrying development. Jim Butler, who’s in charge of global monitoring at NOAA, says this should be a reminder to everybody that we are in deep trouble. CO2 concentration has been rising increasingly fast. 350 ppm is the figure many scientists say is the highest the earth can go without being in danger from drastic climate change.

So far, it’s only the Arctic – which is heating up around twice as fast as the rest of the planet – where the 400pm mark has been reached. The average is around 395ppm for  the rest of the world. But the NOAA researchers – not known for exaggeration I’d say – say the 400 mark will be reached in just a few years.

Bearing in mind the lack of progress in international negotiations, with a report recently published indicating we’re heading for a 3.5 degree C rise in global temperature, way above the 2° target set by the international community, it’s hard to see how we are going to turn this around. And, as Professor Mojib Latif, one of the IPCC lead authors and a renowned meteorologist and climate expert, reminded me just last week, even those 2° would be a major challenge and unprecendented for the earth.


June 1, 2012 | 2:04 pm