Record leap in carbon dioxide seen in 2015

March 10, 2016
US scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last year marked the fourth consecutive year that CO
US scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last year marked the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than 2 parts per million

The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased at a record pace last year, US government scientists reported, raising new concern about one of the top greenhouse gases and the effects of global warming.

The measurement came from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii.

"The annual growth rate of atmospheric ... jumped by 3.05 parts per million during 2015, the largest year-to-year increase in 56 years of research," said a NOAA statement.

Last year also marked the fourth consecutive year that CO2 grew more than two parts per million.

As of February, the average global atmospheric CO2 level was 402.59 parts per million. This is a significant rise over pre-industrial times. Prior to 1800, atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm.

"Carbon dioxide levels are increasing faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years," said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA's Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.

"It's explosive compared to natural processes."

NOAA said the jump in CO2 is partially due to the weather phenomenon known as El Nino, which warms some parts of the world's oceans and causes unusual precipitation and drought patterns.

The rest of the growth is driven by continued high emissions from fossil fuel consumption, said NOAA.

The last time a similar jump in CO2 was observed was in 1998, also a strong El Nino year.

"The impact of El Nino on CO2 concentrations is a natural and relatively short-lived phenomenon," said a statement by World Meterological Organization Secretary-General Petteri Taalas.

"But the main long-term driver is from human activities. We have the power and responsibility to cut these," he added.

"This should serve as a wake-up call to governments about the need to sign the Paris Climate Agreement and to take urgent action to make the cuts in CO2 emissions necessary to keep global temperature rises to well below 2 degrees Celsius."

Explore further: Record annual increase of carbon dioxide observed at Mauna Loa for 2015

Related Stories

El Nino begins decline after 'powerful' impact: UN

February 18, 2016

The 2015-2016 El Nino weather phenomenon, one of the most powerful on record, has begun its decline but continues to have a strong influence on global climate patterns, the UN's weather agency said Thursday.

UK: In 1st, global temps average could be 1 degree C higher

November 9, 2015

This year is on track to be a record 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than the pre-industrial average, hitting a symbolic milestone in the global warming that scientists blame on human activities, Britain's ...

Climate chief warns of 'urgency' as CO2 levels rise

April 29, 2013

The UN's climate chief called for urgency Monday as she opened a new round of global talks amid warnings that Earth-warming carbon dioxide levels were approaching a symbolic threshold never seen in human history.

US scientists report big jump in heat-trapping CO2 (Update)

March 5, 2013

The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees (1.2 C) as many global leaders have hoped, new federal figures ...

Recommended for you

New England's 1816 'Mackerel Year' and climate change today

January 18, 2017

Hundreds of articles have been written about the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, at Indonesia's Mt. Tambora just over 200 years ago. But for a small group of New England-based researchers, one more Tambora ...

4 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

mickrussom
1.7 / 5 (11) Mar 10, 2016
So. Chicken little crying wolf. Whats the SOLUTION besides everyone killing themselves ,like the libs want.
classicplastic
not rated yet Mar 10, 2016
So. Chicken little crying wolf. Whats the SOLUTION besides everyone killing themselves ,like the libs want.

There's no such thing as a dumb question. :-)

Here's the general idea: http://williamcal...mits.pdf

Basically, this is oceanic carbon biosequestration. Dr. Calvin is the first to admit that up- and down-welling windmills in the open ocean environment aren't the ideal technology, but the basic concept is sound and we have no other practical options. A few years ago, I picked up where he left off and have come up with some better technology ideas, which are in process for patent applications.
antigoracle
1.7 / 5 (6) Mar 12, 2016
The last time a similar jump in CO2 was observed was in 1998, also a strong El Nino year.

What?!?
A warm ocean releases more CO2 than humans!!
Who is going to pay the El Nino tax?
greenonions
4.4 / 5 (5) Mar 12, 2016
mickrussom
Whats the SOLUTION besides everyone killing themselves ,like the libs want.
It really gives you away when you immediately turn to political hacking.

Perhaps you should read the whole article - and you would see that they do talk about solutions.

"But the main long-term driver is greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. We have the power and responsibility to cut these.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.