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Menopausal Mother Nature

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CO₂ levels reach another record high

CO₂ levels just reached another record high. On February 9, 2019, an average daily CO₂ level of 414.27 ppm was recorded at Mauna Loa, Hawaii.

The image below shows hourly (red circles) and daily (yellow circles) averaged CO₂ values from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, for the last 31 days.

Levels this high have not been reached earlier over the past 800,000 years, as illustrated by the image below.

CO₂ levels can be expected to keep rising further this year to reach a maximum level in April/May 2019.

How much can CO₂ levels be expected to grow over the next decade? 

A recent Met Office forecast expects annual average CO₂ levels at Mauna Loa to be 2.75 ppm higher in 2019 than in 2018. The image below shows NOAA 1959-2018 CO₂ growth data (black) and uses this Met Office forecast used for 2019 (brown). The growth figures for 2018 and 2019 are spot on a trend that is added in line with an earlier analysis.

Strong CO₂ growth is forecast for 2019, due to a number of factors including rising emissions, the added impact of El Niño and less uptake of carbon dioxide by ecosystems. A recent study warns that global warming will enhance both the amplitude and the frequency of eastern Pacific El Niño events and associated extreme weather events. Another recent study warns that, while the terrestrial biosphere now absorbs some 25% of CO₂ emissions by people, the rate of land carbon uptake is likely to fall with reduced soil moisture levels in a warmer world. Furthermore, fire hazards can be expected to grow due to stronger winds and higher temperatures, each of which constitutes a factor on their own, while they jointly also increase two further factors, i.e. drying out of soils, groundwater and vegetation, and the occurrence of more lightning to ignite fires and to also cause more ground-level ozone that further deteriorates vegetation health. 

The warming impact of CO₂ can therefore be expected to increase over the next decade, given also that the warming impact of CO₂ reaches a peak ten years after emission. The earlier analysis furthermore warns about strong growth in CO₂ emissions due to fires in forests and peatlands, concluding that CO₂ emissions could cause an additional global temperature rise of 0.5°C over the next ten years.

The situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as described at the Climate Plan.

Links

• NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 annual mean growth rates 1959-2018
ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/products/trends/co2/co2_gr_mlo.txt

• Faster CO₂ rise expected in 2019
https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2019/2019-carbondioxide-forecast

• Increased variability of eastern Pacific El Niño under greenhouse warming, by Wenju Cai et al.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0776-9

• El Niño events will intensify under global warming, by Yoo-Geun Ham
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07638-w

• Large influence of soil moisture on long-term terrestrial carbon uptake, by Julia Green et al.
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0848-x

• 2018 Continues Record Global Ocean Warming, by Lijing Cheng et al.
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00376-019-8276-x

• Extinction
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/extinction.html

• Climate Plan
https://arctic-news.blogspot.com/p/climateplan.html

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