Despite the pandemic, atmospheric carbon levels hit a new peak

WASHINGTON (AFP) – An atmospheric research station in Hawaii has recorded its highest concentrations of carbon dioxide since precise measurements began 63 years ago, a government agency said on Monday, adding that the coronavirus pandemic was due to hardly had an impact on the increasing levels of greenhouse gases.

The Mauna Loa Atmospheric Base Observatory readings for May 2021 averaged 419 parts per million (ppm), up from 417 ppm in May 2020, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego also participated in the research.

“We add around 40 billion tonnes of CO2 air pollution per year, ”said Pieter Tans, senior scientist at NOAA’s Global Monitoring Laboratory. “It’s a mountain of carbon that we dig up from Earth, burn, and release into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide – year after year. If we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, the top priority must be to reduce CO emissions2 pollution to zero as soon as possible.

Carbon dioxide is the most abundant greenhouse gas created by humans and persists in the atmosphere and oceans for thousands of years after its emission. It is generated by the combustion of carbon-based fossil fuels used in transportation and power generation, construction, deforestation, agriculture, and other practices. Greenhouse gases trap heat that would otherwise be lost in space into the atmosphere, thereby contributing to global warming.

The increase of 1.8 ppm from May 2020 to May 2021 was slightly lower than in previous years. However, in the first five months of 2021, the average increase was 2.3 ppm, close to the annual increases seen between 2010 and 2019. Although emissions fell 17% at the peak of closures in 2020, this reduction was not important enough to sustain itself. seasonal variations caused by how plants and soil respond to soil temperature, humidity and moisture.

“These natural variations are important, and so far the ‘missing’ emissions from fossil fuel combustion have not stood out,” NOAA said in an explanatory statement.

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