Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Environment

Carbon Dioxide Rise in 2012 Second Highest in Modern Record

ImaGeoBy Tom YulsmanMarch 7, 2013 8:07 AM
co2_data_mlo_anngr.png

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

The annual mean growth rate in atmospheric carbon dioxide from 1959 through 2012, as measured atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii. (Graph: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/) The graph above tells the tale: Last year, concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere jumped by the second highest amount since modern monitoring began in 1959. According to Pieter Tans, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist who leads the effort to track CO2 levels, the rise was driven mostly by increasing emissions of the greenhouse gas, thanks in large measure to more coal-burning power plants in the developing world. As reported by the Associated Press, Tans said the new findings suggest that the prospects for limiting average global warming to less than 2 degrees C over preindustrial levels are fading. Beyond that threshold, the odds of dangerous climatic impacts rise significantly, in the view of many scientists. The graph below charts the rise in CO2 in parts per million, as measured on Hawaii's Mauna Loa, since 2009:

co2_trend_mlo.png

Image: http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/ The dashed red line represents the monthly mean values. The oscillation results from the growth cycle of plants in the Northern Hemisphere (which has more landmass than the Southern Hemisphere, and thus more vegetation). The black line charts the rise in CO2 with the seasonal cycle removed.

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In